Chapter Description: Clark runs a preschool graduation, only to have a parent of a soon-to-be kindergartener decide he'd make a better "baby brother" than "old teacher".
“What’s going on between you and Grange?” Tracy asked me as we helped our students try on their makeshift graduation robes and hats.
I cocked an eyebrow. “Who?”
My assistant gave me a half-dirty look. “Ms. Grange? Amazon? Dark hair? Third grade?”
“Oh, Janet…” I said. “I think Mickey’s hat needs another staple.”
Tracy rolled her eyes and scoffed while stapling the four year old Amazon’s graduation cap so it was a little smaller. The robes were cleaned hand-me-down smocks from the art room. The graduation caps were made from stiff squares of cardboard, packing tape, staples, and yarn for the cute little tassel. Half of my class was graduating (read: aging up) into Kindergarten, and we were at the last week of school.
It was only a Monday, but the school had scheduled our graduation ceremony for the beginning of the week, so that the later grades could have their awards mid-week, capping things off with fifth grade graduation Thursday night and room parties and goodbyes Friday.
That’s a weird thing about Elementary school: In Pre-K or Kindergarten, faux graduation was all the rage. Babies of the family had gotten through a whole year of academia and their parents were celebrating by dressing up young children in mock outfits of adults ready to go onto higher education or enter the workforce.
They were so eager for their children to grow up, they created a miniature version of the transition into full blown adulthood and responsibility; thus creating an adorable if objectively bizarre parody of the actual thing. If you’ve been reading all this way, you might expect me to say “Typical”, but in all fairness, Little and Tweener parents are just as guilty of this.
I suppose that in normal parents, the desire to see your children grow up is a natural impulse, and at ages four and five, that big one-eight, just seems so far away. Cutesy faux graduation ceremonies like mine were a kind of social methadone to ease off both the anxiety and to celebrate that yes, their sons and daughters were in fact growing up.
But the rush wears off as the kids get objectively more mature. Hence why everything from First to Fourth grade simply becomes ‘Award Ceremonies’, and the kids at Fifth Grade Graduation forego mock graduation robes in favor of sensible dress clothes. They were growing up and going into Middle School but they weren’t THAT grown-up yet.
The only exception to this pattern was Mrs. Beouf’s class. No award ceremonies for them. And why would they? They weren’t being allowed to grow up or accomplish anything other than sucking their thumb and shitting their pants. Most of them wouldn’t even be leaving unless their so-called Mommies and Daddies were moving or they were being transferred to a private daycare since they’d been sufficiently brainwashed.
I liked Beouf, I really did. But weeks like this were times when the contrasts in our positions became so apparent as to be abhorrent to me. We didn’t typically talk much during those last weeks. It was under the pretense that we were both so busy packing up and getting ready to close up shop for the summer, but it’s also because I was afraid I’d be unable to hold my tongue. Who cared which of her charges were coming back or not? It wasn’t because they were growing up. It wasn’t because they were going on to bigger and better things or had accomplished something.
In my tiny world of actual tiny children, however, it was all-but a toddler pageant. Chubby fingers and arms were being guided through smock-robes. Cardboard caps were being placed and sometimes bobby pinned on. We’d been practicing cute little diddies about letters and numbers off and on for weeks to put on a show. My three year olds who weren’t graduating were being given rolled up paper megaphones so that they could cheer on their older classmates, and Tracy and I were racing against the clock so that everything was ready to go.
“What’s going on with you two?” Tracy asked. “You’ve been avoiding her.”
I scoffed. “How do you know that?” I turned to one of the four year olds. “Hold still Mickey. Your cap is coming loose.”
“You’ve been having me answer the phone and been busy for two weeks.” Tracy said over the toddlers. “Ugh, Natasha go potty, quick.”
“I’ve been busy for two weeks.”
“You love answering the phone.” Damnit. She knew my habits.
“I’ve had work to do.”
“Especially when Grange has called.”
“Good job Jayden,” I said to a student proudly holding macaroni art. I looked to my assistant. “That’s besides the point.”
“What’d she do?” Tracy asked. Damn. You don’t realize how well people know you until they call you out. My assistant took two fingers and made a kind of hooking motion, almost like she was pulling back the waistband of a pair of invisible pants. “Did she...um...pull a Zoge?”
I exhaled. “Not exactly…”
“What’d she do?”
“Line up guys!” I told my class. I motioned and Tracy leaned over for me to whisper in her ear. “She invited me out for a drink…” I said. “With a carseat.”
“So?!” I hissed. “Why would an Amazon have a carseat?”
Tracy pantomimed putting her finger to her chin in thought. “Um...because she had a Little friend? Kind of like how I have a Little friend? Oh look! It’s the same one!” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Tracy was supposed to have my back on this sort of thing. And she was being playful about it, but. “Honestly, Boss, I love ya, but I think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill on this one.” Damnit. My Tweener friend might’ve had a point.
“Let’s just get through this, first,” I said. “Then you can guilt trip me about how mean I’m being to the poor, poor Amazons.”
Tracy walked over to the front door where our students had all dutifully lined up (just as Natasha was coming out of the bathroom). She opened it and my class dutifully marched to the cafeteria where parents were already waiting for our big show.
I’ve said it before, but I hated the cafeteria. Too loud. Too noisy. Too crowded. Packed to the gills during mealtimes and scarily quiet at most other instances. I wasn’t close enough friends with anyone to warrant spending my precious twenty-five minutes with the other teachers in the connected lounge. Better to swing through the lunch line as fast as possible with my students, help myself to the salad bar, pretend to not see the Littles propped up in their highchairs for all the actual kids to see, and spend a good twenty minutes watching UsBox videos on my computer back in my room. Less noise. Less risk of embarrassing myself. Less opportunity to be cornered.
But like most school cafeterias, Oakshire Elementary’s eatery also doubled as an auditorium. It had been prepared for us, with custodial staff hurriedly re-arranging chairs and cleaning up breakfast spills so that parents could pretend they were watching something special beyond a practiced spiel in a mess hall. Thankfully, the school was crowded enough and on a tight enough schedule that the first wave of lunches started as early as 10:45. Our ceremony would have to be blessedly short so as not to disrupt the rest of campus.
The tenth time I’d done this song and dance was very much like the first time. Kids sang their cute songs, and did their cute dances while parents clapped and took pictures, all the while gushing about how grown-up their darlings looked. Then I announced and gave out ‘official’ graduation certificates to all of my exiting students (even though their matriculation to Kindergarten had been guaranteed and their placement meetings settled weeks prior).
I made sure to say something positive and specific about each of the pint-sized academians. Not that they cared, but it was nice for their parents to hear how their kids had learned to count to 100 or could now perfectly write their first and last name. Some things really were for the parents.
And after the ceremony was done, we took a few precious minutes to take pictures and selfies, and for me to soak in that sweet sweet praise before returning to class with the children whose parents didn’t take them out for Big Kid Meals from MacArthur’s to celebrate.
“Thank you for everything, Mr. Gibson.” Natasha’s mother gushed to me as the assembled parents were just starting to clear out. “You’ve done wonders these last two years.”
“Thank you Mrs. Evaneska,” I said. “But it was Natasha who did all the hard work. I just provided the platform and reinforcement.”
The Amazon woman nodded. “Yes, yes. Of course! But I’m still so appreciative of all that you’ve done.” She bit her lip. “Do you mind me asking why you didn’t list potty training as one of her accomplishments?”
I could practically feel the sweat beads starting to form. “Because all of my graduating students are potty trained.” I told her. “And I wanted to highlight what made Natasha really stand out as special.” (That and Natasha was reeeeeally just under the wire for making the cutoff in that department). The kid still beamed at my compliment.
Natasha’s mother smiled good naturedly. “Oh, that makes sense,” she said. “Still, her father and I had our worries about that.”
I smiled blankly and nodded. “It just takes time and patience,” I said. “Same as anybody else.” She might’ve been trained sooner if Mr. and Mrs. Evaneska had been better about following through at home instead of diapering her up at home ‘just in case’ and all but refusing to take her out of Pull-Ups. The Evaneska’s were very much the two steps forward one step back types.
“I’m a big girl, now!” Natasha declared. It was only her mother’s hand that stopped her from lifting her dress high enough to show off her big girl panties. Girl was really under the wire; enough so that it hadn’t fully sunk in that showing off one’s underwear in public was frowned upon. I’d made sure to land her with a very patient Kindergarten teacher next year, just in case.
“We’ve got a bit of Tweener in our family tree,” her mother said as if that actually explained something and wasn’t completely and utterly sizeist. “We were worried for a while that some of it might have manifested; like a recessive gene.”
I bit my tongue, literally, to stop myself from losing my temper. Play it cool. All of my students' parents eventually saw the light on them having a Little teacher, but the mythical city of Roam hadn’t been built in a day. “Mmmhmm…” I said noncommittally. “Well, Natasha is a bright girl Mrs. Evaneska. I think she’s gonna be just fine regardless.”
“That means so much comi-”
“MOMMY!” Natasha squealed. “POTTY!” The toddler’s hands clamped down on her crotch and she got the most panicked look. Internally I was screaming. Didn’t she just go not half an hour before? Kids!
I thought about where we were. When a kid like Natasha had to go, she had to GO! She might not make the trip back to our classrooms. The toilets in the cafeteria might be a bit big from someone of her size, but a balancing act was better than the alternative, and her mom could help keep her from falling in. Grabbing Natasha’s hand I started leading her towards the restrooms. “This way.” I called back to my assistant. “Tracy! Take the others back to the classroom.”
“Already on it, Boss!” It was true. She was. Our remaining kiddos were already lining up by the nearest exit.
I led my Amazon student into the unisex ‘family’ bathroom, with her mother following close behind. “Okay, Natasha,” I said. My voice echoing off the bathroom walls. “What do you do first?” I pointed to the nearest stall as a not so subtle hint.
Natasha looked past me and up to her mother. “Did I do good, Mommy?”
I wanted to slap my forehead. Classic school mishap: You practice something with a child day in and day out, and they get so excited that their parent is present that all that practice goes out the window. At least any puddles she made would be easier to clean up and I could run back to my room to get a spare pair of undies and a plastic bag. At least my student could have her dignity.
“You did very good, honey.” Her mother praised her. “Just like we practiced.” I didn’t even get to turn around before I was snatched up with one arm and another one jammed a pacifier in my mouth. I tried to spit it out, but the same hand twisted a knob and the rubber teat inflated so that I was gagged.
“MMMMMMMPH!” My screams were little more than mumbles, even with all the linoleum turning the bathroom into an echo chamber. My screaming was cut off as the wind was knocked out of me. I was all but slammed down onto the fold out changing table, my eyes tearing up from the pain, as a strap was being pulled over my chest. I couldn’t even gasp for breath because of the pacifier clogging my airway.
“I’m gonna get to be a BIG sister!” Natasha clapped her hands.
The Amazon looked back over her shoulder. “That’s right, big girl! Now that Mr...um...Clark, is all done teaching you, we’re going to give him a good home with us! No more having to pretend that he’s a grown-up!” She missed a beat trying to pull down my pants. “Oh, what Little wears a belt?!”
I kicked and moaned through my bonds, but all that did was get my loafers off of me faster. Bending my knees and planting the flats of my feet on the table didn’t make it all that much harder for the Amazon to muscle off my pants for me.
“Won’t be needing THESE anymore!” The sound of my boxers being torn off as easily as a pair of disposable training pants made my heart leap back in my throat. “We’ll have to get THIS taken care of later.” She gestured to my crotch. I couldn’t tell if she meant just my pubic hair or my penis. I prayed I wouldn’t have to find out. “First thing’s first though.”
All of my objectively pathetic efforts doubled when she reached into her purse and took out the diaper. This wasn’t happening! This COULDN’T be happening! “MMMMMMMPH!”
All my struggling did was get my legs lifted to the ceiling and my bare ass spanked. Every Little thinks they’ll be brave and tough when an Amazon spanks them. They won’t cry. They won’t scream. They won’t even flinch beyond maybe a bit at the sting. None of us will give the giants that satisfaction.
As of this writing, if you’re a Little reading this and you are telling yourself this, let me assure you: You’re lying. I don’t know if it’s psychological or physiological, but being spanked by that crazy bitch was the second most painful experience of my life.
Maybe it was because I knew that the spanking was the precursor to a fate worse than death; something that I’d tried to avoid for thirty-two years. Perhaps Little’s brains release a disproportionate amount of chemicals when swatted on the ass.
More than likely, as much as it helps their fantasy, maybe Amazons are MORE than proportionately stronger and durable than Littles; so what would be a slap to an Amazon toddler’s butt is a beating to a full grown Little. Maybe the bastards just don’t hold back as much because they know they won’t be punished if they break us.
I don’t know.
What I do know is that I felt those spanks rocket through my spinal cord. My skin heated up instantly into a full body blush as my heart pounded out of my chest. And the only conscious thoughts in my brain were “Please make it stop! It hurts so much! I’ll do anything! ANYTHING! PLEASE JUST MAKE IT STOP!” It could have been a hundred swats. It could have been ten. I’d literally lost the ability to count them by swat number 3.
I lay there whimpering and still when she’d finished, traumatized into a state of shock. If I was whimpering, it was only because it felt like it made exhaling easier. The diaper she unfolded and slipped under me was bright pink. It might’ve been one of Natasha’s from earlier this year. A spare. It probably wasn’t.
“There,” the crazy bitch cooed at me. “Isn’t that much better when we accept what’s best for us?” She pulled the diaper up between my legs. One tape after the other, she sealed me into my crinkling prison.
This was it. All of that planning. All of that looking over my shoulder and choosing my words so extra carefully. All of that maneuvering. All of that careful cultivating of relationships. All of my plans. All of that being my best possible self to serve as an example. All of it. Wasted and worthless so that some not-quite random stranger could snatch me up right where I worked.
It wasn’t fair. More than that, it was so completely and totally unfair.
“If you behave and don’t make a fuss on the way out,” Mrs. Evaneska said hoisting me onto her hip, “Mommy and Big Sister will get you some ice cream!” What was the point? I was beat. No amount of protestation. It was her word against mine as to whether I needed diapers, and her word weighed hundreds of pounds more. At least I could get ice cream. If I was lucky it wouldn’t even be the kind that made you wet your pants that I’d read about.
“YAY! Ice cream!”
“Excuse me,” a new voice echoed through the bathroom. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“I beg your pardon?” my captor asked.
Dark hair, a long flowing skirt, and a teacher stare that could intimidate the misbehaving ticks off a dog entered the bathroom. “I said, what the fuck do you think you’re doing?”
“Watch your language!” Natasha’s mom shouted. “My daughter is here. This is a school!”
“And that’s my coworker on your hip,” Janet pointed at me. “And your daughter just watched you kidnap her fully functioning Little teacher. I think she can handle me expressing the extent of my outrage.” Her stance was wide. I knew right then that I wasn’t leaving on this particular giant’s hip.
“This Little,” the Amazon parent said, “just had an accident.”
“How convenient,” Janet retorted, “that you just happened to have a single diaper in your purse.” Her words were dripping with sarcasm.
“My daughter is still potty training.”
“MOMMY!” Natasha wailed. “You said I was a big girl!”
Janet turned her attention to my student. “You are, honey. And that’s why your Mommy is being so mean to Mr. Gibson. She wasn’t ready for her baby to grow up, so she decided to kidnap your teacher, even though he’s an incredibly mature Little.” She looked Mrs. Evaneska right in the eye. “Isn’t that right?”
Mrs. Evaneska wasn’t giving up the lie. “He pooped his pants right here.”
A dark eyebrow arched in accusal. “Really? You expect me to believe that? I can see his pants and boxers on the floor right over there. They’re clean.” Thank everything I wore my tan slacks and white boxers.
“He has no bladder control,” my would-be kidnapper countered. “This diaper would be wet within thirty seconds if I started tickling him.”
“Anybody will pee their pants if you force them to.”
“I...I...I…” my kidnapper stopped. “You’re just jealous that I got him first! Is that it?”
“Leave,” Janet said. “Take your daughter home. Take the rest of the school year off.” Her face became a lioness’s snarl. “And pray that I’ve forgotten about this by the time your daughter hits third grade.”
All the fight went out of Natasha’s mother. I could literally feel it. She sat me back on the changing table, took her daughter by the hand and walked out of my life. My coworker, my friend, walked up to me and twisted the pacifier knob.
I spit it out the second my jaw could work. “Thanks.” Two hands on the edge, I slid off the table, dangling for a moment before I let go and my feet touched the ground.
“No problem,” she said. “Tracy called my room and told me to check up on you.”
I picked my pants off the floor and started pulling them up. “I’m glad she did.”
“Me too,” Janet agreed. “I’d hate to lo…” She stopped herself. I held my breath, still feeling incredibly vulnerable. “I’m glad I caught you...I’m glad I stopped her in time. A regular Raine Forrest that one is.”
“We need to talk.” I said.
“Sure.” She turned around to go.
“Janet!” I called out. “Wait!” She turned back around. “I can’t undo the tapes.” I looked down at the pink plastic monstrosity wrapped around me. There was no way I was wearing a diaper the rest of the day. “Little hands can’t really handle Amazonian level adhesive.”
I pulled my pants the rest of the way up but left them unbuttoned. Gingerly, Janet knelt down and undid the tapes while I stood there. Once it was loose, I gave her a nod and she gave me my privacy so I could finish taking the thing off and button up my pants and refasten my belt.
I didn’t cry but I was pretty useless the rest of the day. I was just stuck in my own head, playing and replaying my almost adoption/abduction and trying to figure out what I could have done differently or what I did to deserve it. Fortunately, it being the last week of school, even I could get away with popping in an old DVD and introducing my class to the joys of the Muffets.
Tracy volunteered to take our kids out to the buses by herself. I gave her the biggest hug I could muster and thanked her. I wasn’t specific, but I’m pretty sure she knew I wasn’t JUST thanking her for giving me a break with bus duty.
Janet wasn’t in her room immediately after school, but she’d forgotten to lock her door. Not wanting to wait in the heat, I decided to let myself in. Looking back on it, I wish I hadn’t.
I took a student chair and pushed it over to her desk. This was how we were positioned before I’d almost ruined our friendship; so this is how it should be now that I was taking steps to fix it. I climbed into the chair and waited. I’d be sitting there waiting for her when she came back, ready to apologize and hash things out.
Then my eyes started to wander. Nervously, I started to play with drawers. They were empty, mostly, of course. Teachers spend the last week filing things away and boxing and binning stuff. I didn’t expect to find anything other than some spare pencils and paper clips. My fiddling was less spying, and more fidgeting in the silence of the empty classroom. Where was she anyway?
The last drawer I opened had something in it. A pamphlet, colored light blue and pink, the logo on the front being a woman and her child holding hands in silhouette. Except the body proportions made the smaller one look less like a child, and more like a Little. It was a Little Voices logo.
I read the title: “Adopting a Little - What to Expect The First Year.”
I didn’t bother opening it, instead flipping to the back and skimming over a vast list of online resources. Subjects like “Symptoms of Maturosis”, “Finding the Developmental Plateau,” “De-escalating Tantrums”, and “Potty Anxiety” were all listed along with websites to visit for greater detail. This was a mini-manual on how to capture and mind fuck Littles. And it was in Janet’s desk.
“Clark?” Janet said as she entered her room. “Sorry about that. I thought I was supposed to meet you in your room. If Tracy hadn’t caught me and told me where you were, I would’ve…” she looked at me. I was so mad I was practically frothing. “Where did you get that?”
“We need to talk.”
“Did you rip it in half?”
I looked down at the torn pamphlet halves in each of my hands. I didn’t even remember doing that. “We need to talk.”
I couldn’t tell if she was sad or angry. Maybe both. “Yeah. I guess you’re right...”