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incinerator sanitary pads Diaper Machine:The Diaper Deal

2022-04-13 10:39:28
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incinerator sanitary pads Diaper Machine:The Diaper Deal

  by Tom Lee
I was shocked. My father held up a disposable baby diaper that he’d found in my closet. He and my mother looked at me seriously.

  “Do you like to wear these?” he asked me again.

  Perhaps it was something in his voice, the total lack of anything threatening, but I answered, “Yes.”

  “Is it because they help keep your bed dry?”

  “Yes …”

  Mom said, “Let me ask this way. If you had your choice, if nobody would know, would you wear diapers just to bed, or all the time?”

  I swallowed. My throat had suddenly become very dry. “All the time,” I answered.

  “That’s what we thought,” Mom said. “Don’t worry, dear, you’re not in trouble. We just want to know about these things. Now, come upstairs.”

  “But I have to put my Legos away,” I protested.

  “No, you don’t,” said Dad. “You’ll be right back to them in a minute. We just have to show you something first.”

  I was the last one up to my room, because my parents had such long legs compared to mine. The first thing I saw was Mom, holding open my underwear drawer so that I could see inside.

  There were diapers in my underwear drawer.

  As had happened when Dad had shown me the diaper he had found in my closet, I was too shocked to speak for what seemed like minutes. Mom took one of the diapers out and showed it to me. It looked bigger than the diapers I liked to put on at night. “Pharmacies in our area sell these for children with bedwetting problems … and children like you,” she said.

  “You want me to wear those at night?” I asked, my eyes wide in amazement.

  Dad answered, “No, we want you to wear them all the time. We can give your underwear away to Goodwill. That is, if that’s what you want.”

  What an offer! How could I say no?

  “Before you say yes,” Mom said, holding the diaper, “you have to know what it means. You must use your diapers for everything, both number one and number two. You won’t be using toilets anymore.”

  This sounded great to me. “Yes,” I said.

  “If we do catch you using a toilet, it’s back to underwear for you, and we’ll never make this offer again.”

  That limited my options, but it was fine with me. “Yes,” I said.

  “You’ll be changed, or at least checked, in the morning, at noon, in the afternoon, and at bedtime.”

  That made sense. “Yes,” I said.

  “In between those times,” she went on, “you’ll have to ask one of us if you need to be changed, and that includes your sister. I’m sure she’s gotten very good at changing diapers from her babysitting.”

  My sister? Well, of course she’d find out about this, if my parents hadn’t already told her. “Yes,” I said.

  “When we go out, we’ll be bringing along a diaper bag for you, and your father may have to change you in public restrooms.”

  That would be embarrassing, but who would see me? Only people I didn’t know. “Yes,” I said.

  “Do you still want this?” Dad asked.

  I swallowed again. What would happen if the other kids at school found out about it? What would my friends say? My mind found ways to rationalize everything. The kids at school would tease me, but I thought I could take it. And if my friends were really my friends, they’d stay my friends no matter what. Once again, I said, “Yes.”

  “All right,” said Mom, “take off your shoes, pants and underpants and come sit on your bed.”

  I did. I hate when my shoelaces tangle when I’m in a hurry. I sat on the bed with my bare bottom. Mom had gotten some baby powder from another dresser drawer.

  She opened up the diaper and said, “OK, scoot back and lie down.” When I did, she slid the back end of the diaper under me with my excited cooperation. She sprinkled powder all over the places that would soon be once more perpetually covered by diapers, and spread the powder with her hand. Then she flattened the front of the diaper against my groin and fastened it with the tapes.

  Mom dusted her powdered hands off against each other and said, “All right, Chris, put your pants and shoes back on, and go finish playing with your Legos. It’s almost bedtime, and tomorrow’s a school day.”

  “Thanks, Mom,” I said, and I meant it. It felt strange, wearing diapers instead of underwear under my pants, but it was exciting too. I’d dreamed of being able to wear diapers without having to hide it, and now my dream had come true.

  It felt weird, I thought. The diapers filled my pants out, and they crinkled whenever I moved. As I played with my Legos on the living room floor in front of the TV, my thirteen-year-old sister Sarah walked by. “So, you’re back in diapers now,” she remarked.

  “Yeah!” I answered. “Umm, Mom and Dad said I could ask you to change me?”

  “They told me,” she said, apparently unexcited. “Just don’t ask too often.” She sat down to watch TV.

  “Chris, time for bed,” called Dad from upstairs.

  “Aww,” I complained. I started putting my Legos away.

  I took off my clothes and put on my pajamas, the fabric whispering against my diaper’s outer plastic. I got in bed, but I found that I couldn’t lie on my side like I always did, because my diaper bunched uncomfortably between my legs. I curled one leg upward, and the bunching eased. I supposed that I’d have to sleep like that from now on.

  As I went off to sleep, I started dreaming about being a little baby again, sleeping in a crib, sucking on a pacifier …

  My alarm clock beeped. It was 7:00, time to get up. I was happy when I realized that I hadn’t wet the bed overnight. Then I reached down to take my pajamas off and remembered that I was in diapers. They felt like very wet diapers, too. I had wet in my sleep, but the wetness hadn’t made it to my bed.

  I wasn’t going to be able to get dressed until somebody changed my diapers. Nobody else was up yet, though, so I took my pajamas off and tried to change myself.

  Everything went smoothly until Dad came in. I had rolled up the wet diaper and was reaching into the drawer for another one when I heard him say, “No, Chris; I’ll change you.”

  He took out the baby powder and some baby wipes. As he cleaned my diaper region with one of the wipes he told me, “We’ve got to make sure you’re cleaned off with every change, or you might get diaper rash.” He finished and put a fresh diaper on me, then opened my closet door and tossed the old diaper into a diaper pail that I hadn’t known was there. “OK, get dressed now,” he said. I did, then I washed up in the bathroom, then I went downstairs for breakfast.

  I was so scared that somebody was going to find out I had diapers on. The things made crinkling noises every time I moved, and I had to walk all the way to school! Okay, it was only six blocks, but it seemed like a mile in diapers.

  I saw other kids, also on their way to school. They looked at me, but no more intently than usual, I hoped. I caught up with two of my friends.

  Jeff and Dave were talking. “OK, so Superman comes from Krypton,” said Dave, “but I bet you don’t know what planet Spider-Man comes from.” I didn’t know either. Obviously they didn’t notice my diapers.

  We arrived at school, I went into our classroom, and Mrs. Evers began today’s math lesson. Multiplication. Yuck.

  As I sat there, I almost forgot that I had diapers on. I certainly wasn’t thinking about them. As time went by, though, I became aware of the fact that I needed to pee.

  What could I do? If I waited, it would only get worse. The diaper was there, so I let go. I could feel the warm wetness, and then I felt it spread. I didn’t have to go anymore, but I was worried: Would it leak out? When I stood up, would there be wet spots on my pants? I didn’t dare look down, for fear someone else would see me looking down, and what if there were something to look at?

  Then it was time for music class, which was held in another classroom. I had to get up. I decided I’d check my pants out while everybody else was busy getting ready to go. I didn’t know what I’d do if they were wet … but fortunately, my pants weren’t wet, front or back. My diaper had done its job. I worried a bit about what would happen if I had to go again before I went home for lunch, but I decided not to worry about it unless it happened. I went to music class, which was always fun. Singing and clapping in rhythm; was this learning or playing?

  Of course I didn’t know about it at the time, but I later found out that my parents had a talk that morning before Dad went to work. It must have gone something like this. He said, “So, do you think it’ll work?”

  Mom said, “You mean putting Chris back into diapers? Hmm, at the very least we won’t be washing his sheets anymore.”

  “Yeah, but we’ll have to change him again, and that’s almost as bad.”

  “Well, remember why we’re doing it,” Mom said seriously. “The doctor said his wanting to wear diapers was probably a sexual thing, and we don’t want to traumatize him by making him feel guilty about wanting them. That could lead to his developing a fetish for them when he gets older.”

  Dad added, “And maybe if we make him wear diapers he’ll get sick of them, and he won’t want them after a while.”

  Mom nodded. “Maybe. But remember, that’s only a possibility.”

  “I don’t want to have to go on changing Chris’ diapers for the rest of his life!” Dad exaggerates when he gets angry.

  Mom smiled. “We won’t, of course. If time goes by, and he still wants to be in diapers, we’ll just have to show him how to change himself. Then the only difference between raising him and raising any other boy will be the expense of the diapers.”

  After music class came reading class, but first everybody who had to was allowed to use the bathroom. If I hadn’t wet my diapers during math, I definitely would have had to go by now. But I remembered my mother’s words: “If we do catch you using a toilet, it’s back to underwear for you, and we’ll never make this offer again.” For all the fear and embarrassment, I liked being in diapers, so even if I had held off until now I’d be wetting my diapers instead of using the bathroom.

  “Don’t you have to go, Chris?” asked Mrs. Evers, startling me a little.

  “Um, no, Mrs. Evers, I’m fine.”

  “You’re sure? You usually go at this time, and I don’t want you disrupting class by asking to go.” Most of the students were out of the bathroom by now.

  “Really, ma’am, I don’t have to go right now.”

  “All right. Just making sure.”

  Unknown to me, the class bully Curt was talking to one of his cronies, Stu. “Look at Miss Chris over there. He doesn’t have to go to the bathroom. I’ll bet that diaper baby’s wetting his diapers right now.” He laughed.

  Stu laughed too, one of those “it’s not really funny, but I’d better laugh anyway or he’ll think I’m a dweeb” laughs. He said, “Yeah, Chris Miss.” They were just making cruel jokes, of course; there was no way they could have known I really did have diapers on.

  Curt smiled a smile that said, “I made a joke, he laughed. See? Everybody thinks I’m the coolest.” This is not what he said, of course. He just smiled that self- satisfied smile, then picked another boy in our class to make fun of.

  When everyone was out of the bathroom, Mrs. Evers walked the class back to our regular classroom for reading.

  Well, it wasn’t long until I had to pee again. There I was, sitting in class, and I’d passed up the chance to go earlier. What was more, I’d already wet my diaper earlier in the morning, and I wasn’t sure they could absorb another drenching.

  I thought about my options. I could wait until lunchtime, go home, and use the … no, I couldn’t use the toilet, could I? I could go home, get a change, and wet my diaper then. But would they change me again before I went back to school?

  I couldn’t think of what to do, so I tried to hold on and kept listening to the teacher. Soon, though, my body made up my mind for me. It was almost lunchtime, and I had to go! I tried to cross my legs, but I didn’t want to wring any wetness out of the diaper, so I couldn’t cross them very far. I fidgeted a little, but it didn’t help much. Finally, I wet the diaper just a little, to relieve the pressure.

  I could feel the warm wetness, but then it disappeared, just as it had earlier when the diaper was completely dry. I let a little more go, and it disappeared as quickly. This was working. I felt less pressure, and I didn’t think the diaper had leaked.

  As the minutes ticked by to lunchtime, though, the pressure built up again, but just when I thought I’d have to let a little more out, the teacher dismissed class, and I got up.

  What luck! When I was walking, I didn’t feel like I had to go. I’d just walk home, then I could wet my diaper before Mom changed me. I got my book bag and walked out the door.

  As I quickly walked home, I wondered whether I could count on my luck every day, or whether I’d have to do something about it. Before I got any further on that thought, I heard a nearby loud whistle. I was nearing the train tracks, and a train was coming. If I had to stop, I might wet my diaper! Keeping moving was the only thing keeping me from letting go. I could see the train coming now. I ran for the tracks, but the train was far faster. I had to stop.

  As I caught my breath after running, the pressure returned in full force. I knew there was nothing I could do. My bladder involuntarily let go. I felt myself soaking my diaper, and I knew it wasn’t going to absorb it all this time. The only question was whether the end of the train would pass by before I was finished.

  It did. I ran the rest of the way home, and I could feel the wetness down the legs of my pants. I hoped to God nobody saw me. Mom met me at the door (how did she do that? Maybe she could hear my footsteps on the porch) and said, “My goodness, what happened to you?”

  “Had to go,” I said, short of breath; “diapers … couldn’t hold it.”

  “I’d better change your diapers,” Mom said, “and your pants! You really did a number on them. C’mon upstairs.”

  We climbed the stairs to my room. She said, “If one diaper isn’t going to hold you from morning to lunchtime, maybe we’ll have to get you changed more often.”

  “More often?” I wondered what that meant, but we were in my room, and Mom had me lie down so she could change me.

  “Your father and I don’t have time to come to school to change you,” she said, after stripping off my wet pants, “so we’ll have you take some extra diapers to school in your book bag, and you can go to the nurse’s office when the others go to the bathroom.” She unfastened my soaked diaper and dropped it into my diaper pail.

  The nurse? That wasn’t part of the deal! “But Mom,” I said, “why bother the nurse? I mean, I’m not sick or anything.”

  As she cleaned my diaper region with a baby wipe she said, “I don’t know who else is going to do it. Or would you rather not wear the diapers? That’s always an option.”

  “No!” I said. “I mean, I want to keep wearing the diapers.”

  She sprinkled baby powder all over me. “OK, then you’ll have to report to the nurse in the middle of the morning and the middle of the afternoon, or they’ll call your name on the PA.”

  “But what if the nurse tells other people?”

  “Chris, she’s a professional. They don’t talk to anybody about their patients.”

  “OK,” I said. What choice did I have? Mom put a fresh diaper on me, found me a dry pair of pants, and put an extra diaper into my book bag while I put the dry pants on and my shoes back on. We went downstairs for lunch.

  After lunch I headed back to school with my fresh pair of pants. I hoped I could make it through the whole afternoon without having to wet the diaper I wore underneath them. I remembered what Mom had said as I got ready to leave: “Remember, during your afternoon break go to the nurse and have her change you.”

  “But Mom,” I had said, “I’m sure the nurse is busy. Why should we bother her?”

  “If you’re going to wear diapers at school, you’re going to have to get them changed while you’re there. Who else is going to do it? Your teacher? Remember, you can’t change them yourself; that’s part of the deal.”

  I had sighed resignedly.

  “Remember also,” Mom had concluded, “you don’t have to wear these diapers. You can quit anytime you want.”

  “No!” I had objected. In the short run, giving the diapers up would mean that nobody at school would ever have to find out about them. But in the long run, it would also mean that I would never be allowed to wear diapers again!

  “All right, then. I’m writing you a note for your teacher and one for the nurse. Don’t forget!” Mom had written two notes that were now in my book bag.

  As I walked back into the building, I was unaware that Curt and Stu were hanging around by the doorway. “Hey, look,” Curt said quietly to Stu, “there goes Miss Chris. And there’s … wait, was Chris wearing those khaki pants this morning?”

  “No, he had jeans on this morning,” Stu said.

  “I wonder why the change. Hey, didn’t I see him running home just a little while ago…?” Curt had a nasty grin on his face.

  The afternoon went all right, but the milk I’d drunk at lunchtime came back to haunt me during social studies. Almost unworried, I wet my diaper, knowing now that holding it would just lead to an accident later. But I also knew that this would mean I’d have to see the nurse.

  When the afternoon break came, I gave Mom’s note to Mrs. Evers, then took my book bag and walked slowly toward the office. It felt like my heart was in my mouth. I stood before the door, paused, and finally knocked.

  The door opened. “Hello,” said the nurse. “You can just come in; you don’t have to knock.” I’d seen her before when I’d fallen and scraped my knee at recess. She wore a white coat and had short black hair. “May I help you?”

  “I ….” Suddenly I couldn’t talk. “I have a note from my mother.” I handed it to her.

  “Hmm,” she said, and read the note. “I see. Well, give me one of the dry diapers your mom packed and hop up on the table.”

  I found the diaper Mom had packed in my book bag and handed it to the nurse. As she unfolded it I got up and sat on the examination table.

  “Lie down,” she said. I did; my feet stuck off the end of the table. She set the diaper down, undid my pants and slid them down to my ankles. “Goodness, you certainly are wet!” she said when she saw my diaper, which she then unfastened.

  Then she took me by surprise by lifting up both my feet with one hand! While I gaped in amazement, she slid the wet diaper out from under me, wiped my bottom with a baby wipe, and slid the dry one back under. Before I knew it my legs were back down and she was wiping the rest of my diaper region. She sprinkled some powder on me, taped the diaper up, and slid my pants back up, with my astonished help.

  As she fastened my belt, she said, “Now I’ll expect to see you every morning and afternoon. If I don’t, I’ll have you called here on the PA. Your mother makes it quite clear that you must be changed at both recess times.”

  “Yes, Nurse Ames. Thank you.” I left her office and went to enjoy the rest of recess. Being lifted up by the legs like that had felt really familiar, and had made me feel really helpless. Why, I wondered, didn’t my parents change me like that? Probably, I thought, because it had been years since they had changed a diaper. Nurse Ames, however, must have changed diapers very often.

  After school that day I walked home with my friends Dave and Jeff. Jeff and I both liked to read comic books at Dave’s house, and I’d often go there after school. But this afternoon I was wet. I couldn’t go to Dave’s house, at least right away; I needed a diaper change.

  “You guys can come over today,” Dave said. “Mom said she’ll be cleaning tomorrow afternoon, not today.”

  “Cool!” said Jeff.

  “OK,” I said, “but I have to go home first. I should drop my stuff off.”

  “Bring it along,” Dave suggested. “You always do.”

  “Umm, well, it’s always so annoying to carry this thing. I’ll just drop it off, then I’ll be right over.”

  “OK.” Whew! It sounded like they bought it. I hurried home, where Mom changed my diaper.

  I walked out the door toward Dave’s house with Mom calling after me, “Have fun! Be back by suppertime.” So far, so good. I just hoped Dave and Jeff didn’t notice my diapers.

  I got to Dave’s house and rang the doorbell. Dave let me in, and we went up to his room. Jeff was reading some of Dave’s Electro-Man comics, and Dave unpaused his video game. “I got the new issue of ‘Eliminator,’” Dave said. “Jeff’s got it.”

  So I read comic books. It was always great when Dave got a new issue of something. While Jeff and I were reading, Dave won a round on his video game.

  “Look at this, guys,” he said, “I beat the Slayer. Now the crowd wants me to finish him off. I could rip out his heart by pressing button A, but watch what happens when I hit button B.” He pressed, and I quite clearly saw a fearsome-looking guy in armor shrink into a tiny, helpless baby in diapers. “Pretty cool, huh?”

  “I guess,” said Jeff in a dubious tone of voice. “I’d have ripped out his heart. The graphics are better.”

  I said, “Yeah, but that is kinda cool. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it before.” I was amazed that they’d put something like that in a video game, but I hedged a little because I didn’t want anybody to think I was too excited by it.

  Dave said, “That’s what I always do when I beat ’em.” That was interesting, because that’s what I would do too, if I could ever win a round on that game. Of course, in an ideal world I’d have liked to see a video game where I was the one who got turned into a baby.

  “Well, whatever,” said Jeff. “Can I play after you?”

  The rest of the afternoon went pretty much like that, until I started to feel the need to make a BM. I knew I had diapers on, but I didn’t want to make a mess in them at Dave’s house! They’d smell it, of course, and it would be really embarrassing. So I tried to hold it in. Sitting on my foot helped. The muscle spasms made me wet a little, but I knew the diaper could handle that.

  Finally, it came time for me to go home. So, still feeling the need to poop in my diapers and slightly the wetter for the experience, I walked slowly home.

  I tried to hold it in, but I knew I’d be messing my diapers within minutes. Still, I tried, although it made me walk funny. I hoped I’d get home before the inevitable happened, but I wasn’t sure I could.

  The inevitable happened. I could no longer prevent my bowels from releasing their tension, and I felt the mess come out into the seat of my diapers. I kept walking, so only a little came out, but already I needed a change in a big way. And what would happen at the stoplight, where I usually had to wait for the “walk” sign? Maybe I’d get lucky.

  I wasn’t lucky. Standing there, I struggled to keep from messing and I struggled to keep the struggle from showing on my face, but I wasn’t successful in either. My bowels relaxed, and I filled the seat of my diapers up the rest of the way.

  I felt so helpless and babylike! This was, however, a feeling that I liked, for some reason, in a way, kind of. My bowels no longer hurt, but I felt what I was sure was a huge mess under my pants. I was going to let go of my bladder too, but I found out that I already had. I was wet and messy. “Wow!” I thought. “Just like a baby.”

  After what seemed like an hour’s worth of walking, I got home. Coming in through the door, I saw Mom making supper. “Mom,” I said, “I, uh, need a diaper change real bad.”

  “Try your father, dear,” she said. “I’m busy.”

  I went to the living room, where Dad was resting after his day at work, and said the same thing. Dad took a breath through his nose. “You sure do need a change!” he said. “But I just sat down. Your mother’s making supper; try your sister.”

  “Sarah? But … what if she’s busy?”

  “Tell her I said she had to change you. OK?”

  “OK ….” I went upstairs, where Sarah was usually in her room before supper. I knocked on her door, which was usually closed.

  “What is it?” I heard Sarah answer. “Supper ready?”

  “No,” I said. “Dad said I should ask you to change me.”

  Sarah quickly opened the door. “Oh, darnit. Let’s go to your room, then.”

  We went to my room. “I … um, need a change real bad.”

  “Eww! Yeah, I think you do. And I was hungry just a minute ago! Oh, well. I deal with poopy diapers all the time when I babysit, so I’ll just imagine you’re one of those kids.”

  I liked the idea of being thought of as “one of those kids,” because they were babies who still had to wear diapers. “OK, hop up on the bed,” Sarah told me. I got on my bed and lay on my back as she got out the baby wipes, powder and a new diaper.

  She took my pants down and unfastened my dirty diaper. I lifted up my legs, and she carefully moved the soiled diaper to one side. “Phew!” she said. She put the new diaper underneath me and cleaned me off with some baby wipes, throwing the dirty ones in the diaper pail. She powdered me and fastened the new diaper, then left me with my pants down as she took my dirty diaper to the bathroom. I heard the toilet flush, then she returned with the rolled- up diaper and dropped it into the diaper pail too. Meanwhile, I had pulled my pants back up.

  “Thank you, Sarah,” I said. I felt a lot better.

  “You’re welcome,” she said, “but I hope Mom and Dad don’t always saddle me with the dirty jobs.”

  “Supper!” called Mom from downstairs. We washed our hands (Sarah washed hers a bit more carefully than I did) and went down.

  That evening was mostly uneventful. I usually … well, I used to go to the bathroom just before bedtime, but this time I wet before bedtime, and Mom changed my diaper. I got into my pajamas, and she kissed me goodnight, turned out the lights and closed the door.

  Once all was quiet I got out of bed and stole silently across the floor to my desk. In a drawer was a box of pencils, and the box had a false bottom. Underneath the false bottom I found my pacifier, one of the things I’d bought along with the diapers I used to buy. I got back into bed and fell asleep quickly, feeling secure with my diapers and pacifier.

  The alarm clock beeped, and I whacked the button to shut it off. I stretched, feeling warm and relaxed. I gradually realized that my bladder had certainly felt relaxed overnight, since my diaper was quite wet, and fortunately still warm under the covers. I got up, noted that the bed was completely dry, and remembered my pacifier.

  It had been in my mouth before I’d gone to bed the night before, but it was gone now. Where was it? I panicked for a moment — when Mom and Dad had found out about my diapers, they’d put me back into diapers full-time. What if they’d found my pacifier — what would they do? To my great relief, though, I found it under my pillow. It must have fallen out of my mouth during the night. I retrieved it and returned it to its hiding place.

  I waited for Dad to come in and change me, as he had the morning before. He came, not saying much, but he’s usually not very talkative first thing in the morning. While he was changing me, though, I noticed something. There were Legos on my desk.

  They hadn’t been there the night before. I thought I’d picked all my Legos up after I’d gotten done playing with them. Their presence could mean only one thing: my parents had brought them up during the night. They had opened my door while I was asleep. Had they seen my pacifier?

  Dad stopped as he was sprinkling powder on me. “Something wrong?” he asked, noticing my sudden gasp and wide eyes. “Cold hands?”

  “Yeah,” I said, because I didn’t know what else to say. He finished changing me, I put on my clothes, and we went downstairs for breakfast.

  That morning at school, I first began to feel that the deal I’d made with my parents hadn’t been a mistake. I already knew that wearing diapers felt good to me, and yesterday had reassured me that as long as I didn’t try to go the whole morning or afternoon without a change, I’d never leak. Nurse Ames was the only one at school who knew I always had to wear and use the disposable diapers under my clothes, and she wouldn’t tell anybody. I could actually live this way.

  At recess that morning, while the others were using the bathroom (why do teachers always call it a lavatory?), I went to the nurse’s office for a diaper change. I didn’t know it at the time, but Curt tried to follow me.

  “Hey, where’s Chris going?” Curt asked his friend Stu, as he saw me walking away down the hallway.

  “Dunno,” Stu answered.

  “I’m gonna follow him, and see where he’s going,” Curt said. “Distract the teacher.”


  “I don’t know. Think of something.”

  As Stu got Mrs. Evers’ attention and told her about his dog, Curt tried to sneak off after me. But grade school teachers have eyes in the backs of their heads. Just before Curt had rounded the corner to freedom, she turned and called out, “Curtis!”

  “Er, yes, Mrs. Evers?” Curt responded, trying to look innocent.

  “Where were you going just now?”

  “Um, nowhere, ma’am.”

  “That’s good, because roam the halls without a pass and you stay after school.”

  Under Mrs. Evers’ watchful eye Curt had to behave that morning, so I got my diaper change without his discovering me and headed to recess. That afternoon, though, I wasn’t so lucky. Jimmy Randall and Kevin Dell got into a fight in line, and Curt managed to slip away while Mrs. Evers was stepping in to stop it.

  He quietly caught up with me, never getting close enough that I could see him or hear his footsteps. With the craft of an expert snitch he followed me to the nurse’s office and saw me go inside … but then someone stepped in front of him. “Curtis Harris,” said the vice-principal. “May I see your hall pass?” Mr. Walden was a very tall man.

  “I, um, I think I have it right here, Mr. Walden,” Curt said, fumbling through his pockets.

  “While you look, shall we return to your classroom?” asked Mr. Walden rhetorically, guiding Curt down the hallway with a big hand on the back of Curt’s head.

  Curt hadn’t find out about my diapers, but he had found out where I went at recess time. Meanwhile, I began to like having my diaper changed by Nurse Ames.

  She treated me exactly as she would treat a baby, changing my diaper with that quick efficiency of hers. I guess it made me feel more like a baby, which I liked. “Nurse Ames?” I asked, as she was taping up my new, dry diaper.

  “Yes, Chris, what is it?” she responded.

  “You’re really good at this. Changing diapers, I mean. Do you change a lot of diapers?” I refastened my pants.

  She smiled. “Thank you. Yes, I do. I’ve had a lot of experience changing babies. You’re bigger than the babies I usually change, but in the hospitals and schools where I’ve worked I’ve changed much bigger people than you.”

  Bigger than me? “Oh,” I said, somewhat amazed. I thanked her and headed for recess.

  After school I did what I’d done the day before — went home, got a diaper change, and went over to Dave’s for a couple of hours. When I got back my diaper was still clean and dry, so I sat with Dad in front of the TV until Mom was done with supper.

  During supper, Mom announced, “Kids, we’re going out tonight.”

  “Oh, no,” interrupted Sarah.

  “Yes, that means you’ll have to stay and watch Chris.”

  “But I was going over to Sharon’s.”

  “Well, have Sharon over,” suggested Mom.

  “Can I?” Sarah asked. “That’d be OK.”

  “Sure,” Mom said, “unless your father objects.” She looked at Dad. He shook his head as if to say he had no problem with it.

  This was neat. I liked it when my parents went out, even if Sarah did have to watch me. It meant that Mom and Dad wouldn’t be telling me to take the garbage out or put dishes away or anything like that. The conversation turned to other matters until supper was over.

  Afterward, Dad rinsed the dishes off and put them in the dishwasher while Mom took a shower. He didn’t turn the dishwasher on, though, until she was out of the shower. When they were both ready to go, they called us both downstairs. Mom said, “Okay, we’ve put the number of the theater on the fridge. Sarah, the usual. Keep Chris out of trouble and make sure he goes to bed by 9. Oh, and change his diaper when it needs to be changed, especially right before bed.”

  My diaper! That’s right! She’d have to change me. I was wet now, too! I remembered that I’d wet it during supper. Oh well; she’d changed me before … wait a minute. What if she had her friend over?

  “If you have your friend over,” Mom continued, “go ahead and do anything you want, as long as you don’t mess up the house or make too much noise.”

  If Sarah’s friend Sharon came over would Sarah tell her about my diapers? Oh no! I could just imagine Sharon watching Sarah change me. I would die, right there and then!

  I briefly squinted in the blaze of the car’s headlights as I watched our parents pull out of the driveway and drive down the street. “Sarah,” I asked my sister, “could you please change my diaper?”

  “What, already?” she replied. “Well, I might as well get it over with, so I won’t have to do it again until your bedtime. C’mon, let’s get upstairs.”

  We went to my bedroom. My bed had become something of a changing table. I already had a plastic sheet under the regular sheet, because before my parents had put me back into diapers I’d been a chronic bedwetter. As I’d gotten used to over the past few days, I took my pants down and lay on the bed with my knees apart.

  I lifted up as Sarah took my wet diaper off, then again as she slid a dry diaper under me. It was kind of embarrassing, my sister changing my wet diaper, not to mention my sister seeing my genitals, but this wasn’t the first time she’d changed me, and I hadn’t died then. She sprinkled powder and taped the diaper back up. “There ya go,” she announced.

  “Thank you, Sarah,” I said as I pulled up my pants.

  “Don’t mention it,” she said. “Why don’t you go watch TV or something? I’m gonna be on the phone.”

  “Um, OK.” On the phone? Was she going to call Sharon? Was she going to invite her over? Was she going to tell her about my diapers? Was she going to show her my diapers? I went downstairs to watch TV, to try to take my mind off the questions that I knew only time would answer.

  About half an hour later Sarah came out of the kitchen, where the phone was, and said, “Sharon’s coming over. Be good and don’t bother us, OK?”

  Tempting, but if I barged into her room roaring with my monster mask on my head she might retaliate by showing Sharon that I was diapered. “OK, I’ll be good.”

  “Y’know, you’ve sure had a better attitude since they put you back in diapers. I think it agrees with you.”

  “Mmm,” I said. I wanted to let her know I’d heard her, but I didn’t want to say yes or no.

  “Why did you want them to do it, anyway? Most kids want to look and act as grown-up as they possibly can. Do you like wearing and using diapers like a baby?”

  What could I say? “Yeah.”

  “Does it feel good?”

  “Yeah …” I was going to expand on that, or maybe I wasn’t, but then the doorbell rang. Sarah went to get it.

  It was Sharon. They went up to her room to talk about whatever teenage girls talk about, but Sarah left the door open, so she could hear if I got hurt and yelled. I went back to watching TV.

  As I watched, I thought. If I didn’t wet my diaper between now and bedtime, she wouldn’t have to change me. I resolved to hold it.

  Upstairs, Sarah and Sharon were talking. They talked mostly about their friends, music, and boys. “Julia once went out with a guy who liked to be spanked,” Sharon said.

  Sarah laughed. “Really? No way.”

  Sharon said, “No, really. Some people get into really weird things.”

  Sarah thought for a moment, then asked, “Hey, have you ever heard of anybody who likes to wear diapers? I saw some on a talk show once.”

  “Actually,” Sharon answered, “Debbie once told me that one of her friends went out with a guy who was into that. Bottles, bibs — pretty different.”

  “Hmm,” Sarah said. “I also saw a show about …”

  About an hour and two TV shows later I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. I could feel that my bladder was definitely fuller than it had been, and to make matters worse I was starting to feel like I had to go Number Two. I really didn’t want a messy diaper if Sarah decided to show Sharon how she had to change her eight-year-old brother’s diapers.

  As bedtime approached, those two were still up there, probably trying on each other’s clothes or something, and I was still downstairs, pretending to watch TV and realizing that I wasn’t going to make it. I was concentrating on holding my bladder back when I heard Sarah call, “Chriiiiiis, bedtime!”

  Had I made it? I stood up to go upstairs. Nooooooo! Under the added pressure my bladder let go. My diapers were flooded, and Sarah would have to change me. I felt the warmth spread between my legs, then gradually dissipate. I resigned myself and went upstairs.

  Leaving her room, Sarah turned her head back and said to Sharon, “I just have to get my little brother ready for bed. It’ll only take a few minutes.”

  “Need any help?” Sharon asked.

  No, that’s OK, I thought, gulping.

  “No, that’s OK,” Sarah answered, to my relief.

  “OK,” Sharon said as Sarah took me to my room.

  “Let’s get you changed first,” said Sarah. I took my clothes off and lay on the edge of my bed in nothing but my wet diaper. Sarah got out the wipes, powder and a fresh diaper.

  Then from the door we heard a voice say, “Wow, so how long has he had to wear diapers?”

  My eyes darted toward the doorway, and Sarah turned her head somewhat more slowly. “Just a few days,” Sarah said to Sharon.

  “Ooh, can I change him?” she asked, moving into the room.

  Noooo, I thought, but I was paralyzed with terror.

  “Sure,” Sarah said, handing her the wipes, powder and diaper.

  “Cool! Does he have a problem? Is he sick?”

  “Um, not really,” said Sarah. “I think he likes it.”

  “Does he like being a baby?” Sharon said to me, unfastening my soaked diaper. “Is he so happy in his dydees?” She was using that tone of voice you use when you’re trying to make babies laugh.

  Sarah took her literally. “I’m not sure whether he likes being a baby, but he certainly likes to be in diapers. He was wearing them on his own, but he agreed to be kept in them all the time if he’d use them for everything.”

  “Then he’s a _real_ little baby,” Sharon said to me, using the wipes, then the powder. “He’s gonna have to be put in his crib in a nice, dry diaper, so he can sleep like a baby, sucking his thumb.” She unfolded the fresh diaper. “Oh, look how red baby is! And I can tell he likes this.” She put the dry diaper on me as I sort of went numb with embarrassment.

  “Err, thanks, Sharon,” said Sarah. “Chris, get your pajamas on now.” I slowly got up and got my pajamas out of their drawer.

  “Maybe I should tell all his friends how much of a baby he is,” Sharon said as I put my pajamas on. Oh no!

  “She’s just teasing, Chris,” said Sarah. “Now go wash your face and brush your teeth.”

  When I was gone she said to Sharon, “That wasn’t very nice. Look how much you upset him.”

  “But he liked it,” Sharon protested. “And I won’t tell his friends. I don’t even know who they are.”

  “He doesn’t know that. I think you should apologize.”

  Sharon sighed. “OK.”

  When I returned from the bathroom, Sharon said to me, “Sorry if I embarrassed you, kid. I was just having fun. And I won’t tell your friends. OK?”

  For all the embarrassment, I actually did like it, a little. “OK,” I said, as I climbed into bed. Sharon left the room.

  “You OK?” asked Sarah. I nodded. She smiled and turned out the light.

  My eyes flew open. It was Saturday morning, time to watch cartoons! I sat up in bed — and realized that I shouldn’t have. Something reminded me of the night before.

  Our parents had been out, seeing a movie, and my sister Sarah was watching me. She’d had her friend Sharon over, so I’d tried not to use my diaper, because I was afraid Sarah would change me in front of Sharon. I’d managed to keep myself from messing, but not wetting, so she’d changed me in front of her all right. Sharon had teased me, saying she’d tell all my friends that I wore and used diapers. I was still worried, even though Sarah had assured me that Sharon had just been teasing, and even though I knew that Sharon didn’t know any of my friends.

  Back to the point — sitting up had been a bad idea, because during the night I’d filled my diaper right up. Now I was sitting in the mess. How was I going to get changed and get downstairs to watch cartoons? And why had I messed my diaper while I was asleep? I guessed I’d been holding it back, so when I fell asleep my control relaxed. I know now that there was more to it than that, but that’s all I knew at the time.

  I figured I’d just have to find somebody to change me. I knew my parents didn’t want me to change myself. I got up, kind of waddled uncomfortably across the room, and opened my door.

  Luckily, Mom was up. I saw her coming out of the bathroom. “Mom,” I said, “I —”

  “Need a diaper change?” she finished. I nodded. “OK; back to your room.”

  I’d taken my pajamas off and laid down on my bed with nothing on but my wet, messy diaper. I’ll never forget this moment. Mom peeled off the tapes, lifted the diaper away and said something like, “Pew! I’m going to clean up some of this, but before I put a fresh diaper on you you’re taking a bath. We can’t go to Wonderworld with you smelling like this.”

  We were going to Wonderworld? All right! Although the amusement park was only about an hour’s drive away, we only went there about twice a year. But … this time, I’d be in diapers the whole time! They’d have to change me in some kind of public restroom or something! And I was going to miss all my Saturday morning cartoons.

  Dad parked the car and turned off the engine. “Okay, everybody out!” he called. Each of us opened a door and got out. Dad opened the trunk so he and Mom could get the things they were going to carry around all day: Dad’s camera, Mom’s bag, and so forth.

  “All right,” said Mom, pointing, “the entrance is that way. Let’s go!” We started walking … and I noticed that Mom had a bag that was different from the one she usually brought along. This bag was big and white, decorated in pastel colors, and it looked like it was made of some kind of plastic. It had elastic pockets on the outside and some compartments with zippers. I had a sneaking suspicion that this was my diaper bag, though it was a little bit bigger than most diaper bags I’d seen.

  We finally reached the entrance to Wonderworld. As Dad bought tickets, Mom said, “Let’s all start the day fresh … Sarah, do you have to use the bathroom? Chris, do you need a diaper change?”

  Sarah said yes, but I said no: my diaper was fine. I was conscious of its thickness under my pants, but I’d gotten used to it, so I didn’t notice it until something called attention to it. The only thing I minded about all this was Mom’s saying “diaper change” in the middle of a crowd of people.

  When Mom and Sarah came back from the bathroom, we all entered the park. “What do you want to do first?” Mom asked as we walked in.

  “Ride the Super Looper!” said Sarah and I, mostly in unison. I think roller coasters run in the family. We all knew where it was, and we got there quickly. Since it was still early, there wasn’t much of a line.

  I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved roller coasters. The way they build up to a suspenseful height and then let you drop is like watching a really great movie. They design them that way on purpose. The Super Looper puts you through one loop, then slows down, then does two loops … well, you just have to ride it. You swear you’re not going to scream, but the thing just rips the yells out of your lungs.

  When we got off, my heart was pounding. “That was great!” I said. “Can we ride it again?”

  “Later,” said Mom, smiling at my enthusiasm. I’d already had enough fun for a day — an ordinary day. But then Mom asked me a question that changed the way I’d be thinking the rest of the day.

  “How’s your diaper now?” she asked laughingly.

  It hadn’t occurred to me to think about it since getting off the roller coaster. My face paled and I stared astounded. My diaper was wet, and I hadn’t even noticed myself wetting it.

  “Mom, I’m … I’m wet,” I said, “and I didn’t even notice when it happened!”

  “Hmm,” she said, leaving her feelings about it an enigma to me. “We’d better get you changed, then. If we don’t, you might leak next time you wet.”

  I wasn’t sure I liked her talking about my diapers in public, but what could I do about it? Dad pointed toward a small building and said, “There’s a baby changing room over there, between the restrooms.”

  “Your turn, I believe,” Mom said to Dad, handing him the diaper bag.

  “Come on, Chris,” Dad told me. I hesitated, but … Mom was right. Did I want to leak later? No. Was there anywhere else where Dad could change my diaper? No. Was I against being treated just like the little babies in the changing room? Well … no, not really. We headed toward the restroom building.

  Not far away, Curt and his sisters were having a lovely time at Wonderworld. “That was great!” said Leslie, the oldest one. “I love roller coasters!”

  “Ugh,” said Laura, the younger one, who was still older than Curt. “Let’s go on the ferris wheel next.”

  “No, let’s go on another roller coaster!” Curt demanded, seeing a map and starting to run toward it.

  Leslie grabbed Curt’s hand and said, “Stay with us. Mom said we could only come here if we stayed together.”

  Then Curt thought he saw someone familiar over by the restroom building. That looks like Chris, he thought. But he’s going into the baby changing room …

  “C’mon,” Leslie said. “Ferris wheel’s this way.” She pulled him away, and Laura followed, walking slowly and somewhat unsteadily.

  We had to wait for a changing table to open up, so I looked around the room. The tables were metal and stuck out from one wall. On the other walls there were trash cans, sinks, paper towel dispensers, and a vending machine that sold things like diapers and baby wipes.

  Every now and then a parent would finish changing a child and the two would leave, and almost every one of them looked at me on the way out. I knew what they were thinking, too: “That father doesn’t have a baby with him! Maybe that boy’s with him. But he looks too old to be in diapers!” I swallowed and tried not to notice, although I now know that they probably weren’t really paying me much attention at all, and even if they were, what does it matter?

  When we finally got a table, Dad took a plastic-coated changing pad from the diaper bag, spread it out on the metal table and lifted me up onto it. I lay down and looked around as Dad took my pants down and unfastened my diaper. The other babies … heh … were lying on similar changing pads, but mine was much bigger than theirs. I wonder where Mom and Dad had gotten such a huge changing pad. It was as if it had been purposely manufactured for changing older children who were still in diapers.

  Dad had thrown out my wet diaper and slipped a dry one under my bottom; now he was cleaning me with a baby wipe and spreading powder around. The babies on either side of me were getting similar treatment. In a way it excited me, being changed exactly the same way those babies were. Dad fastened my fresh diaper on and pulled my pants back up. He lifted me up and put me back on the floor, then folded up the changing pad, put it away and went to wash his hands.

  As I fastened my pants back up, I looked at the people who were in the room changing their babies, and felt glad that I didn’t know who any of these people were. There probably wasn’t anybody I knew in the whole park.

  Meanwhile, over on the ferris wheel, Curt was thinking. Mostly he was thinking about how annoying his sisters were, but somewhere in there he was putting together what he’d seen me doing: going to the school nurse twice a day, going home for lunch and coming back wearing a different pair of pants, going into the baby changing room with my father and no baby. I’m sure he had a pretty clear picture by that time, but now he needed confirmation.

  I sat in my dry diaper and played video games. I usually went over to Dave’s house on Sunday afternoons. In fact, I usually went there on Saturday afternoons too, but yesterday we’d gone to Wonderworld, so today I had really wanted to go over to Dave’s place. Getting my parents to agree, though, had really been hard.

  “Well, remember,” Mom had said after lunch, “you can only stay for a few hours, because you’re going to need a diaper change.”

  “Aww, Mom,” I’d complained, “can’t I stay the whole afternoon? I can hold it long enough!”

  “The way your school days go shows that you can’t go from lunchtime to suppertime without a diaper change. So you’re only staying until mid-afternoon … unless you want me to send over some fresh diapers for you and try to convince Dave’s mother to change you.”

  “Aww!” I had repeated.

  “Or you could always call the deal off,” she had added, “but remember — that would mean no more diapers ever!”

  “OK,” I had said, defeated, “when do you want me home.”

  The rest of the day at Wonderworld had been fun, but predictable. I didn’t unknowingly wet my pants on any other rides, but maybe I was paying more attention. Or maybe my parents’ timing got better — come to think of it, for the rest of the day we only went on the big scary rides right after my diaper changes.

  I didn’t want it to, but time to come home arrived as usual. “Uh-oh, it’s 3:00,” I said. “My mom wants me to go home now.”

  “But it’s only 3!” Dave said, amazed. “Jeez, what is it, chores or something?”

  “Something like that,” I said. I wished I could tell Dave about my diapers and how much fun they were … most of the time. But I knew he’d laugh at me and probably stop being my friend. He’d probably ask if my diaper was wet, and I’d have to tell him it was, which was the truth, and I’d feel even worse. At the door I said, “See you in school tomorrow!”

  “OK, see you there!” said Dave.

  Monday at school was much the same as Friday at school, except that it was the start of a week instead of the end. As usual, halfway through the morning came the usual bathroom break and recess, and I headed to the office to see Nurse Ames.

  Unknown to me, Curt was trying it again. Sneaking down the hall, he spotted Mr. Walden, the vice-principal, doing his routine hall patrolling. Luckily Mr. Walden was walking away, so he crept back to the last corner until Mr. Walden had turned another corner, far down the hall. This was his chance! As quickly and quietly as he could he sneaked up to the door of the nurse’s office, put his ear near the crack and began to listen.

  Back inside, I was on the examination table, with my pants down so Nurse Ames could change my diaper. “Goodness, you’re wet!” she exclaimed when she unfastened the tapes. “Your diaper always seems to be soaked at your morning changing.”

  “Yeah,” I said, blushing slightly. “I think it’s from all the water, milk and juice I drink at breakfast.”

  “Well, we’ll soon have you nice and dry. Lift up, now.”

  I did, and she removed the wet diaper and slid a dry one under me in one fluid motion. “You know, this morning I didn’t notice I was wetting my diaper until I was almost finished.”

  “That will happen, when someone starts using diapers exclusively, though in your case it seems to be happening rather quickly.” Nurse Ames finished with the baby wipe and got the baby powder. “If you keep it up, your muscles may get so weak that you’ll have to be potty-trained all over again. Still, I suppose your parents and your doctor know what they’re doing.”

  Doctor? I suppose they’d been discussing my diapers with Dr. Underwood, our family doctor, and put something about it in the note they’d sent with me the previous week. “I guess so,” I said as Nurse Ames taped the new diaper securely up.

  “Well, Chris, there you go. See you this afternoon!” She put things away and dropped my rolled-up wet diaper into the trash can, one of those silver metal ones with a push- pedal that school nurses always seem to have.

  “Bye, Nurse Ames, and thanks!” I turned the doorknob and opened the door … just in time to see a figure in blue jeans, a brown jacket and a backwards red baseball cap run down the hall and around the corner. That looked like Curt, I thought — uh-oh. My heart felt like it was trying to leap down into my diaper. Behind me Nurse Ames also watched Curt run away and raised an eyebrow.

  The rest of the day I felt very, very nervous and afraid. I wondered how much Curt had heard, and what he would do. The meaningful glances he gave me during class didn’t help. At lunch Mom wondered if I was all right, and at my afternoon diaper change Nurse Ames wondered the same thing. I must have looked worried. Both times I told them that nothing was wrong, but I don’t think they believed me. At the end of the day I went home and felt relieved that I didn’t have to worry about my family — they already knew everything. More than I thought, in fact.

  Dinner that night was unremarkable; the fact that I was in diapers never even entered the conversation. When Dad asked me how school went, I felt uncomfortable and only said, “Fine.” The rest of the time, though, I felt great. Although that Curt guy knew about my diapers, which made me uneasy because I didn’t know whether he’d tell or what he’d do, at home everybody knew about my diapers, so being at home was a big relief.

  After supper I went up to my room to find something to do, but then I heard Dad calling me. “Chris,” he said, “come downstairs. We need to talk to you.”

  I would probably have been more frustrated if I’d actually found something to do before he called me. I went downstairs, and Mom said, “Why don’t you sit down on the couch.” Now I felt nervous. That was when I noticed that Mom had something in her hand.

  I sat down, but Mom and Dad remained standing. Mom said, “Can you tell us anything about this?” She opened her hand, revealing … my pacifier! Pink transparent rubber, I’d know it anywhere. What were they going to do? Were they angry? Oh, yeah, she’d asked me a question. What should I say?

  “It’s … um … it’s … my pacifier,” I stammered.

  “Why,” asked Dad, “do you have a pacifier?”

  “I … uh … it … makes me feel … little.”

  Mom sounded concerned. “Do you like to feel little, Chris?” she asked.

  “Er … yes.”

  “Why?” Dad asked.

  “Uh …” I hesitated. I don’t know why I hesitated. “It feels good.”

  They looked at each other, then Dad turned back to me and said, “We’ll decide what to do.”

  What to do? Oh, no! And I thought home was safe! They told me I could go back upstairs, so I did, but I didn’t feel much like having fun now. What were they going to decide? What were they going to do? Was I in trouble? Were they going to punish me?

  I sat on my bed. My diaper and the plastic sheet rustled under me. Then I saw Sarah at my door. “I heard,” she said. “They found your pacifier.”

  I nodded, looking morosely at the floor. “Yeah.”

  “I didn’t tell.”

  “Thanks,” I said. Wait a minute. “You knew?”

  “Yeah,” she said. “So you want to be, like, a baby again?”

  “Well,” I said, “not really. I mean, if there was a magic wand that could turn me into a baby, I’d probably use it, but only if I could turn back when I wanted. ‘Cause babies can’t do stuff. They can’t play with Legos, because they might try to eat them.”

  “And everything they do, their parents have to watch them,” Sarah added.

  “Yeah! But it makes me feel good to feel little.”

  “Yeah,” she said. “Well, I don’t think they’re going to punish you or anything. So don’t worry.”

  Easy for her to say. “I’ll try,” I said. She did this neat wave thing with her fingers and her eyebrows and went back to her room. Sometimes Sarah can be so cool.

  I didn’t get much sleep that night, but I must have dozed off sometime, because I was wet in the morning and I didn’t remember it happening.

  School the next day started out unremarkable, though I was waiting for Curt to make his move. I knew he knew I was in diapers, and I knew he knew that Nurse Ames was changing me in the mornings and afternoons. I just didn’t know what he’d do about it.

  As usual, I went to Nurse Ames’ office during the morning break. The trek down the hall was one nervous step after another, as I constantly expected Curt to pop out from behind a corner and confront me. I looked left, right and behind me as I walked, but there was no sign of Curt. I made it to the nurse’s office without seeing him.

  “You don’t seem your usual happy self today, Chris,” Nurse Ames said as she changed my wet diaper. “Is anything wrong?”

  “Well, not really ….” Was it safe to tell her?

  “Go ahead, Chris, you can tell me.”

  “Well … there’s … there’s this guy, and I think he knows that I wear diapers, and I don’t know what he’s going to do.”

  “I see.” Nurse Ames taped the fresh diaper up. “Are you scared that he might tell your friends?”

  I pulled my pants back up. “Yeah,” I said. “But he might do other things too, but I don’t know what.”

  “Are you worried that your friends won’t be your friends anymore if they find out?” she asked.

  She’d hit the nail on the head. “Yeah! And if he tells everybody, then everybody would laugh at me and stuff.”

  “Well, I think that your friends would still be your friends, no matter what they knew. I know all about your diapers, don’t I? And I’m your friend.”

  “You are?” Somehow I’d never really thought of her as a friend, but this did help.

  “Certainly, Chris. You’ll be fine.”

  I felt a little better, but I still didn’t feel like everything would be fine. I thanked her, left, and went outside for recess.

  As soon as I was outside, there was Curt. “I know you wear diapers,” he said in a loud whisper. “What’s it worth to you for me to stay quiet?”

  I don’t know where Curt learned to talk like that. Maybe he watched too much TV. “I … I don’t have anything,” I said, feeling very scared. “What do you want?”

  “That’s right,” he said. “You wouldn’t have any lunch money, because you go home for lunch … and for a diaper change, I bet. But you always get good grades. How about you let me copy off you every time there’s a test, and I don’t tell anybody your little secret. How’s that, Sissy Chrissy?”

  “Um ….” I thought. For one thing, copying was wrong — at least, every teacher I’d ever had was firmly against it. For another, Mrs. Evers’ policy if she caught anybody copying was to give zeros to both the copyer *and* the copyee, and to send them *both* to the principal’s office! Would I rather risk that, or risk Curt’s telling my friends about my diapers?

  “Hurry up, Miss Chris! I think I’ll tell your friends first, then I’ll start telling everybody else.”

  “OK, OK, I’ll let you copy my tests.” He probably did anyway. “Are you gonna tell?”

  Curt paused. “Not now,” he said. “I might want something else sometime.”

  The bell rang, too late to save me. “We’ll talk later,” said Curt. Everybody went back inside for the rest of the morning’s classes.

  Between recess and lunch I couldn’t concentrate. “Three is greater than or less than seven … Chris?”

  I had only barely heard Mrs. Evers. “Uh …” I said. What had those numbers been? Three and seven? I hoped so. “Less than,” I said.

  “That’s right, so we put a ‘less than’ sign between them …” What was I going to do? I didn’t think there was a test that day, so I didn’t have to worry about Curt copying off me. But still, he could get caught one day, and that meant I could get caught, and we’d both fail the test.

  Besides, he still knew I wore diapers all the time, and he held all the cards. What was keeping him from telling everybody I wore diapers like a baby? Only the fact that I had something he wanted. And perhaps a perverse pleasure in playing this little game. Suddenly I was angry. How dared he play games with my life?

  “With fractions, it helps to put them into similar terms,” Mrs. Evers was saying.

  But what could I do? How did I get out of this neat little trap he had me in? Then I thought of what Nurse Ames had said earlier that morning. “I think that your friends would still be your friends, no matter what they knew,” she had said. “I know all about your diapers, don’t I? And I’m your friend.”

  What if I told them? A scary option, because they might stop being my friends. I bet I knew what Nurse Ames would say to that; probably something like, “If they would stop being your friends just because of a little thing like this, are they really your friends?”

  That settled it. I was going to break apart Curt’s stupid plan by telling my friends myself. But I wouldn’t tell Curt about it. No, I wanted to see his face when he tried to tell them and found out they already knew.

  “Now, three sevenths is greater than or less than one third?” Mrs. Evers was asking. I raised my hand. “Chris, do you know?”

  Nine is greater than seven. “Greater than,” I said confidently.

  “You have the right answer,” said Mrs. Evers.

  I struggled through the rest of the morning and went home for lunch, as usual. I was a little uneasy because of the talk they’d had with me the night before, but Mom behaved as if it hadn’t happened. That made me nervous, but I had other things on my mind.

  For the rest of the day I was anxious for school to end, so I could go over to Dave’s house and tell him about my diapers and about Curt’s plan.

  “That guy who knows about my diapers,” I said, as Nurse Ames changed me during the afternoon recess, “he wants me to let him copy off my tests, or else he’ll tell my friends.”

  “What a mean thing for him to do,” she said, untaping my wet diaper. “What are you going to do about it?”

  She lifted my legs up by the ankles, slid the wet diaper out from under me and slid a dry one back underneath. “At first I wanted to go along with it,” I said. “But then I got mad. I’m going to tell my friends all about my diapers, and then he can’t do anything.”

  “What a daring plan!” she exclaimed, cleaning my groin area off with a baby wipe. “You have to either fight or give in, and you’re fighting. But what if he threatens to tell everybody, not just your friends?”

  I hadn’t thought of that. “Umm, I don’t know.”

  “Seems to me you have a choice if that happens,” she said, sprinkling baby powder. “Tell everybody, or head that problem off some other way.”

  “What other way?”

  She folded the dry diaper up over me and taped it securely. “I doubt you’re the only one with a secret,” she said.

  I refastened my pants and thought. How much did she know about the kids at this school? Probably a lot; she could read anyone’s medical file if she wanted to, and she’d probably seen all the kids naked at one time or another. Was this a hint? Why not ask? “Do you know something, Nurse Ames?” I asked.

  “Nothing I can tell you,” she said. I suppose that was a sign of her professionalism. If she’d been the type who would tell me about Curt, she’d probably have told others about me. “Have you ever been to his house?”

  I looked confused, and she smiled, and I went out to recess. Curt left me alone.

  As happened almost every day, I walked home from school with my best friend Dave. Something was different today, though — I was going to tell him a big secret about myself, something which would probably change the way he thought about me, and I wasn’t sure if he’d still be my friend after I told him.

  “I got to level four the other day,” Dave said, talking about one of his video games. “I still haven’t beaten your Space Avenger record, though.”

  “Keep trying,” I said. “I think I just got lucky.” We reached his house, he unlocked the front door, and we went inside and up to his room.

  As usual, my spring jacket went on a chair and my book bag went on the floor. When would be a good time to say something? My diaper wasn’t wet yet; I’d been too nervous to relax.

  “I want to play Tournament Fighters,” said Dave. He put the cartridge into the game and turned everything on. Immediately he was controlling a nasty-looking armored character, fighting another.

  “Umm, Dave?” I asked, looking for a was to start this conversation.

  “Yeah?” He knocked his opponent down with a flying kick.

  “I got something to tell you, but I don’t know what you’ll think.”

  “OK, what is it?” He swung his sword, but the other guy blocked his attack.

  “Err, I, uh … wear diapers,” I spit out. Here it comes, I thought.

  “You what?” As I’d thought he’d be, he was surprised. “Diapers? You mean like, baby diapers?” His opponent was able to get up while he was distracted.

  “Yeah, only they’re my size.” Maybe if I appeared willing to talk openly, he’d ask more questions and maybe understand.

  “Wow, like all the time, or just at night, or what?” He blocked his opponent’s attack by raising his sword.

  “All the time,” I answered. “I had to tell you because Curt found out, and I didn’t want you finding out from him.”

  “Oh. Yeah, Curt might just go around telling people for jollies. But why do you wear diapers?” Whoosh, went the other guy’s sword as it missed Dave’s character.

  “My parents made me,” I said, which wasn’t completely true.

  “Why, what did you do?” Dave swung and scored a hit!

  “Actually they found some of my diapers in my closet.” That wasn’t completely true either.

  “Why did you have diapers?” Angered, Dave’s opponent attacked savagely.

  “I bought them.”

  “OK, why did you buy them?”

  I hesitated. “Because I wet the bed,” I finally said.

  “Oh. So, how long do you have to wear them?” Dave was defending himself valiantly, but he hadn’t regained the upper hand yet.

  “Um … there’s more.” I took a deep breath. “I found out I liked them, so I started wearing them at other times, under my clothes. But my parents said that either I have to wear them all the time or give them up. And I don’t want to give them up!”

  “Wow,” Dave said. He paused. Then he asked, “And do they make you use them?”

  “Yeah,” I said. “For everything. I have to go see the nurse at school twice a day.”

  Dave finally got in another attacking blow, and although the opponent parried it Dave was on the offensive again. He was silent for a minute while he continued his attack. Then he said, “Got him on the run now. Uh, actually, Chris … that sounds really cool.”

  “It what?” My turn to be surprised!

  “Yeah,” Dave said as he scored another hit, “I wish my parents would do that.”

  “Uh …” I was amazed! “Well … why don’t you buy some diapers?”

  “Never thought of it, I guess,” he said, and he dealt his opponent the final blow. The Emperor gave a thumbs-down, and he pressed the B button. “Never really thought about video games either, until my parents got me this one for Christmas.”

  Dave’s defeated opponent shrank and turned into a diapered infant.

  I reflected on the way home. Dave had been far more than receptive when I’d told him that I wore diapers and that I liked it. It looked like my best friend was more like me than I’d previously thought. Also, he’d suggested a plan.

  “OK, what should I do when Curt tells me?” Dave had asked.

  “You could just not be surprised and say you already knew,” I had said.

  Dave had replied, “Yeah …,” then thought for a few moments. “I have a better idea. Suppose I pretend to be surprised. Then Curt wouldn’t even know I knew. He’d find out sometime, I guess, but it would take a while.”

  “Hey, that’s a great idea!” I had responded. “OK, so that’s what you can do.”

  Dave had also suggested that when I told my other friends, such as Jeff, I shouldn’t tell them that I liked it; just that my parents were making me wear diapers. I would try to get them to feign surprise and shock, as Dave planned to do. That was assuming that they stayed my friends, but Dave’s acceptance made me feel better. If I lost any friends as a result of this, at least my best friend would still be there for me.

  As I walked, I remembered that Curt’s house was just a few blocks away, if I turned left instead of going straight. Then I thought about what Nurse Ames had said about Curt earlier that afternoon: “Have you ever been to his house?” I turned left.

  Curt’s house came in sight. I saw a girl sitting on the front porch swing, probably one of Curt’s two older sisters, I forgot their names. I stopped walking. I could visit his house, but what would I do once I was there? I couldn’t just drop in and say, “Hi, Curt, how’s it going?” He’d probably beat me up.

  I turned right and headed home, wondering what my parents would do that night. I decided I’d try going there again once I had some idea what to do there.

  When I got home, Dad changed me as Mom made supper. During supper, I was sitting on pins and needles as well as on my diaper, because of the previous night’s conversation.

  It reminded me of what they’d done when they’d found my diapers. Then, they had confronted me with them and forced me to make a deal: wear diapers all the time, or never wear diapers again. It seemed that they’d talked with our family therapist, Dr. Underwood, before doing that, because they’d been all ready to diaper me. But this time, they’d done nothing after confronting me. They’d said that they would decide what to do, but they hadn’t done anything yet. What were they going to do? Had they talked to Dr. Underwood? Nobody was saying anything about it!

  “So, how was your day, Chris?” Mom asked. If she only knew!

  I didn’t want to tell anyone about the trouble I’d been having with Curt or the conversation I’d been having with Dave. I think it was because I didn’t want anybody spoiling the neat plan Dave and I had, and because Mom and Dad might use the trouble I’d been having as another suggestion that I might want to give up diapers — which I didn’t want to do! — and maybe because I wanted to be independent, to settle it on my own. The trouble with Curt didn’t make me feel like a baby, and I didn’t want to meet it like a baby would, by going to my parents and letting them fix it. That makes sense.

  “Fine,” I said. “We learned about greater than and less than in math today.”

  “That’s good. Do you get it?”

  “Yeah, it’s easy.”

  After supper I expected them to call me downstairs for another talk, but they didn’t. I just kind of waited nervously in my room and played halfheartedly. When were they going to call me downstairs?

  It was almost bedtime, and I couldn’t stand it anymore. I went down the stairs, diaper rustling softly under my pants in the evening quiet of our house, and asked them. “What are you going to do?” I asked.

  They knew what I meant. They looked at each other, then Dad said, “You’ll find out soon.”

  “Er, will I like it? Will I hate it? You’re not going to tell me anything?”

  Mom smiled in a sad way, as if she were doing something that she didn’t like but which was necessary, and said, “It has to be a surprise. Now, it’s time for bed, and you’ll probably need a change, so back upstairs.”

  I sighed and went back up the stairs. She was right about my needing a change, and she was probably right about it having to be a surprise. Was there another “deal” coming? Or something different? How soon was “soon?” I sighed and sat down on my bed.

  It was the next morning, and I had just had my wet diaper changed by the always-helpful Nurse Ames. I headed out to recess.

  Curt didn’t bother me when I went outside, thank goodness, but he was out there bothering some girls. In a corner of the playground where the teachers couldn’t see he was chasing some girls holding … a snake? What was he doing with a snake? Well, chasing girls, obviously, but where did he get it? I stared, trying to make sure it was a real snake.

  I heard Tina Mack say to a couple of girls who were watching from a distance, “What a jerk! But Sandy and Jenny are such wusses anyway, scared of snakes and stuff.” That long, straight brown hair of Curt’s, along with his blue jean vest, gave him a tough, rebel appearance. The vest, which was too big for him, looked like it had once been a jacket but the arms had come off. Curt’s friend Stu looked on, smiling with glee.

  Just then, Curt saw me staring, stopped brandishing the snake, and glared back at me. The girls who were watching pretended they hadn’t been, the girls he’d been bothering ran away, and Curt came toward me. I took some steps backwards, but he started running. He grabbed the front of my jacket and said in no uncertain terms, “Whatchoo starin’ at? You tell the teacher about this, and you know what I’ll tell.”

  “No!” I said. “I won’t tell anybody. I swear.”

  “You better not,” he said, and let me go.

  That afternoon, I’d been worrying about whether there was going to be a test, and suddenly I felt like I had to make a BM. I’d never done that during school before, because everybody would be able to smell it. I tried my best to hold it off, but I knew it was only a matter of time. Maybe I could time it just before recess.

  I kept holding it, and I succeeded. Just before recess I was walking down the hall toward Nurse Ames’ office, and I felt my insides cramp again, so I stopped and just let it come out, like I did at home. I felt the mess fill my seat and hoped it stayed in my diaper. Finally, it was over. I had messed my diaper, and I was at school!

  I went in to see Nurse Ames, worried about whether she’d be bothered by my messy diaper. “Whew,” she said, “did we make a mess this time?”

  I nodded sheepishly. Once I’d lowered my pants I lay on the edge of the table, as usual. “Well, don’t worry; lots of babies make messes.” I supposed she meant that she’d changed lots of messy diapers in her day. She carefully removed my diaper and went to flush the mess down the toilet and toss the dirty diaper.

  As she did this, I remembered that she’d dropped a hint the day before about going to Curt’s house. “Nurse Ames,” I said, “about Curt. I was going to go to his house like you said —”

  “I said no such thing,” she interrupted, making me feel uncomfortable. But she hadn’t really *told* me to go there; she’d just *suggested* it.

  “Um, well, anyway, I went to his house, and there was somebody on the porch, and I didn’t know how I was going to get inside, so I just went home.”

  Nurse Ames busily cleaned me up with a baby wipe. “Who says you have to get inside?” she asked.

  “Uh, I suppose I could try to get close and watch, but how do I see inside without somebody seeing me?”

  She folded the fresh diaper over me and fastened the tapes, saying, “Who says you have to watch?”

  “What else would I do? Listen, smell, feel, taste … listen. Do you suppose I could hear anything?”

  “You never know until you try,” she said enigmatically, tossing my wet diaper in the trash can as I put my clothes back in order. I thanked her and headed out to recess. I didn’t even see Curt that time, and there hadn’t been a test, so I’d avoided trouble for another day.

  “I gotta go over there,” I whispered urgently to Dave as we walked home from school. “There’s gotta be something I can find out!”

  “But what if he sees you?” he whispered back.

  “He won’t see me. I’ll hide somewhere.”

  We reached Dave’s house. “OK, good luck!” he whispered, and went inside.

  I walked in the direction of Curt’s house, trying to think where I could hide and still be close enough to hear. Now, the neighbors on one side of the house had a hedge, but it was on the side of the house that was closest to school. If I hid behind that, Curt would immediately see me as he walked home. That left the other side. I thought there were some bushes over there.

  It was decided. I took a roundabout way, came at Curt’s house from the other direction, and guiltily sneaked into the neighbor’s yard. This neighbor had bushes and trees and plenty of cover. I didn’t want to ever have to mow this person’s lawn! I was hoping the neighbor wouldn’t see me, but I didn’t see a car in the driveway or any lights inside. Probably nobody was home. I picked a bush that was close to Curt’s house but not too close to the street, and waited for Curt to get home.

  Through an open window I heard what sounded like a TV on inside the house. Listening more, I heard what I thought was an afternoon talk show. If I could hear that, I could probably hear what people were saying, I thought. Over on the sidewalk a few kids walked by, going home from school, but nobody saw me, away from the sidewalk and under a bush. But it seemed Curt was taking his own sweet time walking home. How long did it take him?

  Finally I saw him, walking slowly up the concrete front steps. He didn’t look the self-confident bully part, as he did at school. He looked as if he didn’t want to be here. I couldn’t see the front door from where I was, but he must have quietly gone inside.

  “Curt, is that you?” I heard a woman’s voice say.

  There was a pause. “Yeah, Mom,” said Curt’s voice, sullenly.

  “Curtis, get in here this instant!” the voice said sharply. After a pause I heard Curt’s mom bawl him out about the snake incident at school. Somebody must have told. I hoped Curt didn’t think it was me. When she was done being angry, she said, “You know what this means. Go upstairs and get ready for your punishment.”

  Uh-oh, I thought, looks like Curt’s in trouble. There was silence then, except for the TV talk show. More quietly I heard Curt’s mom say, “Girls, why don’t you get dressed up; I think it’s a nice day for a walk in the park, and then we can go out for supper.”

  More talk show. I looked around to make sure nobody could see me. It seemed that the open window only let me hear what went on downstairs, because I couldn’t hear a word Curt or his sisters were saying, if anything. During the lull I felt the need to pee and immediately, almost automatically, let go in my diaper.

  “Leslie, Laura, be sure and help Suzy with her hair,” said Curt’s mom. It sounded like the three girls were going out to dinner and Curt was staying behind. Well, he had been pretty nasty to Sandy and Jenny at school; maybe being left all alone at home without supper would teach him a lesson.

  Once again, silence. Something was going on upstairs that I couldn’t hear; presumably the girls were getting dressed up. I had no idea how girls got dressed up, but with Sarah it usually meant spending lots of time in the bathroom followed by lots of time in her room with the door closed. I listened carefully, but heard nothing except the TV.

  “Suzy, you look so pretty!” said Curt’s mom’s voice. “Why don’t you go out on the front porch and enjoy the fresh air while the rest of us get ready?” I heard the front door open, but like I said before I was too far back to see it. Sure enough, Suzy slowly walked out onto the porch and sat down on the swing.

  I could only see the back of her head; perhaps that was just as well, because if I’d been able to see her face she might have been able to see me. She had long, straight brown hair that was very shiny, as if it had just been washed. It was tied with a light blue bow, and the dress she wore was also light blue.

  Suzy idly swung back and forth in the swing, not turning her head at all, and I waited quietly as one TV talk show ended and another began. Then, the TV abruptly shut off, and I heard the front door open again. “OK, come on, Suzy, let’s get in the car,” said Curt’s mom.

  I saw Suzy and two other girls, both apparently older than her but both with straight brown hair of different lengths, walk down the front steps, followed by the mother, who locked the door behind her. They walked away to the other side of the house, out of my sight; presumably they were going toward the driveway. That was the last I saw of them that day.

  The question was, what had I learned? That Curt’s mother punished him by going out and leaving him alone in the house without dinner? How was that helpful? The car drove away, and I walked home without answers.

  When I got home, Mom wasn’t making supper. She was relaxing on the couch with Dad. Before I could ask, she said, “We’re ordering pizza for supper tonight.”

  “Cool!” I said.

  They looked at each other. I hate when they do that. Mom then said, “Why don’t you go up to your room, and I’ll be up to change you in a minute.”

  I said, “OK,” and went upstairs. I suppose I must not have been too attentive in the kitchen and living room.

  When I walked into my room, my heart thumped excitedly against my ribs. A split second later what I was seeing filtered through to my brain, and I started to see what had widened my eyes.

  My room looked like a big nursery, right out of my wildest dreams. There was a giant crib where my bed used to be. I stared at it. The mattress was closer to the ground than you’d expect from a baby crib, but the sides were about five feet high. The whole thing was white and wooden, with solid panels at head and foot, decorated with juvenile pictures of lambs and bunnies. The sides had really solid looking bars.

  I tore my eyes off the crib to see the walls. They’d redone the wallpaper. I now had Winnie-the-Pooh wallpaper. Balloons and bees and honey pots and Pooh and Piglet. And where was my bookcase? There was a smaller one, stocked with little childrens’ books; I remembered both books and bookcase from when I was smaller. They must have gotten them out of the basement.

  Mom had come up behind me while I was staring dumfounded at my new room. “Chris,” she said, and I spun around to look at her, “Dr. Underwood said that it was obvious you didn’t just want to wear diapers. He said that the best thing for you would be to give you what you wanted. And that means we’re going to have to offer you a new deal.”

  I looked at her, listening. She continued, “Basically the deal is, if you accept, the family will treat you like a baby whenever you’re at home. But your end of the deal is that you have to act like a baby.”

  “What does that mean?” I asked. Wow, I had a changing table too. It was kind of low to the ground, not as low as the crib was, and it had shelves below it full of diapers, baby wipes, powder and other supplies.

  “Really, not much different than you’re doing now,” she answered. “We considered not letting you walk or talk, but you’re getting a little heavy to carry around, and it’s better if you talk in case something’s wrong. But it means no feeding yourself, and no putting on or taking off your clothes, and minding us when we tell you not to do things that babies don’t do.”

  “Oh,” I said. Wow, I thought. “Will I have to sleep in the crib and get changed on the table?”

  “Yes,” answered Mom. “Dr. Underwood also found us plenty of big baby clothes that we’ll dress you in when you’re home, a big playpen that you’ll play in, a high chair that you’ll sit in when we feed you, and a stroller we can put you in, if you ever want to go out as a baby.”

  Yipes! “Um, I don’t want to …”

  “That’s OK,” Mom said; “that’s not part of the deal. We’ll only take you out in baby clothes if you decide you want to someday. Outside the house you’ll just wear diapers under regular clothes, like you’re doing now.”

  I saw Dad and Sarah behind her now. Oh, great, I thought, we’re putting on a show for everybody. Mom continued, “We’ll work out all the details as we go, I guess, but the point is that you’ll either be our baby again, whenever you’re in this house, or it’s no diapers, no baby things, no nothing, as long as you live here with us. What do you think?”

  This reminded me of the first night, the night when they’d offered to put me in diapers. But this was different. Did I want to live as a baby? Yes, I did! But was it safe, letting them know that I wanted to be a baby? Obviously they knew it already, so there was no point in asking myself that question. So what was there keeping me from saying yes?


  “Yes,” I said, “I want to be a baby again.” It was the truth.

  “That’s our little Chris,” said Mom. “Here’s your pacifier, darling.” She put my pink transparent pacifier back into my mouth, the pacifier whose discovery had caused all this. “Now, take off your clothes. I still have to change you, and we’ve got different clothes for you.”

  I took off my clothes, and Mom picked me up and put me on the changing table. Dad left, but Sarah stayed to watch. She smiled at me, though a little sadly, I thought. Mom changed my diaper, dropping the wet one into my diaper pail, which was now out in the open next to the changing table instead of in my closet.

  Then Mom opened one of my dresser drawers and pulled out a red and white striped T-shirt and a pair of blue denim overalls. These she put on me, over my diaper. I noticed that the overalls had snaps up the legs. She then put my regular socks and shoes back on. I was wondering what new clothes were waiting in that dresser for me and how she’d fit them in there along with my regular clothes.

  She lifted me back down to the floor. “Okay, Chris,” she said, “let’s go downstairs so you can play in your playpen.”

  Pacifier still in my mouth, I went downstairs. My diapers didn’t feel as tight around my crotch as they had before; these overalls seemed looser around the diaper area. I figured they were probably designed with diapers in mind.

  Mom followed me down the stairs. In the living room I saw the playpen Mom had mentioned. Dad must have just set it up, because I hadn’t seen it on the way up. Mom pushed some kind of catch, lowered one of the sides of the playpen and said, “OK, sweetie, get in so you can play.”

  I stepped inside and Mom raised the side again. I heard it click into place. It was a pretty big playpen. The sides, like the sides of my crib upstairs, were about five feet high, which was higher than my head. The bottom was a waterproof pad that rested on the floor, rather than being suspended as with some baby-size playpens.

  Inside the playpen were some large-size baby toys! There was a big teddy bear and one of those rings-on-a-pole things, and some snap-together beads, and others, but best of all there were some giant Legos! This was great! Where had Dr. Underwood found all these great big baby things? I happily went to work building. Dad was watching the news on TV.

  The doorbell rang; I imagined it was the pizza delivery person. Oh no! What if they looked in and saw me in the playpen? I thought about getting out, but I quickly realized that it was impossible to get out of the playpen unless somebody let me out. Dad went to the door and thankfully went out onto the front porch to deal with the pizza person. She sounded like a girl, but I didn’t know who she was.

  I had to watch Dad take the pizzas past me and into the kitchen. I smelled wonderful pizza smells, and heard the sounds of plates and glasses being put on the table and chairs being moved. Then Sarah emerged from the kitchen and came over to me. She lowered the side — she must have practiced — and said, “C’mon baby, supper’s ready.”

  I ran to the kitchen, disposable diaper crinkling with all the room it now had. In my hunger I expected to sit down at the table, grab a slice of pizza and take a big bite, but then I saw the high chair next to the table and remembered. “Into your high chair now, Chrissy-poo,” Sarah said.

  Before I could say “Chrissy-poo?!” she had grabbed me around my middle and lifted me into the chair. It had a ledge to put my feet on. Then she snapped the tray on in front of me, again with almost practiced ease. At the same time Mom tied a big bib around my neck.

  Was I going to be fed baby food while the rest of the family got to eat pizza? “Won’t I get any pizza?” I asked.

  “Of course,” Sarah said, “but you’re too little to eat it yourself.” She was enjoying this too much. I didn’t yet understand what or how I was eating, but in a few moments Mom made it clear by cutting a slice of pizza into small, bite-size pieces with a knife and fork. She then put the plateful of pizza bits, the fork, and a baby bottle full of milk on the tray in front of me.

  Once everybody else decided that they were ready to start eating, Mom started feeding me. She took a couple bites of her own piece, then fed some to me, saying things like “Open wide, here it comes!” before putting the fork into my open mouth. This was embarrassing and felt really good, and it was definitely better than no pizza.

  I started feeling thirsty after a few pieces, and eyed the bottle on the tray. “Baby thirsty?” asked Mom, and I nodded my head. “OK, time for some milk.” She put a hand behind my head and inserted the bottle’s nipple into my mouth. I tipped my head back out of surprise and reflex. It took a minute to figure out how to drink, but after that it was just like my pacifier. The milk was cold. After I had drunk about a quarter of the milk, she pulled the bottle from my mouth, and milk went dribbling down my face. She wiped it off with a cloth and went back to feeding me.

  The rest of the meal went just like that. Mom and I finished eating last, because she had to keep stopping to feed me, give me my bottle and cut up more pizza bits. Once she said, “I realize this isn’t exactly how babies eat, but you need solid food, and we’re not putting everything in the blender for you.” I told her that would be gross anyway. I wet my diaper during supper, too, and that felt particularly babyish and good — wetting myself while Mom fed me.

  After supper it was back in the playpen. It wasn’t too bad; there were all these great toys, and I could watch TV, though I couldn’t change the channel. Soon Dad announced, “It’s bedtime for babies,” taking me by surprise.

  “But I’m eight years old,” I protested. It wasn’t my bedtime yet!

  “Not around here,” he replied. “In this house you’re a two-year-old toddler, and toddlers need to go to bed early. Come on!” He let me out of the playpen and took me upstairs by the hand.

  Once we were in my room, or perhaps I should say my nursery, he lifted me onto the changing table and started removing my clothes. The overalls came off with very little cooperation from me, with their leg snaps. Dad changed my wet diaper, then got something new from the dresser, something made from a fabric that was white with a print of some sort.

  He put it over my arms and head. A shirt? Then he put my feet into these socklike things and started snapping up the legs, and I suddenly realized that I was being put into a one-piece footed sleeper.

  It was on almost before I knew it, then I saw Mom in the doorway with another bottle. She sat down in a rocking chair that had somehow made its way into my room, and said to Dad, “Can you put him in my lap?”

  He did, and she gently rocked, and I drank the warm milk, and I almost fell asleep right then. Being rocked in my mother’s arms, sucking on a baby bottle of warm milk, dressed in diapers and this sleeper, it was just like being a baby again. When I’d finished the bottle, she sent me off to the bathroom to brush my teeth and so forth, but that moment is unforgettable.

  When I was ready for bed, I returned to find that Dad had lowered the side of the crib for me. “Sleep tight, little guy,” he said, kissing my forehead. Then he raised the crib’s side and locked it into position. He went to the door and turned out the light. I saw Sarah at the doorway looking in, but she went away just after Dad went past her.

  Under me was a baby-print sheet and an obviously waterproof crib mattress. Around me were lots of familiar stuffed animals, probably retrieved from the basement, and a very familiar white blanket, which I pulled over myself. I laid my head on the pillow, grabbed a stuffed rabbit named Hoppy, and relaxed.

  Before I fell asleep I noticed that I now had a Winnie- the-Pooh night light.

  “OK everybody,” said Mrs. Evers, “books under the table and take out a pencil.”

  Oh no! A quiz. My heart raced. Curt would want to copy. This was the moment of truth. As I got out a pencil I looked at Curt, who sat behind me and to the right. He was already looking at me.

  Mrs. Evers had already started passing out the quizzes, going from desk to desk and laying them face-down on each one. I had a dilemma on my hands. If I let Curt copy, Mrs. Evers would certainly notice, and I’d automatically get a zero on the quiz. She’d call my parents, too. If I didn’t let Curt copy, he’d get in trouble, and he would certainly tell my friends. They were forewarned, but once he told them it was only a matter of time before he found out that they were still my friends, and once he did that he’d tell everybody. So the choice was between getting in trouble immediately both at school and at home, and getting in trouble with Curt sometime next week.

  “OK everybody,” said Mrs. Evers, “turn your papers over and begin. And no copying. I’ll be watching.”

  I swallowed and started writing. Curt expected me to put my paper on the right edge of my desk so he could see my answers, but I worked in the middle, covering my work with my hand. I imagined Curt glaring at me. I could feel his eyes burning into the back of my head. But I didn’t turn to look, so I didn’t know what he was doing.

  “Curtis Harris!” Mrs. Evers snapped. “Put your pencil down and bring me your paper this instant!” I heard Curt’s pencil snap down onto his desk, then I saw him walk quickly and assuredly to the front of the room, carrying his test. As he walked back he saw me watching and looked me in the eye. He gave me a look full of the flames of secrets revealed and passed me by, returning to his seat.

  “He’s out there telling them right now; I know it,” I said as Nurse Ames changed me, during the morning recess.

  “But you said they already know,” she said, taping my new diaper up.

  “They do. But what if Curt doesn’t believe them when they pretend to be surprised? He might decide to tell everybody.”

  “Well, then,” she said, “you have three choices. Let him copy, let him tell everybody, or don’t let him tell everybody.”

  “How do I stop him?”

  She smiled. “Keep listening,” she said vaguely.

  I went outside for recess, with a certain sense of dread. My friends all came right up to me — Dave, Jeff, Sam, everybody. Not far away I saw Curt, watching, listening and smiling nastily. It was time to start pretending.

  “Is it true, Chris?” Dave asked. “Are you wearing diapers?”

  Jeff asked, “Do you really wear them to school every day?”

  “Does Nurse Ames really change your diapers every recess?” Sam asked.

  I sighed and looked at the ground. I had to make this look good. They already knew, though only Dave knew the whole truth. Dave and I had told them all that my parents were punishing me by making me wear diapers all the time. In fact, we’d told a few people who weren’t clustered around me now; apparently Curt had forgotten to tell them, or didn’t know they were my friends. Or they didn’t care enough to ask me about it in person.

  “Uh, yeah,” I said, still looking at the ground. “It’s true.”

  Sam and most of the others looked at each other and said nothing, then wandered away, talking to each other. They were pretending almost too well.

  Dave and Jeff stuck around. Dave clapped me on the back and said, “It’s some kind of punishment, right?” We started walking. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Curt walk away. It seemed he thought he’d accomplished his task.

  Dave winked, and Jeff gave me a thumbs-up, and they wandered away. I spent the rest of recess among people I didn’t usually hang out with.

  Did you ever find out something you already knew? I mean, where all the clues were right there in front of your face, and you didn’t put them together, only suddenly they got together and hit you like a bucketful of cold water, and you felt so stupid?

  Dave and I were hiding in that bush by Curt’s house. He’d asked to come along while we were walking home from school. “Maybe if we both watch, and listen,” he had said, “we’ll find out more.”

  “Maybe,” I had said, but we’d have to wait for Curt to get home.

  Finally there came Curt, walking slowly up the sidewalk. “There he is!” Dave whispered intensely. “OK, here we go.”

  Curt went inside, the TV shut off, and we heard his mother’s voice shouting, “There you are! I got a call today. I am not going to raise a cheater! You will get by on your own work, or not at all! You’re getting punished big tonight … young lady!”

  Dave and I looked at each other. “Did she just say ‘young lady?’” I whispered.

  Dave nodded. “I think so.” We kept listening.

  “… upstairs this instant! Leslie, Laura, Suzy’s coming upstairs; it’s time to help her get all pretty!”

  Dave looked at me; his mouth was open and his eyes were wide. “She calls him Suzy?” he asked nobody in particular.

  “Wait, I saw Suzy yesterday,” I objected. “Suzy’s one of Curt’s sisters. At least … she looked just like a girl.”

  We heard a noise like a shower coming on, then the noise faded away, as if the bathroom door had closed. Dave whispered, “Oh my … we’ve got to see Suzy, see if it’s really true.”

  “Yesterday they all went out to dinner, but Suzy didn’t look this way, so I couldn’t see her face.”

  We waited silently and expectantly for something to happen. Finally we heard voices. “She’s ready Mom,” said a girl’s voice. It was either Leslie or Laura, and she sounded as if she were on the verge of laughter.

  “Oh, Suzy, you look SO sweet!” effused Curt’s mother in a voice that you wouldn’t want to hear from your least favorite aunt because it would mean she was about to pinch your cheek. “We’re going to have a special night tonight! First we’re going clothes shopping for you, Sweetheart; just think of all the pretty dresses you can try on! And then we’ll go out to dinner, and then we’ll go see a movie!”

  “Aww, Mom,” said Curt’s voice, “dressed like this?”

  Her voice took on a ring of steel. “You better believe it! You’re gonna straighten up and be good, or we’ll make it even worse next time. How about a nice vacation with all your boy clothes left here at home?”

  “No!” Curt said, sounding genuinely scared.

  “Well, be good then! Everybody ready to go?”

  There was a pause followed by the thumping of somebody coming down the stairs. “I forgot my purse,” said one of Curt’s sisters, “and Suzy forgot hers too!”

  “Naughty girl,” said the mother. “Let’s go!”

  We heard the door open, followed by footsteps on the porch. “Come on, Suzy,” the mother said. The girls moved into our field of view; the mother must have been locking the door.

  We were hoping that Suzy would turn our way before going around behind the house to the car. We were lucky. One of the girls pointed down the street. “Look, Suzy, here comes Mr. Belden! Wave to him!”

  For a moment we saw her. She wore the frilliest little pink party dress you can imagine, with that white gauzy stuff around the puffy sleeves. Lots of petticoat underneath made the skirts ruffle out hugely. She wore a big lacy pink bow in her long brown hair. All she needed were a pair of wings and a wand, and she could play a fairy princess in the school play.

  But her face … Suzy was Curt! He would have died right there on the spot if he’d seen us watching him. There he stood, all dressed up like a little girl several years younger than him, waving daintily with long lacy white gloves.

  We didn’t see who Curt was waving to, but then a car pulled up in the driveway on the other side of the yard we were hiding in. “We better go,” Dave said. Curt and his family went around their house to get in the car, and as soon as we were sure they couldn’t see us we ran back through the yard into the alley and escaped.

  “Man,” I said as we walked home, “Nurse Ames was right! We sure did find something out!”

  “Yeah,” said Dave, “if Curt finds out that we already knew you wore diapers, he’ll want to tell everybody, but now you can keep him from doing that.”

  “Yeah,” I said. I felt a little easier about the whole situation. But I was still thinking about what we’d seen. “I wonder if Curt’s mother ever dresses him up like a baby girl?”

  “He wasn’t far from that just now!” said Dave. Dave walked me home, then said goodnight.

  After learning Curt’s big secret, I felt a bit more secure about him. If he ever threatened me with telling everybody I wore diapers, I could threaten him with telling everybody his mother dressed him up as a girl. But even so, I wasn’t looking forward to that event.

  After saying goodnight to Dave, I walked home, and as soon as I got in the door Mom said, “Oh, there’s my baby! C’mon upstairs!” She took me by the hand, and we went up to my room, where she lifted me onto my changing table, put my pacifier into my mouth, and started taking my clothes off.

  It had been a long time since Mom had been so casual about taking my clothes off. As you get older, of course, such a thing is a terrible invasion of your personal space, but parents dress and undress their babies all the time. It felt strange, but exciting. She was really treating me like a baby.

  Finally she had everything off except my diaper. “Such a wet baby!” she said. I guess I was wet. I still don’t know when I wet my diapers that afternoon. I supposed that I was getting used to wetting in my pants. She changed my diaper and dressed me, this time in a playsuit made of a blue print material, looking like a T-shirt combined with a pair of shorts. Then she took me back downstairs and put me into my playpen. “Stay there and play until supper,” she said. “Call me if you need anything.” She then went away to do whatever she’d been doing before I came home; I don’t remember what it was.

  A little while later Sarah came home. In the other room I heard her say, “I spilled something on my jeans, Mom — I’m gonna go up and change.” She came around the corner and saw me in my playpen.

  “Hey, baby Chrissy!” she said to me, putting down her backpack for a moment and kneeling down to see me.

  I wasn’t really sure what to do — I was getting everything I wanted from my parents, but was Sarah going to treat me like the baby I was supposed to pretend to be? “Sawah,” I said, baby-talking her name.

  She laughed. “Can Baby say ‘Sarah?’ ‘Saaarah?’”

  I smiled. She was playing with me. “Sawah,” I said again, pretending not to get it.

  “Someday you’ll learn to talk right, Chrissy,” she said. “This is so cute!” She stopped smiling for a moment, looked to one side, saw and grabbed her backpack, and headed for the stairs. “Later Baby!” she said, then went upstairs.

  The next time I saw Sarah was at suppertime. She’d changed into a blue denim skirt, and I was getting fed cut- up hot dogs. Sarah and Dad ate quietly while Mom alternately ate her own food and enticed bits of hot dog into my mouth. The pocket on my bib had caught some pieces that I’d knocked off the fork. Sarah watched the process intently, while Dad appeared to be trying to forget it was happening.

  “Heeeeere comes another piece of hot dog,” Mom said, bringing the fork up to my mouth.

  “Hey Mom,” Sarah asked, “is it really hard to be taking care of Chris like a baby again?”

  “No,” she said, “it’s not so hard. Sometimes it’s even kind of fun. Why do you ask?”

  “I …” Sarah hesitated, “it’s just that I … uh … want to … uh … take care of him more. Can I?”

  “Well, sure!” Mom said, looking a little surprised. “When you’re done eating, why don’t you take over feeding him, so I can eat?”

  “Sure, Mom,” Sarah said, “that’d be great,” sounding as if it weren’t really all that great. But for the rest of the evening she took care of me just fine.

  While Sarah was feeding me I felt a BM ready to come out, and I was worried that it wouldn’t come easily because I was sitting down. But before I was done worrying about it I was sitting on it. I was really getting used to messing my diapers — maybe the softness of the diapers and the cushion on the high chair had something to do with it.

  After supper Sarah took me upstairs and changed me, then brought me back downstairs and put me in the playpen. As usual, I played there until my early bedtime, then she took me back upstairs, changed me into my baby pajamas, and put me into my crib for the night.

  Not much happened at school the next day. I had to pretend like I was devastated by Curt’s tactic the day before, and Curt gave me a few covert “diaper boy” comments, but there was no test, so it wasn’t yet time to use the knowledge I had. However, Mrs. Evers did tell us we’d have a reading test on Monday, about a story we’d been reading for class. I told Nurse Ames what I’d found out, and she nodded and said that now I could even the balance.

  The really interesting thing about that Friday was what happened that evening after supper, when I was in my playpen. Sarah was upstairs, maybe talking on the phone or something, and Mom and Dad were on the couch talking to each other very quietly. They were speaking too quietly to hear at first, but then they started talking a little more loudly.

  “What?” Dad said, sounding as if he were genuinely angry about something, but trying to keep it quiet. “Her too?” I tried to play with my toys normally and act as if I couldn’t hear. Who too?

  “That’s what it seems like,” said Mom. “But don’t worry, I made an appointment with Dr. Underwood for Monday. He’ll know what to do.” What was important enough that they’d have to call Dr. Underwood? The last time they’d called him was when they found my pacifier.

  “That’s what I’m afraid of,” Dad replied. “It’s bad enough that we have one baby in the house again. He’ll probably say we have to have another one.” Have another baby? Did he mean that Sarah and I were going to have another brother or sister? But Dr. Underwood was a psychiatrist.

  “Now, dear, we don’t know that,” Mom said consolingly. “She’s older.” Who’s older? Did they mean Sarah? Why were they making an appointment with Dr. Underwood about Sarah?

  Dad sighed. “Well, we’ll see what happens.” I was puzzled, but I couldn’t hear anything else they said.

  Later on, when Sarah took me upstairs to get me ready for bed, I heard the other remarkable revelation of the evening. She was taking off my wet diaper when she asked me, “Chris, you really do like being a baby, don’t you?”

  “Uh-huh,” I said, which was about all I could say with that pacifier in my mouth.

  “Well ….” She paused, holding my rolled-up wet diaper. Then she plunged in with, “I do too.”

  “Huh?” I said.

  “I think I do,” she went on. “I tried on one of your big diapers, and I felt really good. I started wondering about how it would feel to suck on a pacifier, or to drink from a bottle, or to wear babylike clothes. I … bought some of those things, and I’ve been,” and she gulped, “sucking my thumb at night for about a week.”

  “Ah,” I said.

  “I had to tell somebody! I figured you’d understand.” I nodded. “If Mom and Dad found out, I’d die. I don’t know about my friends, but I probably won’t tell them.”

  I decided it was time to pull the pacifier out. “Sarah?”

  “Yeah? Do you hate me for copying you or something?”

  “No! But I think Mom and Dad might already know. They were talking about you, I think, you and an appointment they made with Dr. Underwood, and how Dad didn’t want another baby in the house.”

  “Dr. Underwood? Another baby? Wow … that’s kind of exciting, but oh my God they know! What am I gonna do?”

  “Well, they found out about me,” I tried, “and I’m OK. Maybe you’ll be OK too.”

  “Yeah,” she said. “Maybe.” She finished getting me ready for bed.

  “I’ve got an idea,” Dad said at the dinner table Saturday evening. “How about we all go see a movie tonight?”

  I tried to answer, but Mom was stuffing food into my mouth. “That sounds like fun,” Sarah said. She could have been more enthusiastic, but I’m sure she would rather have gone with her friends than her family, and then there was the fact that Mom and Dad knew about the diapers she’d tried and hadn’t done anything about it.

  “Great!” I said when I got a chance.

  “OK,” Dad said. “Why don’t we go see that one that we’ve been seeing commercials for on TV — you know, the sci- fi one?”

  “Sounds good to me,” said Sarah. I nodded, mouth full again. So after supper Mom changed my diaper and put me into my “outside clothes,” and we all went to the movie theater.

  We got there and did the usual thing — waited in line for tickets, went inside and bought popcorn, candy and drinks, found the right room and got seats. The movie was OK. It hasn’t become a classic or anything. But the important thing was what happened after it was over.

  We were coming out of the theater, and I was thinking that I wished I’d known that we were coming to see this so maybe Dave could have come too, when I saw the last person I wanted to see. Curt was here, along with his family. I had thought they were going to see a movie the night before, with Curt dressed as Suzy. But here they were.

  I just walked straight for the door with my family, hoping to avoid any sort of run-in, when I heard a taunting voice next to my ear say quietly, “How’s it goin’, diaper boy?”

  I turned around quickly. I didn’t see Curt’s mother or sisters; where had they gone? He took a step away and laughed at the angry look on my face. “Leave me alone!” I shouted. My diaper was wet, too; that didn’t help.

  “Ooh, whatcha gonna do?” he asked in that rhetorical way that those who have power over you use. Around us people milled out of the theaters toward the stairways, their heads in their own post-movie worlds, barely noticing anything.

  “Someone from school?” my dad’s voice asked from behind. I looked, and my family had stopped and were looking at me. They had probably heard my shout. Great, I thought.

  “Yeah, Dad; someone real obnoxious,” I said.

  “Better run and hide,” Curt said, but I saw something he didn’t see: his mother and sisters emerging from the restroom, behind him and to my right.

  “Go away!” I shouted, my face red. I didn’t want to deal with him here. I was hoping he’d say something about the test on Monday so his mom could hear it, but he knew better than that.

  “Curtis, is this someone you know?” said Ms. Harris, coming up behind him. “Shouldn’t you introduce us?”

  Curt looked behind him suddenly, eyes wide. “Hi, Mom,” he said in a none too gleeful tone. “Uh, yeah, Mom, this is Chris Hughes … uh, Chris, this is my mom, and these are my sisters, Leslie and Laura.” He apparently could be polite when he was forced to be; he indicated each of them as he listed them. Kind of nervous, I extended my hand, and each one smiled and shook it.

  I decided I could be polite too, and said, “And this is my family: my dad, my mom, and my sister Sarah.” You can tell how much this manners stuff pervades our society; each of them nodded and smiled as I pointed them out.

  Dad reached out and shook hands with Curt’s mom, saying, “Phil Hughes; hi.” Dad’s always been a good handshaker, warm and smiling.

  “Oh — Stephanie Harris,” said Curt’s mom, sounding as if she hadn’t expected this.

  My mom shook her hand too, saying, “Marie Hughes.” This all went a lot faster than it seems, believe me.

  “I’m sorry if my son was bothering your son,” said Curt’s mom. “I try to teach him how to be nice, but sometimes it’s as if nothing works.” It’s weird to see parents talking to each other and acting like normal people. I wandered away to look at a movie poster. Luckily Curt didn’t seem to want to tease me with his family around. I noticed Leslie’s hand on Curt’s shoulder.

  I wandered back, and my parents and Curt’s mom were standing close together, talking quietly. “Really?” Ms. Harris said. “That’s an interesting idea….” But that was all I could hear.

  “Well, we should go,” my mom said.

  “About time,” Sarah said quietly to me; she’d been wandering around by herself. I smiled and nodded.

  The parents said their goodbyes, and Curt and I exchanged angry and taunting glances, and we went home.

  I sat in class and watched the clock. The bell would ring any moment, I knew, signalling morning recess. Since there was a reading test right after recess, the bell would also signal something else: Curt would be waiting for me outside, where he would threaten me. “Help me cheat on the test,” he’d say, “or else I’ll tell everybody that you wear diapers.”

  I’d say, “You do that, and I’ll tell everybody that your mother punishes you by dressing you up as a girl and taking you out.” I was hoping I could be brave enough to do this —

  The bell rang, loudly as usual, interrupting my thought and startling me. I felt myself wetting my diaper. Shaken, I stood up and headed for the nurse’s office. I noticed that I continued to wet as I walked.

  It was a good thing, then, that I was going to see Nurse Ames. “You’re not usually this wet this early in the day,” she remarked as she changed my diaper.

  “Yeah,” I said nervously, then changed the subject. “There’s a test right after recess. Curt’s going to try and make me let him cheat.”

  “Well, you know what to do,” she said, lifting me up and sliding a fresh diaper under me.

  “Yes,” I said, “but I don’t know if I can do it.”

  “I think you can,” said Nurse Ames. She taped up the new diaper, sealing in the copious baby powder she used.

  I pulled my pants up, thanked her and went outside. There was Curt, at the door. I wondered where his friends went when he was threatening me. Maybe he told them he had something to do alone. Whatever, they weren’t around. It was just me, Curt, the concrete steps and the brick wall.

  “Hey, diaper boy,” Curt began. “You’re gonna let me copy your paper for the test, aren’t you?” The “aren’t you” was just slightly emphasized.

  I swallowed. “No, I’m not,” I said.

  “What was that?” You could see Curt bristle. “‘Cause if you said no, like I think you said, you know what I’ll do.”

  I thought of a way to say it. “Didn’t you get in enough trouble last time you tried to copy?”

  He paused for a moment, as if thinking. Imagine that. “Well, you’re gonna help me this time, and nobody’ll find out.”

  “No, I’m not gonna help you,” I said. “If you try to copy you’ll get caught just like last time,” I went on, steeling myself, “and I’ll bet you’ll be Suzy all next weekend.”

  His eyes were wide and his breathing was suddenly deep, but he said, “Who — who’s Suzy?” You have to give him credit.

  Heartened, I pressed on, pointing a finger at him. “We both know who Suzy is, and if you tell anybody else about my diapers everybody will know who she is. I’m not gonna let you copy my paper, because it’s wrong and because I don’t want to get in trouble. Go bother somebody else!” I added that last because I really didn’t want to walk away. I didn’t feel like moving. I didn’t feel much like breathing, either.

  Curt stammered, unable to think of anything to say. He never did come up with anything, and boy was I grateful for that! Pale and shaken, he took a few sideways steps, then ran away.

  I took a few deep breaths, lowered my finger, and stood there, waiting for the bell to ring.

  It was Monday night, and I was lying in my crib. Sarah had just changed my diaper and dressed me in my sleepers for the night.

  Curt had left me alone for the rest of the day. He hadn’t even tried to copy off my paper during the test. Instead he’d tried to copy off somebody else, and of course he got caught again. I could only imagine what happened when he got home. I wondered what my parents said to his mom that night at the movie theater.

  After school I’d gone to Dave’s house, and when I got home after that I learned that Mom and Dad had taken Sarah with them to see Dr. Underwood. I don’t know what they talked about, but they came home with a case of diapers that would fit Sarah and three boxes full of baby clothes and other things her size. From what I gather, Mom and Dad wouldn’t treat Sarah like a baby, or at least not as much as they did me, but she could baby herself as much as she wanted, whenever she wanted.

  I thought it was strange that Dr. Underwood’s prescription for Sarah was so different from mine. From what Mom and Dad said, he wanted them to keep me in diapers constantly for fear that depriving me of them would hurt me in some way. But he didn’t want them to keep Sarah in diapers at all — he wanted her to diaper herself, and only when she wanted. Was it because Sarah was older? Or because she was a different person? What were Dr. Underwood’s plans?

  Now, of course, I’m grown up and know much more about what was going on, but it would hurt the story to reveal it all. All in good time. But things got a lot more complicated after that, so I’m going to have to ask Sarah and Dave and maybe some others to talk about what happened to them, and I’ll put it all together. I really want to get all this down, so there’ll be a record in case something goes wrong with the experiment I’m working on.

  © 1998 by Tom Lee

  All rights reserved. No part of this document (or any automatically cached copy thereof) may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Author or a duly appointed agent thereof.

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