“I swear,” Margo looked up at her partner, “this is the last damn time that I’m doing this.” She finished pulling the purple dress over her head, yanking it as far down as she could, even though she knew it wouldn’t do any good. The diaper would remain in plain sight.
Jacqueline smirked. “A bit young to be considering retirement, aren’t you?”
“I’m twenty-five and unadopted,” Margo said. “That’s like seventy in Little years.”
“Ha-ha-ha.” the Amazon said more than actually laughed. “Seriously though. I get it.” She sighed. “I’m the one making the busts, but you’re the one taking the risks.”
Damn right she was. Still…. “You’re more than fair with the pay cut you give me.” Margo conceded. “It’s thanks to you that I’m gonna be able to get out of this shithole country. No offense.”
“None taken.” Jacqueline shrugged. “It really is a shithole for Littles here. So many of you guys end up being diagnosed with immaturity or ‘Maturosis’ or whatever they’re calling it these days and end up in diapers, and you don’t need it at all.”
Margo rolled her eyes. “Yeah. I know.” It was a behavior that she only exhibited around Amazons who were worth a damn. Jacqueline was one of those select few that had earned enough of her respect to also get her candor. “You’re Mom-splaining again, Jackie.”
Jacqueline bit her lip. “Sorry. My bad. I’m trying to show that I get it.”
“I know.” Margo said. This time more kindly. “And I appreciate you, I really do. I’m sorry if I get snippy at you. Just picture being told your entire life that you’re never going to be allowed to grow up. Except with Littles it’s being a reality.”
This time Jacqueline pursed her lips and nodded. “Yeah. You’ve told me. It sounds really frustrating. Like being in middle school. You know deep down that you’re an adult, but good luck convincing any of the Grown-Ups that you’re anything other than a kid. It’s hard not to lash out.”
“I wouldn’t know about Amazon middle schoolers’ feelings,” Margo said grimly. “It’s how I’ve been treated my whole life. Not something I’ve been allowed to transition out of, really. Middle schoolers eventually get to be highschoolers and adults. Their bodies catch up to their brains. They’re allowed to grow up.”
“Shit,” Jacqueline said. “I did it again, didn’t I?”
“Kind of.” It made Margo feel a little better that her fellow detective was willing to swear in front of her. “Thanks for recognizing it, though.”
With deft and practiced fingers, Margo reached around the back of her dress and unsnapped her bra. It was vital to her before each case that she dress and undress herself as much as physically possible.
All Littles got talked down to by the Amazons at some point or another. It’s like when the Giants looked down to make eye contact their voices instinctively went up an octave. Being forced to piss and shit themselves was the worst- and unavoidable in Margo’s line of work-but it was the thousand other little indignities that really got her down.
Adopted Littles (actual adopted Littles) weren’t allowed to change themselves, or bathe or clean or dress or feed themselves. They were implicitly told that they weren’t allowed to practice even the most basic tenets of personal space and agency. There was a reason why the lingo on MistuhGwiffin.web called such unfortunates “Dolls”.
Suiting up in front of Jacqueline was both a sign of trust and a kind of flex. Not that she didn’t trust Jacqueline. She wouldn’t have gotten into this business with Jacqueline if the Amazon hadn’t earned her complete trust. It’s just that like most people, her own inner thoughts and opinions felt more powerful when she had the freedom to make them not-so inner. It’s why diaries went out of style with the advent of social media. Why talk to yourself in a secret book when you can act like you’re talking to yourself on the internet where everyone could see?
“Hold this please,” she handed Jacqueline the bra she’d just slipped out of. Adopted Littles rarely wore bras, and the ones who needed them full time found themselves on the receiving end of a mastectomy, poor things. Margo’s breasts were just small enough that she needn’t worry about back pain, and the dress she wore was padded enough that no one would be able to see her nipples through it. Like so many things, the bra was a matter of symbolism and principle.
Speaking of things being padded enough…. “Are you sure you don’t want help with that diaper?” Jacqueline asked. “It looks a little…funny.”
Margo always diapered herself before infiltration. Another little flex of her independence, even if she could never quite get the fit perfect. Her Little fingers made it impossible for her to remove the tapes once they were applied, and her pride wouldn’t accept help in adjusting them. Likewise, when she got back from scouting, she’d be wrapping a towel around her waist so that Jacqueline could remove the tapes and Margo could step out with her dignity intact.
Three years of these operations and Jacqueline had never seen Margo naked. Margo intended to keep the streak alive right through the end of this partnership.
Margo pulled down at the Monkeez, showing that it was in no danger of slipping off her hips if she went toddling around the office. “Fits well enough.” Margo said. “It’s not like I’m gonna make it the whole day without being changed.” Being changed by SOMEONE in these undercover operations was unavoidable. A mindfucked Little that had the sense to hold it in wasn’t really mindfucked. And if you weren’t mindfucked, not needing a diaper change was the easiest way to get mindfucked. “They’ll just think that you’re a new Mommy and that you’re still new at putting these things on me.”
The costume diapers they’d first invested in, the ones that a Little COULD take off by themselves, were more expensive than the regular ones and there were Amazons who could tell the difference.
Margo’s dignity had a pricetag alright, but being allowed to dress herself was a rider in her contract. It never jeopardized the mission. Margo was that damn good of a liar and actor.
“You’re right,” Jacqueline said. “You ready?”
“As I can be.” Margo allowed herself to be picked up and carried out of their Private Investigator’s office and into Jacqueline’s yellow car, put in an Amazon sized baby seat, and buckled into restraints that she didn’t have the strength to escape on her own. Another sign of the trust Jacqueline had earned.
Jacqueline took out a matching purple headband with a cutesy bow on top. “Don’t forget Last Looks.” She smoothed back Margo’s straight dark hair- such a contrast to Jacqueline’s own bright red curls- and checked the monitor on her phone. “Okay. Last Looks is up and running.”
“Last Looks” was something of a joke for the pair. There was a highly sensitive recording device inside the bow; both visual and audio. Very sensitive. Sensitive enough that it could pick up the subtle flashes and nearly undetectable undertones of hypnotic and subliminal messaging.
Amazons loved stealing away Littles and reprogramming them to act like babies using hypnotic programs, usually disguised as cartoons and nursery songs. Some were subtle: Like a rendition of Rock-A-Bye Baby that if listened to every day for a month would have the victim needing crib bars to not hit the floor in their sleep. Other cartoons would have babyish cartoon characters that the viewer literally couldn’t help but relate to. Still others were animated potty training videos that loudly concluded that the viewer wasn’t ready to use the big kid potty and should just be happy wearing diapers like the good baby that they knew they were deep down.
Margo had seen it all, literally. The bow had a camera in it, but the headband had an automatic shocking mechanism. Anytime the bow picked up a subliminal flash or frequency, the headband would give Margo a painful jolt of electricity. It was Margo’s own idea and Jacqueline’s masterful execution.
She’d managed to avoid having her mind hijacked by latching onto one of the most basic and primal truths of psychology. The mind tended to reject that which caused the body physical pain. Margo had been shocked so many times, she’d found she’d been able to watch some hypnotic cartoons without the headband on, so long as she’d already been exposed to that particular episode of that particular program.
One last job. One last “surprise inspection” of a daycare, and she’d have enough money saved up to retire and immigrate to a new land; one where Littles weren’t treated like toddlers and where Amazons were the rare tourists who were treated with all due courtesy suspicion. A land where the only Littles who wore diapers were the ones who were too young to be in even Kindergarten.
Even having to become fluent in another language and all the hoops she’d had to jump through was worth the price of admission.
How had Margo managed to save up so much money? Simple. Hypnosis might be a common practice amongst Amazons, but it was also outlawed. City and state governments would pay good money to people like Jacqueline and Margo to investigate daycares and prove one way or another that the caretakers were following the letter of the law.
While Margo went into a daycare posing as a mindfucked Doll, Jacqueline would record everything and present the findings to whatever School Board, City Council, Mayor’s or Governor’s office that hired them. They always paid more if they found evidence of hypnosis, but the pay for a clean site was nothing to sneeze at, either.
The price of any government’s clear conscience was always high. Discretion so that certain scandals could be cleaned up discreetly instead of ending up on the news was always worth more, though.
Amazons being just as susceptible to hypnotism as anyone else, Jacqueline never watched anything live. The software for their Last Looks technology had the ability to pinpoint and separate the rogue hypnotic frequencies, but only after everything was recorded.
A good sign that a daycare wasn’t operating above board was any facility with T.V. rooms and no place for the Amazon to sit and monitor them. Leaving “kids” to be babysat by the television was more than just bad parenting, but a telltale sign that the caretakers knew they were showing more than children’s shows.
Did Margo’s job actually STOP the abuse of her people? Goodness, no! For every case of simple hypnosis that she and Jacqueline had found, Margo had found a near equal number of atrocities that were perfectly legal: Littles were still allowed to be brainwashed, gaslit, or otherwise coerced into eternal infancy in any number of ways. Depending on the state, it was perfectly legal to just spank a Little until they played along and pump them full of laxatives until they were functionally incontinent for good measure.
Places claiming to specialize in “Maturosis and Developmental Plateaus” were particularly insidious in their methods, but still perfectly legal. She’d met Littles in those places who were so far gone as to think that they deserved or needed to be babied but were otherwise still completely cognizant of who and what they were. That was almost worse, in some ways, Margo thought; to be beaten that far down that you liked your slavery.
Shit, some places didn’t even need to be that clever to be in line with the law. Sometimes it was just as simple as a daycare containing Littles who were hypnotized at home. So long as there was no evidence that they were distributing the hypnosis or mandating that it happen to their clientele, no laws were being broken.
If nothing else, Margo had reasoned, she was at least making the monsters pay for being lazy in their brainwashing. And perhaps, she imagined, fewer Amazons would adopt if it wasn’t as quick and easy for them to get their Daddy and Mommy fix. Just because she couldn’t stop ALL evil didn’t make what she was doing any less good.
“Whatcha thinking about?” Jacqueline asked.
Margo closed her eyes, relaxed her bladder and wet the diaper. More believable if her first diaper check was wet. God she wouldn’t miss this part of the job. “You know. The usual.”
She opened her eyes and looked at Jacqueline’s. The mirror in her backwards facing car seat casting her gaze right into the car’s rear view mirror. She was in a baby seat, couldn’t see the route they were taking, and now was in a wet diaper. If Jacqueline had wanted to, she could have taken Margo straight to any courthouse and adopt her right there. Yet another sign of their bond. That’s something she really would miss.
“Are you gonna be okay?” she asked the Amazon. “After today, I mean.”
For the first time today, Jacqueline’s eyes betrayed a hint of sadness. “Yeah. I’ll be fine. It won’t be hard to stay in business. I’ll find another brave Little girl looking to take down corruption.” She paused. “I will miss this, though…with you, I mean.”
Margo felt squishy feelings that had nothing to do with the thing under her dress. “Thanks. I’ll miss you, too.”
The rest of the car ride was silent.
“Alright,” Jacqueline said after they’d pulled up to the daycare. “Let’s do this. Finish strong.” She grabbed the diaper bag from the front seat and got Margo into her arms a minute later. “You nervous?”
Margo took a look at the sign: Smiley Time Academy (Children: Birth To Age 5. Littles.)
“Not really,” Margo whispered. That was a lie, Margo was always nervous. “They mix Amazons and Littles here. They’re not likely to risk getting real children caught in the crossfire.” That also meant that there was a crop of Amazons and Tweeners who were already being taught that all Littles were babies who would never grow-up.
“We’ve seen it before.” Jacqueline helpfully reminded her. “Remember the Happy Hearth? They just kept the Littles and the real babies separated after lunch and did the deed then.”
Margo jostled the Last Looks headband nervously. “True. I just hope they’re not up for naptime reprogramming.” She’d already developed a light case of insomnia from getting shocked so many times in a crib or on a mat.
They went to the door. “No turning back now,” Jacqueline whispered. Lightly, she gave Margo a kiss on the forehead and went in the door. That wasn’t part of the script! More annoyingly, the front door was made of glass so Margo couldn’t afford to frown or she might spoil her cover.
Margo would have to have a final chat about that before she left the country. Other Littles might not be so forgiving.
“Hello there!” the receptionist, an overweight middle aged woman with silver gray hair greeted them. “Are you checking your Little Girl in?”
Jacqueline trotted up to the counter. “Yes, I’m Jacqueline Guston, this is my daughter, Margo. I called yesterday.”
The receptionist clacked at her keyboard. “Ah yes, Miss Guston, good to see you.” She then looked at Margo. “And this must be Little Margo. Hi Margo!”
Margo let out a fake giggle and buried her head in Jacqueline’s shoulder. “Hi.” Her voice came out as a muffled meep. Had to play the part. Had to look like the shy baby Little every Amazon loved to see.
“She’s really excited to make some friends her own age,” Jacqueline said. Unlike the impromptu kiss, this banter WAS part of the usual script.
“She looks it,” The receptionist beamed. She slid some papers across. If you could just fill these forms out. When it comes to Littles, we really like to know specifically what level of care is best for them.”
Jacqueline took the clipboard in her free hand, awkwardly balancing Margo in the other. “Oh…um…”
The receptionist eagerly reached out. “I’ll hold her if you like.” Margo was passed over and sitting in the Amazon’s lap in a second. Another part of the routine. To convince the Amazons she didn’t need any kind of scrutiny she had to appear blase if not comfortable with being passed around and held by complete strangers.
Almost immediately, Margo felt the hem of her dress be lifted and the back of the diaper pulled back. She kept looking at Jacqueline, straight ahead. Neither did she flinch when the same hand crept around to her front and groped her. Ah yes, the ol’ Amazon-to-Little-Handshake. “Ooops! Somebody’s wet!”
Jacqueline look up from the clipboard. “Oh no,” she made a show of slapping her forehead. “I swear I just changed her before we came here.”
“I can guess what you’ll be checking under ‘Potty Trained’. ” the secretary quipped, even as she lightly bounced Margo on her knee.
The Little lowered her chin to her chest. “Sorry, Mommy.” She blushed, not because she’d wet herself, but because she had called a woman three months younger than her ‘Mommy’. Not that the Amazons could tell. Margo always hated this part.
The receptionist took the bait. “Oh don’t worry, baby,” she ruffled Margo’s hair, careful not to mess with the bow. “That’s what your diaper is for. Your Mommy isn’t mad.”
“That’s right, Margo,” Jacqueline repeated. “Mommy’s not mad at all. You’re being a very good baby.”
“Fank you, Mommy,” Margo mumbled.
“I can get her situated,” the older woman said. “She doesn’t have to be here while you fill out all this boring paperwork.”
Jaqueline looked up from the clipboard. “Oh good, she can get antsy staying still.”
More bobbing on the woman’s kneel, and chuckled knowingly. “Yup. She’s a Little, alright.” She grabbed a walkie-talkie and clicked it. “Angela, can you come to the front. We’ve got a new arrival.”
The walkie buzzed. “Ommaway.”
An Amazon in her thirties came through a back door. After a brief introduction to Jacqueline, she looked across the desk to Margo. “Hi there. I’m Miss Angie! Nice to meet you!”
Margo did her best impression of a two-year-old and waved shyly. “Hi…”
She was handed off, yet again. “She’s wet.”
For the second time in five minutes, Margo got the ol’ Amazon-to-Little-Handshake. “Yeah she is.” This time, Margo didn’t apologize. “Let’s go get you changed and then we’ll start playing all sorts of fun games! Won’t that be nice?”
“Uh-huh.” What would really be nice, Margo thought, was getting this over with so she could get paid.
“Here,” Jacqueline said. She handed the diaper bag over to the sitter. “There should be enough diapers in here to last her the day.”
“Don’t worry about it too much. We’ve got plenty of spares, just in case.”
“I’ll bring a whole box when I come back this afternoon.” Jacqueline would not, in fact, be bringing a new box of diapers when she came back this afternoon, but the promise of such things always gave daycare workers the false hope that they’d be getting regular business. It was the Amazon version of promising a kid a lollipop if they sat still for a haircut.
bE gOoD wItH mY LiTtLe aNd i’LL lEt YoU cHaNgE hEr DiApEr MoRe!
“Okie dokie,” Angela said, “Say goodbye to Mommy.”
“Give Mommy a kiss.” Another impromptu peck on the cheek. Jacqueline was really milking this last day thing. Margo made a note to cuss her partner out when she was back in panties.
Margo was carried straight back into a nursery, and the worker made a beeline to an empty changing table. The room was strangely empty, with toys strewn about and coloring sheets left on tables only half scribbled. She couldn’t be the first to arrive. Where were the other Littles?
The question must have shown on Margo’s face. “You’re a little late,” the Amazon explained. “We already had our morning meeting and breakfast. After breakfast, we go on the playground. Work off some energy.”
That made Margo feel a little better. If not for the timing, Margo would have been changed while not five feet away, Amazon toddlers and diapered Littles played side by side. She suppressed a shudder.
Too many of these places had out in the open changing tables; like they were couches or something instead of the baby equivalent of a toilet. Even if the place didn’t have any mind altering devices, it was still gaslight-y as anything.
It made it so that Littles and actual kids were desensitized to getting stripped and wiped in front of everyone. And long after those toddlers started being taken to the bathroom, and taught that big boys and girls used the potty, Littles twenty to forty years their senior would still be laying out in the open with their legs up and their bums smeared with rash cream.
“First diaper change, then playtime. Understand?” Margo sucked her thumb and nodded. Had to appear babyish and demure at first. Besides, she might as well get this over with. Chances are she had at least one, maybe two more of these before she could cash out. It was just a matter of laying back and thinking of her new home. “All better.” At least this Amazon was gentle with the wipes and didn’t overdo it with the powder.
Once a fresh Monkeez was taped on, Margo was carried out a back door, and lowered down to the ground. Mentally Margo was mapping the place out. A reception area up front led to a nursery in the back, which in of itself opened back into a playground. She thought she saw a kitchen area to the side of the nursery, and maybe a kind of supply closet up by reception, but otherwise the layout was pretty simple.
Okay. That was good. (As good as could be expected). Hypno-cares typically had sequestered off spaces for their brainwashing to take place. A “T.V. Room” or a “Nap Room”. Stuff to separate the victims from the victimizers. This place didn’t appear to have much of that.
If the diaper check was a perverse form of handshake, then the pat on her newly padded rear must have been a light fist bump. “Okay, cutie. Go play.” She patted the diaper bag. “I’m going to go hang up your bag and put your extra diapers in a cubby.”
Margo did her best impression of one of the Dolls and kept up a childish but quiet enough demeanor. “Thankoo Miss Teacher Lady.”
That seemed to do the trick. “Awwww! I’m Miss Angie, sweetie. You’ll learn all the Grown-Up’s names soon enough.” Condescendingly, the Amazon patted Margo on the head and went back inside.
Condescendingly, the [Grown-Up] patted Margo on the head and went back inside.
All around, children and Littles were playing; the Littles completely oblivious to how ridiculous they looked going down slides are being pushed on swings. A few played side by side with Amazon children as if it were the most natural thing in the world. The [Grown-Ups] were fairly involved, as well. A few seemed to be leaning on the outer end of a fence, gossiping, but there was also one monitoring a jungle gym, and another spotting the monkey bars in case someone was about to fall.
Counting Miss Angie when she returned, the ratio of [Grown-Ups] to children, that made five adults on the playground to approximately thirty. A one to six ratio. Not bad, if over two thirds of their charges weren’t actually babies…
The Little detective toddled out into the middle of the playground. She’d never gotten to go to a prom, but Margo always felt this was what it must be like, stepping out onto the dance floor and hoping that someone would notice her. (Now if only the people noticing her didn’t crinkle with every step.)
She didn’t have to wait long. A Little girl who may have been twenty to her early fifties…it was always so hard to tell when they got all Dolled up….waddled straight up to her. She wore a dress similar to Margo’s, but pink instead of the dark purple. No hair bow. Her auburn hair was lifted up into pigtails, though.
“Hi! I’m Wendy!” she said. “I went potty in my big girl panties and my mommy and daddy took ‘em away! Now I go potty in my diapers! I’m a baby!”
Margo didn’t hesitate. “I’m Margo! Me too!” She lifted up the front of her dress like she was showing off a prison tattoo. Showing hesitation might be taken the wrong way. She’d infiltrated more than one daycare where the captured Littles were manipulated into policing each other; especially in the “Maturosis” places.
“Yay! Let’s be friends!” The brainwashed Little spread her arms wide.
“Baby friends!” Margo was hugging it out, and trying to hide her revulsion at the same time. Her gears were already turning. Such a scripted greeting was evidence of brainwashing in Margo’s mind, but was it mesmerism or simply indoctrination? She’d need more evidence.
Margo found her hand gripped and was led crinkling over to a row of spring ponies. “Wanna play horsey?” Wendy asked.
Sitting on the outside rocking horse wouldn’t be a bad place to start. Any activity where she could scout out the terrain and people watch was a good starter. The [Grown-Ups] wouldn’t suspect a thing.
Margo’s tour guide, Wendy, stopped for a second. She had a far off look in her eyes and was bending her knees a little bit. Like a car wreck, Margo got on her own pony, but couldn’t quite look away. She’d seen this before. She didn’t need to see the girl’s cheeks ballooning out to know that something beneath her dress was expanding as well.
It was something Margo had seen plenty of times but still, never got used to: A grown Little shitting their pants in broad daylight. Yes, she’d just gotten changed herself, admittedly, but she’d only wet. Furthermore, she’d wet in the backseat of a car. She always found some hidden away space to relax her bladder in.
She’d never done anything other than number one, though. And the idea of doing it in front of everyone absolutely repulsed her. She’d tried it once in Jacqueline’s lap when they’d been working out their infiltration routines, but her body just kept clenching up. Even undercover there were some lines her body would not let her cross.
To add self-insult to self-injury, Wendy stood back up after her eyes refocused and saddled up, squishing the mess inside her diaper by sitting down in it. The rocking wouldn’t be good for it either.
Margo couldn’t hold her tongue. “Um…did you go poopie?”
Wendy was already rocking back and forth. She seemed slightly puzzled. “Yeah,” she said. “Why?”
“Don’t you want to go get changed?” Margo offered. Maybe the woman just hadn’t thought of it.
Margo shrugged. “No reason. Just wonderin’…” No point in arguing with a Little who’d already lost all sense. Another thing Margo had learned that if she wept for the senseless, she’d be crying all day. How nice it would be in a few days when she wouldn’t have to drink from a rubber nipple, and when the only sound of a Little walking was coming from their feet hitting the ground.
The detective breathed through her mouth, rocking back and forth at a steady pace, looking for signs of something, anything that she could use. But other than the things that were obviously wrong with this picture, there wasn’t anything that was legally wrong with it.
She probably wasn’t going to find anything. Not out here, at least.
Something went wrong soon enough. Her horse bucked her! Actually bucked her! As Margo was rocking back she felt her balance go and the horse fall out from under her as she was left looking at the clouds.
Snickering filled the air, and a repugnant, snot-crusted pug nosed face loomed over her. “Ha-ha, ya dumb baby!” It was a kid. An Amazon kid. Looked to be four or five, by Margo’s estimation. The Little connected the dots. She hadn’t fallen off, she’d been yanked off, tilted off by a kid who was either either very big for his age, or very dumb for it.
Instinctively, Margo wanted to lash out and break the fucker’s nose. Sadly, Margo also knew that would break her cover. Also, even an Amazon preschooler could give Margo a good fight. There were other ways to fight, given her situation.
“WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” Margo screamed. She curled up in a ball. She did her best to look small and hurt and defenseless. She cried crocodile tears through eyes slammed shut. All according to plan.
New, heavier, [Grown-Up] footsteps approached. “What’s going on here?”
“N-N-Nothin’” the Amazon kid said. Ooof! Rookie mistake.
Wendy did the rest. “Ronny was pickin’ on Margo! Mean ol’ big kid Miss Kelly!”
Two [Grown-Up] hands reached down and picked Margo up out of the dirt, brushing off her purple. Margo lowered her wails down to a light whine and a sniffling. All according to plan. She opened her eyes to watch the carnage. This was a different [Grown-Up]. Miss Kelly looked like she was barely out of highschool, younger than even Margo.
Margo hoped she’d never have to get changed by Miss Kelly. Getting her butt wiped by a [Grown-Up] who was several years her junior was so humiliating!
“Ronny,” Miss Kelly barked. “That’s not very nice, is it?”
The [Grown-Up] was having nothing of it. “Big kids don’t just walk up and start picking on babies. I’d expect that kind of behavior from a baby, but not a big kid like you!”
“SORRY!” Tears, real ones maybe, were starting to form in Ronny’s eyes.
“Do you need to be put back in diapers? Do YOU need to be a baby?”
How queer it was, Margo often thought. To Amazons diapers and babyhood was the ultimate punishment, yet the majority of them transparently wanted Littles to love it and experience it in perpetuity. So many mixed signals
“Then what do we say?” Miss Kelly, prompted.
“If I see you picking on one more baby this week, I’m putting you back in diapers myself!”
That was more than enough of a threat for Ronny. The kid went running off in the opposite direction. “Are you okay, baby?” she asked Margo. Margo nodded, quietly. She was put back down on the ground. “You did the right thing, honey. Crying is what good babies do to let Grown-Ups need help.”
Inwardly, the detective bristled. “Fankyooo….” she said, looking away.
The teenage [Grown-Up] brushed some dirt off of Margo’s dress. “I think you’ll be okay. But if that big kid keeps being mean to you, you do exactly what you did.” She patted Margo on top of the head, and then gave her another “fist bump” to send the girl on her way. If the sensory equipment in the Last Looks bow weren’t so advanced, Margo might be worried.
Margo peered over to the other side of the playground. Ronny had joined another group of Amazon preschoolers playing Duck, Duck, Goose. She’d have to avoid them if she wanted to find what she was looking for.
Margo peered over to the other side of the playground. Ronny had joined another group of [big kids] playing Duck Duck Goose. She’d have to avoid them if she wanted to find what she was looking for.
“HEY!” Wendy called. “WAAAAIT UP!”
Margo stopped and allowed her living camouflage to catch up to her. Might as well. “Sorry about Ronny,” Wendy said. “Big kids can be real butts sometimes. They think they’re so much better cuz they’re bigger than us and they’re growin’ up.”
They were better though. Maybe not morally or intellectually speaking, but [big kids] were literally entitled to everything Littles such as herself were not, and almost all of it was due to their size. [Big kids] were given more rights and privileges than Littles and were, legally speaking, better.
Soon, Margo promised herself she’d soon be going to a place where there weren’t any [Grown-Ups] or [big kids] to worry about.
“Let’s go to the slide,” Margo said. Maybe she could get a few of something. A suspicious spy antenna or something. That’s what she was looking for, right? Right.
“I’ll go first!” Wendy said.
Margo’s eyes widened. “Um…can I go first?” she asked. “I’m scared of heights, and I might need you to help push me down.” This was a lie, of course. It was really because Margo had no intention of climbing up the ladder behind someone wearing a poopy diaper.
Wendy made an O with her mouth and clapped her hands before proclaiming. “Yay! I’ll help! I’ll help! I’m a helper!” Margo briefly wondered if that was true; “helper” had a different meaning to Littles. If Wendy had been a helper it hadn’t prevented her from getting her big girl panties taken away.
Rung by rung by rung, Margo climbed to the top of the slide. It was the highest vantage point someone of her size could achieve out here. On the off chance that what she was looking for was out here, this would be the place to find it.
Sitting down on the slide, she peered out. More Littles playing in the sandbox, seeming to enjoy themselves. The diapered men and women hanging upside down from the monkey bars seemed to be having a good time. But none of that was illegal; only FORCING Littles to have a good time was against the law.
Otherwise, she and Jacqueline would have to settle for a more modest finder’s fee.
“Down you GOOOOOO!” A hand was on Margo’s back. Before she knew what was going on, she was careening down the inclined plane at what felt like lightning speed. The playground went whizzing by as the Little woman plummeted downwards, her arms and legs shot out and grabbed onto only air.
Looking up at the sky for the second time in almost as many minutes, Margo drew in breath and brabbed the back of her head. This time, she opened her mouth to wail in ernest.
The detective closed her eyes just in time. A crinkly plastic barrier, just barely holding back wet pulp and disgusting mush landed on Margo’s head. Wendy had come down the slide right after her. There was crying, and it wasn’t coming from, Margo.
Between the weight of it all and the stench, Margo could only exhale and dared not inhale. What a terrible way to go! Smothered and crushed by another Little (one who badly needed a change). Acid bubbled up in her throat. Her body was threatening to choke on its own vomit.
And Wendy wasn’t moving! She was crying and wailing, but not budging off of Margo’s head!
More [Grown-Up] feet rushed to the scene, and picked Wendy up. Margo gasped for air, and added her cries to Wendy’s. She was soon off the ground too, her back being patted while she fought off tears and vomiting. How humiliating! How very un-big-girl like!
They were each in the arm of two older women; both old enough to ACTUALLY be their mothers. “It’s okay,” they said. “It’s okay. You Little babies just took a tumble, is all.”
“I’m sorry Miss Erica! I’m sorry Miss Joan!” Wendy bawled. Why was she crying? She wasn’t hurt! “I’m sooooo sorry!” she said to Margo. “I didn’t mean to! I just- I just-!” And then she lost all coherence, while the [Grown-Up] gently bobbed and shushed her.
“Sounds like somebody’s got some big feelings, Joan,” the [Grown-Up] holding Margo said. Her face was pudgy and reddish brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail.
“That she does, Erica,” the one holding Wendy agreed. She peeked inside the Little’s diaper. “And needs a change.” Her blonde hair was so faded as to be nearly white.
Margo didn’t even mind so much when her own, clean diaper was inspected briefly. It felt nice to be fussed over when she was in pain. And she WAS in pain. Her head was throbbing and it was harder and harder to catch her breath.
“Let’s get to it, then.” Joan said.
“Yup,” Replied Erica. “You change Wendy, and I’ll sit with…Margo was it?” Margo nodded, wiping her eyes.
The two [Grown-Ups] Traveled with each other a ways, but then parted when it came time to going back in the building. Miss Joan with her almost-white hair carried Wendy in to change her diaper, while Miss Erica and her pudgy face plopped down on a bench next to the swings. Margo found herself lap bound for the second time that day.
Man, she couldn’t wait to be free of laps. Though the “how” was still a little fuzzy to Margo.
“You don’t have any bruises,” Erica told Margo. “So that’s good.” She reached into a cooler and took out a baby bottle full of juice. “Here,” she held the bottle to Margo’s lips. “Have some wa-wa from a ba-ba. It’ll make you feel better.”
Reverting to her undercover persona, Margo gently sipped from the bottle while Miss Erica held it, drinking the cold ice water in tiny sips. Other Littles came and were handed their bottles, chugging them in the shade before putting them into a separate open bin, but Margo was content to sit in the shade and sip. This playground was a wash, anyway. She’d never find what Jacqueline was looking for out here. Waste of time. Might as well take it easy.
“Wendy didn’t mean to hurt you,” Miss Erica said, gently. “She just has a habit of acting before she thinks. It was an accident. She’s not mean.” She patted the top of Margo’s bow. “She’s just a Little baby, like you. Not a mean bone in her body.”
She might have been a Little, Margo thought. But not a Little like her. The slide had just proven that.
She was a [baby], Margo thought. But not a [baby] like her. The slide had just proven that.
“I think you and me should just sit here and relax a bit until it’s time to go inside.” It wasn’t a question, but Margo nodded anyway. “Good baby.”
Margo spent the next twenty minutes waiting in Miss Erica’s lap, people watching. Nothing suspicious was seen, other than a daycare that had lots of [babies] in it. Too bad in this country a daycare packed with [babies] was nothing suspicious at all.
Wendy came out holding Miss Joan’s hand and went waddling right by the bench, as if she’d forgotten the entire incident. (And to be fair, she probably did). Nothing to be mad about. Nothing to be. She just leaned back into Miss Erica and went pee-pee; waiting to run out the clock on this day.
In time, Miss Angie, who had ushered Margo into this hellhole, called out. “Alright, kiddos! Time to go in.” Everyone on the playground grumbled. Everyone but Margo. She had no further business here. “Don’t worry, don’t worry!” Miss Angie laughed. We’ll be back in the afternoon!”
This playground was definitely not what she was supposed to find. What was she supposed to find again?
The motley crew of kids and [babies] shuffled back into the nursery. By the door nearest the playground, Margo noticed, were stacks of what appeared to be pieces of rug cut up into smaller squares. “Grab a spot,” Miss Erica chirped. Like clockwork, all of the charges grabbed the carpet rectangles and marked their territory, placing them in front of a big screen T.V.
Clever, Margo thought. In a way, it beat chairs. Certainly took up less room.
The T.V. was another problem, entirely Margo adjusted her bow. If there was going to be a time when her hair bow zapped her, it’d be now. It almost always zapped her at daycare when she was watching cartoons.
There was no way that was happening, she told herself. Too many [big kids]. Her bow only zapped her when it was just her and other [babies]. Being around the [big kids] would keep her safe. She was safe. Still, she closed her eyes and prepared for the shock.
Miss Joan grabbed the remote and turned on the television. “HI KIDS!” A goofy voice. “ARE YOU READY TO LEARN ABOUT BABY ANIMALS!”
“YEEEEAH!” The whole room erupted.
“THEN LEEEEEET’S GO!”
Just like Jacqueline had taught her, Margo waited. But no shock came. She opened her eyes. It was a cartoon, alright. But it was an educational one. And like it said, it was all about animal babies.
“Did you know that the Kangaroo is born suuuuuper tiny?” The cartoon told them. “But it grows much much much bigger while living inside its Mommy’s pouch!” It was all factual, as far as Margo could recall, except for the baby animals were all drawn wearing little white diapers in all of the animation; likely so that the [big kids] and [babies] could tell the difference.
Speaking of diapers, Margo let out another little spurt of pee, wriggling on the carpet, as her diaper really started to squish!
“Billy!” Miss Joan called. “Diaper time.” A [baby] boy in shortalls stood up and waddled over to the changing table. “Jessica! Potty time!” A [big kid] girl with pink Pull-Ups poking out of her shorts ran to the bathroom.
RRRRRIIIP! KATHUNK! PFFF-PFFF! FLSSSSSH!
Ah, so this is what this really was. A bathroom break. No asking. No checking. One by one, the children were called away from the T.V… [Babies] went to the changing table. [Big kids] went to the bathroom. Everyone else watched T.V. while they waited.
“Madison! Diaper time! Alex! Potty time!” The sound of ripping tapes the thud of a heavy door being closed signaled the beginning of each round. The smell of powder and the roar of a flushing toilet signaled the end. A [Grown-Up] at each area kept things moving along.
RRRRIIIIP! KATHUNK! PFFF-PFFFF! FLSSSSSH!
“Margo, diaper time! Ronny, potty time!”
Dutifully, Margo got up and waddled through the seated tots over to the changing table. Miss Kelly was already waiting for her. That was good. Miss Kelly had been super nice to her, and was also super pretty. Margo was glad that it was Miss Kelly changing her diaper.
Wow! Her diaper. Margo looked down. It was sagging like crazy! Her diaper had never gotten that wet before. But why no-?
The [babie’s] thoughts were cut off as Miss Kelly boosted her up onto the changing table. “Diaper time, cutie.” Margo laid there, like a good girl and sucked her thumb as Miss Kelly changed her. It took a little bit for her to find the cubby where her Monkeez were stacked, but she found it. She wasn’t as good at it- not as ‘sperienced as Miss Angie- but it was still super nice.
RRRRIIIIP! KATHUNK! PFFF-PFFFF! FLSSSSSH!
The toilet flushed and Ronny practically stomped out of the bathroom. Margo was just waddling back over to her spot after being changed, and Ronny gave her the meanest look. What’d she ever do to him?! Her lip pouted out and started to tremble.
Miss Joan was behind her. “Don’t worry about Ronny, baby. Just sit down so I can call someone else’s name.” Another pat on the head, and Margo sat down.
“Penelope! Diaper time! Nick! Potty time!”
Another [baby] got up to go to the changing table, and her [big kid] counterpart made a bee-line for the bathroom.
Another [baby] got up to go to the changing table, and her [big kid] counterpart made a bee-line for the [potty].
RRRRIIIIP! KATHUNK! PFFF-PFFFF! FLSSSSSH!
After a bit, [big kids] stopped being called to go to the [potty], and only the sounds of tape ripping and the crinkling of fresh diapers mixed with the fun animal facts. Margo supposed they could call more babies to the [potty] and change them in there at the same time to speed things up, but she instantly saw the downside.
A cold tiled hard floor was no substitute for a nice soft changing table. Wouldn’t want the [babies] like her to get confused either. Speaking of confused, Margo still couldn’t shake the feeling that she was forgetting something.
That was okay. Maybe that’d mean Jaqueline had forgotten about whatever it was too.
When everyone had either been changed or gone potty, the cartoon was stopped, the lights turned on. “Okay!” Miss Angie called. “Time to go to centers!”
Just like everything else so far, the more experienced children all got up and acted in near unison. They grabbed their “spots” and one by one put them back in the neat and orderly stacks in which they’d been left. Margo just followed the crowd, still fighting off the strange and lingering feeling that she was forgetting something.
What was it she was supposed to do? Was she supposed to find something? Jacqueline knew. But Jacqueline wasn’t here. Her [Grown-Up] friend was busy working. That’s why Margo was here, at daycare.
A shadow fell over her. Yet another [Grown-Up] was bending over her, offering their hand. “Hi!” The silver haired [Grown-Up] with locks that went down past her breasts said. “I’m Miss Jenna. You’re Margo, right?”
Margo nodded, in awe of the old yet somehow more free-spirited woman. Her shirt was tie-dye! A [Grown-Up]! In tie-dye! How cool was that? “Come with me, sweetie. It’s time for art.”
Overwhelmed from all the sudden changes brought about today, Margo let herself be led to a low table, covered with newspapers. Five other [babies] were already seated. They’d already been dressed in worn but clean smocks, so that their play clothes wouldn’t get too messy. Margo was the last to sit down, and the last to have what was effectively a giant bib tied around her.
“For art today,” Miss Jenna said, “We’re gonna work with finger paints!”
“Ooooooo!”, the other [babies] all said. They were giving each other knowing and excited nods and looks all across the table. Margo just stared down at the table, her mind on other things.
What was she supposed to be finding? Was she supposed to be finding something?”
“Margo?” Miss Jenna said. “Margo? Are you listening?”
“Hmm?” Margo looked up. “Yeah…I mean…yes Ma’am.” That was a lie. She wasn’t listening at all.
“Good.” Miss Jenna continued. “Now if you do this right, little ones, you’ll have a nice-”
What was she forgetting? Had she forgotten that she’d forgotten? Maybe she was stressing out over nothing. She could just wait for the end of the day. Mind her business. Go home to Jacqueline, tell her she didn’t find anything and then….
And then what?
“Margo,” Miss Jenna lightly bopped Margo on the top of the head, right on her bow. “Pay attention, sweetie. Don’t you.want something to take home and show your Mommy or Daddy?”
The lightbulb turned on in Margo’s brain.
That was it! She didn’t have to DO something! She had to MAKE something!
Margo knew what she had to do, and she’d do it for Jacqueline!
Margo knew what she had to do! And she’d do it for [Mommy!]
Jacqueline came up to the receptionist, toting a giant sized box of Monkeez. “Hi there. Jacqueline Guston. Here to pick up my daughter. Margo?” Just saying it this time, saying it and meaning it gave the Amazon goose pimples.
“We’ll bring her right out.” The receptionist said, grabbing the walkie talkie. “Margo to check out.”
Jacqueline felt more nervous than she’d ever felt in her life. “How was she?”
“Oh, she was fine. Good as gold. Everything went according to plan.” The older woman had a playful laugh in her tone. She clearly was very experienced in this sort of thing. That didn’t help Jacqueline’s nerves…or the niggling feeling that she had just done something very wrong.
That feeling evaporated when the door opened, and out from the back came her Little Girl, cute as a button and as happy as can be. “MOMMY!” Margo sprinted for Jacqueline on Little legs.
Jacqueline set down the box, and opened her arms. Margo rushed in for a hug. They’d done this bit so many times. So many times. This time, though, was real. She could feel it. “Mommy’s so happy to see you!” Jacqueline told her baby. “Did you have fun at your first real day of daycare.”
Margo started nodding so hard, her headband almost came off. “Uh-huh! The other babies are really fun to play with, and the Grown-Ups are super nice! Can we come back again?”
Grown-Ups. OTHER babies. It was enough to make Jacqueline. Others would say she was just cosseting, but she knew she’d made the right choice. She couldn’t bear the thought of Margo leaving her.
So many Amazons might snatch her up at the airport and adopt her. And the Littles, the ones who thought they were so high and mighty in that other country; they were worse. Everyone knew that Little run countries were impoverished and crime ridden. Margo would end up living in some slum, possibly getting stabbed for food stamps or bread rations.
Leaving home from everything she’d ever known just so that she could be treated more like a Grown-Up was completely reckless, when you stopped to think about it rationally. The worst thing that would happen here is she’d get adopted. It was better this way.
She’d been planning this for months. It had been difficult to concoct a hypnotic program that would work on Margo and bring out her inner child (or cause her Maturosis to flare up as some called it). The Little Girl had conditioned herself into a kind of immunity.
None of the mainstream hypno cartoons were going to work. Same with the silly songs. So when she’d stumbled onto this place, she’d known not to pass up the opportunity. Honestly, the method was ingenious. Subliminal messages vibrated directly into the inner ear and skull via a head apparatus.
They’d even made a model that looked exactly like Margo’s favorite headband. Jacqueline had been nervous slipping it on to her Little Girl, thinking she’d somehow notice the difference in the weight or the fit. But in the end, as it should be, Margo was still just a Little Girl.
The deal was simple: Free tuition for the Amazon Detective’s silence. That and something else…
While the proud new mother picked up her daughter, Margo started leaning on Jacqueline and cuddling her back; giggling and burying her head in Jacqueline’s hair. Not just cuddling her, though. Margo’s bum cupped by Jaqueline’s hand as it was, she was able to feel the slight difference as her new baby raised her bum up and start tensing up, lightly grunting as her diaper began to sag and balloon back into Jacqueline’s waiting hand…
“Margo?” Jaqueline asked. “Are you pooping, honey?”
“She won’t tell you,” the daycare worker said. “Babies never tell when they need to go potty. That’s why Grown-Ups have to check their diapers for them.”
Margo exhaled and settled back down into Jacqueline’s hand. The Amazon got a good feel for the lumpy mush in her Littles’ diaper. Pooping right in her arms? In front of everyone? No signs of discomfort or cognitive dissonance or humiliation? Margo had never done this before. She’d been a good actor, but never this good. No one was this good.
It worked. It really worked. “Someone needs a diaper change,” she cooed to Margo.
“Nooo…” Margo whined quietly. “Wanna go home and play.”
She didn’t want a diaper change?! The only time Margo didn’t want a diaper change is when panties were involved. “Okay,” she said. She rubbed Margo’s back. “We’ll get you changed when we get home to your new nursery. Then you can play in it for a while before dinner, tubby time, and bed.”
Margo sniffed. “Okay, Mommy.” Jacqueline was on the verge of tears of happiness.
The daycare worker came with the diaper bag. “Trade you a bag for a box, Miss?” Jacqueline took the bag back onto her shoulders.
“Deal.” She reached into her back pocket and took out the Last Looks headband, the real one, and gave it to the worker. “As promised.”
Miss Angie looked at it closely. “It’s so startling simple when you think about it. Condition yourself to resist conventional forms of conditioning.”
“So easy a baby could use it,” Jacqueline joked. Everyone laughed. Even Margo.
The daycare worker; Margo’s newest teacher, stuck her hand out. “Pleasure doing business with you.”
“Likewise.” They shook hands. Jacqueline gave her daughter a kiss, and didn’t feel her tense up at all. It’d be an early day at the courthouse tomorrow, after which Margo would be officially her baby, and then Jacqueline could collect all the money the Little rascal had squirreled away. Then it’d be a happy life together.
“Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” Margo was literally bouncing in Jacqueline’s arms, oblivious or uncaring about the mess she’d deposited in her Monkeez.
“I made you somefin!”
Jaqueline arched an eyebrow.
“I put it in her bag,” Miss Angie said.
Jaqueline opened up the diaper bag, more than one diaper lighter. She saw the manilla colored construction paper folded up inside right away. It wasn’t hard to unfold, even one handed. She gasped audibly when she saw the finished product. “A butterfly! It’s beautiful!” It was nothing that would go up in an art museum obviously, but the refrigerator would do nicely; especially with how a certain someone had used their tiny hands to make the wings.
“I made it all by myself!” Margo proudly proclaimed. “I did it just for you, Mommy. Just like you wanted me too!”
Yes. Just like she’d wanted her to. “Margo, baby.”
“Consider yourself officially retired.”