Chapter Description: Passed out from pain and exhaustion, Clark wakes up in Mrs. Beouf's nap room after school.
I woke up before I opened my eyes. A stiff plastic mattress cover rustled as I unconsciously shifted my weight. Even stiffer, my muscles ached as I rolled over, my hand grasping around the wooden bars that caged me. I was in a crib. Fuck. Slowly, my eyes opened as my stomach dropped.
Above me, fluorescent lights hummed and cheery anthropomorphic alphabet letters stared at me along the ceiling’s border, all rictus grins and dead shark eyes. Beneath me, diapered zoo animals paraded around on faded fitted sheets. I was in the Nap Room. Double Fuck.
Pulling myself up to a sitting position took most of my strength. That damn outdated bug zapper they’d stuffed me into had taken a lot out of me. My body was already trembling at the thought of standing up on an old overstuffed mattress.
I was still a little pink, but the lotion that I’d been lathered in before I lost consciousness had done its job. I wasn’t peeling, and the terrible burning sensation had been reduced to a light heat that only surfaced when I thought about it. It was very likely that within a day or so, my skin would be back to normal.
No. Not normal. Never normal. Never again. My hand brushing against my chin told me as much. I didn’t have a single trace of stubble. My arms, chest, legs; everything that that damn bathing cap and goggles hadn’t covered, basically; were all completely smooth.
I looked down between my legs. What had been crisp white plastic when I had been sealed into it bulged and sagged away from me, forming a tiny lump in the front. Experimentally, I squeezed my thighs together. My knees didn’t even come close to touching before the padding inside the diaper stopped them with a squish that I didn’t hear as much as felt.
Wet. I was wet. I’d wet my diaper in my sleep. Triple fuck.
Some combination of whatever poison had made me shit myself and the trauma of getting all of my skin cells burned off had weakened my bladder. And it was poison, I told myself. It had to be. Contrary to Amazonian belief, Little didn’t just poop their pants for no reason. Naively, I hoped that this wouldn’t be permanent. I wouldn’t want to have to diaper myself before bed every time I crawled in with Cassie.
Yes, even then, I was still planning on getting back to her. The first stage of grieving is always denial.
“Hey, hon.” I looked up from between my legs to find Mrs. Beouf standing over me. Two Amazon sized hands reached down, snaked under my armpits and lifted me out of the crib. No warning. No asking. No preamble. Just an “Up ya go,” while I was already being hoisted onto her hip, my diaper drooping slightly away from my own.
A brief transition and I was back in my mentor’s lap with a bottle being shoved in my face. “It’s just water. Drink up.” Just water. Just water? What had been in the coffee that morning?
I tried to object, but it just came out as a whine. “Mrs. Beoufphhhhhh.” My protest was cut off by the nipple.
“Drink up first,” she said. “That hair remover packs a wallop on Little Ones, and I can’t have you getting dehydrated.” Her hand reached down and squeezed my crotch. “Definitely dehydrated.” I was shocked enough that I bit down on the nipple, causing a bit of the cold refreshing water to squirt out onto my tongue. Damnit. I was thirsty. You know you're thirsty when plain water from a rubber nipple tastes so good.
Reluctantly I began to sip, taking the bottle in my own hands as Mrs. Beouf slipped her fingers inside the front of my diaper and felt around inside. “Definitely dehydrated.” My penis would have retracted inside me if such a thing were physically possible.
I looked up at her, waiting for her to make eye contact with me as I suckled. When she did, I didn’t like what I saw. It was that same madness that I always saw in an Amazon’s eyes; the same madness that presented itself every time one of those giants looked at me, and instead of seeing “Mr. Gibson”, they saw “baby Clark”. “Mr. Gibson” if he’d ever been alive to Mrs. Beouf was now dead to her. Dead and buried.
Slowly, we began to sway back and forth in the rocking chair while Mrs. Beouf pushed off with her feet. “I know you must be confused,” she began, “so you just drink and listen.” Her tone reminded me of a nurse giving a terminal diagnosis to a patient.
“You had an accident.” We rocked a beat as she let that sink in. I stopped suckling long enough to bite down on my own tongue. I hadn’t had an accident. I had been poisoned. How and by who, I didn’t know, but it was the only logical explanation. “You got caught.” That much was true; but our definition of “caught” varied greatly.
“Mrs. Zoge and I figured it out,” she continued. “You didn’t want to buy your own diapers, so you started borrowing them from the other kids to cover up your accidents. That’s why you pretended to go to the big boy potty last week. I had a hunch but I didn’t want to say anything. But when the nurse called me during lunch...? Yeah. That did it.”
Pretended?! She thought I was stealing diapers?! How would that even work? The tapes on Amazonian diapers are so strong there’s no chance a Little would be able to peel them off! What, did she think I was stuffing them down my underwear.?
“Slipping diapers in your pants, doesn’t give you the same protection though,” she cooed. “That’s why you ran out of underwear. You kept leaking and had to throw your undies out. Or did you think I wouldn’t notice that while I was cleaning you up?” Beouf’s voice was so syrupy sweet that my pancreas was shutting down.
Helpless in her lap, it was all I could do to close my eyes and look at the inside of my own skull.
“I don't know how long your Maturosis has been expressing itself,” Beouf told me, “or how long you’ve been sneaking diapers out of my room, but you got caught.” Her voice had evened out again. Even Amazons can’t baby talk forever. “I’m not mad at you, though. You were just doing your best to look like a big boy. I forgive you.”
Bubbles burst out, threatening to break the bottle and erupt out into the air as I exhaled, a growl rising in my throat Forgive me? Forgive me?! Not only was I being talked down to as if I was some kind of child, I was being accused of stealing diapers!
Why the hell would I do the one thing short of shitting myself that was a surefire way to attract attention and get caught? If Maturosis were real, why would I even think to cover it up? Even more infuriating, I couldn’t prove or disprove Beouf’s theory because the only evidence that was required was her connecting dots that weren’t there and a temporary loss of bowel control!
TYPICAL FUCKIGN AMAZON!
“I know,” she half-whispered in calming tones. “I know. You’re upset. I understand you’re upset. I’d be upset, too.” She started rubbing my back, and I was too weak just then to flail or slap her hands away. “I’d be upset too if I was trying my best to be a grown-up and I couldn’t. But sometimes we do everything we can and things still don’t work out the way we want them to, and that’s okay.”
I stopped drinking; holding my tongue up against the little whole in the bottle’s nipple to stop the water from leaking out. Sadly, or perhaps fortunately, it prevented me from talking. “You’ve helped me out for a long time now,” Mrs. Beouf went on. “You’ve been someone who has been really good to talk to and you’ve been very good at helping other children start to grow up.”
I felt like I was hearing my own funeral. The funeral for my adulthood. “No matter what anyone else says, I know that you helped all those pre-schoolers get potty trained and learn their ABC’s and 123’s. You did a good job of that and you helped take care of them.” Mrs. Beouf was giving the eulogy for my career. In her own Amazon way, maybe she was mourning too. “Now it’s my turn to help take care of you.”
I sucked in another gulp of water, trying to cool the lump that was forming in my throat. “What’s going to happen to me?” I asked, the air hissing back into the bottle.
“It’s after school,” Mrs. Beouf said, guiding the nipple back into my mouth and tipping the bottle upward. “You were asleep for a couple hours. All the other kids have gone home, and it’s just us.” I shuddered when she said “other kids”. “You don’t have to be embarrassed.”
I gulped, turned my head away and repeated my question. “But what’s going to happen to me?”
Still rocking, Mrs. Beouf reinserted the bottle with one hand and rubbed my back with the other.
“A lot of us stayed late. We’re having an emergency I.E.P. meeting for you.” I gulped and some water almost went down the wrong pipe. “We’re going to set some goals for you and fill out some paperwork. We’re going to go as fast as we can and get it over with, but I need you to try not to be fussy, okay?”
My head finally beginning to clear, I thought about Tracy. “Who is going to be my Mo-” I cut myself off. “Who’s going to adopt me?” Just saying the word “adopt” made me want to throw up a little bit.
“We’ll talk about that in the meeting.” She seemed oddly reluctant to answer that question. “I’ll take care of you, though. Don’t worry. Mrs. B. will make sure you’re okay.” I had no idea how to read into that. What was she so reluctant to talk about? The only thing I was certain of was that “we” wouldn’t be discussing anything at this farce of a meeting. “They” would.
Trying to change the subject, I held up my left hand, weakly shoving my ring finger into Mrs. Beouf’s periphery. “My ring?”
Still rocking, Mrs. Beouf shook her head. “Sorry hon, can’t give you that back. That had to go bye bye with the rest of your grown-up costume.” My blood boiled at the notion that my wedding ring, along with my entire adult wardrobe had now been relegated to dress-up props. “Don’t worry,” she said. “We’ll make sure that Cassie gets it back.”
I gulped down the last of the water, feeling the last few drops plummet down into my stomach like a rock. I had never, not once since I’d been working here, ever said Cassie’s name out loud to Mrs. Beouf. To every Amazon I’d ever worked with, I’d only referred to her as “Mrs. Gibson”; a vague concept with no identifying features.
How did Beouf know Cassie’s first name?
Terrible, horrible thoughts invaded my mind. They would go to my house, the address plainly listed on the school’s personnel records. They’d find Cassie, and then decide that a poor helpless Little couldn’t live in such a Big house all by herself. Best to scoop her up and find her a loving Amazon family that could re-raise her to be more cute and cuddly and less independent. Images of the two of us in coordinated blue and pink onesies popped into my mind; our eyes blank as we mindlessly sucked on matching binkies: Two living dolls to be perpetually drooling playthings for our Amazon owners.
It’s just like Cassie had predicted. I had doomed us both.
I must have given something away just then to my former mentor. “Don’t worry,” she said. “No one’s gonna adopt her. As far as we know, she’s still grown-up enough to live on her own. It’s just not fair to her to expect that she will take care of you.” I released the breath I didn’t even realize I was holding in. Amazons were crazy, but even crazy people played by their own insane logic. That’s how I had managed to make it as long as I had. That’s how Cassie would continue to make it.
And deep down, I told myself, that’s how I was going to escape today.
The bottle finished, Mrs. Beouf took it from me and set it down on the small table near the rocking chair. Again, with no warning, I found myself carried on her hip as if I were a toddler. We exited the nap room, but instead of taking a sharp right to exit the classroom, we made a bee-line to the class bathroom. “Where are we-?”
“You may be comfortable sitting in a wet diaper, but I’m not going to take you into a meeting with one.” I was still pink from the involuntary sun-burn I’d been given, but I felt like I was going three shades pinker. In a matter of minutes I had literally forgotten that I had been stewing in my own piss. The padding beneath me was so absorbent that it really was that easy to forget as long as I didn’t deliberately try to press or squeeze any of it. Even then, it had been more of the texture and the muted squish than any profound feeling of being wet.
No wonder so many of my students had failed potty training until they got into my classroom.
The tiny toilet was passed by in favor of the changing table across from it, and I was laid down and secured to it with a strap across my chest and threaded under my armpits before I had the chance to register anything; the buckle was over the side where I couldn’t reach. A formality, I knew. My hands wouldn’t have been able to so much as budge it. My former mentor had done this to Littles so many times that it was pure muscle memory at this point; second nature to her.
While she bent over and rummaged for supplies on the shelves beneath me, I caught my first full glimpse of myself in the ceiling’s mirror. Hairless, save for my head, wide eyed with the tiniest bit of a tummy, and with a bulging diaper encasing me.
I looked like a baby; a toddler at best. The proportions were a tad off, my limbs were longer and I wasn’t as chubby, but I still looked like a baby. With everything to scale, I very well could have been one of Michelle’s kids.
Littles, in general, don’t go in much for baby pictures. It’s almost considered a bad omen, or a sign of bad luck, a superstition passed on from generation to generation. But I felt the strangest sense of deja vu laying there, like I was witnessing a memory instead of the present. Watching myself in the mirror as two giant grown-up sized hands reached for the tabs of my soiled diaper.
The sound of tapes being ripped off of plastic jolted me out of my trance, the changing table beneath me holding solid as I violently shook. This is why there was a mirror on the ceiling! It was another form of conditioning! They wanted me to look up and see myself from their point of view: As tiny; as helpless; as cute. A helpless little baby doll.
With another tremor, my hands jerked up to my face as the diaper was pulled open. I would not look. I would not look. I would not look. I would not subject myself to my own diaper change. “It’s okay to suck your thumb,” Mrs. Beouf’s voice bounced off the bathroom tiles, her voice sickeningly sweet and high pitched again. “Enjoy yourself. You’re safe.”
THAT is what she thought I was doing?! I slammed my own eyes shut and willed my arms away from my face. I would not give this crazy woman the satisfaction of even thinking that I was chewing on my fingers. The smell of stale ammonia hit my nose now that the diaper was open. How had I not noticed the smell before?
It took everything I had to not smack at the hands wiping down my crotch, knowing that I’d only be rewarded with some kind of restraint for my trouble. I braced myself, digging my hands into my armpits and shivering with each pass of the cold wipes. I felt my ankles cross and be lifted towards the ceiling. “Oh, looks like someone wasn’t done with his poopies! Good thing you had your diaper back on!”
“WHAT?!” I couldn’t help it. My eyes were open and staring at my naked body in the mirror, watching helplessly as my former co-worker wiped my ass for me. And much to my horror, I saw glimpses of brown in the mirror: In the old diaper, on the used wipes, and a bit on my bottom and between my legs.
It wasn’t a load, as much as it was a thin coating. Had I made it to a toilet, it wouldn’t have been anything at all. Clearly, the poison hadn’t completely worked its way out of my system, and my bowels had squirted a bit of an aftershock of sorts while I’d lain unconscious. That much was obvious. More disturbingly, I couldn’t help but wonder why I hadn’t noticed it; felt something; smelled something; known something!
My used shame was balled up single handedly and disposed of in the lidded trash can next to the changing table- a thin clink instead of a roaring flush-and a new diaper was slid underneath me. Still, my legs were held aloft. “You got lucky,” she said, “no rash this time, Little guy.” She grabbed for a jar filled with sickly medical smelling cream. “Just in case.” I winced as rash cream was spread and rubbed into my butt and genitals, followed by a cold cloud of baby powder.
I was lowered down onto my new padding, and a second cloud coated my penis before two large hands spread my legs apart and pulled the diaper up, securing it to my waist with a pair of tapes that I couldn’t hope to undo. “There we go, alllll better.”
I didn’t dignify her cooing with a response, but admittedly, it did feel better. As she unstrapped me from the changing table, I gave my legs a tentative squeeze, trying to touch my knees together. They didn’t fully collide, but they managed to just barely graze each other, a crisp new crinkle invaded my ear buds for my effort.
Vinyl matting sucked at my skin as I was lifted up and maneuvered into a sitting position on the changing table. Questioningly, I looked at Mrs. Beouf. “Gotta get you dressed.” She took out a plain red t-shirt and pulled it over my head. “This is all we have in lost and found right now that’s appropriate.” I looked down as my arms were guided and pulled through arm holes.
Apparently, “appropriate” meant that the top of my new shirt barely covered the top of my new diaper. I didn’t bother to ask or complain when pants weren’t provided. Most Littles in my situation weren’t afforded such dignities. We were diapered and Amazons wanted the world to know it. Anything discreet enough to cover the diaper was likely “inappropriate” unless it was inherently cutesy or embroidered with some cutesy degrading slogan like “Mama’s Lil’ Stinker” or “Look Out Below”.
I was riding on her hip again, her hand under my backside to support me, leaving me no choice but to cling on for dear life. “Come on. Let’s go.” As if I had a choice.
It was with those last words that I was taken, like a man already condemned to hear the court’s verdict, even though my sentence had already been carried out.