Corporate Espionage

Chapter 1

There comes a time in every person’s life when their code of ethics collides against temptation. When the dust settles either the code or the temptation is knocked on its ass; it’s opposite standing victorious.

Ethical codes may vary widely. For some it’s the deeply held tenets of a religion, or a philosophy that has been honed over long study and personal experience. For Matthew McKinley, it was as simple as the Golden Rule and not wanting to be arrested.

Conversely, the temptations of the world are varied, but can often be sorted into a few broad categories such as money, relief from boredom, and sex. How telling it was that often temptation came in the form of meeting basic physiological and psychological needs; almost like some crazy man in the sky set the rules and the needs in direct opposition to each other.

Worse yet, Matthew was faced with all three of his big temptations: money, entertainment, and even a hint of sex.

“You want me to do what?” Matthew asked. “Seriously?” He blinked again, as if that might clear up the babbling brook of nonsense that he’d just been pitched. “You know that’s illegal, right?”

The older woman sitting across the desk from Matthew folded her hands on the table. “Only if you get caught, Mattie.”

Mattie. No one had called him that since he was in diapers. The woman on the other end of the desk had known him that long. Probably changed a couple, too. Definitely had made some. Matthew’s family and hers went way back, from before Mrs. Northeaster hit it big in the business world and moved out of the suburbs.

History wasn’t the only factor keeping him from walking out the door. The corporate headquarters for Northeaster Care was a very fancy, very expensive looking, very tall building. A lot of money was going through this building these days. Mrs. Northeaster had been very good with her husband’s money. Better than he’d been. This was her office.

“You’re asking me to do something illegal,” Matthew repeated.

Mrs. Northeaster, her hair now completely silvered with over two decades of corporate experience (a word here which means constant stress), didn’t react except to say, “Not really, Mattie. This sort of thing happens all the time.”

The young man, not quite thirty, felt gobsmacked by the sheer brazenness. “What do you mean it happens all the time?”

“Pepsi spies on Coke. Honda knows where Ford is up to. Starbucks got where it is because it outmaneuvered Dunkin’.” The barest hint of a smile did not reach the woman’s eyes. “It’s just business, Mattie.”
“Isn’t that what, like, trade shows and expos are for?” Matthew replied.

“That’s for the consumer,” Mrs. Northeaster said. “Big business reacts in real time. I can’t outmaneuver my competition if I don’t know what moves they’re planning.”

Matthew rubbed his temples. “So let me get this straight,” he said. “You want me to try and get a job at PharmaCor -”

“Something entry level. Like the mailroom,” Mrs. Northeaster interrupted. “Nothing to draw too much attention to yourself. Nothing where you’ll be missed if you don’t show up to work.”

“Right,” Matthew said, “and then you want me to hack their computers from the inside, so that you can steal their company secrets?”

“Not steal,” Mrs. Northeaster said, sounding almost offended. “Just look at. ‘Steal’ implies that we’re going to delete their files or try and copy them for ourselves. It’s so…vulgar.”

“Then what are you planning to do?”

The third person in the meeting spoke up. “Just take a little peek and try and predict PharmaCorp’s next move.” Candice Northeaster was seated beside Matthew. She placed her hand gently on his arm. “Make sure nothing they’re cooking up is too similar to what we’re cooking up.”

Candice Northeaster was Matthew’s age. They’d been friends since they were babies; taken baths together. Candice had grown up in this company, and in lieu of baby pictures she had posters and box covers from when she was Northeaster Care’s literal poster baby. One of those posters was right behind her mother, with her two year old self giggling in nothing but a pink t-shirt and a Bun-Bums diaper on.

They’d both long since outgrown diapers though. And Matthew couldn’t remember the last time he’d taken a bath with her. Looking at her now, with her dark hair and big, perky boobs,he might like to make a new memory. The temptation of money was the thing keeping Matthew’s ears open, but it had been the implied promise of sex that had gotten him first through the door.

“What are you even looking for?” Matthew wanted a reason, an irrefutable one, as to why he should walk out of the office building and go back to fucking with customer support scammers. “It’s not like there’s a whole lot going on with diapers, anyways.”

“You’re right,” Candice said. “It’s pretty much just fashion, these days. Wetness indicator or no? What decoration goes on the front? How flexible is the waistband? That kind of thing. What bells or whistles can you attach to it to make Mom and Dad want to buy it for their little one.”

“Okay…” Matthew said. “And?”

“It’s no different,” Mrs. Northeaster said, “than peeking at someone else’s hand in a game of poker.”

“That’s still cheating.”

Mrs. Northeaster stood up. He’d forgotten how tall she was. How imposing. “If Proctor & Gamble are the McDonald’s of the diaper business, and Kimberly Clark is Burger King, then Northeaster Care is close to becoming Wendy’s. Right now we’re Whataburger. We’re good, but we’re still very regional. The thing standing in our way is PharmaCorp. ”

Matthew felt intrigued. “How?” He leaned forward a bit.

“We think PharmaCorp is negotiating to get Bluey on their next line of diapers,” The C.E.O. explained. “It might be why Bluey’s people aren’t returning our calls. Bluey’s very popular right now. That kind of endorsement could put us over the moon.”

“With a cartoon character?”

Candice’s hand moved up to his shoulder. “You’d be surprised what branding can do, hun. It’s why Huggies has Disney characters and Pampers and Luvs do stuff with PBS.”

“What are you gonna do if that’s the case with Bluey?”

“Make Bluey’s people a better offer,” Mrs. Northeaster said.

Alarm bells rang in Matthew’s brain. “Wouldn’t that be the same as stea-?”

“When you helped take down that scam call center in India, the people helping you were breaking the law by trespassing and spying.”

“Yeah,” Matthew said. “But those people were stealing from the elderly.” What he didn’t say was how he’d stayed behind a computer screen for the entirety of that takedown. There’d been no real risk to him.

“And these people have done the same to us,” Mrs. Northeaster slammed her fists on the desk. “We had the idea of bringing back gendered diapers two years ago, but PharmaCorp’s people stole it from us first. We just want to steal something back for once!”

Matthew sat up a little straighter. “So this is revenge?”

“No!” Mrs. Northeaster started. “It’s-”

“Yes,” Candice interrupted. “We’re trying to get them back and we need your help to do it.”

“Why me?”

“Because you’re like family, Mattie” Those big puppy dog eyes stared into her. “We can’t trust anybody else. Every other private investigator we’ve hired has been just as likely to turn on us as hide our own secrets.”

Mrs. Northeaster walked around the desk. “Every pro in the tristate area is known to our competitors. They won’t see you coming. You’ll give us the element of surprise that we need, Mattie. You’d be helping us and you’d be well compensated.”

“Hmmm….” New hardware and reverse hacking software didn’t come cheap. He could do a lot of good with the money the Northeaster’s were offering.

“We’d be very grateful,” Candice added in a whisper. “Very…very grateful.”

A chance to help old friends get some payback, the possibility that he could be rewarded in more than just money? The temptation was too much.

“Okay,” Matthew said. “I’m in.”

By the end of the week, Mattie would be in more than just a bit of corporate espionage.

3 Likes

an intriguing story, I like it.

Chapter 2

Toto’s ‘Africa’ droned on the fourth floor of PharmaCorp’s corporate headquarters. Easy listening music hits of the 70’s 80’s and 90’s was on constant play inside the building. As a way to keep himself less visibly nervous, Matthew had started to keep track of the number of times he’d heard certain songs. This was the fifth time he’d heard Toto in the span of three days.

That had been a mistake. It was no wonder weapons weren’t allowed inside the building. If Matthew had had a gun on him he’d have been sorely tempted to blow his brains out. The human brain can only stand so much Toto. If Matthew had to listen to another playback of Phil Collins’s ‘In the air tonight’ he might just turn himself in.

“Excuse me, sir or madam,” he would say. “Would you please call the police? I am here to try and steal company secrets for Northeaster Care, but I’ve just lost the will to go on. Why yes, it was Phil Collins that finally broke me. Well done.” Again, it didn’t surprise him in the least that PharmaCorp had an in-house pharmacy that sold all of its products like some new take on the old Company Store routine. Keep everyone bored, depressed, and medicated and they’d drudge along for you.

The fact that Mrs. Northeaster’s company probably wasn’t much better didn’t phase him. Northeaster Care was financing this little sting, and fantasies of Candice’s undying gratitude spurred him onward… Also, he had distinctly heard Coldplay while walking through their corporate office. Not much better, but still more current. Certainly better than R.E.M.

In all seriousness, Matthew felt like the equivalent of a cop on a stakeout in one of those action movies. The worst part was the waiting. Five minutes of action preceded by hours and hours of waiting. At least in the movies, the cop had a partner to talk to and make witty banter with; plus the audience automatically skipped past the tedious park.

Matthew was flying solo on this and only had himself to entertain. Hence why he was drafting up a confession letter based on the banality of bland ass out of date office music.
“Mail,” he said, passing it off to each cubicle. “Here you are.”

Getting the mail room job had been deceptively easy. Even in a profitable, well run company, entry level jobs were still high turnover and there were constant vacancies to fill. The fake work history he’d drafted up- leaving out his computer expertise of course- had been readily processed and accepted, and orientation and training consisted mainly of watching a dull video and signing an NDA agreement.

Matthew had not signed his real last name, of course. His fake social security number wasn’t going to hold up to prolonged scrutiny, but Matthew intended to be out of this place by payday and back to Northeaster Care the next state over. This would take longer, but the whole idea of this was just a smash and grab.

“Thank you.”

“Thanks.”

“Thank you, sir.”

Matthew had noted that within the company there were two types of people on his delivery route. People who acknowledged his presence and people who didn’t. Planning his next steps, he paid careful attention to the people who didn’t. The folks who acknowledged the lowly mailroom delivery boy, were either decent people, or so low on the pecking order that they thought themselves on near equal footing with him.

Also, in general, they seemed more careless. Left their desks and cubicles unattended. Easier to get access and steal from, but there was little chance their PC’s had anything of value. Maybe an email or something that might hint at something larger; but nothing substantive. Nothing to report back about. Matthew had confirmed as much yesterday. He’d managed to download Anydesk and remote access several desktops to people who’d forgotten to turn their computers off on their lunch break. Trusting souls, but with nothing major to report. It didn’t help his search that PharmaCorp made more than just baby products.

There was some vague chatter about marketing working on ‘Project Sleeperz’, but otherwise it was about maintaining or severing ties with various media companies and advertisers. The ‘blue diapers for boys and pink diapers for girls’ fad they’d apparently renewed had run its course and there was much internal discussion onto whether to discontinue the line of ‘Peekers’ - named so because colors weren’t meant to hidden, so here was a diaper that could peek out and get shown off - or to try and spin reinvigoration. Perhaps make it a spring and summer line when it’d be hotter and easier for parents to forego pants altogether. It had worked with the Huggies and the denim diapers.

That didn’t smell like the paydirt that Matthew was working for, though. ‘Project Sleeperz’ was the real big kahuna. The thing that his employers and family friends needed the forewarning about.

That’s why Matthew had taken interest in the people who didn’t talk to him when he delivered memos and mail. They were the ones who were either so far up the payscale that they felt he was below their notice, and the ones so busy and focused (possibly with something very important) that Matthew’s presence barely registered to them.

This is where the big fish swam. The careful fish. The suspicious fish. Higher risk. Higher reward. He didn’t have the time to form any kind of personal relationship with them, to sucker them into letting their guard down or leaving something unattended. Matthew was going to have to be a hawk, ready to swoop down on any juicy tidbits the moment an opportunity presented itself.

Such an opportunity came just after lunch with the end of Toto’s ‘Africa’. Matthew had just finished navigating the maze of cubicles for the Sales and Marketing Department and was wheeling up to the offices of people important enough to merit something.

The label on the door read “Ennis Uggins.” Despite the ugly name, the man in the office was fairly put together. Mid to late thirties. Clean shaven and clean cut. Something of an amalgamation between the Don Draper aesthetic tempered with just middle America Dad energy. The photo of his wife and kids that Matthew had spied previously created such a narrative. A family man slipping out of fitness and into a nice comfortable dad bod.
“Mail,” he said, calling in.

The executive was already getting up from his chair. His face contorted with discomfort but he spared a glance. “Just leave it on my desk…” he squinted at Matthew’s name badge. “Mattie. Tacos aren’t agreeing with me.” The man clutched his stomach and muscled his way past Matthew and his mail cart to start hurrying off to the executive bathroom.

Mathew shook his head in disgust. First words the guy had said to him all week, and he go the name wrong. Mattie? What is it with Mattie? Did he look like a Mattie? Matthew rubbed his chin and resolved to grow a beard.

He left the mail on the desk and peered at the executive’s desktop. The screensaver hadn’t kicked in yet! Matthew had access! No password required! Right there for the picking!

Score!

Quietly, Matthew shut the office door and shuffled to the computer. He’d already made sure to muscle in the mail cart where he went. It was terribly inefficient, and any mail clerk worth anything would have been smart enough to leave the cart outside. No one passing by Uggins’ office would see an unattended mail cart, though. Matthew wasn’t really a mail clerk; so his sense of pride wasn’t in any kind of danger.

It took less than a minute for Matthew to download the remote access software and add in the programs necessary to access Uggins’s computer. By the time Uggins made it back to his office, Matthew was long gone and oddly cheery.

“She’s just a small town girl,” he hummed to the next round of music. “Livin’ in a lonely world…!”


The Air BnB Matthew was staying in was about thirty minutes from PharmaCorp’s corporate headquarters if he took the freeway. Mrs. Northeaster had booked it privately under a pseudonym and was paying for it. It wouldn’t do for him to be hiding out in a hotel. There was still long term implications dealing with his fake I.D. Payroll would figure out that his listed address wasn’t his real address in due time, but Matthew wasn’t planning on collecting a paycheck; not from PharmaCorp.

It was just past Six O’Clock when he got back and had enough time to lock the doors, draw the shades, and open up his laptop. Just as expected, he had full access to the executive’s desktop and everything saved therein.

All he had to do was wait and watch long enough for his mark to go home for the night. Then the real fun could begin. Like working in the mailroom, this was a stakeout too, but a much more exciting one. Matthew didn’t always get people, but he was infinitely more enticed watching computer screens.

This was the kind of patience that he was used to. The same tricks he’d used to fuck with scammers were the ones he was employing here. He’d found one of them with a conscience and convinced them to betray their fellows by downloading Matthew’s particular brand of spyware. The only real difference, operationally was that Matthew had to be the mole and the hacker. Thankfully he was getting paid more.

Shit. He was getting paid! Thinking of that, Matthew almost didn’t mind that he was technically slipping to the dark side.

It was nearly nine before his victim’s screen started showing signs of slowing down. “Damn this guy works late,” Matthew said to himself. Flurries of emails, speeches, and proposals, all laced with corporate speak that Matthew didn’t even try to understand. Just in case, he’d been recording the whole thing. Maybe there was something Candice and her mom could use; but nothing jumped out at him yet.

Finally, the mouse on the other end started to initiate shut down and Matthew leapt into action.

“Nope,” he said to himself. “Not done yet, my dude. Not even close.” A few quick keystrokes and he blacked out the computer screen on the other end. To anyone still at the PharmaCorp office, the monitor on that particular desk would appear asleep.

Having already hacked the webcam, he waited until his mark left the office and turned out the lights, none the wiser.

Feeling like victory was in his grasp, Matthew took the last bite of a pepperoni pizza he’d ordered, and let the sauce and cheese slide down his throat while the spice meat danced on his tongue. Pizza and Booze: The only things that tasted better when completely consumed.

It didn’t take long for Matthew to find what he was looking for, linked to a larger file labeled “Upcoming Projects.”.

“Huh,” Matthew remarked. “Sleeperz commercial First draft. This looks like something.” Tentatively he clicked and watched.

First draft was right. The audio component was complete but there was no footage on the screen; not of people. In their place was more or less rough sketches and blocking, like a cartoon’s storyboard. Through the rough outlines that blinked and flipped, it looked like a mother putting down a baby in its crib.

“For both you and your little one, sleep is important,” the soft feminine voice whispered. “Neither of you want to wake up because of a wet diaper. And leaks are the worst. That’s why we’re introducing Sleeperz nighttime diapers.”

The storyboard sketches shifted to a more professional computer animated model, one that showed only the diaper and its features.

“Sleeperz has a more absorbent core that wicks away moisture from your baby’s skin, and combines it with strategically placed cooling gel so that even the warmth of wetness won’t be felt. Your baby won’t even feel their nighttime accidents and remain blissfully asleep, ready to play in the morning.”

It went back to the flipbook-like storyboard format.

“Buy Sleeperz. Because a good night’s sleep is priceless.”

Mattie blinked when the trailer ended. “Nighttime diapers?” he asked himself. “That’s their big move?” He laughed. Candice was right. The baby industry pretty much was just fashion these days.

Cooling gel? Super absorbent core? Stopping babies from feeling like they’re peeing? What was the point? Not knowing when they were going was kind of the whole reason kids wore diapers. And all diapers had the selling point of not leaking, so why advertise it for use during a particular time of the day?

Things really had gotten to the point of a problem looking for a solution.

Nevertheless, he packaged the whole file up and sent it to Candice. Maybe she and her mom would use the info to announce their new line of daytime diapers or something.

Imagine Mattie’s surprise when he woke up the next morning drenched in his own piss.

Chapter 3

“Shit!” Mattie cursed through clenched teeth. “Shit…shit…shit…shit…!” The sun was just barely cresting through the window of his Air BnB but Mattie had already been awake for a good fifteen minutes.

When his alarm had gone off, he’d woken up to urine soaked sheets sticking to clammy thighs having wrapped around him as he tossed and turned in the middle of the night. At present he was busy scrubbing the mattress; adding in soapy suds and stain remover; hoping the warm water would do its job.

“Shit…shit…shit…shit…”

Second day in a row, too. Yesterday when it had happened, the would-be spy just ripped the sheets off and threw them into the washing machine alongside his soaked undies. He’d flipped the mattress and considered the matter resolved. Northeaster Care would pay for the ruined mattress- if it was ever noticed in time to be tracked back to him.

As far as Mattie was concerned, he was out. Beginnings of advertising campaign leaked. Mission successful. Break out a bit of the bubbly and pour the champagne. Job done. Time to celebrate.

Then he’d gotten the reply from Mrs. Northeaster: “Get me more.” That was all that was written. Problem was, he’d needed to lay low all yesterday, and the computer he’d hacked into didn’t have anything more juicy. Not even a timeline or projected release date.

That was yesterday. Today, he was scrubbing the stained mattress and cursing under his breath. HIs boxer briefs were still stained, too. He didn’t have the presence of mind to take them off this time. Mattie could only hope that the scrubbing would be enough and that he wouldn’t be late for work.

“Goddamnit. Get. The. Fuck. Out. Stupid. Stain!” If he hadn’t been so absolutely frustrated, Mattie might have appreciated the parallels between himself and a certain Shakespearean character known for fruitlessly trying to scrub away a guilty conscience. “Why? Won’t? It? Clean?”

A notification pinged on his desktop. That was enough for the damp rag to be plopped into the sloshing bucket. Another email from Northeaster Care. “Positive they have products that are further along. Keep digging.”

Mattie ran the palm of his hand down his face and exhaled. This is not what he’d agreed to. Not at all. Between the boring drudgery, the looming anxiety of keeping up his cover, and his sudden nighttime incontinence, Mattie was no longer having much fun. The big paycheck at the end and the chance to get into Candice’s panties though…

He rubbed his eyes and glanced at the laptop’s clock. “Shit!” he hissed. He’d spent too long cleaning up his accident. (Those were thoughts he’d never thought he’d have.) Couldn’t be late for his shift in the mailroom or he’d draw attention to himself.


“If I could turn back time,” Cher circa 1989 belted out over the speakers, “If I could find a way. I’d take back those words that’ve hurt you, and you’d stay!”

Mattie bit his tongue and rolled his eyes. Even at the company’s pharmacy, stupid music was being broadcast. There was no escaping it. Even in the restroom there was no escape.

Mattie had been to the restroom several times that day. Two wet beds in a row had rattled him and he’d taken the earliest opportunity to relieve himself every time he felt the slightest ache in his bladder. Internal correction: not the earliest opportunity. The earliest opportunity would have been peeing directly into his pants.

That had been another thing bothering Mattie today. He’d been so wrapped up in making it in time for work that he hadn’t had the time to shower the stink off of him before work. It was subtle, but everytime he breathed in, Mattie could swear he smelled the faint odor of fermenting ammonia and old piss. Karma? Unlikely. Mattie didn’t believe in such things.

As far as he could tell, no one else noticed; no comments or wrinkled noses. Just to be on the safe side, Mattie had taken several potty breaks for the sole purpose of wetting a paper towel and tabbing his crotch in the handicap stall. The ad-libbed baby wipe didn’t fix things completely. Mattie could swear he still smelled it as soon as the water was dried from his pubes. It could have just been in his head, though that sentiment didn’t help.

During his most recent trip to scrub away the scent of wet bed, Mattie noticed that the handicapped stalls all also had pull-down changing tables. A bit of baby powder would have covered any lingering smell right up, he’d thought to himself. The irony of his situation considering what he was here to steal wasn’t lost on Mattie this time.

One thought led to another, and that’s how Mattie landed up in the employee pharmacy.

“Next!”

Mattie stepped up to counter. His shift in the mailroom was over and he put himself last in line for the conversation he was about to have.

The woman in the white lab coat had auburn hair done up in a bun and black rimmed glasses. She was also a few years older than Mattie, and in the same way that high school seniors still look like kids to people in their early twenties, when Mattie looked at the pharmacist he saw an adult even though she was thirty at most. Didn’t make her any less attractive to him, though.

“Card please,” she said.

Uncomfortably, Mattie started digging around in his back pocket for his wallet. “I uh, haven’t even told you what I’m picking up…?”

A pink painted finger nail pointed at the I.D. badge clipped onto his shirt. “That one, sweetie. Employee I.D.”

“Oh,” his hand went to his chest and took off the badge, handing it to her. “Thank you,” he focused on her nametag. “Virginia.”

She took the badge and ran it through a scanner. “Everybody calls me Ginni.”

“Okay, Ginni.” Might as well make small talk. Make this less embarrassing.

Ginni turned her head and looked at a computer screen and paused for whatever data PharmaCorp thought it had on him. “Sorry about this,” she said. “Gotta make sure you’re one of us. Okay…Mattie,” the pharmacist said. “What can I do for you?”

Mattie blinked. It felt weird having someone call him Mattie. His nametag clearly said ‘Matthew’, and hearing the more childish nickname left a bad taste in his mouth. Only then, did Matthew actively realize that he’d been thinking of himself as Mattie the whole day…

“I’m looking for some over the counter stuff,” Matthew said, lowering his voice to a crowd whisper. “Nothing major. I’ve just been having…um…” his words were starting to fail him. What was the technical term for having pee-pee accidents in one’s sleep? “Nighttime Urinesis…?”

The pharmacist raised an eyebrow. “Nighttime Urinesis? Do you mean nocturnal enuresis? Bed wetting? You’re wetting the bed? You’re a bed wetter?” Save for some other white coats milling around, they were alone. No one was behind him in line, and Cher was well into her second verse.

At the same time, Matthew’s heart raced as if the woman’s words were thundering through the entire corporate skyscraper.

“Bed wetting?”

“You’re wetting the bed?”

“You’re a bed wetter?”

Matthew’s face flushed with pure embarrassment. Why’d she have to repeat herself? Why’d she have to be so pretty? He almost wished it were an old bald man standing in front of him. Then, he might at least expect a ‘me too’.

“I’m just having some trouble dealing with stress.” It was a lie, but not a full one. “And I think it’s effecting me.”

“And you need something over the counter?”

Suddenly, the tops of Matthew’s shoes seemed very interesting. “Yeah…” he rasped.

Ginn the pharmacist frowned. “Beyond limiting liquid intake and telling you to set an alarm, I don’t know if there’s much in the way of non-prescription stuff I can give you.”

“I figured.” He blew air out past his lips in frustration. He started to walk off. “Thanks anyw-”

“Wait!”

Matthew froze and turned back around.
Ginni held up a finger and then walked out of sight for a moment. Matthew took the time to walk back up to the counter and lean over, trying to figure out what was going on. Briefly he considered using the opening to get into the pharmacy’s computers, but those likely didn’t have anything he needed. He needed corporate strategies, not pill inventories.

The pretty young woman returned with a bulky package wrapped in brown paper in her arms. “Okay,” she said. “Promise not to freak out?”

Gravely, Matthew nodded. “Sure.”

“These are high grade medical quality diapers,” she said.

Matthew did not like where this was going. “Uh-oh…”

“Hear me out,” the pharmacist said, patiently. “PharmaCorp designed these for hospitals and nursing homes. Situations where a person probably couldn’t make it to the toilet and probably couldn’t change themselves, but…”

There was a story here, and Matthew felt himself being drawn in. “But…?” A hint of a smile was playing at his lips.

“But the factory in China that makes them fucked up. We’ve got a new brand of baby diapers coming out and some idiot screwed up. Now, there’s an entire batch of adult diapers with baby decorations on them and PharmaCorp can’t get rid of them.” The package slid out to Matthew. “Take them. On the house. If you’re worried about being embarrassed you don’t have to tell anybody el-”

“Free?” Matthew spoke over her. “Did you just say free?”

“It’s not ideal for your situation, but it’s better than nothing. Less cleanup in the morning.”

“But it’s free?”

“Yeah,” she smirked. “Can’t give this stuff away, normally. Take it and use what you’d save to buy ramen or something.”

“Deal!”

He practically snatched the package the rest of the way out of the woman’s grasp. “I’ll take them!” Truth be told, Matthew wasn’t thrilled about needing diapers. What really got his attention was the tidbit about them being large versions of a PharmaCorp’s newest baby diaper. He couldn’t conceal his excitement, so he masked it behind a veil of frugality.

This could be just the opening he needed.


Matthew couldn’t get back to the air BnB fast enough. He rushed to the bedroom and tore open the brown paper packaging. If it had been a gazelle, he would have been a lion rending its flesh.

And in the gazell’s flesh was ten, mostly white, plastic backed, folded, crinkly rectangles, tightly packed together. Matthew plucked one out and examined it.

Not having kids, but having watched way too many commercials in researching this gig, Matthew immediately recognized the differences between what he had in his hand and what went on a regular baby’s bottom. For one thing the texture was a smooth, soft plastic instead of the faux cloth. For another the diapers were big enough that they had to be folded in thirds instead of halves. The four plastic tapes on the wings differed from the two velcro grips.

The decorations though? Exactly what would be expected on something marketed towards newborns through toddlers… Pastel animals dozed with nightcaps on their heads around the front waist, and little stencils of peaceful clouds, moons, and stars dotted themselves all along the groin and buttocks area.

“Unreal,” Matthew whispered. “Super unreal.”

The sun wasn’t close to setting, yet. Still a long time before bed. Some form of morbid curiosity took hold of Matthew, nonetheless. He swept the other diapers and bits of paper detritus aside to the foot of his still barren mattress. Every article of clothing went to a puddle on the floor.

Slowly, clumsily, he spread out the diaper and climbed onto the creaking mattress and lowered himself onto it. Grumbling, he sat up and pulled the front up between his legs while lying back down. Carefully, he planted his feet and wriggled his hips to adjust it while he taped the sides up. First the left two, then the right.

Matthew stood up and looked himself over. The diaper sagged a bit and so he had to carefully tighten and readjust the tapes, making sure to be careful not to wear out the adhesive strips.

Experimentally, he took a few steps around the bedroom. The crinkle was distracting and the added mass between his legs changed his gait to a slight waddle. A few steps in he pushed his legs together more and let the padding bunch up a little between his legs. The diaper held sturdy, and he found he could more or less walk normally.

That crinkle though…

He decided to ignore it. If Matthew could ignore not-so-classic rock, he could make himself ignore the slight rustle of soft plastic whenever he moved.

Matthew sat down at the computer desk and shot an email off to his real boss. “I think I’ve got something,” he typed in. “A prototype of their new diaper.”

The response was almost immediate. Mrs. Northeaster or Candice must be sitting right by their computers. “Evidence?”

Hastily, Mattie took a picture of himself from the belly button down. “A factory error made them too big, but I think you’ll get what they’re going for.” He attached the picture and sent the message.

“This is good,” they replied. “You’re getting close. Keep up the good work.”

Mattie was so excited by the compliment that he barely noticed that he peed a little bit into the fresh padding.

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Chapter 4

WHAM’s one good non-Christmas song was being piped into the massive corporate office of PharmaCorp when Mattie began his rounds. Appropriate, because Matthew was full on jitterbugging and wide awake.

“Morning Karen! Morning Meredith!” Mattie performed his usual mail sorting routine with an added amount of pep in his step. “Morning Joe!” Heh. Morning Joe. That meant coffee! Mattie couldn’t help but feel bright eyed and bushy tailed!

The last several days he’d slept better than he’d ever remembered. His eyes would close, his breathing would slow, and the next thing he knew he’d wake up feeling refreshed. All it took was laying down and taping on a fresh diaper. No more fear of sleeping in wet sheets, all cold and clammy.

Mattie felt so great about it, that it hadn’t even registered to him that waking up in a wet bed hadn’t been something he’d been afraid of until a very short while ago. Nor did it occur to him that waking up with his thumb in his mouth was unusual.

The diapers were super comfortable, too. Comfortable enough that as soon as he got home from work that he’d tape himself into a nighttime diaper, sit at his laptop and then do the real work of going through PharmaCorp’s files.

Without the need for potty breaks, Mattie could spend a whole lot longer combing through code and communications from multiple departments for any sign of new plans, business deals, anything that might give a clue to their next move. More than just advertising notes could be found once he figured out where to look.

For example, based on manufacturing orders placed to China, Mattie had figured out that PharmaCorp was getting more and more materials for plastic backed diapers, while scaling back it’s cloth-like components. They’d scored a hit with old-school gendered diapers…maybe they were trying to bring plastic backed…back? Cash in on nostalgia a second time?

Maybe. More digging was needed.

Regardless, Mattie was certain that if it weren’t for his diapers and not having to go to the potty as often, he wouldn’t be able to be burning the candle at both ends like he was. They were so comfy and made him feel safe. His regular, boring, big kid underwear felt flimsy and useless. So useless, in fact, that Mattie hadn’t bothered to wear them the last two days. He was going easy breezy while at work and then would go home to pad up for the ultimate double shift.

TOILET! Matthew didn’t have to go to the toilet as often! Not the potty! Only babies used that word, and Mattie was a big ki-…grown-u……adult. Matthew was an adult. And he wasn’t going easy breezy; he was going commando! Yeah! Commando!

What had he been thinking?

“Mattie?” A voice snapped him out of his confusion. “Are you alright, dear?”

Mattie looked to his co-worker. “Yeah, Doris. Why?”

The older woman smiled softly at him. “You’ve been standing there fidgeting like a three-year old who can’t decide whether he needs to go potty or not.”

Mattie felt a blush heat up the sides of his face. “Sorry,” he said. “Just…lost in thought, I guess.”

“Sure, sure,” Doris agreed. “I get it. It’s payday and you’re already figuring out how to spend your first check this weekend. We’ve all been there.”

Mattie blinked. “Uh-huh.” He started to push the mail cart away, embarrassed that he’d been unable to split his focus as well as he normally did. Usually, he’d been able to push the cart down the various aisles and cubicle mazes, deliver mail, and keep an eye out for unattended machines to get access to all while talking to himself to build up his confidence and motivation. It was easier than being able to walk and chew gu-

“Mattie…”

“Yeah, Doris?”

“You’re doing it again.”

“Oh. Sorry.”

“And Mattie.”

“Yes?”

Doris tapped her pen on her desk. “Are you sure you don’t have to go potty?”

Like a knee being hit with a hammer, Mattie bobbed his head. “Yeah, Miss Doris. I’m sure.”

“Okay, cutie, keep going.”

Mattie did, even as he blushed. Miss Doris was a little old for him, almost Mrs. Northeaster’s age, but he liked being called cute. His hand came off the cart and his thumb started to inch up towards his mouth. “The fu-?”

Matthew stopped himself and kept along his delivery route. Maybe he hadn’t slept as well as he thought he had. It was more like an anesthetic sleep come to think of it. A lack of consciousness as opposed to true rest. That explained why he was having such trouble focusing. It didn’t explain what he almost did with his thumb, though.

Mattie continued his rounds, focusing on just delivering the mail. A few cubicles that he stopped by had perfectly vulnerable desktops that would have been cake to sync up with his computer back home, but he felt himself too rushed and weary to worry about that now. He didn’t have to find a new system or email or whatever to hack in EVERY day, did he?

It might even be more to his advantage to lay low and slack off on the hacking a bit. Maybe use the time to cut loose a bit and seem like an average employee. Go out on the town. Today was pay day after all.

“How’s it going Mattie,” one of the big wigs in advertising waved to him. “Workin’ hard or hardly workin’?” Mattie gave a polite chuckle, but nothing more. That must have been the go-to joke around these parts. “Keep up the good work, sport!” The compliment gave him an extra little skip in his step. It was nice when the big people noticed him and told him he was doing a good job.

Things were going smoothly enough; first mail drop of the day almost completed. Then Rod Stewart’s ‘Forever Young’ kicked on.

In the middle of the floor, Mattie stopped and listened. He sighed and smiled a bit. He sucked on his thumb a little. He started peeing his pants. “Mattie?” a far off voice called. “Mattie are you okay?”

The warm spot started out small and quickly spread. The hissing sound of liquid hitting fabric was so faint that it was like a potato chip crunching and only his ears could hear it. It certainly didn’t block out Forever Young, and it blended in nicely with the rhythm of his sucking thumb.

“Mattie…”

His eyelids felt extremely heavy as the warmth and wetness quickly spread. The front of his khakis stained a darker shade as the urine made a trail, part of it branching out and seeping down the inner sides of his pant legs, as even more of the stuff simply dripped out onto the floor directly beneath him; the first drops of what would be a very big puddle.

“MATTIE!”

Mattie jerked awake, his eyes finally taking in what they saw; his mind appreciating that he was well and truly pissing himself! He yanked his thumb out of his mouth and gasped as the urine left a obvious trail on its way down to his socks and loafers. “What the-?” Instantly he had the urge to stick his thumb back in!

Being able to see what he was doing to himself neither halted nor slowed the act. It only made him very very aware as the cuffs of his pants finished dripping and forming the putrid puddle beneath him. His knees locked, his shoulders shook. His heart felt like he was beating out of his chest.

This hadn’t happened to him in…ever? Not since at least kindergarten. “Wh-wh-why?” he gasped.

“Saw that coming…”

It was Miss Doris’s voice, and it was far off. She was on the other side of the floor, her head popped out above a maze of cubicles with dozens of others, but he heard her all the same.

That’s when Mattie realized that his not-so-little accident had been anything but private. Phones were ringing, and music was playing over the speakers; yet no one was answering. No conversations could be heard. No click clacking of people on their computers minding their own business.

No.

Mattie had wet his pants in front of everyone, and everyone, in turn, was looking at him. Staring. Judging.

Two sets of elevator doors dinged open and light bits of chatter were cut off by soft and baffled, “Oh!”s.

The would-be-hacker looked down at his sopping wet pants and the yellow puddle beneath them. Already, the stain was cooling; his crotch freezing, as the overpowered air conditioning kicked in. His legs bowed out comically like they were trying to separate themselves from the rest of his body. His arms flapped uselessly like a chicken. To top it all off the only explanation he could muster to sum up his confusion, befuddlement, and outright disgust with himself was a deep, throaty. “WAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”

“We’ve got a ten-seventeen.” A security guard mumbled into the walkie talkie pinned to his shirt. “I repeat, we’ve got ten-seventeen.” The guard stepped in front of Matty and addressed the gathered gawkers. “We’ve got a ten-seventeen folks! I ten-seventeen! Little boy had an accident! Go about your business! Help is on is on the way!”

And just like that the rest of the hustle and bustle joined the Rod Stewart south track. He’d gone from a freakshow and curiosity to…to…a little boy who wet his pants?

“What’s a ten-seventeen?” He shouted over to the security guard several feet away. “What’s going on?”

The security guard turned and looked at Mattie. “It’s what I just said! It’s big people talk for someone who just had an accident.”

Mattie felt like he’d gone through the entire employee manual and didn’t recall any procedure regarding urinary accidents… Granted, he hadn’t looked too deeply into physical security protocol “Big people…? Why did you call me a little…”

The security guard stepped forward and put a hand on Mattie’s chest. “Careful there, sport. Don’t want you making a bigger mess and tracking your puddle everywhere.” Mattie froze. “Somebody’s coming to help you get, sorted out. Okay?”

Mattie looked down at himself and imagined himself tromping around, with little wet footprints showing wherever he’d gone… “Okay…”

Up from the stairwell, a door opened came a familiar face in a white coat appeared. “Mattie?”

“Ginni?” Mattie asked. Her hair was tied back into a tight pony tail, but otherwise, the auburn haired young woman looked the same as Mattie remembered her.

The woman from the pharmacy started quickly walking towards him and the security guard. “Ten-seventeen?” the guard asked.

Ginni nodded and was allowed to advance. “Mattie?” she asked. “What’s wrong? What happened?”

Pretty girl! Mattie standing in one of the most embarrassing positions ever. And there were only so many words that could be used to describe his current predicament Mattie gulped. “I…hadda…accident…?” He squeaked the words out and added a strange questioning inflection, like he wasn’t sure that his bladder had chosen to let loose.

“Are you wearing your big kid underwear?” Such an embarrassing question, stated so simply.

“No…?”

“Okay,” Ginni said calmly and sweetly… “Not a problem.” She took Mattie’s hand and gave the top of it a gentle fact. “We’ll get you sorted out, okay?”

Despite himself, Mattie felt his pulse slowing. It felt good to know that someone, especially a pretty girl like Ginni, would help him out of this terrible situation. “Okay. Yeah.”

Ginni was already taking her coat off by the time that Mattie gave his consent. “Hold still, buddy,” she instructed. Carefully, she wrapped the arms of the coat around Mattie’s waist and tied it into a knot. She threaded the back of the coat between his legs and tucked it into the tied knot. Even Mattie knew what it looked like.

“This will take care of it in the short term,” she promised. “Can you step out of your shoes for me and go over the puddle like a big boy?”

Like a big boy…

The way it was phrased gave Mattie a sense of urgency to the task. Peeling off the first urine soaked shoe, the hacker wide stepped out of the mess he’d made, and then peeled off the second.

“Good boy,” Ginni whispered. She gave his hand an extra little tug. “Come on. Let’s get you out of those wet clothes.” As if they had a mind of their own, his legs waddled along behind Ginni. “That’s right.”

He let himself be led to the elevator. Alone in the little metal box, Ginni took out a key card and swiped it on the panel. The highlighted panel went from a dark red palette to a light blue. Ginni pushed the button for the basement.

“Ginni?” Mattie asked.

“Miss Ginni,” she corrected.

“Miss Ginni?”

“Yes, dear?”

“Where are we going?”

“We’re going to get you some fresh clothes, silly.” Miss Ginni giggled as if the younger man had said something positively adorable.

Mattie’s mind flashed to an image of him wearing a one size fits all jumpsuit, like what a stereotypical janitor might wear. Or a prison inmate. “All of my clothes are at home,” he shifted nervously.

Miss Giinny steadied him. “Don’t worry,” she said. “You won’t need them anymore.”

“What?” Matthew cocked an eyebrow and pulled his thumb away from his mouth. He hadn’t even realized that he was starting to suck on it.

Without missing a beat, Miss Ginni changed the subject. “So did you mean to go pee pee in your pants or did you forget to go potty?”

A thin frown framed Mattie’s face. “Um…I forgot.”

“Why weren’t you wearing your training pants?”

“Training pants?” Mattie blanched. “What do you mean training pants.”

“Sorry,” Miss Ginni corrected herself. “I meant your ‘big boy pants’.”

“I don’t wear big boy pants,” Mattie said. What he’d meant to say was that he didn’t wear training pants. It came out much worse than he’d intended.

The elevator dinged and the door behind them opened up. Miss Ginni twirled and led Mattie into a.quiet white room filled with boxes of all shapes and sizes. “You don’t wear big boy pants?” she asked. Before he could clarify her eyes lit up. “Oh riiiight! You still wear diapers!”

“O-O-Only at night” Mattie tried to correct her. Through his stuttering he didn’t notice the padded floors beneath his bare feet, or question why he’d never seen this room in any of his research.

“It’s okay to need diapers at your age,” Miss Ginni promised. “We just gotta take some precautions.”

“Precautions?”

Miss Ginni took the makeshift bum wrap off of Mattie’s hips and patted the padded floor. “Lay down for me.”

Without thinking, Mattie did. “What’s going on?” He asked, afraid of his own body and what was going on.

“It’s okay,” Miss Ginni promised him. “You’re not in trouble. You didn’t do anything wrong.” She said all this while unbuckling his belt and unbuttoning his pants for him. “No one thinks any less of you.”

Rationally, Mattie very much doubted that. Yet his body put up no resistance as Miss Ginni hooked her fingers into the waistband of his pants. “Butt up, please, sweetie.” He lifted his hips so that she could more easily get the pants off him. “Thank you, big boy.”

“You’re welcome.” Mattie felt like his whole world was being lifted up with those four words so sweetly said.

The brunette leaned over and unbuttoned his shirt. “Gotta get rid of this too.” She was right of course. That’s what Mattie got for tucking his shirt into his pants. He sat up just enough for her to get the shirt off of him. She didn’t even need to ask. “Good boy!”

His arm started to creep back towards his mouth while Miss Ginni took his wet clothes, balled them up and tossed them into what he could only assume was a laundry chute. It felt good to suck on something and self-soothe in this terribly awkward predicament. He didn’t have control over much right now, but Mattie felt he could control his thumb.

It was a good thing he had his thumb too, because not much else could have soothed Mattie’s nerves, nor muffled the surprised yelp he let out when Miss Ginni came back with a new diaper.

“Those are only for bedtime!”

A delicate, yet somehow surprisingly strong hand prevented Mattie from sitting straight up and bolting back for the elevator. Mattie couldn’t tell if Miss Ginni was that much stronger than him, or whether his body just froze in place at her touch.

Six of one? Half a dozen of another?

“What you have at home are bedtime diapers,” Miss Ginni agreed. “But that’s not what I’m holding.” She showed him the padding in her hands. It was nearly identical to the factory error brands he’d taken back to homebase with him in thickness and structure. Only the decorations had changed. If he allowed that to be put on him, bright happy sunshine faces wearing sunglasses and tweeting birds would be decorating his pelvic real estate in lieu of sleepy moons and cuddly critters with nightcaps on them. The stencils for clouds and stars were there, but the colors were more warm and vibrant than the cool mellow tones taped around his groin at night. “See?”

“How about I just go home and-?”

A single pink-nailed finger pressed up against his lips was enough to cut him off mid sentence. Good thing too, because Mattie honestly didn’t know how that sentence was going to end. “You’re not in trouble, sweetie,” Miss Ginni repeated. “You just had an accident and we don’t have any big kid undies here. We can’t let you wander around. What would the other kids think?”

“Other…?” Mattie suppressed a shiver. Already, Miss Ginni had grabbed a pack of baby wipes and was cleansing him while clicking at her tongue.

“It’s okay to suck your thumb,” Miss Ginni suggested. So he did. “Legs up.” So he did. His backside wasn’t as sensitive as his front so he didn’t shiver. He also didn’t get his legs down in time to avoid the fresh adult diaper being slid underneath him.

“Can I still go pot…” He stopped himself. “To the bathroom?”

Miss Ginni busied herself dusting him with sweet smelling powder. He got a kind of a pleasant woozy feeling from it and relaxed more. “Of course big boys can go potty,” she said. “That’s why they get to wear big boy pants and grown-up underwear.”

Grown-up underwear, so flimsy and useless. Where had that thought come from? Miss Ginni folded and pulled the fresh diaper taut over his waist and started to apply and adjust the tapes. Not left and right, but bottom and top.

The way she gathered up the leg gathers and centered the landing panel; the way she was so fast with everything. The way she tucked the front instead of pulled super hard on the back. There was something odd about it, not in the methods she used, but the fact that she was using them to being with. She seemed so…experienced.

“You didn’t answer my question,” Mattie said as best he could without whining.

The auburn haired woman finished taping the diaper up and pressed firmly on the decorative landing panel. “If you happen to make it to the potty,” Miss Ginni told him. “We’ll be really proud of you. But if you need a change later, I’ll change you too. No muss, no fuss.”

Standing over him, she reached down and offered her arms. He took her hand and sat up. Perhaps it was the setting, but this time he couldn’t just ignore the crinkle. “Okay…” He shouldn’t be agreeing with this, but everything that was being said felt so sensible, even if it didn’t sound so.

Including, “Arms up.”

Three seconds later a light blue t-shirt was pulled over Mattie’s head. It stopped just past his belly button. It didn’t even come close to covering the top of his diaper. He looked like he should be in a diaper commercial. “Pants?” he asked.

“I don’t think you’ll need those,” Miss Ginni said. Mattie felt that there was an implied ‘any more’ in her tone.

The blood drained from Mattie’s face as he took himself in. He looked like a giant hairy toddler. “So…what now?”

Miss Ginni’s giggle sounded a little less flirtatious and a little more sinister. “You’re still a big boy, right?” she asked rhetorically. “You’re all cleaned up. Time to go back to work.”

Mattie gulped. “Work?

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I hope this story continues, very good so far!