Poster by JuiceBox!
The privately chartered plane touched down, jostling a little on the short, independently operated runway. A half dozen cameras were pointed at it, capturing its arrival, not wanting to miss the contestant’s first moments on the island.
Rolling to a stop, the Cessna’s engines puttered, the door opened, and the stairs were lowered. All attention was on the exit, waiting to see the first person to leave.
A second passed. A tall girl moved into the doorway, strutting down the stairs like a model on a runway. Reaching the blacktop, she turned her gaze and a wink straight into the nearest camera.
Katie: “So my name is Katie Bates,” the woman said, sitting on a chair in a pastel room. Her lipstick and contour were on point, emphasizing the perfectly measured, carefully maintained shape of her face, and the outfit she wore did the same for her body. “It’s spelled ‘Kathleignh’. Some people might recognize me as Miss Cosmos from last year - I’m here to show that I’m more than just a pretty face. Whatever challenges they’ve got waiting for us, I’ll be ready to deal with them - or find someone else to deal with them for me.”
Katie laughed, the giggle sounding maybe a little too calculated to be authentic.
As Katie got to the ground, examining the lush, green island terrain around them, another figure presented themself, stepping out of the door. He took the stairs two at a time, jogging in circles on the landing strip and pumping his fists in the air. “Yeah! Let’s do this!”
Greg: “My name? Oh, yeah. Greg Eberman, my friends all call me ‘The Machine’.” Greg lifted one of his arms, flexing a toned bit of muscle. “See that? Yeah, I’m ready for anything they can put us through. I’m going to win that cash prize, and it’s not even going to be any trouble - these other contestants just can’t compete with me on a physical level, and when it comes down to it, that’s just what matters most.”
Behind Greg, another girl came out, sporting athletic shorts and a grey, comfortable hoodie. Rather than going down the stairs, she vaulted over the rail, dropping three yards to the ground with a somersault and coming to her feet, demonstrating an acrobat’s grace. She flashed a smirk at Greg, the sort of expression that normally would have been lost to everyone but her, had it not been for all the cameras watching their every move.
Sam: “Samantha Sanders. I’m going to college on an athletic scholarship, but I’d like to transfer my major, so winning this would be huge for me.” Sam tilted her head, listening as someone off camera asked a question. “Oh, of course I’m going to win. I’m fast enough to keep up with anyone, and I’m not going to get stopped by the first puzzle that comes along, either. I know what kind of contests these shows always do, and I’ve practiced for them - I’m going to be ready.”
The next two people to leave the plane came together, a man leading the way, chatting with another person who couldn’t have stood more than five feet. While it was impossible that they weren’t aware of the cameras, they didn’t address them directly, continuing their chat as they got onto the asphalt.
Art: “I’m Arturo Flores, but I go by ‘Art’,” the man said, sitting in the interview chair, looking around the room. “I just thought this would be fun, right? Anyone can win on these things - I’ve seen every season of Survivor, I know how there’s always twists and turns, it’s like, I’d like that cash prize, but mostly I’m just here to have a good time.”
Benji: “Me? I’m Benji Wilkes,” the person Art had been chatting with tilted their head, looking past the lens of the camera. After a pause, they shrugged. “Do I think I will win? I couldn’t say. I’m really curious to see what’s waiting for us inside. Nobody’s been allowed to see the facility other than this room and the landing strip, yet - I won’t know my chances of winning until I know what we’re up against.”
The five of them stood on the landing strip, glancing at the cameras, looking around at the verdant island greenery, some peering at the large building waiting at the end of the strip, or the hill beyond it that concealed the rest of the challenge space.
The cameras seemed hesitant, for a moment, and most of them looked back up at the door to the plane. A few seconds passed.
Art looked back up at the plane, and called, “Miranda? Are you okay?”
No response. Frowning, he jogged back up the stairs, went outside, and returned a moment later supporting a girl with thick glasses and an unsteady wobble. She looked a little green, and Art had to help her down the stairs one at a time.
Miranda: “Um… so I get a little seasick on planes,” she said, chuckling nervously, her braces visible when she smiled. “Once I’m on land, though, there’s nothing I can’t take. My name’s Miranda Bell, by the way.”
Fiddling with her braids, she listened to the question that was asked off camera. “Am I going to win? Probably - as long as the challenges aren’t just brute force problems. I’m really just trying to get into MIT, and I wanted to show that I can do stuff besides score high marks and program - I’m the whole package, you know?” Smiling sheepishly, she added, “Just so long as there aren’t any challenges on an airplane.”
The six of them were driven on golf carts to the nearest building, ushered inside, and told to wait for introduction interviews before being let into the lodge; their home for the next four weeks.
Once they’d all had a chance to do their introductions, they got released into the lodge, and quickly spread out, exploring the space. There was an open kitchen, a shared living room, and three rooms, each with bunk beds.
“Looks like we’re sharing rooms,” Art called out, peeking inside. Names were printed on the bunks, and he had to check the next bedroom over to find his. “Greg, looks like you’re with me! Bunk mates!”
Greg was in the kitchen with Katie, checking the fridge and cupboards. “We’re stocked for an army,” he pointed out. “I don’t think we’re going to have to worry about going hungry.”
“Healthy stuff, too,” Katie pointed out, reading the label on a can of soup. “Protein, lots of fiber in everything, plenty of fruits and veg. I won’t have to worry about throwing off my diet.”
Sam got a little more adventurous, checking the back door. It was locked, but she peered through the crack, trying to get an idea of what was set up in the yard behind the building. “Some sort of courtyard? I think it looks like they’re setting up a game out there.”
“Hey, everyone?” Miranda said, frowning. “Um… you all notice something odd about this setup?”
Her call didn’t get everyone’s attention, but Benji walked over, tilting their head and trying to see what she was talking about. “What’s that?”
“Well…” She turned, pointing. “Those are the bedrooms. And there’s the kitchen, and there’s sort of a lounge to relax, but… where are the bathrooms?”
Benji frowned. “I don’t know.”
“Probably in another part of the building,” Art suggested, walking over to them and picking up on the end of their conversation. “You two are sharing a bunk in the first room, by the way. Then it’s Sam and Katie on the far end.”
Miranda pursed her lips, glancing at Benji. “Hmm.”
“What, you’re sick of me already?” Benji joked.
“Never mind,” Miranda shook her head. “I just-”
Her comment was interrupted by the sound of a loud bell tone, cutting through the living space. “The first challenge will begin in five minutes. Please exit through the back door.”
The ‘click’ of the lock was loud enough to be heard throughout the lodge. Sam, already by the door, tried the handle and swung it open. Looking back at the rest of the group, she shrugged. “I guess it’s this way?”
One by one, the contestants filed out of the lodge, getting their first glimpse of the challenge zone.
The yard looked like a kid’s playground on steroids. It was a playground, in fact. Slides, monkey bars, swings, all built out of colorful, bright plastic. The size was almost awe-inspiring, though, more in line with what you’d expect from an expensive water park than a play area in a suburban neighborhood. The main structure was four stories tall with various bridges and all sorts of ways to climb up and down, from rock walls to slides to ladders, and the swingsets and teeter totter were both tall enough that an adult might get vertigo on them.
In front of the playground, though, on six white pedestals, there were pink woven baskets. Each had a closed lid and a name written on top, matching each basket to a contestant.
Behind these pedestals, finally, there was a tall, charismatic man was wearing a suit and holding a microphone. “Hello, and welcome to the Escape From Baby Island!”
Greg: “Did he just say, ‘Baby’? I was like, whaaaaat.”
Katie: So I’m thinking, either I misheard him, or else there’s something wild going on that I did not sign up for.
The man just kept going. “I’m your host, Liam Trickle. All of you have been brought here under the promise of competing to win a cash prize, and to do that, you’ll need to survive four weeks of elimination events - and, of course, each other.
“Each week, you’ll be facing two challenges - The preliminary challenge is where you’ll score points, strut your stuff to the audience, and get a chance at winning an advantage for the next round. But watch out - if you’re not careful, you could find yourself penalized going into the main competition, where you’ll try to score points to stay around. Whoever has the least amount of points at the end will be immediately sent on a flight home. But, there’s just one more thing!”
Turning, Liam faced one of the cameras, looking straight into it. “And that’s you, of course - Viewers at home will get to comment in and vote on their favorites. Each vote is another point in your favor, so you could pull out a win even if you don’t do well. Be sure to play nice for the camera, because your fate very well could be in the hands of the audience!”
He paused, noticing that Benji was raising their hand. “Yes, a question?”
“Did you say “‘Baby’ island”?” Benji asked.
“We’ll get to that,” Liam said. “But first, we have the very first event of the show - the Egg Hunt. In just a moment, you will have sixty seconds to divide yourself into two teams of three, and then you’ll be given a basket and sent to collect as many eggs as you can in five minutes. You can’t steal eggs from the opposing team, though - once an opponent takes an egg, you can no longer gather it. No knocking over baskets to try and steal what they’ve gathered.”
He was addressing the group, but he faced the cameras as he continued to explain the rules. “But there’s a twist - Every egg you collect will contain some sort of secret disadvantage. At the end of the egg hunt, the members of the winning team can give the entire contents of their basket to any member of the losing team. Those players will have to carry those disadvantages into the next competition.
“Additionally, somewhere in the arena is the golden egg. Whoever finds the golden egg will get a special reward that they can save until they need it. Are there any questions?”
Katie raised her hand, manicured nails sparkling on camera. “What sort of disadvantages?”
“Things that will make the elimination round difficult,” Liam assured them.
Art spoke up next. “What’s the catch?”
The host’s smile didn’t falter. “That’s a good question, Art. You’re right - a straightforward egg hunt would be a little too simple. If everyone would come take your basket, you’ll find an article of clothing you’ll be wearing throughout the clothing to make things a little more challenging. Once the timer starts, you’ll be given two minutes to decide who you want to be on a team with and start getting changed, then the five minute timer will start. You’ll need to be wearing your new clothes before you can collect any eggs.”
The contestants walked up, taking their baskets and lifting the lid to peer inside.
Sam: “I was immediately thinking, ‘No way.’ I’m not wearing this.”
Benji: “Is this some sort of joke? I had no idea what we were supposed to think.”
Art: “So… they’re just talking about this one contest, right?”
Katie: “No. Absolutely not. I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing this.”
Greg: “So I wonder, ‘Why the hell is there a diaper in this basket?”
Miranda: “And at this point I’m thinking to myself, ‘Wait. There weren’t any bathrooms in the lodge. Oh no.’”
“You’d better get used to them, because these are going to be your underwear for the rest of the stay. Not these diapers specifically, though - to help you get acclimated, we’ve made these a little thicker than normal.”
The contestants stared into their baskets. Each of them contained a diaper in their size, decorated with colored hearts and stripes, with the bulky padding around the crotch packed to be unusually wide and at least six inches thick.
“They may look like costumes, but I assure you, they are one hundred percent functional,” Liam declared. “Now, there’s one more thing - You’re not just gathering eggs for your team. Whoever has the most eggs in their basket will get a massive advantage in the elimination round. Now, pick your teams, go get changed, and go find those eggs!”
The sound of an airhorn signalled the beginning of the challenge, and before anyone had time to really think about what was going on, they were scrambling to get started.
Katie: “I’ve only just met these people, but from looking at them, I know who I want on my side in a competition, and who I definitely don’t want.”
Art: “So we were like, ‘Go, go, go!’, y’know? And my brain just sort of freezes because there’s so much going on, and next thing I know, the other team has already been picked and I’m left with whoever didn’t think fast enough.”
Katie quickly spun, pointing at Greg and Sam. “You two - team?”
Sam nodded tersely.
“Sure,” Greg said.
“Great, let’s go!”
They ran off to get changed back inside, while Art, Miranda, and Benji were left standing there, eating the other team’s wake.
“I guess we’re a team,” Benji said, after a second.
“Well, since they’re not taking any time to plan, I guess we will,” Miranda added, pointing as she spoke. “Art, you go to the north side, I’ll take the sort of middle, Benji you take the South? There’s probably some eggs that are really well hidden and others that are just out in the open - get the ones that are out in the open and move on. We want volume here, even if that means we’re leaving some behind - we just need to get more than they do.”
“Good plan,” Art said, nodding.
“Let’s get moving,” Benji finished. “We’ve only got ninety seconds before the hunt starts.”
Nodding curtly, the team ran back inside, hurriedly running off with their baskets to find somewhere private to get changed. Benji and Miranda were content sharing their bunk room, and since the other two bunks were already taken, Art settled for laying down behind the couch and stripping down there.
A clock on the wall was counting down seconds. With a minute left, Katie was already dressed, waddling out of her bunk with a large white diaper with purple hearts between her legs and a loose purple tank-top to match. Greg and Sam were hot behind her, rushing out in matching attire, save for that Greg’s diaper and top were green and Sam’s was pink. Baskets in tow, they got to the door, ready to run out and start gathering eggs.
“Hold it,” Liam said, stepping up. “You can’t go until the two minutes is up - You’ve got to wait twenty more seconds!”
The three of them hesitated, glancing at each other and waiting to pounce onto the playground as soon as they were allowed.
The less athletic players fell a little behind, but Art and Benji were both dressed in blue and orange diaper-top combos before the two minutes were up, and as soon as the time started, the five of them were out the door, leaving only Miranda to hurriedly waddle out of her bunk in a yellow-striped diaper and tank top, shuffling and struggling to keep up.
“I’m right behind you!” Miranda called, tripping over her own bare feet and sprawling out in the doorway while the rest of her team ran ahead.
Katie’s team got to the playground first, going as fast as they could. Even with their athleticism, though, the diapers slowed them down. Running really wasn’t on the table - there was too much bulk to build up a proper stride. The padding was almost eight inches wide and dense enough to keep even their toned thighs from closing, so their best bet was a speedwalking sort of toddle, hopping from foot to foot on the soft, rubbery ground surface of the playground.
Sam: “ I run marathons barefoot, so not having shoes doesn’t bother me, but this diaper thing chafes like a [BEEP]. How are we expected to run around like this?”
Once they got to the playground, though, they went to work, taking full advantage of their slight edge in speed. The main structure of the playground had all sorts of routes in and up and around, and as athletic as Sam and Greg were, they managed to take full advantage of the climbing walls, ladders, ropes, and monkey bars at the center, ignoring the smaller, less impressive structures off to the sides of the playground. They went to work, pulling eggs out from behind ladders, hidden on top of climbing grips on the rock wall, even one that was taped to the bottom of a walking path and could only be reached by climbing on the handrail of a rope bridge to get high enough.
Art and Benji toddled up to the playground a second later, but didn’t go for the main structure, favoring the smaller pieces off to the side. Art found a handful of eggs scattered around a swingset then moved to climb up a tall corkscrew slide, struggling on the narrow stairs on account of his particularly puffy padding. Benji went the opposite way, shaking a set of monkey bars to knock down a few eggs that had been balanced atop it before crawling through a tube that snaked across the ground, finding several eggs hidden within.
By the time Miranda made it to the playground, huffing and puffing and struggling to walk, the front of the park had been stripped and left barren. Taking a breath, she adjusted her glasses, surveying the scene.
Miranda: “ I don’t know what to think at this point. Everyone’s already gotten all the eggs! There’s no way I’m going to get the bonus for finding the most eggs at this point - all I can do is help my team.”
“Oh my gosh, guys!” Miranda shouted at the top of her lungs, crossing her fingers. “Get over here, I found a whole trove!”
Art glanced up, confused, and started jogging a few steps before he got it. Benji didn’t even glance their way, and neither did Greg or Sam. Katie, though, smirked and winked at the nearest camera before running over to ‘seize on the opportunity’.
Waddle-jogging over to where she’d heard the shout, she looked around frantically for the trove of eggs, and completely missed the leg that got stuck out from behind a rock climbing wall. She went sprawling, her basket went flying, and Miranda cackled with amusement.
“Hey!” Katie shouted. “That’s against the rules!”
“I’m not taking any of the eggs you dropped,” Miranda replied, smirking down at the diapered model on the ground. “Have fun picking them all up!”
Turning, she ran off to go find some more eggs of her own, going up a set of stairs and deeper into the labyrinth of the park.
Katie: “Oh, I am going to get her for this.”
A bit deeper in the park, Sam spotted something, skidding to a stop and looking around for one of her teammates. Spotting him a level down from her, she shouted, “Hey, Greg!”
Greg stopped on the elevated hopscotch he was on, in the middle of grabbing an egg. Looking up at her, he asked, “What?”
“Look up there.” She pointed up at the yellow plastic roof covering the tallest point of the park’s jungle gym. The roof, which was raised an extra ten feet up from the highest point of the platform, came to a point. At the very top of that point, there was a round shape built in, glimmering just a little more than the rest of the plastic around it. “Does that look… egg shaped to you?”
Backing up, Greg put his hand to his forehead, following her gaze and peering into the bright sky. “Is that the golden egg thingey?”
“I think so,” Sam said. “Climbing up on that roof by myself would be a P-I-T-A, though - I could jump and grab the ledge, but I don’t think I can jump high enough with, uh…” She looked down.
“Cool, I’ll give you a lift,” Greg said, getting off the hopscotch and climbing up a short slide backwards, so he was on the platform below the roof, setting his basket to the side.
“Are you sure?” Sam asked. “I’ll get the egg, you won’t.”
“Then you’ll just have to owe me one,” Greg said, winking as he weaved his fingers, making a foothold for Sam to use.
Sam shrugged, setting her basket to the side, and planting her foot in his hands. He vaulted her up and she grabbed the edge of the plastic roof, doing a pull-up and throwing a leg over the side, getting on top. There weren’t any good handholds to make it to the point, but she kept her center of mass low and shuffled up to it, reaching out and grabbing the golden egg.
“Got it!” She called down, sliding to the edge and dropping down to the platform. She had the golden egg in her hand, but Greg was nowhere to be seen, and…
“Oh my god,” she said, looking down in horror.
Greg: “I’m not stupid, I heard the rules. You’re not allowed to steal eggs from the opposing team. So while she was grabbing that golden egg, I just emptied her basket into mine.” He grinned right into the camera, winking and making a clicking noise with his tongue. “That advantage is mine.”
Sam: I’m going to kill him. I’m going to kill him!
“Time is up, stop what you’re doing! No more eggs can go into your baskets!” Liam called into a megaphone.
The diapered contestants all breathed a sigh of relief, catching their breath and waddling back to the starting area, baskets of varying fullness in tow, shooting dirty looks at their competitors - and a couple glares between allies.
“Present your baskets for counting,” Liam said, gesturing to the six podiums that the baskets had come from. “We’ll go down the line.”
Art: “At this point, like. I’ve got no idea, y’know? Maybe we won, maybe we didn’t.”
Benji: “It’s anyone’s game at this point. I hope our strategy worked, but who knows.” Grimacing, they added, “I really hope we didn’t lose, though, because I found a couple brown eggs and given how this competition is going, I don’t think they’re going to contain chocolate…”
Counting down the line, Liam went in alphabetical order.
“Art, it looks like you got fourteen eggs. Good job.”
Art gave a thumbs-up to the camera, grinning.
“Benji, you got fifteen eggs, bringing your team up to twenty nine.” He set the basket down, moving to the next in the list. “Greg, is this your basket?”
Greg nodded, beaming.
“You have twenty four eggs. That’s incredible!”
If Sam could have set Greg’s hair on fire with her mind, she probably would have just then, but she settled for just glaring at the back of his head.
“Katie, you got another eleven eggs - that’s not bad. Your team total is thirty five, six more than the other team, but how will things change with the last two baskets?”
Frowning, Katie looked over at Benji, who was wearing a smug smile. They’d already counted and knew that the results were going to be.
Liam moved on to the second-to-last basket. “Miranda, there’s only eight eggs in here. Did something go wrong?”
“I had trouble moving around,” Miranda admitted, blushing a bit and rubbing at the back of her neck.
“Well, that puts your team at thirty seven eggs - In order to win, Sam only needs to have gathered three eggs. That shouldn’t be hard, should it?” He moved on to the last basket in the list. It was almost empty, save for the lone golden egg in the basket. “Samantha, you found the golden egg! Congratulations!”
Samantha smiled at the corner of her mouth, but she was still to angry to really celebrate. “What does it do for me?”
“You get a perk you can hold on to for the rest of this competition, until you use it,” Liam said. “Whenever you want, you may ask for an immediate diaper change, which will supersede any other rules. If you just really want to be clean, that’s a great thing to have in your pocket - or it would be, if your outfit had any pockets.”
He grinned as though he’d just told the best joke in the world, then continued. “Unfortunately, though, with only one egg that means your team score is thirty six, and you’ll be going into the next round with a disadvantage. Would the winning players please choose a victim to give your basket full of eggs to?”
“Hey, don’t I get some kind of edge?” Greg asked. “I got the most eggs!”
“We’ll get to that,” Liam explained, clasping his hands together. “But first, let’s see what the winners have to say.”
Art, Benji, and Miranda huddled up for a moment, whispering to each other, then separated to retrieve their baskets. Art gave his to Sam, Benji gave theirs to Greg, and Miranda smugly passed her basket to Katie, showing her braces in a mocking grin.
“First things first,” Liam said. “Brown and yellow eggs, you may be able to guess what those do - they’ve got candy inside, which you must eat before moving on to the next contest.”
The three losers looked through their baskets. Katie was mortified to find that of her eight eggs, five were a deep chocolate brown, while Greg and Sam had one brown egg and two yellow ones each. The “candy” inside was less ‘sweets’ and more ‘chewable tablets”, which they took one at a time, downing with water that the show crew provided.
“Next, each blue egg is a five second disadvantage,” Liam said. “You will be held back for five seconds at the start of the next contest, which will give your competitors a real edge over you. Red eggs, meanwhile, give negative points - Each red egg loses you a point, which could really cost you when it comes to final scoring.”
Again, they had to sort. Katie had no blue eggs and two red, Greg had one blue and five red, while Sam was loaded down with seven whole blue eggs but only a single red.
“Finally, you should look through your pink eggs,” Liam said. “Those all contain special accessories you’ll be required to wear during the next game. Some won’t hurt you too much, but others could be a doozy, so be warned!”
This is what Katie had been the most worried about, and when she opened up her pink egg, she found a miniature paper cutout of what appeared to be an easter-themed baby romper, with a fluffy tail and floppy ears.
Sam wasn’t any better off. No full-body outfits for her, but she did get a doll-sized pair of fingerless mittens, a matching doll’s pair of baby booties, and a pacifier that had a squeaker on the front which would make noise when air passed through it.
Greg, with his six pink eggs, got the worst of the group. A picture of denim shortalls didn’t seem so bad, the miniature tennis shoes that sparkled didn’t seem to be a problem at all, and a wadded up frilly bonnet was humiliating but didn’t seem problematic. On the other hand, the diaper cover that was pictured made him nervous, and the word ‘thumb-sucking’ written on a piece of paper made him cringe.
Worst of all, though, was the last object, which he just didn’t understand. It looked like a pair of rubber clown horns with straps on them, but he couldn’t for the life of him figure out what it was for.
As their various disadvantages got revealed, the crew of the show rolled out the full-size versions. Katie was allowed to go change into her romper inside, and once Sam was wearing her fingerless mittens and booties, it was clear that the former would make gripping onto things difficult and the latter had no traction at all, which would complicate running even more than the puffy, obnoxiously wide diaper. The whistling pacifier was just adding insult to injury.
Greg, though… He had it rough. The diaper cover turned out to be inflatable, adding an extra two inches of bulk between his legs that would hamper his running even further, and the denim shortalls they gave him were snug and tight, restricting his movement further. The tennis shoes were exactly what they seemed, just a light-up sparkle pair of shoes, but the bonnet held a secret downside - once he had it on, he lost most of his peripheral vision.
When a production assistant explained to him what to do with the horns, though, he nearly quit the show.
Greg: “I mean, come on. This is absurd. How am I supposed to compete like this?” He threw up his arms, glaring past the camera. “It’s completely unfair.”
With a little help, he got the horns strapped to the bottom of the tennis shoes. That done, he made a squeak with every step he took, not to mention the way it threw off his balance.
Between the puffy diaper, bulky inflated cover, restrictive shortalls, and the rubber horn beneath the balls of his feet, he struggled to stand, let alone to walk.
Watching the whole situation, Art was almost catatonic from laughing so hard, and even when Miranda pointed out that he was wearing an equally puffy diaper to the rest of them, it didn’t do much to quell the laughter.
“I mean-” he wheezed, doubled over. “It’s just- The horn, and- Hah! ”
Meanwhile, Benji just sat aside and thanked their stars that they’d won in the egg hunt. Aside from the chemical effects of all those drugged candies, the tactical disadvantages from those clothes was going to be enormous, no matter what the elimination challenge ended up being.
“You might be wondering what’s next,” Liam said, as Katie tromped back out from the lodge in her floppy-eared bunny romper. “Well, now that you’ve gotten a good feel for the park, I think it’s time for a game of hide-and-go-seek tag.”
Sam: Staring wide-eyed into the camera, she said, “Tag? How am I supposed to make it around while wearing all this crap? I mean, I’m not as bad off as Greg, but-” Putting a hand to her belly as it gurgled, she added, “Ugh. This is going to suck.”
Benji: I’m just really glad we won the first round. It shouldn’t be hard to beat those three, at least.
“Greg,” Liam continued. “Because you got the most eggs, you’ll get to be the seeker - Contestants will have a minute to run out and hide, and then you’ll get to go out and chase after them - after your time penalty, at least, so it’ll really be sixty five seconds.
“You’ll have thirty minutes to seek - For every person you find and tag, you’ll score eight points. As far as scoring for everyone else goes, if you’re caught first, you’ll get no points, second you’ll get eight points, third gets sixteen, fourth gets twenty four, and if you’re the last to get caught, you get thirty two points - But if you don’t get caught at all, you’ll get forty points. Whoever has the fewest points at the end of the day will be sent straight home without so much as a diaper change.”
Turning to face the camera, Liam winked and added, “But even if you’re terrible at hiding and seeking, don’t pack your bags just yet - Viewers at home just might save you. Once the competition is over, voters will be able to send in their favorites - Every vote will be a point in your favor, so if you play nice with the cameras, you might get saved from a low score by fans.”
Katie: Clasping her hands, she looked right into the camera with wide eyes, a floppy bunny ear hanging in front of her face. “Please please vote for me ! Getting stuck with this was totally unfair but I will do really well in the next round once I’m not slowed down by these idiots.”
Greg: “So… Help?” Honk! “Oh, come on, I’m not even putting weight on my shoes and these things are squeaking!” Ho-Honk!
“Remember, it’s all about getting tagged - you can be seen, as long as you don’t get tagged,” Liam said. “Now, on your mark, get set, go!”
A big flashing 00:60 started ticking down on the clock mounted to the lodge, and Art, Benji, Katie, and Miranda took off into the playground at top speed… which wasn’t all that fast, given the fact that they were all waddling awkwardly along, but the sixty five second headstart was going to be a lot.
Sam, though, had to wait.
Sam: “So, I’m standing there doing the math in my head, and I realize that I’m going to be waiting here for half the time I’ve got, and then I have to run around in these freakin’ booties - I’m not going to have time to hide!
Sam stood right at the line, watching the clock as the seconds ticked away. Her competitors had already disappeared into the playground structure, but she was just waiting, crouched in a runner’s pose, diaper sticking in the air as she prepared to run. Taking deep breaths, her pacifier whistled and squeaked with every exhalation, somewhat undermining the dramatic tension.
Forty five… forty… thirty eight… thirty seven, thirty six…
She took off running at full tilt, right out of the gate.
Her booties slipped.
She faceplanted, her pacifier letting out a deflated ‘squeeee’ as she splatted onto the cushioned, rubbery flooring of the playground.
Scrambling, Sam got back up and hurried into the playground, struggling for traction, grabbing onto the handrails for extra support. With the mittens, though, she could only get so much help. There just wasn’t enough time, and a minute later, she heard the sound as Greg finally got the chance to run.
He had been using his time wisely. While he couldn’t chase for the sixty seconds plus penalty, he could practice, and that’s what he’d done, jogging in circles, doing little hops, getting a feel for the bulk between his legs. His legs were sprawled out awfully, but the shoes actually gave really solid traction, even with the horns strapped to the bottom. He wasn’t maneuverable, but he could run alright.
honk honk honk honk-
Sam looked over her shoulder, eyes wide, as Greg came up behind her, thumb in his mouth, stunningly fast. It was only a light jogging speed, but considering what he was wearing-
Sam: I was like… damn. But… maybe he can’t climb? I don’t know, I just need to think of something.
She turned and ran, scrambling to get away as Greg caught up to her.
honk honk Honk Honk-
Jumping at the nearest climbing wall, she grabbed at the handholds, but the mittens made it impossible to get a grip to get up to the next floor, and the slippery booties weren’t any better. She couldn’t get up the wall, and just fell to the ground with a grunt and a squawk from her pacifier.
Honk Honk Honk Honk-
Getting to her feet, she ran forward, trying instead on a ladder to get up. It was better - she could wrap her wrists around the handles - but her booties still didn’t have any way to grip the round footholds and she struggled to get up.
HONK HONK HONK HONK-
She clambered up, one rung at a time, getting an arm up on the next floor of the playground. Pulling herself up, she was almost there, when-
Leaping after her, Greg’s fingers tapped the bottom of her ankle. He stumbled and fell after the leap, landing on his butt, but he’d gotten his first target.
With one hand occupied sucking his thumb, he pumped his free arm in success.
Sam: Sighing and looking defeated, she just said, “Fu[BEEP].”
Art could hear the distant honking and then a shout of dismay as Sam got taken out, and he made a couple fists and quietly congratulated from his hiding spot.
Or, well, it wasn’t really a hiding spot. He was perfectly visible from a lot of vantages, but that wasn’t the point.
Art: “So, I figure, it’s like, Hide and go seek Tag. And, if he’s wearing all that crap, then avoiding the ‘tag’ part should be easy.”
He was sitting on top of the roof, right next to where the golden egg had been found. He’d gotten a boost from Miranda, clambered up, and now he could just wait out the rest of the competition, because there was no way Greg was making it up there with all the crap he was wearing.
Coming around the side, Greg saw him, and Art just waved.
Benji held their breath, holding still in their hiding spot. They’d found a fully enclosed slide, climbed halfway up it, and now they were just waiting. They were completely invisible in here - nobody could see them from anywhere outside the slide. Unless Greg just started going down random slides to check, he’d never find them in a million years. Certainly not in thirty minutes.
“Ugh…” Katie said, looking right at the security camera that could see her from a high angle. “Come on, isn’t there anywhere around here without cameras?”
She clutched her stomach as it loudly grumbled again, the almost half-dozen brown candies she’d eaten gurgling away inside her. She had been too distracted to even find a good hiding spot, let alone keep track of where Greg was. She just wanted to find a place that was private.
“Just lemme be alone!” she added to nobody in particular, her ears flopping, the fluffy tail on her romper swaying from side to side as she waddled away.
Katie: “No. No. It’s not gonna happen. I don’t care how many of those candies they make me eat, I’m not doing that in a diaper.”
Miranda sat at the top of a slide, feeling smart. It wasn’t the most discreet hiding spot ever. She could be seen from several directions, but she had good lines of sight herself - If Greg came at her, she’d see him coming, and she’d be able to slide down and get far away, extremely fast. Extremely extremely fast. By the time Greg got down the slide, too, she would be long done and have a new place to hide.
Greg knew that Art was baiting him, but he didn’t care. It was a visible target, and there was no way that a guy like Art was going to get away from him. Honking along with wide, awkward steps, he saved his energy and took the easiest footpaths, a slight ‘thuck-thuck-thuck’ sound accompanying the honking as he sucked on his thumb, feeling ridiculous.
He got to the platform beneath the plastic roof, stomping around as he tried to figure out a good way to get up. He couldn’t jump up and grab the ledge, but there was a hand rail around the platform, and his shoes had decent grip.
He wanted to shimmy up the pole, but with only one arm that was a problem. Though… The rules didn’t say which thumb he had to suck.
So, wrapping one of his arms around the beam, he stuck that arm’s thumb in his mouth, pulled his other thumb free, and then wrapped that arm around the pillar too - pausing just long enough to flex for one of the cameras.
Greg: “That’s right, ladies. Beneath all this, I’m a beefcake, and don’t you forget it.” Leaning in, he winked.
Pushing off the hand rail, Greg took a couple attempts to get it right, but he eventually managed to get up, reach for the top of the roof, and start to-
Art slid down the far side, dropping off, stumbling for a minute, and running to freedom.
“Ahahmph!” Greg yelled, triumphantly, shimmying down. This was his turf, he could sprint like nobody’s business. Or… sort of. He took off after Art, chasing him down through the playground equipment.
He was faster, despite everything, but Art had mobility. Dropping to his knees, he slipped below the hand rail of the bridge, rolling free. Greg couldn’t drop down and bend like that with the shortalls, but with his free arm, he just grabbed the rail and vaulted over it, landing with a thunderous HONK!
Art stared, waddling backwards in alarm.
Art: “Who the heck is this guy, the Terminator? That was wild! Aaaand… I totally forgot to run.”
Stepping forward, Greg tapped him on the nose, quipping over his thumb. “You’re out.”
“Dangit,” Art said, extending his hand. “Good job, man.”
Greg exchanged grips, nodded, and went off to hunt more prey.
Greg: “And as I’m walking, I realize… I gotta pee. Like, bad.”
“No…” Katie whispered, sitting at the top of a staircase near the end of the playground, her legs pressed together, trembling slightly as she fought off increasingly noisy and grumbly cramps. She was rocking back and forth, making her romper’s ears flop around, and she’d completely forgotten about trying to hide. “No, no, no…”
Greg spotted Miranda before she saw him. Sitting at the top of a slide, her plan was obvious - wait until he came up after her, slide away, find a new place to hide before he could catch up.
It was a good plan, but it had a problem. He’d spotted her, and if he was quiet, he could get up behind her. She’d never even see it coming, as long as he could trace back the right slide. So, staying on tip-toe to avoid making the horns honk, he backed away, finding his way around.
It took him a few minutes, but he managed to track it down to a slide that came out on ground level. Getting on all fours, he entered the slide, shuffling quietly up the smooth, slippery plastic.
The clothes he’d been forced to wear weren’t really a problem. He kept his legs spread out anyways to provide grip inside the plastic slide, and since he was on his hands and knees, the horn on the bottom of his shoes wasn’t touching anything. Only the shortalls and the thumb-sucking provided any real restriction, and the slide was more slick then anything he remembered using as a kid, but he made it work, moving slowly and silently.
About ten feet up, though, he paused, grimacing, and the microphones began to pick up a very subtle hiss…
Greg: “Yeah… I did. I mean, come on. The cash prize is totally worth it. I’ll piss my pants for that.”
Benji sat in the slide, waiting anxiously for the time to run out on the contest, watching up in case Greg came sliding down after them.
Frowning, they realized they could hear movement. Looking around, they turned, coming eye to eye with Greg, only a few feet away down the slide.
He lunged, and before they could scramble away to get free he tagged their leg. “Aha!”
Miranda: Blushing, Miranda avoided looking up at the camera. “So I… did something stupid. I was sitting there, and thinking I was really clever, when I heard a commotion nearby. I looked around, but I couldn’t see anything, and I panicked and decided to run. Because I thought I could escape whatever I was hearing. Well, turns out…
Looking around anxiously, Miranda grabbed the top of the slide, launching herself down it, towards…
Well, not freedom.
Accelerating down the smooth, slippery plastic, speeding down towards…
Benji: “What the hell is going on?”
Benji turned, looking up the slide as they heard a noise coming down it, quickly, and-
Miranda slid right into Benji, hitting their face diaper-first and sending the two of them down the slide… right into Greg, who got added to the pile of contestants who were careening towards the bottom at growing speeds.
“Wo-WOAH!” Miranda yelped, trying to stop herself, but there was too much speed and not enough traction.
They all tumbled out the bottom, landing on the springy ground surface, and Greg reached out and quickly tapped her on the shoulder before pumping his free hand in excitement.
“Mph-” Katie squeaked, eyes going wide. Raising up a hand, she stood up and tried to cover up the fixed camera that was pointed at her, missing the fact that there was a second camera also watching her from a few paces away as-
She winced and doubled over as the sound filled the end of the playground, filling up her diapers on camera for the whole world to see.
“No…” she whimpered, face burning red as she kept her hand up in front of one of the cameras. “Please, please don’t-”
Katie: “Don’t show that footage. Don’t show it, no! You don’t have to show that to anyone-”
- Instant Replay * *
“Mph-” Katie squeaked, eyes going wide. Raising up a hand, she stood up and tried to cover up the fixed camera that was pointed at her, missing the fact that there was a second camera also watching her from a few paces away as-
She winced and doubled over as the sound filled the end of the playground, filling up her diapers on camera for the whole world to see.
“No…” she whimpered, face burning red as she kept her hand up in front of one of the cameras. “Please, please don’t- Nooooo…”
Greg stalked around the playground, looking, but to no avail. He almost got a whiff of Katie, literally, but before he could hunt her down for the last eight points-
An air horn sounded, and Liam Trickle shouted into the arena playground. “Time is up, contestants! Come back and find out how you did!”
To Be Continued…