Flu Shot

It was Monday and Stacy’s back was starting to hurt. It was starting to hurt because Stacy had big breasts for her frame, but no bra. Any of the asshole pervs at work wouldn’t know that, though. The subtle pressure lines from the straps were all there and any one who cared to stare at her shoulders would see them.

But Stacy wasn’t wearing a bra; not a proper one. Instead, she was wearing a training bra that was for all intents and purposes a piece of useless cloth strapped onto her chest. It offered less covering than an undershirt with about as much support, and was harder to put on, but it sure looked like a bra.

The “why” she was wearing something typically reserved for middle schoolers was more complicated. On Saturday, she’d been doing some Spring Cleaning, going through old cardboard boxes and sorting clothes, figuring out what old things to give away and what to just throw out.

When the college intern found her old highschool clothes, she stopped at the training bra. How had that gotten there? She hadn’t worn it since before freshman year. It wouldn’t have gone in the donate pile, thrift shops never took used underwear. It should have gone in the throwout pile. She was never going to use it again. And yet it ended up in the oh-so-rare nostalgia pile filled with till-then forgotten relics that she couldn’t bear to part with. Training bra joined the nostalgia pile with the old beaten up teddy bear she’d had since she was three and the little blanket that Stacy recognized more from baby pictures than memory.

On Sunday, while preparing Mr. Johansen’s portfolio, Stacy found she had the hardest time concentrating. She’d organize a few things here…then zone out and stare at her laptop. She’d shift around a few things there. When she finally read the clock, it was close to dinner time, and she’d started working on it just after breakfast.

She just couldn’t focus!

Looking over her shoulder, she saw her old teddy bear, her baby blankie and the training bra, all still in the nostalgia pile, now moved to her bed. She wasn’t sure why, but she felt drawn to those childish things of yesteryear. And holding the stuffed bear in her lap made her finally able to focus enough to get the job down. It turned into almost an all nighter, but it worked.

That night, in spite of her exhaustion, she couldn’t sleep. Stacy just kept tossing and turning. Eyes closed, but sleep refused to come. Her brain felt the same kind of loud Her blanket blutched up to her chin fixed that problem and she finally managed to drift off.

Mom had probably packed them- the bear and the blankie- ages ago when she moved out. Training bra? Not so much.

Now it was Monday, and that same weird buzzing fuzziness in her brain- a skull’s worth of static- had come back sometime between her morning pee and gobbling down her bowl of corn flakes. How was she going to focus?! The bear and the blankie wouldn’t be allowed at work! It just wouldn’t fly. Personal mementos were frowned upon at work; even something as innocuous as a teddy bear on her lap.

But something sheathed safely underneath her clothes…

It was too tight and not made for someone…um…Stacy’s size, but it did the job. For whatever reason, she was doing just fine, now. Easier to focus. Easier to be on top of her game.

“Excuse me Stacy,” Mr. Johansen, broke Stacy’s train of thought.

Stacy looked up at her boss. “Yeph Miphah Johanphen?”

“The organization on the portfolio this weekend was top-notch. Some of the best work I’ve seen from you, but…”

“Buh…?”

“This memo you just sent out…”

“Whuh ‘bou iph?”

“It’s a little…” he paused to find the right words. His tone was delicate. An uncommon tactic for her boss. “It’s a little sloppier than usual.” He slid a piece of paper in front of her. “I printed it out so you could see.”

Stacy forgot to breathe for half a second. So many typos! So many simple mistakes! “Oh my gosh, Mr. Johansen! I’m so sorry! I have no idea how that happened!” With near preternatural quickness, a quiet click, and a thundering of keys that could easily be mistaken for heavy rainfall on a rooftop, Stacy made a second draft that was perfect. “I have no idea how it happened!”

“Yikes!” Mr. Johansen exclaimed. “You’re a machine, Stacy!”

“Thank you, sir.”

“Maybe next time you can avoid those mistakes if you type with more than one hand.”

Stacy looked up to the older man. “Excuse me?”

“Look down at your keyboard. Spacebar.”

She did. Same old keyboard, nothing broken or missing, no keys put out of place by some kind of anachronistic office prank, (as if Stacy needed to look at the keyboard to type). But when she looked at the spacebar, there seemed to be a light glaze over where her left thumb normally rested. Come to think of it, said digit felt a bit clammy as well. “Spit?”

“You were biting your nails, Stacy.” Mr. Johnasen said. “You were chomping on your thumb while we were talking. Almost like you weren’t thinking about it.” Stacy looked at her thumb as if it had betrayed her. She hadn’t been biting her nails, she knew. Biting your nails didn’t turn your fingers wrinkly. She’d been sucking her thumb; just like in those old baby pictures.

“It was kind of cute, to be honest,” Mr. Johansen said. Was Stacy being hit on? Goose pimples- the bad kind- broke out on her back. “Kind of reminds me of my daughter. She’s in kindergarten now.” Being compared to his daughter didn’t take the shudders off Stacy’s skin.

“I guess I just must be stressed,” Stacy said weakly. A corporate internship was not the place to complain about stress. It was all she could come up with though.

Mr. Johansen snorted a bit. “Back in my day,” he said. “we took up smoking if we needed something to do with our mouths and hands. I’d say go for gum these days. Better for you.”

“Yes sir.” Her boss didn’t leave though. He was staring at her, squinting his eyes, narrowing his field. A million little thoughts, none of them good, went through her head. Was her training bra not padded enough? Could he see her nipples through her shirt? Was he looking at her chest? Ogling her in public?

She dare not call him out on it, she decided. Old guys were total creeps, and didn’t take criticism well; even if they were on their second wife and had little girls in Kindergarten. Better to just stare straight ahead and keep typing up reports until he went away.

An eternity that only lasted three seconds broke when Mr. Johansen said, “Did you get a shot, Stacy?” Stacy looked up and followed his gaze down to her bicep instead of her bra. She rolled up her sleeve showing the band aid that was just about ready to peel itself off.

“Yes sir. This year’s flu shot. Infinitech gives it free to all employees. How’d you know?”

Mr. Johansen ignored her question and asked another. “When did you get it?”

“Friday, sir. Why?”

Mr. Johansen shook his head and grumbled a bit. “Shit like this is why I use my own private doctor. If you would have mentioned it to me, I would’ve gotten you a referral.”

Stacy frowned. “I don’t understand, sir.”
Her boss twisted his mouth and shifted his eyes. “You know how they say that when you get a flu shot you don’t get the flu?”

“You just get a cold, sir,” Stacy finished the saying.

“Sometimes Infinitech’s colds are worse than any flu.” He paused. “If you start feeling woozy over the next few days…or just a little off…feel free to call in sick.”

Red flags should have been waving. Alarms should have been blaring. Cannons should have been blasting. No one this low on the totem pole at Infinitech, especially those under George Johansen, dared to take sick leave or personal time.

Those mental warnings never came, however. Stacy was too relieved that her supervisor was talking to her like a human being and not staring at her chest. “Yes, sir.”

Things got stranger on Tuesday.

“Stacy,” Mr. Johansen said. “We need to talk.”

She’d been called into the boss’s office. “Yes, sir? Is there something wrong with my work? Did I make a mistake?” She sat in the chair across from her desk. Her knees together and her hands demurely on her lap, she couldn’t help but wonder what she’d done wrong this time. She stole a look down at her fingers. Had she been sucking her thumb again?

Nope. That was fine, at least.

“I told you to go over the numbers from accounting; more practice than anything; due diligence,” Mr. Johansen told her. “And you actually managed to catch a few errors that the boys in the back missed. You just saved us some money.”

Stacy beamed. “Thank you, sir!” A little dog wagging her tail, she sat up a little straighter, her eyes a little brighter.

Mr Johansen held up his hand. “I’m not done yet. “Eyes faded, seat slumped down. “Your work is fine. Exemplary. It’s your state of dress, if I’m being honest. It’s not exactly professional.”

The intern looked down at herself. She’d made sure to switch out her old training bra for something that actually offered support. Her blouse was very adult….er…professional. The skirt wasn’t too short and she’d seen plenty of the other interns and secretaries wearing similar outfits. “What’s wrong with it?”

“Your hair is in pigtails.”

Stacy reached up and pulled at the two little tassels on the side of her head. “Oh yeah. I guess they are.” She hadn’t known why she’d done that, to be honest. Just for some reason, it made the weird stress-buzz in her head fade away. That, and she looked and felt cute.

“I came out to congratulate you,” he told her, “but then I saw your hair and had to bring you in here. I know I said you reminded me of my daughter,” he said not-quite jokingly, “but that doesn’t mean you’ve got to dress the part.” He paused and gave her that same see-through stare he’d done the day before. “Are you sure you’re feeling okay?”

Obediently, Stacy nodded her head. “Yes sir.”

“Go to the bathroom and fix your hair.”

And just like that, the meeting was over.

Face blushing, Stacy scurried off to the ladies room to fix her hair. She felt a little teary eyed, and very embarrassed. “Stupid…stupid…stupid.” She grumbled to herself while she took her hair down.

What had she been thinking? The thing is, she’d been thinking very well until the moment she let her hair back down. Even putting it into a ponytail didn’t help.

She was absolutely useless for the rest of the day.

Wednesday was a banner day for Stacy. Like a good girl…like a professional…she’d sat at her desk all morning going over memos from corporate, organizing and digitally filing Mr. J’s work. Last night, she’d even managed to get a little extra work done on the side, just a few ideas, really; and left them on Mr. J’s desk for when he came back from lunch.

Her hair was tied back and up in a very professional bun. She had no training bra on. Mr. Bear-Bear was left on her pillow, next to blankie. Her outfit was very corporate shique, a dull and boring grey pantsuit.

She wore glasses she’d bought from a pharmacy on a whim. They weren’t prescription but they made her look smart. She hadn’t sucked her thumb all day, either. The only thing, on the outside at least, that might be considered inappropriate was the light up sneakers she’d found in her size and snatched up. No one was going to look at her feet anyways, and a little light every time she stepped was nothing compared to thumb sucking or having her hair up in pigtails.

Mr. J. didn’t come to get her. He just emailed her. “Please see me.” The missive read. Stacy’s stomach lurched. What had she done wrong, now? No way had he seen her feet all the way under the desk. She didn’t think anybody had tattled on her, neither.

The slight, barely audible crinkle as she trudged nervously to Mr. J’s office didn’t lift her spirits. She didn’t sit down. Mr. J. didn’t invite her to, either. He just left her standing there in the middle of the room. “Can I help you, sir?” She asked her superior.

“What’s this?” Mr. J. Held up the paper that Stacy had left for him on his desk.

Stacy felt her lips purse. Fear was building up inside. Had she done something wrong. “It’s Infinitech’s projected quarterly report, Mr. J. I had some spare time-”

“About that,” he interrupted. Stacy peed a little when her boss cut her off. “Why do you even have spare time?” The tone was a weird blend of a concerned relative talking to a demented grandparent and a suspicious teacher accusing their pupil of cheating.

Correction: Stacy was now peeing alot. She didn’t think she had that much in her.

“I finished all the work you normally have me do today.” That too, was a bit of a lie. The intern had done everything Mr. J had her do for the rest of the week. The diaper she was wearing (another impulse buy from said pharmacy) had surely sped that up. No more potty breaks meant more time working.

The feeling of her diaper starting to sag to the inseam of her pants told her that she would need to change soon. If only she had thought to pack a fresh one.

Thank goodness Mr. J couldn’t see inside Stacy’s pants, (and not for the usual reason). “Okay…” he said, still sounding hesitant. “Now tell me about this again,” he indicated the paper she’d left for him. “Why do you think you can project our quarterly growth when we’re not even two weeks into the third quarter?”

“Oh,” Stacy laughed. “That? You see-”. Stacy then began to rattle off some basic economic principles she’d picked up for some light reading online the other day. Simple stuff. Middle school level, really. Practically Kindergarten.

Confidently, she explained how she’d remembered the mistakes she’d caught yesterday and cross referenced the actual and accurate data found within with Infinitech’s historic growth and market trends over the last three decades and factored in spending habits with middle class Americans based on location, political party, and what television shows were the highest rated. Mr. J’s eyes started to glaze over. Obviously, it was because he understood everything she was saying. Time to really impress…

“Also, just before you called me in, I found more backlogged errors from accounting. They’re fairly consistent errors across the board too. The thought occurred to me; someone might be embezzling from the company.”

“Uh…yes. Yes. Of course,” Mr. J. said. “But why is it all in crayon?”

“It was all I had on me…?” Another lie. Mr. Bear-Bear had kept falling off her lap, and using the crayons she’d bought from the pharmacy’s obligatory cheap toy section had helped keep the buzzing at bay. (Come to think of it, the lady at the pharmacy had given her such odd looks when slid everything across the checkout counter. “I calculated all the different factors using different colors so it’d be easier to keep track of,” she offered.

A knock at the door.

“Come in,” Mr. J. called out. Stacy looked back over her shoulder, and saw two women enter.

One was short, a couple inches shorter than Stacy, in fact. She had short cropped black hair, thick rimmed glasses, and most oddly enough a pair of blue medical gloves on. The other one was close to a foot taller than Stacy, with light brown hair tumbling down past her shoulders. She wore functional jeans and sneakers, and even though the weather was far from nippy, the red turtleneck and dangling jewelry had a warmth to it that was only enhanced by her friendly smile. The big baggy purse slung over her shoulder reminded Stacy of Mary Poppins, too; so points there.

“What seems to be the problem?” The shorter of the two asked. Stacy started to answer, but she silenced herself when she realized that the question was not directed to her but rather to her superior.

Stacy’s lips started to itch. Her brain started to buzz. She started to fiddle with the thing dangling from her neck, hidden beneath her blouse. She’d packed the pacifier just in case the urge to suck her thumb came back. It was a better long term investment than either gum or cigarettes, anyway.

Mr. J gestured to Stacy. “My intern here got the company flu shot,” he said. “I think she’s having a negative reaction.”

“Why do you think that?” The lady in the lab coat asked.

“Yesterday she was wearing pigtails. Day before that, I caught her sucking her thumb. Then there’s this.” He showed the doctor woman Stacy’s drawing.

“Interesting…” the doctor said. “I’m more of a biologist than a mathematician but these seem to be some very complex calculations. That’s IS unusual…”

“I feel fine!” Stacy whined.

“Stacy,” Mr. J shushed her. “Hush. Grown-ups are talking.” Stacy hushed. She didn’t want to make him mad. Mr. J. looked back to the woman with the lab coat. “See what I mean?”

The lady in the lab coat frowned. “Fear of authority and a submissive reaction to misogyny does not indicate a correlation with mental regression.”

Mr. J turned red and looked like he was about to shout something when the tall lady in the turtle neck spoke up. “I think I can help.” She walked around and smiled at Stacy. “Hi! What’s your name?” When stacy found herself too bashful to answer, the woman helped. “I heard it’s Stacy. Is that right?”

Quietly, and fighting a nervous smile, Stacy nodded. “Uh-huh.” She didn’t know why, but she liked this new lady. New lady was nice to her. Still a little scared, Stacy looked down at her feet.

“I like your shoes,” the tall woman said. “Are they the kind that light up when you walk?”
Stacy looked up at her, astonished. She didn’t talk, but let her very vocal gasp of surprise communicate what she needed. “Can you show me?”

Stacy enthusiastically showed off her new shoes, marching quickly up and down, marking time to make the heels light up beneath her. “Like this?”

“That’s VERY good!” The woman clapped her approval. Stacy couldn’t help but giggle.

As she was giggling, the new lady scooped her hand upwards and felt the squishy diaper between Stacy’s legs. For some reason, Stacy didn’t mind too much besides the lack of warning. “Jesus…” Mr. J. whispered just a little too loudly.

“Quiet, Johansen,” lab coat woman hushed Mr. J. “A grown-up is working.” Mr. J. hushed.

The nice lady looked Stacy in the eye. “Uh-oh,” she said. “It looks like you’ve got a wet diaper on. Would you like me to change you?”

Stacy thought about refusing; of insisting that she was potty trained. Of running away from the woman who’d just casually groped her and was offering to wipe the piss off of her. She thought of drinking a bunch of water and proving that she didn’t NEED diapers. Part of her wanted to prove that she was a big girl. But the more she thought about such things, the more her head just felt all fuzzy again.

“Yeph Pweaph,” Stacy said.

The tall lady took Stacy’s thumb out of her mouth, and fished out the paci from Stacy’s blouse. “Here you go.”

“Thank you!” While the woman with the turtleneck started to unbutton Stacy’s pants and slide them down her hips, Stacy sucked on the pacifier. Lady was right. This was a lot better than sucking on her thumb.

“Oooooh,” Miss Tall Lady praised Stacy, “I like how there’s all these little stickers on the front of your diaper. Did you do that?” Overwhelmed from the sheer amount of praise she was getting, Stacy only nodded while she giggled bashfully behind her pacifier. “Okay, time to lie down.”

Stacy did, feeling the sopping squish first she sat down on Mr. J’s carpet, and then laid back.

“What the-?” Mr. J. began to object.

“Hush.” Was all the lady in the lab coat said to quiet Mr. J. down. “Let the woman do her job.” Stacy wasn’t sure how to feel about Mr. J. getting yelled at.

The tall lady started digging through her purse. “Help me get her pants off,” she called to her compatriot.

Stacy just laid there, while the stranger with the short hair removed the girl’s shoes, so she could more easily shimmy the fancy pants right off Stacy’s ankles. From behind her pacifier, Stacy grumbled, “Muh phooph!”

Taking out a packet of wipes and a fresh diaper, (a much prettier one…this one was pink and had bunnies on it), the nicer of the two strangers looked to her. “Don’t worry, hon. You’ll get your pretty light up shoes back. Just gotta change you, first.” Apparently she could speak pacifier-eese.

“Muh pamphs?”

“I don’t think you’ll be needing those anymore.” And that was just fine by Stacy.

Strange things happened inside of Stacy’s skull over the next few minutes. The four tapes being ripped off her saggy wet diaper were like little sparks in her neurons, firing away. The chill of the office air conditioning hitting her pee coated nether regions made her shudder and reflect.

She giggled and cooed as the soothing cold wipes were applied and her pubic area was cleaned. Like a good girl, she lifted her legs up over her head and grabbed her ankles. It was a little like sex in that regard, but without the sweaty grunting hairball of a dudebro panting over her.

Mr. J probably used to be a dudebro….

The the feeling of the used diaper being slipped out from under her, and the sound of it being balled up and put to the side-

KA-THUNK!

“My wastepaper basket!”

-Make that thrown away- The sound of it was like all of her lack of focus and concentration, all of the strange static-y fuzziness that had overwhelmed her over the last few days being thrown away with it.

“Good girl!” the tall lady said. That only made Stacy blush harder, and reaffirm her hypothesis.

The former intern waited for the fresh diaper to be unfolded and a gentle tap on her naked hip to lower her legs back down. That wasn’t just the smell of lavender in the baby powder being sprinkled on her. It was also the smell of opportunity. “Now you look AND smell pretty.”

Stacy giggled and sucked on her paci even harder. She couldn’t help it. She didn’t want to help it.

Out of curiousness, she looked up as the pink diaper with bunnies on it was pulled up between her legs, the leakguards tickling her thighs. As the pseudo-velcro straps (oooh, nice creature) were fastened on securing the nappy to her hips, Stacy cooed with wonder. The two ladies were nice enough to put her shoes back on for her before helping her back up.

“Stacy,” the nice tall lady said. “Do you know what happened.”

“The damn flu vaccine turned her into a baby!” Mr. J. barked. “Ugh. Happens to a couple people every year…always to my interns too…”

“I AM NOT A BABY!” Which in a way, was a lie, but Stacy loved the idea of being fussy and stomping her foot. So she did. Oooo! Her shoes still lit up!

Mr. J. Rolled his eyes. “You just got your diaper changed right on my Persian rug. So are you taking her to the secret nursery?” That last question wa directed at the woman dressed as a scientist.

“Soon,” the dark harried woman in the white coat said. “But I’m curious about something. Most afflicted don’t have this type of…cognition.” She looked at Stacy. “Stacy, dear. Do you know why you’re dressed like a baby and why Miss Wanda just changed your diaper for you?”

Stacy let her pacifier drop. There was no fuzziness now. “Well if I had to guess…”

“This is a waste of time…” Mr. J. again.

“Infinitech is experimenting with a permanent flu vaccine that adapts each year with the virus and testing it on employees,” Stacy said. “But a side effect- and a reason that the vaccine is still in testing stages- is that a small percentage of test subjects end up suffering a form of mental regression, likely as the vaccination tries to mutate and ends up causing a form of low end Alzheimer’s…not quite an accurate description, but close enough of a parallel for layman’s terms.” She stopped. “How am I doing?”

Scientist lady and turtleneck lady’s jaws dropped. “Go on…”

“Due to C.E.O and founder of Infinitech’s predilection for shall we say…” Stacy motioned to the pink diaper clinging to her hips (it felt soooo good), “let’s call it juvenile aesthetic, the company secrets away those affected and cares for them as infants and toddlers instead of killing them or putting them in nursing homes. That’s what these two are here to do. They’re a scientist and a caretaker respectively.” She looked at the grown-ups all gawking at her. “What? Don’t you guys do twitter? That part about Miss Vasquez being into baby stuff is kind of an open secret these days…”

“Is there more?” Miss Wanda asked.

“Only that I’m presuming that this latest batch when combined with my own particular brain chemistry has produced a slightly different result. My neurochemistry has been rewired so that baby stuff…” Stacy started counting off on her fingers, “Pigtails, diapers, Teddy Bears, being cooed at and loved on…” now it was Miss Wanda who blushed. “That kind of thing. It sends my dopamine into serious overdrive, but also my cognition and mental processing has increased as a happy side effect.” She paused. “Oh, and I start going through a kind of withdrawal when I can’t act on my newly acquired childish impulses…”

“Child,” Doctor scientist lady said, “How did you know all that?”

Stacy popped her pacifier back between her lips. “Bayphic debuckshun?”

The other two adults looked to Miss Wanda. “I think she said basic deduction.”

“Maybe if you’re Albert friggin Einstein,” Mr. J. groused.

“But she is!” Miss Wanda beamed. “Or she could be! She’s an…an…she’s an adult baby genius!”

“Does this mean I get my intern back?” Mr. J. asked.

All three of the women (or two women and a little girl as Stacy preferred to think of it), laughed at that.

Stacy didn’t get to go home that day. That night she luxuriated in a comfy crib that was just her size.

On Thursday, she gave a lecture to the board of directors on how they could maximize their profit shares, all while applying basic psychology principles to increase worker productivity and job satisfaction. She got to do it in the most adorable pink dress with a matching poofy bow in her hair. Miss Wanda came with her and changed her mid presentation; not that she let that stop her.

Friday? Friday was play day. The other babies in the nursery weren’t nearly as smart as her, most of them could only talk a couple words. But they were way more fun to play with than those boring old grown-ups in the office.

(The End.)

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