I was nervous going through security, and it showed.
“Sorry Ma’am, you can’t bring that bag in. Please return it to your car.”
I looked at the guard, young and chisel jawed. “It’s got necessary medical supplies in it,” I said, “You’re welcome to search it.”
He didn’t look like he believed me. “In that case we need to search you.” The guard was polite but firm, attractive in a man, but I didn’t want him looking under my skirt. “Could you follow my colleague?”
She led me into a small room, brisk and professional, all of this routine to her. “Place your bag on the table and strip please Ma’am, to your underwear.”
After putting my bag down I pulled off my top, revealing fully the lace bra it hadn’t properly concealed. I wanted to look sexy without looking cheap so the top was cut low but my skirt was long, something their rules mandated anyway. I lifted its hem, pulled the front of the skirt to my waist and looked at the guard. “I can if you want but…”
She looked at me in surprise, inadvertently reacted vocally. “Oh!,” she exclaimed, sounded flustered as she rapidly thought through policy. “I, umm. I’m sorry, policy is that we have to check inside diapers.”
I rolled my eyes. Aaron had warned me this might happen, so it wasn’t a surprise but that didn’t mean that I wanted it. “That policy is for babies,” I reminded her, “do you really think I’d wear a diaper just to smuggle something into here?”
She looked at me and frowned, my situation breaking through her usual professional disinterest, her expression switching to show compassion as she sadly told me, “Sorry Ma’am, I can’t allow you in without checking.”
I sighed, made it easy for her, sat down, pulled off my sandals then stood up, undid the two buttons at the top of my skirt and let it drop to my ankles. Stepping out of the circle it left around my feet I stood there wearing just my bra and shimmering white.
“How does this work?” I asked, “Do you remove it or do I?”
She hadn’t thought that far ahead. “Policy says that I have to,” she said, “But only with your consent. If you don’t consent to this search then you are free to leave.”
I nodded, knew that I could decline the search but also knew that I’d have to accept it before they’d let me in. “While I’m standing here?” I asked.
She looked flustered again. The room wasn’t tiny but it was sparsely furnished, a cabinet on the wall with gloves and other items in it, the chair I’d sat on, the small table holding my bag and a sink, single tap above it.
“I normally put the infant on the table but…” she paused and we both looked at the table. It was sturdy enough but far too small to for an adult to lie on, even me.
“Standing it is then,” I said, facing her square on and lifting my arms away from my body, keeping them straight, my hands hovering a foot either side of my hips.
She had the grace to blush at this point, retrieved plastic gloves from the cabinet, pulled them on. “I’m sorry,” she said as she pulled the first tab free, a ripping plastic sound filling the room. “These look resealable,” she said, “I didn’t know you could get adult ones like that.”
I laughed to myself, not letting my amusement reach my face. I hadn’t known either, but unlike her I wasn’t scared of the word. “Yes, adult diapers are just as advanced now as baby ones.”
She blushed again, was down to the final tab of the four, ripping it free and pulling the front of the diaper away from my body.
“Oh!” she exclaimed again, “Oh. I’m sorry, I didn’t think…” She half stepped back, still holding the front of my diaper as the rear of it fell from my hips, only the pressure from my still closed thighs holding it in place between them.
I had no sympathy but kept my tone neutral. “Of course it’s wet. If I could prevent that I wouldn’t need to wear the damn things.”
She looked up at that point, no longer a guard performing a role. “Oh honey that must be so awful for you.”
I smiled at her, a taut brittle one that I had to force. “I’m getting used to it. Could do without this though.” I gestured towards her, the diaper she was holding, the awkward situation we were in.
“Ummm. Can you do this back up yourself?” she asked. Policy or not, she wanted out of there at that point.
She went sheet white at that, looked ready to bolt from the room. I didn’t need that, didn’t want other guards coming in, seeing my diaper. Seeing me not even wearing it.
“Could you get me the wipes from my bag, and while I’m cleaning myself open and check the clean diaper that’s in there? Seems a good time to change anyway.”
Her relief was apparent and she let me take hold of the soiled diaper then bustled to retrieve the wipes, passed them to me. I only needed a couple, dropped them into the sodden pad of the diaper and balled it up, using the tabs to fasten it. I passed it to her and she handed me the clean one in return. A few seconds later and I was wearing it, the tabs fastened and that rare sense of comfort of being dry making me feel momentarily better.
She’d recovered her composure, was removing the gloves and washing her hands even as she kept an eye on me. “Don’t touch your bag please,” she instructed, “That was the only clean diaper in there so you don’t need it now. I’ll keep it with me so that the others don’t need to know what was in it, and you can collect it from me on the way out.”
I nodded, that worked for me and I appreciated the discretion she was offering.
“There’s plastic bag in there for the used diaper. I use those so that I can take it home rather than filling a bathroom bin,” I told her.
“Ah, I wondered about that,” she said, “I’ll get that sorted while you get dressed.”
Moments later I was being shown through the security gate, a quick shake of her head cutting off any questions from her colleagues, their confusion at her holding my bag only brief before they turned their attentions to the next visitor.
“Follow me Ma’am,” said an older guard, his beard mostly grey, “Who are you meeting?”
I gave the name and as we entered the room he called it out. I looked across at the waiting prisoners, saw one look over at us, start to walk towards us. White t-shirt and blue jeans, plain canvas shoes with a wide rubber sole; standard issue from the look of it. He was a big man, one of the largest in the room, a lot of it muscle, but it was his hands that interested me. They were the size of dinner plates, mine were like a baby’s in comparison.
I stepped towards him, met him with a hug, thanked him for agreeing to meet with me. “Do you want anything from the vending machines?” I asked, “I can’t give you any money but I can buy stuff for you.”
He was kind, didn’t point out that he knew the rules better than I did, just pointed at one of the machines. “F7, will cost you two dollars. I’ll wait at our table. Bring coffee too.”
He walked away so I went to the machine, saw that F7 was a candy brand, sweet and full of additives. I bought three, spent the rest of the dollar bills I’d brought in on two cups of coffee, carried it all over to him. I put one coffee in front of him, the other in front of me and then put the candy in-between us.
“That’s all for you,” I said, “I can get some for me on the way home.”
“Sheeit girl, you can come again.” He reached for one of the candies, unwrapped it as he asked, “So Aaron asked me to meet you, said he’d owe me if I thought you wasted my time. What’s this about?”
I looked at him, tried to gauge the man I’d never met. He seemed open and relaxed, but I knew what he’d been convicted for. “You know Joel Ganton?”
He looked at me passively, chewing on candy, took a while before he replied. “I know him. Why?”
“He tried to rape me.”
He frowned sceptically. “He’s in for armed robbery. Too long a sentence for attempted rape.” He sneered a little, then added, “Even someone as pretty as you.”
I smiled at the clumsy compliment, didn’t take it seriously. A pregnant sow would be pretty to some of these men, the time they’d been inside. “He tell you all that?”
The briefest of nods.
“Attempted, because he couldn’t get it up. He was convicted of rape because in his anger he punched me. Inside.”
He looked shocked at that. He knew a lot of people that had done terrible things but even prisoners are human. “Inside?” he asked, his incredulity at the concept rather than my credibility.
“His whole fist. It hurt. It damaged me.”
His expression changed. “Some people aren’t going to like this story,” he said, “a man can have a real bad day if news like this gets out. But why you telling me? What you want me to do 'bout it?”
I held his gaze before speaking.
“I’m not going to ask you to do anything,” I said, “but let me change subject a moment. When did you last speak to Franklin?”
He sat up at that, cautious and suspicious. “It’s been two weeks, why? What’s going on?”
I smiled at him, gave him some good news. “You know he was going to skip college? Couldn’t get a scholarship, can’t afford the fees? Someone’s paid for four years at State for him.”
He stared at me for what felt like a long time. “Four years? You paid his college fees?”
“Shit lady, that’s killing money. I can’t do that. How’d you afford it anyway?”
I pulled at the waistband of my skirt, tugged it down a little, enough to see white plastic and a blue tab. “You see that?”
He looked shocked at that, even more than the guard had. “Is that a diaper?”
“Yes, and thanks for letting everybody else know.” He hadn’t been that loud, but I was still sensitive on that topic.
“Sorry,” he said, trying to hide a smirk, “But why you showing me that? You weird or something?”
I tilted my head a little, chose not to take offence. “I told you Joel had damaged me. I could afford it because I got compensation, a lot of it. I didn’t need it, I have a job, can afford adult diapers for the rest of my life. But a kid without his father, works hard at school, deserves college… that’s a good cause.”
We both sat there, drinking our coffee, looking at each other. There was more to be said, and neither of us wanted to rush into it.
He broke first. “So what I gotta do for you?”
I surprised him with my answer. “Nothing. The money’s already with a lawyer, instructions to release it each year as Franklin hits his grades. I can’t reverse that now, wouldn’t if I could.”
“So why me? Why this visit? What do you want?”
“It’s simple,” I said, “I’m not going to ask you to do anything. I just want revenge.”
“I told you,” he said, “I’m not the killing type.”
I nodded at him. “That’s good to hear,” I said, “but I don’t want Joel dead. He put his whole fist inside me and that condemned me to life in diapers. I want him to know what that’s like, personally, in the most horrible of ways.”
He looked at me, realisation reaching his face, his eyes lighting up. “So why me?” he asked.
I smiled, looked at those dinner plate sized hands. “I asked who has the biggest hands in here,” I told him.
He smiled back. “I better buy some soap from the Commissary,” he said, “looks like I’m going to have a hand needing a serious wash.”
I nodded, said nothing, just finished my coffee and left. His smile stayed with me; I’d helped his family, asked directly for nothing but offered him some purpose, a chance to deliver real justice.
Even prisoners are human.