Chapter Description: Thanks to a factory error, Mattie finds an opening
“Shit!” Mattie cursed through clenched teeth. “Shit...shit...shit...shit…!” The sun was just barely cresting through the window of his Air BnB but Mattie had already been awake for a good fifteen minutes.
When his alarm had gone off, he’d woken up to urine soaked sheets sticking to clammy thighs having wrapped around him as he tossed and turned in the middle of the night. At present he was busy scrubbing the mattress; adding in soapy suds and stain remover; hoping the warm water would do its job.
Second day in a row, too. Yesterday when it had happened, the would-be spy just ripped the sheets off and threw them into the washing machine alongside his soaked undies. He’d flipped the mattress and considered the matter resolved. Northeaster Care would pay for the ruined mattress- if it was ever noticed in time to be tracked back to him.
As far as Mattie was concerned, he was out. Beginnings of advertising campaign leaked. Mission successful. Break out a bit of the bubbly and pour the champagne. Job done. Time to celebrate.
Then he’d gotten the reply from Mrs. Northeaster: “Get me more.” That was all that was written. Problem was, he’d needed to lay low all yesterday, and the computer he’d hacked into didn’t have anything more juicy. Not even a timeline or projected release date.
That was yesterday. Today, he was scrubbing the stained mattress and cursing under his breath. HIs boxer briefs were still stained, too. He didn't have the presence of mind to take them off this time. Mattie could only hope that the scrubbing would be enough and that he wouldn’t be late for work.
“Goddamnit. Get. The. Fuck. Out. Stupid. Stain!” If he hadn’t been so absolutely frustrated, Mattie might have appreciated the parallels between himself and a certain Shakespearean character known for fruitlessly trying to scrub away a guilty conscience. “Why? Won’t? It? Clean?”
A notification pinged on his desktop. That was enough for the damp rag to be plopped into the sloshing bucket. Another email from Northeaster Care. “Positive they have products that are further along. Keep digging.”
Mattie ran the palm of his hand down his face and exhaled. This is not what he’d agreed to. Not at all. Between the boring drudgery, the looming anxiety of keeping up his cover, and his sudden nighttime incontinence, Mattie was no longer having much fun. The big paycheck at the end and the chance to get into Candice’s panties though…
He rubbed his eyes and glanced at the laptop’s clock. “Shit!” he hissed. He’d spent too long cleaning up his accident. (Those were thoughts he’d never thought he’d have.) Couldn’t be late for his shift in the mailroom or he’d draw attention to himself.
“If I could turn back time,” Cher circa 1989 belted out over the speakers, “If I could find a way. I’d take back those words that’ve hurt you, and you’d stay!”
Mattie bit his tongue and rolled his eyes. Even at the company’s pharmacy, stupid music was being broadcast. There was no escaping it. Even in the restroom there was no escape.
Mattie had been to the restroom several times that day. Two wet beds in a row had rattled him and he’d taken the earliest opportunity to relieve himself every time he felt the slightest ache in his bladder. Internal correction: not the earliest opportunity. The earliest opportunity would have been peeing directly into his pants.
That had been another thing bothering Mattie today. He’d been so wrapped up in making it in time for work that he hadn’t had the time to shower the stink off of him before work. It was subtle, but everytime he breathed in, Mattie could swear he smelled the faint odor of fermenting ammonia and old piss. Karma? Unlikely. Mattie didn’t believe in such things.
As far as he could tell, no one else noticed; no comments or wrinkled noses. Just to be on the safe side, Mattie had taken several potty breaks for the sole purpose of wetting a paper towel and tabbing his crotch in the handicap stall. The ad-libbed baby wipe didn’t fix things completely. Mattie could swear he still smelled it as soon as the water was dried from his pubes. It could have just been in his head, though that sentiment didn’t help.
During his most recent trip to scrub away the scent of wet bed, Mattie noticed that the handicapped stalls all also had pull-down changing tables. A bit of baby powder would have covered any lingering smell right up, he’d thought to himself. The irony of his situation considering what he was here to steal wasn’t lost on Mattie this time.
One thought led to another, and that’s how Mattie landed up in the employee pharmacy.
Mattie stepped up to counter. His shift in the mailroom was over and he put himself last in line for the conversation he was about to have.
The woman in the white lab coat had auburn hair done up in a bun and black rimmed glasses. She was also a few years older than Mattie, and in the same way that high school seniors still look like kids to people in their early twenties, when Mattie looked at the pharmacist he saw an adult even though she was thirty at most. Didn’t make her any less attractive to him, though.
“Card please,” she said.
Uncomfortably, Mattie started digging around in his back pocket for his wallet. “I uh, haven’t even told you what I’m picking up…?”
A pink painted finger nail pointed at the I.D. badge clipped onto his shirt. “That one, sweetie. Employee I.D.”
“Oh,” his hand went to his chest and took off the badge, handing it to her. “Thank you,” he focused on her nametag. “Virginia.”
She took the badge and ran it through a scanner. “Everybody calls me Ginni.”
“Okay, Ginni.” Might as well make small talk. Make this less embarrassing.
Ginni turned her head and looked at a computer screen and paused for whatever data PharmaCorp thought it had on him. “Sorry about this,” she said. “Gotta make sure you’re one of us. Okay...Mattie,” the pharmacist said. “What can I do for you?”
Mattie blinked. It felt weird having someone call him Mattie. His nametag clearly said ‘Matthew’, and hearing the more childish nickname left a bad taste in his mouth. Only then, did Matthew actively realize that he’d been thinking of himself as Mattie the whole day…
“I’m looking for some over the counter stuff,” Matthew said, lowering his voice to a crowd whisper. “Nothing major. I’ve just been having...um…” his words were starting to fail him. What was the technical term for having pee-pee accidents in one’s sleep? “Nighttime Urinesis…?”
The pharmacist raised an eyebrow. “Nighttime Urinesis? Do you mean nocturnal enuresis? Bed wetting? You’re wetting the bed? You’re a bed wetter?” Save for some other white coats milling around, they were alone. No one was behind him in line, and Cher was well into her second verse.
At the same time, Matthew’s heart raced as if the woman’s words were thundering through the entire corporate skyscraper.
“You’re wetting the bed?”
“You’re a bed wetter?”
Matthew’s face flushed with pure embarrassment. Why’d she have to repeat herself? Why’d she have to be so pretty? He almost wished it were an old bald man standing in front of him. Then, he might at least expect a ‘me too’.
“I’m just having some trouble dealing with stress.” It was a lie, but not a full one. “And I think it’s effecting me.”
“And you need something over the counter?”
Suddenly, the tops of Matthew’s shoes seemed very interesting. “Yeah…” he rasped.
Ginn the pharmacist frowned. “Beyond limiting liquid intake and telling you to set an alarm, I don’t know if there’s much in the way of non-prescription stuff I can give you.”
“I figured.” He blew air out past his lips in frustration. He started to walk off. “Thanks anyw-”
Matthew froze and turned back around.
Ginni held up a finger and then walked out of sight for a moment. Matthew took the time to walk back up to the counter and lean over, trying to figure out what was going on. Briefly he considered using the opening to get into the pharmacy’s computers, but those likely didn’t have anything he needed. He needed corporate strategies, not pill inventories.
The pretty young woman returned with a bulky package wrapped in brown paper in her arms. “Okay,” she said. “Promise not to freak out?”
Gravely, Matthew nodded. “Sure.”
“These are high grade medical quality diapers,” she said.
Matthew did not like where this was going. “Uh-oh…”
“Hear me out,” the pharmacist said, patiently. “PharmaCorp designed these for hospitals and nursing homes. Situations where a person probably couldn’t make it to the toilet and probably couldn’t change themselves, but…”
There was a story here, and Matthew felt himself being drawn in. “But…?” A hint of a smile was playing at his lips.
“But the factory in China that makes them fucked up. We’ve got a new brand of baby diapers coming out and some idiot screwed up. Now, there’s an entire batch of adult diapers with baby decorations on them and PharmaCorp can’t get rid of them.” The package slid out to Matthew. “Take them. On the house. If you’re worried about being embarrassed you don’t have to tell anybody el-”
“Free?” Matthew spoke over her. “Did you just say free?”
“It’s not ideal for your situation, but it’s better than nothing. Less cleanup in the morning.”
“But it’s free?”
“Yeah,” she smirked. “Can’t give this stuff away, normally. Take it and use what you’d save to buy ramen or something.”
He practically snatched the package the rest of the way out of the woman’s grasp. “I’ll take them!” Truth be told, Matthew wasn’t thrilled about needing diapers. What really got his attention was the tidbit about them being large versions of a PharmaCorp’s newest baby diaper. He couldn’t conceal his excitement, so he masked it behind a veil of frugality.
This could be just the opening he needed.
Matthew couldn’t get back to the air BnB fast enough. He rushed to the bedroom and tore open the brown paper packaging. If it had been a gazelle, he would have been a lion rending its flesh.
And in the gazell’s flesh was ten, mostly white, plastic backed, folded, crinkly rectangles, tightly packed together. Matthew plucked one out and examined it.
Not having kids, but having watched way too many commercials in researching this gig, Matthew immediately recognized the differences between what he had in his hand and what went on a regular baby’s bottom. For one thing the texture was a smooth, soft plastic instead of the faux cloth. For another the diapers were big enough that they had to be folded in thirds instead of halves. The four plastic tapes on the wings differed from the two velcro grips.
The decorations though? Exactly what would be expected on something marketed towards newborns through toddlers.. Pastel animals dozed with nightcaps on their heads around the front waist, and little stencils of peaceful clouds, moons, and stars dotted themselves all along the groin and buttocks area.
“Unreal,” Matthew whispered. “Super unreal.”
The sun wasn’t close to setting, yet. Still a long time before bed. Some form of morbid curiosity took hold of Matthew, nonetheless. He swept the other diapers and bits of paper detritus aside to the foot of his still barren mattress. Every article of clothing went to a puddle on the floor.
Slowly, clumsily, he spread out the diaper and climbed onto the creaking mattress and lowered himself onto it. Grumbling, he sat up and pulled the front up between his legs while lying back down. Carefully, he planted his feet and wriggled his hips to adjust it while he taped the sides up. First the left two, then the right.
Matthew stood up and looked himself over. The diaper sagged a bit and so he had to carefully tighten and readjust the tapes, making sure to be careful not to wear out the adhesive strips.
Experimentally, he took a few steps around the bedroom. The crinkle was distracting and the added mass between his legs changed his gait to a slight waddle. A few steps in he pushed his legs together more and let the padding bunch up a little between his legs. The diaper held sturdy, and he found he could more or less walk normally.
That crinkle though…
He decided to ignore it. If Matthew could ignore not-so-classic rock, he could make himself ignore the slight rustle of soft plastic whenever he moved.
Matthew sat down at the computer desk and shot an email off to his real boss. “I think I’ve got something,” he typed in. “A prototype of their new diaper.”
The response was almost immediate. Mrs. Northeaster or Candice must be sitting right by their computers. “Evidence?”
Hastily, Mattie took a picture of himself from the belly button down. “A factory error made them too big, but I think you’ll get what they’re going for.” He attached the picture and sent the message.
“This is good,” they replied. “You’re getting close. Keep up the good work.”
Mattie was so excited by the compliment that he barely noticed that he peed a little bit into the fresh padding.