Who Wears the Pants - Part 5
by Jennifer Loraine
A Manner of SpeakingÖ.
Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803ñ82), Letters and Social Aims, "Social Aims" (1876).
Syntax and vocabulary are overwhelming constraintsóthe rules that run us. Language is using us to talkówe think weíre using the language, but language is doing the thinking, weíre its slavish agents.
Harry Mathews (b. 1930), City Limits (London, 26 May 1988).
Howard ate the rest his lunch morosely. His life had spun completely out of control. Not only did he look like a toddler, but he was being forced to live a toddler's life as well. When he finished his meal, Anita wiped his mouth with a napkin and helped him down from the booster chair. She led him into the family room and sat him on the carpet in front of the TV. Instead of turning on the TV however, she went into the other room and came out with a big shopping bag full of boxes. She dumped the boxes out of the bag unceremoniously at his feet and said, "You might as well take them out of the packages yourself, Honeybunch. They're your toys. Mommy wants to watch a cooking show on TV. You can play there on the carpet until it's time for your nap."
Howard looked at the pile of toys at his feet, wondering how he was ever going to pretend to play with them. There was quite a selection to choose from; there was a large mesh bag of building blocks, a wooden train set that would have been more appropriate for a two year old, an assortment of large plastic trucks and cars in bright colors and a large blue circular object with pictures of farm animals on the front and a selector dial, when the spring-loaded cord was pulled, the sound of the indicated animal was emitted by the toy. Howard found the toys depressing. How could she expect him to play with this junk? If she had included a pocket-sized video game, maybe he could have faked a little interest. But this stuff? There was actually an infant's wheeled bubble ball toy in the group! How young did she expect him to act?
Anita's voice descended on him like a divine judgement from Olympus, "Play with your toys, Howard. Mommy's had all the nonsense she's going to put up with from you today."
Howard tentatively opened the bag of building blocks and spilled them out on the carpet in front of him. Maybe he could do something with the blocks to make her happy. Then an idea occurred to him. What about that barbeque pit he had planned to build this summer? He could make a model of that. He vaguely remembered the picture in one of Anita's old cookbooks that he had liked. The author's name was something like Trader Vic. If he remembered correctly, the pit was long and had two ovens at the end, one of which could be used as a smoker. He remembered the text saying that the design was Chinese in origin. Whatever its origins, it had looked like a good do-it-yourself project for him and he had told himself he would construct it that summer when he had time. Howard sighed. As long as he had to play with something, he might as well use his time to think about his project. The thought that he might never get any bigger never occurred to him. As far as Howard was concerned, his condition was only a temporary setback in a career that was on the rise again. He set to with the blocks, using them to make a scale model of the construction project he had in mind. Soon he was on his hands and knees, looking into every canny of his model to check for potential problems with his design. He tore the model down and rebuilt it several times as new ideas presented themselves.
Howard was totally unaware of the broad smile of maternal approval that Anita beamed down on him while he was engaged with his project. Anita was so pleased that he was adjusting to his new life. She hated to come down on him as hard as she had earlier, but he had to be made to face the truth. She watched him as he crawled back and forth across the carpet on his hands and knees, moving his play blocks infinitesimal amounts and then tearing the whole thing down and starting over. The padding on his cute little tush stuck out in the rear, looking just like diapers on a baby. Occasionally, when he was deep in concentration, a small rivulet of drool would escape his lips and run down his chin to fall on his project unnoticed. He looked adorable! She almost left her seat on the couch to go over and pick him up so she could sit him on her lap and bounce him on her knee, but she knew that he would be disappointed by being taken away from his toys and would probably start crying. At one point, he sat on his bottom with his feet on either side of his little building and stared at it in a parody of deep concentration. She watched in delight as his thumb crept up the side of his face and inserted itself into his mouth. He never noticed his cheeks begin to suck as he considered his project. Anita was enchanted. If she could retrain him to talk like a toddler, no one would ever suspect he had once been a fully grown man.
When Anita came over and took his hand to lead him back for his nap, he whimpered quietly at being forced to abandon his project before he had finished. Planning the horizontal portion of the flue for the smoker had been a bear and he hadn't quite gotten all the kinks worked out yet. As they walked down the hall, Howard cast several longing looks over his shoulder at the model he had left behind.
Anita tucked him in and kissed him on top of his head as she wished him sweet dreams. Howard felt strangely comforted by her kiss, even though he found her condescending treatment of him to be extremely demeaning. Within minutes, he was fast asleep. Anita closed the curtains to keep the afternoon Sun from disturbing his sleep and closed the door behind her. When he awoke, she took him out to let him play on the floor again. Howard was relieved to see she hadn't disturbed his model. The pile of blocks and the long rectangular building-like structure he had made with them were still intact. Howard fell to his blocks immediately and restarted his design work where he had left off a few hours before. He didn't take a break until Anita came to take him in the kitchen for dinner. The meal was a bit of a shock to Howard, he hadn't expected Anita to cut up his food for him and feed him the bits from a fork. Once he got used to the idea, however, he started to enjoy it. Anita had decided to make his favorite dish for him, Veal Parmesan. When she saw the trouble he had controlling his knife, she took it away from him and cut his meat for him. Then she forked up each bite and fed it to him as if he was an infant. If it had been any other dish, Howard would have objected to being fed. But the dish was perfect and he didn't want to give Anita any excuse to take it away from him. He knew that if he made a fuss, she was likely to send him to bed without his supper and he REALLY liked Veal Parmesan! She wiped his mouth with a napkin when his plate was empty and took him back to the bathroom for his evening bath. Anita stood him in front of the toilet and pulled down his panties for him while the tub was filling, saying, "Mommy has decided that she wants you to call her when you need to potty. She doesn't want you to fall off of the potty and hurt yourself. Do you understand?"
Howard nodded vigorously to show he understood. She smiled and said in a friendly tone, "Mommy wants her little boy to practice his baby-talk for her. Can you do that for Mommy?"
"Yes, Mommy," Howard said.
"And what is Mommy's little Sugarplum going to do?", she asked.
"I'll call Mommy to help," he answered promptly.
"That's a good try, Honeybunch, but Mommy thinks you can do better. Mommy doesn't want you to use the word 'I'. Mommy wants you always to use the word 'me' instead. And try to make your sentences simpler, okay? Can you do that for Mommy? Now be a good boy and try it again," she said gently.
"Me call Mommy!", Howard said.
That's a gooood boy, Howie!", Anita said, patting his head, "Can you do better than that? Make the sentence even shorter for Mommy!"
Howard got a look of intense concentration, then said, "Me call Mama!"
"One more time for Mommy, Howie! Even shorter!", she commanded.
"Call Mama!", he said immediately.
"One last time for Mommy! Come on Baby! You can do it!", she encouraged.
"Mama!", Howard answered.
Anita hugged him to her breast and said, "That's a good baby! Mommy KNEW you could do it! Come on, Baby! Let's get you into the tub for your bath. See Mommy put some bubble bath in the tub so you can play with the bubbles! Won't that be fun?"
She picked Howard up and gently lowered his feet into the white mountain of foam that had bubbled up while she was giving him his language lesson. He let his feet slip forward as she immersed his body into the invitingly warm caress of soapy water. Howard was surrounded by the frothy suds of the bubble bath. He patted the nearest mound and heard an miniature avalanche of sounds. Howard smiled as he shaped the mound into a hummock and listened to the tiny sharp clicks of thousands of miniscule bubbles bursting simultaneously.
Anita smiled at his play and turned to the cabinet under the sink. She opened the door and reached inside to withdraw a bright yellow object which she hide from Howard's view. Anita plopped it in the tub and sat down on the toilet seat as she said, "Mommy bought a bath toy for you too! Can you find it, Honeybunch? I think it wants to come out and play!"
Howard nodded and reached forward to search under the froth with his hands. He located the toy and grabbed the wet object with both hands to keep the slippery rubber thing from getting away from him. As he squeezed it in his tiny fists, the room was filled with a loud "Quack!". Howard jumped back in surprise and took the submerged object from its blanket of obscuring bubbles for closer inspection. It was a rubber duck! She had given him a huge yellow rubber duck with baby blue eyes and an orange beak for a bath toy! Anita smiled in amusement at his surprised look and said, "What do you say to Mommy, Howie? Remember, Mommy only wants you to talk babytalk, Sweetiepie!"
"Thank you, Mommy," Howard said obediently.
"Little boys have problems making the 'Th' sound, Honeybunch. Mommy wants you to substitute a 'T' sound instead. And why don't you call me 'Mama' the way you did before? Can you do that for Mommy?", Anita asked.
"Tank you, Mama," Howard said, sounding exactly like a toddler.
"Good baby! Now your next lesson is even easier! Have you ever listened to little boys talk? It takes a loooong time to learn how to make the 'L' and 'R' sounds. Because they can't make the sound, they substitute a 'W' sound instead. Why don't you try that, Honeybunch? Say, 'I love Mommy' the way a little boy would. Remember not to use the pronoun 'I' when you talk!"
Howard thought a minute and said, "Me wuv Mama!"
"Now for your next lesson, Mommy wants you to think about baby names for things. Babies add an 'IE' to the endings of names to make things small and cute like them. For instance, your duck would be called a duckie! Say it for Mommy, Honeybunch!"
"Duckie!", Howard said.
"Now tell me you like your duck, Sweetheart!", Anita suggested.
"Me wike duckie!", Howard said in his high pitched voice.
"Good baby! Now Mommy wants you to name everything in this room whose name starts with a 'L' or 'R' while she gets things ready for you to go to bed, okay?", Anita said in her sweetest manner.
Despite himself, Howard was beginning to enjoy the game of sounding like a toddler. If he controlled his cadence, he sounded exactly like one. He pointed to the overhead light and said, "wight" and followed it by pointing to the duck and saying, "wubber". Then he looked around the room for other things. He saw the towel rack and said, "wack" and spotted his razor and said, "wasor", finally he saw Anita's hand lotion on the counter and said, "wotion".
While Howard was engaged in his language lesson in babytalk, Anita left the room and came back with a large plastic box about the size of the sink. She turned it upside-down on the tile of the bathroom floor so Howard couldn't see it prematurely and went to the overhead cabinet to get out the jar of vaseline and a pink pencil shaped case. She put the case in her pocket and the jar on the back of the toilet, then resumed her position on the toilet seat, all the while listening to Howard practice his babytalk. When he ran out of objects to name, she said, "Now name all the animals a baby might know, Honeybunch. See if you can guess how a baby would pronounce them."
Anita dipped a washcloth in the water and lathered it well with a bar of Johnson's baby soap as he recited the names of the farmyard animals; duckie, birdie, fishie, kitty, bunny, doggie, piggie, horsy, and goosie." When he got to sheep and cows, he was stumped. He frowned in concentration while Anita soaped his back and began scrubbing him. He looked up at her and said, "Cow?"
Anita smiled and said, "Try "Moo-cow", Darling!" and took his arm to scrub his elbow.
Howard said, "Moo-cow!" and followed it with a querulous, "Sheep??"
"Sheeps," Anita corrected and began washing his fingers, "Now use the words in sentences, Sweetie!"
"Doggie wun away. Horsie wun fast! Kitty go meow. Birdie fwap wings!", Howard grinned at the last sentence, he was proud of that one!
"Continue," Anita said as she started washing the other arm.
"Bunny go hop. Piggie go oink!", said Howard.
"Now name the things in a baby's room. What do you call a baby bottle?", Anita asked.
"Me not know, Mama!", Howard replied.
"Ba-ba," answered Anita for him, "Now ask Mommy for your bottle!"
"Me n..not twink from ba-ba!", Howard exclaimed. His mouth opened in surprise at the words that came out. He had intended to say drink, but the word had transformed itself into "twink" without conscious thought. What was happening to him?
Anita smiled at his mispronunciation of drink, but her grin became broader when she thought, "You may not 'twink' from a ba-ba today, Honeybunch, but you're getting younger every day. It won't be long before that's the only thing you can 'twink' from!"
"Ask for your bottle, Honeybunch," she said as she lifted his leg to wash it.
"Me wan' ba-ba," Howard replied with distaste. "What the Hell had happened to the "T" sound at the end of want? For that matter, how the Hell did the 'dr' phoneme become 'tw'?", Howard thought in surprise, "Was his babytalk becoming automatic?"
"Ask for your blanket, Sweetheart," she said lifting the other leg.
"Me wan' bwankie," Howard replied.
What do you tell Mommy when your panties are soggy?", she asked as she hauled him to his feet and began scrubbing his bottom.
"Me wet, Mama!", he dutifully replied.
"And what do you say when you make a smellie in your panties, Honeybunch?", Anita asked as she took his tiny testicles in her hand and began soaping them.
"Me poopie?", Howard asked.
Anita nodded in agreement and asked as she washed his diminutive penis, "And what do you say when you need a fresh diaper, Honeybunch? I'll give you a clue. Babies call diapers 'dydees'!"
"Wan' dydee!", Howard replied.
"Good boy! You sound just like a baby! Let's get you out of the tub and dried off, okay?", she said lifting him from the tub and setting his feet on the rug. She buffed him dry and said, "Let Mommy weigh and measure you, Honeybunch."
She put him on the scale and read off his weight; thirty seven pounds. Then she stood him next to the door and took a tape measure from her pocket and spanned his height with the tape. He was exactly forty inches. She wrote the numbers on her palm with a pen that she took from her pocket and then put it away. Anita took him by the hand and led him back to the toilet, saying, "It's time to take your temperature, Baby. Be a good boy and it will all be over in a jiffy."
Howard opened his mouth expecting an oral thermometer to be placed within. Instead, Anita put her hand on his back and quickly forced him over her knees. Howard panicked, thinking that she was about to spank him. He screamed, "No, Mama. No spank! Me good! See? Me make babytalk! No spank!"
Anita held him down with one hand while she unscrewed the cap on the rectal thermometer and said, "Mommy's not going to spank you, Sweetheart. She just wants to take your temperature!"
"No Mama! Not that!", Howard yelled as she dipped her finger in the jar of vaseline and scooped out a large dollop of the highly refined lubricant with her fingertip. She inserted her finger into the crack between his cheeks and worked the vaseline well up into his anal area. Howard squirmed at the unwarranted intrusion into his body. "Stop that, Howard! Do you want a spanking?", Anita said firmly.
Howard grew still on her lap and allowed her to thrust the thermometer up into his rectum. Never had he felt so naked and vulnerable. He could feel her warm palm against his bottom holding the thermometer in place. The thermometer made him feel like a bowel movement was imminent and the presence of her hand somehow made him feel as if it was assuming control of his bodily functions. It made him feel simultaneously helpless and protected. Howard groaned involuntarily when the thermometer moved slightly within him. Anita thought he needed something to distract him, so she said, "Suck on your thumb, Honeybunch. It will make you feel better."
Howard did as he was told and began to furiously suck on his thumb. Anita was right, it did make him feel better. When she popped the thermometer out of his bottom, he was sure that he had pooped while lying on her lap. She stood him up and said, "There now, Honeybunch, that wasn't so bad, was it?"
"Wan' go potty!", he said plaintively.
Anita nodded turned the object over on the floor that she had brought in earlier. It was a child's potty chair! "No Mama! No baby potty!", Howard cried.
"Do you want to fall off the big potty and hurt your head? No, Baby. You need to use the little boy's potty so you won't get hurt," Anita replied.
Howard passively let himself be led over to the little potty to sit down. Anita made sure that the splash shield was raised between his legs and strapped him in the contoured seat. Then she said, "Mommy wants you to make a big poopy for her in the potty! Okay, Sweetheart?"
"But I can't while you're watching!", he whined.
"Howard! What did Mommy say about talking like that? Do you want your mouth washed out with soap?", Anita exclaimed fiercely.
Howard looked up at his "adopted Mommy" with real fear in his eyes. He knew that if he said one more inappropriate word, she would carry out her threat without hesitation. He lowered his head and said, "Me sorry, Mama."
"That's better, Honeybunch. We can't afford to have you make a mistake like that again. Do you want Mommy to lose her job? Do you want to go to prison? We need to find a way to remind you that you're a baby and that you should talk like one. What could we do to help you remember? I know, I have just the thing in my pocket!", Anita said brightly.
She reached in her pocket and withdrew a flesh-colored object that she kept hidden in her fist as she bent down and approached his face. With a single motion she popped the end of the object into his mouth. Howard felt the thing with his tongue and realized what she had put between his lips; a pacifier! She had put a Goddamn pacifier in his mouth!
Anita smiled at him and said, "Come on, Sweetheart! Go potty so Mommy can put you to bed! Can't you try a little? Just for Mommy?"
Howard tried mightily to have a bowel movement, but nothing would come. His embarrassment at being strapped into a child's potty and instructed to use it as if he was being toilet trained was consummate. He couldn't even urinate, much less dump a load into the plastic container beneath his bottom. When he looked down between his legs at the pitiful, picayune appendage that was trapped behind the splash shield, he wanted to cry. It took every bit of his self control to keep from bursting into tears in front of Anita. As waves of self pity and fear rolled over him, he enumerated the extent of his losses. His beard and his muscles were gone. The tiny little cock and balls that remained of his manhood only served to remind him of his loss. His docile wife had turned into a domineering mother who seemed to be bent on breaking him to her will. His job, his mistress, his home and all he owned were no longer his. He had either lost or signed away everything. He couldn't even sign a contract without Anita's approval. He had become a penniless child who didn't have the legal right to make his own decisions. Even his basic right to speak like an adult had been stripped from him and had been replaced with the command to speak near-incomprehensible baby gibberish. His adult privileges had been taken from him and traded for the trappings of a tot. Every passing day meant a further descent into the helpless, dependent pit from which there was no escape. Howard closed his eyes as tears rolled unbidden down his cheeks. He had been more emasculated than any man in history. He wanted to die. What had he ever done to deserve this fate?
Anita looked down on her tiny husband and saw the tears running down his face. She took pity on him and knelt beside the potty chair, patting his head to comfort him. As he silently wept, Anita noticed that he was nursing on the pacifier. She put her hand on his lower abdomen and began to gently massage his tummy just above the pubic bone. Howard sighed as all pretense of independence left him and he surrendered to her will. A few minutes later, she heard the quiet pitter-pat of pee hitting the bottom of the potty's basin. Soon afterwards, she heard the joyful rush of a stream of urine beating against the molded plastic. Anita continued to massage him and was rewarded with an abdominal contraction as his bowels loosed themselves and his bladder sent forth another stream of pee to join the first. Howard didn't notice when she unbuckled the strap that held him to the potty. He was too busy engaging in the soul satisfying act of cleansing himself through defecation and urination. He pushed again and the echo of semi-soft solids hitting the bottom of the basin filled the room. He had done it! He looked up at Anita and smiled in success. She held her hand out to him to help him from the chair and it was gratefully accepted. Howard stood up, smiled shyly at Anita around the pacifier, then promptly lost all control and peed on the floor.
"Howard!", scolded Anita in dismay.
The pacifier fell from his mouth and bounced on the floor as he attempted to explain, "Me sorry Mama! It accident!"
"And you just went potty! How could you? If you have any more accidents like this, I'm going to be forced to put you in diapers!", Anita said sincerely as she threw his used bathtowel on the puddle, then picked up and pocketed his pacifier.
"No dydee!", he pleaded.
"Well, we'll have to see!", she said as she took some toilet paper from the roll and blotted his wet penis, then turned him around so she could wipe his behind. "Come on, Baby! Let's get you dressed and into bed. It's time for beddie-bye!"
Howard walked beside her docilely as she led him by the hand into his room. She dressed him in training pants for the night, being careful to add a cloth diaper as extra padding and then went to the dresser for more clothing. "What that?", he said when he saw the fleecy, baby-blue garment in her hand.
"Just your jammies, Sweetheart," she told him as she unzipped the fastener that spanned from his neck to his ankle.
She dressed him efficiently in the sleeper and zipped it up before fastening the large button on the collar that covered the zipper pull. Howard was completely covered from his chin down to the ends of his toes in the soft, warm sleeper. She took the comforter from his bed and folded it neatly and put it over the top of the rocking chair in the corner. Then she led him over to the rocking chair and sat down, hoisting him up to sit on her lap. "Mommy doesn't want to be mean to you, Sweetheart. I know it's difficult to make the adjustment, but Mommy is only doing it for your own good. You understand that don't you?", she asked.
"No wan' be baby, Mama," he countered.
"I know, Honeybunch. Mommy wishes that you hadn't done all the bad things you did. Mommy was happy when you were twenty again. Once you started getting younger again, Mommy had no choice but to take over. You see that don't you?", she said as if talking to a small child.
"Yes, Mama", he said gravely.
"You were very, very naughty! You abused your privileges as an adult and see what it got you! Don't you see that this is your punishment? Mommy would have rather had you as her husband, but Mommy still loves you even though you're her little boy instead. Mommy will always be here to take care of you, no matter how small you get," Anita said as she stroked the curly blond locks on the back of his head maternally.
"Tank you, Mama! I wuv you too!", Howard said sincerely.
Anita took the pacifier out of her pocket and slid it between his lips, then cuddled him close to her breasts and began rocking. Howard slowly closed his eyes and fell fast asleep in her arms. When she was sure he was in a deep sleep, she got up from the rocking chair and lovingly laid him on the bed. She took a small teddy bear that was sitting on top of the toy chest beneath the window and tucked it carefully in his arms. She turned on the nightlight and went to the door, switching off the overhead light as she went out the door. Before closing the door, she blew him a kiss and said, "Night-night, little Howie." Her voice dropped lower in volume as she said to herself, "I really wish you could have remained my husband and given me a real baby instead of becoming one yourself. Unfortunately, your sins caught up with you. I wonder how small you're going to get? I guess it doesn't make any difference now, you've passed the point of no return. Your reflexes are already those of a toddler. If only you could only see how adorable you look sucking on your pacifier in your sleep. A week or two of talking like a baby and you'll be thinking like one too. In a month or so, you'll have forgotten that you ever were a man. You'll just be Mommy's baby. Sweet dreams, Baby! It will all be over soon."
When Howard woke the next morning his crotch felt clammy and itchy. He opened his eyes to see a teddy bear hugged between his arms and the ring of the pacifier that was still in his mouth flipped up over his nose. His eyes snapped open as he realized that his surroundings were not part of some nightmare he had been having. He was at home, in the spare bedroom that Anita had redecorated as a nursery. Suddenly the memory of what Anita had done to him the night before flooded his mind. He spit out the pacifier onto the pillow and shuddered at thought of his submissive behavior the night before. "What the Hell was I thinking of?" he thought in consternation, "If I continue down that path, next thing you know I'll be drinking from baby bottles and shitting in my pants!"
He moved his legs and the itching from his crotch intensified. Howard put his hand down to feel his crotch and was met by the soft blanket fabric of the sleeper. He pushed down hard with his hand and felt pee bubbling out of the foam padding of the training pants. "I've got to get out of these wet pants now!", he told himself and began fumbling with the zipper. "The zipper pull must be under this thing at my throat," he thought as he traced the path of the fastener from his ankle up to his chest."
Howard tried to unbutton the catch of the zipper cover but discovered that from the angle he was forced to work from, the job was impossible. Apparently the cover had been designed to keep prying little fingers from disrobing without a Mommy's help. He was trapped! "The Bitch!", Howard thought to himself angrily, "She's trying to turn me into a baby!"
He squeezed his crotch again and felt the fabric become damp beneath his fingers. "Oh my God! I'm starting to soak my pajamas!", Howard thought in desperation, "If I don't get out of these clothes soon, the pee will seep down to my feet! I've got to get help!"
Howard's anger melted like a snowball on a midsummer's day when he realized the dire straits he was in. He needed help and couldn't be picky about who he asked. Howard could already feel the pickling of a new bout of diaper rash on the inside of his legs and bottom. "Anita!", Howard called as loudly as he could.
A minute later the bedroom door swung open as Anita entered the room. One look at the dark blue patch on his crotch told Anita what he was calling her for. She smiled inwardly, but showed a fierce expression to Howard as she said, "Howie! What did Mommy say about calling her Anita? If you call me that one more time, I'll put you over my knee and give you a spanking! You've got to remember that youíre only a toddler and toddlers your age aren't allowed to call their Mommies by their first names. Now start acting your age!"
Howard gulped, he had forgotten about her promise to spank him the night before. The expression on her face and her towering stature left no doubt in his mind that she would and could carry out her threat without breaking a sweat. He lowered his head and said contritely, "Me sorry, Mommy. Me wet! See?"
Anita nodded and said, "You are indeed! Come on, little boy! I'll change you after breakfast. Your sleeper is going to have to be washed anyhow, it won't make any difference if you get them any wetter!"
She took him by the hand and led him to his breakfast of oatmeal and Ovaltine. She sat him on his booster seat and tucked a paper towel in his collar to act as a bib before she sat his bowl of oatmeal before him. During breakfast, he peed again in his pants, but Anita refused to change him until he had eaten every last bit of oatmeal from his bowl as punishment for his insolence by calling her by her first name. By the time he had finished his oatmeal, the wet patch on his crotch had spread all the way down to his knees and his bottom was completely soaked. The cloth diaper she had inserted into his training pants as a liner the night before had not been able to soak up all his pee. Anita undressed him right there in the kitchen saying that it didn't make any sense to drag him back to his nursery and undress him so she could bring his soggy pjs back to the utility room next to the kitchen for washing. He was humiliated when she lifted the limp soggy diaper by the corner out of his wet training pants and carefully walked it over to the kitchen sink to run clean water over the diaper.
Anita made him stand naked beside her while she loaded his urine soaked clothes into the washer and started the wash cycle. Then she added a half cup of the baby detergent Dreft along with some borax based bleach and tossed a plastic ball with a fabric softener into the water. Then she took him to his nursery and put a clean pair of training pants on him before dressing him in a T-shirt. When she was done, she eyed the small damp spot on the bed he had made while she was dressing him and said, "I think I'll put you in a playsuit this morning. You seem to be peeing more than usual. I don't want you making a puddle on the carpet while you play. If I put you in a playsuit maybe it will soak up some of the mess before you start dripping all over my nice clean carpet."
She took a small set of overalls out of the dresser drawer and started gathering up the material in her hands to dress him. Howard noticed that the overalls seemed to lack a seam in the legs; they were completely open through the crotch. The material of the legs flapped loosely as she held the garment over his head. She tugged the overalls over his head, working his arms through the straps and pulling the body of the coverall down over his training pants. The overalls were a little tight on his chest, but Anita forced them down his ribs with a mother's determination. Howard was a little surprised when they slipped over his heavily padded bottom with room to spare, apparently the overalls had been designed with a extra ease in the bottom to accommodate extremely thick undergarments. When she had evened out the leg length at the cuffs, she picked him up and laid him on his back on the mattress of the bed. Anita arranged the leg halves loosely over his diminished limbs and started snapping the fasteners on the pants legs, working from one cuff up to his crotch and around to the other cuff. Howard suddenly understood what the overalls were for; they had been designed to let a mother undress her child for changing without taking off the overalls entirely. Knowing that his underwear was only separated from full view by a simple set of snaps made Howard feel vulnerable and unprotected. The feeling was intensified when she carried him back to the family room in her arms rather than let him walk on his own two feet. Somehow he had never made the connection that if she could lift him easily, then she could carry him with equal facility. It made him feel very small and helpless.
Anita put him in front of his toys and proceeded to do her weekend housework while her ex-husband played with his blocks. Howard would have rather watched TV, but the controls on the set were out of his reach and Anita had placed the remote control on the upper shelf of the bookcase to keep him from playing with it. He built a model garage and parked one of the toy cars under the protection of the flat wooden roof he had made with long rectangular blocks. After a while, he grew sleepy and decided to lay down on the carpet for a short nap. When Anita walked by a little later carrying the laundry basket full of clean clothes, she discovered him sleeping soundly on the carpet with his thumb in his mouth. Instead of moving him, she got a flannel receiving blanket from the nursery and covered him up with it. The next time she walked by she saw that his fist was wrapped tightly around the corner of the blanket with his thumb still in his mouth. Anita smiled, knowing that Howard was ready to be sent to her company's Daycare center the next day.
The Four Horsemen Mount
Dateline: Friday June 19, 2011
Excerpt From a Major Television News Program:
Dan Blather tears his gaze from the monitor to his left that is showing previews of that evenings video clips. The carnage caused by the continued volcanic activity on the Pacific Rim is tremendous. Ron sighs at the sight of Minisoft Corporation being buried under a slide of mud and volcanic ash, he should have dumped his stock in the company at the first sign of tremor from the quiescent volcano. He turns to the camera and smiles a thin brave smile in spite of his economic losses and says, "Good Evening. At the top of the news tonight is the catastrophic mudslide that has inundated the lower half of Washington State and the upper portions of Oregon. For an in-depth report on the eruption of Mount Rainier in Washington State, we turn now to our correspondent Ima Eulenspiel at Minisoft Headquarters in Remont, Washington for an update on the story.
<Cut to live video from the former site of Minisoft Headquarters at the foot of a steaming volcano. The snow capped peak is venting volcanic gases at a furious rate, sending plumes of finely divided ash thousands of feet into the sky. The shoulders of the correspondent seem to be covered in a light dusting of snow, in reality, the white dust on her jacket is volcanic ash. Her camera/soundman is wearing an Israeli surplus gas mask to protect his lungs from the ash. The ever dapper correspondent is prevented from taking such an obvious precaution by her job; her face must remain exposed to the masses. The devastation at the city of Enumclaw is obvious, boiling hot mud has engulfed the entire area, leaving only the very tops of the roofs exposed. Whoever was inside any of the buildings when the mudslide hit has been roasted in the mud pack like a pig carcass at a Hawaiian Luau; there are no survivors. Minisoft has faired only a little better; the lahar had cooled substantially by the time the viscous flow arrived to bury the campus under hundreds of tons of rock and mud. The devastation is still total, the flow hit the buildings with the impact of a fully loaded freight train, breaking through the thin walls as if they were cardboard and filling the jagged openings with a mud having the consistency of wet concrete. At Minisoft, the victims didnít bake, instead, they were either crushed by the massive weight of the rocks pouring into every room or they drowned as the thick liquid filled their mouths and lungs. Either way, it was a horrible way to die.> "Massive Mud slides have deluged the main campus of Minisoft Corporation as Mount Rainier sixty miles away renewed it's seismic activity in one titanic outpouring of red-hot rock and gas. As you can see from the scene behind me, the buildings have been almost completely covered by a combination of mud and liquidized vocanic ash. Although Minisoft's technical support centers scattered in various areas of the U.S. have remained unaffected, industry observers wonder if the world's richest corporation can survive the onslaught of the destruction of its headquarters. Experts fear that the mountain may be undergoing a similar type of collapse suffered by Mombacho, a volcano in Nicaragua. <Cut to short clip of an aerial view of Mombacho so that the home audience can see its craggy silhouette. Then the scene flips back to the picture of Mount Rainier as seen from Remont. The correspondent continues:> Two thousand years ago, Mombacho collapsed internally due to volcanic activity and gave it the jagged profile seen today. Studies have shown that two processes can make volcanoes unstable. The first is the explosive variety which causes the mountain top to disappear in a massive explosion of pent-up gases. The other involves the unique chemistry of volcanic rocks. The cracks within solidified lava are typically filled with hot, acidic gases that react with the surrounding rock and change its structure. The bedrock is eaten away at its base and becomes an unstable mound of chalk-like rock. Volcanic slopes can thus collapse under their own weight. This appears to be what may be happening to the snow-capped mountain that once towered over Minisoft Corporation in the city of Remont as well as the cities of Seattle and Tacoma. Tens of thousands of people are feared dead in this latest seismic catastrophe. The cities of Enumclaw, Issaquah, Electron, Kent, Orting, McKenna, Puyallup, Auburn, Pacific, McMillian, Elbe and Ashford have disappeared under a tide of water-saturated rock debris that began racing down the mountain at ten oíclock this morning at an estimated speed at over one hundred miles per hour. The rock debris, ranging in size from small clay marbles to boulders tens of meters in maximum dimension formed into a volcanic mudslide called a lahar when the hot rocks began spewing forth from the dormant
The CEO of Minisoft, Phil Fates, has seemingly been isolated in his heavily-guarded mountain-top ranchero named the "Cuatro Caballeros" and is unavailable for comment. Experts fear that volcanic activity may be on the increase on the Pacific West Coast. Radon counts have gone off the charts as the number of microtremors have skyrocketed. Experts fear that the microtremors presage a series of major earthquakes along the West Coast of the U.S. In Asia, Mt. Penotubo has erupted again as well as the volcano in near Mexico City. Pollution compounded by plumes of volcanic ash in the Mexico City area has caused the U.S. State department to issue travel advisors to American tourists. From around the world, the Pacific Rim's "Ring of Fire" has begun to erupt in a series of volcanoes as seismic activity reaches new levels.
<Cut back to the network Anchor who says grimly,> "Thank you for the update, Ima. We'll have further news on the conditions in the states of Washington and Oregon in our late night update, "Nightime" tonight. In other news, terrorist groups have organized multiple email "spam" messages to the President of the United States and Congress, crippling input to the government from the American public. While the effects of the email "spam" haven't seemed to affect the U.S. government, corporations who rely heavily on Internet email have also been "spammed", causing major disruptions in business communications. The United States Secret Service has tracked the source of the false email to a group calling itself "Gaia", but has not turned up any leads pointing to the perpetrators. The messages seem to originate from a number of innocent Internet mail servers who have denied any connection with the group called "Gaia".
Who Wears the Pants - Part 6