by Jennifer Loraine
Jamie waited apprehensively for the knowledge that the next hour would bring. He had only been married for three months when the symptoms began to affect him badly. He was glad that his wife hadn't noticed how run down he was getting. He had led her to believe that his fatigue was caused by job pressures at the University.
His energy had diminished rapidly over the last month, however, and it was only a matter of time before she discovered he was ill. He couldn't remember the name of the disease that the doctors had told him, but he remembered their description of it's effects easily enough. His body was running down. His DNA was no longer able to replicate without multiple errors.
The mechanisms to clean up the RNA-DNA replication process were no longer functioning. Like a mantle clock without a key, his system was unwinding inexorably toward entropic chaos. He would be dead within a month. Chelation and anti-oxidants had been tried on other patients without success. He sat in the specialist's reception room waiting for a reprieve. The doctor had run a newly developed DNA test in the hope that the diagnosis was wrong.
"Mr. Farr are you here for your Thursday appointment with the doctor?", the receptionist asked.
He nodded and went back to his thoughts.
"Mr. Farr, the doctor will see you now," said the receptionist brightly.
He walked into the doctor's inner office slowly, unwilling to face the death sentence he knew awaited within. The doctor stood as he entered and shook his hand. "How are you feeling today, Mr. Farr?"
"About the same," he replied.
"I received the lab results this morning," the doctor said. "I'm sorry, it's not good news. My diagnosis was correct. I've checked the results with several experts in this disease and they concur with my opinion."
"How......How long do I have?," stammered Jamie.
"Three months, perhaps six at the outside. I sorry, Mr. Farr, there's nothing we can do. You, of course, are free to get a second opinion, but I wouldn't hold out much hope. Have you told your wife yet?"
"No, I didn't have the heart. Mary and I only been married for six months. I didn't want to tell her if there was a possibility that it was something else."
The doctor, who had becoming more uncomfortable as the conversation went on, rose to end it. He held out his hand for Jamie to shake.
"Mr. Farr, If there is anything I can do for you please give me a call. I'm going to refer you back to your regular physician for treatment. I'll send him my notes on your case."
"Treatment?," asked Jamie hopefully.
The specialist shook his head and said, "Symptomatic treatment only, Mr. Farr. He'll start you on medications for nausea and pain."
Jamie said goodbye and left the office in a daze. He felt he had to talk to someone about the diagnosis. Perhaps his friend, Ben, the molecular chemist would be able to give him some advice about what to say to Mary.
Ben's office was extremely busy. Ben was surrounded by a group of happy graduate students slapping each other's backs and shaking Ben's hand. Ben waved at Jamie over the heads of the graduate students when he noticed Jamie standing at the entrance to his office.
"Be with you in a minute Jamie," he said in a happy shout.
Ben slapped his students on the back and shoed them out of his office. "Come in. Come in Jamie," said Ben. An open bottle of champagne sat on his desk. Ben picked up a glass of champagne and pressed it into Jamie's hand. "We're celebrating. Stage Three of the Nanobot project is a success."
"Stage Three?," asked Jamie absently. "Here Jamie, let me show you." He riffled through a stack of diagrams on his desk until he found a large folded chart which he spread out over the top of his desk.
"The nanobot project is an attempt to build self-replicating, heuristically programmed, molecular robots. We achieved that in Stage One. In stage two we programmed them to perform complex chemical tasks. We've used them to act as catalysts, build new molecules, even large macromolecular structures. In stage three, we began by programming them to build even larger structures, up to the cellular level. We've were able to program them to attack and replace damaged DNA structures in lab mice with cancer.
The final experiment in Stage Three was to arrest the aging process in rats. The nanobots attack free radicals, repair DNA, stimulate hormone production, even replace calcium in bone tissue. Since the nanobots have been given to the rats, they haven't aged a day. We've totally arrested the aging process."
"Did you say they repaired DNA?," Jamie asked, his interest suddenly piqued.
"That's right. Repaired. They use redundant enumeration and comparison to build a clean DNA paradigm. After approximately ten million iterations, they reconfigure themselves into DNA groups, each with it's own strand. Then they replicate themselves and replace all the "dirty" DNA in the cells. Of course, that's only the DNA aspect of the project, cellular repair was much tougher to implement."
"How do you get these robots into the rats? Do you have the rats swallow them?"
Ben smiled and said, "Nothing that complicated. We just put the bots in a syringe with some saline solution and inject then into a vein. The bots take it from there."
"May I see them?," asked Jamie excitedly. "Well.......I'm really not supposed to let unauthorized visitors into the lab, but since you're a full professor here at the University, I think we can overlook the regulations. Come on, I'll take you down to my lab."
Jamie found the electron photomicrographs of the bots fascinating. "Is this them?," he asked.
"That's them," Ben said proudly. "But I don't see any......any appendages. How do they do it? How do they make DNA?," he asked with a puzzled expression.
"Nothing as crude as hands, I'm afraid. Look at the convolutions on the surface of the crystal. Each of the peaks and valleys is a binding site. The general structure is determined by the bot's initial programming. As the bots replicate, the structure is modified to attract specific molecules. See those bumps on the sides of the valley? Those are active zones. They allow the bot to attract and bind other molecules to the work molecule. That's for mass production molecular repair. For nonspecific, low-output manipulation of molecules, there's an atomic tweezer on one node. The other side is the reproductive nodule where the bot can reproduce itself as necessary.
"Do they communicate with each other or does each act independently?"
"They communicate electronically with each other via the blood. The technique was developed in the Fifties by the Russians to enable spies to use lakes and surface water reservoirs to make a single untappable electronic connection between agents separated by a large expanse of water. I've developed a more advanced version of the technique to allows the bots to form a peer-to-peer network inside the body. Each bot operates independently, but reports it's findings via the net."
"How are they powered?"
"By the body itself. The bots are able to use heat, ATP and glycogen as power sources. Electrical energy is obtained from the ions in the blood. Electrically they're a hundred times more efficient than a nerve cell."
"You said they were heuristically programmed, what does that mean?", Jamie asked, fascinated by the concept of millions of molecular robots operating semi-independently to repair cellular damage.
"They are given a general set of instructions in their original program. As they find discrepancies between the program and the body they're in, they modify their instructions to match their environment. In short, they figure out what's wrong and how to do it. Then they go out and make the repairs. Well, ....what do you think?"
"This is fantastic! When will they be ready to give humans?", asked Jamie enthusiastically.
"Humans?," Ben laughed ruefully. "Not for a good many years, I'm afraid. We have years of testing ahead of us."
"But think of all the lives that could be saved!" Ben shook his head, "We have no idea what they would do in a human. Even though the DNA module would work, the programming for the hormones would probably be radically different. If we were testing the effect of the bots on another type of lab animal, we'd rely on the heuristic programming features to reprogram the bots. We couldn't take the chance on humans, there might be odd side effects."
The phone rang and Ben said, "Excuse me for a moment. I'll be right back."
He dropped his keys in an open drawer and went to answer the phone. Jamie glanced into the drawer, there were two more duplicate sets of keys lying further back in the drawer. Jamie shot a quick look over at Ben on the phone, then reached into the drawer and pocketed a duplicate set of keys.
Ben returned and said, "Congratulations from the "Head of Department" call. Do you have any questions?"
"How much do you give the rats? I guess I should say, how many bots do you give them?"
"Well, it's not the number that's important. A single one would do the job. You see, they're Von Neuman machines, as long as there's at least one to replicate, then the process will start. For practical purposes, however, the greater the number of bots that are originally introduced, the faster the enumeration process will take place. When we give an injection to the rats we introduce approximately one hundred thousand bots. About one-hundredth a cc of solution. The Head of Department wants to talk to me. Shall we go?"
Jamie nodded and lead the way out of the lab with a smile on his face. He had seen the means of his reprieve. Later that night Jamie returned to the lab and searched for the bots. After searching through all the cabinets he decided to try the refrigerator in the office. He discovered that the refrigerator was protected by a tubular lock similar to those found on pay telephones.
Fortunately, one of the keys on the spare set fit the lock on the refrigerator. When he opened the refrigerator he found it was filled with wire racks full of glass tubes. He looked and saw the bots were in rubber stoppered tubes sitting upright in the wire racks. He located a 10 ml syringe and filled it from one of the tubes marked "Bots-Stage Three-Final Ver. Series 731" and injected 5 ml into his antecubital vein. He replaced the tube and the keys, then turned out the lights and left the lab, locking the door behind him.
Friday morning Jamie woke up feeling as bad as ever. He got dressed and made a cup of coffee before going to the University. "The bots haven't had time to do anything yet. Give them time," he thought. He dragged though the day then went home and fell asleep on the couch waiting for Mary to come home.
When Mary came home from the University Wives' meeting, she put a comforter on Jamie and began making dinner for the two of them. She was used to finding him on the couch; Jamie always tried to stay up for her return when she went out. He was extremely jealous and wanted her to spend all of her time at home. The only way she could get out of the house was to go to a Wives' meeting.
Jamie gave her the distinct impression that he thought that she would "step out" on him if she had the chance. He'd wait for her so she could tell him where she'd been when she got back. She had begun to go to the University Wives' meetings so that she'd have witnesses to where she'd been and what she'd done. Mary knew that he'd never raise a stink about her new friends; the other wives would tell their husbands and his colleagues would give him hell if he did. Mary was confident that his behavior would moderate in time, she believed he was suffering from a newlywed's insecurity.
She woke him for dinner and then they went to bed. Jamie woke in the morning feeling terrible. He was exhausted. He felt like he was a hundred years old. When Mary tried to get him out of bed he groaned. She patted him on the head and said, "Does Jamie feel nasty today?"
Jamie groaned again and turned over. "I think I've got a virus," he said.
"More like a hangover, I think," she said with a frown in her voice. She got up and left him alone in bed. "Since it's Saturday, I'll leave you to sleep off your hangover."
He heard her make breakfast and then leave to go shopping. She woke him up about six o'clock and said, "I guess I misjudged you, you really must be sick. You slept the clock around."
She left and returned with his dinner on a tray. "Here Honey, try and eat something. Then you can go back to sleep."
He ate, then got up to go to the bathroom and went back to sleep. Jamie woke up feeling wonderful. He hadn't felt this good in years. He bounced out of bed and went to the kitchen to make breakfast for the both of them. He woke Mary with a kiss and gave her breakfast in bed.
"You must be feeling better. I guess sleeping the clock around did you some good," she said around a mouthful of eggs and toast. "Why don't you come back to bed?"
They didn't get out of bed until the late afternoon. Neither one of them went back to sleep though, they were engaged in trying to recreate the best moments of their honeymoon. When they got up and got dressed to go out to dinner, Jamie felt years younger.
Jamie looked at his face in the mirror as he shaved. "I look like I did when I was only an Associate Professor," he thought in surprise. "I guess the bots have started to work."
They went out to dinner and then went dancing. When they returned home Mary went directly to bed. Jamie followed her a few minutes later. He lowered the blinds, Monday was the start of Spring Break and there wouldn't be any classes for the next three weeks. He planned to sleep in Monday and didn't want the morning sun to wake them up.
Jamie woke up incredibly horny. He kissed Mary awake and began to slowly make love to her in the dark. After a delightfully long session with Mary Jamie rolled over on his back and sighed.
"That was wonderful Jamie," Mary husked. "You've never made love to me like that. You were as energetic as a teenager. It was like making love to an entirely different person," she said with a contented sigh. "Roll over here so I can give you a kiss," she said.
They kissed for minutes before she had to break for air. "Whee, you are different this morning! Let me look at you!" She reached behind her and turned on the lamp and ............screamed! "Who........Who are you?!!!," Mary demanded.
It took a moment for Jamie to answer, the back of his mouth was sticky with morning phlegm and his tongue was stuck to the roof off his mouth. He swallowed and spoke for the first time since he woke up. "Mary it's me, Jamie," he said, his voice cracking with the tones of puberty.
"You're not Jamie! What have you done with Jamie? I'm going to call the police!"
"Mary, it's me!," he yelled. "You?! You're not Jamie. You can't be more than thirteen! My husband is thirty-eight years old, you're not Jamie!"
Jamie leapt out of bed and dashed into the bathroom. He turned on the light and looked into the mirror. Staring back out of the mirror at him was the face of a young teenager, a very young teenager.
"Oh my God! What have I done? It's the bots, Mary! The bots have done this to me!" He rushed out of the bathroom to find her frantically calling the police.
"Mary, I'm Jamie. I can prove it to you! Please put down the phone."
She put the phone on the hook, reached into the bedside table, took out an automatic pistol, chambered a round and pointed the muzzle at his chest. "Okay, prove it, Mister!"
He sputtered a minute and then began to recount intimate details of their marriage to her. After a few minutes, she dropped the pistol onto the bedsheets and said, "Jamie, it is you! What's happened to you?"
He told her the story about his illness and his theft of the bots.
"We have to talk to your friend Ben.," she said determinedly. She went to the closet and started to get dressed while Jamie went to the dresser for a clean pair of shorts. He sat on the edge of the bed and put his legs in the shorts and pulled them up. He looked down and saw that his shorts were enormous on him. There was enough room for two of him in there. Mary looked at him and snickered, "Don't be silly, Jamie, those don't fit anymore. I'll have to get you some clothes before we go. I'll drive over to Wal-Mart and get you something to wear."
He dropped the shorts and sat back on the bed. Mary got dressed and got a tape measure from her sewing box. She measured his waist and inseam, then measured his arms and neck.
"I'll be right back, Honey," she said as she left.
He back into the bathroom to use the toilet. When he had finished he looked down at himself. All of his pubic hairs had fallen out, his pubes were as smooth and bare as a baby's! He reached down and cupped his testicles in his hand. They had shrunk to half the size they had been yesterday! Jamie put his head in his hands and wept. Ben would help him, he had to!
When Mary returned she gave him a pair of jeans, a tee-shirt and some plastic sandals. He struggled to put them on. "Mary," he said cautiously "don't you think these are a little tight on me?"
"Of course they are, Sweetheart. You're getting younger every minute. I bought them too small. I didn't want them to be too big on you when I got home! Here, sit on the bed and I'll help you."
She took the jeans from his hands, bent over and worked them up his legs. When she got them to his behind, she deftly lifted his legs and hips with one hand while pulling the jeans over his bottom with the other. She smiled in spite of herself when she saw he had lost all his pubic hair and couldn 't resist the opportunity to tease him. She felt the area with her hand and said, "Just as smooth as a baby's bottom. Little dickie looks soooo sweet all naked! And look, Jamie's got baby balls!"
Jamie blushed hotly and moved to zip up the pants. She slapped his hands and said, "I told you I'd do it Jamie," as she fastened his zipper for him.
She handed him the T-shirt and said, "Go ahead and put them on. They'll be okay by time we get to Ben's. I'll call him and tell him we're coming while you're getting dressed."
Mary left the room and called Ben at home on the kitchen phone. She explained to Ben what Jamie had done and asked him if he would help them. Ben agreed to meet them at the lab immediately.
Ben was unlocking the door of the lab when they arrived. He ushered them in and began to clear a work table. "My assistant, Laura will be here in a few minutes to help us," he said. She walked in as he finished moving the equipment from the table.
"Thanks for coming on such short notice, Laura. Would you get Mr. Farr prepared for a botscan while I get the instruments set up?"
Laura looked at the work table and said, "I'm going to fix a pad for this table, Mr. Farr. I'll be ready for you in just a minute."
She went to the emergency fire blanket which was mounted vertically in a long dispensing box by the office door. She grabbed the loop sewn to the blanket, pulled it free of the storage box, and draped it over her arm. Laura returned and folded the blanket into a long pad that she centered on the table.
"Just hop right up here, Mr. Farr," she said, patting the pad. Jamie jumped up on the edge of the table losing his pants in the process.
"That's alright, Mr. Farr, I was going to ask you to remove them anyway," she said as she reached down and picked up his pants.
She handed them to Mary who folded them neatly and put them on a table next to her. Ben came over to the table with a cable in his hand. He took a thin package out of his top pocket, tore the side of the package off and peeled the backing off a self-adhesive gel-pad electrode. Ben placed the electrode on Jamie's abdomen and said, "This electrode will allow my computer to communicate with the bots."
He connected the cable to the gel-pad and returned to his seat at the console. "Jamie," said Ben, "Do you know which sample you injected yourself with?"
Jamie felt uncomfortable talking about what he had stolen from Ben's lab in front of him. Jamie replied in a low, embarrassed voice, "It was in the front of the refrigerator, marked with a number, 731, I think."
Ben glanced at Laura and said, "Did you hear that, Laura? Would you go and check on the number for me?"
She nodded and returned shortly. "It was Series 731, Ben. The tube is almost empty," she said handing Ben the tube.
Ben looked at the tube label, shook his head and laid the tube down beside the computer console. Ben stared at the console as the computer flashed a message that it had achieved linkage.
"The computer's linked with the bots," he said, "I'll order a Ring 0 flush and terminate command.........They're not responding!...They must have reprogrammed themselves and given themselves a level thirty-one priority with Ring 0 privileges. I can't override! I'll try a NMI message...........Nothing! They've removed the NMI from their instruction set!....Jamie, there's nothing I can do. They won't let me take command of the job stack. All I can do is monitor their progress."
He bent over his console rapidly entering commands. "I'll have a population count in a few minutes."
He waited patently for the computer to complete the census. "Good God!!," he exclaimed as the figures were displayed. "This is incredible. I'd have never believed it if I hadn't seen it. There are almost a billion bots in him. They must be attempting to repair every cell in his body. Let me query the job stack............They are! They're doing a complete DNA re-write. Wait......I've got a census update. The population is declining. Slowly, but it is declining. I'll get an estimate of job completion time..........Two hours! The bots will be 99% completed in 2 hours and 14 minutes. I'll try to make a spline plot of his age. Jamie, how much of the solution did you inject into yourself?"
"About 5 ml."
"And when did you do it?"
"Thursday night, about eleven o'clock."
"Mary, you told me over the phone that he looked like he was about twelve or thirteen this morning. What time was that? Try to be as exact as possible."
Mary looked at her watch and said, "It was exactly one hour and fifteen minutes ago."
"And how old do you think Jamie looks now?" Mary looked at Jamie carefully and said, "I'd guess he's about eight, maybe nine years old."
"Okay, then. I think I've got enough data to make a rough estimate. I've fudged a lot of data we don't have, but at least we'll have a ballpark figure. There it is. At the current population and rate of population decline, I estimate Jamie's physiological age will be between six months to two years old when the bots finish."
Jamie looked shocked at the news, he had never expected that Ben wouldn't be able to do anything. "After all, the Bots are his invention," he thought.
Mary started weeping and Laura went over to her and put her arm around her shoulder. Ben got up and went to the office, returning a minute later with a bottle of Brandy. He poured about four fingers into a coffee cup and handed it to Mary.
"Drink it, Mary. I can't have you falling apart on me now. Think of how Jamie must feel. He's the one this is happening to. We're only bystanders."
Mary drank the Brandy in one long swallow and stopped crying. She appeared slightly green from chugging a coffee cup full of Brandy, but looked okay otherwise. Ben sat down at his console again while Laura stood behind Mary. No one moved for an hour as they watched Jamie shrink on the table.
Finally Laura broke the silence, "How old do you think he is now, Ben?"
"He's about three and half, perhaps four years old," Ben said softly.
Jamie looked up at Mary with a nervous expression on his face and said, "Would you hold me?"
As Mary got up from the lab chair next to the exam table and bent over him, Ben's assistant quickly rolled over a desk chair she been sitting in.
"Here, Mrs. Farr, you can sit in this. There'll be more room for the two of you. I'll get another from the office."
Mary picked Jamie up and sat down in the chair with her husband in her lap. She looked at the lab assistant thankfully and said, "Poor dear, he wants to be close to me. If it's okay with the two of you, I'll hold him until it's over."
The two scientists nodded and watched as she tenderly cuddled the diminutive form of her husband. Ben completed his calculations on his computer terminal and motioned for his assistant to come over to him. He whispered into her ear for a moment, then took out his wallet and gave her two twenty dollar bills.
"My assistant will be back in a few minutes. I' m sending her out for some special supplies."
Mary nodded absently, she didn't care what they did, as long as she could be close to her beloved husband Jamie. Ben rolled his chair next to hers and said, "Mary, the nanobots will complete their program in approximately sixty minutes. Jamie will survive. I think I can shut down the nanobots once they've finished executing their program. I've configured the job list to loop until recognized. I've given them the order to flush from his system and terminate. They'll exit his body through his large intestine and pass out of his body with his stools. Don't worry, once they've terminated, they're harmless. The code causes the control structure of the nanobot to break down into a meaningless silicon structure."
They waited and watched Jamie as the minutes and years of his life dribbled away. Ben's assistant returned with a bag from Wal-Mart which she put under the table. Ben looked at his watch and said, ".....three minutes until completion." He turned back to the monitor and watched, then counted down the remaining seconds, "Four, three, two, one. Job completed. Flushing commencing......... Termination mode activated...... All units shut down. Mary, it's over. Jamie will live."
Mary wasn't listening, she was looking down at Jamie and repeating, "My poor, poor baby! What have you done to yourself?"
Jamie mewled and started to pee. "Oh Jamie," she said, "what are you doing? Stop that!"
Ben's lab assistant reached under the table and opened the bag. She took out a small, folded, white object and presented it to Mary, saying, "Mrs. Farr, I think you should put Jamie in this."
Mary looked at her distractedly and said, "Put Jamie in what?"
"A diaper, Mrs. Farr. I think you should put Jamie in diapers," said Laura, unfolding the object to reveal what it was; a disposable baby diaper.
"A what?," asked Mary in confusion.
Ben came over to Mary's side and said gently, "Mary, Jamie is going to have a bowel movement very soon now. The command I gave to the bots have caused them to stimulate the passage of stools. I think you should put him in a diaper right away, before that happens. Don't you agree?"
She looked at the diaper in the assistant's hand, then down at the wet spot Jamie had made on her pants. "I think you're right," she said.
Mary put Jamie on the table and expertly diapered him, then picked him up and held him close to her bosom. The assistant took a small flannel blanket out of the bag and said, "Here, Mrs. Farr, I bought a baby blanket too. Why don't you wrap Jamie in this? You don't want Jamie to get cold, do you? "
Mary took the blanket wordlessly from the lab assistant and carefully wrapped Jamie, then reseated herself in the chair. The assistant took the bag and went to another lab table. She busied herself with glassware and lit a bunsen burner; apparently involving herself in an experiment. Mary sat in the chair cuddling Jamie and murmuring to him in a low voice, "Jamie's been very, very naughty! Look at you! Do you see what happens when you steal? You've become a baby! What am I going to do with you? I can't even give you back to your mother. She's in the last stage of Alzheimer' s. She can't take care of you, she's as helpless as you are. She's in the hospital and back in diapers herself. My poor, poor baby! You need someone to take care of you. You look so helpless. What will you do for a mommy?"
She frowned and said, "I'll guess I'll have to take care of you myself. What do you say to that Jamie? Do you want me to be your Mommy?" Jamie looked up into Mary's face, smiled and cooed pleasantly. Mary smiled at Jamie and said, "Jamie likes that idea doesn't he? Don't worry Darling, Mommy will take care of you."
Mary looked at Ben and said, "Isn't there something you can do for him? Can't you order the bots to change him back?"
Ben shook his head no and said, "Mary, what the bots did is irrevocable. The bots have completely replaced his cellular structure. You were right when you told him that he's a baby. Any attempt to rewrite the bots programming would be very dangerous. When they rejuvenated him, the template of all the changes in his body that maturity made was lost. That information isn't recoverable, it's lost forever. I can't do anything. The only option we have is to let him grow up and age normally. You'll have to be his Mommy."
His lab assistant returned and handed Mary a baby bottle full of formula. "Here Mrs. Farr, I made a bottle of baby formula for him. He's probably thirsty, why don't you give it to him? The temperatures okay, I warmed it to thirty seven degrees Celsius."
Ben put his hand on her arm and said, "Mary, I'd like you to give him the bottle. Feeding him will help stimulate the bowel reflex, he needs to void the bots as soon as possible."
Mary took it reluctantly and approached Jamie's head with the bottle intending to put the nipple in Jamie's mouth. Jamie seized the bottle eagerly from her hand, jammed the nipple in his mouth and began sucking thirstily.
"Mary, I'm going to call a friend of mine, Dr. Walsh to come over and examine Jamie. She's a pediatrician at the University Health Clinic and is more qualified than I am to evaluate Jamie's condition. Dr. Walsh is an old friend and she would respect Jamie's right to privacy. I'm sure you realize what a delicate position the University has been put in by Jamie's actions. I'd like to keep what's happened to Jamie out of the press if I can." Ben patted her hand and went to the phone and place the call.
"Alice..............Hello Alice, this is Ben............I was wondering if you could do a favor for me?............Could you come over to my lab?............Yes, immediately if possible..............Well, I can't really say over the phone. I was wondering if you could examine a friend of mine.........How old? I can't say.......Yes, I know that sounds cryptic. This friend is a pedi case, is that a help?................Thanks, we'll be waiting for you. Bye." Ben hung the receiver up, returned to the table and said, "She said she'll be here in about thirty minutes. Has he had a bowel movement yet?.........No?......Well, let's try to get him to evacuate his bowels. He needs to void the bots. Mary, try to get him to walk. Exercise should do it."
She unwrapped him from the blanket and stood him on his feet on the lab floor. He rocked and swayed unsteadily before Mary could grab his hand. "Walk, Jamie! You can do it! Come on, honey. Try and walk for Mary."
He stood and wobbled uncertainly on his feet. Laura knelt down to his level and was rewarded with a dazed smile from Jamie. Laura returned his smile and cooed invitingly at Jamie, "Walkies, Jamie! Go walkies for Laura!"
He smiled again and took a step.
"That's a good boy. Come to Laura!"
She backed off a pace and knelt with her arms outstretched. "Come to Laura, Sweetheart!"
He took another step and fell on his bottom, still holding onto Mary's hand. Jamie's expression rapidly changed from surprise to frustration and he began to cry. Laura looked at him sympathetically and said, "Let's see if crawling will do it. Mary, would you put him on the table?"
Mary picked him up and placed him on the table on his hands and legs. "Crawl Honey!," Mary demanded. "Crawl for Mary."
Jamie crawled to the end of the table obediently, then turned and started to crawl back to Mary. Halfway across the table Jamie stopped with a puzzled expression on his face. Jamie's confused frown turned into a half-smile and Laura said, "Look, Mrs. Farr. He's pooping in his diaper. I'll get ready to change him."
Laura picked up the bag and put it on the table next to Jamie. She took a small travel pack of baby wipes, a blue box the size of a pint of milk, a box the size of a toothpaste tube, a tube of KY Jelly, and a stack of clean diapers out of the bag. She went over to a supply cabinet and brought back some contaminated material bags and a box of latex gloves. She gloved her hands and said, "We need to be careful when we change his diaper, there might be some active bots in the stools. We'll have to treat the diaper as a Class One Bio-hazard and incinerate it."
They waited another five minutes until they were sure that Jamie had finished his bowel movement. Laura picked up Jamie under his armpits and laid him on his back. She unfastened the tapes on the diaper and pulled it down, exposing his pubic area. She opened the baby wipes and lifted his legs with one hand, then cleaned his bottom with the wipe. Mary slid a clean diaper underneath his bottom and Laura gently lowered him back to the table. Ben supervised the operation and explained the next procedure while Laura sealed the dirty wipe, used diaper and gloves into a contaminated materials bag.
"We need to make sure that all the bots are out of his system. The computer indicates that all of them have flushed into his rectum and ceased to function, all we need to do now is make sure his rectum is completely cleaned out. Laura, when you've finished with that bag, would you prepare the solution for the next step while I begin the initial cleaning?" He gloved up and turned Jamie on his stomach, causing Jamie to squeal in fright. "Mary, would you glove up too, so you can help me? I think Jamie needs some reassurance."
Mary put on the glove dutifully and held Jamie's back down while Ben opened the toothpaste sized box.
"It's alright, Sweetie. Ben won't hurt you. It'll all be over in a minute," she cooed down at Jamie.
Ben held up a accordion-like plastic tube filled with a clear jell. He lubricated the end and inserted it into Jamie's behind searching for the anus. When he found it, he slipped it all the way in and began to collapse the accordion, forcing the jell into Jamie's rectum. He withdrew the laxative applicator and dropped it into an empty materials bag and then turned Jamie onto his back.
"This should only take a minute, Jamie. It won't hurt, I promise," Ben said. J
amie gazed into the eyes of his old friend with a trusting look that rapidly changed into one of surprise. A minute later, Jamie pooped onto the diaper lying flat on the table beneath him. He wiggled his legs as the jell continued to ooze out of his behind. Mary put her hand on his abdomen to keep him from moving off of the diaper.
"We're ready when you are Laura," Ben called.
Laura came over with a stoppered 1000 ml Erlenmeyer flask full of a white soapy looking solution.
"I'm ready now Ben."
Ben wiped Jamie clean and disposed of the materials just as Laura had done. Mary put a clean diaper under Jamie and stood silently while they prepared another enema for him. Laura took an enema syringe out of her lab coat pocket and filled it from the flask.
"Mary, could you turn him over on his stomach for me? When I've finished injecting the enema solution, turn him on his back again for me."
Mary did as Laura requested while Laura lubed the syringe. The operation took less than a minute and Jamie was lying on his back again. Laura tucked the diaper up between his legs to catch the solution. Seconds later, soapy water began to spew from his anus into the diaper.
"Again," Ben said, holding an empty bag for the wet diaper.
They gave Jamie enemas until the flask was empty, then disposed of the syringe in the bag. There was a knock on the door and Ben went over to see who was there. He opened it a crack, stuck his head out of the door, then threw the door open. "Come in Alice, Come in."
Dr. Alice Walsh came in and he hurriedly closed and locked the door behind her.
"Alice, let me fill you in on what's going on here."
They huddled together in a quiet conference and then came over to the table. Alice set her bag on the table and took out a stethoscope. She listened to Jamie's heart and lungs, then palpated his back. She took a oto/opthalmoscope from her bag and looked into his eyes and ears, then she took a tongue depressor from her bag and looked at his throat. Alice peeled his bottom lip down to look at his gums and teeth, then palpated the sutures on his skull. She turned Jamie on his stomach, then took a rectal thermometer from a small case, shook it down and inserted it in Jamie's anus. He squirmed as she held him down for the measurement.
Alice took her ballpoint pen and ran it up the sole of his foot several times, then switched feet and repeated the procedure. His toes remained uncurled in response to the pen each time. Then she stroked the outside edge of the sole making the big toe flex. Alice stroked his palm with the pen and noted that his palm remained open. She put the pen in her pocket and turned his head in one direction then another, watching his trunk twist each time in the direction that his head was turned. Then she put her finger next to his cheek and brushed it lightly, noting that his head turned as she touched him.
Alice put her forefinger into his mouth and withdrew it when he attempted to suckle her finger. She stood him up on his feet and watched his stance, then tried to get him to walk. He collapsed without trying to walk, evidently preferring to crawl.
"Well," said Ben, "What do you think? Is he okay?"
Alice looked at all of them gravely and said, "He's about 22 pounds and appears to be healthy. He doesn't seem to have any neurological damage as nearly as I can tell, but his reflexes seem to be those of a nine to ten month old baby. The only abnormality I could find was that his cranial sutures seem to be completely closed. If he were really an infant, that might be a problem, there wouldn't be any room for his brain to grow. In his case I simply don't know, it might not be a problem.
"What do you mean, it might not be a problem? Wouldn't his brain be crushed if it grew?," demanded Mary.
Ben put his hand on her shoulder and said, "She means that there's a very real possibility that he might not grow, Mary. He might stay like this the rest of his life."
Alice nodded in agreement and continued, "I would say that you have a miracle on your hands, Ben. You have a middle-aged man with the body of an infant. I see that you've got diapers for him. Have you diapered him yet? "
They all nodded. "Has he.........utilized a diaper?" They all nodded emphatically.
"I see. Laura, could you rediaper him please. And that baby bottle I see on the table, I assume you gave him formula? Was there any problem getting him to drink from the bottle?" They all shook their heads no.
"Well then, my advice is to get him a nanny. A Mommy would be even better. He's obviously been regressed into infancy and will have to be cared for. Other than that, I can't tell you anything. I can't even tell you if he'll grow up. Ben's the expert in the effects of the bots. If he doesn't know, you'll just have to wait and see. Mary, are you Jamie's wife?"
Mary said "yes" in a small voice.
Alice looked at her sympathetically and said, "Mary, I think you should forget about being his wife. You're going to have to be his Mommy now. Can you do that? Can you be his Mommy?"
"I.....I've already promised Jamie I'd be his Mommy," Mary stammered.
"Then it's all settled," said Alice with professional satisfaction at a difficult situation successfully managed. Laura finished rediapering Jamie, then picked him up and handed him to Mary. Jamie hung limply from her hands like a wet dish towel.
"Oh my poor baby!," exclaimed Mary.
She took him in her arms and cuddled him to her. Jamie whimpered in exhaustion and tried to hide his head in the hollow of her shoulder. She pulled him back from her shoulder and looked into his face.
"Honey, can you talk? Jamie, do you know who I am? I'm Mary, your wife, speak to me!"
Jamie struggled mightily to get out some words but all that came out was a baby's babble.
"Come on Jamie! Try! Try and say something for me. Tell me my name. Come on, Honey. Say M-a-r-y!"
Jamie pursed his lips and said, "mmm....ma"
"Listen," Mary said excitedly, "he's trying to say my name!......Did you hear him? He made the M' sound!"
Jamie pursed his lips again and tried valiantly to speak, "mmm......ma.....mama!"
A look of disappointment came over Mary's face, for a moment she had thought he could still talk. "There, there Sweetheart. It's alright. I know you tried your best. I guess Dr. Walsh is right. I'll have to be your Mommy," Mary said, hugging him close to her bosom and patting his diapered bottom.
Alice smiled and said, "Well, there's no doubt who Jamie thinks is his Mommy!"
Everyone chuckled and the atmosphere in the room lightened noticeably. "Mary, I'm going to give you a prescription for some mild tranquilizers. You may not need them, but if you do I'd like you to have them. I'll talk to Dr. Thorson, the staff psychiatrist, about setting up an emergency appointment for you next week. Laura, I think it would be a good idea if you drove Mary home in her car. She doesn't need to be driving after what's happened today. Ben can follow you in his Suburban and take you back to the University. If Mary feels up to it, maybe you can take her to K-Mart to buy some baby things for Jamie. You might also stop by a grocery store and pick up enough food to last a few days. I'd like Mary to rest for the next couple of days. She needs the time to adjust to the situation."
Alice smiled again at Jamie and she continued, "That will give mother and her new baby time get to know each other."
When they got home, Mary took Jamie into the house while Laura brought in the new playpen Mary had bought at K-Mart. They set up the playpen and put Jamie in the pen while they unloaded the car. Mary had bought enough baby food and formula at the grocery store to feed Jamie for a month. They had just got the last bags out of the car when Ben drove up in his Suburban. He had been delayed at K-Mart waiting for the stockboys to load all the baby furnishings Mary had bought.
They had stopped at the grocery store first. Mary proceeded to fill a cart with several packages of disposable diapers, formula, baby food, powder, lotion, soap, shampoo, conditioner, 2 large boxes of baby wipes, sun block, a rectal thermometer, children's Tylenol, a nipple-type medicine dispenser, a home otoscope, plastic disposal bags for disposable diapers while traveling, diaper rash ointment, nose syringe, enema syringe, Q-tips, disposable bibs for traveling, Dreft detergent for baby clothes, diaper pre-soak, bleach, fabric softener, room deodorizers and a little food for Mary.
Then they went to K-Mart. Ben was astonished at the amount of money she was spending on Jamie. When he had suggested that she was spending too much money and she didn't need most of what she was buying, Laura and Mary had given him a condescending, pitying look. As a bachelor, he had never realized how expensive it was to take care of a baby. First it was the furniture; a playpen, a crib and mattress, a baby gate, a dresser with changing pad, a nursery lamp for the dresser, a rocking chair, a high chair, a bouncer-walker, a baby seat for the car, a portable playpen/crib, and a stroller. Then there were the clothes; playsuits, crawlers, one-piece suits, tee-shirts, cloth diapers, diaper covers, plastic panties, socks, shoes, and sleepers. She had almost filled a cart with clothes alone. Then linens and accessories; a dozen sheets, a comforter, a crib blanket, a padded crib bumper, an electronic nursery monitor, bath towels, a dozen terry and plastic bibs, a half-dozen lap pads, two dozen washcloths, bottles, two dozen nipples, feeding spoons and plates, a feeding mat for the floor, pacifiers, baby food storage racks, a nipple rack for the automatic dishwasher, nipple and bottle brushes, electrical outlet covers and cabinet locks, organizers for washing baby socks, a baby seat and sponge pad for the tub, a dirty diaper pail, a diaper bag, a cloth high chair for traveling, a protective plastic seat cover to go under the baby seat in the car, insulated bottle warmers, curtains and wallpaper borders and appliqus for the nursery, a night light, story and picture books, tapes of nursery rhymes, and toys.
Mary had managed to fill three shopping carts with baby goods without even putting the furniture in the carts. They filled Mary's trunk and backseat with the groceries and sundries from K-Mart. His Suburban was packed all the way to the front seat when the stockboys had finished loading the furniture at K-Mart. Ben was impressed with Mary's earnestness in trying to be a good mother. Ben wasn't sure what kind of mother Mary would make Jamie, but it was obvious she intended to try her best. "Mary is such a good woman," he thought to himself, "It's a shame that this has happened to her. She deserves better. She's too young to spend the rest of her life with only a baby for company. She needs to find another man. Who knows, she might be interested in me. If Jamie h adn't found her and married her before I met her, things might have been different. I might have married her."
Ben hauled the furniture into the hallway next to the spare bedroom and began to move the furniture that had been in the bedroom into the garage. Mary and Laura came in and helped to assemble the furniture and put things away. Within two hours they had finished. There were three 40 gallon plastic garbage bags of wrapping and cardboard cartons at the curb to attest to their efforts. Mary went inside to get Jamie and carried him in her arm to se them off.
"Wave bye-bye to Uncle Ben, Jamie," she said, taking his arm a waving it up and down.
Jamie grinned and waved clumsily. Ben blushed in embarrassment at Jamie and tried to cover his feelings by patting Jamie's head like an affectionate uncle.
Ben said his goodbyes and was rewarded with a big kiss on the mouth by Mary. Laura hugged Mary, kissed Jamie on the forehead and wished them luck, then got into the Suburban with Ben.
Mary came in the house and put Jamie in his playpen, then went into the bedroom to change. It had been an exhausting day. She decided that no one was going to visit her that night and simply removed all of her clothes without redressing. She would spend the evening in the buff.
Mary returned to the living room and sat down on the sofa. She looked at Jamie standing in his playpen watching her with his hand in his diaper. She looked closer to see what he was doing and was surprised when she realized that Jamie was masturbating. Mary didn't scold him, as long as he didn't do it in public, she didn't care.
"Let Jamie have his fun, she thought, he's only a little baby now. He can play with his wee-wee to his heart's content."
Mary thought about their love making session this morning, Jamie had really been an exceptional lover as a teenager. Just thinking about it made her horny.
"I'm going to have to do something about having a lover now that Jamie's a baby. There's no way I'm going to be celibate for the rest of my life. Hmm....I wonder if Ben would be interested in me. He's smart, good looking, and easy to get along with. A girl could do worse than to marry him. He doesn't have a girlfriend at the moment and I know he's not gay. Ben must feel awfully guilty about Jamie. I should tell him I don't hold him responsible for what happened. It wasn't his fault. I'll call him tomorrow and see if he would like to come over. As Jamie's best friend, he'd probably feel obligated to console me. You know what they say, there's only one way to "comfort" a widow!"
Mary got up from the sofa and picked up Jamie. "It's time for your dinner, Sweetheart! Mommy has some yummy strained carrots and peas for her little baby."
She put him on her hip, carried him into the kitchen and put him into the high chair. She tied a bib around his neck and opened a jar of strained vegetables.
"Open wide, Sweetie," she said ladling a spoonful a vegetables into his mouth. He grimaced at the taste of the baby food and tried to push it away.
"Now Honey, don't be naughty. Mommy wants you to eat all your veges," she told him firmly as she spooned another mouthful into him.
Mary was more than slightly upset with Jamie; he hadn't told her that he had been suffering from a potentially fatal disease and then he had taken an untested "drug" without consulting her. That was a hell of a way to treat his wife! His fate was karmic justice for the way he had treated her. She' d take care of him; she'd feed him, dress him, change his diapers and wash his dirty behind, but she'd be damned if she'd feel sorry for him!
Besides, she hadn't wanted to have a baby. She was perfectly happy with the life she had. As far as she was concerned, her marriage to him was over. She had married a man, not an infant! She'd bed the first eligible man she could find, and do it right in front of him if it came to that. She smiled at the thought as she spooned the tasteless puree into him.
Everybody believed he couldn't think because he had the body and reflexes of a baby. Wouldn't it be fun if he could still think? She could imagine how he'd feel if Ben came over and screwed her on the living room floor in front of him. Jamie would go crazy with jealousy and wouldn't be able to do anything about it. He couldn't even talk! All he would be able to do is stand at the side of his playpen and cry!
She could picture it clearly, there he'd be, his tiny hand clutching the top of the playpen rail, sucking his thumb and wearing nothing but a wet, drooping diaper. He'd be forced to watch while they lay on the floor naked in front of him, moaning and grunting in adult pleasure, totally ignoring the helpless infant he'd become. He'd get horny and masturbate himself in sexual frustration. She'd notice and point out his infantile sexual antics to Ben and they'd laugh at his childishness. He'd be so embarrassed, he'd probably start bawling! Then she'd take him out of his playpen and put him in his crib for the night while they continued to party. He'd end up with a hell of an Oedipal complex!
There'd be a odd sort of justice in that, he'd have stolen the secret of eternal youth from his best friend and as a consequence had lost the ability to enjoy his wife's sexual affections. It was only right that his best friend would "assume" his marital duties and receive the "favors" to which Jamie was no longer entitled or able to appreciate. She noticed that the food dribbling down his chin was accumulating on his bib. Mary scraped the food off of the bib and fed it to him again. "Waste not, want not, baby!," she thought to herself.
From the look on his face she decided he must really hate this food. She sneered at him mentally, "Ohhhh poor baby! You don't like the taste of baby food? Well, that's just too bad. That's all you're going to be eating from now on. If you think you don't like that, just wait until you get your first case of diaper rash. You'll really be unhappy then!"
She fed him the rest of the jar, then cleaned him up and took him into the living room to give him his bottle. Mary sat down on the sofa and arranged him on her lap, laying him back against the crook of her arm. She put the nipple in his mouth and watched him as he eagerly began to suck.
"He really is adorable!," she thought. "All the University wives are going to be jealous when they see him, he really is a cutie! I'll have to put him in something that emphasizes what a irresistibly helpless baby he's become. Maybe I can find a baby doll dress to fit him, something sweet with ruffles and lace in baby blue with matching rumba panties. He won't mind, he'll probably enjoy all the attention. Maybe I should have a baby shower for him. That's an idea, I'll have a srty to let him get acquainted with his new age group. Nothing big or expensive, just a few of the wives who have babies. They won't have to bring anything but small gifts, I've already bought everything I need to take care of him. I can see him crawling on the floor with the other babies. He'll drool, coo, pee himself and dump in his dydee just like the rest of them. He'd be so humiliated if he could still think! No one would listen to him. No one would pay serious attention to anything he did. No one would ever believe he was anything but a mindless infant. He'd just be another silly, diapered baby in a playpen full of silly, diapered babies. All my friends would do is smile at him and tell me what a pretty baby he is! He'd be mortified!"
She wondered what he'd do if he saw one of her friends breast-feeding her baby. Men were such infants about such things. He'd probably sit on the floor and gape in amazement. With a little luck, maybe she could con her friend into giving him a little titty. Wouldn't that be something! He'd lay in her lap, his legs kicking while she took her breast out of her bra and guided it to his mouth. Then he'd take the tit all the way to the aureola and start sucking. His reflexes would kick in and he'd gorge himself on her milk. Even if he grew up physiologically, he'd never be the same. The thought of him spending the rest of his life craving women's titties, not for sex, but to satisfy physical hunger, made her grin. She hoped he really could think! It would be a shame if her fantasy couldn't come true!
She wanted to punish him for letting her become a young "widow". Mary thought that she should find a daycare center to take care of him for a few hours each day. She could imagine the look on his face as she left him standing alone in a playpen, clad in nothing but a diaper and surrounded by strangers. The expression of abandonment and helplessness would be priceless, she'd have to get a picture. She'd enjoy seeing him utterly humiliated by having unfamiliar women treat him like a baby.
She wanted to see him helplessly pee and poop his dydee in front of the entire staff of a daycare center. There he'd be, a shamefaced squalling baby in sopping dydees, waiting for someone to come change his diaper and clean his dirty bottom! She wanted him to experience the ignominy of being considered a witless tot whose foolish yearnings were beneath contempt.
In a daycare he 'd be subject to all the indignities of babyhood. If his diaper drooped, they 'd put their hands down the front of his diaper to see if he was wet without any thought for his privacy. If they found that he'd peed his diaper, they'd strip him naked on a changing table and chatter about how cute his little wee-wee looked. Then they'd cleanse him brusquely and change his diaper with a splendid disregard of his personal dignity. He'd find out how exasperating being completely helpless and dependent is! If he became fussy, they'd bounce him on their knees and soothe his wounded infant id with baby-talk. If they thought he was thirsty, they'd give him a baby bottle. He wouldn't even be given the chance to belch on his own; after he finished nursing, t hey'd hold him against their shoulder and burp him.
He'd learn the frustration of having strangers be in full control of him. He'd be fed, played with and put down for his naps without the slightest concern for his wishes. He'd simply be another baby to be cared for in a room full of babies to be cared for. If he interrupted them with his babbling, they'd put a pacifier in his mouth. If he tried to take off his diaper or touched anything but his toys, they'd slap his hands, scold him and tell him he was naughty. If he became really troublesome, they might pull down his diaper and spank his bare bottom!
The thought made her shiver in anticipation. She wanted him to suffer, to see him humiliated the way he'd humiliated her by not trusting her. She wanted to savor the sight of him crawling half-naked and helpless on the floor in front of everyone, whimpering and crying incoherently for her to pick him up and take him home from the daycare center! If this was his punishment for stealing from his best friend and betraying her, she wanted to enjoy it!
Mary sighed and took the bottle from his hands. She'd never do any of those things. "Well,..." she thought reconsidering, "....I might take him to a daycare if I was busy and couldn't find a babysitter."
She was a Mommy now and he was her baby. She'd take good care of him. Mary smiled down at her infant husband maternally.
"Poor baby, you've lost your life. You made a desperate gamble to regain your health and squandered your maturity and your wife in a single weekend. You thought you were only risking a life you thought was already lost. You didn't realize how much everyone valued you for what you had made of life. All that will be remembered of you now is what an adorable baby you became. The healthy body you've regained was bartered at a terrible price. You'v e traded the treasures and privileges of adulthood for the body and mind of an infant. Everything that you've accomplished and worked for is gone. Your knowledge and profession are only memories.
At least you seem to be happy as a baby. You'll spend the rest of your life babbling and cooing in delight at the world around you. You've escaped the death that haunted you. Your only concerns now are whether you're hungry and need to be fed, or whether you're thirsty and want your bottle, or that your diaper needs changing. Your world has become too small to compass evil thoughts. Your magnificent sex drive has been reduced to innocent acts of infantile masturbation. The adult pleasures have been replaced by simple urges; your pacifier, your thumb, peeing your diaper, are all it takes to please you.
You're content to feel protected and secure, surrounded by the trappings of infancy. You'll have the same schedule as all my friends' babies. I'll wake you in the morning, change your diaper and give you your bottle. Then I'll feed you and put you in your playpen with your toys while I clean house. I'll put you down for your nap a few hours later. After your nap, I'll change your diaper again and feed you your lunch. Then you'll spend the afternoon crawling around the living room floor and playing under my watchful eye. You'll take another nap in the afternoon and have your diaper changed before I feed you your supper. After I've given you your bath, I'll put you in your crib for the night.
By eight o'clock you'll be fast asleep, resting for another day of feedings, naps and diaper changes. You'll never grow older, never change, you'll always be my baby. Poor, poor, Jamie, your wife has become your Mommy and your best friend has become a doting uncle. The only friends you'll have from now on will be the other babies who share your playpen. As they grow up and go to college, you'll still be in your nursery wearing diapers. Honey, I still love you even though you can't be my husband. I'll take care of you for the rest of your life." She'd love, cherish and nurture him like any other Mother would do for her baby. She couldn't bring herself to hurt him, she was only angry with him for abandoning her.
"I shouldn't have been angry with him. He was only trying to save his life. He wasn't deliberately dishonest. He just didn't know how to tell me. Look at him, he's such a sweet baby!," she thought as she carried him to his crib to tuck him in. "Just the same, she thought, "I'll call Ben tomorrow and see if he' d like to come over. I saw the look in his eye when he helped us set up the nursery. Now that I'm no longer married, he's free to date me. I wonder how good a lover he is?," she thought wistfully.
She really did enjoy having sex on the living room floor, she and Jamie had often made love there. Of course, she would have to leave the playpen where it was and have Jamie in the pen while they made love. Mary was sure that Ben would understand. She couldn't leave Jamie unattended, he was only a baby!
Jamie was too young to comprehend what they would be doing, so it would be okay to make love in front of him. Maybe Ben would fall in love with her and move in with them, then Jamie would have a Daddy and a Mommy!
Later that night, Jamie woke up after having the strangest dream. He had dreamt that he had his illness had been cured and in the process he had been changed into a baby. He squeezed his eyes shut tight and tried to remember the rest of the dream. Just before he had woken he had dreamed he had peed and was lying in a crib wearing a wet diaper.
Jamie yawned sleepily and thought, "My subconscious must be terrified of death! It's regressing in order to escape. I guess I'm going to have to make an appointment with the University psychiatrist to get some counseling before it starts to affect my work." He moved his buttocks slightly to get more comfortable in bed and was surprised when his bottom seemed to glide across the sheet.
"What am I wearing?," he thought and put his hands down to his hips to check. When his hands felt the plastic, Jamie began to panic. He stuck his hand under the front of the diaper and felt the soggy absorbent padding squish beneath his fingers.
"Oh God," he thought in terror, "Oh please God, don't let this be happening to me!" He opened his eyes and looked around the nursery wildly, then began screaming for Mary, but all that came out of his mouth was "Ma-maaaaa!"
One year later, on the exact anniversary of Professor Farr's disappearance following the discovery of his terminal illness, a notice appeared in the student newspaper; "Married: Mary Farr to Professor Ben Thomson of the Chemistry department. The marriage ceremony was small, attended only by the Minister, the Bride and Groom, Dr. Alice Walsh, pediatrician at the University Health Clinic and friend of the family, and Laura Stevens, Professor Thomson's Lab Assistant. Mary's son by a previous marriage, the infant Jamie, was left in the care of the women of University Daycare Center during the Wedding and Reception that followed."
Finis coronat infans
Copyright 1998 by Jennifer Loraine. All rights reserved.