Ashley sat in the waiting room, waiting to be called, her feet tapping and drumming on the carpet beneath her. All morning long she’d been in there with the other nervous would-be models and actors. One by one, they’d been called and gone through the little white door, presumably onto “Set 3” for their audition.
That’s what the All Call had read:
“New Clothing Product seeks actors and models to be spokesperson. Ages 20-25. All genders, races, and body types welcome. No previous experience required. Bay Productions. Set 3.” Clothing Product…that was a weird way to put it. The no experience required was another red flag, but it was a red flag that Ashley had to ignore.
Ashley had no previous professional acting experience. No previous modeling experience, either. Other than a few plays in high school and college- ones where she hadn’t even gotten a speaking part, she had no experience. There was nothing to qualify her as anything other than an attractive enough but unremarkable extra. Dark skin the color of coffee, curly hair the color of coal, and almond color eyes above a full set of pearly whites. Skinny but still healthy looking, and she wasn’t too bad in the breasts and hips department either if she did say so herself. Face it: She was hot…for a would-be lawyer. As far as models and actresses went, she was a dime a dozen.
Her mother had specifically nudged her away from acting. “There’s no future in the arts,” her mother had told her repeatedly. “I’d rather have a bored lawyer than a starving artist.” And Mom had paid for college, so her undergraduate had been in law, and law school was right around the corner.
But Ashley hated the prospect. Her heart was in the arts. What was the point of living if she couldn’t feel alive? And when push came to shove, she had to do what she loved, even if it wasn’t a good idea.
She wasn’t going to get the part, she knew. This audition, or screen test, or whatever fancy Hollywood types called it, was really just a formality for whomever they’d already selected to be their new spokesperson. It’s just how this sort of thing worked. But when the all call popped into her inbox, she knew she had to take the opportunity or she’d never forgive herself. People tended to regret what they didn’t do more than what they’d done, and if Ashley threw away her shot she’d regret it for the rest of her long and boring litigation filled life. Just one more failed audition, Ashley promised herself, and she’d go back to Law School and make up for the classes she’d skipped today.
She didn’t make this promise to Mom, because Mom didn’t know. Mom could never know. It would break her heart.
It was too good to be true, Ashley had told herself. This was a scam. It had to be. Bay Studios likely only existed in the rented ballroom of a Holiday Inn. Imagine her surprise when she arrived at the address listed, and found a full production studio, abuzz with activity.
All day the minutes ticked by, with Ashley waiting. None of the other auditioners (is that what they were called? Ashley couldn’t say) seemed any more prepared than her. There was quite a variety too. The people around her were all shapes, sizes, skin tones, and hair color. It vaguely reminded her of those super inclusive multicultural group shots that every church, college, or otherwise wholesome community hub used to advertise just how welcoming and diverse they were.
This could be good. Maybe the ad was purposefully misleading. Maybe the studio was recruiting for a spokes-group instead of a singular spokesperson. Maybe she did have a chance. If she couldn’t be Mickey Mouse, she could at least be one of the Mouseketeers.
In the movies and T.V., waiting rooms like this is where the would-be actors read from prepared lines and practiced their deliveries. But no lines had been given or signed out. Like Ashley, no one even had head shots. After signing in, the actors and actresses were given a clipboard full of papers to sign, one of them being a non-disclosure agreement, followed by a number, and were told to wait. Ashley’s was 1017.
Wow, that was a big number. But it was only the first day of auditions, or so Ashley understood. And the waiting room wasn’t THAT big. There must be several waiting rooms, all funneling in candidates to a central point, or maybe there were multiple teams selecting and cutting people from the auditions. Either way it would explain the wait.
One by one the others went in when their number was called. Had Ashley been paranoid, she’d have taken this as a bad sign. A roach motel. Wanna-be actors check in, but they don’t check out. But she wasn’t paranoid. Likely there was a kind of funneling system, entrance and exits. That way, exiting actors couldn’t give each other hints or tips on what to expect.
So Ashley and the remaining candidates were left looking at their phones, waiting in silence.
Some people are never all that comfortable with silence. “I hear it’s some kind of underwear ad.” A girl about Ashley’s age said, scooting next to her.
Ashley raised her eyebrows. “From who?”
“I don’t know,” the girl shrugged. “It’s just what I heard some people whispering. I didn’t know them.”
Ashley pouted her bottom lip out, trying to think critically. “Why would an underwear company have us sign an NDA?” she asked.
“An NDA,” Ashley said. “A non-disclosure agreement. Whatever goes on here, we’re not allowed to talk about in a public format. Didn’t you read what they had us sign?”
The other girl looked embarrassed. “Um…no…not really.”
There was a pause in the conversation. Sufficiently mortified by her ignorance, Ashley’s new friend remained silent. Underwear? Hmmm… Underwear was definitely a “clothing product”, but the NDA didn’t add up. Even if it wasn’t underwear, the NDA didn’t make much in the way of sense. And not to put too fine a point on it, but not everyone who was going through that door would have looked, let’s say “conventionally attractive”, in just their underwear.
“You don’t think this is porn or anything, do you?” Ashley asked.
“Not really,” the girl said. “I think they have to tell you up front if it is.” This from someone who didn’t know what an NDA was. “But if it’s just underwear, I’ll do it. I’m not too proud to model underwear.” Admittedly, girl was attractive. She might not have a pre-law background or education, but she could probably play a sexy lawyer on T.V.
The door opened and a woman stuck her head out. “Number One thousand sixteen!”
Ashley’s neighbor perked right up. “That’s me!” she said, and trotted off behind the door.
Ashley shifted in her seat. Nervous. That meant she was next. Tick-tock. Tick-tock.
“Number One thousand seventeen.”
Ashley stood up, her head feeling light and her feet feeling heavy. This was what nervousness felt like. Real stage fright.
The law school student walked into the small waiting room and into a smaller one. It was barely a dressing room. Waiting there was the woman who’d called her name, an older white woman with bits of silver in her faded frizzy blond hair. Holding a clipboard, she started scribbling notes down as she asked Ashley questions. “What’s your name, hon?”
“And how old are you?”
“Anybody with you here today?” the woman asked. Ashley blanched at that. That’s the kind of shit creeps at bars asked before they slipped something into your drink. “We just want to tell them where to meet you when you exit. You may have noticed we’ve got a bit of a system here.”
Oh yeah. Duh. “No, Ma’am.” Ashley said.
“Okie dokie.” The woman made another note. “So Ashley,” she said. “What we need you to do is to get out of those clothes, and change into those over there.” She pointed to some clothes draped over a nearby chair, and a plastic bag. It didn’t look like much. A pink t-shirt and lime green panties. Looks like her nosey neighbor had been right. It was just underwear. “When you’re done, just put your clothes in the bag and come on out through this door,” she pointed to a door opposite the one she’d come in. It read “Set 3”. “The director will be waiting and he’ll tell you what to do from there.”
Ashley noticed something right away. There was a t-shirt and a pair of panties, but only a t-shirt and a pair of panties. “”Bra too?” She asked?
“Bra too,” the woman - Ashley finally noticed that her name tag said “Deloris”- said.
“May I ask why?”
“Bras leave lines and lines show up on T.V.” Deloris told her. “Simple as that.”
Ashley looked down at her chest. “Don’t worry,” Deloris said. “It’ll be warm enough in there, and you don’t have anything we haven’t seen before,” The woman said, laughing at her own joke.
With that, the woman opened the door to Set 3 a crack and slid out sideways.
Alone, or so she hoped, Ashley went and started to change her clothes. She examined the underwear. Green panties. Cotton. Not much to look at. Not particularly sexy either. They were, at best, granny panties. They looked like something a kindergartner might wear, scaled up for her size.
She didn’t see as much as feel something pass through her. The hot pink t-shirt and the lime green panties went on, and everything Ashley had worn, clothes jewlery, and underthings- bra included- went into the several gallon plastic bag. She shivered slightly, unsure if it was from the goals. At least her nipples weren’t popping out yet.
Ashley went for the door marked Set 3 and then stopped. Something was off. She felt it more than she saw it: A wave moving through her. Like a sound wave or intense vertigo. She stopped and clutched her stomach. Suddenly and nearly overwhelmingly nauseous, Ashley threw up a little bit in her mouth.
Reflexively, she swallowed the vile stuff down and breathed, still tasting it on her tongue with every exhale. “Just nerves,” she told herself, the stomach acid still bubbling on her tongue. “Just nerves.” Suddenly fearful she gave her little costume a final inspection. It wouldn’t do to have her breakfast blotting her new outfit.
Something was off. The plain pink t-shirt and plain green panties weren’t so plain after all. Lambchop was on the t-shirt, and everyone’s favorite explorer, Dora now adorned her nether regions. Forget kindergartner, Ashley’s nieces had worn this kind of stuff when they were just potty training. She looked like a pre-schooler.
That was just part of the gig, Ashley told herself, turning the nod.
It took her eyes a moment to adjust. The sudden darkness punctuated by stage lights caused her to wince as she stepped through the door to Set 3, and she had to hold her hand free hand up to shield her eyes. A spotlight was pointed directly in her face, already.
“I’ll take that, dear,” Deloris said snatching the plastic bag back up. “I’ll make sure to give it to your mother.”
“My mother isn’t-” Ashley tried to say, but she didn’t have the time.
“Ashley Wilkerson!” A man in a black shirt and jeans exclaimed, walking across the floor and giving Ashley a hug as if they were old friend. “Pleasure to finally meet you.” He was at least twenty years Ashley’s senior, and his salt and pepper beard coupled with dark glasses and a baseball cap gave him both an air of wisdom and mystery. He looked a little bit like a certain director of a very famous dinosaur movie.
“It’s just a little thing I do,” the man said. “I’m the director. I like to try and make actors and actresses comfortable, so I skip all that getting to know you stuff and just fake it till I make it.” He laughed. Ashley laughed too. Not because it was funny, but because she still wanted this part, whatever it was.
The director didn’t wait for Ashley to stop fake laughing, instead going right into a schpiel. “So I don’t mean to rush you, but you’re scheduled to be our last audition of the day. Everyone else is going to have to come back tomorrow. Lucky you!”
Ashley nodded, dumbly. This was a lot to take in.
“So this is going to be a bit of an exercise in improvisation,” he explained. “We’re not doing the actual commercial, just yet, we’re just looking for someone with the right look…the right…the right…” he paused and turned to Deloris. “Deloris what’s that word I always say?”
“Je ne sais quoi.”
“That’s it! The right je ne sais quoi.”
“What look?” Ashley asked.
“Hmmmm…it’s more like something where I’ll know it when I see it,” he said. “I can’t tell you exactly because I don’t know what it is.”
Great, Ashley thought. One of those people. People like this were the type that ordered meals right off the menu and then sent it back when it finally came out because it wasn’t what they were expecting, even if they hadn’t put in a special order. People like Mister Director were the type that didn’t know what they wanted until someone presented them with options…then they knew that they didn’t like those options.
It should have filled Ashley with dread, of failure, of the sense that her little acting adventure was about to be over before it even began. But some silly naive less cynical part of her made her hope that she’d be the special one to have that certain je ne sais quoi that the man was looking for.
The director pointed to a set piece. It was a recreation child’s room. Pink. Filled to the brim with little girl stuff. Dollies and doilies. Teddies and tea sets. The kind of stuff that Ashley had long ago outgrown, not that her current outfit showed it.
Right next to that was another stage made up in bright blue and filled with action figures. Ashley caught a glimpse of a stick pony with a cowboy hat. So they had a set for boys and a set for girls.
Interesting. Ashley wondered if any of the guys who’d auditioned before her were made to sport Diego or Boots on their crotch.
“What I need you to do,” the director said, indicating the girly pink set. “Is to go jump on that bed and laugh.”
Ashley gawked a bit. “That’s it?”
“Just go jump on the bed?”
“I mean,” the director said, pushing up his sunglasses, “if you want to jump around or flop around on the pillows, or hug the stuffies and wiggle around, that’d be just dandy too. I’m trying to capture a…a…”
“A je ne sais quoi?”
“A Dance Like No One’s Watching Vibe.”
Ashley’s brow furrowed. “What exactly is this a commercial for?” she asked.
The director smiled, knowingly. “Don’t worry about it,” he said. “We’re not selling what we’re selling.”
“We’re not selling what we’re selling?”
“Just go have a jump.”
So she did. Ashley climbed onto the pink frilly bed in her pink shirt and green panties. Gosh. Everything around her was so pink! If not for the Dora logo on her crotch, she might think that her panties were supposed to be green screened; CGI’d into something else.
A man ran out with a clap board. “Bay-Bee Brand Underwear for girls. Audition number one thousand seventeen. Take one!”
“Aaaaand….action!” The director called. Ashley started jumping. “CUT!” She’d barely gotten a three bounces in and hadn’t even worked her way to a proper giggle. The director got up from his chair and walked over to her. He was frowning. Sad. The kind of look that doctors had when they were about to tell you that you had cancer. “Actually, I’m sorry. But I don’t think this part is right for you, y’know?”
Ashley was crestfallen. Over before it began it was.
Then he said something that surprised her. “I think I might have another part in mind for you,” the director said, holding his chin. “Interested?”
To call Ashley’s response a nod would be underselling how excited- how desperate-she was. “Yes! Yes, yes, yes! Please give me another chance!” If Bobbleheads could talk, just then they would have said that Ashley was a bit much.
He smiled. “Good. Good. I’ll have wardrobe prep you and meet you on Stage 2.” And with that, he clapped his hands and walked away from the set without even looking back.
“Stage 2?” Ashley echoed. She was on Set 3. Already, the crew was tearing down the set for what she assumed was an underwear commercial. Last audition of the day wasn’t an exaggeration. She wouldn’t be able to stick around here long. She turned around. “Hey, can anybody tell me where’s Stage-?”
Ashley got the briefest glimpse of white privacy screens being pulled and unfolded around her before two sets of hands, one set to her left and one to her right, yanked up the hot-pink t-shirt over her head. Her arms went skyward and her view went rose colored as the shirt was pulled up over her head.
A team of strangers was stripping her like she was just another prop. No warning, no nothing. It’s like they thought she couldn’t dress herself. The chill from the blasting air conditioner made goose pimples pop out on her skin. Those weren’t the only things popping out. Her bra! She’d already taken off her bra! Reflexively, she yanked her hands down just as the shirt freed itself from her noggin so that she could cover herself.
“It’s okay honey,” Deloris said. “You don’t have anything we haven’t seen before.” Ashley forced herself to relax a smidge, but that was before two more hands inserted themselves into the waistline of her panties and yanked down.
All Ashley could get out was a “Hey!” before her field of vision was blinded by purple as another shirt was rudely yanked down over her head. She did her best to untangle her arms and insert them through the new shirt’s sleeves.
“It’s stuck!” she said. “Won’t go down my head!”
“First timers,” Ashley heard one of the wardrobe assistance mutter. Deloris quietly chuckled her agreement.
A faint crinkle, like a package being opened or bubble wrap being folded, reached Ashley’s ears just as she was getting the hang of the new shirt. “Step out,” Deloris instructed. Without even thinking, Ashley lifted up her feet one at a time and back away from the panties that were now in a puddle on the floor. “Good girl.” Another pop. More crinkling. “Now, step in.” Ashley did. “Good girl.”
“Ooops! I see the problem with this shirt,” one of the wardrobe attendants said as the new pair of panties was being slid up Ashley’s thighs and over her hips. “It buttons in the back.”
“Let me help,” she heard Deloris say.
It took less than two seconds for Deloris to unbutton the back of Ashley’s shirt, help her pull it down and then refasten the back buttons, but a plethora of new sensations and thoughts entered Ashley’s mind in that time.
It was odd, she thought, that buttons would be on the back. She’d seen it before, but mostly on little kids that couldn’t be trusted not to fidget and fiddle with their clothes. Her underwear felt odd, too. There was a stiffness to it, an added layer of padding that she could feel that while not unfamiliar, was certainly jarring. Was she wearing a pad?
Was this a pad commercial she was auditioning for? That didn’t add up. No one actually SAW the pads on the model during the commercial. A big selling point on hygiene products was discretion, except for maybe diapers. They tended to advertise and show off the cute little prints on baby’s bum. Diapers didn’t really count as underwear, though.
Two seconds later, the shirt was over her head, and Ashley could get a look at herself. The shirt was a deep purple, with puffy sleeves. It was a bit flared out a bit at the bottom, too, almost like a dress that was too short to really do anything as far as covering her panties up.
Her panties! She looked past the little flare of the faux dress and stared down at what she was wearing. Those weren’t panties. “Why am I wearing a diaper?”
Already, two new strangers while were taking her hair and bunching it up. Tying it up into two little puff balls, her hair too short to make pig tails out of. The lime green Dora panties were long gone, taken away by another wardrobe assistant. “You’re not wearing a diaper, honey,” Deloris said. “It’s a Pull-On. It’s a special kind of training pant for girls your age.”
Ashley scoffed at that. Training pants? “How old do you think I am?”
“Twenty-three,” Deloris said. “Why?”
Her hair done, the majority of the wardrobe staff with their endless poking invasions of her personal space were vanished, gone as quickly as they had ambushed her. Ashley was left with just the one person whose name she’d learned all day. She didn’t even know the director’s name. In her mind, he was just “Mister Director”.
Without even asking, the older woman took Ashley’s hand and gave her a slight tug. “Come on,” Deloris. “Let’s get you to Stage 2.” Ashley didn’t budge. She gazed at the disposable training pants she’d all but been duped into wearing. On the front, was a picture of a shepherd girl, Little Bo Peep with her staff. Next to her, stenciled in pink (of course) was the outline of a sheep. With her free hand, she poked it as if that would somehow alter the reality of the situation.
“It’s a fade when went design,” Deloris said. “When you go pee-pee in it, Little Bo Peep’s sheepy gets all weepy and then runs away.”
“So it’s a Pull-Up.”
“A Pull-On. Different brand. Different demographic.”
“I look like a toddler…”
“Nonsense,” Deloris insisted. “You look like a big girl.”
“I’m potty trained.”
“I know. But you’ll be acting. That’s what acting is.”
“Why can’t I wear undies underneath?”
“Because we don’t want anyone to see the undies on T.V.”, Deloris said. With as much material as there was clinging to her, Ashley doubted any panty lines would breathe through. “Don’t want to ruin the illusion.”
Ashley hadn’t realized it just then, but she’d been allowing herself to be physically led during most of this conversation. Her feet were moving on their own, and her mind was doing everything it could to play catchup. She might be walking, but she was still totally lost. The path Deloris was taking her zigged and zagged and sometimes felt like it went in a spiral. The poor young lady was completely unable to get her bearings or any sense of direction or lay of the land.
Sometimes, it felt like they were doubling back, but never did the woman leading her appear to be lost or ask for directions. Thank god the ground was smooth, paved, and shaded. She’d forgotten her shoes and was walking barefoot like some redneck hick…or a toddler. She felt particularly exposed whenever their route took them outside, however briefly.
“It’s just a costume,” she whispered to herself. “Just a costume. Other people are probably dressed up like chickens somewhere.” But Ashley saw no chickens. Just her. In what was basically a diaper. Being led by the hand and looking around confused. Just like a little girl.
On their way, the assistant grabbed something off a passing cart. “I almost forgot,” she said as she handed it to Ashley without looking back. “Here. Hydrate.”
It was a sippy cup. And there was no way that Ashley could get the lid off while this stranger was leading her by the hand. She gave it a slosh. A slight fruity smell wafted up out of the little plastic slits. “What is it?”
“I’m not thirsty.”
“You’ll need it.”
“Just drink it, hon.”
Ashley didn’t feel like she had much choice. She just downed the stuff. Fruit punch. Pretty good, actually. She smacked her lips. “Tastes good.”
“Told you,” Deloris said in a sing song voice. And then finally. “We’re heeeeere.”
The sign above the building read “Stage 2”. Well didn’t that feel like the truth in more ways than one?
“Go on in,” the assistant said. “Everybody’s waiting.” Ashley still didn’t hadn’t take the time to wonder where her street clothes had gotten off to.
That same funny feeling happened again as Ashley pulled open the door and went inside. This time it was infinitely more intense. The air rippled around her. It was like a mirage that she could feel as well as see. Reality just went all distorted, like through a fish eye lens.
Closing her eyes, Ashley grit her teeth and flung open the door. Walking barefoot with as much confidence as she could must onto Stage 2.
“Ashley! Good to see you again!”, the director said walking over from his seat. “You look great! Perfect for the part, just like I said you would!” Ashley felt her face flush. She looked like she was getting ready for potty training.
The set was a green screen, so that whatever background or setting the director wanted to could be added in post production. Off to the side were a bevy of props: Roman columns. Cardboard castles. Fish puppets that could be dangled from above. None of them were set up at the moment. What was set up was a pyramid, but not the kind seen in ancient Egypt or South America.
It was a pyramid of boxes. Some were pink. Some were blue. But all had the word “Pull-Ons” in big bubble letters in full view of the camera. A pyramid of training pants. Drawn in like a moth to a flame, Ashley walked closer to it, the director not far behind her. These boxes weren’t mass produced. Each one had a different little tyke on it, none of them actually children.
Grinning gleefully with enthusiastic but vacant stares in their eyes, all of them stood proudly with their hands yanking at the hem of their Pull-Ons, clearly distinguishing how this product was so much different and for bigger kids than a silly old diaper with the tapes. Some of the faces looked eerily familiar to Ashley; one of them even looked like someone who might be able to play a sexy lawyer on television.
“So this is going to be easy,” the director got Ashley’s attention. “Maybe even fun! See that little thing there, looks kind of like a stool?” he pointed to the round little cylinder directly in front of the ghastly prop pyramid. “All you have to do is go sit on it, and say the lines written on the cue card. Think you can do that?”
Nervously, Ashley bit her lip. “Um…what’s my motivation?” That got some scattered laughter from the people behind the camera. Not mocking laughter per se, but the kind of laughter for when a child tries to talk like a grown-up.
“Ha-ha! I love this kid!” the director said to no one in particular. Then he looked back at her. “Your motivation is to just be yourself. Take that energy that you came in with today. You’re proud that you’ve made it this far! You’re excited to really accomplish something BIG! But you’re still a tiny bit nervous and afraid you’re going to screw it up.” He paused. “Think you can give me that, my little star?”
Ashley blanched and laughed despite herself. “All that just to sell training pants?” she asked.
“We’re not selling what we’re selling.” Without further explanation, the director gave Ashley a wink and then backed up to his fancy chair.
“PLACES!” someone called. “PLACES”
Ashley went over to the little plastic stool, and took a seat, ignoring the light paper rustling as she did it. There was an awkward silence and people were staring as if they were waiting on her.
Another ripple that only Ashley felt.
“You’re supposed to take your pants off.”
Ashley looked at her bare legs. “I’m not wearing any pants!” Laughter from around the set. Less scattered this time, and louder.
The director laughed, too. “I mean you’re supposed to have your Pull-Ons down around your ankles. You’re supposed to look like you’re sitting on the potty. Can you do that for me?” Ashley looked around the set and stood up. The “stool” was actually a child’s potty, one that she was far too big to sit on.
She’d look ridiculous.
More important to her was the matter of her modesty. She’d hoped to be an actress and a model, not a porn star. So many strangers. So many people would see. How would she even get hired after this? No one would want to hire a grown woman starring in a potty training commercial; not unless she was playing the mom.
The director called out. “Don’t worry. This is a closed set.” Those words meant nothing to her. “And we’ll angle the camera so nobody sees anything.” That part she understood.
Ashley took a deep breath, just like a big brave girl, and slid her Pull-Ons down, just like she’d practiced so many times before and sat down on the potty, her legs closed together, but her ankles spreading the not-quite discarded not-quite diaper out so that the Little Bo Beep drawing could be fully scene.
She saw the director turn in his chair. “Kid’s a natural,” she half-heard half-read his lips; though she couldn’t follow his gaze far enough to figure out who he was talking to. At least she knew she was doing something right.
A man with a clap board walked out in front of Ashley. “Bay-Bee Brand Pull-Ons Commercial! Audition number One-thousand seventeen. Take one!”, he said before snapping down on the board and scurrying out of camera view.
On cue, her bladder became a method actress. The sound of water hitting plastic filled her ears. Only it wasn’t water. She was peeing! Barefoot, training pants around her ankles, and ass on the plastic seat of the potty chair, she was now piddling into the empty bowl without realizing it. “It’s okay, Ashley!”, Mister Director called out from behind the camera. “That’s what it’s there for!” Not only did she look like a potty training toddler, she was starting to act the part too.
Ashley closed her eyes. “You’re not a baby,” she whispered to herself. “This is just an act. You’re not selling what you’re selling.”
“Anytime, Ashley!” the director called. “Whenever you’re ready, big girl!”
Ready. She was ready. Ashley opened her eyes threw her hands in the air and read directly from the cue card. “I’M A BIG GIRL FOR NOW!!”
Laughter. Laughter from all around. From the crew and lighting designers, the key grips and best boys and assistants. There was something off about the laughter. Not quite mocking. The kind of laughter when a kid has said the darndest thing and the adults can’t help but laugh at the cute naivety of said child. Ashley felt like that kid just now.
“CUT!” the director called out. He walked up to her on her plastic potty and took a knee. “Ashley, honey. You said the line wrong. It’s supposed to be ‘I’m a big girl now!’”
The actress closed her knees and dug her nails into her thighs to keep herself from shaking. This stranger was kneeling and talking to her while she sat naked from the waist down atop her own piss. “That’s not what it says on the cue card,” she said defending herself.
The director did a double take. “You can read?” he asked. Before she could nod, he cocked his eyebrow and asked, “What cue card?”
Ashley pointed to where she’d seen it, right next to the main camera. “That one over the-” She froze. There was no friendly looking woman holding cue cards anymore. Ashley’s head swiveled. No sign of either on set. “They were right there, I promise!”
“Where? Get up and show me.”
In one fluid motion, Ashley stood up and yanked the Pull-Ons up over herself. Just like a big girl. She glanced back at the potty she’d been perched on. She’d really did a number on it. Bowl was almost full. She looked back to where the lady with the cue cards had been and started to walk over to show the director the exact spot. “Right over…”
The world went fish eye again and Ashley almost doubled over in nausea. Nail biting progressed to full on thumb sucking. The fuck was happening? That ringing in her ears, like the aftershock of an explosion or gunfire, filled her up, making all the other sounds and sights become a muffled sort of blur.
“Hold up! Freeze! Freeze! We’re in a holding pattern!” The director said when she was finally able to make sense of the immediate environs again. “Everybody hold up. We’re going to need another star.”
That got Ashley’s attention. Again? Why did this keep happening to her? “What’s wrong?” one of the crew members asked, walking up.
“Kid had an accident,” the director said. He gestured to her crotch. “We can’t have the star in a soggy Pull-On!”
Ashley’s eyes could have fallen out of their sockets. Impossible! There was no way that…that…but her eyes confirmed the director’s accusations. Her crisp pink training pants and inflated beneath her, swelling up and sagging with the weight of an empty bladder.
Between her legs, the pastel drawing of Little Bo-Peep remained, but the fade when wet sheep had gone on to greener pastures leaving a field of yellow behind. The actress just hadn’t had an accident in her training pants, she had positively soaked them!
“This is some kind of mistake,” she said. But the words came out so fast and so panicked that they sounded more like “Thissumkindastake!” “I was dry just a second ago!” She tugged on the director’s hand. He wasn’t moving. “I used the potty! Look! Look!” For all the good it was doing, he might as well be bolted to the floor.
The director just stood there, looking patient, but increasingly annoyed. “Ashley…Ashley…please stop,” he said. The tone reminded Ashley of when people who didn’t know how to or didn’t want to talk to kids felt they were being watched. He sounded like an annoyed adult who didn’t want to get sued for accidentally pushing a little girl to the ground and it ending up all over social media. So he just stood there for a few more seconds while she impotently yanked on his wrist.
Finally, much too late for the sake of comfort and personal space, something clicked in Ashley’s head. “I’ll show you,” she said. As fast as her bare feet could carry her, Ashley trotted over to the plastic potty where she’d just been sitting. Her swollen Pull-On was sagging so much that it bounced and swayed against her inner thighs with every step. Hints of ammonia crawled up to her nose, as the bottom inside of the garment saw a hint of fresh air every few steps. Had the girl sat down, there was every chance that the oversaturated padding would leak under the pressure.
“It’s right…” she pointed to the empty bowl. EMPTY BOWL?! Not even a minute ago it had been close to spilling out. “Where’d it go?” Ashley asked the room, not truly expecting a response. “Where’d my pee-pee go?” She looked down to her waist. With one hand she reached down between her legs and lifted the bulk up a bit. So heavy! So full! Where had her pee-pee gone? Deep down inside, she already knew.
She looked up to the director, past his dark sunglasses. “What now?”
In answer to her question, a shocking familiar voice spoke out beside her. “I’ll change her.” An older woman, almost twenty years older, stood behind her, a fresh pink Pull-On crinkling in her hand and a diaper bag slung over one shoulder. “Come on baby,” the woman’s hand clasped Ashley’s. “Let’s go to the bathroom.”
Her mother, Mommy, started to walk back towards the nearest bathroom. Ashley could feel the almost unnatural strength in that grip. Wherever her mother was going, she was going too. But the director held up a hand to signal them to stop. “Change her into something else,” he said. “This isn’t going to work. I think she’s a little too…little…to pull off this part.”
All thoughts of embarrassment left Ashley. It didn’t matter that she was standing wrapped in her her own excrement. She was losing the part! “No!” she practically wailed. “Give me another chance! I can do it! I don’t know what happened but I can do it! I CAN BE A BIG GIRL FOR NOW!”
The director removed his shades and looked Ashley in the eye. Hands on his knees, he leaned forward as if he needed to get lower to make eye contact with her. His tone went from business to honey “I’m sure you can, but I don’t think you’re um…right for this part.” He stood up. “Mrs Folsom, a word?” All out of honey. Back to Business. The two adults…other adults that is, what a silly thought…stepped away and started talking in hushed tones.
Ashley could only stand there, fretting as the Director and Mommy whispered secrets to each other a few feet away. What was she doing here anyways? Ashley hadn’t told her mother about the audition. She hadn’t been planning on telling anyone until she GOT a part, and even then her mother might have been left out of the loop. But here Mommy was, out of the blue…and offering to change her…? Something about that didn’t feel right.
The two were still talking. Mister Director was doing most of the talking, really. Mommy was just nodding and smiling and giving a lot of “Mmm-hmmms.” Ashley couldn’t tell what Mister Director was saying, what but saw Mommy smile and was able to read the words “Thank you” on her lips.
Mommy gave him a quick hug and started walking back to Ashley. The Pull-On was no longer in Mommy’s hand, having been abandoned on the floor and then quickly collected by set hand of some sort. Apparently, Ashley wouldn’t need a Pull-On for this next test. The hair and makeup people that had been swarming her were gone, too. Just Mommy now.
The rest of the crew were already scurrying out, fetching coffee, and prepping the set for the next audition. The giant pyramid of Pull-Ons boxes was being re-arranged to resemble a throne this time. “We’ll meet you both outside on Lot 1 with the others,” The director called back, moving out the stage door and into the bright sunlight. “Don’t be long.”
“Mommy?” Ashley asked as soon as she was close enough. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m helping you get into the commercial, big girl,” Effortlessly Mommy reached into the big purple satchel and laid out a thick sheet on the ground. It ruffled with the sound of vinyl backing and was decorated with yellow, red, and blue zoo animals. A changing pad. Mommy pointed to the center. “Now, lay down.”
Without thinking, Ashley obeyed. She laid down, feeling the soggy squish beneath her and the dampness return to her skin. Meanwhile, her mother busied herself laying out a packet of wipes, a bottle of baby powder, and a big, crinkling, puffy white diaper. “What are you doing?” Ashley asked. A tremor of fear lingered in her voice.
“I’m putting your diaper back on,” Mommy said, unfolding the rectangle. “We tried the Pull-Ons commercial but the director wants to see how you do with these?”
Ashley felt her heart catch in her throat. “I don’t need-!”
Mommy’s hand stopped her from sitting all the way up and scrambling to her feet. “Don’t worry,” she said. “You’re still Mommy’s big big star. It’s just for the commercial, okay? She didn’t wait for a reply. Ashley was still propped up on her elbows when the E-Z Open sides were ripped apart, destroying and transforming the soaked. training pant into a less effective version of what she was about to be wearing. “Lean back honey. Let me clean you up.”
Wincing and fidgeting as her mother wiped her down, Ashley tried her best to keep her dignity intact. What had she been thinking, doing an audition for training pants? She hadn’t been modeling training pants at the start of the day. She was sure of that. She’d been auditioning for…for…she couldn’t remember. But what had the director kept saying? “We’re not selling what we’re selling.”
It didn’t make any sense! What did that even mean? “I can put my diaper back on by myself!” the girl whined while her Mommy switched out the old training pants for a fresh diaper.
“It’s easier if I do it for you, baby girl,” Mommy said, not even pausing as she powdered Ashley’s bottom. “Wardrobe has to look right for the commercial. You do want to be in the commercial, don’t you? And it’s not like you have anything that I haven’t seen. This isn’t the first time I’ve changed you, you know.”
“Fine,” Ashley huffed, crossing her arms. Then another thought crept into her head just as Mommy was starting to pull the diaper up between her legs. “Mommy, how old am I?”
“You’re twenty-three,” Mommy said. She finished taping up the diaper, giving the front a little pat. Nice and soft. “Why? Did you forget?”
Ashley’s bottom lip stuck out in a pout. “Maybe…” She looked down at her waist. In place of the very big kid, very GROWN-UP pair of training pants, was a diaper. A baby diaper. It had little honeycomb stencils all over it and little cartoon bees on the landing zone for the tapes.
It was soft and firm, and snug without being too tight. And it fit her perfectly.
Something was off about that…
Ashley was taken from her own reverie when she felt her Mommy messing with her feet. “What are you doing?”
“Putting your socks and shoes on,” Mommy said. By the end of that sentence, Mommy had already managed to pull up a pair of white socks with little frills at the ankles over her feet and a pair of bright white velcro shoes soon followed. The little white trimming on her ankles perfectly matched the trimming along the hem of her shirt. And in a weird way, the velcro on her shoes went well with the tapes on her diaper.
No buttons to button or laces to tie for this girl, it seemed; not on anything.
Mommy helped her up. “What about pants?” she asked. Looking down at her bare legs.
“I told you when you wanted to do this, remember?” Mommy put her hands on her hips as if they’d gone over this a thousand times already. “It’s a diaper commercial. So the director wants everybody to be able to see your diaper. Remember? Besides,” she added, “it’s sunny outside. You won’t be cold.”
Speaking of “outside”, Ashley was able to picture how she looked from the outside. Purple shirt with puffy sleeves and frilly trimming along the hem. Her hair tied back in little puff balls. White shoes with Velcro instead of laces, and a diaper: Not even pants. Even little kids who still had to be kept in diapers got to wear pants over them.
This was not, she decided, a good look for her. “Outside?” she yelped, “Why do I have to be outside wearing this?” She gestured to herself.
“What’s wrong? You look cute!”
She looked like a baby.
“It’s EMBARRASSING!” Ashley said. She stamped her foot as if that would make her point for her. “I don’t want to be seen like THIS!”
“You won’t be the only one-”
“But I’m Potty Trained!” Ashley interrupted. “Honest! I’m a big girl!” Her throat was getting tighter and her protests were sounding more and more whiny by the instant.
Mommy put her hand on Ashley’s shoulder. “You don’t have to go pee-pee for the commercial,” she said. “You just have to go out there and have fun. Just be yourself. You’re not selling what you’re selling.”
What did that even mean?
“All your little friends out there are wearing diapers too.” Mommy added. “You won’t have to be embarrassed or think about the potty at all.”
Ashley started tugging on the hem of her shirt, as if somehow she could make the fabric stretch and further obscure her embarrassing underwear turned outerwear. It didn’t even cover up the landing zone. “But I don’t wannnaaa-”
“Ashley,” Mommy interrupted. “You asked me for this and begged and begged and begged, baby girl. So we’re doing this. NOW!”
Ashley took her hands off the hem of her shirt and bowed her head in submission. “Yes Mommy…”
“Good girl,” Mommy offered her hand this time instead of taking it. Like a good girl, a big girl, Ashley took it and let herself be guided. “Lot 1”, Mommy read the sign to her just before they crossed the threshold and into the sunlight.
Lot 1 was an outdoor playground. Feeling deservedly self-conscious, Ashley blinked and looked out to the horizon first. An out in the open playground. Not even a privacy fence. Any and all passerby could see her.
Out in the open.
In a big puffy diaper.
Her and everyone else.
Lily’s eyes lowered to the already open playground. Boys and girls her own age (that was weird to think) were already playing on the mulch covered terrain. Swinging on the swings. Going down the slide. Crawling through concrete play tunnels. A few were even lazily scooping sand. All of them were dressed just like her:
The only people who had the luxury of pants were carrying around heavy equipment. Video and sound crews were trotting around the playground, filming the grown boys and girls playing. Some were even
A group of middle aged men and women leaned against a far wall, by turns looking bored and anxious. Obviously they were the actors’ Mommies and Daddies. Parents? Wasn’t that a better word for it?
Mr. Director walked up to Ashley and put a hand on her shoulder. “So Ashley,” he said. All you have to do is play. You can play with the other boys and girls or by yourself. Just do whatever comes naturally. We have people with cameras walking around the playground to film you. If they ask you a question, go ahead and answer them, but otherwise you don’t need to pay them any attention.”
“Do you understand?” Mommy asked.
Nervously, Ashley nodded. “Uh-huh…”
Mr. Director pointed to the far wall where the other grown-ups…the grown-ups…the non-diapered grown-ups were waiting. “Your Mommy will be right over there with the other Mommies and Daddies.”
“I won’t leave you. Alright, honey? You’re safe.” The idea that she could have been in danger hadn’t occurred to Ashley than just then.
Mr. Director gave Ashley a hearty clap on the back. “Alright, then” he said. “Go play.”
Slowly, hesitantly, Ashley waddled deeper into the playground, getting a lay of the land as it were. What to do first? The monkey bars might be a good start. Or maybe the Merry-Go-Round. There was a large hollowed out tire dug halfway into the ground. Maybe she could hide in it for a few minutes. Hiding wasn’t a good idea. Apparently, she was trying to sell diapers, now. You didn’t sell a product by not showing it off.
The other would be models and actors were all playing. Except not really. Just like her, they were playing at playing.
They were all vacant smiles and hollow giggles. Ashley listened and watched. When a camera crew came around they’d be perfect. Too perfect. Smiles and articulate (but not too articulate) answers.
“What do you like doing on the playground, little girl?”
“I love playing in my diapers!” said a little girl that had whispered to Ashley this morning something about this being a big fancy underwear commercial.
“What are you doing there champ?”
“Making a sand castle in my diapers. No leaks! See?”
Sometimes they’d play, but it wasn’t really playing as much as it was putting on a show hoping that a camera crew would walk over to them. Hips would wiggle. Others would look down and pat their crotch or butt.
They acted like little kids. But they acted like little kids who were acting. Real babies didn’t care about their diapers…that’s why they had to wear diapers to begin wi-
The world went fish eye and Ashley doubled over in pain. Her stomach felt so funny and strange noises were coming out of it. What had she eaten to make it do that?
Wiping the sweat off her forehead, Ashley took another look around the playground. Something was different again, but she couldn’t quite pinpoint what it was. It might have been that some of the diapers weren’t quite as crisp or puffy.
One kid was busily showing off their swollen padding to the camera. Another girl one was hiding as she pooped herself; reminiscent of a nursery schooler not quite ready for potty training. Another kid was getting changed off to the side, their Mommy hurriedly taping the new one in place so that they could get back into the camera lens.
All this competition, Ashley thought. All these other kids.
It would be hard to sell…
Then something clicked.
She wasn’t selling diapers. Not really. Everyone knows what diapers are for and some diapers leak and some don’t…but that’s not the image that sold them. Not really. She was selling ideas and emotions. Just like underwear. Just like with Pull-Ons!
Babies like her didn’t care about her diapers. Babies like her didn’t care about other babies’ diapers. Mommies might, but only insomuch as they wanted their babies to be happy and comfortable and worry free.
If you were thinking about what was going on with your diaper-if that had to be a concern for you or your Mommy or Daddy-then you were wearing the wrong diaper.
She wasn’t in a commercial that was trying to sell diapers.
Joy! Peace of mind! Innocent fun!
All packaged up in a puffy white folded rectangle and then wrapped around a baby’s bottom.
That’s what she was trying to sell.
Ashley got it.
She finally got it.
The crunching of mulch got Ashley’s attention. She turned around. One of the traveling camera crews was coming up behind her. “What do you like to do on the playground, little girl?”
Ashley bent backwards and took a deep breath, leaned forward, and shouted directly into the camera. “PLAAAAAAAAY!” Without waiting for a reaction she broke off at a waddling run for the nearest piece of equipment, tuning the rest of the world out. Ignoring the pandering and crying and talking of all the other babies.
This was HER playground, now!
“That’s it!” Mr. Director shouted. “That’s it! Keep that camera rolling and follow her! This is what I’m looking for!!” Ashley didn’t even recognize his voice. She was already too busy doing what came naturally.
The world went fish eye one last time…but Ashley was too busy playing among other things…to notice.
“You’re twenty-three!” A cheery disembodied voice said. “You’ve done it all.” Pictures of young men and women in caps and gowns filled the screen; taking diplomas and shaking the hands. The familiar tones of Pomp and Circumstance “You’ve met all of your milestones. You’ve worked hard and you’re ready to make your mark and face the world head on! So what’s next for you?!”
The camera immediately cut to a young, dark skinned woman in her twenties, her hair pulled back into twin puffballs on her head. Her bright smile and shining eyes radiating with enthusiasm. “PWAAAAAAAY!” Immediately the slow and formal music was replaced with fast paced guitar music, the footage of the little lady running away from the camera sped up slightly to match the manic high energy pace of the music.
It was there that the camera revealed that she wasn’t wearing any pants. Just a purple shirt with lace trimming along the hem, a pair of white tennis shoes on her feet, and a puffy white diaper around her waist. “And to do that serious playtime, you need a diaper that can keep up with you.”
The diaper always in shot, a rapid montage of the young woman playing on the mulch covered playground flashed across the screen: Going down slides, swinging in swings, digging in a sandbox, all to the sped up and manic pace of guitar. There were other young men and women in frame, all in t-shirts and diapers as well. They could be seen on adjacent swings, or climbing up the slide, but the young lady with her hair tied back in cute little puff balls was clearly the star.
The scene cut away to an animation and diagram of the diaper itself; light blue arrows pointing to all the mentioned parts. “With a super absorbent core, a form fitting elastic waistband, and ultra safe leak guards, you can let it all out at the playground without having to worry about letting it ALL out at the playground.” The scene shifted back to the young lady running around like a rambunctious toddler. “Because you’re twenty-three, and you don’t stop for anything.”
On cue, the music stopped along the little starlet. Her feet spread out a bit, she bent her knees slightly, and hunkered down, almost like going in for a one woman huddle, visibly puffing her cheeks out. A single sonorous tuba note blasted as a noticeable lump formed in the back of the girl’s padded behind. “Well, almost anything,” the cheery disembodied voice said.
Film and music sped back up again, as the young woman, a big baby really, shamelessly finished pooping herself, only to straddle a horse shaped spring rider, rocking back and forth, the camera zooming in on her padded behind as it smashed up and down on the metal seat. “Bay-bees can take whatever you can dish out and keep right on playing. Bay-Bees will always be ready for a change when YOU are, and not the other way around.”
A star-wipe later, the camera finished with a shot of the young lady being escorted by the hand into a brick built public restroom, the words ‘Bay-Bee Changing Station’ clearly visible on the door. The woman holding the overgrown toddler’s hand, patted her diaper bag on the opposite shoulder and favored the camera with a wink. “…Or at least until Mom and Dad are ready,” the voice added with a laugh.
Finally, the logo faded into view, a simply drawn, but smiling little bee in a diaper. “Bay-Bees: Just because you’re older, doesn’t mean you’ll ever grow up!”
Ashley laid there on the carpet at home, naked save for her diaper, watching the T.V. The transition away from cartoons had been so seamless that she hadn’t even realized that she watching one of her ‘mercials until a few seconds in when she noticed that the baby on the screen looked awfully familiar
She had liked playing in the park that day. All of the people were so nice to her and they gave her lots of treats for doing everything that she normally did anyways. There were other commercials, too. They had shot a lot that day. There was the bedtime one. And the inside one. And the eating one. But the park one was Ashley’s favorite.
A familiar feeling stirred inside Ashley’s tummy. Her knees gathered up under her and she pushed herself to all fours, away from the shapes puzzle she’d been idly toying with. That puzzle was super challenging, and she could never get all the pieces to fit in the right holes. The puzzle was hard. This was easy.
Her diaper was squishy and sagging a bit from all of the pee-pee. That meant Mommy would probably want to change her soon. She still didn’t understand why, since just like the commercial promised, she knew she wouldn’t have to worry about leaks.
Grinning and grunting, Ashley marveled on how pretty she looked in that shirt in the ‘mercial, it looked just like a dress but it didn’t cover up her diaper. She just couldn’t help but smile every time Mommy brought it out from the closet and put it on her. It was like she was a star all over again!
She giggled at the part where she was riding the playground horsey. Up and down and up down! Squish! Squish! Squish! It was just like she was riding it all over again. Speaking of which, she started to have the silliest feeling- a certain je ne sai quoi- as she started to push; with her diaper feeling heavier as a warm and mushy mess started to spread out over her bum-bum. In its own weird way it was like she was reliving the commercial all over again.
The ‘mercial ended, but Ashley wasn’t finished. The next ‘mercial didn’t have her in it, either. It was just some boring ‘mercial for laundry cleaner upper, and Ashley had much more important things to think about. Good thing Ashley had such a good memory. Just like in the ‘mercial, she stood up, feeling the diaper sag away from her, heavy with pee-pee and the little bit she’d been able to get out of her. She just couldn’t concentrate on that puzzle, right this second.
Just like in the ‘mercial, she bent her knees and tuned the world out.
“What are you doing, sweetie?”
Ashley ignored Mommy’s voice. She just tried to think of the ‘mercial. Had. To. Push.
An immediate, but slight pressure release. The back of her diaper poofed out and away from her a bit. Ashley giggled at that! It wasn’t a tuba, but it meant the same thing. If she was making tooters that meant something was about to come out! It was the sound of victory! Eyes on the prize, she kept pushing, grunting. Getting all of the poopie out and into her diaper like a good girl. Just like she had in the ‘mercial.
Again! Closer now!
The last of the solid mess all but erupted into Ashley’s diaper. It was the sound of victory.
“Pooooopie!” Ashley whispered to herself. The girl felt the warm mush spread out in her diaper as she unbent her knees and stretched her hands to the sky. It felt like her tummy had stretched too. So good! So relaxing! It didn’t even register when her Mommy was telling her to wait before she sat back down, spreading the mess everywhere. There. She had more important things to do.
Wriggling in her seat, getting comfy in, she devoted all of her brain power into figuring out how to fit the pointy circle into the blocky hole.
It was a dumb puzzle anyway. She swept it aside, sticking her tongue out and looking back at the T.V.
The cartoons were back on! It was the one where the big blue cat was wearing a diaper and saying “a-goo” and the little brown mouse and the other cats were making fun of him. Ashley wasn’t sure why it was supposed to be funny. If the cat was wearing a diaper, that meant he was a baby, and the other cats were taking care of him all wrong. Ashley wasn’t sure about how a diaper was supposed to be changed, but she was pretty sure that it didn’t involve hammers, pliers, and goldfish.
None of that stopped her from copying the big blue cat cat. “Ga-ga-ga-ga-ga!”
“Are you enjoying your cartoons?” Mommy asked, coming up behind her. Ashley nodded, not taking her eyes off the screen. Mommy gave Ashley’s diaper a pat and pulled the waistband back, letting in a bit of cold air. “Wooooh!” Mommy said! “Thought so. Come on baby girl, time for a diaper change!”
This Ashley took exception to. “Mommeeee!” she whined. “Cartoons!”
“Alright, alright,” Mommy said. “You stay right there.”
A forever later, the next cartoon was on. This time a little gray mouse was the baby and he was sword fighting! “Touche, Pussy Cat!” Ashley got out a giggle before she let out a little moan of her own as Mommy rolled her back over on her back. She craned her neck, preferring to watch the cartoon upside down over not at all.
“Oh I’ll have none of that!” Mommy said, playfully. Before Ashley could react, Mommy’s lips were blowing on Ashley’s tummy. Buzzing her! Tickling her! Raspberrying her!
“Mommeeee!” Ashley squealed. “STAAAAAAHP!” She didn’t really want it to stop. Mommy must have known that too, because she didn’t. Another raspberry on her tummy buzzed her from her brain to her belly-button.
Mommy laughed too. “That’s more like it. I don’t want a fussy little girl. You’re so much cuter when you giggle!” Creeping, tickling fingers coochie-cooed at Ashley’s chin, and her neck and underneath her arms, making the girl giggle and wriggle and squirm with joy.
When Ashley had finally settled down, she heard the distinct and familiar scrrrrrrrrrtch sound that accompanied every change. The baby girl didn’t bother to crane her neck to see what was going on. She knew enough; as much as she needed to know anyways. As the diaper loosened, she was tempted to suck her thumb; there was a shape she knew how to fit; but something else was bothering her, and it wasn’t the cold wipes.
Ashley kept staring at the ceiling. “Mommy?”
“Yes, Ashley?” Mommy said. “So messy…”
“I just saw one of my ‘mercials.”
“I know, baby. I saw it, too. The one with all the twenty-somethings dressed up in those cute little graduation caps and gowns. Help Mommy and lift your legs up a bit.” Ashley did.
“But,” the baby girl said, “that was the first time I seed that one in a while.”
“That’s what’s happens with commercials, honey.” Mommy said. “They get broadcast less and less, and then new commercials get made. Oops! Almost missed a spot.”
Ashley frowned. “The new ones don’t have me in them…” New baby girls and boys were popping up on T.V. all the time. Now they were the ones playing on playgrounds and toddling around at malls. There was even a Christmas one where they sat on Santa’s lap, and Santa didn’t have to worry about their diapers leaking.
“That’s right, Ashley.” Mommy said. “They’re making new commercials. Alllll the way up so Mommy can-” Ashley’s hips were on autopilot, “good girl!” The old diaper was slipped out and balled up, and a new one slipped under Ashley.”
“Can I be in a new ‘mercial, Mommy?”
“I don’t think so, sweetie. A little powder.”
“Is it cause I’m too big?”
“Oh no, not at all, baby.” Mommy said, pulling the diaper up and taping it snugly on. “You’ll never be too big. I just want you to be a normal happy, twenty-four year old baby and not worry so much about T.V.”
Ashley sighed. “Okay, Mommy…”
“Yeah?” Ashleys head flopped to the side. There was a little purple bundle right by her head. A shirt. A very familiar, very special shirt.
“How about instead of pretending to play on the playground,” Mommy said, “we just get you dressed and go to the playground for real?”
Ashley’s mouth broke out into a grin. “Yeah!”
As Ashley sat up and let her Mommy pull her favorite shirt over her head, her brief career in ‘mercials was all but forgotten. “And remember, baby,” Mommy told her, pulling her in for a hug. “Just because you’re not going to be doing commercials anymore, it doesn’t mean that you didn’t do something special. There will be other babies and other commercials, but you were the first.”
Ashley was the first.
She liked that.
She liked the idea of getting in her car seat and going to the playground even more, though.