Chapter Description: Clark catches a commercial and gets some insight as to what his giant friends have been seeing all along.
Excited by the ringing of her doorbell, Janet ran in short stunted steps towards the front; it was the kind of run that children did when they were happy and in a hurry but didn’t want to seem too excited. She was so excited she actually let me out of her sight for an instant. Not that I was going to run; I wouldn’t have made it far. I’d need a step stool and tip toes to even reach the doorknobs of her place.
As Muffet Littles played on, I closed my eyes and hung my head. I would have sworn that the cartoon was called “Muffet Babies”. Was I going crazy? Was I being gaslit or something? Was this hypnosis? If I was being hypnotized, would I even know it? This couldn’t be a hypno-cartoon though. Janet had watched it right with me. Right?
Then the thought, like death, like a cancer diagnosis creeped into my mind: What if Maturosis was real? What if it had always been Muffet Littles and I just didn’t notice it or I was remembering things differently? What if all the bullshit that the quasi-pediatrician had said was at least somewhat accurate?
In the stories, the Amazon detective Hemlock Sholmes said that when you rule out the impossible, all that’s left is the possible; even if it was super improbable. Granted, that logic was often put to use to justify that such and such Little deserved to be in diapers or a Tweener committed the crime and needed spanking and to be sent to some kind of etiquette school; but still...
What if I really was regressing into an adult sized baby? To the Amazons I was already a baby sized adult. What if the madness of Amazons... wasn’t? What if I was the one going mad? What if at least some Littles; Littles like Ivy, or Amy, or even Chaz; did start to have their biology turn on them and their brain chemistry alter to simulate what to the Amazons was no older than two?
What if I was one of those Littles? It was absurd.
Loud, girlish squeals and giggles made their way back to my ears. The resultant sigh was a low growl of frustration and exasperation. My life had metamorphosed from a lifelong physical crisis to a series of existential ones. Not exactly a trade up.
Speaking of existential crises, I relaxed my bladder and wet myself then and there. Outside of my crib in the middle of the night, pissing myself while alone was the closest I felt I was going to get to privacy. To wet in privacy or wet in front of others; that was the only question I was allowed to ask.
I felt the wetness be quickly wicked away from my skin and my bladder sing out in pleasure and relief while my penis, stupid thing that it was, smiled at the fresh warmth; a localized and very intimate shower and sponge bath. It felt awful to my brain; but acceptable to my body. How long before brain and body were more in sync? Quietly, I didn’t like the odds of my body rejecting what was forced on it more than my mind coming to accept it.
I opened my eyes and watched the wet patch start to form on the front of the diaper; right below the landing zone; just beneath the smiling rainbow colored monkeys holding their balloons. I felt and saw the plastic wrinkle and distort slightly as the core absorbed my waste and the pulp bulged and expanded in places and bunched up in others. It was subtle, to be sure, but I could tell. At a glance, it would look like nothing. If there was even a single layer of clothing to cover the padding, it would be almost impossible to tell. Wet enough to swell slightly, not nearly enough to sag or droop. Most things that an Amazon would dress me in wouldn’t even conceal the dry bulk of the diaper; surely they wouldn’t notice the slightest increase in mass.
Could real babies tell? Would knowing make me feel any better?
Heavy footsteps signaled Janet’s return. Her eyes still had the same quiet crazy as they had moments before, an addict swimming in the drug of their choice. The giant beside her had a different, more familiar glint in her face- a junkie who hadn’t gotten her fix: Raine Forrest eyes.
It wasn’t Raine Forrest beside Janet, however. Seeing the school receptionist just then would have caused me to upchuck the morning’s cereal. Only thing worse might have been Brollish...or Beouf (but for completely different reasons).
As near as I can tell, the ideal aesthetic of Amazon Beauty (for women anyways) revolves around an exaggerated form of motherhood. Big breasts, but bigger hips. I’d later learn that Amazon women were just as likely to pad their hips as much as their bras. Hair is often grown long, but can be tied back and worn in a bun or a ponytail to look sporty or professional, or let down and worn big.
The woman that walked in with Janet did not fit that mold. Almost no hips. Small breasts (for an Amazon, still bigger than my face), short cropped hair; super skinny jeans and a T-shirt. An Amazonian tomboy. A rare sight indeed. Only Brollish looked quite so skinny and that’s because Brollish was a skeleton wearing someone else’s skin held together in a pantsuit.
If some of the more wingnut conspiracy theories on MistuhGwiffin.web held any water, this new addition might have been the mythical Little hit with a growth ray. Back in highschool and college, lots of Little girls would dress like this; some would say daring the giants to dress them up in pink and lavender frills.
It’s what Cassie looked like when we first met…
Being less than perfectly Mommy Femme Shiek, didn’t make the newcomer any less baby crazy.
“AWWWWWWW!” the stranger squealed. “He’s even cuter in person!”
Before I had a chance to react, I was overshadowed, scooped up and hugged just a bit too hard. “JANET?!”
“Jessica!” Janet’s rebuke didn’t sound quite so forceful; there was more than a hint of laughter in her tone. “You’re scaring him! Stranger danger!”
Instead of being put down, I was handed off to Janet. “Oh, my bad! Poor thing!” Now forced at eye level with her, the strange Amazon waved at me; all wrist. “Hi! I’m Jessica! Your Mommy’s been friends with me for a long long time!”
I bit down on my tongue as the conversation, and me, moved back to the sofa; the two Amazons on the cushions and me on Janet’s lap. “Hi.” I crossed my arms over my chest. Janet wrapped an arm around my belly button.
“You can call me Auntie Jessica,” the new woman said. She looked over my head and back up to Janet. “If that’s okay, I mean.”
“I don’t mind it,” Janet said. “You’re like a sister to me.”
“Why yes Clark, you can call this someone Auntie if you’re comfortable with it,” said no one.
“I’m sorry, I hugged you without asking first, that must have been scary.” Jessica said back to me. Her voice was more measured and high pitched than when she was talking to Janet. Typical. “It’s just like I already feel like I know you. Your Mommy has already told me so much about you these last few months.”
My face turned to stone. “Janet hasn’t told me a thing about you.” Another stray puzzle piece clicked into place. “Months?”
Janet cleared her throat. I got the hint. Jessica didn’t. “Yeah. You’re the ex-teacher, right?” The “ex” was a punch straight down into my gullet. She looked at Janet. “He’s still calling you by your first name?”
“It’s something we’re working on…” Janet said. “He was calling me Mommy just a few minutes before you came. Drank his ba-ba all up, too.” I squished a little bit as she bounced me slightly on her lap.
My ex-friend had been telling the truth of course. Thrice in as many days I’d manipulated her by pushing the Mommy button (with varying degrees of success). Right now, then? In front of this stranger whom my former co-worker had apparently told so much about me; she was Janet. My pride, weak as it was, still surged and receded like waves on a beach.
The fact of trauma is that no one recovers in one fell swoop. No one breaks all at once, either. In those early days I was breaking and recovering in bits and pieces and in different places simultaneously. A cut would open up on my soul here, while my psyche was still knitting itself up there, just before the stitches on my identity ripped open but after the scars on my ego had calcified.
“Jaaaaaaanet…!” I whined, and caught Janet’s friend casting her a slightly dubious look. Janet stopped bouncing me. I didn’t need to see her face to feel the subtle shifts in her body. Embarrassment. Disappointment
A nasty impulse jiggled around in my brain. I remembered another safe old cartoon I’d watched in my actual childhood. One about an amazing singing and dancing frog with a hat and cane that would only ribbit when anyone but its owner was around. I could be that frog; call my captor “Mommy” only when we were alone or around inconsequential folks.
I’d had plenty of bratty pre-schoolers whose parents insisted that their monsters were cherubs at home. It might be karmic justice to put Janet through the same experience. She wanted to be a mother, after all. Or maybe that was the mutating brain chemistry of a not-quite fictional maturity condition justifying infantile impulses.
Shit. This had to be how mindfucking and going native started…
As I contemplated my own mind, the two giants started talking over me. I kept quiet, pretending to watch another episode of Muffet Littles but really just staring into the middle distance; even though the blasted cartoon was still next level messing with my mind. If I couldn’t trust the narrative of my own life, what could I trust?
“Let me guess,” Jessica said, “old guest room is now a nursery?”
“Yup!” Janet chirped. “Had to get it repainted, but it’s perfect. Just need more clothes.”
Jessica didn’t know I was watching her watch me. “I wouldn’t worry about that for long.”
“Shhh…!” Another hint missed. Holy shit...Jessica was Janet’s Tracy.
Jessica chuckled a bit. “Or just keep him naked. That’s fine too.” Okay, maybe not quite Tracy. “I’m glad you got to keep the house.”
A more gentle hug from Janet pressed me. “Me too. The divorce lawyer said the secret vasectomy was the nail in the coffin.” She sounded sad again. Douchebag ex-husband who I’d never met had cheated on her, snipped himself, and strung her along promising a child even though his parental desires were zero. The old me hated him for hurting a friend. The current me hated him for giving her an excuse to adopt. “But,” Janet picked her tone up again, “it all worked out for the best.” I looked up at her, her face upside down to mine. “Didn’t it?”
“Yes, Janet.” I lowered my eyes back to the middle distance. The kiss on the top of my head was definitely more for her than it was for me.
Jessica laughed. “Oh fudge, he’s kind of sassy isn’t he?”
“Yeah,” Janet agreed. “Always has been, I think.” Another peck on my head. “He’s just getting worse at hiding it!” Her voice went cutesy and squeaky.
“That look!” Jessica squealed a bit. “So cuuuute! Such a sourpuss!” Apparently, I had more tells than I thought. “It’s just like those pictures of him in the tubby!” My face burned hot. On reflex I whipped my head around and shot her my most withering glare “No! That’s the look! So adorbs! He just needs bubbles in his hair.”
It was my most withering glare...and I withered… It was then that I suspected that much of my intimidation factor had been more a courtesy of my station than any inherent quality of mine.
“Does that mean you’re going to be opting out of game night?” Jessica asked, picking up her conversation. “Being a new Mommy and all?”
“Game night?” I echoed up.
They ignored me. “I don’t think so,” Janet said. “Though maybe we could relocate here for the next couple of sessions?”
Game night. I knew what it was in concept. It was absurdly easy to figure out: Friends get together and play games. There was a shelf by the near wall that had several boxes of board games stacked up.
I grimaced. Intellectually I knew about it. Emotionally, it felt almost alien to me. Ever since buying the house, most of Cassie’s and I’s nights were spent alone together. Our Little friends lived too far away to just casually drop by for parcheesi or whatever. Even a harmless round of checkers seemed dangerous after a certain age. In my experience, most adult Littles gathered and bitched about Amazons...usually with some heavy drinking.
Amazons could play games though; their adulthood was never in question. Their leisure was never up for debate, while most of my adult life was structured around avoiding Amazons.
“You’re not bringing him to the winery later this month, are you?” Jessica asked. “The bottling party wouldn’t be the same without you.”
“Winery?” I asked. “You make your own wine?”
Janet patted my head. “Clark, Grown-Ups are talking.”
“It’s not that kind of bottle, hun,” Jessica teased. She returned her attention to her friend. “Do you need someone to watch? I wouldn’t mind.”
Janet scoffed. “And miss out on tipsy-Jess?” Amazons got to drink AND play casual games? More simple proof that the world was not fair. “I want you to have a good time, too.”
“Yeah, but I’d love to babysit.”
My eyes widened “Babysi-?!”
“Ooops!” Janet’s hands clapped lightly over my ears. They did nothing to muffle what she said. “He’s not quite comfortable with the b-a-b-y word, yet.”
“Oops!” the lankier Amazon said. “I meant, I’d love to Littlesit.” I just stared. “Big boy sit?”
“I’m an adult…”
She smirked. “You’re wearing a diaper, hun.”
“I’m potty trained!” So this is what a broken record felt like.
Janet bounced me on her leg one more time. “You’re also wet. Do you want changed?” There was no good answer to that.
I managed to wriggle down off her lap and slide down to the floor. I pointed a finger accusingly. “Because you won’t let me use the bathroom!” BOOM! CASE CLOSED!
“You haven’t even asked me to use the potty.” My mouth went dry.
Oh shit, oh fuck!
My jaw all but kissed my neck. I hadn’t. But why would I? Why ask a question when you already know what the answer would be. I’d lost my ability to teacher stare, but Janet’s condescending smirk and challenging glare was still on point. It was the same matter-of-fact superiority that she’d coyly radiated when pointing out that I’d potty trained some of her students way back when.
This must have been how they felt: Impotent, embarrassed and without retort or recourse.
“Can I?” I asked, timidly. “Can I use the toilet...Janet?”
The two Amazons exchanged brief looks. “Why would I, Clark? You’ve already shown that you need diapers. It’s on your I.E.P. You’ve been perfectly comfortable wearing a wet one until I brought it up.” She paused. “Do you want Mommy to change you?”
Damn it. Right then I bet that she would have caved if I had called it a ‘potty’ and asked her as ‘Mommy’. She would have been tempted, anyways. No good answer to the changing question; it’s like “are you still beating your wife?”. Yes or no, didn’t matter. So I did the stupid thing. I said nothing and walked away to the other side of the room; my butt crinkling with every step and gravity just starting to make the wet Monkeez droop a bit in front.
“That’s fine,” Janet called out after me. “You’re not that wet. You can wait a little while.”
I harumphed and peed a bit more before sitting back down on the carpet. Might as well. The apple juice was already running its way through me. Stupid, typical Amazon bullshit. I wasn’t allowed to use the toilet because I’d wet my diaper and I was being forced to wet my diaper because one time I hadn’t made it to the toilet.
It’s what I’d expected. It still hurt, though. I looked down at the diaper and poked at the spongey soaked front. How much had I peed? So much harder to tell after the first wetting. Dry to wet was an immediate contrast. After that, though, it might be like turning up the heat on a lobster pot. A few degrees here, a few degrees there, next thing you know you’ve lost count of how many times you’ve peed and are on the verge of leaking.
Unpotty trained? Mind fucked? Gone Native? Maturosis? Just plain old broken down?
I didn’t have any answers.
I tried to bury my shame and my attention. I rolled over to my stomach and rested my chin in my hands; burying the front of my diaper in the carpet and my focus on the stupid fucking cartoon that was a mockery of my lost childhood.
“Alien planet below! Prepare to land!” Baby (Little) Skooner said as the makeshift UFO skidded across the Muffet Nursery. The black and white stock footage of a B-Movie was still there representing the tyke’s imagination.
Same exact bit. But when the footage resumed to animation, it was the same bastardized Little version instead of their baby counterparts. “Hmmm…” Little (Baby) Kremit said. “Looks like a friendly planet to me.” They weren’t kids playing pretend, anymore. They were adults acting like kids. They were a reflection of who I was trapped as; not as who I used to be.
In a terribly poetic way, it made sense. The Muffet Babies of my youth was never quite a prequel beyond a few references in bygone television specials. They had different voice actors than the main puppeteers of the Muffets. Some characters, like Skeener, were never even made into proper puppets. They never had birthdays or talks of school. Just like Littles, the Muffet Babies were never allowed to grow-up. Maybe I had remembered wrong. Maybe they always were the Muffet Littles.
It’s awful feeling like an unreliable narrator in your own story.
I seethed and hid my face back in my hands. Half-listening and fuming and yes, pouting. The women on the couch continued gabbing and catching up like old friends. Due to distance, my own distractibility, and T.V. volume, I was only able to pick up bits of conversation here and there.
Gardening. Horse Racing. Something called a cosset. Completely mundane stuff. Boring stuff. Normal stuff. So-called grown-ups talking about normal boring stuff while I tried to keep my mind stimulated and distracted.
Damn. Might this become my new normal? I hoped not.
I heard soft footsteps leave the room, but didn’t bother to look up. I felt more than saw Janet’s shadow hovering over me. I was all too aware as she hooked her fingers in the back of my diaper. So much for not checking me quite so often. I started to grumble “I didn’t shi-!”
“Auntie Jessica’s just checkin’.” That wasn’t Janet. “TICKLE TIME!” Thin, bony fingers that were still so much bigger than my own dug into me at lightning speed. Into my ribs, under my armpits, into the side of my stomach.
“NOOOOOOOOO-O-O-O-O!” My screams of protests came out as panicked laughter as her fingers worked me over, playing my sides like a keyboard in double time. “STAH-AH-AH-AH-AHP!” I contracted and convulsed on the floor as the giant pinned me down.
I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t BREATHE! She only needed one hand on my back to keep me still enough to torment. The only thing that matched my panicked, pained laughter was her own gleeful tittering. “Auntie’s gonna getcha! Auntie’s gonna getcha!”
More soft footsteps on the carpet. “Jessica!” Janet sounded far more amused than upset. “What are you doing to my poor Little boy?”
Kneeling on the carpet next to my prone and huffing body, Jessica stopped tickling me. “Just thought I’d help?”
“Get all the pee-pee out before you change him.”
I gulped. Did I pee again? It was difficult to know. “Changed?” I asked. “But I thought…you said…” Staying in the wet diaper had been a bad choice, but it was at least a choice I’d been allowed to make.
Janet already had a fresh diaper and a pack wipes in one hand and a fresh bottle of juice in the other. “Company’s almost here.”
“Company?” I got no answer. What I got was flipped over onto my back. I pointed up to the tomboy Amazon. “I thought she was-”
“Sure you don’t wanna change him in his room?” Jessica interrupted.
Janet opened up the wipes and started to unfold the new diaper. “It’s fine here,” Janet said. “I’ve been listening to some Little Voices podcasts.”
“Added more to your playlist?”
“Yeah. They say that changing in different places can help with adjustments. Some Littles struggling with Maturosis try to hold it in at first; pretend they’re still potty trained.”
“Mmmm-hmmm…” It was practically an Amen.
“Changing in different places and at different times helps ease things. If they can be changed anytime and anywhere, they won’t feel so bad about needing to go anytime and anywhere.” Translation: Desensitize Littles to getting stripped down and wiped anywhere so that they don’t try timing their bowel movements to coincide with a scheduled diaper change. Though damned if that wasn’t exactly what I was guilty of just the day before. “Some experts think it even helps prevent constipation.”
I crossed my arms over my chest. Might as well get this over with…
“Do you want Lion?”
Jessica wondered, “Lion?”
“I’ll show you later. It’s the cutest thing.”
Jessica was still the one hovering closest to me. Just when Janet was starting to eyeball the tapes on my diaper, she spoke up. “Can I change him?” she asked. “For practice? Babysitting?”
A thin smile, a deviously cocky one, blossomed. “Are you cosseting?” Janet asked.
Jessica inched her thumb and forefinger together. “Maybe a little…” The two giggled like schoolgirls.
Janet rolled her eyes good naturally. “Heh. Fine.”
The tapes were loudly ripped off before Janet finished giving her consent. One of the few taboos I knew of among Amazons was stealing each other’s padded prisoners. It’s why positions such as daycare workers, positions like Beouf’s and Zoge’s were not-so-secretly coveted. Got to play with all the ‘babies’ all day and get paid for it; a teacher’s salary in Beouf’s case. Jessica and Janet must have been really close if she was already being allowed this ‘privilege’.
I winced and grunted as the first flurry of baby wipes were rubbed on me. My junk was like a dish with a stubborn grease spot. “Not so hard,” Janet told her friend. “Be gentle.” Took the words right out of my mouth. Speaking of mouth. “Drink up, hon! Don’t want you getting dehydrated.” More apple juice was squirted into my mouth. Janet was using this opportunity to multitask. Clean up the bottom while filling up the top.
The new diaper wouldn’t stay dry long if this kept up. That was kind of the point though, wasn’t it?
“No powder?” Jessica asked, balling up the wet diaper and wipes right out from under me.
Still holding the bottle in my mouth, Janet shook her head. “Don’t want any accidentally on the carpet.” Her mouth twitched. “Darn it. Should have gotten a stuffer, too. That way we could make it through the whole shebang without stopping for a change.”
“Oh no,” Jessica slipped the replacement under me and started taping it up. “Mommy will have to change her Little boy...again. Not that. No. Next you’ll be telling us not to throw you into the briar patch.”
I gurgled and gargled behind the nipple. “Hull shhbbbng?”
“You’ll see.” The complete stranger who’d just changed me winked. “Throw the diaper away…?” Her tone was friendly, mock begging for a favor.
“You changed it, you toss it,” Janet said.
“Can’t blame me for trying,” Janet stood with the old diaper, my old diaper, balled up in one hand. “Pail in the nursery?”
Janet dared not take the bottle out of my mouth. “That or the trashcan in the kitchen. Either works. “Kay-kay.” Jessica went towards the back of the house, towards my cell; because of course she did.
“Company,” Janet said. She handed me the bottle and booped me on the nose. “You wait right here.” She went for the front door. “COMING!”
Great. More company. I spat out the bottle and stood up. Who next? Her parents? Was I going to have to call them ‘Grampy’ and ‘Grammy’?
The television went to commercial; a commercial that saved a piece of my sanity.
“It was the day of the big game at Monkeez stadium” the bodiless narrator said. I looked at the T.V. I’d seen this commercial before. The camera cut to a tight shot of babies in the stands, playing the parts of fans. Something was different, though. There were more shots that weren’t in the cut I’d seen previously.
In amongst the Amazon babies were Littles cheering right alongside them, all clad in nothing but Monkeez. And they were smiling and clapping and fumbling with their hands just as much. They were either completely mind fucked or acting the part.
“But the star receiver couldn’t catch a pass,” the narrator said, just like before. Instead of a cute toddler being tossed foam footballs, the part of the star receiver in the plain white saggy Brand X diaper might have been in his early to mid twenties. “And no wonder, there was an offensive leak in his diaper!”
“Here comes the coach with a new game plan. Monkeez Lil’ Steps Diapers, now with a more absorbent center, and Monkeez leg elastics to help eliminate gaps in the defense!” The ‘COACH’ bringing out the diapers was the same normal Amazon baby.
“Same audio tracks,” I whispered to myself. That’s how they did it. “Different takes.” They filmed the same commercial twice and substituted in Little actors and extras. Just like with the Muffet Babies turning into the Muffet Littles. Same dialogue. Same audio. Different visuals.
On the commercial, the screen had gone to the computer generated diagram of the diaper’s features as before; including one that I’d taken for granted last time. Sizing.
I looked down at the waistband of my new diaper. Though it was mostly covered by the tapes, I could still make out the size written down in a babyish star stencil. I was wearing a Monkeez size 9. Of course! A lightbulb exploded in my gray matter.
“Monkeez is the only major diaper company that sizes for all babies,” Michelle had said months ago. Only then did I truly appreciate the implications. ALL BABIES. I wasn’t wearing a scaled up version of what Little children wore. I was wearing the exact same thing, just a different size!
If Little children wore diapers sized starting at one, but Amazon children wore size eights and nines and tens, there was an implicit message. It was the same reason why Amazons still measured in pounds and feet. A unified system of measurement to psychologically favor the Amazons and how big they were.
I wasn’t an adult being treated like a baby being put in the same size three and four diapers that Little babies were. I was the same baby as any other Amazon child; I was just done growing up. It’s why Janet didn’t seem to notice the difference at first between me describing Muffet Babies and Muffet Littles . It’s why Dr. Milton insisted that I was an ‘Adult Baby’. It’s why the stupid diaper commercial had a mix of actual Amazon children and babied Littles.
As a culture, as a whole, they didn’t want to see the difference between their children and our adults. They’d blurred the line. Deep down, the Amazons weren’t just gaslighting us. They were gaslighting themselves too.
I felt like Archimedes when he discovered the principle of displacement. I felt like Archimodes when he stumbled upon the principle of absorption. In that instant, I knew the truth. I wasn’t crazy. Not yet.
“Okay team, let’s FIGHT! THOSE! LEAKS!”
And I didn’t have Maturosis. Maturosis didn’t exist. It was a real EUREKA moment! I was feeling completely justified in my decades-long paranoia.
“And it’s a touchdown!” The Little man spiked the football, just like his infant counterpart had.. “What a happy day for Monkeez fans.”
I tossed my arms into the air, fists clenched in the victory of seeing through the bullshit. “YES!”
My jubilation was cut short by peels of laughter and overcome by cooing. Voices. Lots of them. I whipped my head around away from the television. Filtering into Janet’s living room were faces, lots of them.
Holding gift wrapped boxes, and wearing sickeningly adoring smiles.
I was hairless from the neck down and naked save for the fresh diaper that’d just been taped onto me.
And from their perspective, they’d just caught me cheering.
Cheering at a fake touchdown in a Monkeez diaper commercial.
This was not going to end well for me...