A Modern Fairy Tale
Dirty Harry Takes A Bath
by Jennifer Lorraine
Disclaimer: This is an adult fantasy story about physical age regression.
The characters portrayed within are neither children nor actual people.
Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
If you are offended by material like this, please stop reading this
message now. Otherwise continue, and share in this fantasy.
Harry called himself a smart bastard. Everybody who knew him agreed, with a decided emphasis on the "bastard" part. He was a cigar champing, Rye drinking, male chauvinist, racist, exploitive, 24 carat, son-of-a-bitch. Harry was egalitarian in only one respect; he detested everyone, everywhere equally as sub-humans unworthy of any consideration or respect. He had decided quite early in his life that the sole purpose of the world was to please him and nothing he had learned since had disabused him of the notion. It irritated him intensely that the desire to please him was not universal.
He had done well for himself over the years. Harry was sole owner and proprietor of the largest equipment rental company in the city of San Antonio. His firm handled light to medium grade construction and welding equipment, industrial carpet and floor care machines, as well as gardening and home maintenance equipment and tools. He had over one hundred permanent accounts which provided him with eighty percent of his "profit", i.e., the profit shown on the books he gave his accountant, the profit he paid taxes on. These accounts more than took care of his operational "nut" while guaranteeing a profit that any reasonable businessman would have considered equitable. Unfortunately, for the tax-paying public, Harry wasn't reasonable. He did not report the income from the arrangements he had with the contractors. Contracting in San Antonio could be lucrative if one approached the job with the correct attitude. He had arranged to be paid for rentals that were never left the store for construction work that was never performed for city, state, and Federal government.
The F-E-D-E-R-A-L G-O-V-E-R-N-M-E-N-T, as in Federal Reserve Notes, had five (count those money stacks), five assorted army and air installations in the area. Each of those installations had facilities under continuous repair, upgrade or expansion. It was a crooked contractors paradise. So much was being demolished, built or maintained at once, that no one had any idea of what work had been contracted out or been accomplished. The military contract control officers on each base or post would be assigned the job of oversight and would founder almost immediately beneath a sea of specifications, bids, reports, and testaments of completion. In every case, the reaction of the benighted officer was almost identical; the officer would roll his eyes upward and pray earnestly to his God that he would never be called in by Congress to testify about the contracts that were ostensibly under his control. Then he would do his level best to dot every "i" and cross each "t" in the paperwork in the forlorn hope that neatness might be counted in his favor if he was called in on the carpet.
The scuttlebutt in the Officers Mess had it that once or twice a Contract Officer had actually tried to make sense of the confusion. Rumor had it that the resultant vacant-eyed, slack-jawed officers had been led away in restraining jackets to spend the balance of their lives in VA psychiatric wards, having the drool wiped from their chins and their diapers changed by retired military nurses working at the VA. Given the state of the contracts on the installations, the stories were all too believable. Since most military men have an aversion to being spoon-fed baby food by sour-faced, ancient army nurses, discretion was held to be the better part of valor and the mess was left for the next unlucky slob who happened to draw the assignment. As time went on, the knots became so tangled that even Alexander’s Sword couldn’t have hacked it’s way through the coils of contracts.
The current construction boom had started in the cold war and had never stopped. Even the downsizing of the military after the end of the cold war had not slowed the pace but increased it as Congress consolidated separate commands. The civilian economy had become dependent on feeding, housing and caring for the military and it's dependents. Military retirees returned there for the climate, the PXs and Commissaries, the hospitals and the jobs in civil service. Everyone agreed that the military was good for San Antonio and did whatever was necessary to keep it there, including voting for whoever could inveigle Congress into dumping a bit more pork in the San Antonio environs. Congressmen who supported the military presence were elected and re-elected until their congressional seniority gave them the power to ensure that the military presence would not diminish but thrive perpetually under their loving protection.
Harry profited from the contractors illegally in two ways. He derived income from falsified rental contracts and from a percentage of the non-existent labor costs gratefully given to Harry by the contractors after he had shown them how simple it was to improve their profit margin. He rarely had to threaten them with exposure after he pointed out that he had the records to prove that the equipment had been rented, while an investigation of the job site would show that the work was sub-standard or had never been done.
The more enterprising contractors admired his skill at turning an illegal profit so much that they had given him the nickname, "Dirty Harry". The more honest contractors used the name too, but with considerably less regard than their conniving cousins in construction. Harry liked the name so much that he went out and bought a Smith and Wesson model 29, .44 magnum caliber revolver (Described in the movie as "world's most powerful handgun and could blow your head clean off.…") like the one carried by his namesake in the movies and kept it in a leather holster screwed into the bottom side of the front counter in case some young punk came in and tried to give him some grief. All he had to do was reach under the top of the counter with one hand and put a mere two pounds of pressure on the trigger of the pre-cocked weapon to send a high velocity bullet through the thin plywood of the counter and rip the abdomen of the miscreant apart. Harry had no doubt that he could get away with a shooting; he was a member of the Sheriff’s posse and kept a throw down weapon in the back of one of his desk drawers. If he had to shoot someone, the 240 grain, jacketed hollow-point slug would cause the victim’s inferior vena cava to dehis like it had been unzipped. Unconsciousness would ensue within seconds, followed shortly by death. The victim had no chance of survival. Harry would wrap the victim’s fingers around the handle and let the pistol fall from the limp hand to the ground beside the body. As a member of the Sheriff’s posse, the police would take a quick look at the crime scene and determine that the victim had been shot in self-defense. Harry would be lauded in the media as a brave shopkeeper fighting to survive in a hostile environment. The victim would just be another statistic in the endless war on crime.
Harry had found other sources of income to supplement his main line; his mechanics, yard staff and even his housekeeper Maria, were all illegal immigrants from Mexico. He had contrived to have members of an extended family of Mexican peasants smuggled into the U.S. by "coyotes", i.e., handsomely paid facilitators the illegal transportation of Latino nationals across the U.S./Mexico border. Harry paid his workers minimum wage, from which payments for the "loans" he made them for the trip were deducted. They lived in the ramshackle apartments on the far south side of town that Harry had purchased under another name and rented to them. They were provided transportation to work each day in the back of his company trucks and only had to pay him twice the municipal bus rate for this service. He had purposely acquired property outside of the current or planned bus routes to keep them utterly dependent on his service. The value of the property was so marginal that the city had no intention of annexing the area in the future. The cost of the municipal services the city would have to provide if the area became part of the city far exceeded the taxes it could collect from the economically depressed area. The apartment’s location also kept them out of the view of nosey television reporters that might have demanded that the county compel whatever slumlord owned the buildings to put them in a livable condition. Harry had bought the property and added it to his investment portfolio for a song.
Harry kept his workers terrorized into complete submission by telling them that their forged green cards would ensure prison terms for any of them caught with the cards. He assured them that "migra" would see that their whole family was deported while they sat out their sentences in a prison cell. He had even managed to get the Mexican side of the family to move to Piedras Nigras to take jobs in a company he secretly owned on the other side of the border. Thus Harry had contrived to control the income of the family of both sides of the border. If a member of the family angered him, he could fire everyone and replace them with another poor family who would be more pliable. The threat of utter destitution in both countries was effective. The family on both sides of the border guaranteed his workers’ silence. "Christ, what a sweet setup this is!", he thought to himself after he had explained the facts of life to one of his "wetbacks" who had complained about the working conditions, "It's lasted for years and there's no reason it can't continue forever!"
He looked out of the one-way mirror out into the non-commercial showroom and could see Ginger dusting and polishing the wine fountain that was on display. His wife Martha had hired Ginger to run the Bridal and Home area over Harry’s objections. Harry hadn’t really disapproved of Ginger herself, it was just that Harry enjoyed running his own show and resented any outside attempts to tell him what to do. After he had gotten used to the idea of having Ginger around, he had come to regret his earlier objections. More than once he had tried to think of a way to inveigle her into accompanying him on a trip to a rental convention. It annoyed him that Martha reserved that job for herself and he hadn’t thought of any way to force her to stay home so he could dally with women at the convention. The only reason Harry could think of for Martha to stay home was if she was in the hospital.
Unfortunately for Harry’s plans to cuckold his wife, Martha was disgustingly healthy and it looked like she would remain so for the foreseeable future. Every time he thought of having an extramarital romp he would heave a masculine sigh of regret. He didn’t dare step out on Martha in San Antonio. She was sure to hear of it and cause a ruckus. A divorce was unthinkable! The thought of having to sell his empire to give her half made Harry’s stomach queasy. "Community property is such a goddamn stupid law!", he would think to himself as he observed his wetbacks laboring in the yard through the heavily tinted outside window, "I’ve spent all these years busting my butt to build up this business and I’ll be goddamned if I give it up to some lazy-assed woman." Then he would pour himself a short one from the bottle of Rye he kept locked in the bottom drawer of his desk and toss it down as he watched the Mexicans industriously washing the construction equipment while thinking, "If it wasn’t for me, nothing would ever get done around this place. I have to watch those goddamned wetbacks every minute or they’d be laying in the sun taking a siesta. I shouldn’t go to conventions anyway, it’s a fucking waste of money. Besides, the minute I turn my back those bastards steal me blind!"
Ginger was so attractive that Harry could easily imagine she was one of the strippers at the men’s club where he took his long lunches. Ginger was definitely a looker; she had long brown hair that draped itself on her shoulders just so, curling lazily on each side of her head to form a luxuriant crown that framed her angelic face. The brown and yellow uniform that Harry forced his employees to buy looked perfect on her; the brown slacks hugged the curves of her hips closely and made her seem like she was gliding rather than walking across his showroom floor. The pale yellow shirt accentuated her ample bosom, hinting of the bounty that lay beneath the fabric. Ginger was a frequent character in Harry’s fantasies when he made love to his wife once a month. "She’d probably run to Martha and squeal on me the first time I asked her out," he would muse as he watched her comely figure through the office window, "She and Martha are as tight as two nuns in a whorehouse. Everything one does, the other knows immediately. At least I can watch her without having to pay for the privilege. She does have a nice touch with the customers. The girl can charm the wallet out of their pants and have them renting the most expensive equipment on the floor without a qualm. The suckers never know what hit them. She only has to bat her eyelashes at a customer and hand him a pen to talk him into signing a blank credit card form. I must have made three thousand dollars in profit on her alone this month."
Harry had hated the idea of renting Bridal equipment at first and not just because it was Martha's idea. He didn't mind the chairs and tables, but the champagne fountains and bridal arbors weren't rugged enough for repeated rentals. They required frequent repair or replacement which cut his profit below what he considered reasonable. He had let Martha have her way because it was cheaper to have her there at least part of the time, making some money for him, than in an expensive womans' store spending his money. He had, however, been able to find ways to improve the profitability. He charged the customer unfortunate enough to return damaged rental equipment for the replacement of the equipment. He’d bring out the manufacturer’s catalog and price list and gravely show them it's replacement cost. Then he would offer to sell it to them for seventy-five percent of book value or keep it for fifty percent of book. He’d point out that, under the terms of the rental contract he should charge them the full book value, but he wanted to be fair and keep them as a customer. Since the deposit was a blank signed and impressed credit card slip and he could charge them full price if they refused, he couldn't lose. The credit card company would honor the charge and pay him. He had never told anyone that he had scanned the price list into his office computer and laser printed a list with prices two hundred percent higher than OEM list price. If they walked off angry, he got double the original price and kept the equipment. If they bought it, he made one hundred fifty percent profit. If they let him keep it, he would get one hundred percent of the purchase price, then repair it and rent it again or sell it on the south side of the city. No matter what the customer choose to do, he got full price for replacement, plus the rental fees, plus a tidy profit on the side. When tax time rolled around he was able to depreciate it's value against his taxable profits. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.
Harry had started some sidelines as a consequence of the Bridal area. Martha had insisted that he carry additional Bridal items for sale instead of rental, such as disposable plastic champagne glasses, napkins and heavy silver foil disposable trays. They had sold well and he expanded the line. He did so well that he bought a Bridal supply shop under another name as well as a catering company and florist shop. The profits from the Bridal supply were marginal until he opened a bridal gown factory across the border in Piedras Nigras under the mantagoras laws. He had the gowns "assembled" in Mexico and returned to the U.S. without import tariffs. It was all perfectly legal. He turned the Bridal supply into the factory outlet and proceeded to make a fortune on handsewn "American Bridal Gowns" manufactured by the company of the same name. Harry owned American Bridal Gowns Inc. as well as the florist shop and catering company under other names. Martha's original idea had turned into a goldmine in just five years. He had told Martha that he had been able to make a deal with the owners of a catering company, a florist shop and a Bridal shop and "they" offered a package deal for weddings. Harry had discovered horizontal diversification.
Martha's latest idea had been to add baby furniture to "her" area of the store. She explained that even if it didn't make a lot of money, it kept new brides coming into the store until they could afford to rent or buy a house and would need to rent lawn and garden equipment. She also added moving dollies and trucks to their inventory and sold packing boxes and labels to assist young couples with the many moves they made. The baby business was slow but the moving equipment was rugged and profitable so he let her have her way. "Hell, give it enough time, maybe there’s a fortune there too. I just have to find it.", he had thought when he agreed to the plan.
Harry had come up with a new scheme for making money five months before that had paid off royally. He had been approached by one of his best contractors who had offered him a large sum if he could find someone to "store" some items for him. Harry had decided to accept the fee and hire himself to store the items on one of his lots on the south side. The "items" proved to be fifty-five gallon barrels of toxic waste as Harry had expected. From the large price that the contractor had offered for storage, it couldn’t have been anything else. The contractor heaved a sigh of relief after making with deal with Harry.
Unknown to Harry, the waste had been causing a number of people problems. Originally the waste had been produced at Southern Research Foundation as a consequence of two research contracts with a major company. Part of the waste were the biological byproducts of a viral DNA research and the other part was the waste from an experiment with a radioactive polymer. The Foundation was unaware that the original contract for both experiments was with a highly secret group of government researchers under the control of a committee called Majestic 12. The commercial company had dumped a large number of their research staff during the last downsizing and was unable to complete the contract. They had discovered during the bidding phase of an earlier contract that the Foundation quietly maintained a nuclear reactor in the San Antonio area for experimental use. The Foundation’s regular waste disposal company had had to stop accepting deliveries due to the shortage of approved storage areas. There was some hope that Congress would approve the giant waste facilities in West Texas, but bureaucratic logrolling had stymied the project in Congress. No one was sure when the normal deliveries could resume.
The Foundation was in a pickle; they didn’t have the facilities to store the waste and they were terrified the public would discover the presence of a secret reactor in a residential area. The Foundation cast about frantically for a solution. Then they found a company that had been recently formed who promised they had waste sites under contract in another state. The paper work looked good, so the Foundation contracted with them for the legal disposal of the waste. The researchers had forgotten about it after the proper papers indicating the waste’s disposal were filed with the Foundation. The Foundation had no way of knowing that the vice-president of the disposal firm had absconded to Brazil with most of the company’s liquid assets. The company found itself nearly broke with a shipment of radioactive and biological waste on its hands. Rather than declare bankruptcy and let the sorted affair become public, the company elected to forge the proper documents and dispose of the materials in a less-than-legal manner. The managers had the workers transfer the waste from the EPA approved plastic storage drums into old steel fifty-five gallon drums. Then they took an order for less hazardous waste and filled the expensive plastic drums with the waste from the new order and charged the company full price for the drums. This provided money for the next stage of the operation. They talked to one of the building contractors that had recently built a temporary storage shed at their facility and offered him a paltry sum of money to dispose of the waste at the same place where he dumped his used construction materials. The contractor foolishly accepted the money before he examined the waste he was asked to dump. When he saw the leaking barrels, he knew he had been duped. He tried to give the waste back, but the gates of the company were closed. The company had gone out of business. The contractor was terrified, he was stuck with leaking barrels of nuclear waste. He had no idea of how to safely dispose of hazardous materials, his only experience with waste had been old two-by-fours and broken wallboard. Then he thought of Harry. If anyone could dispose of something quietly, it was Harry. Harry was the next best thing to hiring the Mafia. Fortunately for the contractor, he didn’t know anyone connected with the Families. He couldn’t have afforded their fees.
Harry had gone to great lengths to hide the actual owner of the property in the event that the EPA discovered the unregistered dump site. The ownership could be traced to a Mexican holding company which was outside of Texas and Federal laws. Given the tangled laws governing Mexican corporations, Harry was sure that they would never discover that the holding company was wholly owned by the factory he owned in Mexico.
Harry had visited the site a month after the barrels had been dumped and had discovered that the place was a deathtrap of chemical, radiological and biological hazards. The drums had rusted out before they were delivered and were leaking all over the place. Harry had stepped in a green tinted pool that had formed from the leaks from two drums that sat side-by-side. When he looked at the barrels and saw that one of them had a radiation trefoil while the other had a biological hazard trefoil, he had hotfooted himself out of the lot as fast as his legs could carry him. When he had gotten to his car, he had removed his shoes to keep from contaminating the carpet in his new truck. Whatever was in the pool had exceptional penetrating powers; his socks were damp and shone with a green sheen as he pulled them off and dropped them on the ground by his discarded shoes. Apparently the stuff had gone through the seams of his shoes to soak his feet. He had gone home immediately and washed his feet for half and hour before he was satisfied that he had gotten every trace of the chemical off of his feet. Harry had observed his feet carefully for a week to see if the substance had had any effect on them, but nothing had seemed to come of it. Harry had completely forgotten about the incident.
A month later, Harry’s body started to change. Not in any particular area of his body, but all over. At first he had noticed his disappearing middle aged paunch in the dressing mirror and was delighted that his oft ignored diet had produced some results at last. He cinched his belt in tighter and told himself how good he looked. He decided it the healthy glow on his face must be due to all the sleep he was getting lately. Two months after his visit to the dump site, his chronic insomnia had disappeared and he had started getting nine hours of sleep a night. He had been going into work full of energy. At the end of the day, he had been coming home and eating dinner, then going right to bed. At first Martha had been concerned, but when she saw how good he looked, she decided that the sleep must be doing him some good and let him do as he pleased without mentioning his early bedtime to him.
When he went to his annual checkup a week later, his physician had been extremely happy that he was thirty five pounds lighter than he had been at his last physical. A few days later, he had noticed that his pants seemed to sag on him. The legs on the trousers were at least two inches too long for his body. Harry had called his dry cleaners and accused them of getting his pants confused with another customer’s pants. They had insisted that if that had happened another customer would have complained that his pants had shrunk. Since no one had called, they had to assume that the pants were his. Harry insisted that they take a look at them and had brought the pants down to the cleaners himself. The manager checked the invisible customer number they had marked on the inside of the pant’s waistband under an ultraviolet lamp and compared it to their records. There was no question of it, they were Harry’s pants. Harry then accused them of shrinking his pants. The manager patiently pointed out that the chemical washing technique that the store used couldn’t possibly shrink clothes and then had observed that the jeans that Harry was wearing seemed too long on him too. Harry took this as proof that the manager was wrong about the cleaning technique and had thrown a tantrum on the spot. After he had calmed down, the manager told him that they didn’t dry clean jeans and told him that he must be getting smaller. When Harry told him that was impossible, the manager told him that people frequently got shorter as they aged. He had said it had something to do with the discs of the spine getting compressed from walking and standing over the years. The manager’s glib explanation didn’t impress Harry, but it was obvious that he wasn’t going to get any satisfaction from the manager. He left the store resolving to take his business elsewhere in the future.
When Harry got home, he tried on several of his pants to see if the manager was right. Frankly, the dry cleaners company was the low bidder on the uniform contract and he didn't want to give up the low rates unless he could prove they were wrong. To his dismay, he discovered that the manager had been right, he was getting shorter! He decided to drink more milk in the future and try to stay off his feet. He asked Martha to take up the bottom hem on his pants, explaining that they had gotten too long for him. Martha had seemed somewhat surprised at how much he had shrunk and had asked him what was happening to him, but Harry had only grumbled something about getting older and left the room without another word. Martha had patiently taken up the hems without asking Harry again. Apparently Harry was touchy about getting older and she didn’t want to start a fight with him.
Within a week, Harry’s pants were too long for him again. This time the change seemed even greater; he was about four inches shorter than he had been the week before. When Harry looked at himself in the dressing mirror he could hardly believe he was looking at an image of himself. Instead of the forty five year old man he had expected to see, Harry saw the reflection of a teenaged boy. Overnight the gruff middle-aged appearance had been transformed into that of a fourteen year old. Harry called his doctor and told the appointment secretary that he needed an immediate appointment. He was severely put out when the secretary told him that Dr. Payne was in surgery that morning and couldn’t see him until the afternoon. He asked if Dr. Payne could cancel his surgery and was told frostily that the doctor couldn’t cancel a scheduled procedure on a patient because another patient requested it. Harry poured himself a large drink of Rye and decided to take the day off work. He wasn’t going to get anything accomplished if he had to leave in the afternoon. He hated to leave the store’s business operations in the hands of one of the employees, but there seemed to be no other choice. Martha was out of town visiting some relatives and wouldn’t be back until late afternoon. Harry called Ginger and told her to look after the store for the day. After he called Ginger, Harry put a Country Western CD in the stereo and fell asleep in his chair. When he awoke, he was almost late for his appointment. He rolled up the cuffs on the jeans he was wearing and drove down to the doctor’s office, hoping a cop wouldn’t pull him over and ask for his driver’s license. When the receptionist saw his signature on the sign-in sheet, she immediately ushered him into one of the examination rooms. The office nurse came in and apologized for Dr. Payne, saying that he’d be there in a few minutes. Then she proceeded to take his vitals and measure his height and weight. Harry was astonished to learn that he had dropped another thirty pounds in the intervening week between his last visit to the doctor’s.
After about an hour, Dr. Payne came in the room and started to ask what Harry’s problem was. When he saw how Harry looked, the doctor stopped in midstream. He flipped through Harry’s chart quickly to see what his measurements and vitals were, then sat down and asked how Harry felt. Harry said, "I feel great doc! But look at me, I look like some goddamn teenager! What’s happening to me?"
"I don’t know, Harry," Dr. Payne told him, "but I’d sure like to find out! You look like you’ve gotten younger!"
"No shit, doc! You’ve got to do something! If I get any smaller, I won’t be able to drive my truck! I could barely look over the steering wheel when I drive over here!", Harry exclaimed.
"I’d like to put you in the hospital for observation, Harry. I know how much you hate to be away from your business, but I think it’s for the best," Dr. Payne said in his best bedside manner.
"Do you know what’s wrong with me or don’t you?", Harry demanded.
"No, Harry, I don’t. But that doesn’t mean I won’t find out once I get a chance to run some tests....", the doctor began.
"Have you ever heard of this happening to anyone before?", Harry interrupted.
"No, Harry. But just because I haven’t heard of it doesn’t mean that someone else hasn’t. If you’ll just let me put you in the...", the doctor said, trying to placate Harry so he could get him in a clinical setting.
"Bullshit!", Harry said, "You don’t know and you’ve never heard of it! Don’t try feeding a line of crap to a salesman, doc! I’ve heard it all! I’ve got a business to run! Tell you what, you look this up and try and figure out what I’ve got, then give me a call. If you’ve got a line on something good, then call me and I’ll go into the hospital for a few tests so you can be sure. But this observation crap is out, doc! O-U-T, out! I don’t have time to mess around waiting in the hospital for you to decide what I have. Do you know what my co-payment is for hospitalization? It’s too goddamn much, that’s what! I’ll be damned if I’ll pay that kind of money if you don’t have the slightest idea of what I have. Do you understand? You tell me what you think I’ve got and give me a call. for a while before looking around expectantly for some sales help. Harry watched them for a few minutes before getting out of his chair. He cinched his belt as tight as he could and looked down at his pants. They looked like he was wearing an older brother’s baggy hand-me-downs. Harry shrugged his shoulders, thinking, "Oh well, they’re only customers. Who the hell cares what they think?" and went out to the showroom. When he got there, the couple gave him a funny look before they started asking him questions about the prices. He got out the price list and let them look at it so he would have minimal interaction with them until Ginger returned. He stood behind the counter waiting for them to make up there minds when the male came over to the counter and asked him how many spigots the smaller Champagne fountain had. Harry was nonplused, the small fountain was too new for him to have had much experience with yet and it wasn’t on display for the customers to count the spigots. He stepped out from around the counter and went to the storage cabinet under the fountain display and pulled out the box that contained the fountain. After a few minutes of unpacking, he got a count of the spigots and turned to face the man who had asked the question, saying, "The smaller fountain has a total of eight spigots. Would you like me to get this ready for you?"
"No, no we’re just looking. Can you tell me how many disposable wine glasses come in the package?" came the reply.
"Look on the price sheet," Harry growled.
"I don’t see it on here," said the man with a confused sound.
"Here, let me look!", Harry said, snatching the price sheet away from the man.
The woman stood next to the man and watched as Harry went through the sheet to find the line with the disposable wine glasses. As she watched, she happened to glance down at Harry’s pants and saw a dark spot that rapidly grew and spread down the front of his crotch. She silently nudged the man to take notice of Harry’s "accident" and say something to him. Apparently, Harry was unaware that he had wet his pants. The man cleared his throat and said, "Uhhhh,...If you can give me a copy of that price sheet we can take it home and find the wine glasses later. I can see you’re busy right now and we didn’t plan to rent anything today anyway. We just wanted to get some prices today."
Harry give the man a hard look and shoved the sheet at the man, saying gruffly, "Here, take it!"
The man took the sheet and folded it, handing it to his fiancee to put in her purse. After she had taken the document from him, he took her by the arm and began to lead her from the store. He stopped, feeling a twinge of brotherhood for Harry and said, "Uhhhh, I think you’ve had an ‘accident’."
"What?", said Harry distractedly as he repacked the fountain in its carton.
"Your pants....I think you’ve had an ‘accident’," the man said hesitantly.
Harry’s stomach seemed to drop through the floor when he realized what the man was talking about. He glanced down and saw the growing dark patch on the front of his trousers. A look of unmitigated horror crossed his face and was quickly replaced by one of fury. He stared at the couple and yelled, "Get out! Get the fuck out of here! Do you hear me? Get the fuck out and never come back!"
An expression of shock came over the couple as Harry vented his embarrassed rage on them and they hurried for the door. The woman dropped price sheet and let it flutter to the floor as her fiancée opened the door for her. The sound of the paper hitting the floor was lost in the soft patter of pee as Harry’s clothes became soaked and released the excess fluid in a steady drip to the showroom floor.
Ginger came in the room from the back just as Harry started yelling. She took in the scene at once, noting the expressions on the couple’s faces as the beat their retreat from the teenaged incontinent in oversized clothes. Ginger walked over to the price sheet and picked it up, then said, "The clothes are in the office, Harry, and the receipt is on your desk. Why don’t you go in and change your clothes? I’ll take care of things out here."
Harry stalked off to his office, leaving a trail of urine as he left the showroom. Ginger shook her head as she went to get the mop and bucket to clean up the puddle he had made on the floor. She could understand his embarrassment about wetting his pants, but his reaction was totally inappropriate. Ginger knew that the sale to that particular couple was lost permanently. She shook her head again as she mopped up the trail he had left and thought, "What’s wrong with him? I know he was embarrassed about the accident he had, but he had no right to act that way in front of a customer. He knows better than that! We won’t lose just that sale, they’ll tell their friends and we’ll lose them too! And not just weddings either. We’ll lose the repeat business we’d get if we treated them right the first time. Why can’t Harry see that treating a customer right is good business? He’s always trying to stiff the customer for breakage due to normal use. He gets to depreciate the equipment of his income taxes as well as collect the rental fee. Isn’t that enough? He loses more money by mistreating customers than he ever makes by shafting them. I swear, sometimes I think he behaves just like a greedy little boy!"
Harry went into his office and shucked the wet clothes he was wearing before looking at the clothes Ginger had bought. When he saw what she had bought for him, he wanted to scream! She had bought him jeans and a T-shirt! "What’s she trying to do?", he thought, "Is she trying to make me look like a kid?"
He kicked the wet clothes into a corner of the office and slipped the jeans over his bare legs. He hated wearing pants without underwear, but he had no choice. After he had donned the jeans, he looked at his shirt. He decided that he should put a clean shirt on too. The shirttails had gotten soaked along with his underwear. Harry unbuttoned his shirt slowly, taking care that the wet tails did not touch his skin. Then he pulled the clean T-shirt on over his head and sat down at his desk. He reached into the bottom drawer of his desk and stood the bottle of Rye in front of him. Harry poured himself a full tumbler of Rye and tossed off a quarter of the glass before he came up for air. The alcohol burned as it went down his gullet and hit his stomach like a cleansing fire. "What the hell happened to me out there?", Harry asked himself in confusion, "I haven’t peed my pants since I was five! I never ever felt it! Maybe it has to do with whatever is making me shrink. If it happens again, I’m going to call that damn doctor and ask him what he thinks is causing it."
Harry lifted the tumbler to his lips and took a deep draught of the intoxicating liquid before putting the glass down again. In a few minutes, the world took on a rosy glow as the alcohol was absorbed through the lining of his stomach, entered his bloodstream and perfused through the body/blood barrier in his brain. The nasal twang of a well known Country singer played counterpoint to his mood as the singer moaned about his lost love. The Rye and the music had worked its magic again. Harry’s world was back in harmony. He sat in the office with the tumbler in his hand and listened to a song of other peoples troubles. It always made him feel better to know someone else hurt in the world.
After a while, he called Martha and made arrangements for her to pick him up from work. It was hard enough to drive his vehicle at his new height, he didn’t want to try it with a full load of Rye on board.
Harry decided that he would have to do something about getting a company uniform that fit. After stumbling around the office for a couple of minutes, Harry found the string he had been looking for. He measured the length of his inseam and took his waist measurement with the string and gauged it against the yardstick in his office. Surely the uniform company would have something in his size. As an added precaution, he decided to order a selection of brown and yellow uniforms in their smallest sizes. That way, if he continued to shrink, he would have a uniform to wear. Harry called the uniform company and arranged for delivery the next day. He didn’t want to be caught short the way he had that afternoon. He drank steadily through the afternoon and let the boys shut down the yard while Ginger handled the inside of the store. He threw his soaked clothes into a plastic dry cleaning bag he removed from one of his clean uniforms hanging in the office before he left the office for the night. Harry saw that Martha was waiting for him in her car as he locked the front door. He threw the bag containing the wet clothes into the trunk alongside the clothes that Ginger had purchased for him and explained to her on the way home that he had been ill and had had an accident. He told her that he had seen the doctor that afternoon and that the doctor had no idea what his problem could be. He neglected to mention Dr. Payne’s request for him to enter the hospital for tests, it would only have served to make Martha worry and he had no intention of fighting with her over going into the hospital with her too. On the way home, he asked Martha if she would go into Target for him and buy him some new underwear. She asked him to go in with her and he declined, saying it had been a long day. She told him that she didn’t know his new waist size and suggested that it might be better if he came in with her. Harry told her testily that he didn’t feel like it and gave her the measurement he had made in the office. He waited in the car while she bought two packages of underwear for him to wear the next day. That night he asked Martha if she would tailor his new clothes so they would fit him better and she agreed. After she washed the jeans to preshrink them, she found it was unnecessary to modify them to fit him; they fit perfectly. Harry went to the bar in his den before he went to bed and packed a few bottles of Rye in an old gym bag to take to work. He didn’t plan to get caught short in that department either.
The next day passed without incident as Harry spent his time in the office without emerging during the day. Aside from the short time that Rush Limbaugh was on the radio, he spent the day listening to Country Western and drinking Rye. The uniforms were delivered as promised and he decided to take a set home with him that night so he could come to work fully dressed. He kept his drinking to a minimum and used the time to organize his files. When lunchtime rolled around, he called the deli down the street and arranged for them to deliver a sandwich to the office. He locked up the yard in the evening and went home with Martha when the day was over.
The next day was a Saturday and he came in for the few hours of operation they had before closing at two. His mood had improved significantly; the smaller uniform fit perfectly and he came in looking as if he worked there instead of being some kid that had walked in off the street. He went home that afternoon with the rosy haze of Rye surrounding him. He had made his first good discovery about the changes that were taking place in his body. His reduced size made him more susceptible to the effects of the Rye and it only took a small amount to make him feel like a new man.
By Monday Harry was in trouble again; he had shrunk during the weekend and his uniform was too small for him. He had Martha make some emergency modifications to the uniform to keep them from looking baggy on him, but her repairs were marginal. He had simply gotten too small for the uniform. He got to work and retired to his office in a foul mood. He found one of the new uniforms that would fit him and quickly changed clothes. Harry hoped that Dr. Payne would find the solution quickly. There were only three small sizes in the selection that he had ordered from the uniform company. After they were gone, he was out of luck. He decided to give Dr. Payne a call that morning and see if he had come up with anything to help him.
After the call to Dr. Payne’s office, Harry’s mood changed from foul to positively offensive. He screamed at everyone who crossed his path. Dr. Payne still had no idea what was wrong with him and had suggested again that he go into the hospital. Harry refused and shut himself up in his office to spend the day drinking. He was in such a bad mood that even his music didn’t help. After a while, he turned the radio off in disgust. Once or twice a contractor asked to see Harry and was shown into his office. The contractor would emerge a few minutes later shaking his head, mumbling about changing rental companies.
The next day Harry’s belligerent mood was unchanged. He lost two permanent accounts by noon and flew into a rage when he had another "accident" in his uniform that afternoon. Ginger noticed that his appearance seemed to be changing more quickly. He looked like he was only eleven years old. Harry called Dr. Payne’s office and spoke to the doctor briefly. He explained in as calm a voice as he could manage that he was still shrinking and that he had had two "accidents" in his pants. Dr. Payne gave him a referral to another doctor named Kline and told him he would call the doctor’s office to arrange for an emergency appointment the next day.
Martha took Harry in for his appointment with Dr. Kline the next day and insisted on coming into the examination room with Harry. The doctor confused Harry with another one of his new patients and thought that Harry was a preteen being accompanied to his appointment by his mother. After a perfunctory examination, the doctor began questioning Martha about Harry’s condition as if he was an incompetent child. From the way he treated them, it was obvious that he thought Martha and Harry were mother and son. Harry blew his top! He reamed the doctor out and threatened to leave the office if the doctor could not treat him with the respect that his age accorded him. The doctor apologized for his error and Harry settled down. After a full examination, the doctor told him he must go into the hospital for an examination. Harry disagreed violently and was only convinced after Martha had a long talk with him in the examination room. She had to plead with him for a half hour until he ungraciously acceded to her wishes. The doctor stood silently making notes while she talked. The doctor was singularly unimpressed by Harry’s performance, considering Harry’s attitude to highly immature. He wrote across Harry’s chart in bold letters, "Emotionally Unstable!" and included orders for Harry to be sedated the minute he entered the hospital.
Wednesday morning Harry was admitted to the hospital. After the nurses got him settled in his room, they asked him to change into a hospital gown and gave him an injection to "facilitate testing". In reality, the injection was a powerful tranquilizer to keep him calm while every crevasse and cranny of his body was poked and probed. Then the testing began.
All of medical science’s most advanced diagnostic techniques were employed to discover what had caused the changes in his body. He had all of his water molecules flipped over in a NMR machine. He was injected with radio-opaque dye and x-rayed. His DNA was analyzed for inconsistencies. The electrical fields of his heart and brain were recorded and checked by experts in their respective fields. A positron emitting radioactive material was injected into his carotid artery and the metabolism of his brain was scanned for unusual activity. Cultures were taken of his sputum, his blood and urine to see if any microorganisms were the cause of his unexplained rejuvenation. The entire battery of chemical tests available to the pathology lab were run on his urine and blood. Even his stools were analyzed. Harry continued to shrink while the testing was in progress.
By the end of the week,, three odd findings stood out from the others as possible links to his ailment. First, his body had a higher background radiation than could be accounted for from natural sources. Second, they discovered that his RBCs (red blood cells) contained a small strand of DNA that was the same as the unknown type of plasmid they found in abundance in his sera. From the evidence they were able to conclude that the presence of the plasmid was a recent event; the strand of DNA was not present in the DNA of his fingernails. Third, an unclassified retrovirus was multiplying like wildfire in his body. Utilizing these facts, the researchers delved deeper. Further examination proved that the plasmid seemed to be present in every new tissue of his body. The DNA researchers theorized that the plasmid was responsible for Harry’s rejuvenation. After extensive tests, the virologists demonstrated that Harry’s retrovirus (The virologist graciously named it after Harry rather than himself.) appeared to have a damaged coating on the exterior which made it susceptible to a healthy immune system. The pathologists determined that Harry’s immune system seemed to have been impaired by the absorption of a radioactive polymer of unknown origin. This polymer prevented Harry’s immune system from attacking the damaged coating of the retrovirus. The retrovirus seemed to have another unusual characteristic; each replication of its DNA appeared to truncate the strand of DNA ever so slightly. Apparently the retrovirus was a new mutation that was limited in the number of replications it could perform. In approximately one week, the truncation of the retrovirus’s DNA would reach a critical point and it would lose the ability to replicate. If one viewed the viral infection as a parasitic infestation, then one could say that the virus was aging and would soon die. Harry’s virus would go into an inactive phase within a week and no one could catch it from Harry in the meantime. Unfortunately for Harry, by the end of the week virtually every cell of his body would carry the plasmid. He would continue to shrink until the plasmid had reorganized his body into a much younger version of itself. While this was bad news for Harry, the researchers were pleased to discover that the retrovirus was not as dangerous as they had feared. The world was safe from rampant rejuvenation. The pathologists heaved a collective sigh and shelved their plans for combating a new plague.
Investigators from the CDC in Atlanta (the Federal Communicable Disease Center) came in and took samples of the retrovirus and its associated plasmid. They also took samples of Harry’s blood to isolate the polymer which had unleashed the hellish organism within Harry’s body. They brought the samples back to Washington DC where the samples were commandeered by a secret group of government researchers working under the auspices of a intelligence clique known as Majestic 12. Plans were drawn up to create a rejuvenation serum that would enable the members of Majestic 12 to continue in their positions of power indefinitely. They planned to make themselves immune to the ravages of old age. A secret surveillance program was initiated against Harry and strong pressures were applied to Harry’s doctors to cease all attempts to cure Harry. He was to become the first guinea pig in the Majestic 12’s new research program. The threats of charges of treason and violation of national security had little affect on Harry’s doctors.
Unfortunately for Harry, another factor intervened that stopped them cold; they hadn’t the slightest idea of how to help him. Agents of Majestic12 swore everyone to secrecy and enforced a media blackout on Harry’s condition. Dr. Kline came in on rounds Sunday morning and gave Harry a special diet to follow after his release. The major constituent of the diet was a special milk-based formula to help Harry maintain the calcium level in his body and to prevent his bones from becoming brittle. His doctor was also concerned that the electrolyte imbalance caused by his incipient hypocalcemia might induce convulsions. The following Monday, Harry was released from the hospital. He appeared to be about seven years old.
On Monday morning, two linemen from the telephone company showed up at the store and said the main switching computer had detected a problem in the lines. There was some question of whether the problem was in the phones themselves or in the telephone lines. When Ginger told them that they hadn’t had any problems with the phones at the store, one of the linemen explained that there had been reports of crosstalk between the lines at the store and other phone lines. He told her that the phone company could not guarantee that the store’s lines would not be overheard if a proper inspection wasn’t made. He explained that since the company wasn’t sure whether the problem was in the lines or the phones, that there wouldn’t be any charge to the rental company. All they needed to do was check each phone in the building to insure they weren’t the source of the problem. When Ginger heard that Harry’s conversations might become public and there wouldn’t be any charge, she readily agreed to the inspection. The lineman assured her that they would be out of the building within fifteen minutes and the were fairly certain that the problem was further up the line. They inspected each telephone in the building and as promised, they were gone within fifteen minutes.
Later on that afternoon, Ginger became curious what they had found and started worrying that Harry would get upset when he learned of the breach of his privacy when he returned to work. She decided to call the telephone company and ask them whether they had found the problem. After an hour of talking to underlings, she managed to speak to a maintenance supervisor who assured her that there was no problem with crosstalk on any of the phone lines. Ginger thought his answer was odd, but ascribed it to the telephone company’s reluctance to admit to an outsider that a problem existed. She decided not to mention the incident to Harry. She had better things to do than listen to him raving about the incompetence of the phone company.
At the same time that the linemen were examining the phones at the rental company, two men in a City Public Service Board truck came to Harry’s house to look for gas leaks. Martha was at the hospital with Harry and Maria was all alone in the house. One of the men spoke fluent Spanish and explained to the Mexican maid in graphic detail the danger of fire and explosion from a natural gas leak. They checked the house quickly, going from top to bottom before they told Maria that there were no leaks in her master’s house. Maria was vastly relieved to hear that she wasn’t going to be burned alive in a fire. One of her cousins in Mexico had died in a tenement fire and the idea of being immolated in a gas explosion and fire terrified her.
Tuesday morning Harry returned to work. He wasn’t able to wear any of the uniforms he had ordered, so he had Martha pick up several pairs of jeans from Target. He hated wearing them, but it was the best he could do under the circumstances. He had begun drinking the minute he got home from the hospital and it looked like he intended to spend the next two weeks in an alcoholic haze. He opened a new bottle of Rye shortly after arriving at work and drank steadily through the morning. Harry turned his radio on as loud as he could stand and tried to lose himself in the music. This caused some consternation with the men in black who were manning the listening post. For a time it appeared like Harry was on to them. They thought the loud music Harry was playing was an attempt to overload the microphones on the bugs they had planted in the office. Ginger called Martha who came to see Harry at work and try to get him to stop drinking. The trip was an utter failure. After Harry turned down the music, he told her it was his goddamned business and he would do as he damned well pleased. In desperation Martha called Dr. Kline to see if he could make a house call at the store. The doctor agreed and said he would drop by that afternoon.
Harry fell asleep at his desk twice that morning from the effects of the Rye. After the first time he fell asleep he had one of the yard workers bring a rental cot into his office so he could take a nap if he felt like it. He turned the music down low so he could sleep and only turned it up while there was a song on he liked. Ginger and Martha watched Harry lose two more accounts for the business that morning in same way that had happened two weeks before; the contractors would go into Harry’s office and emerge shaking their heads and saying they intended to do business with another rental company from that moment on. The last of these happened as Dr. Kline entered the showroom and was walking to the customer service desk. Martha met the doctor half way and pulled him behind the wine fountain display to shield him from the view of Harry’s observation window. She told Dr. Kline what had been happening and asked him if he could do something. He agreed and went into Harry’s office with a determined look on his face. He emerged a few minutes later shaking his head like the contractor had a few minutes before. He told Martha to get a change of clothing for Harry as soon as possible. Apparently Harry had passed out on the cot and had another "accident" while he was unconscious. This time he had soiled his pants. Martha left the store and drove home to get another pair of pants and underwear while Dr. Kline went back into the office to rouse Harry. In a few minutes the sound of a high pitched voice cursing came from the office and Ginger knew that Dr. Kline had been able to wake Harry. The yelling became louder and louder. Finally Ginger heard what sounded like a little boy shouting, "Get out! Get the fuck out of my office!"
Dr. Kline came out and waited outside for Martha to return. When she drove up, he motioned to her to lower the window on her car so he could talk to her. He explained what had happened in the office and advised her that she should do something about Harry’s drinking before it killed him. One of the options he discussed was having Harry put into the hospital to dry out. Martha was sympathetic to the idea but doubted Harry would stay dry in his current state. Besides, she told the doctor, Harry had a vindictive streak a mile wide, if she did anything to him like that he would find a way to punish her the minute he got out of the hospital. Dr. Kline told her that she would have to make some kind of decision soon or Harry would be dead. Then he gave her his home phone and told her to call him if she needed his help.
By Wednesday, Harry looked like he had when he was five. When Martha had bought clothes for him, she had thoughtfully purchased jeans and T-shirts that would fit him even if he got to the size of a two year old. Beyond that, she wasn’t sure what she would do. All the jeans she could find that were smaller had snaps in the inseam to facilitate diaper changes. Harry was sure to notice and throw a fit if she bought those. Worse, regular underwear didn’t exist for sizes smaller than 2T. She found training pants that were similar to adult briefs, but the lack of a fly and the thick padding in the crotch gave them away for what they were. She hoped that Harry would become more tractable as his disease progressed and allow her to buy training pants. He was starting to wet the bed when he slept and she wondered how long he was going to be able to stay dry during the day. Harry continued to drink heavily during office hours, forcing Martha to spend her days at the store trying to keep the contractors from seeing Harry. Martha was pleased that his hearing seemed to have improved as he rejuvenated. The sound of Country Western music coming from the office was muted and it was easier to concentrate on the customers. For the most part she was successful in her efforts with the contractors and they only lost two more customers by the end of the day on Friday.
On Saturday Martha persuaded Harry to let Ginger run the store for the day. During the night he had fallen out of the bed twice and his knees were badly bruised. When he had gotten up from the floor there were several of his teeth laying on the rug where he had fallen. Martha got a flashlight and examined his mouth. She was shocked to discover that he had gapping holes in his dentition. He hadn’t knocked his teeth out, they had fallen out! Apparently, Harry’s teeth and jaw were regressing too!
The bruising of his knees made it difficult for Harry to walk around the house and spent the day in his easy chair, watching sports and sipping on his ever present tumbler of Rye. Saturday evening Harry had another soiling accident in his pants about thirty minutes after he had eaten. Martha started to get worried about how she was going to cloth him Monday. He was already down to wearing 3Ts and Martha only had one size left to fit him if he became any smaller.
Sunday morning Harry woke up in soiled underwear again and Martha came to a decision. She had begun putting disposable bedpads under the sheets on Harry’s side of the bed after he had first begun wetting the bed and Harry hadn’t discovered it. Since his underwear couldn’t possibly soak up the amount of urine he was producing, she had to do something. At least the bedpads had saved the mattress from wetting if not the sheets. Unfortunately, his stools had a tendency to escape the non-elastic leg openings on his underwear. Martha knew his incontinence wasn’t going to get any better soon. If she couldn’t contain his messes, they’d destroy her sheets.
After she got him into his easy chair to watch Sunday sports on TV, she went to Target and bought the training pants and infant jeans. Then she went to her sewing room and carefully removed the snaps from the inseams of the jeans and sewed the legs together. If Harry didn’t look too closely at the jeans, she thought, they might pass. The way he was putting away the Rye, she had a good chance to get away with it. The training pants were hopeless. She prayed that Harry wouldn’t get too upset when he saw them. If she was able to talk him into wearing them it would be an enormous help to her. Harry was starting to go through clean clothes like a toddler. Sunday night he soiled his underwear again after dinner. Martha decided that it was her chance to see if Harry would accept wearing training pants. When she dressed him in them, he frowned but said nothing. Martha wasn’t sure if he was becoming more reasonable or whether he was simply too drunk to understand what they were for.
Monday morning Martha dressed Harry in the 2T jeans she had bought. If Harry became any smaller, she would have to use the baby clothes she had modified. She crossed her fingers and got him ready for work. After she drive him to work, she had a long talk with Ginger and told her about his growing incontinence and falling out of bed while he slept. She confessed to her friend and employee that she was nearing the end of her rope. She told Ginger that she was beginning to consider divorce as her only way out of her predicament. Ginger told her that she understood how she felt and that it was too bad someone couldn’t take Harry’s bottle away from him and force him to behave himself. She expressed the opinion that Harry was behaving like a child. Ginger said that she supported her and she hoped that she would call her lawyer before she had a mental breakdown. When Ginger said that, a light seemed to go on in Martha’s head. She smiled and told Ginger not to worry, she was going to call her lawyer and fix Harry’s wagon. She called the family lawyer and made an appointment for that morning. She left Harry in Ginger’s charge and went to the lawyer’s office. Two hours later, she emerged with a smile on her face. The lawyer had called both of Harry’s doctors and had a long talk with them before calling a friend of his who was a judge. After hearing what the lawyer said, the judge scheduled an emergency hearing on Wednesday. As Martha walked to her car, she noticed two cable TV repairmen were working on the lines outside of the lawyer’s window.
Early Tuesday morning, two faceless men dressed in black suits demanded to see the judge on urgent government business. The judge, who had hopes of higher office before he retired, saw them immediately. The emerged from the judge’s chambers with uncharacteristic grins on their faces. The judge’s secretary knew that whatever they had wanted from the judge, it was obvious that he had cooperated with them fully.
Tuesday morning was much like the day before at Harry’s house. After Martha got Harry up and changed his dirty training pants, she dressed him in the 2T clothes and decided that tomorrow would be the day. The jeans were almost too large to fit him then, by the next day they would be so big on him that they’d fall off of him if he stood up. Harry had lost more teeth during the night and Martha decided to serve Harry a cheese omelet for dinner that night. If Harry lost any more teeth, he was going to be eating oatmeal and soft boiled eggs in the near future. She didn’t think that an orthodontist would be able to make dentures in Harry’s size. For lunch she took the easy way out and got him a chocolate sundae from Dairy Queen. Harry loved sundaes and she had no problem convincing him to have one for lunch.
After lunch an old friend of Harry’s came by to visit him. Judge Harwood, who Harry had supported financially for re-election, had heard his friend was ill and came to see what he could do. He found Harry lying on his cot in an alcoholic stupor with the radio on low. After a few minutes, he was able to rouse Harry enough for him to recognize the Judge. Harry sat up on the cot and threw his legs over the side of the cot and promptly fell off the cot. Judge Harwood helped Harry pick himself up and get reseated. He noted with some concern the small dark spot on the crotch of the blue denims that grew during the short talk he had with Harry. Harry was almost incoherent; he babbled excitedly about the dream he had been having when the Judge woke him up.
Judge Harwood was worried about what he heard and saw; the floor of Harry’s office was littered with empty bottles of Rye and Harry’s speech was not what he would have expected. It wasn’t so much what Harry said, but how Harry said it that concerned him. Harry’s story about his dream didn’t sound like the ravings of an alcoholic, they sounded more like the inane ramblings of a toddler. Harry’s image wasn’t improved by the clothes he was wearing either, Judge Harwood was the father of three grown children and had four grandchildren. He knew toddler’s apparel when he saw it. It was the appearance of Harry’s mouth that concerned him most. When Harry opened his mouth to yawn extravagantly, the Judge saw the gaps in his gums. Between the gaps, however, the Judge could have sworn he saw baby teeth. When Harry finished his story, Judge Harwood put on his best politician’s smile and patted Harry on the knee, telling him that his friends were all pulling for him and wished him well. Harry thanked the Judge and told him he’d do his best to get better. He told the Judge that it wasn’t much fun being forty inches tall. Then Harry got a funny look on his face and the room suddenly acquired a fetid odor. Judge Harwood, the father, knew immediately what had happened; Harry had pooped in his pants! Judge Harwood beat a hasty retreat and told his friend goodbye. The men in black had been right about Harry. He would have no problem ruling the way the agents of the Federal government had suggested. It was substantially the same as what Martha’s lawyer wanted. It was in everyone’s interest, including Harry’s, to make sure that Harry was properly cared for. He had had some trepidations about being reversed and censured when the idea was proposed to him. The niceties of law were about to be bent in the quest to see that Harry’s problems were resolved. After seeing what Harry had become, Judge Harwood knew that no court in its right mind would reverse him. On his way out, Judge Harwood found Martha and told her Harry needed her assistance immediately. He had to bite his tongue to be that politic, what he really wanted to tell her was that Harry needed his diapers changed.
Martha went into Harry’s office and cleaned him up, then helped him back into his cot to resume his afternoon nap. She left him softly snoring on his cot and went to have a long talk with Ginger. Martha described the plans she had made with her lawyer to Ginger and asked for her assistance the next day. Ginger laughed long and loud, replying that she would be happy to help her with her soon-to-be ex-husband. The rest of the day passed uneventfully as Harry alternately woke up and had a long drink of Rye, then lay down on the cot to sleep off the effects of the tumbler before resuming the cycle.
The next morning Martha got up and got Harry ready for work. She changed his dirty training pants and dressed him in a clean pair after she got his bottom cleaned up. Harry’s incontinence had become routine for her, it was like caring for a baby. She wished she could have left the snaps in the seams of the toddler jeans. It would have made dressing him easier. Harry hadn’t noticed the alterations in the baby jeans, his hangover made his eyes too bleary to focus properly.
She drove him to work and left him in Ginger’s care, saying that she had important business downtown that day. Harry waved her off impatiently as he toddled to his office. He had an important meeting of his own to attend. It involved his growing relations with someone in whom Harry had become quite fond. He and his bottle of Rye had become close friends in the past few weeks. Harry and his glass were anxious to renew their relations with the deadly brew. Harry closed the office door and sat down on the edge of his cot as he poured a tumbler of Rye, then he began his daily sojourn into a different reality.
After about an hour, Harry called Ginger on the office intercom to help him to the bathroom. He had already drunk several tumblers of Rye that morning and did not have much time to make the toilet. Ginger came in the office and helped him out of his cot. She took him by the hand and led him back to the bathroom. His boozy fingers couldn’t unfasten the buttons on his jeans and he pissed in them before he got them down. Ginger brushed his hands away, then pulled his jeans down and off. She threw the jeans and training pants into the porcelain sink in a sodden heap, then sat him on the toilet. He mumbled drunkenly about his privacy as she washed his clothes in the sink and wrung them out. Ginger went to the door saying, "I’ll leave you here to do your thing while I get some work done. I’ll be back in a twenty minutes to help you back to your cot."
"About time she gave me some fucking privacy. How was I suppose to take a shit with her standing there? Does she think I’m a fucking toddler who’s being potty trained?", he thought to himself sullenly. He listened as he sat on the john for the sound of his music from the radio in his office, but it was drowned out by the noise of Ginger working. "At least she’s being productive this morning for a change," he told himself, hearing the squeaks of rolling furniture castors.
She came back a few minutes later and said brightly, "Are we all finished?"
He snarled back his agreement and she helped him off the toilet. Ginger knelt in front of him and patted him dry with toilet paper, then wiped his rear. She reached out and lifted him up into her arms. "What are you doing?", he roared drunkenly as he was hoisted aloft.
"I’m going to carry you to your bed. It’ll take less time to get you to your office that way. I don’t have any dry clothes; there’re in the office. You don’t want to wander around naked in the hall, do you?", she said efficiently.
He grumbled his agreement and she carried him back to the office and laid him on his back on a sheet covered mattress. "This isn’t my cot," he said. "What’s this?"
She put a rustling white object down on the mattress beside him and said as she lifted his legs, "I put your cot away, you won’t be needing it anymore. This is your crib."
"My what?", he roared. "What are you doing to me?", he sputtered. She slid the object under his bottom and lowered his legs and said, "I’m diapering you, of course. Babies have to be diapered or they’ll pee all over everything."
"Diapering me? Baby? What the hell are you talking about? Are you crazy? I’m a man. Get that thing away from me immediately!", he yelled.
"Man?", she chuckled and shook her head no. "You’re not a man. Men aren’t thirty-one inches tall. Men don’t pee themselves. Do men have to be helped to the potty and have their bottoms wiped for them when they’re finished? Do men fall out of their beds in their sleep? Little babies do. They have to be watched and looked after just like you. No,....You’re not a man, you’re only a baby!"
"You’re crazy! Let go of me!", he yelled, squirming to get away from her and her diaper. She grabbed his penis between her thumb and forefinger and said teasingly, "This isn’t a man’s dick; this is a baby’s pee-pee. I know what a man’s dick looks like; it’s big and gets hard. This little thing isn’t for sex, it’s too small! The only thing this can be used for is to pee!"
She took hold of his scrotum in her hand and rolled it between the ball of her thumb and her finger, saying, "And what are these? This aren’t a man’s balls. There’re only the size of peanuts. Small peanuts at that. These are too cute and tiny to be a man’s testicles. These are only adorable little baby balls, Sweetheart!"
"If you don’t let go of me this instant, I’ll have you arrested," he threatened.
"You’re not going to have anyone arrested," she said with a confident smile as she finished diapering him, "You’re going to sit in your crib quietly while I get some work done or I’ll spank you."
She raised the side of the crib and left the office. Harry stood up in the crib and balanced himself at the rail with one hand while pushing the diaper off with the other. "She’s psychotic," he told himself as he struggled to unlatch the crib side, "I’ll have her put away. I’ll talk to Judge Harwood, I’ve given him enough campaign money in the past. He owes me a favor, he’ll put her quietly away for me."
After a few more minutes of trying to get the railing unlocked he stopped. His fingers were simply too short and weak to work the mechanism. Harry gave up on the latch and decided he would just have to go over the rail. The side of crib rattled as he tried to climb over it. Just as he had straddled the railing and was preparing to slide down the outside of the railing, the office door flew open. "What are you Doing?’, Ginger cried, "I told you to sit in your crib!"
She rushed over to the crib and lifted him off the railing. She held his wiggling body close to her as she carried him to the chair. She threw him over her knees face down and began spanking him. He writhed in pain and humiliation, screaming he’d have her in jail for assault. The threats only made Ginger more angry and she spanked him harder than ever. "I told..(whap)...you to sit in..(whap)...your crib. Did you..(whap)..hear me?" She continued to spank him until tears streamed down his face. "Are you going to be a good Baby?", she demanded, "Are you going to stay in your crib?"
He lay across her lap, naked and red-bottomed, weeping in defeat. "Ye...Yes!", he whimpered. Harry sniveled like a small child and stammered in a broken voice, "I...I’ll...d..do..whatever you say. Plea..Please st..stop!"
She carried him back to the crib and lay him down on his back and re-diapered him. She raised the side of the crib again and said, "It’s time for your lunch, baby. How would you like a nice meal of strained peas and carrots?"
She went to the office refrigerator and took out a paper bag. She opened it and took out a jar of baby food and a baby bottle. Then she took a bottle warmer out of the bag, plugged it in, put the bottle in it, and went outside the office for a few minutes. Harry cused indignantly.
"Did you spank him?", Martha inquired with a dangerous protective tone in her voice.
"I most certainly did," Ginger answered primly, "He took off his diaper and was climbing out of his crib. He could have broken his neck."
Martha glanced over at the crib and then looked down her nose at a diapered Harry sitting in the high chair. "I see...," Martha said, "...and just why was he in a crib with diapers on?"
"Because he peed in his pants, that’s why. I put him in a crib because he keeps falling out of his bed. I diapered him because he pees and poops in his pants. I put him in a high chair to make it easier to feed him. I’m feeding him because he won’t eat vegetables by himself, he has to be forced to eat them. All he’ll eat is junk and it’s killing him. It’s time someone took charge and makes him do what his doctor told him to do!", said Ginger defensively.
"I see," said Martha with a strange smile on her face.
Harry yelled incontinently, "I gave you an order, Martha! Get me out of here, Damnit! Now!"
Martha turned and said reasonably, "Be patient, Harry. Ginger and I are talking."
Harry raged, "You get me out of here right now or I’ll divorce you! I’ll have the two of you in jail for assault. I’ll destitute the two of you! You’ll both be turning tricks on the street for sandwiches when I get finished. Now get me out of here!"
"Be quiet, Harry," Martha said, "We’ve had quite enough of your yelling."
"I don’t give a good God-damn what you’ve had enough of. Get me out of here now!", demanded Harry, enraged by Martha’s cavalier attitude at his predicament.
Martha sighed, nodded to Ginger and said as she sat down in the seat that Ginger had vacated, "Take him out of the chair please, Ginger."
Ginger complied and removed the tray from the high chair before unfastening the straps. When she had finished, she put her hands beneath his armpits and lifted out of the high chair to pass him to the seated Martha. Once Martha had him firmly in her grip, she lowered him to the floor to stand between her legs. Harry grinned triumphantly as Martha grabbed both sides of Harry’s diaper in both hands and pulled it to his knees. He smiled evilly up at Ginger and said, "You’re finished, Bitch! As soon as Martha gets me into some decent clothes I’m calling the police! Do you hear? You’re finished!"
His grin of success turned into an expression of panic when Martha picked him up from behind and laid him on his stomach across her knees. "I told you to be quiet!", Martha said as she began to spank him on top of the rapidly fading scarlet handprints that Ginger had made on his bottom.
Harry was reduced to tears of rage and humiliation in short order. He kicked and struggled, but to no avail. He began cursing Martha at the top of his lungs. Martha redoubled her efforts, inflicting excruciating pain on Harry’s already sensitized bottom. He fumed and sputtered in a tirade of absolute fury at his treatment. After a while the pain broke through his rage and began to filter into his distracted mind. Harry’s angry curses changed into wails of torment as Martha continued to pound on his abused behind. He whimpered as she continued to spank his behind, demanding, "Is Harry going to be a good baby? Is Harry going to obey Martha when she gives him an order?"
"Yes....Yes...Please stop. Please!", Harry moaned.
Martha stopped, then stood him up on the floor and pulled his diaper up around his tummy before saying, "Please put him back in the high chair, Ginger. I’ll finish feeding him his lunch."
Harry was unceremoniously strapped back into the chair and lunch continued with Martha feeding him. Ginger stood leaning silently against the door with a smirk on her face. Harry finished the jar and had his face wiped clean with the bib. Then Martha took him out of the chair and sat in his rocking chair in the corner of the office. She sat him in her lap, leaning him against her arm and said, "Do you know where Martha went this morning, Harry? Martha was down at the courthouse. She went to see Judge Harwood. You remember Judge Harwood, he was here to visit you the other day! Maybe you had too much Rye to drink and don’t remember pooping in your pants in front of him. I’m sure that little faux pas didn’t impress him. He said that normally at a hearing of the sort he was holding, the defendant usually needs to be present. But he said that since he had personally observed your behavior, he didn’t think would be necessary in your case. Do you know who else was there too? Dr. Payne and Dr. Kline. We talked about you."
Harry’s eyes grew wide and his pupils contracted as she continued, "I told the Judge about your drinking and how you’ve been ruining the business. Dr. Payne told him about how your body turned into a baby’s body and how you’re not going to get any better. He told the Judge that in his opinion, it was only a matter of time until you started suffering from severe memory losses. Dr. Kline told him about your infantile behavior and how you pee and poop in your pants all the time. Then Dr. Payne said that your behavior was a symptom of your mental impairment and that the prognosis was poor.
The Judge said he was awfully sorry to hear your illness had gotten so serious, since he was a friend of yours, but he had to protect you from yourself. Do you know what he did, Harry? He declared you incompetent! I have the Court Order in my purse."
Harry’s eyes grew as wide as saucers and his mouth dropped open as she continued triumphantly, "You can’t divorce anybody, Harry! The State no longer considers you a competent adult. The Judge made me your Guardian. You have the legal status of a child. That means I own it all. You can’t sell anything, buy anything, divorce anyone, or have anyone arrested.
Starting this minute, this business will be run honestly! Don’t give me that wounded look, Harry! I know what’s been going on here and so does everyone else who works here! You’ve been fleecing the customers for years, Harry! Now it’s Dirty Harry’s turn to take a bath! Only in your case, you won’t have a chance to recoup your losses! You’ve lost everything, Harry! You won’t even be allowed to make futile threats. You’re as helpless as those poor Mexican peons you’ve kept under thumb all these years. I own you, Harry! As far as the law is concerned, you’re just a helpless infant. I won’t have to go begging to you for a new dress or ask for pocket money to go out to lunch. I have the company, the house, the bank accounts and the cars. You don’t even own your own body. I control your body and your life now! There’s nothing you can say or do to stop me! I’ve got it all and I’m going to keep it!
From now on you’ll do as I say. I'll choose when you'll get up and when you'll go to sleep. I'll decide where you'll go, what you'll wear and what you'll drink and eat. Since you act like a baby, you’ll be treated like a baby. And from now on, baby, you'll behave yourself. If you don't, I'll...." She paused for a breath of air, "I'll put you over my knee, pull down your diaper and spank your bare bottom!"
Harry stared in disbelief as she continued, "From now on we’ll do things for my convenience, not yours. You’re baby-sized and you’ll use baby furniture because it’s more practical for me to take care of you with nursery furniture! You’ll eat in a high chair and you’ll ride in the car in a baby seat. You’ll sleep in a crib to keep you from falling out of bed. You won't get underfoot asking me what’s for dinner while I'm working in the kitchen. You'll sit in your playpen quietly and play with your toys until it’s time for me to feed you.
Doctor Payne has said that you shouldn’t eat red meat and you won’t. No more rich, high fat foods for you, baby. You’re going to eat vegetables, fruits and cereals at every meal from now on. You’re going to follow doctor’s orders and eat what the doctor says is good for you. You'll eat what I put in front of you because I'll spoon-feed you your meals myself. You’ll eat baby food because I won’t waste my time preparing gourmet soft diets for a baby.
There’ll be no more booze! You’re under my care now, and I intend to have you live a long time. The only bottle you’ll be drinking from will be a baby bottle, do you understand? You’ll drink the formula the doctor prescribed and nothing else except milk, juices and water. No more cigarettes and cigars. If you want to suck on something, you can suck on your thumb or your pacifier.
From now on you’ll look, act and be treated like a baby. Ginger’s right! Since you can’t control yourself, you’ll have to wear diapers from now on. I don’t want to hear any argument from you about anything. As a matter of fact, I don’t want to hear anything from you but a baby’s babble! You’ll either talk like an infant or you won’t talk at all! Do you understand me, baby boy?"
Harry nodded his understanding and she continued, "This is the first day of the rest of our lives together, Sweetheart, and I want it to start right. The first thing you need to learn is your place. You’re my baby now, Honey. You’re going to spend the rest of your life as an infant so you might as well get used to the idea."
Martha stared off into space and mused, "I was married to an uncompromising, belligerent ogre but that’s all changed. My big bullying husband Harry is gone now, all I have to remember him is the sweet little baby named Henry that he left me to take his place."
Martha looked at Ginger and said, "Henry sounds too formal to use for a baby. Do you have any ideas for what we could call him?"
"How about Hank?", Ginger offered.
"That’s better, but that still doesn’t sound right. Do you have any other ideas?", Martha asked Ginger.
"How about Hankie?", Ginger asked.
"Hankie?", Martha said, rolling the name around on her tongue, "Hankie to rhyme with Frankie? I like it! It’s short and cute, just like him. No one will ever connect Hankie with the big bad Harry that used to be the boss here!"
Martha looked down at her adopted son and said, "We’ll call you Hankie from now on. No one will ever know you used to be a grown man. You’ll do everything a little baby does, from sleeping in a crib to riding in the baby seat of the shopping cart when I take you to the grocery store to buy more dydees. That reminds me...Ginger, would you hand me my purse?"
Ginger handed Martha his purse and she took out a tissue. She put the tissue beneath Harry’s nose and said, "Blow, Sweetheart! All that crying made your little nose run."
Harry blew his nose into the tissue as she continued, "You know, Honey, your doctors recommended that I get some books on repatterning to help you relearn to walk. I’m going out this afternoon and buy the books so that we can begin your retraining as an infant tonight. You’re going to spend a minimum of one hour a day on your belly crawling in front of me while nursing on your pacifier. In time perhaps, when I think your behavior warrants it, I’ll let you start creeping again on your hands and knees. In six months you won’t even remember that you ever had an adult life. I’m going to I’m going to talk to your doctors and get a referral to a female pediatrician so you won’t have to go to ‘big boy’ doctors from now on. If I’m busy and can’t take care of you, I’ll get a babysitter to look after you while I’m gone. You won’t have to worry abut anything ever again, Sweetiepie. From now on, there’ll be a woman around to take care of you. Won’t that be nice?"
Harry looked back up at her with a sour expression, thinking, "They may treat me like an infant, but I don’t have to like it. Sooner or later I’ll think of some way out of the mess I’ve gotten myself into. All I have to do is bide my time. I’ll outsmart Martha and hire someone to help me take care of myself. Maybe I’ll have to wear diapers, but I sure as hell don’t have to use baby powder. Maybe if I used some kind of diaper service I won’t have to put up with the smell of that damned perfume! Surely they don’t put that shit on cloth diapers! There must be people out there who are allergic to the stuff!"
He turned his attention back to Martha and saw that she was still babbling at him. "Whatever I missed," he thought, "probably wasn’t worth listening to. She’s still crowing about her little victory over me. Just you wait, you bitch! Enjoy your little game of playing momma to me! When I get finished with you, the closest you’ll come to being someone’s momma is to have some john suckle your tits! I’ll sell you to some pimp from Houston and that will be the last anyone ever sees of you standing up. You’ll spend the rest of your life lying on a stained mattress in a shanty on the Mississippi. You’ll make your living on your back with your legs spread servicing a line of men with ten dollars in their hands."
Harry smiled at the thought of Martha being forced to whore for some nameless black pimp and heard her say as he picked up the broken thread of her diatribe, ".....In short, you’ll be a baby. My baby! Martha will be the mommy and Harry will be her baby boy. Mommy will take good care of her baby; she’ll wash him, and dress him, and feed him, and keep him in clean diapers. Now tell me you’ll be a good baby!"
Harry opened his mouth to yell something obscene at Martha but then remembered the spanking he had just received at her hands. He had no desire for a repeat performance on her lap. He looked up at her and saw the grim determination in her eyes. He decided to capitulate. Harry closed his mouth and mumbled, "I’ll be a good baby."
She motioned to Ginger who handed her the baby bottle. Martha settled him back on her arm and slipped the nipple in his mouth. "Now drink your formula baby, or Mommy will spank!"
He struggled briefly against his fate, then surrendered completely and became flaccid in utter defeat. He sucked on the bottle submissively, obedient to his mommy’s wishes. Martha looked down and smiled at her diaper-clad, baby-sized husband; he was the picture of a barely weaned, nursing infant. She looked at Ginger and said, "I always wanted to have a baby. When we were first married, I asked Harry if we could have one. Harry told me to wait a year until he got the business built up. He said he didn’t have time for night feedings and midnight trips to the grocery store to get diapers when he was putting in twelve and fourteen hour days at work. It seemed like he was more married to his business than he was to me. The only reason he came home was to take a shower, sleep and change clothes. He would often come home after I went to sleep and get up to go to work before I woke. The only time I saw him was on weekends. And then he would sit himself down in front of the TV and watch sports all weekend. Years passed and things never got better. We had more money, but he was still putting in long hours here at the business. I resigned myself to the fact that I would never have a child of my own. I never guessed Harry, my husband, would become Harry, my baby."
Martha laughed and said, "Poor Harry, all his work only got him an early retirement to his mommy’s arms. He can’t refuse me now. He’s got all the time in the world!"
As Harry suckled, the formula in his bulging stomach put pressure on his bladder. He kicked his legs impotently at Martha as a warm feeling spread between his legs. He was peeing into his diaper like an infant! Harry’s face colored in embarrassment while his eyes darted back and forth between Martha and Ginger, hoping that they wouldn’t notice his predicament. He wriggled uncomfortably as the warmth crawled up the back of his diaper. He had never felt so helpless in his life. The thought of being discovered with a soggy diaper made him want to cry. They would strip his body naked, hovering over him and poking fun at his condition by making baby talk before they deigned to put his in a clean diaper. He wanted to crawl away and die quietly where no one could find his infantized body. Harry knew that escape would be denied him; the women would never let him out of their sight. He looked up into Martha’s eyes and saw the glimmer of motherhood shining out. In her mind he had become the baby he had denied her. Harry could see the rest of his life laid out in front of him; there would be no new conquests, no deals, no coups to crow about over a glass of Rye in his den. All he could see was an endless expanse of dirty, soggy diapers and feedings as he sank further under his wife’s control. As the years passed, he would forget how to talk and would rely on gurgles and cries to make his needs known. Martha would see that he would lead an eternally comfortable existence, he would be fed when he was hungry, wrapped warmly in fleecy blankets when he was cold and changed when he was wet or dirty. He would never have to fight for anything again, someone would always be there to comfort him and take care of his needs. Harry hated the idea. The idea of spending the remainder of his life in a nursery sickened him. He knew that soon he would find himself ensconced in a crib surrounded by the smell of baby powder. Harry hated the smell of baby powder, it made him want to puke. He had dodged fatherhood for all those years simply to avoid having to get close to that nauseating, putrid stink!
It was a funny thing about the smell of baby powder, he remembered how much he liked it when he was young. The sweet smell had made him feel so secure and comfortable. He had even tried to inveigle his mother into using it on him when he was five. For a time, he had succeeded. His father had left his mother when Harry was five and his mother was left to raise Harry on her own. He had clung to her in his childhood, demanding that she stay with him every minute to minister to his needs. When his father left, Harry had felt frightened and betrayed. He laid awake nights wondering if his mother would leave too. He had started wetting his pants and having smelly "accidents" in his pants. His mother hadn’t responded the way he had originally hoped. Instead of cuddling him to her and telling him how much she loved him, stinks and all, she took away his underwear and made him wear diapers twenty-four hours a day. He had quickly adjusted to the infant wear and peed and pooped in his diapers with impunity. He spent his days in the warm Texas weather wearing nothing but a T-shirt, diapers and plastic pants. If he had an "accident" he would tell his mother and she would take him back to his bedroom and remove his diaper, clean his bottom and pubes and slide a fluffy white diaper under his bottom before rubbing baby powder all over the area covered by the diaper. Then she would pin him snuggly into the diaper and slip a fresh pair of plastic pants over his legs so he could return to play. Harry grew to love the feel of the soft fabric bunched between his legs as he waddled from room to room. Sometimes he would sit and pee in his pants deliberately while he sat in front of the TV watching Captain Kangaroo. The diaper would become deliciously warm and he would stick his thumb in his mouth and watch TV until his diaper became cold and clammy. Then he would get up and ask his mommy to change him so he could start the process again. He was in paradise.
Then the inevitable happened; his mother took up with another man. He came into their apartment and took over. He refused to allow Harry to wear diapers. He made his mother put him in multiple layers of underwear and he would thrash Harry if he wet or messed in them. One night after he had made a particularly odorous mess in his pants, his mother’s lover had beaten Harry severely. He had cried and begged his mother to let him wear diapers. When the diapers were denied him, he had asked her if she would powder him so he wouldn’t get a rash. When his mother’s lover heard that, he flew into a rage. He took off his belt and whipped Harry brutally. Then he opened the top of the baby powder container and emptied the container of baby powder over Harry’s head. He had asked Harry if he enjoyed smelling like a baby and then he beat him again. He had screamed in terror and pleaded for his mother to help him. She had stood by with a worried look on her face, but she never moved an inch to save him from her lover. When the man had finished, Harry was allowed to crawl out of the room and go to the bathroom to clean himself up. His mother’s lover had made him spend the rest of the evening on the toilet so he wouldn’t have an "accident" while he slept. Harry never had an "accident" in his pants again. The empty container of baby powder was kept on the TV to remind him of what would happen if he erred again. All his mother’s lover had to do was pick up the container of baby powder and shake it in Harry’s face to make Harry cry in terror. Harry grew to loath the smell of baby powder; it seemed to symbolize the pain and betrayal he had felt that night.
After a few years, the man had left and his mother was forced to go to back to work. His father had disappeared and had quit making child support payments. He remembered clearly being forced to look after a neighbor’s baby when he was ten. His mother had gotten a job as a waitress and was car pooling with a neighbor who was employed at the same restaurant. The payment for his mother’s car ride was Harry’s babysitting services. The smell of the baby’s nursery had sickened him; the room had reeked of old urine, shit and soured milk. Overlaid on top of the helpless human’s stench was the sweet perfume of baby powder. The combination had made him want to gag. He had been forced to change that baby’s awful smelling diapers and wash them in the toilet before tossing them in the dirty diaper pail. The memory made him shudder. It was months before his mother changed jobs and he was released from his involuntary servitude. He had sworn that he would never enter a nursery again. He would spend his life doing manly things and never play nursemaid to a baby again. He would go out and take what he wanted, wresting a living from a world that should have been laid at his feet at the moment of birth.
Harry frowned as the gorge rose in his throat. Now he would be the helpless one making the stinks. It made him want to howl in anguish. There would be no escaping the reek of the nursery, it would follow him wherever he went. After every diaper change, they would lovingly rub baby power all over his crotch and bottom before putting him in a clean diaper that reeked of perfume. His diaper, his clothes, even his very body would emanate malodorous clouds of the stuff. He had been betrayed again by a woman. The first time, he had learned his lesson and had grown up. Now they had changed their minds and wanted him to be a baby again. "Women never can make up their minds about what they want in a man," Harry thought in disgust, "At first they want him to be self-reliant and tough, then when they find out what a tough guy is like, they change their minds and want him to be soft and helpless."
Presently Harry finished the bottle, making hollow slurping sounds as he sucked the last drops of formula from the latex nipple. She sat him up and burped him, then said to Ginger who grinned from ear to ear as she saw the yellow stain on the front of Harry’s diaper, "I’m going out shopping for baby things for Harry. Could you babysit him while I’m gone?"
Ginger smiled and said, "I’d be happy to babysit Hankie. Would you like me to have some of the men deliver some baby furniture at your house while you’re gone? It’s not busy today and they’ve finished the preventive maintenance for the week. If they start now, they can get the stuff loaded and delivered before the construction equipment starts coming in this afternoon."
Martha grinned broadly and said, "That’s a wonderful idea, Ginger! Why don’t you tell them while I call Maria and tell her to expect them. Tell them I’m going to need a crib, mattress, changing table, high chair and playpen. I’ll pick up a stroller and baby seat for the car while I’m out shopping. I’ve got the perfect room to turn into Hankie’s nursery. We’ll use Harry’s old den. Tell the men to take all the furniture out of the den and put it in the garage. I’ll go through his desk this weekend and get out any important papers."
She got out of the rocking chair and handed Harry to Ginger, then picked up the office phone to call Maria. When she finished a few minutes later, Ginger had already removed Harry’s soaked diaper and was taping him into another. She folded the wet diaper into a neat package and threw it into the trash can before raising the side of the crib and locking it in place. Martha smiled at her husband sitting placidly in his crib while she picked up her purse and got ready to go. "Let’s see now," Martha said, talking half to herself and half to Ginger, "I’ve got to get diapers and changing supplies, crib sheets and blankets, assorted baby clothes, a stroller and an auto seat. Is there anything else?"
"You forgot baby food, feeding bibs, formula, baby bottles and nipples," Ginger said helpfully.
Martha smiled and said, "I guess I should go through the baby section at Target and buy a complete set of baby things for him. I’ll stop by the grocery store and pick up some baby food and formula after I go to Target. Have the boys go ahead and get the furniture moved out of the den. I’ll meet them at the house in about two hours."
Martha bent over the crib and put her hands under Harry’s armpits to pick him up. She raised him up to her level and kissed him on his forehead, saying, "Be a good boy, Sweetheart, while Mommy’s gone. Mommy will be back to take you home this afternoon."
She lowered Harry back into the crib where he extended his legs and took hold of the crib railing to stand at the side of the crib. Then she turned to Ginger and said, "You have my permission to spank Hankie if he’s naughty. I’ll be back around three."
She patted the top of Harry’s head patronizingly and left him in the care of his ex-subordinate. Ginger came over to the crib and said, "It’s time to go beddy-bye, little man!" and reached into the crib to pick him up. She lifted him, swinging him slightly so that when his legs rocked forward, she could lay him back on the mattress in a single motion. Harry watched between the bars of the crib as Ginger left the room. "Someday I’ll get her too," he thought as he yawned sleepily. He was planning his revenge as his eyelids drooped and he fell into a deep sleep.
Harry awoke when Martha picked him up out of the crib and sat him on her hip. He blinked his eyes in confusion and looked out of the yard window in an attempt to gauge the time. The long shadows of late afternoon had not yet fallen so he knew that the time must be between three and four o’clock. Martha put her arm behind him, holding him with her right hand under his diapered bottom so he wouldn’t slip down her side. She thanked Ginger again for babysitting Harry and carried him out to her car. Martha opened the rear door on the passenger side and sat him in the infant auto seat that she had purchased hours before. Harry found the experience humiliating; the yard employees had gathered around the car to see their ex-boss’s fate, making Harry acutely aware that he was wearing nothing but a infant’s diaper in front of the men he had dominated and abused for so long. Martha smiled at the men’s attention and pulled the strap up between Harry’s legs and fastened it to the combined shoulder-waist straps before pulling them snuggly around his body. Then she lowered the heavily padded hand bar in front of him so he would have something to hang onto while he rode. Before she closed the car door, she patted Harry’s head affectionately in front of the work crew. The patronizing gesture wasn’t lost on the men; they howled in laughter at Harry’s fall from power.
Harry stared out of the window silently as the car wound it’s way through the afternoon traffic to their home. He wondered why wearing a diaper was so embarrassing for him. It wasn’t his relative nudity; he wore less at the pool when he went swimming. The diaper made him feel as if he had failed somehow. He understood that many people with health problems had to wear diapers to protect their bedding and clothing from their conditions. Why should he be any different? He knew that Martha was trying to break his will by treating him like an infant, but there was no reason why he should let it get to him. Wearing diapers was no more disreputable than having to use a wheelchair. Diapers and wheelchairs were signs of physical disabilities over which the sufferer had no control. Why should he find diapers so depressing?
His thoughts drifted back to the expressions of the men who had surrounded their car as Martha was strapping him into the seat. The men had grinned from ear to ear with a collective look of triumph written on their faces. That was what bothered him so much! It was them, all of them, Martha included! It was the way they looked at him! They were overjoyed at his loss in status! The diapers were only a symbol to them. He understood why he felt so uncomfortable in them. Diapers meant he had lost all control of his life, that he was utterly dependent on women to change him when he helplessly peed or pooped. Ginger hadn’t just diapered him to keep him from making a mess. She wanted to belittle him and make him feel helpless.
It was the perfect trap. The longer he was forced to wear the diapers, the less control he would have. In a few weeks his potty training would disappear altogether. He would get despondent and stop trying to control his urges. Harry could envision himself standing at the railing of his playpen and shitting in his diapers the minute he felt the need to go. He would dirty his diapers as if he had never heard of using a toilet. No one would ask whether he was wet or dirty, they would assume that he was incapable of reason or speech. They would stick their fingers down the front of his diapers and laugh at him for his childish behavior. All he could do would be to smile at them and hope that they that would change him quickly. Every time his diaper was checked to see if he had peed, it would be an confirmation of what he had become. If he developed diaper rash, they would strip him of the last measure of modesty and make him crawl around the floor in his birthday suit while they made comments about how cute his naked bottom looked. No one would be offended by his lack of clothes. His sexual organs had become too small to be a threat to their womanhood.
Martha would revel in his new look and think of ways to humiliate him. The burly husband that she had held in awe was gone. He had turned into a cute little plaything that charmed rather than frightened. The horrors of what she’d do to him now that she was in control terrified Harry. She seize every opportunity to make him feel weak and helpless. He shivered when he thought of what she’d do when she found his collection of pornography. He knew that she thought that photos of naked women were demeaning. She’d take him and make him pose for degrading pictures of his own. She’d probably make him lie naked on a rabbit skin and take pictures of him drooling for the family album. Then Martha would invite her friends over to see what a beautiful baby he had become! Everyone would come to see him lie naked at their feet, gurgling and dripping spit from his chin like an infant! They’d sip their cups of coffee and smile at his infantile attempts to escape his audience. If he tried to crawl away, she’d pick him up and give him to the women to be passed from lap to lap for their inspection. When they’d bored of their sport, they’d diaper him and silence his humiliated whimpers with a pacifier.
The depth of Martha’s perfidy was clear to Harry then. She hadn’t merely taken his processions, she had taken his very identity! He was less than nothing in the Ginger’s and Martha’s eyes. He was no better that a little girl’s doll to be diapered and displayed proudly to her friends. She had turned him into a toy, a plaything to be dressed or undressed for her amusement! He hadn’t merely lost his rights to personal privacy, they had eradicated the very concept of his privacy!
Tears welled up in his eyes and rolled down his cheeks as he thought about what Martha had done to him. His emotions overwhelmed him. Sorrow clouded his mind and threatened to make him cry aloud at any minute. He wanted to stop weeping, but the flow of tears continued unabated. He had gone from being the absolute ruler of his domain to being a sniveling infant under his mommy’s care. She hadn’t just emasculated him, she had infantilized him! She had put him over her knees and spanked him until he had begged for mercy. Then she had put him back in diapers and made him promise to be a good baby. Being diapered by his wife was the ultimate loss of face. Harry put his face in his hands and wept bitterly. He knew then that no matter what happened to him in the future, he would never be the same. He would never be able to look a woman in the eye and dominate her again. For the rest of his life, he would look at women as potential nannies to nurture and care for him. Ginger had been right, he was a baby!
The car rolled into the driveway and came to a stop. Martha got out of the car and unstrapped Harry, hoisting him to her hip to carry him in the house. When Martha walked in the door, she was greeted by Maria, who said, "Señora Martha, que bonito! This is Hankie, no? What a pretty niño! He is the one I am to babysit, no?"
Martha brushed the hair from Harry’s forehead and said formally, "Maria, I’d like to introduce you to my baby boy, Hankie. Hankie, Maria has agreed to be your babysitter while I’m at work. She has a little boy of her own that’s the same size as you. I’ve told her that since we have one baby in the house, there’s no reason she can’t bring her baby to work with her. That way, she can look after both of you while she does her work. You’ll have a little friend to share your playpen with during the day! Won’t that be nice?"
Harry frowned and tears started forming in his eyes. They were going to make him share a playpen with a real baby! The ignominy of it was too much; Harry started to cry.
Maria looked at him with concern and said sympathetically, "Pobrecito! Lo siento, bebé! Estás hecho polvo? Tienes hambre de leche?"
Martha handed Harry to Maria and said, "Could you take care of him for a few minutes while I take a bath and change clothes? I feel filthy after working in the garage!"
"Sí, Señora!", Maria said enthusiastically as she took Harry in her arms, cuddling him and gracing him with the condescending but loving smile of an adoring Duenna, "Come with me, little one! Maria has something to make you feel better!"
Martha went up the stairs to take a bath while Maria took Harry into the family room. She sat down on the couch, nestling him against her left arm. "Poor little man," she said as she unbuttoned her blouse, "You have had so many changes! You must be very sad to have lost your manhood. Don’t worry, little one. Maria will give you what you need. When you were a macho hombre, you thought that Maria would lay with you because you were our "Patron" and could hurt my family. You couldn't understand that Maria would rather return to her homeland than become a sinner in the eyes of God and the Blessed Virgin. Now that God has made you a little baby again so there is no sin, Maria will grant your wish."
She reached inside her blouse with her right hand and eased her breast out of her blouse. Harry’s eyes widened as the distended teat hung in front of him. Tiny droplets of milk dribbled from her nipple in prelude for what was to come. Harry’s mind screamed as he watched the nipple approach his face. She couldn’t be thinking of nursing him! He closed his eyes to shut out the sight of the tit that loomed before him. He felt the nipple brush his cheek and opened his mouth to scream in horror.
It was in him! She had put her tit in his mouth! "Dear God, help me!", he pleaded silently as his lips closed involuntarily around her aureole.
Maria put her two of her fingers on top of her teat and pressed down to start the flow of milk, saying, "Ever since we met, little one, you have been trying to get me in your bed. You grew angry with me because I would not share your bed like the other girls in my family. But I would not go because I am a married woman. Even if God and the Blessed Virgin forgave me for my sin, I could not face my husband if I had slept with another man. Maria knows your need. I saw the way you looked at my breasts. You have hungered for them like a little baby since we met. Now that you are a baby again, you will have what you wanted. There is no sin in feeding a little baby."
Harry swallowed the milk that was filling his mouth and tried to pull away. Maria’s right hand moved to the back of his head held him fast to her breast. He couldn’t free himself! Harry put his tiny hands to her breast to push himself away and gave the strongest heave he could. Harry’s weak push had the opposite effect from what he intended; another jet of milk entered his mouth. Harry could feel Maria’s nipple become erect and fill his mouth completely. He drummed his legs against her lap but resistance was hopeless; his tiny feet merely waved in the air on the other side of her lap. He was trapped! His tongue moved back in his mouth as he swallowed in fear causing another jet to squirt into his mouth. He swallowed again in self-defense and the thimbleful of milk was replaced by another. He swallowed again and another jet entered his mouth! The aroma of the rich, thin milk filled his nose. It was so warm and sweet! Without thinking, he took a pull at the nipple with his tongue and lips. His throat was washed in the soothing liquid. It trickled down his esophagus into his stomach. Harry relaxed and let the milk dissolve his worries and fears. The milk rested comfortably in his stomach and awakened a hunger that he wasn’t even aware existed. He sucked more forcefully in an attempt to assuage the craving that had seized him. Within minutes, he had subsided into a rhythm of sucking and swallowing. Maria smiled at her charge and took her hand away from his head. He wouldn’t stop until he was full or her teat was empty, she knew. The look of infantine bliss on his face spoke more clearly than words could have possibly expressed. She patted him maternally on the back of his diaper and let him drink his fill. When his stomach was full of milk, he’d fall asleep and she could put him in his crib for a nap. Didn’t her chiquitín act the same way? Pobrecito, all little Hankie needed was leche de madre. He would be a good niño then.
Harry emptied one breast and Maria switched him to the other teat. Maria marveled at how hungry he was. He acted like he hadn’t eaten in weeks! Presently Maria heard Martha’s steps on the stairway coming down. Maria left Harry as he was, surely Señora Martha would not object to her feeding her son!
Martha stopped in the kitchen to get a bottle of formula for Harry. When she came back into the family room she was stunned at what she saw. There was Martha and Harry...together on the couch! She watched silently, readying her attack on the two lovers, then a slow smile grew on her lips as she watched the domestic scene in front of her. She hadn’t caught Harry in an act of flagrante delecto! Maria was only wet nursing him. Only a truly twisted personality would think there was something wrong in breast feeding a baby. She was pleased to see him nursing at Maria’s breasts. Harry continued to suckle in a blissful rapture with his eyes closed, never realizing that his escapade with another woman was being observed by his wife. Maria had told her about Harry’s designs on her virtue when he had made advances to her. Maria had been able to handle the situation so Martha had never felt the need to say anything to Harry. She had thought at the time that the firm rejection of someone he thought was completely cowed was punishment enough for Harry’s monumental ego. Now it appeared that Maria was getting some of her own back. Martha put the bottle in her back pocket and folded her arms as she watched Harry in amusement. She could imagine the dismay he must have felt when Maria first presented her bulging titties to him. From the looks of it, he had gotten over the adult embarrassment at being breast fed like an infant. Poor Harry was finally reaping the fruits of the discord he had sown. She doubted he’d ever be able to look at women as sexual objects again. Martha wondered if she could talk her obstetrician into giving her some hormones to allow her to breast feed Harry. From the look on his face, Harry certainly wouldn’t object. She had always wondered what breast feeding felt like for the mother. She had been told the sensations it produced were almost as satisfying as sex. Considering the current state of Harry’s sexual organ, she’d better find something to replace him soon. Unless she wanted to use an impersonal object like a dildo, she’d need to find a substitute for Harry’s attentions. The idea of breast feeding her ex-husband excited her in a strange way. She could still have the intimacy and closeness with Harry without sacrificing her position as mistress of the house. It would make her feel like she was needed and reinforce Harry’s dependency on her. She resolved to call her obstetrician the next morning for an appointment.
When Harry depleted Maria’s other breast she lifted him up to her shoulder and began patting him gently on the back. Harry lolled in remembered ecstasy and barely noticed the change in position. When his stomach released the trapped air in a huge belch, his eyes flew open and he realized what he had done. He looked around in a panic to see who had observed his infantile behavior. There stood Martha in front of him with a broad grin on her face. She reached out and took him from Maria’s arms, saying, "It looks like my baby boy has already gotten his din-din. Did you enjoy Maria’s titties, Honey? Mommy’s going to call her doctor tomorrow so she can get some medicine to make her give milk too! Mommy will breast feed her little baby three or four times a day! Won’t that be nice?"
Harry shuddered at the thought of being breast fed by his wife. "What does she think I am, an infant?", he thought. Martha felt his tiny tremors and said, "Oh, dear! Poor little Hankie is getting a chill! Mommy will take him upstairs and give him a nice warm bath. Then she’ll put him in a clean diaper and his new baby jammies and he can go to sleep for the night."
Martha carried Harry up the stairs and ran the tub while she took him into his new nursery. Harry groaned inwardly when he saw what she had done to his den. All of his furniture had been removed and replaced with nursery furniture from the rental store. She had taken down the dark curtains Harry had had for years and replaced them with light blue curtains with a nursery motif. Apparently Martha thought that he would remain as her baby. Otherwise she would not have spent the money to buy the decorations of infant Tiny Toon characters that gazed down at his crib from the walls. The look of the nursery disgusted him. All of things that had given the room an air of masculinity were gone. His desk, stereo, CD collection and battered old easy chair had been replaced with a crib, changing table, and dresser. The crib had a fleecy blue blanket draped over the end, padded bumpers mounted along the insides of the rails and a gaily color mobile hung over the head of the crib. Soft animal toys lined the back rail of the crib looking at him with their unblinking eyes. Harry wanted to scream in frustration. "She fucking can’t be serious!", he thought, "Surely she can’t expect me to sleep in that infantile clutter! Does she seriously think I’m going to lay on my back sucking my toes and watching that fucking mobile go round because she’s managed to outmaneuver me? Just because I look like a baby doesn’t mean I think like one!"
The changing table was fully stocked with stacks fresh disposable diapers on the lower shelves, while baby wipes, lotion and powder sat waiting for him on the top. The top of the dresser had a small nursery lamp, a baby monitor and a large clear acrylic apothecary jar filled with nuk pacifiers. Through the half open closet door Harry could see that his hunting and fishing clothes had been replaced with hangers of infant clothing. The nursery gave the impression that a soft, sweet, much-loved baby occupied the room. Even the smell of stale cigars which had graced the room since he moved in had been replaced with the sweet vanilla scent of baby powder. It made Harry want to puke! Martha took him to the changing table and laid him on his back while she unfastened the tapes on his diaper. Then she tossed the diaper in the pail and picked him up from the table again. She cuddled him close to her chest with his head looking back over her left shoulder as she walked back to the bathroom. Despite himself, Harry found the trip back to the bathroom strangely erotic. The idea of being carried naked by a fully clothed woman, even his wife was something Harry had never experienced as an adult. Her right hand was cupped over his bare bottom and supported his weight easily while his back was held tightly against her breasts with her left. He felt something rubbing against his hairless chest through the thin fabric of her blouse. It puzzled him for a moment before he realized what it was; her nipples! She wasn’t wearing a bra! Throughout all the years he had known her, she had always worn a bra. Had his wife become some kind of bra-burning femi-nazi? Oddly, Harry was turned on by the thought. He could feel his tiny penis grow larger, poking up into her blouse as if it was searching out the security of her breasts.
The ride ended all too soon as Martha bent over the tub and tested the water. She turned off the rush and lowered him gently into the tub. Martha began to soap a washcloth to bath him and suddenly remembered the bath seat she had bought him. "Now where did I put that thing?", she asked herself, "Oh, I forgot! I put it under the sink!"
She turned to get the safety seat, leaving Harry unchaperoned in the tub. Harry saw his chance to escape! He stood up at the side of the tub and held on to the side as he threw one of his legs over the side. Halfway through the motion, his supporting leg slipped on the bottom of the tub and he felt himself falling backwards. His head hit the opposite side of the tub with a sickening crunch and everything went black.
When Harry woke up he was cradled in Martha’s arms. The water in the tub beside him had a pink tinge as if he had been bleeding. Harry looked up at the face of the strange woman who held him and wondered wordlessly what was happening. Harry put out a tiny wet finger to touch the soft breast that he rested against then he awkwardly put his finger to her lips. Instinctively, he tried to communicate his troubles to the unknown woman, but no words formed in his mind. His vocal cords reacted to the scrambled signals from his brain and he said, "Gaaaaa! Mogaa?"
He looked puzzled, then tried again, saying, "Immma ba?"
Martha looked into his eyes and saw the blank look of confusion there. She started to panic and said, "Harry! Are you alright? Speak to me, Harry!"
Harry’s eyes darted from left to right as if he was trying to recognize the room he was in. It was obvious to Martha that he hadn’t understood what she was saying. She tried again, saying, "Harry! Do you understand me? Look at me Harry! Can’t you talk?"
Harry squealed delightedly and stuck his finger in Martha’s open mouth. Drool ran from his lips and gathered on his chin as he smiled at the woman who held him. "Oh my God, Harry! You’ve turned into a real baby! That bump on the head must be worse than I thought! Can’t you say anything? Come on baby! Say something for Mommy!"
"Oooooo...ba...ba...gooooo," Harry replied happily.
Martha looked down into the wide innocent blue eyes that aimlessly darted back and forth. His pupils weren’t dilated and he looked normal. Aside from the bump on the back of his head with the small cut there was no obvious physical damage. He didn’t appear to be in any pain. Martha couldn’t decide if it was the bump on the head or some lingering effect of the DNA changes. The only thing Martha was sure of was that Harry her husband was gone. The tiny body she held in her arms had the mind of an infant. She bent her head down and kissed him on the forehead, saying, "Poor baby. Mommy’s sorry this happened. Mommy promises she’ll never let you fall again, okay?"
Harry pursed his lips and blew a bubble with his saliva in answer then giggled gaily when the bubble popped. He put his hand in her hair, gripped tightly, then began to pull. "Owww!", Martha said, "Harry! Stop that!"
Harry looked at her innocently and she amended as she untangled his hand with her right hand, "Don’t be naughty, Baby! I guess I shouldn’t call you Harry anymore, should I? I just called you Hankie to tease you before. Now that you’re a real baby, I can’t call you by a big boy name like Harry, can I? I guess I’ll call you Hankie. You don’t mind, do you?"
Harry gurgled and said, "oooda!"
"You don’t care what Mommy calls you, do you snookums?", Martha said tickling him on his belly button with her index finger.
Harry giggled happily and made a labial fricative by pursing his lips and blowing a Bronx cheer. Martha smiled at his antics and said, "Come on, Sweetheart! Let’s get you bathed!"
She held him with one hand while she put the yellow plastic bath seat in the tub, then gently eased Harry’s feet through the leg holes to let him sit on the sponge seat. Harry gripped the ring surrounding him and pushed up in an attempt to stand but was stopped by the horizontal position of his legs and the confining ring. Martha handed him a plastic bath duckie and said, "Here you go, Honey. Play with this while Mommy gets you nice and clean!"
Harry took the duckie from her hands and looked at it for a moment before putting the duck’s head in his mouth and sucking it. Martha smiled again at her baby boy and began to scrub his with the soapy washcloth. When she finished washing his back, she put the washcloth between his legs and began to soap his pubic area. Harry cooed in pleasure and playfully tried to grab the washcloth. "No, no Hankie! Mommy’s busy! Play with your duckie, Honey! Mommy’s almost finished."
Harry squealed joyously and kicked his legs in the bathwater, making a big splash. Martha grinned and said, "So Baby wants his legs washed too?"
Harry grinned up at her in reply and began patting the water with the flat of his hand. Martha picked up one of his legs and soaped it down to his feet, then worked the lather into the spaces between his toes. Harry gurgled and cooed, he was having a wonderful time! Martha washed his other leg and foot, then washed the cloth out in the bathwater before hanging it from the handle on the built-in soap dish. "All finished, Baby! Dirty Harry isn’t dirty anymore!", Martha said.
Then she chuckled and poked her finger in the soft hairless skin over his penis and said, "In fact, Dirty Harry isn’t even hairy!"
Martha laughed at her pun on Harry’s name and said maternally, "Mommy will wash your hair tomorrow. If she washes your hair right now, baby will start bleeding again. You wouldn’t want that, now would you, Darling? Now stay there while Mommy gets your bath towel."
Martha turned to take the infant bath towel that lay behind her and drape it over her knee. Then she bent over the tub and put her hands beneath Harry’s armpits and lifted him out of the bath seat. She sat him on the shag bathmat that she had been kneeling on and began to dry him off briskly with the towel. Harry loved the towel; he grabbed the hem of the towel in his tiny fingertips and pulled it over his head to play peek-a-boo. Martha laughed at his game and said, "You like your new towel, don’t you? Hankie’s such an adorable baby, isn’t he?"
Harry giggled in agreement and Martha resumed drying him off with the free end of the towel. When she finished, she wrapped him in the bath towel and lifted him to her chest then she opened the drain on the tub and carried him to his nursery.
Martha laid him on the changing table and took the long belt that was fastened to the middle of the changing pad in her hand. Then she laid it across his tummy and strapped him securely down to the changing table. Then she went over to the dresser and got out his nightclothes and brought them back to the changing table. She unbuckled the strap and rubbed him down with lotion before sprinkling baby powder all over his body. Harry giggled and cooed throughout the procedure; he enjoyed the feel of his Mommy’s hands smoothing the sweet powder into his skin. Martha lifted the heels of his feet with one hand while she slid a thick nighttime diaper under his bottom. Then she opened the tube of A&D ointment and put a thin layer of diaper rash ointment in the creases in the skin of his crotch. As an afterthought, she lifted his legs and put a thick layer of ointment in the crack between the cheeks of his bottom. Harry watched her with interest while he sucked on the fingers of his hands. Martha pulled the diaper up between his legs and taped it securely down on one side before she pulled the waist taut and taped the other side down firmly. Then she took the Gerber plastic pants she had gotten from the dresser and worked his feet through the leg holes and slid them down his legs. She tugged the pants over his disposable diaper and tucked the elastic waistband of the pants around the top of the diaper. Harry put his hand down to feel the plastic pant and laughed in delight at how soft they felt to his baby skin. Martha reached under the table again and took out the sleeper she had taken from his drawer. She unsnapped the front and legs until the garment looked like a shapeless rag in her hands. She put the open sleeper behind him and put his hands through the arms one at a time. She snapped up the sleeper down the front until she reached his belly button and began on the legs. Martha pulled the legs of the sleeper down beneath his panty covered bottom. Then she took one foot and began working his toes into the fabric foot of the sleeper. She repeated the operation with the other foot and snapped the fleecy fabric around his legs. As Martha snapped the last fasteners on the lower part of his belly, Harry pulled his knees up to his chest and began waving his legs in the air. Martha smiled at the infant her husband had become. No one could have known by looking at the adorable baby in front of her that he had been a full grown man only a month before. Drool ran from the corners of his mouth as he alternated with blowing bubbles and labial fricatives. The thick bulge around his waist and bottom left no doubt what he was wearing beneath the infant sleeper. When Martha put her hand down to tickle his chin, he seized her finger in his hand and pulled it into his mouth. Martha watched as her ex-husband suckled her finger in obvious enjoyment. She gently withdrew her finger from his mouth and replaced it with a pacifier from her pocket. Harry’s lips latched onto the nuk and he began to contentedly suck on the orthodontic pacifier. "Harry is happy now," she thought to herself as she picked him up from the changing table, "That’s all that matters. His greed destroyed him, causing him to lose everything that mattered to him; his business, his truck, even his body. If he hadn’t taken to drinking, he might still have most of it. He might be the size of a baby, but I wouldn’t have taken his business if he hadn’t started destroying everything we built over the years."
She laid him down in the crib and tenderly tucked the blanket around his small body. She took the pacifier from his mouth, then bent over and kissed him, saying, "I loved you, Harry. Even at your worst, I loved you! When I married you, I promised to take you for better or for worse. We’ve had the worst, now you and Mommy are going to see the better."
Harry waved his arms at her and cooed affectionately. Martha looked down at her new son and said in a motherly tone as she reached behind her to take something from her rear pocket, "Since you got sick, you acted like your bottle was your only friend."
She giggled and said, "They say that when a man takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink and then the drink takes the man. In the end, there’s nothing left but the bottle. It could have been worse, Harry. You could have ended up in some freezing gutter on East Houston, peeing in pants while you sucked down the last drops of rutgut from a whiskey bottle. At least you’ve got a warm crib to lie in and a diaper to soak up your messes."
Harry looked confused at her speech and smiled up at her with an atric neurologist was unable to decide whether his loss of adult consciousness resulted from the trauma or from the DNA changes. He was released from pediatrics into the care of his mother after a week. The nurses were sorry to see such an adorable baby go.
The team of investigators from Majestic 12 discontinued their surveillance of Harry and his mother in disgust and went back to Washington. His accident had invalidated any results they might have hoped to have gotten from watching him. After reporting the accident to their superiors, they were told to pull up stakes and return. Majestic 12 had another subject in mind for testing anyway. There was a certain UFO writer who had come embarrassingly close to the truth in his new book. The group had decided that it was time to end his researches into their affairs. They told the investigators that they had another black bag operation for them the minute they returned to Washington. The subject was to be extracted and brought to a secret lab in Nevada where the experiments with alien-human hybrids were taking place. The UFO researcher would finally see what lay beneath the airfields of Area 51. Their researches into rejuvenation continue. There have been multiple disappearances of UFO researchers worldwide since Harry’s transformation.
Maria’s baby boy José was overjoyed to be able to spend every day with his mother where she worked. He played happily with baby Hankie, crawling around the playpen together while Maria cleaned house. He was very sad five years later when he had to go to kindergarten, leaving his friend Hankie who was still in diapers and living the idyllic life of an infant. Although he had gotten too old to play with Hankie on equal terms, he felt a special bond with the baby with whom he had spent his infancy. When he got old enough to go to middle school, his mother would let him babysit Hankie on weekends.
Martha disposed of the chemical dump, selling it to a Mexican land hop. She opened an outlet in Austin, then expanded her operations to Dallas, and Houston. Within ten years, she had franchised her operations and became a millionaire CEO. Ginger became vice-president in charge of franchises and became a major stock holder in the new company. She met a man at a convention for clothing manufacturers and married him. She had a baby boy and was often seen at the house of her CEO with her baby. The CEO’s baby was pleased to have another playmate and they became fast friends.
Maria and all of her relatives who worked at the rental company became American citizens with the help of Martha and Judge Harwood. Their pay was increased and they moved to more comfortable living quarters closer to work. Martha had the ramshackle apartments torn down and sold the land to an ecologically aware company that specialized in zeroscaped landscaping.
Judge Harwood was hired by a firm with connections to the NSA. His flexible approach to the law was appreciated by his new employers.
Harry remained as he was and never grew up. His mind stayed at the level of a somewhat backward fourteen-month-old toddler. His language abilities never returned; the only word he ever learned was ma-ma. That word was enough to describe his world, so he never learned another. Harry lived the contented life of a baby under Martha's care and was serenely happy until the day he died, many, many years later.