When a mysterious new arcade opens up in a small town, rumors circulate about their strange collateral system. Joseph, the oldest of three siblings, takes his sister and brother to have some fun, only to end up the youngest once they leave. Will he be able to restore his age?
“Why do I always have to babysit them mom?” Joseph complained. He was sixteen, had just learned to drive, and even given the keys to the old family car. However, he was constantly being asked to babysit his siblings when his mom and dad would go out in their brand new one. His little brother, Johnny, was eight years old and a bit of a wimp, having to call on his older brother to help him with problems a lot. His baby sister, Abby, was at age five and had just started school. She was a bit of a brat, always complaining about having two older brothers and no one to play princess tea party with. This would almost always end up with his two younger siblings arguing and fighting, and he hated dealing with it.
“Because you're the oldest.” said Joseph's mom. “Now I expect you to take care of them while we're gone. I left some money for pizza and if things get too dull around here, you can take them to that new arcade or something now that you can drive. Just make sure you are all home before dark.”
“Ugh, fine.” said Joseph, defeated. “At least we get some pizza.”
“That's more like it young man.” said his mom. She kissed them all on the cheek before leaving with their father to go out with some friends for dinner. “Be good kids!”
“Bye mom!” they shouted, waving at her. It didn't take long for Abby to begin fussing with Johnny about which prince or princess was best.
“Prince Adam is best!” shouted Johnny. “He's He-Man!”
“Prince Charming is better!” shouted Abby. “He's more handsome than dumb ol He-Man!”
“Yeah well, Adora could beat Auora!” Johnny responded.
“That's not fair!” shouted Abby. “Boys are so dumb!”
“At least I don't wet my bed!” shouted Johnny, sticking his tongue out. He loved to mock his little sister's potty training failures when he himself had potty trained early.
“Joseph!” Abby called out. “Johnny's bein' a butt!”
“Both of you be quiet!” shouted Joseph. “Jeez, always whining.”
“I'm not whining!” whined Johnny. “Come on Joe!”
Joseph sighed. “How about we all go to that new arcade?” he suggested. “We can play games, then grab some pizza.”
“Oh yeah, pizza!” shouted Johnny.
“Games sound fun!” said Abby. “Let's go!”
“Before we go, make sure you go potty.” said Joseph. “Don't want anyone having accidents.”
Abby blushed and nodded. “Okay.” she said, going to the bathroom.
“I'm good!” said Johnny. “I just went earlier.”
Once they were all ready, Joseph got his wallet and the money his mom had given them, grabbed the car keys, helped his two siblings into their car seats, and drove them down to the arcade. It was a short drive, but would have been too long to walk. The arcade itself had taken the place of an old antique's store under a bridge only recently. Joseph had discovered it one day while driving to the store, but didn't go in. They lived in a small town, far from most attractions and amusements, aside from a pool and youth center. So when the arcade opened, it quickly became popular. There were rumors about how it had a strange collateral system for those without much money.
Inside was dark, but bright enough to see, and the carpet was black with neon colored shapes. The walls were adorned with various neon signs and video game posters. They had all the classic arcade games and a ton of ones with ticket dispensers. There were even some prize grabbing games with high end prizes like video games, phones, ear buds, and other gadgets. There were even some capsule prizes containing certificates with things like “One Wish” and “One Asset” written on them. None of them had any idea what that meant, but everything looked so fun.
“Okay now, remember, don't leave the arcade without me.” said Joseph. “Here is some money. It's all we have, so don't come asking for more.” He gave them each some money and they went off to play games.
Johnny went over to a light gun game and began blasting away at aliens and zombies while Abby played whack-a-mole.
Joseph kept an eye on them for a while before he spotted a bank of classic arcade games. He remembered watching cartoons of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a kid, and he heard about the classic arcade games, but never got to play them. Excited, he ran over to them and saw one of his friends there. It was David, a friend he had known since kindergarten.
“Hey Joe!” said David, waving to him.
“Hey Dave!” said Joseph. “Cool place huh?”
“Yeah, classic!” said David. “Want to join me in a game?'
“Sure I would!” said Joseph. “Let's do this!” He inserted some quarters and began playing with his friend. It didn't take long for him to use up nearly all of his money though. Then he realized that he had given his siblings more than he meant to.
“Damn it!” he said. “I gave those brats too much money. I'm all out.”
“They have some kind of weird collateral system here.” said David. “Why not check it out?”
Joseph nodded and went to have a look. Examining the sign, he saw the option to “give up time for credits.” He wasn't sure what it meant, but he figured time meant like free time, as if perhaps it was time he would be made to spend working at the arcade to pay off his debt. He picked this option, and picked the max amount, which was oddly enough sixteen. Out came what looked like a credit card. On various machines there was a card reader, but it was mostly the ones where you could win tickets. Credits and tickets were stored on the card in order to keep track of things and have less paper waste.
After returning to his friend, he continued to play more, but still kept losing lives. He ended up using a lot of the credits on his card.
“Wow, you kind of suck at this game.” said David.
“I never played it before!” said Joseph. “It's hard.”
“It takes practice.” said David. “Want to have another go at it?”
“Nah, I want to try something else.” said Joseph. He looked around, checking on his siblings. They both had cards too now, and were playing ski ball. It looked easy and fun, so he went to try it out with them. It wasn't as easy as he remembered, but he did score some tickets. After trying a few more games, it was getting late and time to go. They all headed to the counter to redeem their tickets.
The man behind the counter was an older gentleman with short black hair, thin mustache, and green eyes. He scanned Joseph's card and looked at him. “It seems like you don't have enough tickets to cover the time you put up.” he said.
“Oh, um, yeah.” said Joseph. “I'm guessing that means you get some of my free time. So does that mean I have to work it off now? Not that I would mind working in an arcade.”
“Oh no, that's not what it means.” said the man. “By time it means the time you have amassed in life thus far. In other words, how long you have been alive. I see you bet it all. Ooooh, that was rather risky of you. Don't worry though, we have a policy so no one ever gets de-aged out of existence or anything like that.”
“De-aged?” asked Joseph. “You mean you'll be taking my age from me? Hold on, wait a minute. I didn't agree to that. I didn't know what it meant. How is that even possible?” His mind raced with thoughts, and for a moment, he thought the guy was just messing with him, but then the arcade and everyone around him started getting bigger.
“I'm afraid it's non-negotiable young man.” said the ticket counter. “But don't worry, if you come back and win enough tickets, you can buy your age back. That is assuming there is age to be had. You see, everything people put up for collateral gets put up for grabs for anyone who has enough tickets.”
“Wh-what does that mean?” asked Joseph, who now looked like a thirteen-year-old.
His siblings just stared slack-jawed in awe at their shrinking older brother.
“It means your age is now up for grabs!” said the ticket counter. “Anyone can get it for themselves and make themselves older. If someone bet their knowledge, then that knowledge can be instantly bought with enough tickets. But when it is bought, it is gone, and can only be restored if that person or another person puts up their own age and loses it.”
Joseph quickly shrank down further, having a reverse growth spurt, and becoming a ten-year-old. “Wait a minute!” he squeaked. “Stop! Please! H-how young am I gonna get?” He looked down at himself and his clothes had changed with him, now sporting a shirt with the TMNT on it, a pair of jeans, and small tennis shoes.
“Well, let's see...” said the ticket taker. “You did earn some tickets. Enough to get back about two years of your life.”
“Two years?!” shouted Joseph, still shrinking. “I'll be two years old?”
“Wow, that means you'll be my baby brother!” said Johnny.
“That means yer gonna need diapers again!” Abby giggled.
“N-no!” shouted Joseph, stumbling a bit as he shrank down to Johnny's age, then further. Suddenly being younger than him felt so strange, but being younger than his baby sister was going to feel even stranger.
“Joseph is getting so small!” said Johnny. “Hehe, you're the baby now!”
Joseph blushed as he looked up at his “big” brother and continued to lose height. “N-not a baby!” he squeaked. Then he saw that he was now eye to eye with Abby, then his eye level sunk lower. His face and body plumped with rolls of baby fat, his facial features became softer, rounder, and innocent. Then the moment came where he felt his underwear thicken. He blushed and reached down, patting it. It crinkled softy and he knew exactly what it was and what it meant.
“Joey is a baby!” said Abby, pointing to him. “Look! He has a diapee on!” She giggled and patted his padded rear, making him blush.
“Hey! Quittit!” shouted Joseph. “Ish na funny!” His vocal abilities had regressed as well, making him sound like a real toddler. His outfit was now blue onesie with a Paw Patrol themed pair of shortalls that had a snap crotch. His shoes were tiny, velcro, and had lights in them that went off when he stepped.
“Okay, that is it for you.” said the ticket counter. “Now what about you two?” He scanned Abby's card first and saw that she had won a large amount of tickets. “You have quite a lot! Have a look and tell me what you want.”
Abby looked around excited. She saw what happened to Joseph, and heard what the man said. She wanted to be older. “I wanna be bigger!” she said. “Gimme lots of years! I wanna be older than Joey was.”
“Very well then.” said the ticket counter. He ran her card, pressed some buttons, and Abby began to grow.
“Wait a minnit!” squeaked Joseph. “Dun take my age! Ish mine!” He pouted and stomped his little feet, making his shoes light up.
“Oh don't worry.” said the ticket taker. “There is lots of age in the time pool. Many people have used it as collateral, so there is still plenty for you, as long as you earn it back before they do.”
Abby smiled and looked down at herself as she grew larger and older. She soon met Johnny's gaze and rose above it, looking down at him. “Haha! I'm oldest now!” she said, sticking out her tongue. She continued to grow, entering an awkward and fast puberty. Her body developed, her breasts grew, and her voice deepened a little. A rush of knowledge came into her head, like how to drive and all of the education she would have acquired through high school normally. Her outfit also changed from a childish Disney princess dress to a pink top, jeans, and black short heel shoes.
“Congratulations!” said the ticket taker. “You are now seventeen!”
“Oh wow, I got big!” she said, examining her body. “Really big!” She wobbled a bit on her new teenage legs and shoes. “Things things are hard to walk in.”
Johnny looked up at his now big sister, then down at Joseph, then to the ticket man. “I want to be big too!” he said.
“Johnny no!” shouted Joseph, but he was ignored.
“Let's see here.” said the ticket taker. “You didn't get quite as many tickets as your sister, but you have enough to become a little older.
“I want to get as big as I can!” shouted Johnny. He was excited to be older so he could stay up all night and eat whatever he wanted, not thinking of what else age comes with.
“Sure thing.” said the ticket taker. He scanned Johnny's card, taking all his tickets, and gave him what age it covered.
Johnny giggled as he began to grow. It wasn't long before he had a growth spurt and grew several inches. His voice cracked a little and his outfit changed from a Marvel themed shirt and shorts to a Star Wars shirt and cargo shorts, and his shoes became flip flops. “Oh wow, look at me!” he shouted, now a thirteen-year-old. The knowledge that came with it entered his head, and he looked confused for a moment, then blinked. “Whoa.”
The ticket taker gave them back their cards. “Here you are!” he said. “Once you leave the arcade, you will find that people may not remember you being the ages you were. Your worlds will be altered to fit your new ages. If you find them unappealing, you can always come back to trade your age for credits. We hope to see you again soon!”
“Thanks mister!” said Abby. She picked up little Joseph and held him, walking outside with him and Johnny. The world looked the same, but now she had the keys to the car in her pocket. “Ooh, yay! I get to drive!” There was now a baby seat and diaper bag in the car for Joseph. She chuckled and strapped him into it, remembering how she used to be forced to use one of these things.
Joseph fussed and squirmed. “No!” he shouted. “I not babee!”
“You kinda are now.” said Johnny, getting in the front seat.
“Yeah, you wear diapers now!” said Abby, sitting in the driver's seat and starting the car. “Time for pizza!”
“Do you even know how to drive?” asked Johnny.
“I think so.” said Abby. She had memories of learning to drive, and found that she was able to do so without much problem. “Wow, this is so cool. I see why you like it so much Joey!”
Joseph just pouted in his baby seat, kicking his little legs in frustration. He was supposed to be the big boy, the babysitter, not the babysat. Certainly not the baby.
Abby even remembered where the pizza place was, and pulled into a parking spot. She got out, helped Joseph out, and went inside with him and Johnny. “What kind of pizza do you want?” she asked.
“Pepperoni!” shouted Johnny.
“Teez!” shouted Joseph, trying to say cheese. Although he really just wanted to be big again, he was hungry, and he salivated for some pizza.
“Pepperoni and cheese then!” said Abby. She pulled out the money from her purse and paid for the pizza and got some drinks, then went over to a table. She placed Joseph in a high chair and sat down across from Johnny. She put some soda in a sippy cup and had to cut up a slice of pizza for Joseph, then let him eat.
Joseph blushed, having to have his food cut up. He ate with his tiny toddler hands, and ended up getting pizza sauce all over his face and hands. He drank from the sippy cup, thankful that it wasn't a baby bottle. His hands were a bit wobbly, so he would have dropped a soda cup.
Abby and Johnny both chuckled at their baby brother, who looked very silly now. Before, he had been the one to take care of them, but now he had to suffer the humiliation of being taken care of while also knowing better.
Feeling frustrated, Joseph began to kick his legs and cry. “No faiw!” he shouted. “I da big bwo!”
“Come on Joey.” said Abby. “It's not so bad. Plus, we can help you win your age back soon.”
“Yeah, you won't be a baby forever.” said Johnny, eating his pizza.
Joseph sniffled. He couldn't believe he was just crying like a toddler. “Nah babee.” he said, rubbing his eyes. It was then he felt the need to go to the bathroom, but thought he could hold it until he was finished. Once he felt something squishy under his butt, he felt confusion, but then the smell told him what he had just done.
Abby and Johnny were eating when they picked up the gross smell coming from Joseph. Abby still had memories of having accidents, and knew the feeling. She saw the look on his face and knew he was about to bawl. “Ew, Joey pooped.” she said, picking up Joseph before he could start crying and heading to the women's restroom.
Joseph screwed up his face and began to cry loudly. He realized he had pooped in his diaper like a baby and it felt gross against his skin. He had been downgraded from responsible teen to stinky baby, and he felt so helpless.
“Phew, you sure do stink.” said Abby. “Stop crying! I'll change your diaper.” She tried calming him down by tickling his sides, but he just continued to kick and wail on the changing table. Soon Johnny brought in the diaper bag and gave it to her through a crack in the door of the restroom. Gently, she unsapped her baby brother's shortalls and gained access to his diaper, which smelled terrible. She wrinkled her nose and unfastened his diaper, opening it.
Joseph blushed hard as he was exposed to the elements. Anyone walking by could see him on full display. Thankfully, no one cared or wanted to see a poopy baby butt.
Abby winced as she lifted him by the ankles and wiped his bottom clean. “Ew, so gross.” she said, disposing of the poopy diaper and wipes, then pulled out a fresh diaper. She absently wondered if this is what her mom went through when changing her diapers all those times, and somehow now had memories of changing his diaper before. She lifted him by the ankles again and slid the new diaper under him, then sprinkled powder on it and his groin, and settled him down onto it. “Be still!” she said, after all of his squirming and kicking. “Or I'll make you wear nothing but that diaper in front of everyone.” That made him calm down some. After fastening the diaper around his waist, she rebuttoned his shortalls and sat him up. “There, all clean again. That better?”
Joseph sniffled and rubbed his eyes. “No.” he said, sounding defeated. “No wike dis.”
“Aww, I know.” said Abby. She picked him up, then looked at herself in the mirror. She barely recognized herself, looking almost all grown up. She had long red hair, blue eyes, and a nearly flawless face. She liked what she saw. Then she turned to Joseph. “But look at you! You're so cute!”
Joseph looked as well and couldn't believe how he looked. He was a cute, plump little toddler with messy sandy brown hair and brown eyes. He had flashes of baby photos he remembered seeing from his past in a photo album. He reached up and touched his face in dismay and fear.
Before he could start crying again, Abby bounced him a little to distract him. “Ugh, let's just go home.” she said. She held him slung the diaper bag over her shoulder, walking outside and back to the car.
Once again, Joseph was placed in the car seat and Johnny got in front. On the way home, Joseph felt tired from crying and soon fell asleep, drooling a little.
Abby found him to be very cute, looking in the rear view mirror at him.
Johnny still found it a bit hard to believe this sleeping toddler was Joseph. Though he was excited about being a teen finally, he did feel bad for him.
Abby pulled up to the house and got the sleeping Joseph out without waking him. She took him inside and was surprised to see that there was now a playpen in the living room, along with some building blocks and toddler toys. She saw that Joseph's room was now a nursery with a crib and changing table. Instead of posters of his favorite bands, there were now decorations of baby animals. Gently, she placed the sleeping toddler in his crib and went into her room. Instead of the pink princess decorations, her room was now adorned with pictures of teenage boys in boy bands, and she had her own big bed and makeup chair.
Johnny walked into his room to see that most of his toys were gone. He still had a few action figures and model kits out, but now things were more sports themed. “So cool!” he said excitedly. He went through his music and found that he had a taste in pop and rock. “Being older is going to be so awesome!”
Abby giggled and hopped onto her big bed, stretching out. It was much bigger and softer than her little kid bed. She got up and sat at her makeup chair, looking at her face. It was becoming more familiar now and she began to experiment with some makeup.
Not long after, their mom and dad came home. Just like the ticket taker said, they acted as if they had always been their current ages.
“Thanks for babysitting again.” said their mom. “I hope Joey wasn't too much trouble.”
“You're welcome mom!” said Abby, giving her a big hug. She was now about the same height as her mom, and it was certainly a big change from viewing her from the height of a five-year-old. “Joey was a little grumpy. I had to change a poopy diaper.” She giggled a bit.
“Well, that's to be expected.” said her mom. “How was Johnny? Did he behave?” It was obvious she figured Abby was the kind to report on her little brothers' behavior.
“He did.” said Abby. “He even helped me with Joey.”
“That's good!” said her mom. “He's really maturing.”
“Hey mom!” said Johnny, hugging her. He couldn't help but notice how much shorter she seemed now that he was taller.
“Hey Johnny!” said his mom. “I heard you were on your best behavior today. I think you're ready for a little extra in your allowance.”
“Oh really?!” said Johnny all excited. “Thanks mom! You're the best!”
“You deserve it.” said their dad, chiming in. “Soon Abby will be going to college and we will need your help with little Joey.”
“Oh, right...” said Johnny, remembering how one of them got the short straw in all this. “Yeah, of course I'll help!”
“That's my boy.” said their dad, ruffling Johnny's hair. It felt so weird to be close to his dad's height. Thoughts drifted through his head, like what if he were older and a father?
Their mom went to peek in on Joseph just in time for him to wake up. “Aww, is my little man awake?” she asked.
“M-mom?” asked Joseph, rubbing his eyes and yawning. He looked around and noticed he was surrounded by wooden bars, and he was laying in soft baby blue blankets. Then he moved and felt his diaper squish wetly between his legs. The events of the day came flooding back and he stood up. “Mama! I babee!” He tried telling her that he had become a baby, but it didn't have its intended effect.
“Why yes, you are!” she smiled and checked his diaper, then lifted him up from his crib. “But soon you'll be a big boy who doesn't need these diapers.”
“Nooo” said Joseph. “I big!” He squirmed and fussed in her arms.
“Now now, no fussing.” said his mom. “We need to get you changed.” She removed his clothing, except for his diaper, and laid him on the changing table. She had to strap him down due to his squirming, but then unfastened and removed his wet diaper.
Joseph shivered and blushed, trying to cover himself. His little hands were moved away though, and he used them to cover his eyes as his mother wiped him down. He was so embarrassed, he wished he could just disappear. It was bad enough being changed by his sister, but now his mom was doing it as if she were totally used to it. He felt a bit better when a new diaper was placed on him, but she didn't redress him. Instead she just carried him out of his room and into the living room, depositing him in the playpen.
“I hope you two have done your homework.” said their mom, sitting down to watch TV.
“Um, we have.” said Johnny. He actually wasn't sure. Looking down at his brother in the playpen just made him feel worse for him. “I'll double check.” He decided to go shut himself in his room and listen to some music.
“Yeah, me too.” said Abby, going to her room.
Poor Joseph was left to himself in the playpen. He looked down at his chubby little feet and the toys around him. He stood up and tugged on the sides of the playpen. “Mama!” he shouted. “Wan out!”
“No honey, just play with your toys for a bit okay?” said his mom. She knew her little one was prone to exploring and getting into trouble while she tried to watch TV.
Joseph pouted and kicked one of his toys. Unable to do anything about his current situation, he sat and tried playing with them. He soon found that they were quite fun, especially the chunky toy cars. They were colorful and perfectly sized for his little hands.
Later on, his mom went to the kitchen and came back with a snack. It was some chocolate chip cookies and a sippy cup of milk. She got him out of the play pen and let him eat. “Here you go Joey.” she said with a smile. “Your favorite!”
Joseph smiled a little and ate the cookie. He still felt awkward, being a little toddler like this, but it also felt nice being able to play while his siblings did homework. He got a lot of attention from his mom, and got to eat cookies and play with toys. He was starting to feel like it wasn't so bad after all. However, he felt the need to poop again and tried to articulate this to his mom. “Mama!” he shouted. “Potty!” He went from one foot to the other trying to hold it.
“Gotta potty?” asked his mom. “We better hurry!” She picked him up and carried him to the bathroom, then quickly removed his diaper and sat him down on his training potty.
Joseph blushed as he grunted a little and began using the little plastic potty. He wasn't sure if it was more or less humiliating than using his diaper. He also heard a pitter patter sound as he began to pee. He didn't even know he had to pee. Once he was done, he blushed some more as his mom wiped his bottom and put his diaper back on.
“Good boy!” she said, washing her hands. “Soon you won't even need those nasty diapers.”
Joseph yawned. After playing and the milk, he was sleepy again.
“Aww, looks like it's time for sleepy bye.” said his mom. She carried him back to his crib and laid him down, then gave him a kiss on his head. “Sleep well dear.”
Joseph fought sleep, but his little body was still growing, ironically enough, and he soon began unconsciously sucking his thumb as he fell asleep.
The next day was when their new lives would really come into view. Abby was now a senior in high school, but the only school experience she remembered was kindergarten. This made her shy and a little scared, but she soon found that she had friends. Somehow, in this new life, she had friends that knew her and claimed to have grown up with her. The more time she spent with them, the more memories flooded her head of hanging out with them in different grades. It was a big change, but one she liked.
Johnny was in eighth grade, and was worried at first that the math and science classes would be too hard for him. However, the knowledge was somehow there. It wasn't perfect, but there was enough for him to get by. What really had his interest now was sports. He too found that he had new friends. Meeting them was a bit awkward at first, but the longer they talked the more he remembered them. It was certainly a strange feeling in his head. He was also noticing girls more, which was something very new for him. During gym and practice, he found that his body was very strong, swift, and athletic.
Joseph's day was a lot harder to deal with in a sense. He found himself deposited at daycare. It was brightly colored with cartoon characters plastered on the outside and inside. When his mom placed him down on the floor, he clung to her. He didn't want to be left with a bunch of snot nosed little kids and strangers. He felt his diaper become warm in front, and reached down, pressing against it as if that would stop it. “Mommy!” he squeaked. “No wan dis.”
“You know mommy has to work.” said mom. “Be a good boy for me, okay? Be a big brave boy.” She kissed him on the head and left him in the care of the daycare workers.
Little Joseph's regressed emotions built up and the dam broke when he saw his mom leaving. He began to cry and wail for his mommy, but the attendants did their best to comfort him. They tried giving him a pacifier, but he spit it out. Then they checked his diaper. Once they found out he was wet, they took him over to a changing table to be changed. He fussed and squirmed, as usual. It was so degrading having his diaper changed and everyone see his diminished privates. Finally, when they gave him a juice box he calmed down. It tasted nice and sweet on his toddler taste buds. He figured there was nothing he could do, so he began exploring the daycare. All the other kids were under school age, some being as young as newborns and the oldest seemed to be four. It was definitely add to see a four-year-old taller than him. The scent of baby powder and diapers filled the air, as did the scent of crayons and construction paper. Then he heard a small voice say his name.
“Joseph? Is dat you?” said the small boy. He was a toddler, between age three and four, but looked familiar with his blonde hair and blue eyes.
“Huh?” asked Joseph. “Who awe yoo?”
“It me, Wobby, I mean Wobewt.” said Robert, trying to make his mouth work.
Joseph suddenly remembered knowing a boy named Robert in high school. They hung out a lot, but for some reason he had totally forgot about him until just now. “Wobewt?” he asked. Then his eyes lit up. “Yoo got widdle too!”
“Yep.” said Robert. “Yoo went to da awcade too?” He had a bit of a sniffly voice, as if his nose were full of mucus, which it was.
“Uh huh.” said Joseph. “I bet it aww.”
“Me too!” said Robert. “Buh I had enuff to be dis owd at weast.” He looked down and noticed Joseph's snap crotch shorts. “Diapee?”
Joseph blushed and nodded, shuffling his feet a little on the carpet. “Uh huh...” he said shyly. “Embawassin.”
“M-me too.” said Robert. “S-sort of. Twanin pants.”
“Dis sucks.” said Joseph.
“Uh huh.” said Robert. “We not da onwy ones tho. Come hewe.” He led Joseph over to a corner of the daycare where a couple of other kids were sitting on the floor. “We aww went to da awcade.”
“Weawwy?” asked Joseph. He saw a four-year-old girl with blonde hair done up in pigtails, dressed in a frilly pink dress, a three-year-old boy with short black hair wearing overalls, and a baby boy with sparse light brown hair who looked to be about eighteen-months-old or so, wearing just a baby diaper and blue shirt.
“Yeah, evwyone meet Joey, I mean Joseph.” said Robert. “He usta be sebenteen, wike me.” He sniffled and wiped his nose on his shirt.
“Hi Joey.” said the girl. “My name Sophie. I usta be fifteen.”
“My name Henwy!” said the boy in overalls. “I usta be nineteen.”
“Charwie.” said the baby boy. “Was twenty, buh I wike bein babee.” He giggled as he crinkled in his diaper and played with his toes.
“Yah, he got widdle on puwpose.” said Robert. “He's jus a dumb baby now.”
“Yer dumb!” said Charlie, impotently tossing a rubber ball at Robert. It landed at his own chubby little feet where he sat.
“Ugh, I no wanna be wike dis.” said Joseph. “How we fix?”
“Yoo gots ta go back to da awcade n win.” said Robert. “We twied, buh owr mommies won't wet us.”
“Yah, my mommy dun wememba me bein owder.” said Sophie. “I dun haf any sibwings.”
“My widdle bwo ish now in cowwege.” said Henry. “He was sebben befowe. He dun wanna be widdle again, so I stuck wike dis.”
“I haf a bwudder n sistew.” said Joseph. “Dey owder dan me now, buh maybe I can gets dem to take me back.”
“Wha if dey nu wanna?” asked Sophie.
“I...I guess I be stuck in diapees fow a while.” Joseph said, sniffling a bit. A tear dripped down his cheek.
“It otay Joey.” said Robert, giving his little friend a hug. “If yoo can get big again, do it. We gonna hafta wait tiww we big enuff to twy again. We kinda wike a widdle suppowt gwoup.” He chuckled babyishly.
Joseph was happy to have friends he could relate to. All the other kids in the daycare were normal, without a care in the world.
“I gwad to meet yoo aww.” said Joseph. He sat with them and talked about being big and their former lives. Even Charlie chimed in with his own story, apparently having a hard time adapting to adult life. He had always wanted a return to diaper days, and had even bought diapers to wear when he was older, just to experience it. Now that he was a real baby again, he couldn't be happier.
Henry was attending college before he regressed, which meant he couldn't spend much time with his little brother. Now his little brother was his big brother, and attending college instead of him. His now older brother hated him for “leaving” him to go to college, so he wanted Henry to see what it was like.
Sophie used to be a cheer leader, and was just coming into puberty, only to have it all snatched away at the arcade. Since she was there alone, after regressing, her mom suddenly showed up as if she had always been there. Now she had to deal with her mom dressing her in embarrassing outfits.
Soon it was time for naps, and even though none of them wanted to sleep, they were too tired to argue. They were each given a pacifier, which Joseph refused at first, but when he saw his new friends sucking on them, he tried it himself. It was oddly soothing and felt right. A slow smile formed behind the pacifier as he sucked on it and fell asleep with his friends.
Later on, after diaper changes, it was lunch time, and they were all placed in high chairs and given food. Since he was younger, Joseph was given cut up veggies and pieces of hot dog, which he ate, happy that he didn't need to drink from a baby bottle and fed mush like Charlie. After lunch, they got to play more, and began playing with a bouncing ball. Joseph was so distracted by their little game that he forgot about the potty. When he felt the need to go, he tried getting the attention of one of the daycare workers, but it was too late. He felt his diaper grow warm and heavy.
“Joey poo poo!” said Charlie happily clapping. He too soon grunted and released his lunch into his diaper with a little grin.
Joseph did his best not to cry in front of his friends. Instead, he asked for a diaper change. His diaper had leaked a little though, and now he had to go without his little shorts. Now he just wore a shirt, diaper, and little baby blue socks on his feet. He looked much like little Charlie, which he didn't want.
“It happens ta aww of us.” said Robert. “Twainin pants weak easy.”
“Ish so embawwassin.” said Sophie.
“Ya get used to it tho.” said Henry. He had begun stacking some blocks along with Charlie. It was clear they were more used to their infantile lives than Joseph was.
Joseph wondered if eventually they would all forget they were ever big before. The thought made him sad, as if their old selves were taken or dead. If he were able to get his own age back, would he still be friends with them? He wasn't sure, but part of him wanted to keep his new friends. They gave him comfort that was much needed without his mommy there to comfort him.
As the week went on, everyone got more used to their new ages. Abby had even developed a crush on a boy she liked. Johnny made new friends and was an excellent athlete in school, and Joseph was even becoming more used to being a toddler now that he had a circle of friends. However, he still aimed to get his age back, and maybe even help the others get theirs. Well, those who wanted help at least.
What Will Happen?
Possible ending #1: Breaking Even.
Abby is happy with her current age and does not want to risk it on chance. However, she takes Joseph and Johnny back to the arcade and they manage to break even. How old will they end up and what will happen to the daycare group?
Possible ending #2: Exploit.
Abby cuts up her arcade card, severing her link to it, causing her to forget her siblings were ever a different age. Frustrated, Johnny takes Joseph to the arcade on his bike, but do not do well, however a different machine with magic prizes could turn the tables if used the right way.
Possible ending #3: Game Over.
Abby takes Joseph and Johnny back to the arcade, but find it is now mysteriously gone. Will it ever retrurn?
Possible ending #4: Undo
Abby has a harder time in high school, gets made fun of, and the boy she has a crush on starts dating another girl. Frustrated with this and being burdened with more responsibility, she wants to go back to being five. She takes Joseph and Johnny back to the arcade where she gives up her age but doesn't want to play. Instead, Johnny has to help. Will they be able to win back Joseph's age? What about the daycare crew?
Possible ending #5: Super Star
Johnny meets a friend at basketball practice who was also a winner at the arcade and finds out some tips on how to win a lot of tickets. Will his skills translate to good game play at winning tickets? See more about Johnny's possible future with this ending.
Vote on which ending you like more here: https://www.deviantart.com/ozzieastaroth/poll/How-Should-Collateral-Gaming-End-Read-Collateral-Gaming-story-first-8050497
TheFurEffect · Aug 26, 2021Much like your other stories, this was a pleasure to read. I'm positive that no matter what ending wins it'll be a satisfying ending because it's you writing it
username · Aug 28, 2021A group of senior citizens is visiting the arcade as Johnny...
Ambrose · Aug 29, 2021A superb story! Love the premise(at first I thought it was going more in the direction of "Big") and the characters which are really believable and sympathic. The only minor critique I would have, is that Abby and Johnny get seemingly problem free versions of their new ages ... but then again, this is just my view and it doesn't feel wrong, they "won" them after all. I voted for the "Breaking Even"-Ending simply because every age his its ad- and disadvantages and it seems better to face them together. No matter the outcome, if it keeps this quality it will be great!