Chapter Description: Clark wakes up feeling groggy and off in Janet's arms.
I woke up because I needed to pee. Resting my eyes on the playground’s bench had been a precursor to me completely passing out in the playpen in Janet’s classroom not half an hour later. Too many late nights cursing into the baby monitor.
One by one, my senses started to come back online like an old computer slowly booting up. Holy cow, did I feel old in that moment. Joints ached. Eyes fought to stay closed. Lips felt dry and cracked like I’d been snoring. And people were calling me “sir”. Damn it felt good to feel old again.
The cold blooded and efficient part of my brain considered shifting my weight a bit, peeing and then going back to sleep. Thursday was Little Voices night, big night ahead of me. My eyes wouldn’t roll themselves, after all.
I stretched and let out a yawn. Some tiny, paranoid part of me wanted to reach between my legs and make sure I hadn’t already wet in my sleep. Me, an actual bedwetter? That would have been low-key humiliating.
I heard Janet’s soft, whispering “Aw” as I stretched and let out my quietest yawn. My stirring on the playpen’s cushions must have alerted her. I wiggled my toes and felt nothing but soft fleece press against them. No shoes. The cushions shifted underneath me and my brain roused itself from its dreamless void. The pen in Janet’s classroom didn’t have any cushions.
I opened my eyes to Janet peering down at me, a soft contented smile. I must’ve looked like a cherub to her Mommy maddened mind. The traffic outside the car door whizzed and hummed by making almost pleasant white noise. Easy to drift off too and not too. “Hey there sleepy bear.”
Half-sitting up, half-rolling over I looked around to figure out where we were. The world went spinning and white the tiled floor of the Community Center rushed up to greet my face. “Fu-!” I yelped out in terror milliseconds before giant ropes of arms grabbed onto me.
“Ooops! Sorry! Sorry!” Janet caught me just in time to stop me from face planting.
The fall chased the grogginess right out of me. It also chased something else out. The front of my pants was quickly warming up. My bladder was still emptying when Janet sat me back up in her lap, and I was too shocked to try and stop it.
“Is he okay?” Another Amazon asked.
Janet answered for me. “Yeah. He just woke up all at once. Surprised both of us.”
“He didn’t hit, did he?”
“No, no. Just had a scare.” Just in case, she started looking me over. I chewed on my tongue, annoyed. It was the closest I’d gotten to getting out of an Amazon’s grasp and it was an accident, (pun not intended). At least I didn’t need to pee anymore.
The last bits of my mind caught up to the present with that jolt of adrenaline. I was in pumpkin patch print jammies, and everything but my head and hands was bundled up in soft fleecy cotton. I’d more or less sleepwalked without the walking throughout the afternoon and into the evening.
I’d been scooped up, put in a car seat, taken to Janet’s house, laid down in the crib, stripped and redressed, and then transported to Little Voices. Success had made it so that adrenaline and spite waned enough for me to pass out. I remembered it all happening through a haze, like tiny snippets from sleep. On some level I probably thought it was part of the dream.
No flash memories of any changes either, which explained why I’d been full to bursting. I wasn’t incontinent, just being subjected to unpotty training. Right on cue, Janet prodded between my legs and sighed contentedly upon finding me wet. She probably was worried that I was dehydrated or something. At least she didn’t say anything about it. No declarations of ‘wet’ or ‘good baby’. The quick squeeze around my shoulders was still irksome.
As per usual, Amazons chatted with one another as if they were actual parents and their perfectly mindfucked Littles crawled underfoot and talked about things that should have only mattered to simpletons and children. This mixture of self-satisfied smugness and toddlerized small talk was what my brain had warped, mixed together, and written off as the whitenoise of cars passing by on the freeway.
A middle aged Amazon let out an exhausted sigh. “She went to sleep after she calmed down, but you would not believe the amount of screaming one Little body can hold.” The pink haired woman I’d reduced to tears a few weeks prior sat in her lap. Looks like her Big-younger sister was off vacation duty.
The other Amazon let out a small bark of laughter but gave a serious nod, “Oh I’d believe it. I’ve had my fair share of tantrums.” She brushed aside a strand of sandy hair and pointed to the Little girl waddling around in the common area. “So much effort over the silliest things, and all because she said the kitty cheated while they were playing a game. An hour of crying, and she had completely forgotten after the nap of course.”
“Oh they always do,” a Daddy joined in. “My little one once got upset because his sister was looking out of his window while we were on a car trip. Thankfully I was able to distract them with a movie, but it was a long trip.”
“Movies in the car,” the first sighed. “Wished I’d had that growing up. Would have made road trips with My Little brother and sister a lot easier.” The three Grown-Ups laughed and nodded sagely.
So this was generational… Amazons growing up with Littles forced to be siblings, and thought they should get some of their own. That was low key terrifying. Despite how much they patted themselves on the back, I was betting even money they wrote off ‘hypnotic trance’ as ‘distracted by cartoon’.
Speaking of cartoons: “So Daddy said we couldn’t see the Gubble Buppies movie cause they wouldn’t let him come in, and he wanted to see it super bad too.” It was the same girl who’d had no problem with being turned upside down to the point that her dress fell off. “I don’t get it. The poster said ‘All Ages’.”
Other Littles nodded while moving around under the chairs, no more noticed than ticks on a dog. They just couldn’t stay still. “Mommy said I couldn’t see it either cause they wanted her to wear special glasses and they were uncomfy, but we got to go to see Princess Party instead and it was really funny! There’s a part where Eliza is playing a silly game with her Daddy, and it’s really funny…”
I wanted to slap my forehead as hard as I could. Were they that dense? Were they really that oblivious? That willfully ignorant to the way the world worked and continued to work before their abduction?
A third let out an excited gasp. “Oh! I wanna watch that! Maybe Mommy or Daddy will take me, or maybe if Grandma or Grandpa come to visit!”
Must be. Blissful mindfucked ignorance.
My ears pricked up to another conversation. “...And she’s been so lonely lately, asking for more play dates, wanting to just go out more. She needs somebody else in her life that can be around more often. Someone besides Nick and I, especially since we’re both working so much now.” I honed in on an Amazon sitting next to her friend, both had to be in their mid twenties. “So…..” At this she paused and looked around surreptitiously, even checking under her chair, before confirming no munchkins were around, her own being across the room playing ball with a group of other Littles. “Nick and I have decided to start trying for a baby!” She said it quickly and in a whisper hard to catch. If they hadn’t been right next to Janet I wouldn’t have heard any of it.
That poor Little was in for a world of awkward being next to a real kid and them being allowed to grow up. How messed up was that? I remembered. Mary’s blue haired sister. This kind of thing was normalized. The whole thing put lie to the idea that Amazons were overcompensating from an infertility epidemic or something.
My eyes panned over and across the room, scanning for Mark. Horsey McDoucheface was pleasantly absent, so I had that going for me. Several reasons why he might be absent caused my upper lip to automatically curl in disgust. If he adopted a Little so he could fit in better, that was bad. If he came back at all, that was bad. I snuck a glance above me and saw Janet’s chin pointed in the same direction. Was she looking for him too?
In his usual spot was another woman idly going through her phone. At her feet a Little was rummaging through a seaweed green diaper bag. Wearing just a T-shirt and Monkeez, he was rummaging around like a booze hound looking for a nip. It might have been the sound of the zipper or the crinkling of stacks of diapers being discarded, but he made enough of a noise to make her look down from her phone.
She didn’t talk loud enough for me to hear, but she pulled back and looked down inside his crinkling underwear. Homeboy didn’t even flinch. The idea that he might be trying to help by getting himself a fresh diaper made me lose any imagined respect I was having.
Turns out that wasn’t his plan. He kept digging, and his Mommy did a double take. She stood up over him and bent over. “Sweetie, no no no. No playing in your diaper bag,” I managed to hear, mostly through lip reading and context clues; kind of like when you’ve seen a movie so many times you can tell what’s being said even if the volume is down too low and there’s a million things going on behind you.
His own fingers firmly planted in the mouth, he kept trying to push and rummage through, trying and grabbing at things. “Mmmfmfmgurfft!” A pacifier clattered to the floor, along with a teething ring, an empty bottle glazed on the inside with droplets of apple juice, a packet of baby wipes, plastic keys, and an orange terry cloth bib. Wow. This guy was good.
Strong hands began to impede the much smaller limbs in their mission of mayhem. “Give me a second and I’ll get you them, sweetie.” Her voice kindly soothed, trying to prevent a tantrum.
“Mmmfmfmgurfft!” Evidently, it wasn’t working. Now tucked under his captor’s arm, he kicked and reached towards the diaper bag like he’d seen his old wedding ring while munching on his fingers.
The larger being easily moved the remaining items aside, quickly finding a yellow plastic pouch of some desired goodie. The Little grabbed at it with the hand not plunged between his lips. Picking up the Little and placing him in her lap, the pouch was not given over. Instead a small amount of teardrop shaped objects was measured out and given. “Here are your yogurt bites, sweetie.” The man-baby happily began to munch, tension leaving his body, as they looked around the room, the frenzy over. Other Mommy’s and their Little Helpers picked up the discarded distractions and placed them back in the diaper bag. She mouthed “thank you” and contented themself with petting her now oblivious ‘child’s’ hair.
I felt Janet’s massive form lean sideways. A rubber nipple brushed lightly against my cheek. “You hungry? Thirsty?” Janet asked. Seeing that Little get snacks gave her her own ideas. I tried to snarl up at her, but my face still sagged. My mind was awake enough but my body was still feeling tired and old. “You slept through dinner time. I didn’t want to wake you.”
My breath felt hot and dry. My skin kind of did too. Knocking Tommy in line this week had made me thirsty. “What’s in it?” I asked.
“Goat’s Milk, remember?” She held the bottle up to her mouth and took a sip to prove it. A few errant giggles from fellow Littles made their way up to me. Evidently a giantess sucking on a baby bottle was amusing; they were Grown-Ups after all.
I reached up and accepted the bottle, tasting the milk. It wasn’t cow milk, but it was definitely milk. The differences were subtle and hard to describe. It was the difference between a name brand soda and the store brand. The flavor was similar but not quite identical. Some key ingredient had been withheld or something had been thrown in, but it wasn’t inherently bad or inferior, just not what I was used to. It was thicker and creamier, but not garishly so. It wasn’t like a milkshake and flowed through the nipple and dribbled down my tongue easily enough. It was more like whole milk with some extra cream stirred in- extra whole milk- or buttermilk that leaned more towards milk than butter but still had that hint when I swallowed.
“Trust issues?” The middle aged woman to Janet’s right asked. She mimed sucking on the bottle.
“Yeah,” Janet said. “He’s had bad experiences with people trying to give him candy.” The woman nodded, sympathetically, but said nothing more on the subject. I kept sipping on the milk, leaning back into Janet while pacing myself. She took the opportunity to adjust and cradle me in her lap.
Still kind of achey, I let her and slowly sipped at the bottle. Something had awakened in me once I began swallowing. I wanted to guzzle the whole thing down at once like it was a pint, hiccups and burping be damned. I didn’t realize how thirsty I was.
I paced myself, however. Gently nursed instead of gulped. The goat’s milk was good enough, but it was novel at best. I wasn’t savoring the flavor as much as I was stalling. No one expected me to sing the stupid “We’re All Together Again” song. Janet didn’t bob me on her knee. I managed to make it through two whole baby lap games before Janet tilted the plastic cylinder up and forced me to finish it. “I’m glad you liked it,” she whispered.
I’d gotten out of “kissing booth” which was really just an excuse to violate a Little’s personal space by announcing which body part was next to be kissed, or nibbled, or nuzzled ad infinitum. The way Janet was staring I could tell she was taking notes. I’d be put through this later, that much was certain, but she seemed sad she couldn’t do it right then and there in front of everyone. So much of Amazon Mommydom was, in fact, performative reminders of everyone’s status.
I finished up my stalling just as another lap game was taught and reviewed.
“This is the way the baby goes,
Snappity snap, clappity clap.
This is the way the baby goes.
Peekaboo! I See You!”
Everyone under seven foot got turned into a living marionette with the bigger people puppeting their hands to make them snap and clap and cover their face.
I wasn’t going to escape the bouncing games. Janet joined the others on the floor and turned me around to face her.
“I went to town
To get some butter
And when I got there
I fell in the gutter!”
She bounced me and then opened her lap, plopping me on the floor with a squish only I could feel. This was not how I was accustomed to getting between a pretty girl’s legs.
Sooner than the Amazons wanted yet much too long for my tastes, the games ended and the Littles were being herded off into the empty nursery. “Do you want to be changed?” Janet whispered to me. “I can take you to the restroom for some privacy.”
Just imagining myself laying back down caused a pulsing headache to well up in the back of my skull. I’d done enough lying down for a bit. “No thank you,” I said. It didn’t stop her from carrying me down the hallway instead of letting me get in line with all the padded sheep.
I didn’t stop her either, and just allowed myself to enjoy being carted around. It’s not like I was going to be able to nap again. Experience had taught me that I’d get approximately three to five minutes alone to sulk or nap or just zone out before Amy would meander up and startle me with…wait.
I looked around. No crawling, brown haired, gap toothed nuisance in sight. “Where’s Amy?”
“Ms. Helena and Amy didn’t come this week,” Janet said. “I’m surprised it took you so long to notice.” She booped me on the nose.
“Is she okay?” I found myself asking.
“I’m not sure. I haven’t seen anything online about Amy or her being sick.” For a split-second I was actually kind of appreciative that Janet mentioned the Little first. “But I’ll be happy to text and tell Amy’s Mommy you missed her..” And there the appreciation went; right down the toilet. “Maybe Amy was just tired or they didn’t feel like coming this week. Maybe Ms. Helena had an emergency at work, like Mark.” Before I could ask the question, she added, “He texted.”
So he wasn’t out looking to fill up a crib just yet. Good. One less giant getting a smug dose that adopting Littles was the one true way. Bonus.
Maybe he’d end up adopting a Shetland pony. Horses wore diapers, too and Amazons liked it when their fake babies bore a passing resemblance to themselves. It let them pretend they were related to their dolls. Mark might be happier with a pony.
“Oh Clark,” Janet sighed. She set me down on the nursery floor. “What am I gonna do with you?” I hadn’t even said anything, but it felt like she was half-reading my mind. She gave me a pat on the head and walked back to go swap brainwashing stories with her new friends. Just before she crossed the threshold she paused and looked back at me, frowning slightly.
She twisted her lips and then walked out of sight.
“Your Mommy’s pretty cool,” someone said behind me. “I wonder what it was like before her Maturosis expressed itself.”
I looked to my left and saw the white haired Little boy I’d met my first time in this particular madhouse. He was wearing a black onesie and had on his hips for lack of pockets. I let out a quiet groan. “What the heck are you talking about? Maturosis is complete bullshit.”
“No it’s not,” White Hair said. “It’s very real. That’s why they’re meeting. This is a support group.”
I sat down on the carpet and grabbed a toy pull string giraffe just to have something to fiddle with. Never let them know you’re interested. Never let them know you care. “This is a cult.”
“Look,” I said, “I’m just gonna call you Danny”.
He pointed to his onesie. “That’s my name, actually.”
I cursed under my breath and kept going. “Okay, Danny, whatever. Maturosis is complete bullshit. Littles aren’t babies. We don’t spontaneously need to wear diapers or sleep in cribs or drink from bottles, and even if we did that doesn’t justify taking away our legal personhood and strip us of our agency.”
The giraffe stopped moving, his long neck no longer bobbing up and down in a lever motion. “Then what are you trying to tell me?”
“Maturosis is a legit medical condition. It’s just misdiagnosed. We don’t have it,” he pointed to tonight’s lone caretaker. “They do.”
“Amazons have Maturosis?” I resumed pulling the toy along the floor. “Yeah…right. Let me try telling all my ex-coworkers that.”
“They won’t listen because they have Maturosis,” Danny retorted. “Most of them anyways.”
The wooden zoo animal fell sideways with my swipe. “Then why aren’t they pooping themselves in a parent teacher meeting?”
The know-it-all’s eyes lit up slightly. I’d given away something. “Maturosis is what made them force you to poop,” Danny said. “Maturosis isn’t what makes Littles act like babies. It’s what compels them to treat us like babies.”
I rolled back and laughed so hard my bladder loosened slightly. My new idiot looked slightly offended. First Amy wanted to make a conscious non-ironic distinction between Adult and Grown-Up, now this bleached mother fucker was trying to sell me on ‘reclaiming’ a bullshit term used to justify my enslavement. Did wonders never cease?
“What else would you call their madness?” he asked me. “Lots of Amazons are perfectly nice, reasonable people except for this one thing. They’re absolutely normal and respectful and decent until something in them snaps and then they dress us up like this.”
The laughter in me started to die down and my breath felt hot in the back of my throat again. “That sounds totally…totally…” It sounded familiar. It was exactly the same line of thinking that let me go to work for ten years. “What’s your point?”
Danny laid down next to me and placed his hand behind his head. “That’s what this Little Voices program is all about. It’s not to help us, it’s to help them.”
My head felt heavy. I had been right. I didn’t want to get up again, even though the nursery floor was harder and more uncomfortable than Beouf’s rough and tumble carpet. My eyes felt itchy and in no way wanted to close, but there was almost nothing that was going to make me sit up again. “Help them feel better about themselves,” I grumbled.
“You’re not wrong. But it’s also helping them control themselves.”
I lifted my foot and wiggled my toes inside the pumpkin patch jammies. “Yeah. A whole lot of self-control going on here,” I said. “Did you know she didn’t even wake me up to dress me in this?”
“How many times has she spanked you since coming here? How many of those mind fucky cartoons has she made you watch? How many punishment enemas? How many high grade laxatives? Does she not change you enough? Does she gag you with those inflatable pacifiers? Little Voices teaches Amazons to restrain themselves. It teaches them to see as people, even if it’s just baby people.”
“Okay,” I admitted. “Point taken. The lesser of two evils is still evil, though.”
“But it’s still lesser.”
Silence was my only concession. A shiver ran through me. “Besides. I kind of like it. It’s really not that bad.” That was enough for me to muscle up back into a sitting position. Fuck this guy. Little Voices had gotten to him too. I stood up and went to walk away. Empty cribs here I come. “Hey, do you know Amy?”
I froze and turned. “We’ve met.”
“She’s not here tonight, but you should talk to her. She has some really good ideas.”
“Like Maturosis being for Amazons?”
“Naw, that’s me and a couple of the other guys. Amy’s pretty cool though. She can teach you a lot if you pay attention. When I first got adopted, I-”
“I literally don’t care, Darby. Could. Not. Care. Less.”
“My name’s Da-.”
“Don’t care.” Now that I knew this sub-Amy nutbag’s name was Danny I would never get it correct again. I huffed over to an empty crib and lightly rammed my face against the bars. The cool untouched wood felt good against my skin.
I was going to call the Daddy on duty to put me in so that I’d have a level of separation from this cult within the cult. I’d be safe there. Safe and alone. Safe, and alone, and away from the door. Safe, alone, and away from a poorly guarded exit that had only one trusting guard and with no allies or pawns to act as distractions.
And every day it was getting easier to pee myself. Or wear wet. Or drink from a bottle. Or be carried around. Or half sleep through getting my clothes ripped off of me.
I was throwing away perfectly good opportunities here. How to use them, though? I was in a room full of people who had been broken in with the same methods that Beouf used. I hadn’t asked around, but chances are more than a couple of them had literally ‘graduated’ from Oakshire Elementary on their way to a full scale daycare. What could be done with a room full of people who were essentially like Amy?
Not quite, Amy, actually. Not even close in some aspects. I’d been able to make some of them cry. I was getting good at controlling Littles through tears. My smile didn’t reach my soul, though. Once a week for about half an hour? Bullying wouldn’t work.
“Ooooooookay!” I shouted in the same teacher voice I’d used earlier on the playground “Gather round one and all!” I mixed in a bit of an old fashioned carnival barker flare. “Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! Step right up! Step right up!” Just like before the mice gathered around me like I was the Pied Piper. “Friends, do you like playing tag but are constantly flustered by tag backs? Do you deserve to be in your school’s Winter Pageant but keep getting cast as Tree Number Four and yearn to flex your acting chops? Then do I have a game for you?!”
Among the mini-crowd Danny looked at my one-eighty attitude adjustment through confused and jaded lenses. I threw him a wink. Some might think I was being theatrical. I sincerely hoped he knew I was mentally flipping him the bird.
From there I taught the group Battle Tag. It was an instant hit.
“Oh Agony! Agony!”
“I’m melting! Melllllting!”
“Must! Stay Away! From! The Light!”
“But I’m too young!”
It was tamer than the playground version from earlier in the week. No hard hits or tackles. No mud to roll in. For all intents and purposes it was just a silly game of tag with a little extra sugary melodrama sprinkled on top. Nothing to be suspicious of at all, just the same silliness as the game of keeping the balloon in the air or the feathers that made things light and heavy.
Speaking of which. “Gotcha!” I ran up to a pot bellied mammoth of an Amazon man. I was panting but not even working up a sweat, even though I was cocooned and fuzzier than a caterpillar.
“No thank you, Clark.” The Amazon man on nursery duty said. “I’m not playing.”
Damn. “Okay.” I filed away his appearance. This one didn’t play with us. I’d need a player at some point.
I went and just barely caught up Danny. “Gotcha!”
While he contorted on the ground screaming about his spine, I rested my hands on my knees. Goat’s milk was a bad choice. I was only able to keep up with some of these guys because Littles’ playroom had less space to run in than Beouf’s fenced in playground.
“Alright everybody,” the Amazon called. “Line up. Time for checks and changes.”
Panting and giggling, everyone else made a single file at the changing table. I looked around for explanation. “Kylie’s Papa likes to check and change everybody before the meeting ends.” They sounded annoyed but not put out.
The attendant heard that evidently. “I never give anybody back wet.” He patted a couple packs of different diapers he’d brought in himself. “Don’t worry. I’ve got something for everybody.”
“Sometimes I like to hold it and go just after I get checked,” somebody whispered. “Just cuz.” Nodding and giggles was the reply.
I imagined myself in front of everyone stripped down and wanted to heave. It wasn’t just the heat and the goat’s milk this time. My hand shot up. “Uh…sir.” I called, feeling my throat tighten. “My Mommy and teacher are the ones who change me, normally. And our changing table is kinda…private.”
This was the wrong move, evidently. The ground trembled beneath my feet as he strode. “Then you can go first, buddy”
“What?!” My shriek came out as a cracking squeak.
“Everybody is single file and I’m a pretty big guy.” He grabbed his belly for emphasis. He could have played Santa at the Mall. “Don’t need a curtain when you’ve got me.”
“Um…I can wait.”
I was expecting taunting. Something like “Awww, poor baby is afraid to get his diapie changed.” Or “Widdle Clark wants to keep playing in his soggy pants! What a precious baby!” It’s what I would have done if I’d had the backup and thought I could have gotten away with it. What I got was the so-called kids of Little Voices politely looking away and pretending not to notice me pleading like a public change was some kind of execution.
“Seriously, Clark. It’s okay.” Danny said. “We’ve all been there.”
“No thanks, Darren.”
I was in the grip of the behemoth before I’d finished my insult. “This won’t be so bad,” the big man confided in me. “I’ll make it quick. In and out; up and down.”
“No!” I croaked. “Stop! Not yet!” I had the barest inkling of what that Little girl in the barbecue restaurant had felt like. I wasn’t ready. I was never going to be ready.
“Come on, kiddo. Let’s get this over with. Make your Mommy proud.” Like lightning I was trapped on the mat, my breath heavier than normal. It was nothing for him to unsnap the inseam of my jammies. I started quivering as ice cold air poured over my lower half. “Monkeez, huh? Good. That’s what I brought.”
He lifted my legs up so he could get the lower half out of the way; make it easier to slide the old diaper out and the new one in, but when he grabbed me the ankles he paused and let go of me. “Wow, you’re kind of red.”
Of course I was red. A strange man was about to drag an ice cold rag across my privates in front of everyone. Why wouldn’t I be red? “But not sweating…”
“Clark?” Janet’s voice got my attention. She walked into the playroom, leaving the lower door wide open. “Hey Don. What’s wrong?”
The big guy put his icy cold hands on my forehead and cheeks. “I’m not a doctor, Janet, but I think your baby’s sick.”
Stories of Age/Time Transformation