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Personalias last won the day on September 16

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  1. The Middle Of The End

    Thanks ya'll!
  2. Just found out that some internet babs consider me "Classic".  I know it's meant as a compliment, but it really just makes me feel old and awful.  So much that I've yet to accomplish...

    1. ELLIE52


      This sort of reminds me of Richard Dreyfus being upset when he won a lifetime award.  If it were me, I would take it as an achievement award and keep plugging away.  Congrats on all your hard work!  I look forward to bigger and better from you in the future.

  3. Are you loyal?

    ABU diapers have always been the ones that appealed to me. Won't even try other ones. If I ever come across a free sample of Rearz I'll give it a shot, but I'm not gonna gamble when I found something that is cute, functional, and works for me.
  4. The Middle Of The End

    The dam breaks. No more warning. No more holding it in. I’ve got to go one second, and then I’m going, right in my pants. There’s no middle ground. Honestly, there’s almost no discomfort, either. I was holding myself, but that didn’t do any good. All that plastic and padding must’ve kept me from getting a good grip on myself, or something. Definitely no potty dance, this time. (I guess that’s appropriate.) The dam breaks and I stop breathing. No air is moving in me, but liquid is sure as hell is moving out. I stand there and shudder as my bladder lets loose into the front of my diaper Yeah…it’s mine now. Borrowed from somebody else or not, I’m marking it like a dog. I literally don’t know what to do. Do I try and cut the stream off? What’s the point if I do? It’s not like my diaper’s gonna be any less wet…I mean technically yeah, but it’s not like that’s gonna matter to the crazy giant ladies who literally forbade me from peeing in a bowl just a few minutes ago. What if I can’t stop peeing? What if I struggle to stop it and it won’t? Do I really want to find that out? And as I’m thinking all of this, I’m still pissing my pants. (Except I’m not even wearing pants anymore…damn it…) There’s this hissing sound that’s ringing in my ears as I keep peeing, too; as if I couldn’t tell by how warm and wet my crotch is all of a sudden. And it’s this low sound that I don’t know if I’m the only one I can hear or not. It’s kind of like when you’re eating potato chips and you can hear yourself chewing but you don’t know if anybody else can. I’m shaking, my knees are knocking together, and my bladder is finally empty. Finally, I remember to breathe, and the air that comes out of me sounds less like a gasp, and more like a sigh of relief. I haven’t been in this crazy place more than an hour and it feels like I’d been holding it till the end of one of those god-awful Hobbit movies and the credits just started rolling after the eighth ending. I’m not saying that I smiled when I finally let it all out and started breathing again there in front of everybody, but if I did, could you blame me? That’s when I look around, and it hits me. Holy shit, I’ve wet myself. I haven’t done that since I don’t remember when. I’m expecting the nursery to close in on me. I’m expecting to turn around and find everybody pointing and laughing at me for pissing my pants (except no pants). If this whole thing were a nightmare (which would explain a lot…like what was taking Gwen so long, for starts), this would be the part where my teeth start falling out, or I’m naked, or my third grade teacher Mrs. Miller telling me that I forgot to do my homework. But nothing happens. The walls don’t close in. If anything, the playroom that I’m stuck in seems a little bit bigger. (Shit, does that mean I shrank again? I stopped keeping track of it when I ended up being a little bit taller than knee height to most of the grown-ups…I mean adults…I mean giants…fuck me…moving on.) Nobody’s pointing or laughing either. Jane’s playing with her blocks. The two stuck-up bitches in Pull-Ups are playing with some kind of knock off Barbie-dolls. All the daycare workers like Miss Kiesha are bent over and taking care of some other little kid. (Shit did I just say other? Keep it together.) How do I feel? I’m relieved. I got away with it. I really got away with it. I pissed myself in public, literally felt pee dribbling down my privates and being wicked away by my diaper, and nobody noticed or cared. I can’t believe I got away with it. There was still a chance I could get away, get out of this diaper, and get back to Mom…er…Gwen and…and what? I’ve shrunk. I’m not wearing a big adult diaper with kiddie decorations. I’m wearing just a diaper. I’m wearing a thick padding with a plastic coating held together by just two pieces of friggin’ tape. Oh, and there are teddy bears on the waistline. I sneak a peak at myself below the waist and realize that my diaper is starting to sag a little bit from all the extra…weight…I’ll call it weight, that I just put in it. It’s kind of amazing actually. It’s kind of like that whole bumble bee ain’t supposed to fly but nobody told it it can’t thing. Even if I haven’t shrunk, and this world is getting bigger, what chance do I got? If I’m lucky, I get to find Gwen and then we most likely get caught and then she ends up trapped in this funhouse with me. But me getting out of here in the first place probably isn’t on the table. If I had a chance, it’s been fading since I laid down on the bathroom floor and let a weird lady slide this pamper under my ass. And it’s been steadily going downhill from there. My fatal flaw has caught up with me. My diaper is starting to cool, becoming less hot and warm and wet and more just plain squishy. It’s not uncomfortable, actually. If I didn’t know why it was so squishy I wouldn’t mind it at all. But I do know, and that’s the problem. I’m a grown-ass kid. (Kid? Kid…) I’ve been potty trained for years. I’ve got my pride. One way or another, I gotta get out of this thing. I take a toddling step toward one of the day, and maybe it’s me, but the crinkle when I step is less obvious. The diaper is more muffled and I hear as much as I feel the squish. Still not as bad as the sound of a half-dozen grocery bags with every step. A dumb thought about peeing in this thing until it becomes poofy stealth underwear so I can sneak away pops into my head, and the bile in my stomach just stops that idea cold. I take another step and open my mouth to, I dunno, cry or something. At least call out and ask a big person to change me; but pride makes me hesitate. Do I really want to admit that I just pissed myself? Will that help convince the people running this looney bin that I’m big? I mean, if I ask somebody to change my diaper for me, isn’t that the same as giving up and admitting that I needed to be babied in the first place? I got into this whole mess by letting some strange woman pull my pants down grab my Johnson. Would it really be better if I asked another one to do the same? Maybe it’d be better to play with a wet diaper between my legs, than to give up and ask for help. Yeah, I got some of that Devil’s flaw too. (Fuck my life, I can still reference Milton. It’s amazing the stuff that stays with you till the end when you’re losing it. Hmm…maybe I didn’t work with computers. Maybe I was a literary guy. Maybe I was at least well read. Moving on.) “Hey Richie” a deep voice says from behind me. Before I even react, there’s a big meaty palm on my shoulder. The front of my diaper gets a little warmer as I turn around, expecting to see one of the big people. I’ve been caught wet-Pampered. I look up, but not as far as I think. Dude’s big, but he’s not BIG big. Compared to me, he could be a wrestler, or a bouncer. Maybe a football player. If he had any facial hair and didn’t have that curly carrot top, he’d be really intimidating. Still, he’s not fee-fi-fo-fum big. He shifts a little bit, and I hear the same crinkle that’s been ringing in my ears, only I know it’s not coming from me this time. His overalls are red, like that cartoon baby from T.V. I can tell that he’s padded below the waist, like me. Then it hits me that I saw this guy getting his diaper changed around the same time when I was (I’ll admit) staring at Jane. “Do I know you?” I say trying to piece where I’ve seen this guy before. I mean, I think I’ve seen him before, but not from any actual memory. It’s just that he called me by name. (Well, Richie…My name is Rich, not Richie.) And he’s giving me that look like he knows me, but I can’t place him. “Seriously Richie?” he says to me, shaking his head. “It’s me, Josh.” “Yeeeaaaaah….” I say in that fake way that means “No Cluuuuuuue”. This big guy, Josh, apparently, sighs. “You’re not playing pretend and not telling anybody again, are you?” My eyes dart around, and I shake my head. No I’m not pretending. Only babies pretend. But I’m so freaked out and caught off guard that I have no confidence. Josh isn’t buying it. “Man, I hate it when you do this.” Josh says. “Are you pretending to be a grown-up, again? Cuz pretending you don’t know me doesn’t make you more grown-up.” “No,” I say, kinda defensively. I shouldn’t have said that, though. I shouldn’t have just said “No”. I said “no.” But that no could have meant anything. “No I’m not pretending to be a grown-up again.” Yeah, I didn’t think I was pretending, that I was a grown-up, but that “again” part was me saying that I had been pretending to be a grown up. Maybe even my subconscious realized that too. Language influences thought. That’s why I’m so thorough and specific with my mantra. “Good. That was really weird the last time.” The last time? What last time? Why is everybody suddenly acting like I’ve been here (and a baby, and in diapers) for forever and a day?! I just wandered in here off the highway so I could take a piss! Josh turns around. “Come on, let’s go drive cars, again.” He calls back over his shoulder. “That always puts you in a good mood.” “Uh…I wet myself?” I call back, though not too loud. Josh shrugs. “So?” And he starts walking away. I do the only thing I can think to do. I follow him. I don’t know what I was expecting when I started following Josh, but I wasn’t expecting a bunch of guys in onesies and whatnot pushing around toy cars on a floor mat, making “Vroom” noises with their mouths. Turns out, that’s what I got. “Hey!” One of the calls out to me. “Richie, where’d you go, man?” “He leaked through his pants, you saw.” Another one looks up from his toy fire engine. “They took him to the bathroom for some reason.” “Must’ve been a mess if they changed him in there instead of up on the table. Did you have a blow out Richie?” I just shake my head, trying not to laugh. This is so ridiculous. These guys were talking more like a couple of schmoes at the bar than anything. But here they were playing with toy cars on a mat. “Why didn’t you come right back and play with us?” says this guy in a blue onesie. “I saw him get stopped by Clarissa and Bethany.” Another one looks up from his dump truck. “Ooooh,” A couple of them say at the same time. There’s some kind of understanding. Nobody likes the mean girls in the Pull-Ups. “Those two,” Josh shakes his head. “Even for girls, they’re annoying. Think they’re better than everybody lately because sometimes they maybe use the potty. Who cares?” “Yeah, but then before story time, he was playin’ with Jane.” One of the guys, a fella who was wearing nothing but a t-shirt and diaper like me pipes up. Everybody stops playing with their toy cars and looks up at me. “Richie was with Bethany, Clarissa and Jane?” I smile a bit. I feel like I’m in the locker room again, and I’m about to get high fived by every buy for making it with two preppy girls and the head cheer leader. “Do you want cooties?” Josh elbows me and I stumble a bit. “Cuz that’s how you get cooties.” And they all start laughing like it’s the funniest god damn thing in the world. These guys weren’t serious, were they? Did they really think that girls had cooties? “Cooties don’t exist,” I say. “That’s just something that’s made up.” “By who?” Josh asks. “I don’t know. It’s just something that little kids believe before they get big enough to like girls or something.” The whole play mat goes quiet. “Is he doing that thing where he pretends to be a grown-up, again?” I hear one of them ask Josh. Josh just shrugs. “He said he wasn’t.” Josh says. “Dude, check yourself. Quit taking yourself so seriously, and relax.” “This guy,” The dude in the onesie says. “His Mommy lets him wear cloth diapers for one day, and he thinks he’s grown up. He’s almost as bad as Bethany and Clarissa sometimes.” That…that really hurt my feelings there. Being compared to those two wanna be sorority girls just grinds my gears in the worst possible way. I start having a major freak out. My face is hot and my vision is blurry. I can still see but my throat feels tight and the only way I’m going to get this next part out is if I shout it at the top of my lungs and stomp my feet. I don’t know how it helps, but it does. “NO!” I scream. “THIS ISN’T RIGHT! I AM BIG! I AM!” Then I look at the play mat. It’s the kind you lay on a floor with fake roads and fake neighborhoods. “I TOOK THAT OFF-RAMP THERE,” I point down to the road where we turned off, like it’s a map and not foam mat. “AND I MISSED THAT LIGHT THERE!” I show these idiots where I missed the turn. “AND THEN I PARKED OVER HERE, AND IT’S A BOWLING ALLEY OR A CHURCH OR A COLLEGE OR SOMETHING.” Just then, I start to listen to myself and realize that I’m in no way helping my case. “Yeah,” Josh says, putting. “That’s when you started leaking through your pants, and Miss Kate took you to the potty to change you for some weird reason.” “I did not leak.” I whine. “I used the potty, honest. I peed in the turtle potty and Miss Kate even held my penis for me and sang a little song.” They’re laughing and trying to hide it from me behind their hands. Under normal. Worst part is, they’re laughing, but they’re not laughing for the right reasons. They’re not laughing because I just said a grown woman held my dick and sang me a song , they’re laughing because they don’t believe me. Like what I’m saying is too good to be true. “I’M POTTY TRAINED!” I shout. “Uh, Richie.” Josh grins, and points at my sagging diaper. “Didn’t you just say you wet yourself?” “THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I’VE WORN A DIAPER IN YEARS!” I swear. More snickering at me. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. My lip curls up and on instinct I growl, like I’m some kind of wild animal. Then it gets worse. I bend my knees and squat down. I’m ready to pounce. My growls become savage grunts. My body is clenched up and wound like a spring. My fists are balled up and my jaw is set. I’m running on pure instinct and adrenaline. Any second now I’m going to pounce and beat the snot out of the first jackass I reach. But first, all I need to do is one…last…oh…oh no! Oh God, no! “Yeah,” one of the jackasses smirks. “You’re potty trained, all right.” What had I done? Why had I done it? It had felt so…so…natural. “Dude, Richie. You’re weird, sometimes. But you crack me up.” “But…but…”I start to tear up. “I’m not a baby. I’m…” (damnit I can’t remember how old I said I was. It was a big number though, like 5 or 6. However old I really am.) “No you’re not,” Josh tells me. “My birthday is before yours, and I’m not even two, yet. So how can you be older?” He claps me on the back and the…contents…shift around a little bit. My stomach feels like something is going to come out topside now, I’m so disgusted with myself. That’s when huge, manicured hands grab under my armpits. I don’t even have time to scream as I go flying up in the air. I look down and see ruby red nail polished fingernails. I hear a sniffing noise. “Yup,” Miss Kiesha says. “We have a winner. Let’s go get changed, little buddy.” My legs dangle uselessly in the air as I’m trotted over to the changing table. Sad part is, after what just happened, a big part of me is relieved. “Hey, it’s cool, Richie!” I hear one of the guys from the car mat yell. “Just tell her your potty trained!” I don’t even have time to yell back a “fuck you” till I’m staring at the ceiling while laying on a plastic mat. I don’t even bother to struggle. I honestly want out of this thing. A giant hand reaches for a single tape on my diaper, and freezes. There are cubbies on the wall right above the changing table. Her other hand is in one, and staying there, almost like she’s searching for something but can’t find it. “Hmmm…” Miss Kiesha looks up into the cubby above me. “Hey Susan?” She yells across the room. “Yeah?” the lady who took the snotty girl with the bangs to the potty calls back. “Richie’s cubby doesn’t have any fresh diapers in it! I think he’s out!” “Ha! Richie’s out of diapers,” I hear one of the jagoffs cackle, “and he thinks that means he’s supposed to be out of diapers! Now’s my chance! “I didn’t come here with any diapers!” I say. “Miss Kate put me in this one!” “I know, I know” Miss Kiesha says to me. “Just stop squirming, and I’ll get you cleaned up in a jiffy.” The hell?! Why is she acting like she can’t understand me? “Hey, cutie,” Miss Susan says to me, as she hands a couple of diapers, all in my size but somehow able to be held in a bundle in Miss Kiesha’s free hand. “Here are some extras from storage.” She says to Miss Kiesha. “Gotta tell Richie’s mom to bring more diapers,” she tousles my hair and walks off. I don’t have time to think as Kiesha rips the tapes off of my diaper and cold, fresh air rushes in to brush against my privates. Damn plastic is like an air lock or something. I bite my lip as she opens the diaper all the way. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that my diaper is made for someone else to help me put on and take off. And by “help”, I apparently mean, “with or without my consent.” My legs are up in the air, and Kiesha is wiping me up and down and all around. I’m less than pleased. “I know, I know,” Miss Kiehsa coos at me as I grimace. “You just want to go back and play with your little friends.” Thing is, that’s not the problem. I used to think that was the problem. Sometimes I’d go into the men’s room and I see some little brat getting wiped down and they’d be crying up a storm. I’d think that they were crying because of all the gross stuff that was getting wiped off of them. That maybe they were so stupid, being so little, that they didn’t realize that there was anything wrong till midway through the change. But it isn’t the gross stuff. It’s not. The gross stuff you can get used to after a fashion. The gross stuff in the diaper isn’t all that bad most of the time, not counting leaks and other stuff. Even the worst stuff, you only have to deal with once a day tops unless you’re sick. (God ,the problems I have now…fuck my life…moving on.) To anybody who thinks that diaper changes are fun, I say you try having a cold wet rag drug across your private parts a couple times a day and tell me how you like it. She’s quick, and she’s good and gentle, but that doesn’t make it any better for me. I’m beyond mortified. My bum gets lowered down onto more soft padding. I’m being re-diapered. As two giant hands gently yank the front end of the diaper up between my legs and start to tape it back on, I sigh in relief. Relief due to what? New, crisp, clean, sweet smelling, diaper instead of toxic waste dump in my pants? Not having my ass up in the air on display with strange hands wiping cold rags across my junk? Both? Does it matter at this point? I stretch a little bit as the new diaper is taped back on and I let out a long yawn like a cat. “I know that yawn,” I hear as I close my mouth over a rubber teat. I look down past my nose and someone’s slipped a giant sized…or at least a “me-sized” pacifier into my mouth. I don’t know why, but I start sucking on it instead of spitting it out like it was coated with battery acid. “Nap time, Richie.” Miss Kiesha says, still carrying, me; this time cradling instead of dragging me by the arm pits. This: This is nice. She carts me off into a smaller, quieter room, with cribs and lays me down. My eyes are heavy and I’m exhausted like nobody’s business. All of the adrenaline from my little tantrum over being potty trained has pumped out of me and now everything aches and I just want to lay down and stop thinking for a little bit. Miss Kiesha obliges me and pulls a little blanket as I look. It doesn’t have duckies on it, but it’s still definitely a mobile and it begins to spin as I slow blink my way into oblivion. As I drift off, binkie still in my mouth, I realize that on some level, I’m already starting to lose it. So for the first time I start my mantra. I need my rest if I’m ever gonna get out of this nightmare, but I have to keep myself. And so I say like I’ve said every night and naptime for close to a year now: My name is not Richie. I am not a baby, I’m a big kid. I’m three years old. Gwen is my mother, not my mommy. I’m good at video games. I don’t need to sleep in crib, I have a big kid bed. I don’t need to drink from a bottle, I can drink soda from a can with a straw. I don’t need to be spoon fed, I feed myself all the time with spoons and forks and all sorts of other stuff. I don’t need diapers, I wear big boy pull-ups. I don’t need any of this dumb baby stuff. One day, I will wake up, and this will all be over. But it wasn’t all over when I woke up. “Richie?” “Richie?” “Richie, wake up honey.” “Mmmm?” I rub the sleep from my eye. I know that voice. I know that voice. I open up my eyes, and I see the most important woman in my entire life. It’s Gwen! “Gwen! Gwen!” I practically shriek. I don’t know how much time I’ve got left before the big people come and ruin everything so I just start babbling on and on. “You-gotta-get-me-out-of-here-these- people-are-crazy- they’re-treating-me-like-I’m-a-baby-and-this-place-is-filled-with-freaks-who-think they’re-babies-even-though-they’re-not!” “Oh really?” she says, seeming super interested in everything I’m saying and she’s paying super close attention to it all. “And-I-know-I-left-you-waiting-in-the-car-and-I’m-sorry-about-that-I-just-thought-I-was-going-to-go-pee-pee-in-the-potty-room-but-instead-these-giant-people-put-me-in-a-diaper-and-they-changed-me- and-there-are-these-other-kids-that-are-really-mean-because-they-think-they’re-better-than-me- because-they-wear-Pull-Ups-instead-of-diapers-but-I-don’t-need-diapers-Gwen!” “Oh, sweetie,” Gwen smiles down at me from outside the crib. “Mommy missed you, too.” Mommy? Smiling down at me? That’s when it hits me: Gwen is big, too. She’s a grown-up. She’s outside the crib. She’s dressed like a grown-up. And she can’t understand a Goddamn word that I’m saying and it has nothing to do with how fast I’m talking. “Come to Mommy,” she tells me, and almost on their own, my hands shoot up towards her. I want her. I want her in the worst way and I need her to hug me right then and there. I’m flying again, and burying my head in her cleavage, just doing my best to not cry, and failing miserably. “Awwwww, baby boy,” She coos to me. “What’s wrong?” “He’s had a rough day,” one of the daycare workers says. I can’t even remember which one. I wasn’t even paying attention when it happened. “He had a leaky diaper and I think it just threw him off for some reason. He’s been fussy all morning.” “So that’s why he’s not wearing the pants I put him in this morning,” Mommy…I mean Gwen says. “Speaking of which…” I feel her free hand cup the front of my diaper and give it a quick squeeze. It squishes a little bit. Damn. I wet in my sleep. Is this going to be the new norm? (Yup.) It hasn’t even been a full day, and already I’m two diapers removed from the last time I went pee-pee in a potty. (I’d kill to be only two diapers removed from going pee-pee like a big boy.) “Thought so,” she says. “I’ll change you when we get home,” Gwen tells me, picking up and carting me out of the building. “You can change him here,” the daycare worker tells her. “We don’t mind.” “Oh,” Gwen says, pausing and then changing course across the nursery back to the changing table. “I don’t want my little man to get a rash,” and she says it to me in that gooey, syrupy way that mothers talk to their babies. I’m her baby now, apparently. I started the day off as her…her (what did I start off as?) I don’t know what, but now I’m just a dumb baby to her who needs and will need her taking care of him. I can’t stand looking at Gwen as she wipes me down and slips a new diaper under me like I’m just some toddler. Her touch is gentle, but there’s something different about it, something less…I dunno…clinical. Maybe I’m just more embarrassed because she’s my…my…she doesn’t work at the Daycare. I wince a little bit as she reaches into a diaper bag and starts rubbing cream on my bum. “Oh by the way,” the day care worker says to Gwen. “We ran out of diapers for him today. Would you mind bringing in some more tomorrow morning when you drop him off?” “Sure thing,” Gwen says as she reaches for the baby powder. I look around the room for friendly faces. I make eye contact with Jane, and Josh on different eyes on the room. They’re friendly enough. But they have no idea what I’m going through. To them, this is normal. To them, they have no idea why I don’t like this. I’m freaking out because I’m half-naked; the bad half no less, and they’re wondering why I’m so uptight all of a sudden, as if we’ve played together every day; even though I came in as a stranger and was the “new kid” earlier this morning. Was I? Was I ever? Or am I remembering things differently. As Gwen finishes taping on diaper number three, she picks me up starts walking with me out of the building, I see Clarissa getting dragged towards the changing table by her wrist. Her free hand is covering her backside, like she was trying to smush something back in. Right as Gwen walks out the door with me, I get to catch a glimpse of the grown-up changing Clarissa start wiping her down and grab something white to replace the ruined pink thing ripped open under her ass. I hear that girl’s wail even as the door closes. She had it comin’. I notice the parking lot is different as Mommy, I mean Mom…I mean Gwen (damnit), carries me out. This isn’t the place where we had parked. I had parked in front of a church, or a bowling alley, or some community college. Instead I’m coming out of a daycare. Not some place that might have a daycare attached, but a regular old daycare. There are cartoon characters and big baby block letters along the side and everything. I’m too shocked to do anything as I hear the car door open, and feel myself lowered into a rear-facing car seat that Gwen, I mean Mom, straps me in, cooing to me the whole time. (I feel so weird calling her Gwen, but it helps me think. At least I know my Mom’s name. Babies don’t know that, do they?) Then, a short car ride later, I’m home and in my room; but I’m not sharing a room with Gwen anymore. (Wait…why would I share a room with my Mom? That’s not right…the hell is going on?) Instead of my old room, it’s a friggin’ nursery. There are pictures all over the place, and I’m dressed like I’m not even two in every single one, with the same dopey expression on my face. Fuck my life. That’s how it all began, but it didn’t end there. If only it ended there, but it didn’t. Like, I shrunk, or the world grew, and now I’m in diapers again and nobody can remember me like I really am, and the grown-ups can’t even understand the words that are coming out of my mouth. Okay…I can deal with that, to a degree, I guess. But then I look at the other babies. They’re all like me. Even outside of the daycare, when I’m being pushed around in a stroller or shopping cart, all the babies look like me. They’re all tiny big-kids like me. I don’t see any bald heads or toothless mouths. It’s actually the complete opposite. The super-hot chicks and ripped dudes that I remember being on Victoria’s Secret and Hanes pictures have relocated to packages of Luvs and Huggies. They don’t seem to mind that they’re broadcasting that they wet their pants on the regular. I saw the Old Spice guy on the front of a package of Pull-Ups, with his hands raised in victory while he sat on a toilet with plastic underwear around his ankles. How can I be sure that I’m not really a baby when every baby looks about my age? I don’t know. I don’t hear any babble when they talk; just English. Thing is, I hear the grown-ups talk in plain English, too, but they don’t understand me. It’s like Rugrats or something, and I’m Tommy Pickles. How can I be sure that I’m not really a baby when every baby sounds and talks like me? I don’t know. Then there’s the concept of time. I hear about my “growing up” and how I’m getting to be a “big boy”, all the time from the grown-ups, but I don’t see any evidence. It’s been close to a year, I think, at least ten months or so, based on the weather. If I was actually getting bigger, I think I’d notice it; like I’d be getting new clothes because I’ve grown out of old ones and it’d be easier to reach stuff. But that’s not the case. The grown-ups are just as tall, and the high chairs are just as high. I’m wearing the same onesies and jammies, and all those other baby clothes that I’ve been since I ran into that place and peed in a turtle potty. The only “new” clothes that I wear are the kind that get taped on and then thrown away after I have an accident. Sometimes Gwen goes “wild” and I get a pack of diapers with new decorations on it or something; or maybe they’ll be a little thicker or a little thinner. Hell, even the diapers aren’t getting any bigger. Reading letters and numbers has gotten…hard these last few months. But I can still tell that the squiggly line on the front- which I think is a number- has always stayed the same. The grown-ups are always talking about how “soon” I’m going to be ready for potty training (usually when they’re wiping my ass). But the big kid pull-ups never come. No one has once asked if I need to go potty, even after they check my diaper and found out that I was still dry. I don’t even get a friggin’ sippy-cup to drink out of. I’m still bottle fed and spoon-fed. I should be beyond that, right? Right. But it gets worse. A couple of weeks ago, Jane had a birthday party at the daycare. They said she turned two. I saw her unwrap a potty and a package of Pull-Ups as “presents”. She was moving to the two and three year old room as soon as she was potty trained they said. Funny thing is, for a week she wore those Pull-Ups. She wasn’t as much as a bitch as Bethany and Clarissa were that first day- Bethany and Clarissa are stuck-up no matter what they’re wearing; but she got a little hoity toity and condescending. Then, after a week of watching her fail and get taken to the bathroom to get changed in private, she ran out of Pull-Ups. I watched- maybe with a little more satisfaction than I should have- as she was laid back on the changing table, just like the rest of us, and put back in diapers. She cried and pouted the rest of the day, sucking her thumb, and the daycare workers promised her that they’d put her back in Pull-Ups when her daddy brought some more for her. She just cried and pouted more when they checked and changed her the rest of the day. When he came to pick her up, Jane’s Daddy- a huge guy with a ZZ-top fuck off beard- just nodded, patted her on the rump while she blushed and promised to bring in a new pack of Pull-Ups in the morning. Next morning, she’s still diapered, and he’s coming in with a couple packs of Pampers, and is apologizing for forgetting to have brought them earlier. I ask Jane if she’s given up on potty training, and then she just gives me the weirdest look. “Potty training?” she says to me. “I’m not potty training. Why do I need the potty? I’m one. Let’s go play blocks.” And no matter what I do, I can’t seem to get her to remember that birthday party, or that week of almost being a big-girl. Nobody remembers it. Josh is getting excited. He says his birthday is coming up, now that I think about it. Says he’s turning two. Is that what’s gonna happen to him? Fuck that; is that what’s gonna happen to me, soon? Will I get a two-year old birthday party, a week of so-called “training”, where I get the luxury of being wiped standing up, and then back on my back, legs up in the air like usual, and thinking that I’m one? I don’t know. I just don’t know. NO! NO! NO! That’s not going to happen! If and when I get my two year old birthday party again, and I get put back in my Pull-Ups I’m going to do it right! I will use the big boy potty! I’ll prove that I’m a big-kid. I’ll get to go back to the two and three year old room where I belong! Then it’ll be like I never got lost at daycare and wandered into the baby room where Miss Kate put me back in diapers on accident. I’ll get to grow up again. I’ll get to be a big boy. The fuck am I saying?! I still haven’t figured out the “why?” of any of it, never mind the “how?”. I’m slipping away. The real me; the big-boy me; is slipping away every day. I can feel it. It’s like I’m going crazy, and there ain’t a therapist around that can understand me. So I’m just stuck saying my little mantra, same as it always is: My name is Richie. I am not a baby, I’m a big boy. I’m two…no…three years old. Gwen is my mother, not my mommy. I’m good at video games. I don’t need to sleep in crib, I have a big boy bed. I don’t need to drink from a bottle, I can drink from a sippy cup if I want to. I don’t need to be spoon fed, I can feed myself. I don’t need diapers, I wear big boy pull-ups and can go potty. I just wear the pull-ups just in case I forget. I don’t need any of this dumb baby stuff. One day, I will wake up, and this will all be over. And I just hope that it’s enough to keep me big-boy me instead of baby me for another day. Huff…I needed to get that out of my system before I went to sleep. Thanks Teddy. You’re always a good listener. FIN
  5. The Never Ending Yesterday

    <Memory sequence uploading> “So you made us...all of us…immortal…the entire human race?” Mom, in her own way, had an ability to cut straight to the point. It had been a rough time of it, but I had finally managed to undo the damage I had done to the fifth dimension, recalled the chronodrill, and set humanity right, mentally speaking. Everything was now how it should be: how I wanted it to be. Intellect was no longer in danger, emotions were well and fully in check, bladder and bowels fully in control, underwear no longer disposable or crinkly. It was good to be the best. I hemmed and hawed at Mother’s question, all the same. I never was particularly adept at breaking down technical and theoretical processes into laymen’s terms. Julia always liked to joke that I’d be a terrible writer for Star Trek; all technobabble and no explanatory metaphor. Ironically, I never fully appreciated the metaphor; I preferred the idea that I was an excellent scientist but a sub-par professor. “Well, not exactly,” I finally said after about a minute of trying to simplify what I had accomplished. “It’s more like all of mankind was irradiated with concentrated time, putting cellular decay into a kind of stasis. No one ages anymore.” “Which…made us all immortal?” Mother pressed. I sighed. “Essentially.” “Aaaaaand you made it so that everyone under thirty was a baby.” Why on Earth did I think to confide that embarrassing little misadventure to her? I suppose if you can’t tell your own mother that she had been temporarily deluded into wiping my ass again, who can you tell? I lowered my eyes to the floor, a hot blush flushing across my face. “Not on purpose.” Hubris, thy name was Dr. Elisa Briggs; but after a little over a month of forced infancy, I had decided to change my designation to Humility. Admitting my mistakes, even if it was only to my mother- the world governments might have looked down on learning that I had temporarily created a literal global Nanny State, so they could wait to find out- was cathartic and would make me less likely to repeat my mistakes. Mother cocked her head to the side, punctuating her confusion and curiosity; her graying hair getting in her face. “So, did they shrink?” “No,” I stifled a laugh. How ridiculous. If she knew the science behind chronotons…but she didn’t. I just shook my head. “There was no physical regression. Not in terms of physical mass, at least. It’s more like everyone was hit with concentrated time from so long ago, that they mentally reverted to that younger state, and society changed the rules of what was considered a baby due to irreconcilable cognitive dissonance caused by the sudden shift.” “Instantly?” “Instantly.” “And why did that happen?” I rubbed my arm. I was already in this deep enough, might as well come completely clean. She was my own mother, after all. “I…might…. have accidentally released concentrated time from a bit farther back than I had planned on.” The last few words spilled out of me; ripping off a band-aid. “Elisa…” Mom’s hands were on her hips; her foot tapping impatiently. I hated it when she did that. I was almost thirty, yet that disapproving glare, that posturing as if I was still a little girl who had gotten caught making low grade pyrotechnics using materials from under the kitchen sink (it was a phase), always had a profound effect on me. “Okay, okay…” I admitted, “much further back than I had planned on. Much, much further. I made some serious miscalculations on how being drenched in fifth dimensional chronotons would affect my harvesting machine.” Then she said the one thing I wasn’t prepared for. “So if you were functionally a baby, how did you manage to set things right and get to be treated like a grown-up again?” “I…I don’t know.” How did I manage to get out of the literal mess I had put myself in? My mind went blank. I had no idea. Had I lost time? Had, in fixing the world the nature of my solution been stolen from me…? Had-? “I thought not,” Mom smirked knowingly. She let her hands flap. “Well, it was a very clever story.” “But Mommy…” the words came unbidden from my mouth. Mommy had to believe me. I needed her to believe me. I was a smart girl. I had been naughty, but I had fixed it….I had fixed it! I wasn’t making up stories! She tousled my hair, playfully. I sputtered and stuttered, trying to come up with a good enough answer. “Such a clever girl; so advanced for your age. Oh, I see my clever little girl left me a little present. Let’s get you changed.” Changed?! I looked down at myself. Baby dress. Booties. Diaper. Very, very, full diaper. Why hadn’t I noticed these before? My mother pushed me back onto the changing pad that I had somehow just realized was right behind me; the warm and mushy squish that spread along my backside as I landed causing me to flinch. She casually flipped up the hem of the already too short dress, her hand reaching for the tabs. My eyes popped open to the sound of Velcro tapes ripping off a diaper; but not my diaper. My diaper? How patently ridiculous was that? Dream…it was only a dream. I craned my neck and saw that I was still wearing a scaled-up Huggies diaper. Okay, that had been just a dream. My current predicament, however was just as absurd. My grandfather’s gift- the forgetfulness upon waking- had left me. All around the adult baby daycare, tall infants were stirring and being woken; after our communal sleep, we were coming back to life. Over by the changing table, a six-foot crawler played with a ring of colorful plastic keys in her hands; switching them between her grasps and casually chewing on them every few seconds. She remained unconcerned and unflinching- as if her top half and bottom half were numb to each other while a daycare worker changed her diaper; her pink onesie undone, her sopping wet diaper open, and her pelvis being wiped down. Analyzing the situation, I realized I was wet, again, but only wet. My diaper swelled and bulged, a relatively cool padded lump against my crotch that squished with my every micro-move; apparently I had wet some time ago, as it wasn’t warm. I was only wet…thank goodness. Two terrible thoughts entered my brain simultaneously: How awful was it that I was actually relieved that I had only wet myself in my sleep, and had I actually only wet myself? Was my adult baby body capable of telling the difference? The air around me reeked of stale urine and feces, but that could have been coming from almost anyone in my immediate vicinity. Within ten minutes- a veritable eternity if you have to think about it- I had my turn being changed and found that no, I hadn’t pooped myself in my sleep and been unable to realize. No mentions of “poopies” or me being a “stinky girl” or any number of juvenile epitaphs. Naturally I took little satisfaction from this development; it still wasn’t as if I had woken up dry. Sulking, wallowing in my own self-pity, (or perhaps it was just childish pouting), I crawled the floor- the rough carpet scraping at my knees, my fresh Huggies crinkling behind me- and started looking through a pile of as of yet unoccupied toys. Better to seem busy and be left alone than to be picked up and placed in some form of a restraint. Toy by toy, I picked through, trying to find something, my mind meanwhile running calculations and formulae on how geographical location may affect the chronodrill from picking up and responding to my mental directives. I sorted through the collection toys, hastily put together by some lazy adult just before nap time, turning over the different plastic idols over in my palms before discarding it. Out of a need for distraction, or a jaded attempt to prove my own mental and emotional maturity to myself, I found some arguably high-minded reason to reject each toy. A plastic piggy bank that played music when you slipped in over-sized plastic coins: a toy recreation of a toy? No thanks. Over my shoulder it went. A toy boombox that played nursery rhymes when you put toy CD’s through the little slot on the top? Same toy as the pig, but with a different packaging. Nope. It went out of sight and out of mind. Toy cellphone? I was never much for the real ones. Back in the pile. I stopped when I came to a toy that wasn’t a chintzy plastic re-imagining of an adult electronic device. It was a little platform, not much smaller than a box of detergent. The bottom part of the base was painted a deep blue, a familiar green street sign with white lettering in the middle. A Sesame Street toy? Better than some cheap imitation of another device. It was honest at least. I kept examining it. Atop the base was a yellow box, bricks sculpted into the design, and a red top. A building? Trap doors on the side were molded to look like brightly colored doors and windows, despite being opaque- their window dressings and insides painted and sculpted in as part of the device. Bolted down next to the faux building was trashcan, its lid hinged onto it like a more classical representation of a jack-in-the-box. A representation of the literal Sesame Street, I mused while turning it over in my hands. Clever. In front of the trashcan, the two windows, and the door, were buttons and switches. A duck switch like a push light switch stood vigil in front of a green plastic window. To its right was a goldfish switch in a groove obviously designed to go from left to right, right in front of a blue windowsill. Next to that was a button made to look like a chocolate chip right on the door’s stoop. In front of the trashcan was a striped Muppet worm on a swivel. Experimentally, I pushed at the worm. Nothing happened. What was I supposed to do? Carefully, I grabbed hold of the plastic worm and moved it the only way I could without breaking it; I twisted it, and just like turning the key in the ignition, the toy came to life for a moment. The lid flew off the little trashcan, and up popped a plastic Oscar the Grouch. From tiny speaker holes hidden in the back of the toy, Oscar sang “OH I LOVE TRASH! ANYTHING DIRTY OR DINGY OR DUSTY!” I giggled a bit. Clever. A jack-in-the-box with a twist. Collecting more data, I experimented with the other buttons. A push of the cookie button caused Cookie Monster to fling open the door and sing “C IS FOR COOKIE, THAT’S GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME!”. Playing with the little yellow duck switch made the farthest window pop open so that Ernie could sing the first line of Rubber Ducky. What about the goldfish? The worm, I recalled, was one of Oscar’s pets. The cookie connection to cookie monster was evident, and the yellow (rubber) duckie was easy enough to understand the connection. Who had a goldfish? Bert perhaps? I could have sworn he had an affinity for pigeons. I moved the goldfish in its little groove. The window popped open and a certain red, squeaky voice sang out, “THIS IS THE SONG LA-LA, LA-LA, ELMO’S SONG!” My nose crinkled again. I never liked Elmo. Did Elmo have a song, or a goldfish for that matter? Must’ve been a development from after I was Sesame Street’s target audience. Now that Sesame Street had readjusted its parameters with the rest of reality so that I was back in its desired demographic, I was underwhelmed by the furry red monster with the inability to say “I”. Overrated. Still, the toy had definite possibilities. I wondered. I pressed turned the switch to make Oscar pop out. He sang “OH I LOVE-“ I pushed the rubber duck switch before Oscar had finished. “RUBBER DUCKY! YOU’RE THE ONE!” “OH I LOVE RUBBER DUCKY YOU’RE THE ONE!” the box sang. I giggled more openly, clapping my hands slightly and grinning with the toy in my lap. I was combining. I decided to add one more step. “OH I LOVE RUBBER DUCKY YOU’RE THE C IS FOR COOKIE!” A near perfect mashup. I felt absolutely brilliant. Like some mad scientist disc jockey, I kept experimenting, making new lyrics and song snippets from. “OH I LOVE C IS FOR COOKIE!” “C IS FOR RUBBER DUCKY!” “C IS FOR OH I LOVE TRASH!” “RUBBER C IS FOR COOKIE THAT’S GOOD OH I LOVE TRASH!” Elmo’s button remained otherwise un-pushed. He could keep his song. Unfortunately, while a great stress relief, the toy wasn’t doing anything to help me solve my deeper problem of being incontinent and considered incompetent. How did I retake control of the chronodrill? Even if I did, would that fix the problem? Would sprinkling chronotons from a time when I was functionally more independent fix things, or would it just muddle things further? I had done no experiments, collected no data on what multiple doses of chronotons from wildly different time or developmental periods would do to a living organism. If, for example, I managed to coat the world in time from last year, would I go back to being a full-fledged physics celebrity; or would I just end up being a diapered baby who possessed the ability to communicate her knowledge of quantum, theoretical, and applied physics? Not enough data. Not enough data. My ears wiggled at the paper and plastic rustling of a diaper that wasn’t my own coming from behind me. It better not be Bradley, again. I looked over my shoulder, bringing the toybox up to my chest, guarding it jealously. It was just Julia. Julia? I had completely forgotten about her. “Juwia?!” I mumbled in surprise from behind my pacifier. When did I begin sucking on my pacifier, again? Julia, shifted her weight off of her hands and knees and onto her backside, which I couldn’t help but notice was no longer concealed by shorts. Both of our diapers were very much on display. “Whatcha doin?” she asked. “Keepin’ busy,” I answered, feeling guilty about not remembering my best friend. I glanced at her diaper, the Pampers decorated with portraits of a playful and smiling Elmo. Great…Elmo. Ugh. “Why no pants?” Julia’s cheeks flushed crimson. “Bwowout.” Bwowout? Just because we both now spoke with a childish lisp and our vocabularies compromised, didn’t mean she was any easier to understand. I frowned in misunderstanding. Julia looked down at the ground, looking ashamed of herself. “Too much poopie. Diawhea.” Oh. Oh! On instinct, I leaned in, and almost falling over myself, I embraced Julia, trying to give her what comfort I could offer. I owed her that much. “It’s otay,” I whispered. “It’s otay.” I inhaled, and the smell of baby powder, freshly applied to her bum wafted into my nose. It was a nice smell, to be honest, quite pleasant; the only unattractive aspect being the association with infancy and diapers I’d made with the smell. After a good minute- far too brief for either of us, it felt- we broke off the hug and directed ourselves. “What now?” Julia asked. I shared, as best as I could, my hypotheses regarding our current predicament. “I think I know wha’ happen,” I told her. “We in ouw wab. Cwonodwill wocked onta my fots. Maybe we go to the pawk, we can get a bettah signaw.” Julia sucked on her thumb, thoughtfully. Then looked at me, critically, and said. “I fink you finkin too fwee dimeally.” It was clinical in tone, yet inviting for discussion. We were two peers, discussing theories and picking apart each other’s work to improve. The problem is I couldn’t understand what she was saying. “Huh?” “Finkin’ too fwee dimeally,” Julia repeated herself. Her bottom lip stuck out, and her eyes looked down past her nose, as if her lips had betrayed her. Free dimeally? What was she trying to tell me? “Fwee? What fwee?” “Don’ fink fwee dimeally. Fink fif dimeally!” Julia’s entire body shook with frustration. She heard her own words. She realized how garbled, how inarticulate, how babyish she sounded. Trying to communicate what must be more difficult theoretical concepts using a child’s vocabulary and pronunciation was like trying to play a clarinet with a broken reed: even if she was skilled enough to play rhapsody in blue, all she would draw forth was squeaks and whines. Being left without many words, and feeling frustrated, I was tempted right then to see if could actually manage to still swear. Sadly, I didn’t get the chance. A powerful set of arms snaked under Julia and picked her up. “THERE’S MY GIRL!” It was her mother. From my spot on the floor, I watched as Julia’s mother nuzzled her and tickled her and cooed at her while Julia, no doubt caught up in the overwhelming emotions of our new state giggled herself into exhaustion, her shrieks of delight giving way to tired panting. “Oh I better stop,” Julia’s mother said, more to herself than to Julia, “or I’m gonna need to change you before we go home.” She looked over to our old secretary and asked, “Speaking of which what happened to her shorts?” “She had a bit of diarrhea after lunch,” the woman shrugged. “There’s something going around. We’ve got her shorts wrapped up to take home.” “Again?” “It happens.” Mrs. Lanksy, her adult daughter still cradled in her arms, looked down and in a sing-song voice told her. “I guess you’re just not over last time, are you? We’ll have to get you some antibiotics when we get home, won’t we?” Julia stopped breathing, her tired panting came to a full stop. She inhaled…then, screamed. “NOOOOOOOOO! NONONONONONONO! NO! NO! NO! NOOOOOO!” Her legs began thrashing impotently in her mother’s arms; her mother bouncing her up and down, adjusting her again and again, shushing her. I sat there, legs splayed open, with a Sesame Street toy in my lap, completely dumb struck. Julia, meanwhile was being taken from me, her mother making for the door while she writhed and twisted and even clawed at her mother to make her let go. “Ow, what has gotten into you?” Mrs. Lanksy asked. “Your medicine doesn’t taste that bad. It’ll just be a little amoxicillin.” Julia’s howls redoubled. “EWISA!” she screamed. “HEWP! PWEASE! HEWP ME! EWISA! EWISAAAAAA!” Her fingers latched onto the door frame as she was being carried out of the play room. Her manic screams were punctuated by tears flowing down her face. I crawled after her as fast as I could, limbs shuffling along at a turtle’s pace, the only thing racing was my heartbeat. Before I even made it to the doorway, Julia’s screams had faded out into the distance. I sat there on the floor, feeling numb all over. I was confused, scared, and angry all at once. What was that all about?! Why was Julia so suddenly terrified? I’m not sure how long I sat there on the floor, but I remained undisturbed until I found myself on my mother’s hip, and being carried outside. “I just got a call from your little friend Julia’s mommy, sweetheart.” Mommy jostled me out of my stupor. “Julia’s feeling a little poopy, so she’s not coming to daycare tomorrow.” My core temperature lowered by a few degrees, as a shiver rattled down my back. Another day…? Tomorrow…? The only sane woman in a madhouse…? With Bradley…? Mommy must have sensed my dread. “Soooooo…” she said as she shifted me over to her other hip and opened the door to her SUV; a giant baby seat facing backwards waiting for me; “…we’re going to visit her at the park tomorrow.” The park? Julia had done it. Somehow she had gone along with my plan and convinced her mother to take us to the park where we could have a chance of reversing this tragic mistake of mine. I was so thrilled as Mommy buckled me in that I was genuinely surprised that my Huggies remained dry. “Isn’t that exciting?” She had no idea. <Memory Sequence Upload Complete>
  6. Little Munch in Gainesville

    This has started up again! Doing a Little's/Ageplay/AB/Middle/Big/etc/etc. munch the first Saturday of November in Gainesville, FL. We'll be eating lunch, hanging out, getting to know each other; playing a board game or two. Possibly arranging play dates. P.M. me for details if interested.
  7. The Never Ending Yesterday

    Thanks. I try.
  8. The Middle Of The End

    Let's just say that if you are confused, you are in Richie's booties, too. Either he's been there waaaaay longer than he realizes and is losing vast track of time, or someone or something is gas-lighting him. Kind of like The Shining, but instead of "You've always been the caretaker," its "You've always been a baby."
  9. The Middle Of The End

    Heee heeee heeee….heee..heee..heee…heh…heh…heh..hmmmm….duckies. Duck, duck, duck, duckies. Quack, quack, quack! Duck, duck, duck, duck, goose! Heeeheeee! Duck duck…duck…FUCK! FUCK! Snap out of it, Rich! Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuckity-fuck!I fell asleep. Goddamn it, I fell asleep! Is my diaper wet? I can’t tell! Why the hell is my thumb wet?! Where’s my paci? I need my paci!STOP IT!DEEP BREATH! SNAP THE HELL OUT OF IT! FOCUS!My name is Richard, not Richie.I am not a baby, I’m a grown-up.I’m twenty years old. (Damn I’m getting old. Moving on.)Gwendolyn is not my mom.I work with computersI don’t need to sleep in cribs.I don’t need to drink from a bottle.I don’t need to be spoon fed.I don’t need diapers. I don’t need any of this baby stuff.One day, I will wake up, and this will all be over.Phew. Okay. That was a close one. Too close. So where was I? Oh yeah.So I take one step out of th0e daycare bathroom and my jaw drops to the floor. When I went into that bathroom, I had I-gotta-pee-tunnel-vision. Nobody was in there. Now, the place is flooded with at least a dozen and a half other bodies. There are blocks, crayons, and stuffed animals scattered pretty much everywhere.I see onesies. I see feetie pajamas. I see overalls that end above the knee. And I see diapers. Lots of diapers. I see little leg gathers- like mine- poking out of onesie leg holes. I see waistbands- like mine – peeking out of the top of pants. I see people who look skinny but for some reason look like they have giant swollen asses. Out of the corner of my eye I get a glimpse of smooth plastic over padding as somebody in a dress so short it shouldn’t legally count as a dress bends over.Here’s the rub, though: I see all of this baby stuff, but there’s not a single baby in the room. All the diapers and stuff are on people way too old to be wearing that kind of shit. I’m not the best at telling how old people are…not anymore anyways…but I’m pretty sure everyone in there could be smoking and drinking and no one would get arrested…for smoking and drinking at least. The only people not dressed like babies were the people dressed like daycare workers in their nursery print scrubs. The fuck?!I blink my eyes to make sure I’m really seeing what I’m seeing, and I wish I could do the same thing with my ears. I hear that old pop goes the weasel song, and when I whip my head around to see where it’s coming from, there’s like some friggin’ guy sitting with his legs splayed on the floor with a jack-in-the-box between his thighs and he’s clapping his hands like an idiot. I hear stupid, giggling laughter coming from a couple of people waddling around the room trying to tag each other. There’s somebody crying like they got shot and they’re laying belly first on the floor while one of the few people not dressed like a baby is rubbing their back and shushing them.The smells? I can’t really remember the smells so much. They’re less vivid. I guess it’s like when you’ve got a cat box, and you notice the smell at first, but then your brain kind of just tunes it out after a little while? You go smell blind until you go out, get some fresh air and then come back inside. You gotta get away from the smell before it registers again. I haven’t gotten away from the smell of baby powder, diapers, and the stuff that goes in diapers for a looooooong time.For the last couple of months, at least – probably longer though, I think; hard to tell- a lightly perfumed bathroom wrapped around my ass has been the smelltrack of my life. (Heh…smelltrack. That’s clever. You still got it, Richie. You still got it. Richard! I mean Richard! My name is Richard, not Richie…fuck it. Freudian slip. I know I’m Richard. I still haven’t forgotten that much. Moving on.)Point is, it’s not a nursery daycare, like I thought it was. It’s a freak show. And I can admit- in hindsight- that I was both freaked out and a little relieved. Being in a giant baby diaper around a bunch of other people in giant baby diapers is a lot different than being in one surrounded by real little kids. At least I know where that nutter, Kate, got one that fit me. (Or am I just remembering it differently to make myself feel better? Does it even matter, now? Moving on.)So I’m staring, and gawking, and trying not to puke a little bit; just taking it all in while hoping to God that Gwen doesn’t walk in and see me like this, when a couple of kids walk up to me.I mean, not really kids; and I’m not talking about how they were dressed either…though yeah, they were dressed like kids too, there was some definite…padding in their little pink shorts. It’s just…ugh…how to explain this?You know how when you’re a senior in high school, and you look at a college student and you think “Yeah, we’re about the same age.” But as soon as you hit college, you look at those high schoolers you used to be and you can’t help but think “kids”? And then, when you’re just a couple years out of college and you see some undergrads and you just think “God, was I ever that young?”?Yeah. With these two girls, same principle: They were old enough to vote and probably drink, but if I was at one of those parties where everybody else was only as old as them, I’d be the “creepy old guy”, even though I’m only…(shit…hold old am I again?). Point is, I’m pretty sure I had a little under ten years on them, give or take. Not too much older, but old enough.They both look at me, and one of them, this blonde with her hair in pigtails just sighs and says “Oh…another baby,”. I can practically hear the eye roll in her voice.“When Miss Kate took you into the bathroom, we thought you might be a big kid,” the other one, this pudgy chick with black bangs starts shaking her head at me as if somehow I’ve ruined her day.Then they both turn to each other and say “Just another baby.”I don’t know why, but immediately, I feel like I’m on the defensive. I’ve been called a lot worse but for some reason being called a baby by these two feels like a slur.First, I spin around looking for Miss Kate. She might be crazy, but no doubt she’ll back me up in language these nutters can understand. Crazy speaks to crazy, and the first crazy told me in no uncertain terms that I was still a big boy even though I had peed my pants…wait…no, it was barely a dribble; after-squirts from not shaking good enough.Don’t ask me why, but right then, being “big” was important. I was the new fish in the mad house and I was looking for a guard so that I didn’t get thrown up belly first against the shower walls. Problem is, the tall lady is gone.“Awwww,” one of them goes, I don’t remember which one, “Did the widdle baby lose Miss Kate?”“Dumb baby,” the other one agrees.I whirl around, the diaper crinkling as I shift my weight and look them in the eye. I puff up my chest, and say in no uncertain terms or tones: “I. Am. Not. A. Baby.”“You’re wearing a diaper,” the blonde taunts me.“Only babies wear diapers,” the one with the bangs sticks her tongue out at me.“That’s not true,” I hear myself yelling- and I am yelling, I realize. This is making me way hotter under the collar than it has any right to. “Lots of…” I tell them, “lots of people with medical problems where diapers.”“Nuh-uh.” They say in unison.“Uh-huh.” I say back.“Nuh-uh.”“Uh-huh”“Nuh-uh.”“Uh-huh.”This is how it goes for waaaaay longer than I’m comfortable admitting, but I think that’s the gist of it. This isn’t working. How do you argue with crazy? You can’t. You can’t use logic on people who accept it.“I’m a grown-up!” I ball up my fists in frustration as I half-shout at them. (Wait, was it grown-up? I feel like it wasn’t the first time around. Like, grown-up isn’t quite the right word I used. What other word is there? Dang it. Moving on.)“Then why are you wearing a diaper?” The blonde one taunts me.“Because Kate…Miss Kate,” I correct myself, “put it on me.”“That’s what Miss Kate does,” The one with the bangs says.“Yeah,” the blonde one agrees, “she puts diapers on babies.”“Big girls where Pull-Ups” they both say like they’ve either rehearsed this bit or they’re creepy twins from a horror movie. They peel their shorts down enough so that I catch a glimpse of their underwear. It’s still pretty obviously plastic, but it’s pink, and there’s no tapes.They do it so fast that all I can do is blush and turn my head while they hike their shorts back up. I feel a lump in my throat form and suddenly my adrenaline is starting to pump. All of a sudden, I’m all outraged. These two chicks who I don’t know from Adam’s housecat are acting superior to me because they’re dressed like a couple of three-year-olds instead of a one-year-old.“He’s mad,” the chubby one says to her mean girl buddy, “Betcha he’ll have an accident if he gets madder.” It’s a bullshit stage whisper too. She wants me to get mad; and it’s working. I was probably learning to drive when they were going into Kindergarten, and they’re calling me a baby.I feel a little twinge in my bladder. I just emptied my bladder and already I’m hyper aware of it filling up again. I used to tell myself it was because I was just self-conscious and wearing a padded toilet makes you more aware of what’s going on downstairs with your plumbing, but that’s a bit of nonsense looking back on it. Something was definitely happening right then, and I was just too dumb to notice it. Ugh. Moving on.“Uh…oh!” the blonde one giggles and points at me. “Mad baby. I think he’s gonna cwy!”I might’ve too. My throat is so tight it’s at the point where I don’t know if I’m gonna be able to choke some words out. More than anything right then, I want these two chicks to leave me alone. Then someone comes and saves me.“Leave the new kid alone!” A strong, feminine voice calls out. I look towards the sound of the voice, expecting one of the crazies who put me in a diaper, but from her waddle I can tell that she’s Pampered up, too.She’s wearing a denim jumper dress, and her chestnut brown hair is kept in a weird top-knot ponytail that’s too short to fold over, so she looks kinda like Pebbles from the Flintstones. Best part is, she looks like she’s closer to my age than to theirs. Finally, someone resembling a peer.Then I bear witness to one of the most bizarre catfights ever:“Why should we?” asks the blonde one. “He’s just a dumb diaper-baby.”“You’re dumb diaper babies,” Pebbles.“Nuh-uh,” they say.“Uh-huh,” Pebbles says.“Nuh-uh.”“Uh-huh.”“Nuh-uh.”“Uh-huh.”I think I’ve set the tone, pretty well.Finally, Pebbles just walks up to the blonde one, bends over and just grabs her on the ass. Nobody so much as flinches. Then she grabs Blondie’s hand and puts it on her bum over the dress and tells her to “squeeze”. Then she points to Bangs and says “Now her.” And like it’s nothing, Blondie reaches over grabs her some of her buddy’s butt.“Feels the same to me,” Pebbles tells them.“Sounds the same, too,” Bangs admits.“So if it feels like a diaper, and sounds like a diaper…” Pebbles let’s the last part just hang in the air.“But our Daddy told us that these definitely weren’t diapers,” Blondie says. Now it’s her turn to be on the defensive. “They’re panties that we wear just in case we forget to go potty.”“And what do you think a diaper is? I forget to go potty all the time.” Pebbles gives them the biggest smirk, and I’m smiling right along. “New kid and me are diaper babies, and so are you. The only difference is the grown-ups aren’t tricking us by telling us we’re wearing big kid panties. So really, who’s the dumb diaper baby?”The two sorority chicks in Pull-Ups hem and haw and stutter for a while, but eventually huff and one of them goes “Come on, let’s get away from these stupid, stinky babies. Let’s go find some big girl toys to play with.”I breathe the first, real, honest sigh of relief since I realized that I had just emptied my bladder into a plastic turtle potty. Pebbles crinkles up to me and claps me on the back.“Don’t worry about them,” She says. “Their Mommy and Daddy put them into training pants a couple of days ago, and now they think they’re the queens of the crib. But just watch, they’ll be back on the changing table with the rest of us in a couple of days. Only real difference is they get changed in the bathroom. Name’s Jane, new kid. What’s yours?” She holds out her hand.I take it and say “Richard. I just came here to use the bathroom. My wife’s waiting for me in the car.” We shake hands.“Nice to meet you, Richie.” Jane says. If I had known that I’d be coming back to that place the next day, I’d have corrected her, or at least asked her to call me “Rich.” “Dude, it’s okay,” Pebbles smiles at me as she pulls me into a hug. “You don’t have to fib. You’re a baby. And that’s okay. Come on, let’s go play.”She breaks off the hug, but keeps her grip on my wrist and starts leading me away from the bathroom. I’m too polite to break it off. Once again, like a certain tragic Shakespearean character, I’m more curious than horrified and I want to see how this nonsense all plays out instead of make an immediate break for it.“No seriously,” I say as she leads me to a pile of big plastic lego type blocks. “I just came in to use the bathroom and then Miss Kate ambushed me and put me in…this.” And I motion to the thing wrapped around my ass. I’m too mortified just then to say that I’m wearing a diaper.“Mmm-hmmm,” Jane smirks at me as she leads me around in a circle around the pile of blocks. “Suuuure.”“No, really,” I tell her. “She took my pants off after I peed in the turtle potty, and I didn’t have any underwear on, so she put me into this. She didn’t have any big boy undies or boy Pull-Ups. That’s all. She even said that if I had an accident, she’d change me in the bathroom, like a grown-up…I mean big-kid…I mean…” and then I realize just how stupid I sound.“Yeah,” she chuckles. “Cuz big kids get their diapers changed alllll the time.”I had nothing for that.Then, she bends over and looks at my diaper. My hands felt twitchy and I wanted to cover myself. Married or not, it’s not every day that a pretty lady visibly stares at your crotch.“Hey,” she says, and then she yanks the hem of her jumper up. “We’re wearing the same diapers! How neat is that?” I try to be something resembling a gentlemen and turn my head to the side and use my hand as a blinder, but I still get an eyeful of crotch teddy bears. Weirder yet, her diaper looks little…puffier…more swollen than mine.“Holy…,” I whisper, and my mouth goes dry. Her diaper is wet, and she seems to give no shits. Had these people not heard of personal space before, or did they just not give a damn?Then, Jane just let’s her dress drop and she plops down on the floor, legs spread and she starts playing with blocks.“Heh,” she chuckles a little bit while she starts putting legos together. “If what you’re saying is true, and that’s not your diaper that you’re wearing, maybe you’re wearing one of mine.”I grimace at that for some reason. I mean, I know it’s sexist, and it’s wrong but the thought that I’m wearing some girl’s diaper makes me more embarrassed than it should. Never mind that there’s nothing particularly girly about my diaper, (Is that when I started thinking of them as “my” diapers?” Huh? I wonder) or that there’s literally nothing different between a pink diaper and a blue one functionally, but something rubs me the wrong way about that.“It’s okay,” Jane says. “You can keep that one.”Maybe it’s because of the room that I’m in, and I’m surrounded by people acting like toddlers, but something about Jane’s comment sends a shiver full of pre-kindergarten-girls-have-cooites-jitters into my brain.I dunno. Maybe I was a little too sexist before; too much machismo. Maybe that’s why I’m looking at ducks spinning in a crib, trying to figure where it all went wrong while I wonder if I’ve pissed myself tonight.Maybe God, or the Devil or something sent me back to a state when the biggest differences between a male and a female socially were completely superficial. Nowadays, regardless if they have a penis or a vagina, all of my friends crinkle when they walk, we all play with the same toys and none of us can wipe our own asses anymore. I’m assuming they used to be able to, even if none of them remember or will admit it. Shit…I just admitted that I have friends like this. How sad has my life become? Moving on.“Come on,” Jane snaps me out of my embarrassment. “This castle isn’t going to build itself.”I steal another look around the nursery- maybe Gwen is here to rescue me- and all I see is Miss Kate being handed another diapered grown-up over the top half of the nursery’s dutch door. (Wait a sec? Didn’t I say that I came into the daycare that first time and it was normal door…not a door with a top half and a bottom half? I’ve been being handed over that door for months and I only just now realized that the first time it was a different door! Not only were my clothes changing, but the entire world was shifting right under my nose. Maybe I stepped into another dimension or something…Gah! Too many questions! Too many questions! Moving on.)So finally, I sit down, and grab some blocks, and fiddle around with them as I start to help Jane build a castle. I’m quietly building towers, just trying to think of a way to make sense out of all this crazy while other twenty and thirty somethings run around crinkling and crying and doing baby shit.“So,” I say finally after building a couple of walls, “is this some kind of…I dunno…costume party?”“Nope,” Jane tells me, not even looking up from her blocks. “Not Halloween yet.” There goes that rationale.I start wracking my brain, trying to come up with other terms and reasons for “People dress up as babies.” My brain becomes a nerd thesaurus for every weird hobby that my little brother and nerdy roommate back in college told me about in passing.“So this isn’t Cosplay?” I ask.“What’s that?” Jane asks, and she looks genuinely curious. Nope. Not that one.“Is it a…L.A.R.P.” I try.“Huh?” she shakes her head.“A Convention?”“What?”“A fetish-kink-thing?”“Huh?”“What is this place?”“It’s a daycare.” Jane says. “Duh.”I’m about to throw in a giant “BUT” and point out that there isn’t a single actual kid in this place, when a giant shadow looms over me. I look up, and practically standing on top of me is Miss Denise. She’s about the same age as both me and Jane, but her underwear isn’t nearly as bulky as ours. It’s not plastic backed either. Hell, technically there was no “under” to my underwear.I look at her eyeshadow and lipstick. She’s very pretty. Her red nails contrast with the white milk in the baby bottles she’s holding. That’s when I notice another subtle difference between her and the “kids”. She’s wearing makeup. Jane’s not. Blondie and Bangs weren’t. But then again, most toddlers don’t outside of Texas beauty pageants.“Here you go,” Miss Denise says as she hands me a bottle. I take it, almost reflexively. She hands Jane another bottle, and Jane eagerly accepts it, and starts chugging away. That’s when I realize that Denise is looking at me, expectantly. There’s no way out of this, I know. I put the bottle to my lips and start sipping milk gingerly. “Hydrate in good health, kiddos.”Miss Denise starts to walk away, and I start to sigh in relief as her shadow retreats; then she turns on her heel. “Almost forgot,” she says like it’s more to herself than to us. Her shadow is over me again. Slender fingers pull back the waistband of my diaper. I suck harder on the nipple to stop from shrieking.“All clean,” Miss Denise says. She leans down over my shoulder and two perfectly manicured fingers poke into the leg holes of my diaper. My dick is so shocked it doesn’t know whether to shrivel up or stand at attention. She feels around the inside.“Dry too.” She sounds a little disappointed, but pats me on the head. “Good job, Richie. Your Mommy will be proud. Just let me know if you need to go potty, okay?” I silently nod, and I catch a look from Jane of genuine surprise and…what is that? Apology? Surprise? Admiration? Jealousy. I told her I was a big kid.Miss Denise steps around me and bends over in front of Jane. I watch as she lifts Jane’s skirt up- not that she needed to- and gives Jane’s diaper a firm pat.“Yup,” Miss Denise says, as she takes the bottle out of Jane’s hands and sets it on the floor beside her. “Let’s get you changed, Jane-Jane.”As soon as she hears the words “changed”, Jane reaches her arms up in the air, reaching for Miss Denise. Then, Miss Denise grabs Jane by the armpits and hoists Jane up onto her hip without so much as a grunt. Jane wraps her legs around Miss Denise’s legs and together they walk away from me.Logically, I know I shouldn’t be shocked, but I am. This woman held my legs, kicking and screaming with just one arm, so her toting another grown-ass woman away shouldn’t be a big surprise, but it still is. I pivot on my butt, the smooth plastic of the diaper on the carpet of the nursery making it easier, and watch as Jane is carried away to what can only be a giant changing table across the room.My eyes widen, and I sit there, transfixed across the room as Jane gets her skirt hiked up and her diaper is put on as much display as well…mine. I scan the room to see if anybody is paying attention to what’s happening. Near as I can tell, no one else cares a lick. This is weird. This is definitely weird and exhibitionist, and just freaky. Where’s the curtain? There should at least be a curtain? But there’s not.There’s two changing tables along that wall, and the other one has a guy with red overalls getting wiped down by a black lady with braided hair. No one seems to be looking, but it’s not an avert eyes out of respect kind of thing.Every other person, diapered or not, is doing their own stuff. No one cares. I’m the only peeping Tom in the room.The guy in the overalls is getting a fresh diaper slid under him, right as Miss Denise rips the tabs open on Jane’s diaper. I’m staring in disbelief and breaking into a sweat while I take a drag off the bottle, nervously.I watch, hypnotized, mesmerized even, as Miss Denise starts gently caressing between Jane’s legs with a baby wipe. I know I should look away, but my dick starts getting hard as I watch Jane’s legs go up in the air Miss Denise starts wiping Jane’s silky smooth bottom. My diaper is becoming less and less roomy as Jane sucks her thumb while and giggles while a smiling Miss Denise slides the wet and soggy diaper, balls it up, and tosses it into a nearby bin. My diaper isn’t swollen, but something else is.I promise myself that when I get out of here, I’m gonna try to remember this moment the next time I need to speed things up in bed with Gwen. Oh God! Why is this turning me on?! The hell is wrong with me? (Though to be honest, I wish it still turned me on. You see something so many times, you get desensitized, I guess. Or maybe the changes to me have more to do than just my potty training.)I fight the urge to touch myself as a new diaper is slipped under Jane and pulled up between her legs. She coos and wriggles as Miss Denise tapes it on. I just nurse on the bottle; glugging down the last of the milk. My bladder feels a little fuller, but it’s nowhere near close to critical mass.Jane is pulled up into a sitting position, and is being carried back over to me before too long. No hand washing for her.“All done,” Miss Denise coos. “Okay, Jane-Jane. Time to get down.” Jane unlatches herself from Miss Denise and her feet hit the floor, and Miss Denise gives her a little pat on the head before she walks away and starts playing with another “kid”. That’s when I realize that something is very, very wrong.Jane is only coming up to Miss Denise’s breasts. I leap to my feet and run up to Jane. We’re about the same height.“Hold still,” I tell Jane as she turns around to look at me. I put my hand flat on my head and move it over to the top of Jane’s head. I’ve got maybe an inch on Jane, at most.“The hell is going on?!” I practically shriek at Jane.“I just got a diaper change,” Jane thumbs behind her towards the changing table, now already re-occupied. “Couldn’t have been that long since you were getting them,” she giggles nervously. “Hey, sorry about not believing you about being a big kid.”“No, I mean why is she,” I point to Miss Denise, “so much taller than us?”Jane just cocks an eyebrow at me as if I’m trying to ask her a trick question.“Cuz she’s a grown-up…?” is all she says.I’m speechless. I’m fuckin’ flabbergasted. Miss Kate is taller than me? Fine. I get that. She had an inch or two on me to begin with. I get kicked out of my shoes, suddenly I’m only coming up to her shoulders. Makes sense enough. But I was a good half a head taller than Miss Denise when she was wrestling me in the bathroom. All of a sudden, if I’m standing I’ve got an eye level view of her rack.Something is wrong here. Something is very wrong. Either I’m shrinking or the world is growing, and I don’t know which one it is, and I don’t know why at this point. (I still don’t know why, actually.)“Storytime!” The black lady I saw changing some dude’s diaper, calls out. “Gather round everyone!”The whole room booms with a giant “YES MISS KIESHA!” This isn’t a nursery. This is friggin’ cult! Next thing I know, Jane’s dragging me by the hand, and people are pushing up behind me as all dozen and a half of us crinkle and waddle over to this black lady who is sitting in a rocking chair.“Now boys and girls, I’m going to read you one of my favorite stories” she says, smiling, her voice is beautiful and kind of…of…melodius? Yeah that’s a good word for it. (Heh…the irony of it all. Tonight I can’t spell my own damn name, but I can remember a fancy word like “melodius”.) She talks with just a hint of some kind of foreign accent…Jamaican maybe…but I’ve never been good at. It’s not stereotypical or anything- she doesn’t sound like that Tarot card lady or Sebastian the crab- there’s just something a little…different about it…in a good way.I’m penned in by a bunch of…I dunno what to think of them…Adult Babies? Is that even a thing? Point is, I’m in the middle of the group, and now is neither the time nor place to escape. I don’t even know how I’m going to escape, never mind make the attempt. I decide to sit and stare with all the other lemmings and pretend to listen to the story while I look around and try to cook up an exit strategy.That was the plan anyway. As soon as Miss Kiesha starts reading, I’m drawn right in. It’s like I black out. One second I’m getting ready to plot and scheme- or at least plot and scheme about plotting and scheming- and the next, the only thing I’m thinking about is what this lady is reading.It’s some story that I’ve never heard before, and I find myself being sucked in. It’s about a girl who is like a courier and travels through dark, uncharted forests to deliver valuable rations to the sick an elderly. Then this wolf tries to con her by putting on a disguise- a little hokey I know, but have you ever watched Gotham? Sometimes, hokey is entertaining- and this courier has to do some serious detective work and facial recognition so that she can see through the disguise in time to tell a traveling mercenary.It’s only after she says the words “And she lived happily ever after, the end,” and everybody, me included starts clapping that I’ve been listening to Little Red Riding hood.“Okay children, go play,” this new lady claps her hands and everybody gets up and starts to scatter around the room. The quiet is gone as “kidults” crinkle off and start squealing like idiots. I look around and notice that Jane is gone. I can’t find her. What’s worse, I’ve got another problem as I start to get up: As I stand up and stretch like I just got out of a movie marathon, I realize I’ve got to pee.I turn around and look towards the bathroom. The door is open, but I can see some giant woman in a daycare worker’s shirt dragging that chubby stuck-up girl with the bangs towards it. Bangs is having to jog a little bit to keep up with the other woman’s strides. In one hand, she’s dragging the snotty girl behind her, in the other hand I make out a pink rectangle and big packet of wipes.No way I’m going to beat them at the clip their going. The turtle potty looks smaller this time. I’m almost not surprised. Almost. The door doesn’t close as I catch the girl start to cry as her pants are pulled down and she’s shoved onto the potty. The daycare worker looks down inside the Pull-Ups, then back at a sniveling Bangs. Evidently she does not like what she sees.As the nursery worker absent mindedly reaches back and shuts the bathroom door, I almost feel sorry for the little snot that called me a baby earlier. Almost.A strong twinge in my bladder reminds me that I’m not out of the woods yet, and I run to the black lady with the braids who just made one of the oldest fairy tales around feel like a Spielberg movie. Her back is turned, but I can already tell that the top of my head wouldn’t quite reach her breasts. I don’t see Miss Denise or Miss Kate, but I’m willing to bet I’d find them taller, too.I swallow my pride and reach up and tug on Miss Kiesha’s shirt.“Yes Richie?” she asks once she turns around and sees me. That’s a little unnerving. I don’t remember making formal introductions to this one.“Ma’am,” I say, “can I please go to the bathroom once…” I pause realizing that I don’t know Bangs’s real name. “…once that girl is done?”“Potty?” Miss Kiesha says.“Uh..yeah,” I nod. “Potty.”She takes a knee. Goddamn she’s huge. I think she’s trying to look me in the eye, but she’s really trying to get a better view of my crotch. Just like Miss Denise, she sticks too fingers in the inside front of my diaper and feels around, clucking her tongue a little. Then, rudely, she spins me around and looks down my backside. I just told her I needed to go use the toilet, and she’s checking my diaper.“You’re fine,” I hear her tell me, and then I feel her pat me on the bum. “Go play, dear.”“But I have to use the toilet!” I whine. Then I add, “I gotta go potty!” Maybe they’ll respond if I say it to them like they wanna hear it.“You’re not potty trained, dear,” Miss Kiesha smiles at me, a little condescending like, “you’re wearing a diaper. You don’t know when you have to go potty. Go play.”“What’s going on?” Another lady in uniform comes up, this one more of a grandmother type.“I think Richie here saw Bethany go to the potty with Miss Susan,” Kiesha talks over my head, “and now he thinks he needs to go, too.”“Oh,” the older woman smiles down at me. “I remember when my children went through that phase. When one needed a change, the other one did, too. Didn’t matter if they were wet or not. Then when one went to the potty, the other one just had to potty too, even if everything in them had already been emptied out.”“Yeah,” Miss Kiesha agrees and nods her head. Then she looks at me, but not really looking at me. More like she’s diagnosing me or sizing me up. “He’s a little jealous and just wants some attention. You wanna play a game with Miss Kiesha and Miss Geraldine, Richie?”“No,” I shake my head, “I need to pee.”Miss Kiesha just sighs, stands up, and says “Follow me,” as she grabs me by the wrist. We’re walking towards the bathroom. I’m thinking I’ve won. Then we take a sharp right towards the changing tables. I suck in my breath. I do not wanna go there.At this point, I’m seriously contemplating holding it in just long enough to piss into the open air right as she opens my diaper up. Instead, we take a detour to right next to the changing tables.There are two charts made in poster board, both are disgustingly pink and at my eye level. One says “Bethany” and the other one says “Clarissa.” They’re covered with different stickers of happy faces, stars, and sad faces. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that this is a potty training chart.“Where’s Bethany’s chart?” she asks. I point to the one that says “Bethany.”“Good,” the giant lady nods.“Now where’s Clarissa’s potty chart?” Again, I point.“Good,” she nods again. “Now, where’s yours?”“I don’t have one.” I say.“Right. Because you’re not potty training yet. You’re a little too young to be ready.”“But…but…” I stammer. “Miss Denise and Miss Kate…they said that…if I-““I don’t know,” Miss Kiesha cuts me off, “what Miss Kate or Miss Denise said to you this morning when you leaked all over your pants and they changed you. They’re gone for the day, Richie. They left when I was reading you that story and they didn’t tell anyone anything about you going potty today. But we talk to your mommy every day, and nothing about you even being remotely ready for going potty has come up. You’re in diapers. Same as yesterday and the day before that and every day that you’ve been here. I’ll be happy to change your diaper when you need it, just like what happens every day.”Then she just gets up and walks off, before she tells me to “go play” again. What kind of gas lighting bullshit is this? I’m shrinking, and now the giants go from telling me that I’m on potty probation to I’ve always been in diapers?As I stumble out to the middle of the room, now holding my crotch, I just wonder: “What now?”That’s when the dam breaks.To Be Continued…
  10. The Never Ending Yesterday

    <Memory Sequence Uploading. August 18th, 2017> I was walking! I was walking! By Gods I was walking! Ambulatory! Itinerant! I was a non-invalid! I was Dr. Elisa Briggs! I was an adult! I was a grown-up! I was a big girl! So big! Big, big, big! Except I wasn’t. Not in the least. After my diaper change, Miss Carol set me on the floor, and after checking Julia’s diaper and finding it satisfactory, she grabbed my hands and pulled me up to my feet, my legs pushing up with a will of their own. I wasn’t sure if I should feel jealous of Julia or not- both my logical intellect and my infantile emotions told me that there was nothing to be jealous of- but I didn’t have time to further process it. “Up we go!” the daycare worker beamed, walking carefully backwards, pulling me along. My legs, like a marionette’s, moved awkwardly and slowly forward; knees eye, sneakers stomping more so than rolling. The crisp crinkle of the fresh diaper around my waist called out with each step. The world swayed like a ship beneath my feet, my legs numb as if they were asleep, with only Carol’s strong arms to steady me; the exertion so great that I was half-panting, unable to breathe through my nose. Had this been a sane world, I could have likely achieved similar results with a rolling walker to support me. But the world wasn’t sane; not anymore. Forced to make do with giant baby walkers, or to be guided along by an elder, I looked like a circus freak, was being treated as an infant, and felt…felt ecstatic. Caught up in the moment, in the vain and naïve hope that upright bipedal movement hadn’t been completely lost to me, I let my guard down and the pure unfiltered ecstasy of a child first learning to walk filled my brain. It was a little bit like being too drunk before the inevitable crash, a much cleaner and therefore more appealing buzz. It was only Julia’s distressed whimper, that she was being left behind, that snapped me out of my trance. Jerkily, I looked over back over my shoulder as Julia, still trapped in the ridiculous contraption, tried to drag herself in my direction. The world came undone for a moment, the room going slanted as I lost my balance, then jerked upright as the daycare worker caught me. “Juwia!” I called out. “Juwia!” “EWISA!” Another grown-up had stepped in front of Julia’s walker, kneeling over her to baby talk and coo at her. The stranger was batting at the toys mounted on the walker in an attempt to stimulate and capture Julia’s attention. My fellow award-winning scientist was completely powerless to maneuver around the other woman. I just barely caught a glimpse of Julia’s eyes darting down to the toys before she began to bat at the bead mazes and spinning wheels on the walker’s tray. “No…” I whispered. “Oh don’t worry about Julia,” Miss Carol’s beaming face cooed at me. “You’ll get to play with her later. But first, let’s work on getting you standing, big girl.” Standing? Big girl? Really?! Stop it! Stop it! Nothing could be taken at face value here. Everything told to me by anyone was sophistry at best; a reasonable facsimile of true intent meant to make things seem more palatable. I wasn’t being a “big girl” as much as I was being compliant. I wasn’t “walking” as much as I was being guided along on a pre-set path. No compliment in this environment could be sincere as much as it was meant to direct my behavior towards their own ends. Expertly, as if she’d done this with me innumerable times before, the daycare worker led me to two pastel aquamarine cables dangling from the ceiling. Much like the walker, there was a harness in the center, clearly meant to encapsulate my waist and legs, childish decorations of giraffes and monkeys obscuring the intent. It was a harness, a bouncer, like a walker but even less mobile. Betrayed by my body and my own sense of self preservation, I clung to the older woman’s shoulders as she lifted me and threaded my legs through the pretty little sack- because objectively, that’s all it really was. The top came up to my breasts. My hands gripped the edge of the lining, some form of hard plastic encasing the perimeter, holding its shape; not unlike that of the playpen I had so recently been freed from. My feet retracted and recoiled as if trying to draw themselves up into my body, focusing my entire weight on my bottom. Still, the harness held, nary a groan of complaint as it supported the whole of me. I was fully suspended, in a swing that I had no hope of releasing myself from. My newest caregiver gave me a condescending pinch on the cheek. “Okay, now you practice standing like a big girl,” she said. “I’ll be back later.” Great. Even the babysitter was leaving me. At least I’d have a moment or two to myself to think. The dull looming ache of tiring legs came back to me. Keeping my legs up in the air was almost as tiring as walking. Slowly I set them back down to the ground, the feeling of solid ground beneath the soles of my feet bringing a strange kind of comfort. My knees ached a bit, too. I flexed them, and the world raised up by a few inches. I could stand! I could… I took a deep breath, and calmed the inbuilt enthusiasm with my current state. Standing was neither long lost to me or novel and new. I shouldn’t be getting this excited. The harness was supporting most of my weight. That was all. Experimentally, I eased the weight off. The world went down by an inch or so. I was sitting. I flexed my legs a bit. I was standing. Sit. Stand. Sit. Stand. Never once did the bindings groan or squeak or protest. Neat. I fidgeted and bounced in my new accommodations as I took scope of what used to be my laboratory. Nearby were playpens, where babies who were twenty-something could be left unattended. To my left, a woman in a yellow onesie and a man in a blue romper – if only that alone would have been a sign that something was wrong with the world- slapped clumsy paint covered palms to paper while a gray-haired daycare worker maneuvered their flailing limbs so that they didn’t make too much of a mess. Elsewhere, a group of adult babies were clapping and flapping, using their entire arms in the process, as their caregiver blew bubbles above their heads, their indelicate digits trying to pop them. One not-so-little boy sat in a woman’s lap, turning the pages of a large cardboard book while he was read to. If not for the respective ages of the caregivers and their wards, this all would have been heartwarming, rather than disturbing. Two adult rug-rats batted a ball around; chasing it across the floor, swiping at it, and then repeating, their enthusiasm never waning. Regarding balls, my mind went to the little metal orb that triggered these series of unfortunate events: the chronodrill. Hypothetically, I understood what caused it to malfunction- me sending it too far back and thus its navigational programming malfunctioning-but what caused it to go back even further? Floating in the fifth dimension drenched in chronotons from when I was a toddler- though things don’t technically float in the fifth dimension, per se- it somehow latched on to my thoughts of regret, my wish to go back and fix it all, and somehow interpreted it all to mean “go back” even further to before I could even walk. Limited artificial vocabulary was one thing, but timing was another. Experimentally, I focused and thought “go back…go back” as much as I could. “Just one more day further. That’s all.” I even mumbled the words as best as I was able. It was a risk, but if chronotons were being harvested and delivered from before I could properly walk, what harm would one day backwards further do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. There was some combination of factors that I was missing. Though I couldn’t be sure what, exactly. Not enough data. What was so different then that the machine, broken as it was, reacted to my thoughts, but wasn’t reacting now? How was I to recreate the circumstances? Wondering, I looked over to the playpen where Julia had been when this new reality had inserted itself. There had been an arts and crafts table there before, and before that…before that…I closed my eyes and concentrated. Before that, just a day or two ago, was where I had built the chonodrill. Where I had switched its systems on into being before packing it up and going to the park to launch it. Had that been it? Had it, like a carrier pigeon, zoned onto my thoughts when I was nearby its place of origin? Not enough data. Not enough data. Too many assumptions. My legs began pumping as I went over calculations and theorems in my head. To the outside onlooker, I was a twenty-nine-year-old baby bouncing and fidgeting away; but inside I was racing and replaying the moments in my mind. Location? Perhaps. Though location is difficult to track and account for, fifth dimensionally speaking. Was it Julia’s presence? Unlikely. I hadn’t programmed the device to scan for her thoughts. Emotional duress? Julia might think so; scientifically speaking, thoughts and emotions are really just responses to stimuli, brain chemicals interacting to produce a result. However, I was under emotional duress after the machine malfunctioned the first time, not before. What if it was random? What if it only homed in on my thoughts at random intervals, and only then did it choose to receive and misinterpret a command I hadn’t known I’d sent? What if it didn’t misinterpret anything at all? What if, on some subconscious level, I wanted to be like this? I had never had much of a childhood; being a genius and all, the push for greatness had come and emotional maturity was expected alongside intellectual aptitude. And my parents’ divorce had affected me more deeply than I had ever willingly let on. Could it be that this was a second chance; one that I had unconsciously given myself? Was the chronodrill not malfunctioning at all but responding to my desires? Did I really want to be a drooling, babbling, dependent, incompetent, incontinent, cute, happy-? Don’t think about it, Elisa. Don’t even consider it a possibility. The chronodrill wasn’t programmed that way. I wasn’t programmed that way. Just bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. It was as if I was suffering from schizophrenia. Two distinct consciousnesses, intellectual and emotional, adult and infant, were vying for control of me. Bouncey! Bouncey! Bouncey! Hee-hee! Hee-hee! Pee-pee! Bouncey! Bouncey! Bouncey! No physical theory of local hidden variables can ever reproduce all of the predictions of quantum mechanics. Bouncey! Boucney! Bouncey! A quantum mechanical system subjected to gradually changing external conditions adapts its functional form, but when subjected to rapidly varying conditions there is insufficient time for the functional form to adapt, so the spatial probability density remains unchanged. WHEEEEEE! "Quantum mechanical expectation values obey Newton’s classical equations of motion". Hee-hee! I stopped myself, quieting the voices in my head. I glanced up at the clock. Eleven? How long had I been talking to myself? How much time had I lost? The slight squish beneath me as I picked my legs up was already becoming familiar. I vaguely remembered the feeling to urinate, and relieving myself accordingly, but how long ago was that? And when did I pop the pacifier back into my mouth? My mixture of quantum calculations, soul searching, and distraction bordering on dementia was interrupted when another decades-old child toddled into view. Assuming this was still the “Ages 25-30” room that it had been when I had arrived earlier, the man-turned-baby was likely just under thirty-one. He had a strong jawline and a receding hairline, with a noticeable bald spot that shined on the back of his head when he meandered around. His relatively muscular physique made it obvious why he was a bit of an “early walker”, though the noticeable beer belly – now likely written off as baby fat- took something away. Not to adhere to stereotypes, but before he had been put back in diapers, he was likely a former high school athlete whose glory days was behind him and he had settled for working in his father in law’s carpet store; though it should be noted much of that was supposition. He could have been a formerly successful orthodontist for all I knew. Embroidered into his shortalls was what was most likely his name: “Bradley”. Whether by coincidence or some sixth sense, Bradley must have felt my stare upon him. Nervously munching on his fingers, he turned around and looked at me. We made eye contact, however briefly, and he took it as a sign. “Hi,” he waved to me with drool covered fingers, sending spittle splaying into the air. I should have feigned distraction, I should have cried, I should have pointed to some far off, distant, shiny object -anything to get the literal man-child to disengage from me- but years of the most basic etiquette had been drilled into my head. I waved back, smiling politely if awkwardly. That was all the cue that Bradley needed. Arms open wide, he lurched toward me like a mummy in an old black and white horror movie; slow enough so that every detail could be absorbed- from the sheen of saliva and mucus covering his mouth to the whiff of baby powder that accompanied him– yet fast enough to where I couldn’t create a viable deterrent. My arms shriveled into a ball as Bradley wrapped his lumberjack arms around my torso, squeezing tighter and tighter, literally not knowing his own strength. “Kissies,” he mumbled, before smearing his and nose across my left cheek and ear. Something even slimier slid across my face, warm and round…his tongue? He…he licked me? If only cringing in complete and total disgust made a sound. I had only just waved to him, and he thought that was an invitation to “kiss” me? Mentally I stood by my hypothesis of high school linebacker turned carpet store clerk, and I shuddered to think of the liberties Bradley might have taken with women before. Over Bradley’s saliva drenched shoulder- I have no idea how it got so wet and I choose not to think about it- I caught sight of Julia. She was being carried to the changing table by the woman who used to be our secretary. She wasn’t squirming, or crying this time, but she was clearly embarrassed and self-conscious. Her dark eyes darted around the room, looking for someone, as our new teacher laid her on mat; strapping Julia down before pinching her own nose and waving her hand in front of her face. “Ewisa?” Julia called out, uncertainly. “Ewisa?!” She needed me! My best friend needed me! Julia had been there for me when I was placed back down and legs up by some stranger looking to sanitize my crevasse; her very presence had lessened the humiliation, made me feel more like a person. Now, she was in the same- perhaps even more degrading situation, and I was rendered immobile by some cloth, some rope, and a thirty year old child with no personal boundaries. The teacher’s hands went to yank down Julia’s shorts, exposing her back loaded Pampers before pawing at the tapes. “OFF!” I pushed the mammoth of a man-child as hard as I could, putting titanic effort into leaping forward for extra momentum. His coordination only on par with a one year old’s at best, Bradley stumbled back, grasping at me for stability- his spit-slippery hands tugging me out of the harness seat but doing nothing to slow his fall- and fell backwards; the back of his head banging on the floor. Carried by my own momentum and boosted a bit by Bradley’s own weight pulling me, impossibly, I escaped the surly bonds of gravity and went sailing through the air. “JUWIAAAAA” I cried as I soared, right before the edge of my foot caught the rim of the bouncer seat, sending me head first into Bradley’s crotch. White hot pain shot through my skull, taking a bullet train through my neck, spine, arms, and legs. Even with the thick padding to cushion my landing, the fall hurt; and I suppose Bradley was in considerable pain as well. Nothing was broken, the pain already fading, had I my full physical capabilities restored I would have shrugged it off, been embarrassed and gone about my day. But my altered emotional state sent the adrenaline into overdrove. I was hurt. I wasn’t supposed to hurt. I needed something…someone. I needed… “MOMMY!” Daycare workers rushed to our two-person pileup, separating us and cooing sweet nothings to each of us. Tearing up, but eyes slammed shut, I felt the grown-ups’ hands probing my body, checking for bumps and bruises. “I don’t see anything,” I heard them talking over me. “It’s okay, Elisa,” I heard the increasingly familiar voice of Miss Carol tell me. Strong, practiced arms, scooped me up and held me close. “It’s okay. You’re fine, sweetie. I promise. Miss Carol’s got you.” Infuriatingly enough, her assurances had helped me calm down a bit. The pain wasn’t so bad when I was being held. JULIA! I opened my eyes and looked for Julia. Julia lay there looking at me, eyes puzzled. We likely lacked the spoken vocabulary to communicate as much, but her eyes questioned: “What the fuck?” Her shorts were being hiked back up her hips. Undeterred, our old secretary had proceeded with changing Julia’s diaper, while the rest of the nursery had devolved into complete chaos, with daycare workers swarming over Bradley and me. Even now, they were huddled around him, trying to console him and check for swelling on the back of his balding head. Inadvertently, I had created a distraction of sorts. The spotlight was off, and I gave my friend a sense of privacy. She might not even have been consciously aware of being changed, her attention so focused on my mini-disaster. “I hewped.” “What was that, Elisa?” Miss Carol asked. I smiled, more to myself than to her, and shook my head vigorously. “It’s time for lunch, anyways.” I found myself carried to what looked like a kidney table- a semi-circle shaped wooden table where an adult could sit at the center, the others chairs around the adult- only this one had been modified for a very specific purpose. The sturdy plastic chairs were all connected to the table, able to be swung out and then latched to the table, with little pockets carved into the otherwise perfect half-circle. There was a plastic codpiece of sorts jutting out of the front, making it impossible for someone to sit in the chair with their legs closed, or for someone sitting to slide frontwards out of the seat. Ahead of me, I saw a mid-twenties baby girl in a pink onesie placed down into a study blue chair, and then that chair was latched on to the table, pinning her inside. The whole setup created a kind of five in-one highchair. One daycare worker to five giant babies. Elsewhere, others such as myself had already been contained in these contraptions, and sat babbling and clapping for their lunch. Microwaves dinged and beeped as caregivers nuked processed food and set them just out of arms reach of their intended target. While I was being slid into one such contraption, I saw one woman spoon feed five giant children with all the efficiency of an assembly line at the next table over. Another click caught my attention, and I saw, with some relief, that Julia had been seated next to me. While others around us babbled, waved, and clapped; saying “hi” again and again, more like parrots than actual conversationalists; Julia and I stuck to our own rituals. We looked at each other, analyzed the situation and collectively shrugged. “Doctuh.” “Doctuh.” We nodded, and smiled weakly, trying to make the best of the situation as it stood. Our teacher- formerly someone who worked under me whose name I could never bother to remember who was now evidently of some import here- came to the center, adult oriented, seat. This one wasn’t attached to the table. She could come and go as she pleased. Carefully she laid down square, plastic, containers; still steaming through the fork punctured holes from their turn in the microwave. “Let’s see what your Mommies and Daddies packed for you today,” she said, as she began peeling off the flimsy plastic layer off of each dark blue container. “Chicken and rice,” she said to the boy at the boy at the far left of the table. Not bad. “Sweet potatoes!” went to the next child. She then tore the lid off of mine. “Pasta!” To call what was in the little plastic rectangle pasta was an insult to all of Italy. Tiny little spaghetti ringlets in an orangey-red sauce that was likely little more than salt and watered-down ketchup. Even Chef Boyardee wouldn’t put his name on this swill. “Macaroni and cheese!” Teacher continued, unveiling Julia’s. “Aaaand for Mark…hot cinnamon and apples! Yum…yum.” I shot Julia a look of pure jealousy. She giggled a bit and thumbed at the boy to her right…at least it wasn’t hot apples and cinnamon. Teacher began feeding the other “babies” in turn, but found me more resistant. Instinctively I turned my nose up at her incoming plastic spoon, dripping with noodle rings and what barely counted as sauce. She tried to coax me. “Oh please don’t be a picky eater today, Elisa. I need to tell your Mommy and Daddy that you were a good eater today. Don’t you want to have a nice, full tummy?” I did not. A full tummy now meant a full diaper later, and I didn’t particularly wish to do it by eating barely solid food. My stomach betrayed me, however, and rumbled in affirmation. It wanted to be filled. It was hungry; I was hungry. “Just twy it.” I heard Julia say, a hint of irritation in her voice. Reluctantly, I opened my mouth, and let the plastic spoon slide in and deposit the greasy, overcooked noodles and ketchup into my mouth. It….wasn’t bad actually. I swallowed it down and let out an involuntary “Mmmmm.” The woman with the spoon smiled, knowingly. “Good isn’t it?” I didn’t answer her, instead opening my mouth again. I was rewarded with another spoonful of the rich, chewy stuff, before giving Julia her first helping of mac and cheese. I normally hated this kind of stuff. Had the reality shift altered my taste buds? Whatever the cause, at least it made the meal more bearable. So the meal went on for a time: Wait…my turn…mouth open…chew…swallow…repeat… By the time the meal was about half done I was beginning to feel slightly uncomfortable. It wasn’t pain precisely, just the sensation of a belly that is almost too full, contentment quickly transitioning into feeling overfull. Still, the plastic bin of pasta was not empty, and Teacher was insisting that I “make it all gone.” Obediently, like a good girl, I leaned forward in my seat, lifting my bum just a bit and accepted Miss Carol’s spoon of preservative-filled spaghetti and sauce. The tomato sauce, once rich and flavorful to my hungry tongue, was quickly becoming bland and salty; little better than paste. I swallowed down yet another spoonful of the pasta, and began to shift my weight back down as my caretaker moved to feed another so-called baby. That’s when the cramps hit. Tiny steel-toed boots kicked at my insides, first marching, then sprinting down my gut, the pain ballooning into a bubble. My hands gripped at the edge of my feeding chair, pushing up in vain as I futilely tried to escape my confinement. Logically, I knew this was going to happen eventually, but I hadn’t prepared myself. I was hoping for some form of reprieve, some last minute rescue. Even though I was functionally and socially a crawling infant, I was no doubt “advanced” for my age, or so I hoped…maybe…just maybe…they’d take me to the toilet if I showed interest. “Po…Po…Po…” I managed to stutter out…but even the word “potty” wouldn’t come past my lips; the chronotons robbed me of the word. I didn’t get the opportunity to try again. Unable to resist, to contain the vile stuff inside me for even a second, I didn’t push it out as much as it pushed itself out. Like a drunk’s sudden swell in vomit, I was aware of the building pressure as it worked its way through my body, but was totally powerless to stop it. The warm sludge came out of me of its own accord, my cheeks spreading and expelling the mess; any desire of control or restraint that I might have had not even able to fully register. Just as it was with my bladder, my body felt a need to relieve itself, and so it did instantly and without hesitation. All I could do was hold myself up a half inch or so to keep my weight off my backside, as my diaper no doubt expanded with hot, lumpy, repugnance. It came in a few short waves, hitting the back of my diaper, with me grimacing as it spread out across my cheeks. The smell, not unlike a decaying animal, hit my nose before the load had even been fully deposited. I was a PhD, a Nobel Prize winner, a certified genius and pioneer in my field, turning the stuff of science fiction into science fact, yet here I was: pooping in my diaper between being spoon fed Spaghetti-o’s. I screamed, the absolute disgust and anger in my voice evident for all to hear. “POOOOOOOPIE!” Even the word “shit” had been taken from me. And then, my arms sapped of strength slackened. I sat down, spreading the warm mess I had just made in my pants in all directions. “That was early,” Carol spoke over my head to the woman who used to answer my phones. The teacher stuck the spoon in the minced pasta. “Yeah,” she said matter-of-factly. “Normally she does her poops right after naptime.” Two adults, one of them who was nothing but deferent to me in a metaphorical past life, were now talking about my bowel movements as casually as the weather. I was coated in shame, and yet no one else even blinked. Only Julia had the decency to look uncomfortable for me. Another spoonful of baby pasta came towards my mouth. I turned my head to the side, and regrettably, leaned further back in my chair away from the spoon, spreading the absolutely putrid contents of my Huggies further; the hot mud cooling slowly across my skin. “Poooooooopie!” I whined. I had just shit myself in front of them and apparently they had just taken that as a sign that I now had room for more food. “I think she wants to be changed,” Miss Carol said, unhelpfully. My teacher just rolled her eyes and shoved the spoon closer to my mouth. “It could be a sign that she’s about ready to start potty training.” Julia and I shared a look, and in that moment of hope, the spoon wedged itself past my lips, dipping out its so-called food out onto my tongue. I swallowed. “As if,” the woman feeding me replied. “Elisa isn’t even thirty yet. She’s way too young to potty train.” She switched bowls and made to give Julia a spoonful of macaroni and cheese. “If she gets too used to sitting in a dirty diaper,” Carol took on a lecturing tone, “she’ll be harder to train.” “She’s been doing it all her life,” my ex-secretary countered. “She’s already comfortable.” The worst part of it was, it was true. Emotionally, I was reeling from embarrassment and cognitive dissonance- I was still an adult after all- but physically I wasn’t even flinching. I sat in my mess, only aware of that fact if I was particularly focused on it. It was as if I had spent my entire life soiling my pants openly and unabashedly instead of learning to bend the universe with science. “I don’t think waiting to finish her lunch before getting changed is going to set her back,” my former subordinate spoke to her co-worker. There was a beat, and then she looked me in the eye. “Elisa,” she spoke calmly and slowly, “finish your lunch like a big girl and then we’ll changer your diaper. Okay?” The words “big girl” resonated with me in emotional highs and excitement that I can’t find the words to describe. I couldn’t help myself. I nodded my head, clapping and chittering “Yeah, yeah, yeah,”, as I bounced up and down in my seat, further caking my own bodily waste against my backside. Only Julia’s terrified stare, clearly worried that I had fully lost my mind, brought me a measure of composure. I made eye contact with my oldest friend, and tried my best to look reserved. A five minute eternity passed before the final spoonful of pasta sauce passed my lips. The smell of my own shit, meanwhile, wafted in the air and mixed with the pungent aroma of microwaved tomato and cheese sauce. I was ready to scream the few words left to me as if they were obscenities by the time my former secretary, name still lost to me, unlatched the feeding chair and spun me around before hefting me up into her arms. Like all of the “adults” in this brand new world I had cursed myself with, her muscles were larger and more developed; as far as she remembered she’d been changing diapers in my side for a long time. I looked back over her shoulder, her hand pressing my mess against my rump, while she carried me once more to the changing table. “Stinky little girl,” she said, her hand waving in front of her face as if to accentuate her point. This time, I was glad that my diaper was as exposed as it was; quicker and easier to change it that way. Julia was still trapped at the kidney table, unable to be there to offer her company as she had the first time, but I suspect that was a small mercy to her. The cold wipes were a sweet balm to me, wiping the muck and filth from my rear- to say nothing of places I’d never thought I’d have to worry about getting feces on or in. She was particularly thorough, I suppose, because any spots that she might have missed stood out all the more this time. Without Julia’s hand to hold or distract me, every wipe, every stifled grimace on my caregiver’s part, every huff or “phew” stood out all the more. She didn’t mind me sitting in my own shit, yet was showing how disgusting I had made myself with every wipe. A kid could get a complex that way. Needing a distraction, I created my own, and simply stared at my shoes, feet above my head, while my old errand girl did the dirtiest of jobs. I took a grim satisfaction at that. I might not have been in charge or respected any longer, but she was the one wiping my ass. I grinned as the dirty diaper was slid back out and quickly replaced with a fresh one. The tiny puff of baby powder that followed soon after was a direct contrast to what I had just deposited in my last Huggies: light and cool and sweet smelling instead of heavy and warm and fetid. As the new diaper was wrapped around me and secured, a yawn creeped out of me. I was full, close to bloated. I was clean again, and comfortable. My legs and armed ached as if I had overused them. I was tired. “Yup, it’s about nap time,” my caregiver chuckled. Nap time. Time to sleep, per chance to dream; to escape this absurdist existence I had accidentally woven. The other teacher, Carol, had already laid out the nap mats we were being fed. Teacher laid me down on a mat and covered me with a blanket. So tired. My eyes stayed open just long enough to see Julia laid down on a mat next to me, her eyelids drooping just as much as my own. Clumsily, I reached for my pacifier and popped it into my mouth, the sensation dull and familiar. I sucked it arrhythmically; taking comfort from the long forgotten act. We’d find a way to make it right. We’d figure out something. But first…a nap…
  11. The Never Ending Yesterday

    Azure drops of concentrated time drifted down out of the ceiling. Outside, it was an electric blue blizzard. Roofs and walls and shelter offered no protection; the only difference between the terror inside the daycare and the terror without was a matter of distance. Julia and I were the first to notice. Julia’s sobbing transformed into a terrified screech of garbled panic. She fell out of the tiny art chair and threw herself to the floor, kicking and screaming. Whatever good night awaited us, my best friend refused to go gentle into it. Those who this sudden regression had been a kind of blessing for, those for whom fifty had literally become the new twenty, looked first to Julia, then following her eyes, saw the little bits of condensed time drifting down from the roof. Their reaction was a mixture of confusion and bewildered fear. Some part of them knew, if only on an instinctual level, that the natural order of the universe was being subverted. Then again, who wouldn’t be afraid of neon blue radiation droplets touching them? Only the twenty something toddlers, too far gone mentally to recognize danger when it was pouring down on their faces looked upon the coming storm with a sense of wonder. The last words I said before I became bombarded with chronotons were but a silent whisper: “Not again…” < Memory Upload Disconnected> <Neural Uplink Reconnected In Real Time.> Old, hackneyed wives’ tales say that just before you die, you see your life flash before your eyes; everything that you did worth remembering comes to you in an instant; a replay and summary of who you are before you cease to be. I can’t speak for death, and I am hardly a reliable and unbiased narrator, since I took part in the experience and thus was unable to objectively observe the phenomena around me, but a similar dilation in time perception definitely came with second burst of chronotons raining down on the world. <Memory Sequence Uploading. August 18th, 2017 8:30 A.M.> The changes happened in a paradoxical instant eternity. The changes, to anyone aware enough to see them, were precise and slow enough for the naked eye, like drops of food coloring being added to water. Yet, if the clock on the wall was true, not even a full second passed as far as the world was concerned. Those who could be considered adults changed the least. They were briefly engulfed by chronotons and their electromagnetic field, their aura, visible and shining held them in place as their eyes went dull and their expressions slackened. The so-called “children” seemed to be at peace as reality dialed them further back along their own personal development. Poor things never even knew what hit them. They might as well have been staring up at Christmas lights for all their bewildered wonder. The chronotons rained down on them and they froze, auras alight with sparking sapphire luminescence as the new reality being created altered them to suit it. The few people old enough to be in Pull-Ups lost them immediately, pants bulging outward as slips of papery white cloth-like plastic- sealed together only by imprecise tapes peaked out of their waistbands. My own panties ballooned out beneath me. I had gone from slightly padded to practically pillowed, it felt. It would be a struggle to keep my own knees together. If this was what it felt like to be wearing a diaper, then no wonder toddlers in Pull-Ups were called “big kids”. The training pants were infinitely more discreet, and only now that I had lost them did I appreciate them by comparison. Julia’s own bottom look like it had gained a few pounds as her clean Pull-Up became a fresh Pampers. The sound that came out of her mouth was a primal and angry, yet somehow relieved scream, much like when someone has that rotten tooth finally yanked out of their head. Pain and disappointment, but at least the worst would be over. Like dolls being positioned in a scene, those of us “babies” who had been standing were moved into a sitting or crawling position. Julia was on the floor, and I was still sitting in a chair, so we remained unmodified if only in that regard. I felt an overwhelming despair at that latest development. We weren’t even “old” enough to be expected to walk anymore. Clothing shifted and expanded and vanished entirely in some cases. Any girl wearing a dress or a skirt lost it instantly, those articles of clothing not being practical for crawling around on the floor. They were replaced by onesies and rompers. The skirt of one’s denim dress simply wrapped around her legs and formed buttons along the inseam to turn into baby shortalls. The boys, most of them being “late bloomers” anyways remained mostly unaltered, their diapers becoming a little thicker, but their shorts staying shorts. A few, however, did end up back in onesies, and at least two more had mothers who had now thought to let them crawl around in nothing more than their diapers and t-shirts. For her part, Julia’s outfit of tennis ball green t-shirt and bright pink shorts remained the same, only her pig-tails, a hair style she gleefully wore even as a full fledged twenty-nine year old adult, were brought to heel by a pink headband. My own hot pink skirt melted into my floral shirt, forming a row of frills along the bottom; like petals on a rose of sorts. To my great disappointment, Queen Ariel had been replaced with Mickey and Minnie Mouse holding hands on my crotch, the word “Huggies” emblazoned across the waist. My socks became frillier, as did the sleeves of my shirt, in some bizarre display of mock femininity. The laced shoes that my Mommy had promised that I’d learn to tie someday flattened out into Velcro straps. Everything was Velcro now, it seemed; Velcro and elastic from my top to my now very puffy bottom. Upon looking at myself I felt a strange kind of revulsion. The shoes only made it worse in my mind. Shoes completed an outfit, in my opinion, and indicated finality and intent. I’d never gone to work or stepped out in public without shoes of some sort on, only daring to kick them off at the end of the day when I could let my guard down. In this new altered time, my mother had dressed me this way, expecting me to go out in nothing but shoes, a shirt and what was functionally both my underwear and my toilet. Had I been dressed like this before today, I could have been some bizarre fetish stripper. I didn’t have time to properly express my disgust. The world became hazy for a moment as my eyes strained and adjusted, while my glasses melted and slithered down my neck. The frames collapsed in on themselves, crunching briefly before ceasing to be made of anything that even remotely resembled metal or glass before coalescing into a large rubber pacifier, the tail end of the strap clipping to the collar of my shirt. The pacifier clip reared up like a cobra, ready to strike, and before I had finished opening my mouth to scream, the rubber tit had lodged itself between my lips. As the blue energy spread like an oil slick across the playroom, the space itself underwent several small but noticeable changes. The dress-up and pretend area of the daycare evaporated, taking the last of my old lab coats with it; children who couldn’t dress themselves couldn’t be expected to play dress up. There was a child’s door knob cover on the bathroom, to prevent us from opening it; Julia and I certainly weren’t going to be using the toilet, so why make it accessible for us? Hammering the point home, the packages of training pants, stocked on the bottom most row of the changing table, likewise shifted to an even more infantile state. Pull-Ups and Easy-Ups turned into yet more Luvs, Pampers, Huggies, and what I can only assume were store brands. The models on the packages were all my age by the looks of them; smiling giddily, none of them on their feet. Had the chronodrill gone back that far? Could people my age not even walk now? As if in confirmation, the chair I was sitting in groaned and warped around me, growing arms that wrapped around me at the belly and then stretched out into a tray. Like little buds sprouting from the soil, baubles and bead mazes and beaters broke through the skin of the tray surrounding me as the chair legs grew wheels and spread outward encircling me instead of supporting me. My footing instantly changed as the seat beneath me enveloped my waist. My feet still scraped at the carpet, yet my seat was like a hammock and I could lazily dangle if I let my lower half go limp. I was in a walker! Giant playpens erupted from the ground around some of us, Julia included, entrapping them in a mesh prison for their own safety. Almost as an afterthought, the ceiling birthed a cache of well-loved but functional stuffed animals into my fellow prisoner’s cells. Everything now in place (as far as the chronotons were concerned, anyway), true motion came back to the world. The adults stood in place just long enough to seem awkward. But sure enough as the “thirty and under” infants began cooing and whining and fussing; crawling and rolling on the floor and pulling themselves up on furniture, the caregivers blinked, shook their heads as if waking up from a dream, and went about passing out toys and teething rings. I looked around, stunned. I didn’t scream, though. I didn’t cry. I was too overwhelmed to do any of that. I felt completely numb on the inside. A strained labored grunting drew my attention. Stuck in a playpen, my best friend and former PhD was grasping at the rim of her new mesh prison cell and pulling herself slowly and unsurely to a standing position. I didn’t even think it could be called standing, truth be told. Most of her weight was against the side of the pen, with her hips out and her knees constantly trembling, while her head looked down at the mat beneath her. My knees shook as I tried to stand. I pushed up on the plastic tray surrounding me for purchase, only to feel an incredible amount of exhaustion overtake me. I hadn’t been supporting my weight for more than three seconds before my legs buckled back into the hammock like pouch of the walker, causing the mounted playthings to jingle and tingle and rattle. Distracted by the noise of my walker, Julia looked up at me. Our eyes met, and I saw all the hurt inside of her. We had both just lost the fundamental use of our legs, but in this happy, cheery, soft and fuzzy world, there would be no time for us to grieve for ourselves. Every bit as smart as I was, Julia had analyzed the situation, came to the same logical conclusions that I had and was now testing the shackles that time itself had placed upon us. And then I saw something more: anger. Intense, almost violent anger; perhaps even pure unadulterated loathing. Toward what though? Toward me? Impossible. Her grip on the edge of the giant playpen loosened and she fell back onto her rear. My best friend gave me one last glare before rolling over to all fours and crawling the short distance to the other side of her cell. Out of a combination of stubborn arrogance, and scientific duty to attempt to recreate an experiment, (mostly the former though) I tried to put all of my weight on my feet and rise to a standing position, only to come crashing the quarter inch back down, making the baubles and bells surrounding me titter with mocking laughter. How my legs ached! I had run marathons before and not feel so sore. There was another, duller ache I felt inside of me. Like dull little pinpricks on my inside; a tiny, burning, niggling itch that materialized in a place where I couldn’t scratch. Like an itch can sometimes do, it was infinitely more distracting and painful to me than the dull throbbing in my quadriceps. For whatever reason, my mind couldn’t quite put words to the sensation either. It was like déjà vu or spelling-bee stage fright; my brain knew precisely how to recreate and envision the experience but my conscious lexicon couldn’t provide the correct terminology that I was feeling. My body, however, had a much better memory than my brain in this particular instance. Breath flowed out of me as the itch went away and the seat of my panties became warmer. Relief. Sweet, sweet relief. The itch had been scratched, and for some reason my pants had become pleasantly moist, a bit like sitting in a puddle, or easing into a hot tub. “Pee-pee,” I heard myself giggling from behind my pacifier. Oh no. Oh God no! Shit! I had just pissed my pants. Except…except I wasn’t even wearing any pants. Adults pissed their pants. Kids peed their pants. Toddlers had accidents and I wasn’t even one of those now, functionally. This was no accident. I had just wet my diaper…and while my mind was reeling from humiliation- my cheeks brightening to match the flowers on my shirt- my body felt completely at ease. My mouth wide open from the shock of realization, the pacifier fell and was left dangling from my shirt. What had I done? I wanted to cry. I really did. I willed myself to scream and kick. I wanted to get worked up, and snotty, and feel my throat tighten up. I wanted to throw a tantrum. But I couldn’t. It wasn’t through sheer force of will that I avoided this, rather it was a lack of willpower. There was no bile rising in my throat, no kind of emotional or physical response to me so casually debasing myself. It would have taken more effort than I had in me to cry about it. In fact, within seconds of my own personal stream trickling out of me, the warmth had faded, as had the feeling of moisture against my skin. My diaper was doing its function and absorbing my refuse; wicking it away from my delicate skin. The hot dampness wrapped around my waist became more akin to a tepid, clumping, squish; if that. Was I even wet? Perhaps I hadn’t actually felt what I had hypothesized: What if Huggies, in this reality, had their diapers release a soothing, warming gel in the event of sudden impacts for babies who kept falling on their bottoms? The reaching, grasping lie was self-evident before I had even completed it. Coldly retreating into myself, I forced myself to acknowledge that I had just wet my diaper, and that physically at least, I didn’t find the sensations involved all that unpleasant. From a completely logical standpoint, it made sense: Each flooding of my training pants had all but destroyed them. Pull-Ups were designed for one accident before changing, so that I would have a multitude of opportunities to try and use the potty. Ironically, Ariel couldn’t handle getting wet. She was just supposed to contain the damage enough that I wouldn’t need any other new clothes. A diaper, though, had different goals. For a person who had not the ambition or the hope of relieving themselves outside of their clothes, diapers had to be comfortable. It wouldn’t do to have to change after every single wetting, would it? That would be inconvenient and time consuming for all parties involved. Absorbency, convenience, and comfort was key. I wasn’t sure how much I had actually released into the Huggies, but I felt as if they could handle infinitely more than what I had just dished out. Emotionally, I dreaded the idea of wearing a wet diaper any longer than I had to, but my bottom didn’t itch, my backside didn’t stir. My legs didn’t fidget in distraction. My body was completely at peace with this current arrangement. It was almost as if I had been wetting myself and stewing in my own filth for close to three decades. I wrestled with the idea for a few seconds longer. Getting changed also meant getting hoisted onto the changing table and getting wiped down and re-diapered in front of everyone, “grown-ups” and “children” alike. There was no privacy available here; no dignity. Also, if I was going to make a habit of crying every time I wet my pants- an obvious inevitability- that meant that the whole cycle would repeat itself much more frequently. Which was worse: getting changed often, or only when the diaper…my diaper…was at full capacity? No matter what, the fact was that sooner or later, I would be on my back getting my crotch and ass wiped down by complete strangers. What would Julia say? She was always so much better with people, anticipating what they’d need or how they’d react. I looked outside of myself, and saw her hunkered struggling form trying again to stand up. She was mad at…at me?...at something. But what? And why? If she was right, and we were stuck as gargantuan children, wasn’t this what she wanted? Hadn’t she been the one lamenting minutes ago that if we were going to be trapped as children, we should at least be freed from the burden of toileting? My diaper could wait. I put any agonizing over my dignity and personal adulthood on hold. I had a friendship to preserve. Shuffling and jerking in short bursts across the floor, I dragged myself in the walker over to the other side of the playpen. The name “walker” was certainly a misnomer, I concluded. It was more akin to scooting around in an office chair than it was to proper ambulatory movement. A half-minute later I was sit-standing in front of Julia, her eyes cold and glowering down at me. She was almost standing, and I remained sitting in the walker. Playpens in this reality were only slightly taller than a standard infant containment device; the blue padded perimeter came to just above Julia’s chest, her head angrily peeking out and looking down on me, the strain from standing evident. Even so, it was more than enough to contain her in her present state. Neither of us had the mobility or strength to climb over the mesh barrier. Around the room other newly minted crawlers in their late twenties played with blocks as daycare workers in their fifties and sixties wiped their noses and picked up after them. Julia and I were the only ones who weren’t either working tirelessly or having blissfully ignorant fun. “Go ‘way! Hate you! Your fauwt!” she shouted at me. Her lips pursed together and she frowned at hearing her own speech pattern so drastically reduced. I might’ve known, considering words as simple as “toilet” had been taken away before. Julia just tested my hypothesis before I did. I looked up at her, emotionally numb but defensive. “How my fauwt?” I asked her. “I no know dwill was still dwillin’.” A shudder rattled in my throat as I finished the sentence. Even knowing in advance that my own speech patterns would be similarly handicapped, it was a blow to my ego. “You shoulda not sent it so faw back.” It was a statement of fact, not an accusation. Despite her anger at me, the clinical thinking of a scientist was driving her. I apologized. “I no mean to.” “Yes you did.” “Just one day.” “One day too fah.” One day too far? How was one day too far? How could I have known that sending the drill back in time only one day would have resulted in this mess? My modifications and calculations to the navigation system were perfect; it was just a few baby steps short of artificial intelligence. The systems had been deceptively close to human thought so that it could be compatible with receiving and translating my own theta waves. I had just completed the last systems checks before sending it into the fifth- I had just completed them…I had just completed them. That’s what had happened; that’s where I had gone wrong initially: The chronodrill’s programming, while not organic, must have been close enough to “alive” to react to the deluge of chronotons it was being exposed to, and it hadn’t even been a day old. I had sent it back before it had been functional and so it ceased to function; it had been regressed. If I had waited even a day, none of this nightmare would have happened. My throat tightened. My breathing sped up just as my nose became clogged. “I know,” I said. “I know. You wight. My fauwt.” I began to bawl and scream. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! I banged at the tray, sending the little whirligigs spinning and the beads rattling on the abacus. Like an elementary school science project, I had overreached and only accounted for the possibilities that I wanted to happen. I deserved this. I was stupid! The woman who used to answer my phones rushed over while I screamed at myself. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! “Elisa!” she said, reaching for a spot under the tray where my clumsy, stupid big baby hands- likely not even able to properly hold so much as a crayon- couldn’t reach. A click of a latch later, and the walker was being opened and I was being lifted blubbering into the woman’s arms. “What’s wrong, Elisa?” she asked, clearly not expecting an answer. With me draped over her shoulder, she gave my bum a pat and snuck two fingers into the leggings of my diaper. “You’re a little wet,” she told me as if I hadn’t known, “but not enough to really need a change. What’s wrong?” “Me baby!” I blubbered as I kicked at the air futilely. The ceiling was falling away from me as I was lowered down to the ground; no, not the ground; into the playpen. I dropped to my padded behind almost as soon as my feet touched the floor. Likewise, Julia’s legs gave out; likely due to the vibrations of my own personal impact. From her spot in the playpen, she sent me a death glare as our teacher said, “Oh of course you’re a baby, Elisa. You’re only twenty-nine. What else you would be?” Julia crossed her arms and huffed, “Scientist. Gwown-up.” I couldn’t even look at her right then. “I sowwy.” I cried. “I so so sowwy.” A hand came down on my head and ruffled my hair. “You’ve got no reason to be sorry honey,” my teacher said. “Just wait, you’ll grow up soon enough.” Now confined in the same space as Julia, I managed to clamp down on my emotions- we’d get nowhere if we couldn’t talk this out. “Such a silly little thing,” the daycare teacher said before walking off. “Oooh, Bradley! Get out of there!” We sat there on opposite sides of the playpen, just staring at each other in silence; me sniffling, her smoldering. I had just fucked over our entire lives. All the data said as much. Another daycare worker came by and handed us each a large baby bottle of apple juice. I turned it over in my hands, the amber liquid still so cold I could feel it through the thick plastic. My throat felt sore from all of my screaming and crying. I looked up and Julia was doing much of the same. She’d been crying too not so long ago; her eyes still a bit puffy, her face a bit flushed. The cold apple juice would feel good. But we didn’t drink. We were stranded together in a world where we were both close to thirty and babies at the same time, but we were still adults in the ways that mattered most to us. We still had our pride. Perhaps it was the lack of toddler emotions, that stubborn “my way or the highway” that comes with potty training and puberty, but my resistance to the call of the cold amber liquid was short lived. Just this morning we were both desperately trying to keep our pants dry. Now that that was neither a realistic expectation, a societal expectation, or a physical possibility, what did it matter? I was already in a playpen, in a wet diaper, and lacking any modest clothing to conceal that fact. The worst had already happened, hadn’t it? Fuck it. It’s surprising how enervating something so simple as a cold bottle of apple juice hitting your tongue and cascading down your raw throat can be; even if it is being sucked out through a rubber nipple and your hands have lost so much dexterity that you need both hands to properly hold onto it. Seeing me give in, Julia followed suit, tilting her head back and sucking at the stuff with gusto. We may have been racing, trying to finish first like a couple of dumb frat boys at a kegger. The empty bottles tumbled out of our mouths and onto the slick plastic floor beneath us. I batted mine away to the side of the playpen. Screw it. Let a “grown-up” pick it up. We sat there, no longer visibly upset, but still tense. Our backs against the mesh, staring at each other, our legs splayed open, pacifiers dangling from our shirts, both of us dressed like we weren’t even one-year old. We looked ridiculous. I felt a slight pressure and peed a little more, letting the diaper do its job. My thumb began to wander up to my lips, but I stopped myself, instead opting for the pacifier. Might as well. “I sowwy,” I mumbled from behind the rubber guard. “You said dat.” “My fauwt.” “You said dat, too.” I looked down at the spot between my legs, the Huggies beginning to swell noticeably. “We twapped.” Julia re-crossed her arms. “Yup.” “Babies fowevah.” “Yup.” “Weast we don’t hafta potty.” Julia frowned so deeply that I suspected she was trying to prevent herself from crying. “Shouldn’ta said dat,” Julia said, scolding herself. Her mouth contorted into another open tragedy frown, her voice threatening to rise into another blubbering wail. Her hands grabbed at her own pacifier and she popped it in before she lost even more composure. The sucking motion seemed to calm her a bit. Shifting my weight onto all fours, I crawled over to my best friend, plopping down beside her- the wet squish beneath me giving me a reminder of how far we had fallen. “Didn’t know dwill was still…” my mouth stopped, going dumb. I could think the words, but I couldn’t say it. Even for a baby I was still incredibly verbose, but only so many words could come to me when I needed them, apparently. The chronodrill was still picking up signals from my mind, evidently, but its guidance system being “regressed”, it took my regret and longing to “go back” a bit more literally than I had intended. “Didn’t know dwill was still on. Thought it bwoke.” My friend slumped her shoulders. “Me too,” she admitted. “Me too.” “Maybe we can get onna Huggies box, now,” I said. A joke. One in poor taste, given the situation, but I couldn’t help myself. Sometimes a bit of inappropriate levity is needed. Julia snorted derisively and shook her head, not even looking at me. Still, out of the corner of my eye I saw the hint of a grin, however rueful. It was progress; progress we wouldn’t even have made without her and her miracle precautions. “Fankyou,” I said, putting my arm over her shoulders. She looked at me, her eyes saucers; confused, innocent, doubtful. “What fuw?” “You saved us.” Of all the words that could have come out of my mouth, right then; of all the things that my crazy chronoton soaked brain could have mistranslated or completely garbled with an infantile lisp, this wasn’t one of them. I’d said exactly what I’d meant to with those three words. She didn’t ask me to explain further. No need to. The fact that we were able to have this conversation about how doomed we were at all, meant that we weren’t completely doomed. I had her to thank for that. So I did. She slid her own arm over my shoulders and we just lingered there, eyes closed in an awkward sort of half hug. Another quick spurt of pee into my diaper- the apple juice was really going through me, it seemed- and I opened my eyes, disentangling myself from my compatriot. “How we fix ‘dis?” Julia shrugged. “Can we?” “Hafta.” I told her. “I messed up. Hafta fixit. Sicka diapuhs.” “Aweady?” Julia teased. “You wook cute.” She was definitely feeling better if she was ribbing me. I gave my swollen Huggies a squeeze. “I pee-pee.” The fibers in the diaper were beginning to clump up with the swelling, and I still didn’t feel particularly damp; though perhaps a decreased sensitivity to wetness came with the lack mobility and altered speech patterns. Regardless, I didn’t want to get as emotionally comfortable with this scenario as I was physically comfortable. “Get useta it,” Julia giggled, and then smirked. “Yuh body aweady is.” She was definitely feeling better. I could tell by her shit eating grin. Somehow she had already read me and was purposefully pushing my buttons. She giggled a bit more, but then stopped when she saw that I wasn’t laughing along. “Wet’s do this,” Julia, Dr. Lanksy again, said. Her hand came out and took mine, but instead of a gentle caress, she squeezed palm to palm, jerking our arms up and down. “Doctuh,” she said. “Doctuh.” We sat there, newly resolute. There was just one problem. “How we stawt?” “Look at you two all cuddled up in there,” a proper adult interrupted, looming above us. I looked up and saw Carol, the daycare worker from this morning. “Let’s get you some exercise.” She reached down and lifted Julia by the armpits into a standing position, however briefly, before scooping her up and threading her into the same sturdy walker that I had been in when reality had charged us another few years of development. Her rear firmly supported by the soft, hammock like rig, the daycare worker stood back and locked the tray in place. Meanwhile, I was attempting to pull myself up to a standing position, pushing up with my legs and pulling myself up with my arms. In my initial thesis and findings on the possible practical use of chronotons- one of the documents that helped me secure my Nobel prize and make me the darling of the scientific community- I hypothesized that chronotons could be used to speed recovery for patients who had experienced muscle atrophy. No more months of physical therapy, just expose the patient to chronotons from before atrophy occurred, and their muscles would revert to their previous healthy state. How ironic, it was then, that chronotons had functionally atrophied my own limbs. I didn’t even get a wheel chair. I fell the first two times, my wet Huggies punctuating each tumble. By the time my feet had found purchase and my legs balance, Julia was already comfortably in the walker as I huffed and puffed like an invalid, my diaper sagging between my thighs, signaling just how wet it had become in a relatively short time. “That thing’s about to fall right off your hips, little girl,” the daycare worker said, grabbing me by the waist and hoisting me to her hip. “Let’s take care of that.” My first full-fledged diaper change since I could express coherent thought: An inevitability that I was rationally forced to accept the moment my Pull-Ups shifted to Huggies, but not one that I was in any way emotionally ready for. I was about to have my genitals touched without consent by someone who held no kind of medical degree. I was not okay with this. Her steps thundered in my ears as we bobbed over to the changing table. I tried in vain to cling to this stranger who was about to be far too familiar with me. I was forced to stare up at the ceiling as she bent over and lid me down. My back hit the thick fuzzy matting of the changing table, its base contoured to cradle my frame and make it more difficult for me to roll off. “Elisa?! What are you doing silly girl?” The stranger laughed, prying herself away from me as I clawed out in desperation. Too late, I thought to use my arms to sit myself up before a strap was pulled across my chest, pinning me. Mustn’t scream. Couldn’t scream. My voice was caught in my throat. Even more strange, a part of me, in me in the back of my brain was urging me not to resist, was genuinely confused as to why I was up in arms. Just as before, with this new status came a whole new set of emotions attempting to subvert my intellect. To “Toddler Elisa”, wetting my pants was a sign that I wasn’t a big girl; that I was less than; that I was stupid. It was a failing on my part. But “Baby Elisa” had no problem with diapers. Why would she? The idea that there was an alternative to wearing diapers was foreign to her. Emotionally, she hadn’t even made the connection that she and the people who took care of her were of the same species and that one day she’d be just like them…only if the lab rats were any indication I wouldn’t. Why was I fretting? Did I really want to play in a wet diaper? Didn’t I want a clean one and to be taken care of? No job? No responsibilities? Others waiting on me hand and foot. This could be the new normal. No! Not normal. Not ever normal. Not ever. The world slowed down again, but this time it was only my perception amplifying the upcoming trauma; psychology, not physics. A woman whom I hadn’t known existed before today- maybe she was a daycare worker before I had dramatically expanded her clientele, but not likely- reached down and grabbed the first tape of the bloated Huggies clinging to my waist. Her hand traveled the few inches to the other side of my waist, and I tensed, waiting for the second rip of Velcro to ring out. But she stopped. I felt another hand on mine, awkward and squeezing. Pinned as I was, I couldn’t look down. Miss Carol, sensing another little one in proximity looked down and smiled. “Oh? Do you want to be my little helper, Julia?” My friend was here! She had pulled herself over here in the walker so that I wouldn’t have to go through this alone! “Uh-huh!” I heard her say. I imagined she was nodding enthusiastically and being as cute as she possibly could to sweeten the deal. Julia was always more of a people pleaser than I was. Carol smiled warmly, if condescendingly, at that. My smile was genuine. My friend was here. That was all that mattered. The more than middle aged woman took a tub of baby wipes and leaned over to Julia, just out of my line of sight. “Now you be a good girl and hold that for me, okay? When I hold out my hand, like this, you give me a wipe. Okay?” “Uh-huh!” The second tab was ripped off, and with no further pomp or circumstance, the Mickey-Mouse clad front of the diaper was pulled front, exposing my genitals to everyone in the room who cared to take a gander. “Wipe.” The woman so casually violating my space reached down and took an offered wipe from the literal adult baby in the walker next to her. I felt Julia squeeze my hand as it was drawn over me, cold, and wet, and cleaning my pubic mound and vagina. “Wipe.” Again. Cold. Shuddering. Humiliating. My legs went to the ceiling and the old diaper was slid out from under me. “Wipe.” Again. My cheeks and anus were given the once over. I sucked a little harder on my pacifier when the cold, thick, tissue brushed roughly past. A stranger was literally wiping my ass. “Wi…” Carol paused… “Why thank you! Oh, and this is even the right one, such a clever girl!” The woman reached down and brought up a mostly white, Mickey and Minnie Mouse printed, adult sized – though everyone but me or Julia would beg to differ- Huggies diaper. With a practiced hand, she flapped open the diaper, while keeping my legs suspended above me before sliding it under me and easing my backside gently down the soft and (for now) dry padding. Just as quickly as she had ripped the previous one off of me, Miss Carol pulled the new diaper up and fastened it on me snugly and securely. Had I been expected to talk coherently and at length, I would never have admitted it, but I had to admit to myselft: a new diaper did feel nice. I was unstrapped and placed on the floor. “Fank you,” I said. “Awwww,” Miss carol said, disposing of the bulging sodden diaper, “you’re welcome, cutie. So advanced for your age.” Only I wasn’t talking to Carol.
  12. The Middle Of The End

    This entire thing is on my archives over at Cushypen.com. As the rest becomes old enough to share, I'll share more.
  13. The Middle Of The End

    The Middle of the End My name is Richard, not Richie. I am not a baby, I’m an adult. I’m twenty eight…no thirty. Fuck, fuck, fuck! (Keep it together Rich. Keep it together. You know numbers. You still know numbers. JUST FOCUS! START OVER!) My name is Richard, not Richie. I am not a baby, I am an adult. I’m thirty years old. Gwendolyn is my wife, not my mommy…mother…fuck! (Keep going. Power through.) I’m an…accountant? (That doesn’t sound right. Something with numbers though. Something with numbers. Ones and zeroes. Computer programmer? Maybe. Let’s try that out.) My name is Richard, not Richie. I am not a baby, I am an adult. I’m thirty years old. Gwen is my wife, not my mother. I’m a computer programmer. (Yeah that sounds right. Keep going.) I don’t need to sleep in cribs. I don’t need to drink from a bottle. I don’t need to be spoon fed. I don’t need diapers. I don’t need any of this baby stuff. One day, I will wake up, and this will all be over. I’m lying in a crib, staring up at the dangling ducks on the mobile like I do every night and afternoon nap, reciting my mantra in my head. It’s getting harder to concentrate, harder to focus, and it’s not just because I’m getting sleepy. I don’t even get a pillow, I’m so young…I’m treated so young…I’m actually thirty-…ish… I think. Maybe late twenties…it’s hard to tell. I’m wearing feetie pajamas with airplanes on them, and a diaper underneath. I think I’m dry right now, but it’s hard to tell. It’s hard enough to tell how long this bucket of crazy that’s my existence has been going on, the days just seem to blur together. Whether my diaper is wet or not- that’s something that’s beyond me at the moment. I’ll be wet in the morning, that’s for sure, and I’m in a nighttime diaper. So unless I wake up in the middle of the night, bawling, I’m probably not getting changed till the sun is up. So me being wet or not at the moment is irrelevant. By the time a grown-up; my wife; sees me tomorrow, I will be. Shit, I gotta stop doing that: Referring to other adults as “grown-ups”. I’m losing it. I’ve been losing it. I’ve been losing it since that day when everything turned upside down. I still can’t make sense of anything anymore. Reciting this mantra- reminding myself of basic facts about my life before-is the only thing that keeps me hanging on instead of going full on retard. Never go full retard. Heh…that was a joke from some movie, but I can’t for the life of me remember which one. I haven’t watched anything that wasn’t animated in I-don’t-know-how long. But I’m slipping: The mantra gets messier every time I recite it. Shorter too, I think; like I’m forgetting stuff that I used to put into it. I’m getting basic facts wrong; remembering them wrong, or just feeling off about it. Hell, maybe I was an accountant before my life went south. I don’t know. The mantra’s losing its meaning too. It used to give me focus, I think; like meditation, or prayer. I’m afraid that it’s becoming just something that I just say right before I drift off to sleep. “Now I lay me down to sleep, my name is Richie, I’m not a baby, I’m an adult, and if I die before I wake I pray the Lord my toys to break so all the other kids can’t have them.” And every time I go to sleep, a little less of me, the real me, comes back. I’ve got to remember more than just words. I’ve got to remember how it all happened. What did I do to deserve this? I didn’t piss off a gypsy, or enter a magic shop, or volunteer for a hypnotist act or do drugs. God I wish I’d done drugs, then this would all make sense. I’m tripping balls or something and any minute I’m going to wake up hung over. But it’s been too long for that. It’s been way too long. Was it a year ago? Thereabouts. Yeah. Maybe a year ago, when I pulled the car over to go pee. I don’t even remember where I pulled over. Maybe it was a bowling alley. Maybe it was a church. Or a college campus. I honestly can’t for the life of me remember. All I remember is it was a place where you wouldn’t normally think of childcare, but you wouldn’t think it that weird that they had a daycare or something like that. Bowling alleys have daycares, right? Right. I had been driving, with Gwendolyn; my wife, (not my mommy) and I really had to pee. We had been driving for a long ways. Vacation? Road trip? Business? Going to a concert, maybe? I can’t remember anymore. It’s all fuzzy. You’d think I’d remember the exact day, but so much of my memory leading up to that moment has become multiple choice. I wanna say that it was for something fun. Gwen had her hair down, and she was wearing that top that I really like: The blue one that shows a lot of cleavage. It makes her rack look like it did when we were in college. Damn she looks hot in that thing. And that long dark hair of hers, I don’t care if she’s already starting to gray a little bit up top; likely the result of stress from whatever the fuck her job was…or is… I can’t remember and she never tells me where she goes to work anymore. It’s just “work”. I’d look at her dressed like that, in that skirt that stops way above her knee, and get to thinking “If it weren’t for me needing to pee so bad, I’d pull over and take her right now. We’d do it in the road like the Beatles song.” Gwen loves the Beatles. She’s an old soul. I don’t know if she still likes the Beatles, but she did a year or so ago. Now she just listens to Raffi, and the Wiggles when I’m around. That kind of kiddie garbage. No more “obla-dee obbla-da”. Now, it’s just “skinamarink-a-dink-a-dink”. If I had known that would be the last time I was gonna be in the driver’s seat, I would’ve pulled over and humped her in the back, Volkswagen be damned. Now, were we on our way somewhere fun, or on our way home? I don’t know. I don’t fuckin’ know. I’m getting over it and moving on before I lose that memory forever, too. All I know right then is that I have to pee somethin’ fierce. The dam’s about to break, and I need to find a toilet since ten miles back. So, we pull off the interstate-I miss the gas stations, traffic is so bad and won’t let me turn- and we come to the first place that likely has a bathroom. Maybe it was a bowling alley. Maybe it was a campus of some community college. Maybe it was a church, for all I know. Not important anymore. Beyond me now. Moving on. I rush into the place, ready to burst, and no one is there. Hallways- there were hallways, I’m sure- are empty. Doors are closed. No one’s around. If it was a bowling alley, the lanes were empty. If it was a college, class wasn’t in session. If it was a church, the rapture must’ve happened. So I’m in an empty building, alone- Gwen didn’t have to go, or something, so she’d just wait in the car- and I’m about to piddle on the carpet like a little purse dog, when I see a sign. It says “Nursery and Restrooms” and has a little arrow pointing left. So of course, I take a left. I walk left. Then I run. Then I dash. Then I sprint till I finally, finally, get to a door that says “Nursery”. It’s got a construction paper rainbow over the word and little happy face stickers all over the door. No bathroom, though. There’s no toilet in sight, I must’ve run right past it, and I’m squeezing my legs together and shuffling my feet in a little potty dance like I’m three or something. So I do the one civilized thing I can think of and I knock on the door. From here on out, I feel like I’m remembering things more clearly. The details are sharper; more definite. Maybe I ambrainwashed or something, and that’s why from here on out everything is so much more clear. I’m not remembering things as they were, but as I’ve been made to remember them. Maybe I’m not really remembering this as much as I think, and I’ve just relived this nightmare so many times in my head that it’s become real to me; the details exaggerated till they become fact instead of exaggeration. Doesn’t matter. I don’t know. But maybe there’s a clue in them. Moving on. I knock on the door and a woman answers. She looks like maybe she’s in her late forties, or early fifties, but life hasn’t wrecked her yet. She’s a little bit taller than me- not that I’m a giant or anything but it sticks out in my mind- and she’s got light brown hair that’s tied back into a bun. Her chin is square like an army drill sergeant and her eyes have this glint to them that says ‘Don’t fuck with me’. Definitely a mom look. She’s got a sky blue shirt on with little decorations of baby clothes like onesies, and t-shirts, and pants, and bibs and the word, “B-A-B-Y” printed out on building blocks, all along a thin black line, like her shirt was the sky and someone took a ton of little baby clothes and hung them out to dry on her shirt. Yeah, she worked here. “Yes, can I help you?” she asks, all business-like, before looking at me, my hands pinching my dick with me doubled over in pain. My kidneys hate me so much right now. “Oh,” she giggles a little bit. “Do you need to use the bathroom?” I nod frantically and she opens the door for me so I can squeeze through, still dancing. “Come on in” she says. She points me straight ahead, and asks me my name. “Richard,” I say as I’m practically tripping over myself to take a piss. “Are you hear to pick up or drop off?” The nursery lady asks. “Neither,” I tell her. “I just gotta go!” and I dash to the door with a little toilet on the front. I’ve got tunnel vision at this point. A derby horse with blinders on could still see around him more than me. For me it was straight ahead and nothing else. “Okay, go on, Richie” the lady giggles after me. If there are kids in this daycare place right now, I don’t notice ‘em. I might be tripping and stepping over a couple of tots on my way to the john. I’m only hoping there isn’t some toddler on the pot so I don’t walk in on them. Last thing I need is to wind up on some list because preschoolers don’t know how to lock a bathroom door. But the lady seems cool with it, so I think I’m in the clear. I open the door, and my belt is already unbuckled. The door closes, and my pants are already around my ankles while I’m twisting the little lock on the door so I don’t get walked in on. That’d be another great way to end up on the list. “What was he doing at a daycare bathroom if he wasn’t a parent?” they’d ask. “Why didn’t he lock the door?” You read about this kind of shit all the time. Fuck the zipper, I’m not wearing any underwear that day, I’m not thinking straight, and I’m not getting my cock caught in a zipper as I make a desperate dash to relief. I am literally hopping to the toilet. I lift the brown shell up, I aim in the middle, not even bothering with the seat, and I fire my steam out. My own moans of relief drown out the sound of piss hitting a plastic bottom. My brain is in too much ecstasy to realize that I should be hearing the sound of liquid hitting liquid and that normal toilets don’t have brown shells for lids. It’s only after that my bladder is empty that I stop and take stock of my surroundings. I’m in a single, one person bathroom. With a little sink that you’d have to bend over to wash your hands in. There are little paintings and posters on the walls about remembering to wash your hands, and to wipe when you’re done, but no normal toilet. Instead, right in front of me, is a turtle. A. Fucking. Turtle. It’s a plastic potty, like a two year old would sit on, but a heck of a lot bigger. The lid is patterned like a shell, with the rest of it being a nauseating dark green color. Right out in front is the turtle’s head with a big goofy smile and vacant, lifeless eyes. The turtle was smiling at me while I pissed inside its shell. I think I had a sandbox like this once, back when I was in kindergarten, only with more urine in it- mostly from cats. And it’s a scaled-up version of a toddler toilet in every way, too. Big. Plastic. And no plumbing or flushing mechanism. Right then, my mind is racing. I just pissed into a plastic potty. Me. A grown-up. My stomach is doing flip flops, I’m so embarrassed. Then I see a sign above the potty: “If you need help, go ask a grown-up.” I wanna dash out the door, out of the nursery, through the empty hallway, and out to the parking lot back to Gwen so I can get my trip going again, but I’d feel like a real heel if I didn’t at least fess up to my mistake. Somebody is going to have to dump my piss down the pipes and that doesn’t seem right to me. Maybe if I explain it well enough, they’ll at least let me do it myself; no hard feelings. The potty looks big, but it’s mostly plastic, so it doesn’t look that hard to pick up, even filled with a couple of my leftover liters in it. I reach down and hike my pants up and button the snaps up. I don’t bother to buckle my belt. It’s not there anymore. (It’s not there anymore? Wait a second…why was it gone?) Where the fuck did my belt buckle go? Oh my God! I just had a breakthrough! The changes were starting right then and there! And my pants didn’t have snap buttons before! The changes were starting by the time I was in the bathroom! I could have sworn it was the sippy cup full of juice that did it. Maybe it was something in the air, or the place itself. Shit, don’t forget that, Richard! Don’t forget that! Moving on. So, pants back up, I poke my head out of the bathroom and call out, “Excuse me?” The tall lady in the nursery turns her head and says, “Is something wrong?” Her brow furrows like she’s concerned or something. I’m beat red just thinking about how my pee is taking up space in a plastic bowl that I can’t just flush away. I just nod my head, feeling sheepish. “Got a bit of a problem,” I start to explain, but before I can even get the rest of the damn sentence out of my throat, she’s on me. The bathroom door is open, and she’s right in my personal space with her hand on my chest, pushing me backwards. My hands go up instinctively and I find myself backing up instead of pushing back. I don’t know if this lady is pissed, or what, but I’m not looking for a fight, so I just go on the defensive. I’m back in the bathroom with her, and now the door is closed. Then, still looking me in the eyes, her hands go for my pants and unbutton them. Simple as that. “Whoah!” I start to say something, but she’s yanking my pants back down to my ankles. “Hey?! Don’t?!” I’m sputtering out, thinking this lady’s trying to give me a blow job or something. Yeah, I sound like a creep saying it like that, but how many stories do you hear about a grown woman unbuttoning a guy’s pants without any kind of warning and it not be sexual? Before I can do anything about it, she pushes me back again, and the next thing I know, my cheeks are spread sitting on the giant turtle potty. The lady takes a knee beside me and grabs my penis in one hand. I freeze. I don’t dare stand up. I don’t dare move. She’s got me just north of the balls. I’m expecting her to start squeezing or yanking or something, but instead she’s just holding my cock daintily in her fingers; thumb on the bottom, two fingers on top. “What are-?” I start to say and then she presses her free pointer finger to my lips. “Shhhh” she cuts me off. “Go potty first, big boy. Then we’ll talk.” She’s got my dick pointed at the back of the potty turtle’s head. It’s a splash guard, I realize, for little boys that are too young, dumb, and short to aim down. This crazy bitch expects me to piss sitting down like I don’t have the coordination to relieve myself standing up the way God intended. No one’s ever talked to me this way, and I feel myself go three shades of red. I’m too scared to move, though. Also, I’m running on empty, urine-wise, this woman has my dick in her hands and is watching me way too closely, and with the sudden rush of blood that I’m experiencing to my nether regions…well let’s just say that I’m having the weirdest case of performance issues ever. I want to pee to get this over with and be able to run out of here, but I just can’t. “Having trouble?” she asks me, as if that weren’t obvious. “Yeah, but-“, I start to say, but she cuts me off again. “Denise!” she calls out. “Denise! A little help, please?” Another woman opens up the bathroom door and pokes her head in. She looks closer to my age, maybe even a little younger. She’s blonde, and her hair is kept back in a ponytail. It’s obvious by her identical shirt that she works here too. I don’t remember seeing her when I was pee-pee dancing in, though. “Yeah, Kate?” this new girl, Denise asks. She’s staring right at me, naked from the waist down, with my penis clearly in this lady, Kate’s hands. Denise doesn’t even flinch. She doesn’t bat an eyelid. I don’t register to her. I might as well not even be there. I’m not a real person to her, or something. I’m a fixture with the bathroom. I’m practically part of the big plastic turtle potty that I’m sitting on. “Sippy cup of apple juice?” Kate asks the younger woman, also not paying any attention to me. “Comin’ right up,” Denise says before slipping her head out, but the door is still open a crack. I don’t hear anything. As far as I know, me, Kate, and Denise are the only three people in the whole building. They must be getting their jollies off on me, I think. Kate looks up from the door back up at me. “She’ll be right back with some apple juice,” she says to me as if I didn’t hear everything. “Let’s see if that helps you go potty.” I just sit there like a putz. I could pop her in the eye; maybe make a break for it. She’s got about an inch or two on me when we’re both standing, but I’ve got more muscle on my body, the element of surprise is on my side and my adrenaline is definitely pumping and telling me “fight or flight”. She’s also kneeling right now; not what you’d think of as a fighting stance. Worst case scenario, my common sense tells me, she digs her nails into my dick and I get scratches in some very uncomfortable places. Still, I could get away and this just becomes one hella weird story to tell after a whle. But what if I don’t get away? What if she or her sick friend have some kind of pepper spray or Taser or something? Then the cops get called and it’s my word against two women who work in a fuckin’ nursery. I’m not even a local, so it’s not like I’ve got character witnesses or anything. I decide not to act and just see how this all plays out. That was Hamlet’s great flaw too, I think. “Here you go,” Denise leans back into the little bathroom again, holding a decent sized plastic mug with two handles on it. Just like before, she looks at the woman who’s holding my privates hostage, and not me. I mean, she’s looking at me but she’s not really acknowledging me. Just as quick, she pops her head out, and the door finally closes, leaving me alone with just the one psycho woman holding my penis to the back of a potty turtle’s head. “Drink this,” Kate hands the sippy cup to me, and almost instinctively I grab onto the handles. “This will help you go potty.” I want to get this over with as quickly as possible, so I tilt it back and pour the apple juice inside down my throat. At least I think it was apple juice. It was sweet, and a little tangy I guess. More poetic men than me would describe it in more detail, but really, it was just apple juice to me. Nothing to write home about, not that I intended to write home about any of what was going on just now. Get me out of here let me pee in front of this sick woman, and let me get back to my car so my wife and I can get back on the road. For the longest time, I’ve assumed that there was something in that juice that made what happened happen; like I was drugged or something. But the no belt thing now makes me think more was going on than I thought. Gotta stay focused and remember, though. What went on that day is the clearest that I can remember anything. Everything before then has been swallowed up in a never ending series of feedings, naptimes, bath times, and diaper changes. That’s why I have the mantra: To keep what little I still have. Holy shit, that last time on the turtle potty might have been the last time I relieved myself outside of my own pants. Rambling again. Stop that! Talking to myself? Fine. Rambling to myself? I’m drawing the line. Cut it out. Moving on. Just remember. So there I am, chugging juice from a sippy cup, while a forty-something lady points my Johnson at a splash guard on a giant toddler toilet like I’m a two-something. Gwen’s gotta be wondering what the hell is taking me so long, but I absolutely do not want her to see me like this. “I’ll sing a song to help you relax,” Kate, the nutter, tells me, uninvited. Then she starts singing this dumb little song, my prick still between her fingers. It’s a little like that one song: ‘I like to eat-eat-eat apples and bananas’ but it’s missing a few beats. “I can go poop-and-pee…on the potty,” she sings to me like this is my first time. I mean, it’s my first time that I can remember where someone else is holding my dick for me; it’s not like it’s my first time taking a piss, but it’s definitely the first time where this level of bullshit has happened. “I can go poop-and-pee…on the potty.” I’m more weirded out by this than anything, but if I’m showing it, she’s ignoring it. Her voice echoes off the bathroom walls. I gotta admit, it’s kind of pretty. Not professional level, mind you, but nobody sounds professional in the bathroom. Kinda sweet though. The fuck am I saying? Moving on! Moving on! Finally, after about two or three minutes, I feel something, and a little spurt of pee comes out of me. It’s not much- barely a dribble-but it splashes against the back of the turtle’s head. “All done?” Kate looks up at me, her eyes making it a genuine question. It’s like my cock is a loaded gun and she’s a little afraid to let go cause it’ll go off. Mortified beyond belief, I nod. Then she let’s go of me and claps her hands while cheering. “Yaaaaay Richard!” she says “Can I get up now?” I ask her. I probably shouldn’t have asked her. I should’ve just stood up. But things were just too weird for me and I was failing on every level to take control. Moving on. “Uh huh,” she says, and I stand up, feeling like I’m almost home. I reach down to pull my pants up, but then Kate bats my hands away with a slap. I jerk my hands away from my own slacks like I just got caught trying to sneak a cookie. “Don’t worry,” she says, “let me,” and she grabs my pants and starts shimmying them back up my thighs. My dumb ass lets her. Just when I can feel the elastic waist band of my slacks start to brush against my bum, (Elastic waist band? Holy shit that’s another difference I didn’t notice before…the fuck happened?) she stops and I hear a little gasp from her. “Richard,” she says, her voice echoing off the wall with an accusation building up right behind it. “Two questions.” “What?” I gulp, feeling like I’m going to regret this. “Where’s your underwear?” Kate asks, like I’ve done something wrong. “I’m not wearing any today,” I tell her. What? I like free-balling. It’s not like there’s a law saying that I have to wear them. It’s not like I came in there wearing Underoos and ditched them in a trashcan or something. “And what’s this?” she points to something on the front my pants. Her tone is like the lawyer that just asked the guilty schmuck the case winning question, proving that he did it; he killed old lady Whithers or some such bullshit. I squint my eyes and look down at the front of my pants. She folds them forward so I can see a little better. Maybe a quarter inch to the right of the zipper, is a wet spot. A tiny wet spot. It’s like somewhere between the size of a dime and a penny. Okay, so maybe I leaked a little out in the last few milliseconds. It happens. It’s not a big deal. If you weren’t looking directly at my crotch, (which you shouldn’t be), and weren’t looking for it, (which again you shouldn’t be), you wouldn’t even notice it. It’d be dry inside of five minutes, anyways. Her hand is on my chest again, and she’s pushing me back. I don’t want to move, but the back of my legs hit the big turtle potty and my knees instantly buckle. I’m sitting back down on the potty again. “Sit here,” she tells me, pointing her finger at me, “just in case.” She turns towards the bathroom door again. “Denise?” she yells. Denise pokes her head in again. “Yeah, Kate?” “Richard had a little accident,” Kate says. My jaw drops to my knees. “Do we have any extra shorts or undies for him?” “Hold on, I’ll check,” Denise tells Kate before her head disappears out of the bathroom again. “What-?” I start to complain, but the crazy woman just puts another finger to my lips and I find myself unable to speak up. “Just hold on, Richard,” she whispers to me, all soothing like. “Miss Denise is checking.” The door opens again and Denise pops her head in. “Nothing in his size,” she says to Kate, not me. I’m still invisible. This is an ‘A-B’ conversation and they’re making sure that I ‘C’ my way out of it. (Shit, can I still spell? R-I-C-A…R-I-C-C…fuck my life. Moving on.) Point is, I’m thinking “Of course there isn’t anything in my size.” I’m a grown-up. I’m too friggin’ big for anything they have. “Pull-ups?” Kate asks. The word “Seriously?!” might as well be tattooed on my forehead, I’m so confused and indignant. Who do these people think they are? Thing is, Kate’s face is completely straight. The pull-ups question is a serious and genuine question to her. “Only girls’” little blonde Denise says. She’s doesn’t even smirk. “Doubt mom would like that,” Kate clicks her tongue. “Nope,” Denise agrees. Why are they even talking about this? I don’t know. The real question is why am I not running? Something about this still has me paralyzed. For some reason, I’m still waiting to see how this all plays out. Hamlet’s flaw. “Well then we’ll do what we have to do and then explain it to his mother,” Kate sighs. Denise disappears yet again and Kate turns to face me, my ass still kissing the plastic seat. She looks anxious, but not afraid; like she’s about to break bad news. Kate takes a knee and looks me straight in the face. She’s wearing nursery scrubs and she’s suddenly the doctor telling me I’ve got three months to live. “You’re not in trouble,” she tells me solemnly. “But you’ve had a little pee-pee accident, and your pants are wet.” “So?” I ask her. “Who cares? Just let me go, and I’ll be out of your hair.” She sets her hand on my shoulder, like she’s trying to comfort me. “You know I can’t do that, Richie,” she tells me, full on serious. “I wouldn’t be doing my job if I let you walk around in pee-pee pants.” “Look, lady,” I say, “my wi-“ “Your mommy won’t be mad,” Kate interrupts me. “We’ll explain everything to her when she comes to pick you up later today.” Right then, Denise slips in, holding something in her hand. Something white and rectangular and plastic looking. Kate turns her head to Denise. “Help me get his pants off.” “WHAT?!” I yell, my voice echoing off the bathroom floor. I try to stand up, but before I do, both of Kate’s hands are on my shoulders and she’s standing over me. She’s pushing me down, and my arms are pinned to my sides all of a sudden. I expect to be able to push her back or off or something, but she’s not budging. I’m grunting and groaning like a motherfucker, but this crazy bitch who’s only an inch or so taller than me and who I’ve got to have like fifty to a hundred pounds on isn’t even struggling. Like, I’m not a fighter or anything, but I should be doing better than this. She should at least have to be right on top of me, straddling my naked ass with and pinning me with all of her weight. Basic physics, right? But she’s not. She’s standing off to the side, holding me down on a humongous child’s toilet and all I can do is grunt and strain so that I at least feel that I’m putting up a good fight. I’m not, though. She might as well be Thor’s hammer or something, and I am definitely Meanwhile, my shoes are off my feet and little blonde Denise is working my slacks off of me. I’m kicking and flailing my legs, trying to kick her teeth out by this point- fuck pressing charges, this has gotta be some kind of assault- but it’s not working. She just yanks my pants off and holds my legs by wrapping just one arm around my ankles. The other hand is still holding the white plastic looking thing. I might as well be a fly in a spider’s web. “It’s okay, Richard. It’s okay!” They both say while I’m doing everything I can to get free. Meanwhile I’m cursing and screaming for help that’s not coming. Maybe Gwen will hear me and come running. Why isn’t she here yet? It feels like it’s been at least ten minutes since I left the car, all told. When I’m panting and heaving, red faced and feeling exhausted, Kate loosens her grip, and looks me in the eyes again. “Are you done?” Kate asks me. I nod yes, out of breath and feeling like I’m out of options. “Now listen, sweetie,” the older woman says like she’s talking to a child, taking my chin in her hand. “You had a little accident. We’re not mad. It happens sometimes to boys your age.” “All the time,” Denise confirms, still holding my legs. Everything in me is telling me to run and hide, but Hamlet’s flaw has run its course. I’m in too deep now. (I gotta wonder if this was the point of no return, or if there was other opportunities that I didn’t take. Moving on.) “But the thing is,” Kate keeps talking, “Miss Kate and Miss Denise don’t have any extra big boy undies that fit you. We don’t even have any boy Pull-Ups. But we can’t let you go walking around wearing pee-pee pants and we definitely can’t let you walk around naked, either.” She takes a deep breath. Here it comes, I sense. “So we’re going to have to put you in a diaper.” “Diaper?!” I shriek. Then it clicks that that’s what Denise is holding; an adult diaper. What kind of fucked up place are these crazy witches running?! I feel Denise clamp down on my legs with superhuman strength, bracing for another round of my flailing. I don’t give her the satisfaction. “It’s okay,” she shushes me and then starts trying to reassure me at rapid fire speed. “It’s okay. You’re not in trouble. This isn’t a punishment. You’re not a baby. You’re still a big boy. You can still use the potty if you need to. It’s just a diaper is all that we have that will fit you right now. ” “But, but, but,” I stutter, trying to interrupt this woman and not finding the words. “You don’t have to use it,” Kate talked over me. “You just have to wear it till your mommy comes and picks you up.” “But my wife is in the car-“ I argue, “I can just leave and-” “No you can’t, honey,” Kate cuts me off. “Your mommy left you with us to take care of you, and that’s what we have to do till she gets back.” “But my wife is right outside in the car!” I shout. “Let me go get her!” “That’s not what mommy said,” Kate says looking deep into my eyes. “She said she’s be right back after she ran some errands in the car. Isn’t that right, Denise?” “That’s right,” Denise echoes. “GWEN!” I shout at the top of my lungs. “GWEN HELP!” “Gwen?” Denise talks over me. “Mom’s first name,” Kate says over her shoulder. Then she turns back to me. “Look, you’re not gonna get in trouble for wearing a diaper,” she lectures to me as if that’s my biggest concern. “When your mommy, when Gwen gets here to pick you up, we’ll tell her what happened. If she gets mad; she’ll get mad at us. Okay?” Damn right, she’d get mad at them. This is unlawful imprisonment. This is kidnapping, including literally treating me like a kid. “Now, you have two choices, Richard” she says to me. “You can either be a good boy and let me put a diaper on you, and you can go play till someone comes to pick you up, OR you can make a bad decision, and we’ll still put a diaper on you, but you’ll be in time out instead. Which is it?” It’s only going to be a matter of time before Gwen comes looking for me. Maybe I can run, then. Worst part is, I know that I’m going to end up diapered regardless. There’s something weird about these chicks. Something not quite human. I’d rather stay on their good side. “Okay,” I say. I’m resigned to my fate. This is gonna be one hell of story. I’m sure I’m gonna look back at this one day and laugh. Denise lets my legs go, and Kate takes a step back from me. She holds out her hand behind her and Denise slips her the adult diaper. “I got this one,” she says to Denise, and Denise opens the bathroom door and walks out again with my pants, socks, and shoes. “You can stand up,” Kate says to me, and I do what she says. I’m covering my junk and I’m hunched over, feeling really fucking small right then, in more ways than one. Kate looks at me and giggles a little bit. “It’s okay, Richie. Nothing I haven’t seen before.” I was going to say that she hadn’t seen mine before, but that wasn’t true. So I just keep quiet. “Lay down on the floor,” she orders me, and I crouch down, feeling the cool tile beneath my now bare feet. Then I ease on and lay down. It’s crowded here and I barely fit lying down. It’s cold too. My ass is sticking slightly to the tile. The lady takes a knee next to me and starts to unfold the diaper in front of me. I get a closer look at it, and I notice that this isn’t an adult diaper. It’s got little decorations on it. Teddybears with balloons and parachutes and stuff. I didn’t know they made kid diapers that big. I let out a little “ugh” of surprise and discomfort as she slithers her arm underneath my knees and lifts my legs up into the air. If she has just asked for me to raise my hips I would have planted my feet and pushed, but she didn’t. Instead she just pushes my legs back till my ass is in the air. Meanwhile, I’m still covering my crotch out of embarrassment. I watch helplessly as she slides the unfolded diaper under me and sets me down on it. It feels soft on my bum and it crinkles as my weight comes down on the thick padding. It’s warm and comfortable compared to the hard, cold, bathroom floor tiling. “Move your hands,” she tells me, and I obey, knowing that I can’t do much about it anyways. “Spread your legs,” she tells me. I do what she says. Then Kate, this fucking nursery worker who I’ve known for all of ten minutes, tops, pulls the front of the diaper over me. She reaches down to my left side and tucks the front end past the back. She pulls the back of the left side up over the front and tapes it on to the front. Then she does the same for the other side. The whole thing goes taut, and encases me. It’s only held together by two big pieces of tape; it’s practically a patchwork hanging by a thread. But you wouldn’t know it by the feel of it. It’s one solid, soldered together unit. Yup. I’m wearing a diaper now. The baby perfume from the damn thing invades my nostrils. I can practically taste the stuff. Kate stands up first and leans over. “That’s wasn’t so bad, was it?” I don’t say anything. I’m probably gonna shoot my mouth off and I don’t want some kind of ‘roided up superwoman spanking me- I wouldn’t put it past her. She leans over me and offers me her hand. I take it and she helps me to my feet. When I stand up, I realize something feels off; and I don’t mean about how I have to stand with my legs further apart than I’m used to. And I don’t mean how the frilly little leg gathers tickle the inside of my thighs. I’m not talking about how my blue t-shirt only comes down past my waist, barely managing to cover up the little cartoon bears on the diaper, either. (Was it a t-shirt when I came in? I could’ve sworn it was at least a polo shirt or something with a collar. Moving on) It’s Kate. She seems… taller. A couple of minutes ago she had maybe an inch on me, but now I’m craning my neck up to look her in the eye. I come up to about her shoulder all of a sudden. My shoes didn’t give me that much lift, did they? I try to move past her and get out the bathroom, but Kate blocks my way. “Just a second, Richie,” she tells me. “Now what?” I complain. “You better wash your hands,” she tells me. “What?!” The word just leaps out of my throat. “You might have had a pee-pee accident,” she says, “but you still got most of it in the big boy potty. Good job!” She raises her hand and offers it as a high five. I don’t move. She puts her hand down. “Big boys wash their hands after they go to the potty.” “Are you serious?” I ask. “That’s what big boys do,” she answers, completely missing the point of my question. “You’re a big boy, aren’t you?” What a ridiculous question! I nod. “So let’s wash your hands.” Suddenly I’m being shoved towards the little sink. It doesn’t seem as little now, though. I don’t have to bend over as much. Kate’s leaning over my shoulder now, turning on the sink. She grabs my wrists and runs them under the water. “First we get ‘em wet,” she announces. Then she grabs a bar of soap and puts it in the palm of my hands. I’m like a puppet as she has me rub my hands together building up a foam, “Then we get them good and soapy.” I drop the soap and she doesn’t say anything. She just keeps having me rub my hands together. “Then we rinse them off.” It’s that scene from “Ghost” all over again, only I’m the little spoon and the soundtrack is her telling me how to wash my goddamn hands. She reaches past me again, and turns the water off, and grabs a paper towel and hands it to me. Drying my hands: This she lets me do by myself. “All done,” she announces, as if I don’t friggin’ know. I throw away the little brown paper towel into some dinky trash can, and then I feel her hand on my shoulder. I whirl around and face her. She is still waaaaaay to close and in my personal space. She doesn’t seem to notice. “Remember,” she says to me, “You’re still a big boy who knows how to use the big boy potty.” I cock an eyebrow. I nod. Uh…duh? “I don’t want you going potty in your diaper on purpose,” she rambles on. “You’re potty trained. You’re a big boy and I still want you to act like it. If you need to go potty, just come get me and I’ll help you take your diaper off. You’re not going to pee-pee in your diaper on purpose, are you?” I just shake my head, but probably not for the reason she thinks. “Okay, good.” She nods. I turn my head towards the bathroom door. Never before have I wanted to be out of anywhere worse than right then. Her hand is on my chin and I’m looking her in the eyes again. “Oh, one more thing,” she adds. “If you do have an accident, come and tell me or Miss Denise about it. Don’t play around in a wet diaper. You won’t be in trouble, and we’ll just come back and change you in here like a big kid; not out on the changing table with the babies. Is that okay?” I just stand and stare at her for a hot minute, saying nothing. Then I say the only thing that I can think of: “The fuck is wrong with you?!” That was a mistake. Her eyes light up, her nostrils flare, and her lip curls into a snarl in all of half a second. Weird daycare lady to werewolf; no full moon required. Before I know it I’m spun around and in a headlock. Her grip is a vise and I’m straining to breathe. My eyes are scrunched tight. I’m digging my bare feet in. My toes are curling. I’ve got one hand pushing against her back. I’m punching her back. Punching her kidneys. My other hand is wrenching at her elbow. I try her forearm. I try her wrist. I’m trying everything to wrench out of this hold she’s got me in. It’s. Not. Working. I’m a dumb dog with its head caught in the whole in the fence. She’s the fence. “Okay,” I choke out. “Okay! I’m sorry.” Nothing. No response from her. My eyes are still closed. Then I hear the sink come on. My eyes open. I see a feminine hand with a wedding ring on it reach into the sink and grab a foamy bar of soap. I know what’s about to happen. I try everything. I kick. I buck like a horse, both legs going airborn. I think at one point, I manage to wrap around her leg in a weird bear hug. All that does is make me look like a little piss ant dog dry humping her. I even try going limp and dropping my weight. All that does is choke me. It’s right then that a big bar of soap, the same one that I was having my hands washed with, is shoved right past my lips, and my dumb ass doesn’t even clench my jaw. My tongue is immediately tasting all kinds of foul. Instinctively, I start biting down, trying to…I dunno spit it out, or get some traction, but Wonder Woman’s aunt is just shoving that vile piece of perfumed animal fat in my mouth. Little flakes are scraping off onto my teeth. So now I can’t breathe and there’s soap in my mouth. With all the UFC pay-per-views I bought, you’d think I’d have learned a move or two, but I hadn’t. “This ends, as soon as you stop fighting.” I hear. I can’t breathe. My muscles ache. My face is red and my mouth is foaming. I stop struggling and I do everything I can to stop from puking as she slides that slippery brick around my mouth from side to side and front to back. It might’ve sounded like some kind of whimpering if you were listening in, but I was just clamping down on my gag reflex. Finally, finally, she lets me go. “Rinse,” I hear her tell me. She doesn’t have to tell me twice. Before the sound of her voice stops echoing off the bathroom walls, I’m already hunched over, my mouth to the faucet and I’m gulping, and swishing, gargling all the nasty out of my mouth. I spit into the sink and out come bubbles. I stand up and wipe the last bit of saliva and bubbles onto my arm sleeve, and I hang my head. Rainbow colored teddy bears holding balloons are waving to me from just below my shirt. I’m going crazy. I just know it. Even then I realized that my shirt couldn’t have gotten shorter. But somehow it did. “You will never use language like that again,” Kate tells me. It’s not an “or else” in her mind. This is fact. I nod. I’m beaten. I’m humbled. My eyes…my eyes aren’t tearing up. I must be remembering that part wrong. I’m losing stuff all the time, new details…fake details are just coming in to replace those memories. That’s it. “Okie dokie,” Kate decides, “Time to go play.” She opens the door and half-scoots, half-pushes me back out into the nursery area. She pats me on the butt and that garbage bag crinkling fills my ears as I cross the threshold. My eyes bug out and I feel all the blood drain away from my face at what’s in front of me. I expect to see an empty floor, with maybe Denise somewhere. Maybe not, I didn’t see her coming in, why should I see her now? What I don’t expect to see is…is…is…this!
  14. The Never Ending Yesterday

    <Neural Uplink Reconnected In Real Time.> To say that the rest of that day was uneventful would be misleading and factually incorrect. Having my best friend and the only other sane person in the world ripped away from me because her mother had errands to run was eventful. Finding out through a series of unplanned trial and error that I had roughly ninety seconds from the time I realized that I needed to relieve myself to the time that my underwear became squishy from urine was eventful. Being bathed by my mother and then put to bed shortly after sunset was eventful; especially given the likelihood that I’d wake up wet again. Hearing the harsh tones of my parents arguing…again…right before sleep claimed me was eventful. Eventful to me, but to any other human being pushing thirty, it likely would have been common place to the point of banality. All of these things were eventful, but I’m choosing not to upload those specific memories because the one thing I don’t feel they are is pertinent. Through firsthand experience and the brief “playtime” I had with Julia, I concluded that there had been more drastic changes to the world at large than would have been initially suggested by the data I had spent years collecting. Not only had my capabilities been severely reduced, but apparently as far as the rest of human society was concerned, twenty-nine was the new two and a half… if that. Yet I didn’t fully appreciate how much the world had changed until the next day. <Memory Sequence Uploading. August 18th, 2017 8:30 A.M.> After waking up, changing out of my-on-the-verge-of-leaking Pull-Up, (trying not to listen to my father’s remarks that I should maybe go back to diapers at night), and breakfast, my parents explained to me that they were going back to work, and that meant I was going “back” to daycare. The great panic of so many children disappearing and then reappearing- as those affected by the chronotons justified and misremembered the entirely of the population mentally and socially regressing by twenty-seven odd years- had allowed them each to take the day off of work to make sure that their little girl was all right, but now that they knew I was okay, we all had to get back into our regular routine. I didn’t know whether this willful ignorance was the result of chronoton saturation, the human psyche’s need to put everything in place so that it makes sense, or some combination thereof. Regardless, if my parents were any indicator, the world was quickly moving on and accepting of the new status quo. As I sat in the unnecessary booster seat of my mother’s SUV, scores of buildings both familiar and strange zipped by on the periphery. Julia had been right. Not only had clothing changed to fit our new perceived social standing, but buildings and businesses as well. Most of the franchises, their logos designed to be forever stamped upon the popular subconscious remained: the restaurants, the mega-marts and grocery stores; the places that catered to all walks of life. Looking at them I’d never know that anything had changed. So too were local landmarks that people familiar with the town could use to navigate better than street signs: statues, the old church, the retention pond that never quire drained, schools. All of it was the same. Yet, like a dark road that you normally only travel by day, some things, no matter how familiar, were decidedly different. I spotted men in their mid to late thirties running on the elementary school playground with all the zest and zeal of stereotypical second graders in their sneakers with the Velcro and no button shorts. Women in their mid-forties popped bubblegum and gossiped with each other in their Catholic school uniforms as Mom drove me by the church. And here I was sitting, in a floral-patterned shirt, nothing to cover my fresh Pull-Up but a hot pink skirt (provided I didn’t bend over too much,) the slightest bit envious of all of them. Whether I envied them their clothing, their status, or their ignorance, I cannot objectively say. Then there were the other buildings: Most of them zipped by too fast as my mother drove down not-quite-memorized roads that I had long taken for granted, but based on the décor and color scheme of their signs, much had changed. Too many bright signs with letters in primary colors. Too many pictures of various cartoon mascot animals in safety-pinned on diapers. Too many mannequins with gigantic baby clothes on them in store windows. Losing (or, more accurately, misremembering) their target clientele, many businesses had transformed to serve the needs of a community filled with gigantic children. A red bricked building I once knew to be a bar was now some kind of child’s clothes consignment shop. The Planet Fitness that I passed every day on the way to work was now a Gymboree. A Gap was now a Baby Gap. Of course there were more baby stores. If ages zero to thirty were considered infants and toddlers, those goods and services would be in higher demand. Unwittingly, I had changed an entire world’s economy. And then, during the times when my mother would slow down enough, I got an eyeful of the rest of this topsy turvy reality I’d created. Grown men and women were being pushed around in strollers. Someone in their late teens or early twenties was still breastfeeding in public. A car pulled up at a stoplight, and I saw someone only a few years younger than me, sitting rear facing, batting at the dangling toys of their car seat, giggling and drooling idiotically. I’d have to find a way to get to my lab and fix all of this mess, I decided. This was my mistake. I’d just have to figure out where I went wrong, then find a way to get back to the institute, get back to my equipment. A tall order to be sure, but nothing was impossible; if anything, this entire misadventure was proof of that much. I sucked in my breath as I felt the sudden, sharp, stinging sensation of a full bladder? Really?! I had just gone before my mother and I had left for daycare. “Mommy!” I whimpered, desperation and urgency in my voice, “Potty!” “Really?” she asked, her eyes unbelieving in the rear-view mirror. “You just went before we left the house.” The feeling was building. Less than ninety seconds and counting. “I know,” I whined. “I gotta go, though.” The SUV sped up. “Just hold on, Elisa, baby,” Mommy said. “We’re almost there.” Sixty seconds. Don’t think about don’t think about it don’t think about it don’tthinkaboutit. “You’re doin’ good, big girl,” she encouraged me. “Just hold it. We’ve got a potty in the trunk. We can stop at the daycare, and set you right on it before we even go inside.” As humiliating as the thought of peeing in the parking lot of whatever childcare facility my mother was taking me to, the idea of me urinating in my clothes seemed infinitely more terrifying. It was an illogical fear, like a phobia, gripping me despite all intellectual protestations. Logically, dispassionately, in hindsight, I might have had an easier time of willfully succumbing to my bladder, saving myself the stress, and dedicating my mind to more important things, like fixing the whole of reality so that I was at least considered a middle schooler. But only babies went pee-pee in their undies. I was a big girl. I didn’t need diapers. I wasn’t a baby. Thirty-seconds and counting till my bladder would let loose, and suddenly the term “baby” had become a slur of some sort in my mind; a way to instantly other and demean someone…or myself. Right then, had you asked me, nudity would have been preferable to diapers. Despite Julia’s safeguards, new immature impulses and outlooks had been slowly but surely worming their way into my subconscious. For one reason or another, the idea that I had been or would soon be reduced to nothing more than a particularly verbose and gifted toddler seemed likely. “Almost there, Elisa,” Mommy snapped me back to attention, the car decelerating as we approached our destination. Why did this place seem so familiar to me? The entire route we’d taken, almost exactly like the route I took everyday to- KA-THUNK Mom’s SUV barreled over a final speedbump into the parking lot, causing the entire car to bounce. I gasped in surprise and shock, my underwear becoming hot and moist as, not for the first time that day, I started to wet myself. Queen Ariel had one less sea shell in her collection. How was I going to save the world when I couldn’t keep my training panties dry for longer than ninety seconds? I said nothing. No crying. No screaming. No protestations that “I was a big girl,” as the car slowed to a stop. All present and available data pointed to the contrary; and as a scientist, when a scientist’s hypothesis is not supported by the data, they must re-evaluate their hypothesis. Try as I might, in terms of my physical capabilities and needs, I was not a big girl any longer. Mommy opened up the side door, and saw me sulking in the backseat. “Didn’t make it?” she asked. Woefully, I shook my head in reply. She leaned in and unbuckled me from the booster seat. “Well, that’s okay,” she said, (because in this brave new world I had made it was normal for someone my age to have “accidents”) “you’ll just have to try harder later.” She reached out her hand, and as if mine had a mind of its own, I accepted it, stepping out of the car and onto the hot pavement. Still preoccupied with the now sagging training panties between my thighs, I didn’t recognize the large cement building before me. The sign over the entrance said, “Tiny Tots. Ages 25-30.” That made sense. Even if infancy lasted well into the twenties, as far as the world was now concerned, it was impractical to keep actual newborns with substantially larger “children”. I walked, bowlegged to prevent the urine soaked mass from touching me, disgusted with myself as I was. Apparently, I was an extremely heavy wetter. Maybe Daddy was right, I thought absentmindedly; maybe I did need to go back to diapers…at least for the nightti- stop it! Stop it stop it stoppit! Instantly and immediately, I was furious with myself. I was thinking like one of them…like the little girl the world expected me to be. I was Dr. Elisa Briggs, not some diaper wearing brat. I couldn’t allow myself the luxury to slip into infantile oblivion. I had a world to fix. I had to get back to my- MY LAB! That’s what this place was: The Institute for Chrono-Research and Innovation. Or at least that’s what it had been before. Now…now it was “Tiny Tots. Ages 25-30”. Its gray granite walls were suddenly a cheery sky blue. Over to the side of the main building, where a tasteful bamboo garden had been, was now a mulched playground with plastic slides and baby swings intended to accommodate fully grown adults. Still in my stupor, I was pushed through the front doors, their formally clean and clear veneer now plastered with butterfly and smiley face stickers. “It’s okay,” my mother whispered to me, “we’ll get you some clean undies as soon as I sign you in.” Clearly, she was misattributing my distress; though to be truthful, had my bladder not already been emptied, I would have likely wet myself at the initial shock I felt. My throat felt dry and pinched. The reception area was still there, only now the clean marble floor had been transmuted into worn and sturdy carpeting. My mother led me up to a desk, a sign in book prominently displayed. She pressed a button, an electronic bell of some sort to the right of the book, as she flipped through the pages, finding my name and signing me in. As she signed the page with my name one, making sure to mark the time and date, I noticed a hand painted mural on the wall in front of me. As if mocking me and my hubris, it showed a childishly drawn scene of “children” playing in a grassy field, the sun shining overhead. The whiny creak of unoiled hinges alerted me to the door opening to my, right. From my lab…from what used to be my lab, an older woman, grey-haired and bespectacled, came out, her bony frame concealed by the baggy sunshine yellow t-shirt she wore. She looked at me, and her eyes lit up with recognition. Sadly, I recognized her, too. < Memory Upload Disconnected> <Neural Uplink Reconnected In Real Time.> I don’t believe in God, personally. I have nothing against faith, and I am open to the possibilities that there might be some sort of “higher power” out there, but I only tend to believe in what I can measure and what I can see. Yet the amount of coincidences and little, petty ironies that have piled up lately are so numerous that I can’t help but speculate if some form of intelligence has been toying with me. Perhaps chronotons have a sense of humor. <Memory Sequence Resume Uploading. August 18th, 2017> “Why, hello, Elisa,” she spoke in the high-pitched sing-song rhythm reserved for small children. “Are you ready to learn today?” I wanted to say that her name was Helen; but despite my superb, near photographic memory, I had never invested the modicum of effort needed to memorize the woman’s name. People’s names just weren’t something that I typically had time for. To me, she was just the lab’s secretary. I stood there, tall enough to look her in the eye, but feeling so powerless and shocked that she might as well have been looming over me. Two days ago, she was only good enough to answer phones and take messages. As of today, she was considered my mental, developmental, and social superior. She was my- “Teacher…?” Even the word left a bitter taste in my mouth. “Yes, Elisa?” she leaned in. I stood there; paralyzed, shaking, dumb. A familiar, comforting hand was on my shoulder. “She’s a little rattled still from all the strangeness that’s been going on,” Mommy offered by way of explanation. “A lot of the little ones are,” my ex-secretary replied. “Did she mysteriously pop off somewhere, too?” “The memorial park, if you’d believe it.” “Oh my,” my now-teacher remarked. “you’re lucky you found her.” I looked behind me and saw my mother nodding vehemently. “We didn’t have many kids here yesterday, obviously,” I-think-Helen continued, “but it seems everyone is trickling back in; trying to get things back to normal.” Again, my mother nodded in agreement. “Same here,” she said. “I’m hoping to get this whole messy business behind us.” The teacher looked back to me. “Speaking of business,” she leaned in and spoke slowly and clearly as if I might not understand her otherwise; “we were about to start Circle Time. Are you ready to come learn with us?” I wasn’t. I really wasn’t. I looked back to my Mommy, my eyes pleading. I wasn’t ready for this; my hopes had already been dashed by seeing this. Please, please don’t cast me into this strange limbo- trapped somewhere between child and adult. The pity in my mother’s eyes was evident, but that didn’t stop her from saying, “Go on sweetie. Mommy will pick you up after work.” She scooted me forward, and my hands – disobedient – grabbed hold of the woman who used to answer my phones. Mommy added as an afterthought, “Oh, and I didn’t check to make sure, but she said she had a little accident on the way over.” “I’m sure she did,” my so-called teacher agreed. “Elisa usually knows when she’s had an accident and is the first to speak up about it. She’s very advanced in that way.” A hint of bile crept up into the back of my throat. I’d gone from being a genius scientist to being advanced because I knew when I’d peed my pants and could tell someone about it. I didn’t have time to look back and call out as my mother walked away from me. My legs weighted down by my own insistence, but still keeping pace with the teacher, I was led into what used to be my old laboratory; only now, apparently, it was the “Butterfly Room,” if signs and labels were to be believed. More than ever, I wanted to cry. My beautiful, spacious, clean laboratory had been transmogrified into a rough-and-tumble pre-school. The storage space where Julia had kept her myriad of fungi, viruses, and bacteria had been replaced with a row of cubbies. My own desk, computer and workbench now held tinker toys. The space reserved for HAZMAT suits and other safety equipment was now a dress up and dramatic play center; a fireman’s yellow coat and red helmet was on a hook next to my old lab coat, a play stethoscope hanging out of one of the pockets. Over by the rat cages, Lucy and Ethel remained, now the class pets instead of the award winning scientific curiosities. I was led over to the cubbies. On the way there I saw the rest of the class, all who would have been my peers in age if not intellect under normal circumstances, sitting in a semi-circle facing a wall decorated with educational posters. “Just a second, Carol,” my teacher called out to another middle-aged woman as she walked me over to the cubbies. “Let me get Elisa changed, and then we’ll start circle time.” At the mention of my name, Julia, turned her head and made eye contact with me. When it registered with her that I had recently wet myself, she had the good grace to blush and look away. Th teacher reached into a cubby that had my name and picture- a photograph of me smiling giddily from behind my strapped on glasses- and took out a fresh pink Pull-Up, brandishing it in her free hand as she rudely yanked me away towards a bathroom that hadn’t existed until two days ago. Right next to it was what was unmistakably a changing table; wide, long, and thick enough to accommodate someone my size. Despite myself, I glanced back at the semi-circle of adult toddlers, many of them hunched over enough so the waistbands of their underpants poked out slightly. While some had the purplish pinks and bright blues of Pull-Ups poking up out of the top of their pants, just as many, if not more, had the flimsy, frail and uneven white edges of a diaper peeking out over their waistbands. If that wasn’t evidence enough, the difference in the padding around their bums had been fairly obvious, too. Mommy had been right: some children my age hadn’t even begun potty training. I really was advanced. I sucked in my breath as I passed the changing table on the way to the bathroom, as if I was afraid to catch the babyishness surely contained within. There but for grace of God, pure luck, or something in between go I. It could always be worse. It might have been my relentless curiosity and desire to collect data, or it might have been just a more complex but futile attempt to prove my maturity, but I felt compelled to test the limits of this new reality. “Tell me Miss…” my voice bounced off the bathroom walls as I was escorted in, “…teacher; are you aware that the third law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of a system approaches a constant value as the temperature approaches absolute zero?” “I did not know that,” my ex-secretary replied as she closed the door behind us and went for a package of baby wipes resting on the toilet. Her tone was that of a person listening without listening; as if she wasn’t particularly interested in what I had to say, but was letting me say it. I might as well have been explaining the intricacies of a child’s television show that she had absolutely no interest in watching to her. “I personally think the fascinating thing about that is,” I pressed on while she knelt down to access my sagging underwear, “that there’s no such thing as absolute zero. It’s purely theoretical, since as long as there’s motion somewhere in the universe, there will always be a form of heat.” The easy open sides of the Pull-Up did just that, and I helped by holding up my skirt so that my nether regions could be properly cleaned. “That’s a very good point,” I-think-Helen replied, wiping me between my legs; not even looking me in the eye. She had no interest in anything I had to say. I might as well may have been talking about My Little Pony while she sanitized my privates, except that I didn’t know anything about My Little Pony. Great, another “adult” who was either too deluded or too stupid to notice that the content and vocabulary I was using was far too complex for a pre-schooler. My parents were the former, I believed. The woman who was dressing me in what amounted to a tapeless diaper, the latter. I was forced to make a show of washing my hands, as absurd as that was, and then walked over to the semi-circle, Julia patting a bare patch of carpet beside her, while my former employee threw away the wet Pull-Up in the diaper pail. “How are you holding up?” Julia asked as I took a spot on the floor next to her. “Not great,” I muttered. “All data is indicating that we’re royally scre-“ “Elisa,” the older woman in the middle of the circle, Carol, interrupted me. “We’re about to start Circle Time. You two can talk afterwards during play time.” Her tone brooked no argument. “Yes Ma’am.” Julia replied with automaticity, lowering her head in submission. I followed suit and felt my own cheeks flush as a flash of shame tingled across the back of my brain. Julia always was a people pleaser, but why was I feeling so easily cowed? Some part of me, for whatever reason, recognized this woman’s authority and wanted to please her. Was she really that much more of a “grown-up” than I used to be…than I was? Miss Carol addressed the rest of the class. “Okay gang, it’s Circle Time. It’s Justin’s turn to be our special helper.” On cue, a skinny brown-haired man with a bowl cut climbed to his feet and waddled over to the front. Based on the swollen bulge between his legs and the light smell of ammonia and baby powder that wafted behind him, he was obviously diapered and would likely need to be changed soon. He held out his hand and Miss Carol placed a stick with a plastic pointing finger on one end into his grip, before maneuvering him over to a poster entitled “Days of the Week.” “Sing along if you know the words, and Justin and I will point.” The older woman maneuvered herself behind the toddlerized man and grabbed hold of his wrist while he stood there stupidly and looked at the brightly colored display. A little boombox, manned by I-think-Helen kicked in, and synthesized harpsichord notes filled the room. Bland, autotuned, synthesized, not-quite-adult-not-quite-child voices blared out: “Days of the Week (snap snap) Days of the Week (snap snap) Days of the week, days of the week, days of the week. (snap snap)” I guffawed in surprise. The Addams Family? Really? As mnemonic device for the days of the week? Julia and I shot each other the same baffled look and we giggled at the absurdity and ridiculousness as it all. Something must have overcome the two of us. While Justin was being Miss Carol’s puppet- her hand guiding his to the correct days- and the other grown children were picking their noses or mumbling, Julia and I sang along: “There’s Sunday and there’s Monday. There’s Tuesday and there’s Wednesday. There’s Thursday and there’s Friday. And then there’s Saturday. Days of the Week (snap snap) Days of the Week (snap snap) Days of the week, days of the week, days of the week. (snap snap)” The teachers praised us. “Good job, Julia and Elisa!” We both sat up a little straighter at that. A feeling of accomplishment welled up in me. I might have been a pre-schooler, but I was still the smartest pre-schooler, damnit. The next track came on the boombox, and Justin was moved over to a “types of weather” chart, as different types of weather were sung to a rough approximation of “Oh My Darlin’ Clementine.” “Sunny-Sunny, Sunny-Sunny, it is Sunny in the sky. S-U-N-N-Y Sunny, it is Sunny in the sky.” Julia and I both instantly picked up the pattern, and smiling proudly and smugly to ourselves, repeated the process in our seats for “cloudy”, “rainy”, “windy”, and “snowy”. I was bouncing when the grown-ups complimented us on participating and picking up on the words. I was smart! I was a big-girl! Next came a song about writing numerals to the melody of “Skip to My Lou”, which we executed flawlessly. Again, we were perfect when reciting the letter names and sounds to the tune of Jeopardy “A for apple, a-a-a.” The pictures on the wall aided us in predicting what the other letters would be “for”. The whole extravaganza ended with a song about basic shapes to the tune of “I’m a little tea-pot.” Within seconds, we- child geniuses that we were- picked up on each rhythm and song and sang along perfectly as if we had heard these songs every day for months. The teachers seemed so happy and surprised at our sudden progress. But why should they be surprised? Julia and I were both advanced. Even when we had a potty accident we knew it and could tell people about it so we could get changed right away. Poor Justin’s diaper was all squishy and he didn’t even notice or care. He wasn’t even close to going potty like a big kid. It was only after the music faded, the opiate of praise removed; after we were allowed to scatter and go play that we were able to objectively look at ourselves and our behavior of the past ten minutes. Julia pulled me over to a low shelf filled with blocks. “What the hell just happened there?” she asked. My head shook so fast, I was vibrating. “I don’t know,” I admitted. I thumbed back to wall filled with educational posters. “That wasn’t completely an act from you either?” I asked. “Not at all,” Julia said, her pig-tails flopping. “I’ve been getting super excited from praise from grown-up…adult…oh you know what I mean,” she sighed. “I don’t understand it. I can still recite the parts and functions of a cell in my sleep. I can still recite my doctoral thesis practically verbatim,” she paused and looked over her shoulder, “ but I felt more accomplished when our secretary patted me on the head for singing the ABC’s than I have in years.” “Me too,” I admitted. “I felt more proud of myself when my Mommy let me wipe myself than when we got that grant money a few years back.” Julia crossed her arms, and poked her upper lip out. “I wouldn’t know. I haven’t had that pleasure yet.” I stared down at my sneakers, trying to distract myself by reciting complex theoretical equations in my head. Julia looked over my shoulder and my gaze followed hers as Miss Carol taped Justin into a fresh Luvs, his pants around his ankles on the changing table. “Still, it could be worse,” she granted. “At least we’re not totally regressed.” Without realizing, it we were holding hands, gripping each other’s fingers tightly as the poor man was helped off the table before his pants were pulled up over the diaper. My colleague looked to me. “You don’t have an irrational fear of being put back in diapers, too, do you?” “There’s nothing irrational about it,” I replied defensively. The only person whose opinion I still respected gave me a quizzical look. “I mean,” I stuttered, “I just don’t want to be a baby, that’s all. Babies where diapers.” “But isn’t infancy a matter of physical development that we’ve long since surpassed?” Julia asked. “Is an old person who is incontinent a baby?” “No,” I scoffed. “Don’t be silly.” “Then why are we both afraid of losing our big girl Pull-Ups?” she countered. “Why are we defining babies by what they wear instead of their chronological age? Why are we responding to positive reinforcement of perceived caregivers and authority figures so strongly?” “Oh shit,” I whispered, Julia’s analysis hitting home. “We really are regressing.” “Yes and no,” Julia gripped my hand. “I specifically designed my anti-regression safeguard to affect cognition. I think we’re whole in that regard.” Her eyes became slightly glassy as she blinked back tears. “But emotionally, I think we’re becoming closer and closer to two-year olds.” I tried to be clinical and cold; to act as an example and source of strength for my friend. “Then let’s stay away from emotions,” I said. “Focus on the work we have to do. Like, why has the world changed? Like, I can see furniture and clothes being retrofitted to meet our physical needs after the fact, but that should take time. There shouldn’t instantly be adult Pull-Ups and…” I gulped, “the only diapers that should fit us should be Depends.” Julia let go of my hand and began scanning the shelves filled with blocks. “Maybe chronotons don’t’ function exactly like we thought. Maybe they’re somewhat psychoactive.” She went over and began precariously stacking cardboard bricks into a careful tower in criss-crossing rows of three. I toddled after her. “But none of our experiments suggested that. The environment never reconfigured themselves when we exposed Lucy and Ethel to chronotons.” “To be fair,” Julia said, still stacking. “Is a baby rat’s cage all that different from an adult rat’s?” I opened my mouth to protest, but finding nothing to argue, I conceded. “Point taken.” I took a seat by Julia as she continued to construct her block tower, the gears in her head clearly turning. I felt just as much as heard the soft paper crinkle of the disposable training pants encasing me. That was another point of contention. “Yeah, but that’s another thing that’s bothering me,” I said. “Chronotons from when we were toddlers the first time around leaked out into the world. Wouldn’t you say our current treatment is a little more…modern? Shouldn’t George Bush be president? Shouldn’t smart phones be gone? Shouldn’t I have been watching nineties cartoons this morning instead of SpongeBob re-runs?” “I’ve thought about that,” Julia replied. She wasn’t taking her eyes off of her tower, now several rows high so that she was having to rise to her knees to continue stacking. “I think we left a few variables out and were working under some incorrect assumptions.” “Like what?” “We were harvesting chronotons from the fifth dimension,” my friend reminded me, “but chronotons only radiate outward into the fifth dimension from the present. Chronotons from the past mixed with the chronotons being generated from the present. Maybe this is what it looks like when past infects the present.” Julia pointed to a row of blocks near the bottom. “Let’s say that this is chronotons from the past when we were toddlers.” Gently, she poked a block out of the stack and removed it, leaving the rest of the pile still standing stall. “Then we moved those moments in time, those states of being, up here to the present.” The brick she removed went to the top of the tower. “The rest of reality still stands, but now in the present day, we’re potty training again, and this part,” she pointed to the top and wiggled her fingers down back to the base, “is spreading and dripping down the rest. The present and past still happened, but now the entire structure of reality has changed to explain why we never left daycare, and have gaps in our potty training.” I felt myself frown. “You’re suggesting that chronotons act like both a particle and a living thing?” I asked. “Like a kind of bacteria that’s spreading and cross breeding?” Julia looked at me and shrugged. “Unless you’ve got a better explanation.” I didn’t. “It still doesn’t quite explain why this building became a daycare,” she said. “It never was one to begin with.” “Maybe it would have been one, had it been normal for people in their twenties to need care at this level.” I said, giving her tower a look over. “ Cause and effect aren’t exactly intuitive where chronotons are concerned. Neither is conservation of mass, in all likelihood.” Bored now that she had given visual metaphor to her theory, Julia knocked over the cardboard bricks onto the carpet. She started stacking them again into something less defined. A castle perhaps? “What do you mean?” she asked as I watched her build. How to put what I was thinking? I saw a hint of Pull-Ups poking out from the back of her shorts, and inspiration struck me. “Like, do you really think that all of your Pull-Ups used to be panties? That your toddler bed used to be a grown-up bed?” My colleague stopped stacking the blocks and looked at me. “I…I suppose so? I haven’t given it much thought.” “How old were the panties you were wearing the night before they changed…” I stopped myself; poor choice of words, “err…transformed into Pull-Ups?” Julia reached behind her and hiked her shorts up. “I dunno. Why would I know that off the top of my head?” “Had them for a couple years?” I suggested. “At least.” “Right,” I nodded. “You don’t keep track because you wash and re-wear underwear again and again as long as it fits and is in good condition. But with disposables, new ones have to be manufactured and replaced daily. If everyone under thirty had their underwear-and just their underwear-transform to diapers…” “We wouldn’t have enough diapers and training pants to make it through a week, even when accounting for countries where infants don’t wear diapers.” Now she was getting it. “And I felt my panties get thicker,” I told my friend. “Me too,” she said. Without consciously meaning too, my hand wandered underneath my skirt and I gave my Pull-Ups a quick squeeze. Julia was noticeably touching her thighs together, likely taking notice of the slight padding between them. “But where did the material come from?” I asked. Both of us sat there in silence for a few moments, neither of us knowing the answer, the question only now coming into my head. Julia broke the silence. “Are you suggesting that all this stuff just…just materialized out of thin air?” I frowned. The idea that such a thing could happen was against every known and plausible scientific law that I was aware of. The amount of energy required to convert air into solid materials alone would likely drain the sun. Finally, I spoke. “We still don’t know precisely how chronotons react with inanimate objects beyond a few isolated unprocessed samples,” “We never thought to,” Julia said. Then her own eyes showed a flash of shock as the further implications of our meddling occurred to her. “The extra strain on natural resources would already be catastrophic,” she told me. “Oil is needed for the plastic and elastic needed for diapers. “ “You don’t suppose the chronotons had other effects do you?” I asked. “Like, replenishing of certain irreplaceable resources?” “I have no idea,” Julia admitted. “Every bit of news I’ve heard my mommy listening to has been about the kids popping up all over the place. There’s no talk of any kind of resource shortages.” She paused. “No more than usual that is.” She giggled. It was dry and bitter, but it was giggling all the same. “Maybe we accidentally solved the resource crisis on accident.” < Memory Upload Disconnected> <Neural Uplink Reconnected In Real Time.> I had no idea if we did. I still don’t. All I do know is that the diapers and baby clothes are still very much in demand and plentiful. The adult and child sections of clothing stores have shrunk considerably, but the baby aisles have ballooned proportionately with no shortage in stock. <Memory Sequence Resume Uploading. August 18th, 2017> With no further data to examine, I found my mind wandering to seeking further solutions to our current predicament. “So what do we do now?” I asked. “Wait until we’re considered ‘old’ enough to re-enroll in college, re-earn our degrees, and pick up our research where we left off?” “I don’t know,” Julia shuddered. “I have no idea. Never had to literally restart my life.” She turned her attention back to the stacking bricks. “I’m feeling really overwhelmed, right now.” “Me too.” “I just…I just need some time to de-stress.” She didn’t even look at me. “I need to…I need to play with some blocks for a little while.” I stood up and flattened my skirt back out. We were both stressed. We needed time to think to ourselves rather than a constant commiseration. Elisa would give Julia some space, and little by little Dr. Briggs and Dr. Meyer would return to the fore as some new idea snuck up on us. Besides, I felt more like coloring. “Doctor,” I said, invoking our ritual. She replied automatically, not even looking up from the blocks, “Doctor.” I walked over to small, but abandoned table. It wouldn’t do to have me trying to clear my head while some six-foot-tall toddler tried to give me a hug or pull my hair. The table was filled with stacks of crisp white paper, several boxes of crayons strewn about. Ignoring the dry crinkle and barely audible hiss from my padded backside as I sat down at the table, I grabbed a box of crayons and a piece of paper. Perhaps in my calculations there had been something I overlooked when programming the chrono-drill. With practiced ease, I grabbed a black crayon- the closest thing to an actual pencil- and went to write down an equation, only to be sorely surprised when the crayon streaked wildly off the paper and made a dark mark on the sunshine yellow surface beneath. “The hell?” I whispered, bringing the crayon up to eye level to examine it. Again, I tried to write formulae that I had long ago memorized in my sleep, and at most I was left with unintelligible scribbles. I stared down at the paper, feeling betrayed by my tools, but somewhere inside of me, I knew that it wasn’t the crayon’s fault. With shaking, unsteady digits, I attempted to write my name in all capital letters. E-L-I-S-A. Only the first three letters were anything resembling legible. The S was little more than a squiggle and the A looked like a Frankenstein’s hybrid of an X and an H. My fine motor skills had been impacted along with my bladder capacity. I turned over the piece of paper to continue experimenting, only to find a pre-rendered but rather plain sketch of a frog. I grabbed another piece of paper from the stack and turned it over. A white (save for the outlines) cow mooed up at me from the table. Coloring pages. Of course. I should have been annoyed, or outraged, but instead I saw only opportunity to test the limits that this new reality had imposed on me. Even a baby could manage to color a stupid cow, right? Several hours passed as I experimented and colored, trying diligently to keep my crayons on the paper. Little by little I started to get the hang of things. I really was advanced. I sat at the art table in daycare, doing my best to color in between the lines. The thick orange crayon felt cumbersome and unwieldy in my hands. Each stroke was laborious and imprecise; no two strokes precisely lining up with each other, no matter how intent I was or how meticulous my technique. A chasm of white separated each grainy orange line. The “work” that my teacher had given me was extremely frustrating- my coloring was more of a barely controlled scribble- but it served my purposes. I was still collecting data, even if it was data concerning my current physical limitations and the lingering psychological side effects of the recent fallout from my previous experiment. Besides, the chicken wasn’t going to color itself. A cry from a familiar voice made me look up from my “work”. Red faced and snot gushing out of her nose, Julia was being led to the daycare’s bathroom. I looked back down to the cartoon sketch of a now mostly orange barnyard fowl, averting my eyes to give my colleague some measure, some tiny scrap of dignity. She had likely just urinated in her pants, despite there being no outward visible indicator that I could see. Correction: the pink Pull-Up in the teacher’s free hand as she led Julia to the bathroom confirmed my hypothesis. Unable to control her bladder properly, or her emotions, she was being led to get changed into a fresh pair of what passed for underpants. The giggling twenty-something getting his bottom wiped on the nearby changing table as another adult slipped his soiled Huggies out from under him was a stark reminder that things could be much worse for us. A sudden flash of doubt caused me to look to the left and the right, making sure the coast was clear before I peeked under the hem of my own hot-pink skirt. The “fade when wet” designs on my crotch were still bright and clear. A sigh of relief escaped me, involuntarily, as I smoothed out my skirt. How queer it was, in this new status quo, that I was expected to occasionally soil myself yet still maintain a semblance of modesty. How had it come to this, I wondered, as I heard my friend’s wails of protest echo off the bathroom walls. “I’M NOT A BABY! LET GO OF ME! STOP! PLEEEEAAASE! STOP! NOOOOO!” At least one of Julia’s hypothesis about our current state was being supported. We were cognitively still very much adults, thanks to the precautions she had taken before disaster struck; but emotionally we were becoming less and less developed. Coloring and blocks were emotionally satisfying and perhaps even stimulating. The thought of being treated as an infant mortified us disproportionately, even when compared to our adult selves. The opinions of so called “grown-ups” held unmerited weight. Julia was still bawling when she came out, our teacher shaking her head to herself while disposing of Julia’s soiled Pull-Up. She practically threw herself down at the table; and almost slammed. “I’m never going to get potty trained!” she wailed. “NEVER! NEVER! NEVER!” Each word was punctuated by a balled-up fist slamming down on the table. Feeling incredibly awkward, I reached over and patted her on the back. “Don’t worry,” I told her. “You’ll get it. This is only day two of-“ “-OF ETERNITY!” she snapped her head up, tears streaming down from her eyes. Without looking back, she pointed back at the rat cages. “Lucy and Ethel,” she growled at me. “How long have they been stuck in the same loop? An eternity in rat years. Not one bit of progress. How long have our plant samples lasted? Our bacterium? Chronotons preserve. That much holds constant!” She was teetering the line into hysterics. “Julia…” There were no other words. I tried to offer what comfort I could. Tearfully, angrily, she shoved my hand away from her. “The only time I’ve used the potty was yesterday when I went poopy; and that was an accident.” The disgust on my face must have been unconscious and yet plain. “Oh don’t act so high and mighty, Elisa,” she whispered through gritted teeth. “I’m a couple of months younger than you, so my bladder is less developed…but it’s not going to get any more developed.” I shook my head, dumbly. Now my own eyes were getting watery. “What do…what do you mean?” “Either the grown-ups won’t notice the passage of time and we’ll be twenty-nine-year-old babies forever, or they will…only we’ll be thirty-year-old babies…forty-year-old babies…fifty-year-old babies.” Her face broke into a buskin match, yet her sobs sounded almost like laughter. “It’s like you said…we’re in a never-ending yesterday.” She was right, of course. All of our data, even before this mess indicated a kind of paralyzed immortality. Being considered giant toddlers was just an unforeseen circumstance that we hadn’t calculated. It was getting harder and harder for me to see. My own tears. “I’ll be forever in Pull-Ups…just starting to potty train,” my best friend moaned. “Never making it, always being shamed for not being mature enough.” Her body was racked with sobs. She picked herself up and stared at me. “It’d almost be better if we had gone back even further,” she cried. “At least I wouldn’t have to deal with the shame of going pee-pee and poopy in my diapers if that’s what I was supposed to do!” She wiped her nose and leveled a snot-dripping finger at me. “And it’s all your fault.” “What?” “Oh come on!” my colleague wailed at me. “Don’t tell me you haven’t figured out where it all went wrong. Even I figured out that much. It was your lack of foresight, your lack of understanding that made this all happen to us! If you had just done one thing differently the other night, we’d be okay…” Julia started babbling incoherently, more sobs than speech. I couldn’t see her anymore. Everything was too blurry. I too was crying, openly. I was angry and penitent and miserable and desperate all at once. I hated Julia for her telling me what I had been secretly telling myself this entire time. I hated her for being smarter than me; her invention, though rushed and incomplete had saved us both from mine. The daycare teachers were walking over to us, two little girls bawling their eyes up for no reason they could discern. I had no idea what Julia was talking about, blaming myself but still not sure what I could have done differently. My body took control away from my rational mind, and my arms opened wide; the near universal sign for asking for a hug. Damn, I needed a hug. Thankfully, though still sobbing, Julia reciprocated. Noses running with snot, eyes flooding with tears, and throats sore from incoherent screaming, we embraced each other, taking what comfort we could as grown-ups came to see what all the fuss was about. “Julia,” I cried. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. If I could do it all over again, I’d go back and-“ I heard the response in my head, in my mind, rather than in my ears. “<Command accepted. Go back.>” No…
  15. Hobbies- who has them?

    the heck is a hobby?