“Fuck my life,” Megan said to herself. Actually, it was more like “Fu mu lahf,” but she had meant to say “fuck my life.” It’s just that it was just particularly hard to enunciate “fuck my life” when there was a big rubber tit strapped into your mouth.
It had all started a few months ago when she had tried to throw that brick through that Mega-Mart sliding glass door. She had been there with all of her college friends. They had been protesting the unethical outsourcing of sweatshop labor of the corporation’s products and how Mega-Mart refused to pay its entry level employees a decent salary. At least she thought that’s what they were protesting. It was kind of a last minute “Hey we’re going, wanna come?” type thing.
But, somehow, she had ended up at the front of the crowd, and there had been the brick by her feet. Maybe it was the chanting and the yelling. Maybe it was the picket signs behind her or the knowledge that a faceless conglomerate that was practically made of money could easily afford to replace one little sliding glass door window. Maybe her brain had just turned off.
Whatever the reason, there had been a nearby stack of bricks. Maybe someone had brought them for the exact purpose in which they were used; maybe protest throwing bricks were a thing. Maybe they were accidentally left out there by the nearby home improvement store. Maybe there was funnier third option that her medication addled brain couldn’t come up with in hindsight.
The only thing that was a definite was that Megan had grabbed a brick and had been the first one to toss a brick. The sliding glass door had (surprise surprise) slid out of the way and the brick had careened harmlessly onto smooth tile floor of the Mega-Mart. Emboldened by her act of rebellion, several others had grabbed bricks and sent them sailing through non-mobile plates of glass.
Then came the glass bottles. Then came the flaming ones. Then came what local news and Facebook described as a “protest-turned-riot”. It wasn’t until approximately thirty-six hours later that the end of Megan’s life as she knew it came.
Everyone else had worn masks. Most of them had come to do a little more than just protest. Meanwhile, Megan had been caught on security tape and her face had been blasted all over the internet. The police found her. She’d been taken to jail.
The case hadn’t looked good for her. Even though she’d had a spotless record beforehand, the judge and the jury was decidedly not sympathetic.
In a last ditch effort, she pleaded insanity. Her defense argued that because of her upbringing she was not prepared to resist the pressures of mob mentality and that she didn’t fully understand the consequences or the ramifications of her actions. In short, they argued that she was “depraved on account of being deprived.” Sending her to prison wouldn’t help rehabilitate her. She would likely just get more embroiled in the various cliques and gangs of a prison- the ones that everyone knew about but nobody talked about and become a victim again to the throngs of gang members, drug dealers, and ne’er do wells that were already confined behind prison walls. She had gotten mixed up with a bad crowd, and the solution wasn’t to put her with a worse one. She needed to be rehabilitated; wasn’t that the point of correctional facilities?
Unfortunately for Megan, the judge had agreed. And instead of sentencing her to prison, Megan had been sentenced here: The Dr. John P. Leon Center for Regressive Therapies. Megan hadn’t been here even a week, and she knew this place was nuttier than squirrel poo. Half nursery, half insane asylum, the Center supposedly focused on “Regression Therapy” so that people could get in touch with their “purest selves” and push past the “toxic identity issues and negative self-concepts” that the world had pushed on them during their development or some other such psychobabble bullshit.
In practice, that appeared to mean torturing her, drugging her, confining her, and gaslighting her until she was too insane to realize that she was a young adult. Within minutes of arriving she had been manhandled onto a table, stripped of her clothes, gagged, and diapered. She had fought of course, but the orderlies and nurses that cooed and fawned over her as they took her temperature rectally assured her that she was far from their first “squirmy little baby.”
Now, not even a week later, she sat in a corner of common room trying not to cry as she stared out at the freak show that her life had become. Sitting was about the only thing she could do at the moment due to the bizarre straightjacket they had put her in. It was pastel pink and wrapped between her legs with little snaps at the crotch, like a onesie, but it was still a straightjacket.
Her long, almost luxurious hair had been all but shaved completely off, so that the custom pink bunny ear hood could fit comfortably over her head. This hood did a good job of obscuring the giant pacifier gag that was strapped behind her head.
When she looked in the mirror this morning, she looked less like a lunatic and more like a giant baby that had been swaddled with her legs poking out. Then again, outside of this institution, that would have meant she looked like a lunatic.
As she looked around the common area, its walls decorated with characters from mother goose, she took note of the other kids. Inmates she reminded herself. Inmates. They weren’t kids. They definitely weren’t other kids, because that would mean that she counted herself among them. And she certainly wasn’t one of them.
The room was filled with men and women, all of them dressed childishly, some only in diapers, playing as if they were children. A woman in a pink dress cuddled up with a giant teddy bear, gently petting its soft fur while dozing in the sunlight; her diaper occasionally being on display as she shifted or rolled over. Two middle aged men, both in shortalls, were playing a game of Candy Land with all the seriousness of a game of chess.
A few, clad only in diapers with little cartoon pictures on the front, amused themselves simply by moving around the room. They’d run, or hop, or roll, or crawl- whatever seemed to amuse them in the moment- to one area, look around, and then seemed to just wander off; either confused, forgetful, or satisfied that some unfathomable goal had been met. There was a dull look in their eyes too, like maybe not all of the lights were on upstairs. Megan found herself wondering if these waddling zombies were the people who had taken to the “therapy” too well, or if they were the ones that hadn’t taken to it well enough. Megan hoped it was her imagination, but she thought she saw scars along some of their foreheads.
In the middle of the playroom- the common room….the common room- an intense and hyperactive game of duck-duck-goose was well underway. The orderlies, all big, burly men looking ridiculous in scrubs decorated in baby rattles and diaper pins, watched with measured interest. Earlier that week, one of them had offered to read Megan a story; all she’d have to do is sit in his lap while he read it. She had vigorously shaken her head.
“You’ll come around and sit in Mr. Sammy’s lap for story time,” he chuckled darkly. “They all do, eventually.”
Currently, Mr. Sammy was among the orderlies watching the others, and the fact that his interest wasn’t directed towards her made Megan incredibly grateful. The sound of bare feet clumsily slapping against worn carpet was further muffled by the soundtrack: A constant barrage of kiddie songs- “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat,”, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt”, the classics- was piped into the room at all hours.
It wasn’t any better in her own private cell where they strapped her down into an adult sized crib; completely negating the point of a crib. There, lullabies were played for her to fall asleep to and the more paranoid part of her mind wondered if it was more than just “Rock-a-Bye Baby” her subconscious was being exposed to.
The whole common room smelled faintly of used diapers and baby powder, but Megan had gone smell-blind to the stuff well into her second day. The only time she could really smell it was when she was dragged over to the changing table in the far end of the corner. It didn’t matter how clean you kept things or how odor absorbent the diapers or the garbage bags claimed to be; when you had that much human waste concentrated in one space for a long enough period of time, something lingered.
Speaking of human waste, Megan had to pee yet again. The only time she wasn’t gagged at present was when they were making her eat or drink something. They still wouldn’t free her hands, so bottle feeding and spoon feeding was the only way she could get any kind of nourishment. More than likely, no small amount of sedatives, laxatives, diuretics and other methods of chemical mind fuckery were mixed in with the juice and the pureed fruit flavored gunk.
A nurse had oh-so-playfully mentioned during Megan’s first bottle feeding that bad babies who wouldn’t eat got feeding tubes shoved up their noses and down their throats instead and had their food and medicine directly pumped into their stomachs so that they wouldn’t go hungry. Those bad babies got needles poked into their skin and IV bags hooked up to make sure they wouldn’t get dehydrated.
Those bad babies had to lay in their cribs, alone, all day so that the delicate machinery of the feeding pump and IV bags didn’t need to be constantly disconnected and reconnected. Those bad babies were made to wear super thick diapers that only needed to be changed once a day since they wouldn’t be walking around anyway. And they’d stay like that until they became good babies.
She wasn’t a bad baby, was she?
Megan most certainly wasn’t one of those.
Maybe the aimless shamblers who just wandered around the room had been “bad babies” once. Just walking around in a normal diaper would be paradise compared to being strapped down to a mattress and constantly force fed while you laid in your own filth.
Megan chided herself again for thinking that there was anything “normal” about her attire. None of the diapers were “normal”. Adults that needed them wore diapers that were plain and white, maybe some other plain flat color. They often had wetness indicators that faded or changed colors when wet. Then again, they weren’t diapers in that case, they were “incontinence briefs.”
The thing wrapped around Megan’s hips wasn’t an “incontinence brief”; it was a diaper. It had pictures of cartoon animals decorating them, and the surest and easiest way to tell she needed changing was to violate her personal space and squeeze between her legs, just like the first time she was a baby. Distracted by the discomfort and urgency of her bladder, Megan didn’t even catch the subconscious slip. She had more pressing things to worry about than to monitor her own thoughts, and the nurses and orderlies wouldn’t let her use the potty anyways; so it was best to just get it over with.
She closed her eyes, bit down on the rubber nipple lodged between her lips, and let out a fresh warm stream into her diaper. It was either her second or third wetting in that diaper, she couldn’t remember. She’d already lost count of how many diapers she’d been changed into since coming here. Now, it was getting almost pointless to keep track how many times she’d degraded herself. Soon enough, she speculated grimly, she might not even notice when her diaper went from dry to wet. How weird would that be?
“You’re peeing, aren’t you?” a voice roused Megan. Megan opened her eyes and saw a man in his late twenties in baby blue pajamas, the diaper bulge obvious even if you didn’t see the waistband peeking out of the pants.
Megan didn’t respond to his question other than blushing and looking away.
“Hey, it’s no big deal,” the man said. “We all do it. I’m wet right now, too.” Megan still refused to meet his gaze. Everyone here was crazy in one form or another. You didn’t get to be sane by hanging around crazy people.
“I only noticed,” he went on, “because it looked like you were well…trying. Sorry, didn’t mean to embarrass you.”
Megan shifted a little as her diaper finished absorbing her latest so-called “accident”. She’d need to be changed soon, like as not if she wanted to avoid a diaper rash. That meant finding one of the orderlies to check and change her. Too often, they’d refuse to do so on the ridiculous grounds that “babies didn’t know when they needed to be changed”, and they would change her later. She prayed Mr. Sammy wouldn’t be the one to do it.
“Fu mu lahg” she muttered to herself, ignoring the overgrown toddler in front of her.
“About a month,” the diapered man said to her. “That’s about how long they’re gonna keep you in that straight jacket.” That got Megan’s attention. She made eye contact with him, his brown eyes staring into her green. She couldn’t talk because of the damn gag in her mouth but she pleaded with him to go on with her eyes.
“It’s how they break you down,” he whispered to her. “They restrict your movement and your speech, and they let you isolate yourself. Make sure you’re bored to tears and feeling powerless, so that when they finally let you loose, playing kiddie games seems like the time of your life. By then you’re so used to going in your pants and getting your diaper changed that you barely notice it.”
Megan nodded. Yeah. That’s right. This was how their system worked. That totally made sense.
“Then, it’s just one more compromising of yourself after another,” the man explained, “until all the baby shit they have going on here is normal and routine, and if you even think to bring it up, they use the fact that you’ve been doing it for weeks or months or years against you with some crazy Alice and Wonderland backwards fucked up logic, till you don’t even question it anymore.”
Tears were coming to Megan’s eyes. Finally! A kindred spirit! Someone who could help her keep her sanity in this place! Maybe someone who could help her escape some day in the far off future!
“I just came by to tell you,” he said, “to be strong. Their bullshit isn’t nearly as effective if you know what they’re trying to do.”
Megan nodded her head so fast that it felt like it might fall off the hinges of her neck.
“Are you strong enough to survive in this place?” he asked.
Again, Megan nodded with such enthusiasm that the world shook.
“Good,” the man nodded, more slowly and sure of himself. He was sizing her up. “Don’t let them break you, kid. They’re never gonna break me. I’m stronger than they think. I know how old I really am. I’m two.”
Megan’s heart sank into her diaper. A shadow appeared over both them of them and Megan looked up from her spot on the floor into the bald head and menacing grin of Mr. Sammy.
“Looks like we got a couple of tots who could use a change,” Mr. Sammy said before reaching down and giving each of their padded crotches a squeeze. Megan involuntarily let out an extra squirt when the big man’s mitts touched her.
“Thought so,” Mr. Sammy grinned as he reached down and scooped up Megan into her arms. Megan, powerless to resist, quivered in his grasp. “Come on, Richie,” Mr. Sammy motioned with his head to the changing table, “Help me change the baby girl here. You can be my big boy helper and hand me the supplies while I clean her up. Then I’ll change you.”
“Yay!” the man in pajamas- Richie- shouted with earnest enthusiasm. “I’m a helper!” He ran ahead of them to the changing table where he was already pulling out a fresh diaper for Megan to be changed into.
“And after that,” Mr. Sammy whispered to Megan. “We’ll have a little story time. Just you and me.”
“Fu mu lahf” indeed.