Doubting Thomas

by Jennifer Loraine

Thomas was exceedingly pleased, the birthday party at his Motherís house had gone well. He was delighted that he had been able to talk his wife Mary into attending his motherís birthday party. "Maybe now the two of them will get along together," he told himself.

He looked proudly down at his infant son nursing from a baby bottle while sitting in Thomasís old high chair. Thomas had shaken his head in disbelief when his mother had dragged it out of the attic for Bobby. He couldnít understand how his Mother had managed to keep it in perfect condition for thirty-seven years. He imagined that she had probably created a custom-fitted heavy-duty canvas cover for the high chair before she had placed it in the attic almost two decades before and it had remained in pristine condition throughout all the years of storage. Aside from a few scratches, it looked like it had been purchased a month before. Thomas thought that his mother must have cleaned it up to get on Maryís good side. The padding was obviously new. It hurt Thomas to think of the pain that his mother undergone to create a new high chair pad just so his son's bottom could rest comfortably on the almost antique high chair.

His mother was a marvel when it came to preserving the things that she loved. Just weeks before, she had given Mary some of his old baby clothes that she had managed to guard against the ravages of time and moths. The baby clothes were in such good condition that Mary had thought that his mother had gone out and purchased them new for her grandson. When Mary opened the box, the room filled with the fragrant bouquet of clean "sunshine" that indicated his mother had probably handwashed the clothes in the kitchen sink with Woolite and carefully dried them on the clothesline on a breezy, partially cloudy day so the colors wouldn't fade under harsh sunlight. Mary had pulled back the tissue paper padding to reveal a stack of neatly folded baby clothes whose colors were as clear and bright as the day his mother had created them.

Not that the clothes had a homemade look; in fact, quite the opposite was true. His mother had been an extremely talented professional seamstress in her youth before she married and had made all of Thomas's baby clothes herself. Her creations were better made and more stylish that any clothes that she could have purchased off-the-rack for her baby boy. As a consequence of her work, she owned professional snap-setting presses and special jigs for her "industrial model" Singer sewing machine to make button holes that would have been the envy of any clothing factory's quality control manager. Indeed, his mother had even made her husband's suits after they were married. The resulting products were so perfectly tailored that everyone assumed that his father commissioned his suits at expensive Italian and British haberdashers. His father's job in international sales of heavy-duty assembly-line equipment required that he travel extensively to foreign countries, so the conclusion was natural for anyone who didn't know about his mother's talents. The year before, Thomas had purchased a Babyloc serging machine and dressmaker's steam press for his mother, but the advancing arthritis in her hands had prevented her from making much use of her son's thoughtful gift.

Even though Thomas was no expert in children's fashions, he could see that his mother had been twenty years ahead of her time when she originally designed his baby clothes. The baby clothes that Mary had purchased for their son the week before were almost exactly the same design as what his mother had created during his infancy. Except for some of the silk-screened cartoon motifs on Bobby's clothes, they were virtually the same design. Sesame Street figures were in now, but the Disney characters and Winnie-the-Poo motifs that his mother had used were still popular among mothers. Thomas reflected inwardly when he saw his baby clothes that some children's characters were timeless. Mary had no way of knowing that his mother had hand silk-screened many of the images onto the cloth herself with expensive high quality German aniline dyes forty years before. As a seamstress, his mother had been the consummate artist in her craft.

 

When his mother was in her prime, she could create anything in fabric that her imagination could conceive. She was a master of every skill of dressmaking; from creating original designs in hand-knotted Irish lace to silk-screening unique designs of her own. She even had a small hand-loom where she custom-made richly ornamented fabric tapes that complimented her creative couture.

Her loving attention to her craft could be seen in the smallest details of the stitching and tasteful ornamentation. True, the individual pieces of fabric hadn't been overlock-stitched before assembly, but that technology hadn't existed when she created his clothes. Instead each piece had been "pinked" and machine overstitched to keep the edges from raveling and the pieces had been assembled with a technique that had fallen out of vogue when sewing machines were invented.

Modern sewing machines make thirty-five stitches per inch at most, but medieval tailors assembled clothes by hand-stitching each piece together with as many as seventy-five stitches per inch. At it's highest form, medieval tailors matched the woof and warp of the weave one-to-one with their hand stitches so that each thread was individually tied to a corresponding thread of the matching piece. The resulting garment had the same strength as if it had been woven as a single piece rather than being constructed of many parts basted together with relatively large stitch lengths.

His mother, being the perfectionist in her chosen craft that she was, emulated the medieval master tailors at their very best. Some of the better tailored costumes from the Middle Ages can still be seen on display in the national museums of Europe, having retained their durability over hundreds of years due to the superlative work of the forgotten master tailors. Thomas's baby clothes had been created with the same devotion to craftsmanship that a medieval master tailor would have envied for the quality of fabric and handiwork. His mother had created baby clothes that were masterpieces of the seamstress's art. They were meant to last for generations. The sharp creases on the denim shortalls indicated that his mother had taken especial care to steam press the clothes to a perfection that few professional Dry Cleaners ever master. Thomas had winced inwardly at the thought of how much physical pain his mother must have endured with her arthritis to wash, dry and press his old baby clothes to a condition of absolute flawlessness. It was obvious to Thomas that his mother was going all out to please her daughter-in-law and give her the very best baby clothes that could be found in the world.

Mary, unfortunately, had a different impression of his mother's gift. At first, Mary was inordinately pleased by the gift for her baby boy, but when Thomas's mother had informed her that they were Thomas's baby clothes, Mary had made a moue of displeasure. His mother's world-class gift had fallen flat on it's face.

Mary couldn't understand the emotional offering that his mother was making by surrendering the jealously protected remembrances of her son's babyhood into the hands of her daughter-in-law. From Mary's viewpoint, the clothes were only hand-me-downs, no matter how well they were preserved. Mary wanted her baby clothed in only the newest and best clothes, not some old rags from a previous generation, no matter how perfect they looked at first glance. Mary accepted the clothes ungraciously and diverted the conversation to another subject as quickly as possible. She didn't seem to comprehend that her mother-in-law was making the ultimate gesture to demonstrate that she loved her grandson as much as she loved her son and that she accepted Mary as the proper caretaker for the only two males in her life. His mother's feelings had been hurt by the unexplained emotional rebuff and the entire affair had been a familial fiasco.

The real problem was, Thomas rationalized, was that the two women came from different generations and had vastly different viewpoints. While his mother had been a professional seamstress, his wife Mary had been an Elementary School teacher before she took a sabbatical to care for Bobby. Mary's experiences as a Kindergarten and First Grade teacher had given her distinct ideas of how a small child was to be raised. She had seen the effects of impoverished childhoods and was determined that her baby wouldn't be subjected to a lack of material goods.

Thomas beamed at his wife and Mother over the lunch dishes and decided that the mood was right to offer a birthday toast to his mother. Although his mother had never rejected Mary outright, they had never gotten along together. Thomas had decided that the problem stemmed from female jealousy over his attentions rather than a real personality difference. His wife and mother were actually very similar psychologically and physiologically. Each of them were the same height, i.e., five-foot eight-inches exactly and carried themselves in the same stately manner. Mary's busts had gotten bigger since Bobby had been born she had begun breast feeding him. Nonetheless, her bust seemed only marginally larger than his mother's bust. Once Mary's milk dried up, their bust would be the same size as his mother's. As it was, even with Mary nursing, the two of them could have easily swapped clothes without refitting.

Thomas found the similarity in their tastes highly amusing. Both of them liked the same colors and had the same taste in clothes. It made buying gifts for them at Christmas both difficult and facile simultaneously. If he took Mary along, all he needed to do to determine whether his mother would like his gift was ask Mary if she liked it. If she said yes, he knew his mother would adore it. On the other hand, Mary would always be jealous of the gift once he told her it was intended for his mother. Mary's jealousy made it extremely difficult to ask her opinion about buying a gift for his mother. One Christmas, he had hit upon the plan of purchasing the same gift for the both of them. His brilliant idea hadn't worked out. Both of them were disappointed to discover he had bought the same thing for the two of them. Both of them had been so unhappy that they had made his life miserable for months with their constant kvetching about his Christmas gift. After that fiasco, he had been careful to buy vastly different gifts for the two women in his life.

Thomas marveled as he looked at the two women he loved. If the differences in their ages hadn't been so striking, they could have been twin sisters. Even their hair color and jaw lines were the same. Seeing the two of them together gave Thomas an eerie feeling that he was looking at his mother at two stages of her life; one was the mother he knew as a child and the other was the graying woman of his maturity. The physical resemblance between the two women was remarkable. When Mary started talking to him while she helped her mother-law in the kitchen, Thomas had discovered that he had a hard time discerning just who was speaking to him. The only thing that gave him a clue was the fact that Mary was speaking from their kitchen. His mother's voice and Mary's voice were so alike as to defy any differentiation of the difference unless the two of them were in the same room together.

Strangely, Mary had always seemed to Thomas like an interloper who felt bound and determined to destroy his delicate relationship with his mother. She was intensely jealous of Thomas's relationship with his mother and made her feelings clear to Thomas. Mary felt that Thomas had married her and that he should have shifted his allegiance to her alone. Thomas's intimate relationship with his mother didn't permit him to abandon his feelings for her and he resisted Mary's attempts to separate them. Although his mother disapproved of Mary as Thomas's wife, made no such attempts to break up their marriage. The common dislike of the two women for each other created constant tension within his family. Although he loved his wife, he had difficulty trusting her completely for that reason alone. In Thomas's viewpoint, Mary should have made the effort to accept his mother's human foibles and have tried to get along with her. The fact that she didn't make an attempt to integrate herself in his "family" gave him moral trepidations about their continued relationship as man and wife. Frankly, he doubted his wife's ability to get along with people, much less his mother. In some strange way, Thomas's doubts had poisoned his marriage at its inception. It was only after the wedding ceremony that he realized that there was a problem between the two of them. Unfortunately, he had not been able to resolve it until the day of his mother's birthday party. For the first time, they seemed to get along together. Thomas got up from the white linen-covered, maple dining room table and held up his glass of milk as he paid homage to the woman who brought him into life, saying, "I would like to offer a toast on my Motherís fifty-seventh birthday. "To my mother, may she bask in the warmth of the gladness of health and youth. May the joy of life overflow her cup and bless us all!" He drained his glass of milk completely and was immediately imitated by his mother with her milk and his wife with her iced tea.

He continued, "Momma, I have an announcement to make. After fifteen years of research, I have discovered the fabled fountain of youth! I have discovered a process that will restore lost youth and maintain a person at a young age for a number of years using a genetically engineered plasmid that reprograms a person's cellular and genetic structure. The technique has been tested extensively for side effects and drug interactions. To date, none have been found. My company is preparing to test market the medication in Asia within two months. Momma, I confess that I did something without your permission. I took a sample of your DNA last month and prepared a dose of the medication for you. I put it in your milk today at lunch. Within two weeks you'll be twenty-two again!"

His motherís head dipped low and she said, "I know, Honey. I read the label on the vial that you put in the kitchen trash. After you left the kitchen, I put half of my milk into the glass of milk I poured for you."

"Oh my God!", Thomas said. "Do you mean you put some of the formula in my milk?"

"Yes", said his mother sweetly. "Youíve been working so hard lately. I thought it would do you good. I only put half of the formula in your milk, I drank the other half myself. You worked so hard to make it for me. I thought Iíd share it with you."

"Do you understand what youíve done?", Thomas said in a tone of rising panic, "That medication was calculated to take thirty-five years from your age for a period of twenty years!"

"Yes, Thomas, I understand," she replied patiently, "I put half of it in your glass so that each of us would be seventeen years younger. I donít really need to be twenty-two again. Thirty-nine was a good age for me, I donít mine sharing my youth with you Thomas."

"Momma, you donít understand!", Thomas said in exasperation, "Half the medication wonít make us half as young! It will make us thirty-nine years younger for half as long! Youíll still be twenty two, only now youíll be twenty-two for ten years, not twenty. Do you realize what youíve done? The plasmid is tailored to each individual's mitochondria DNA. Because you're my mother, I carry your DNA in my mitochondria! The process I invented uses the mitochondria to effect changes in every cell of the body! The medication will affect me too! Itíll make me thirty-nine years younger too! Iíll regress into an infant! Iíll only be a year old! Iíll be a baby for ten years!"

A look of distress clouded his motherís face as she said, "Oh Dear! What have I done? Thomas, youíre going to have to think of something!"

"Mother, You donít understand! Thereís nothing I can do!", he said with an expression of utter defeat, "The plasmid replicates and spreads like a virus. By now it has invaded my stomach lining and is being carried by my blood throughout my body. I didn't create a counter-treatment because there didn't seem to be a need for one! After all, who would want to stop the anti-aging process when they would have to pay a fortune for the treatment?"

Mary, who had been standing with her mouth agape at the exchange, turned to Thomas and said, "Tom, this is a joke, right? There isnít any treatment that will make someone younger, is there? You planned this as a joke for your Motherís birthday party, didnít you?"

Thomas looked at Mary and said grimly, "Mary, I swear to you, this is not a joke. There really is a treatment. It really does make people younger! And my mother just gave me half of her dose! Within thirteen days, Iíll regress into a baby!"

Mary turned to her mother-in-law and said angrily, "You wanted this to happen! You canít stand the thought that I took your son away from you! Youíd rather have him as a baby then have me be married to him, wouldnít you? If you want him that bad you can have him! I married a man , not a baby! I have a baby of my own! Youíll be twenty-two again, you can take care of him!"

"Mary!," Thomas said with a hurt tone in his voice, "You canít mean that. Youíre my wife. Youíll take care of me!"

Mary looked Thomas in the eye and said levelly, "Tom, I married you and Iím your wife, but if you turn into a baby, IíLL GET A DIVORCE! I mean it! I have a baby! If you regress into a baby, she can take care of you! Sheíd be happy to take care of you! Look at her, does she look like sheís that upset at what sheís done to you? She never wanted her baby boy to grow up and leave her! Now sheís fixed it so youíll come back to her! Iíve put up with your immature attachment to her long enough! If you turn into a baby, Iím leaving you! She can have her baby back! Iím not going to spend the next ten years changing your diapers, waiting for you to start growing up again!"

Tom put his arms around Mary and said in the most soothing tones he could manage, "Mary, calm down. Donít get angry with Momma. Momma didnít know what she was doing. Everything will be alright. Let me do the worrying for both of us!"

Mary snapped back at him, "Tom, in two weeks you wonít be worrying about anything, youíll have the mind of an infant! Theyíll be nothing left of you but a drooling, diaper-wetting baby! Youíll spend the next ten years sucking your thumb, crawling on all fours, and making messes in your diaper!"

Mary pointed her forefinger at him as if it were a gun and continued, "If you think youíre going to con me into playing mommy for you, youíve got another thing coming! Iím your wife, not your mommy! The minute you become a child again, Iím finished with you! Your Momma can watch over you and tend to a decade of your dirty dydees! I wonít!"

She stood with her hands on her hips and said with a sneer, "Look at the expression on her face; Does she look like she's sorry about what she did? Don't you understand? She knew what she was doing, just as you did! Your mother will be overjoyed to have you in her keeping again! Your Momma will take good care of you; sheíll wash you, dress you, feed you, and look after you just like she did when you were a baby! Youíll love it!"

She glared at Thomas with an exasperated expression and shouted, "You never grew up, Tom! You still sleep with the teddy bear you had when you were a little boy! You subconsciously want to be her baby again! Thatís why youíve spent your life looking for a fountain of youth! You wanted your Momma to be young again so she can take care of you!"

She shook her head and said in a low steely voice, "The two of you will get your wish. Youíll be back in your Mommaís arms again and sheíll finally have you all to herself. You wonít have to be a responsible adult. You wonít have to apologize or offer excuses for anything you do, because youíll be too young to talk! You wonít have to worry about anything, because your mommy will take care of everything! Sheíll give you anything your heart desires and sheíll wonít care how you behave! You can roll on the carpet, suck your thumb and pee your little dydees to your heartís content. Momma will just smile and change your diapers! Youíll spend your days creeping around the carpet in dydees dragging your teddy bear and blankee behind you.!"

Thomas dropped his voice and said quietly, "Mary, Mother hasn't had the scientific training to understand her what she did. Before she was married, she was a professional seamstress. There wasn't any way that she could have understood the implications of her actions. She meant well, no matter what the consequences will be. I KNOW it was a loving gesture that went awry. As for your personal opinions of me, I think we should discuss my marital behavior at home in private."

Thomas made his apologies to his mother while Mary angrily packed up Bobbyís belongings. Mary put Bobby in the baby seat in the back of the car and they drove home. Mary didnít speak to Thomas the rest of the night.

When Thomas woke up the next morning, he called in sick to the laboratory. He wanted to spend all of his time thinking about the problem without any distractions. According to his calculations, he should regress one year every eight hours, or three years a day. He decided that he should be able to see noticeable signs of youthening at about age thirty. Sometime Wednesday afternoon or about eighty hours from the time of the original dosage he would pass the thirty-year mark on his downward spiral into infancy.

After a day's work fruitlessly attempting to find a solution, Thomas determined that he needed more time to find the answer. He decided to stay home from work the entire week, preferring to spend his time in his study modeling the formulaís behavior. He hoped to find some structural anomaly in the formula he had missed earlier that would allow him to reverse itís effects before it was too late.

By Wednesday, it was apparent that the formula was working. His hair had lost itís smattering of gray and had become a youthful brown again. When she saw how he looked over the breakfast table when they had their morning coffee, Mary made an appointment with the family lawyer that same morning. She told Thomas that he had better come up with something to reverse his formula within the next few days because she was getting a divorce. He begged her not to leave him, but she was adamant; she told him that she had a baby of her own and didnít need to have another baby in diapers at the same time. Thomas started to argue with her, but she pointed out that if he waited, she would have him declared incompetent the minute he was unable to handle his affairs. Mary told him that she had lain awake all night thinking about the formula and what it would mean to them financially. If he forced her to go to court and explain what was wrong with him, the new media would get wind of it and the attendant publicity would reduce the value of their share of the formula. She told him that if he was any kind of a man, he would take his medicine and let her divorce him without creating a ruckus.

Mary demanded that he grant her an uncontested divorce and sign over half his share of the formula to her so she and the baby would have money live on. He argued with her bitterly, but finally acceded to her wishes when she pointed out how expensive it was to take care of babies and that his mother was living on a fixed income. If he went along with her, both she and his mother could share in the money theyíd get from the formula. If he fought it, sheíd get a divorce anyway, but the pot of money to be shared would be substantially smaller. The thought of looking up into his motherís disapproving eyes for the next ten years made Thomas reconsider. He was willing to face his wifeís anger, but the idea of sitting helplessly on the floor in his diapers while his mother stood over him shaking her head and telling him how naughty heíd been to fight Mary was too much for him. If he resisted, heíd have to listen to his motherís scolding for the next ten years telling him how much money heíd lost them by acting truculent. He wouldnít even be able to argue with her. Heíd gurgle and coo his apologies, but it would be too late. It was far better to give in to Mary and let her have the divorce that she demanded. It was the best thing he could do for his family under the circumstances.

Thomas pictured how pleased his mother would be when she found out that her share of the money from the formula had made her a wealthy woman. Sheíd pick him up and kiss him on the forehead while telling him what a good and thoughtful son heíd been. At least if his mother had money, sheíd be able to afford disposable diapers instead of having to wash cloth diapers every day like she did when he grew up. Even if she insisted on using cloth diapers, she could afford to hire a diaper service with all the money his formula would bring. Thomas had a feeling he was going to need a lot of diapers over the next ten years. Once he grew up enough to manage his own affairs again, the leftover money would help give him a new start in life. Thomas nodded and told Mary quietly that when she had the papers ready, sheíd find him in the study. There was still a chance he could discover how to reverse the formula before it was too late and he didnít want to waste a minute. Then he turned on his heel and disappeared into the study to go over his research papers again. Mary saw their lawyer that afternoon and began proceedings for a uncontested divorce.

Thursday morning Mary went to Goodwill and shopped for various sizes of clothing that would fit Thomasís rapidly diminishing frame as he became younger. She had no intention of being seen with him buying new clothes every day; people would talk! She didnít want any premature news of the formula coming out to reduce the value of the formula. If she came in to a store every day with a different child, people would wonder if she was part of some child snatching ring. She could envision herself trying to explain to the police what had happened to Thomas. She could see their reaction; theyíd arrest her and give Thomas and Bobby to the child welfare authorities until they could investigate. The secret of the formula would be sure to get out. She had a duty to her baby and Thomas to make sure that didnít happen. Thomas was the starry-eyed scientist, not her! Mary knew that she was the practical one in the family. She had their futures to think of and had no intention of letting a little thing like buying clothes destroy what little good fortune came out of the mess that Thomas had made of their lives.

Her decision to buy used clothes at Goodwill was equally practical. It didnít make any sense to buy new clothes that he would only wear for a few days at best. "Besides," she thought to herself, "Most children donít mind or care about wearing hand-me-downs. And thatís all he is really. Just a big, overgrown baby."

She thought about the time she woken up and discovered that he had gone to bed wearing two of Bobbyís clean diapers under his underwear. She had turned over in her sleep and put her hand on his crotch to find it heavily padded with cloth diapers. He had tried to explain it away as a harmless experiment to keep himself from sweating heavily under the comforter while he slept, but she had had her doubts at the time. Now she knew. He had some kind of infantile fixation....He wanted to be a child again...to be treated like a baby. He had probably even peed in Bobbyís diapers and put them in the diaper pail with the diapers that Bobby had wet.

She frowned in anger and thought, "Heíll certainly get his fill of diapers now. Heíll spend a minimum of twelve years in diapers, and probably more than that. Most likely it will take years to potty-train him again. That is, assuming he can be potty-trained again! It serves him right, I donít know what I ever saw in that infantile mommaís boy!"

Her lawyer arrived late Thursday afternoon with the divorce papers. Thomas sighed when her lawyer came into his Den and handed the divorce papers to him. With a sigh of defeat, he signed them without question. He had already contacted his business lawyer and asked him to draw up papers giving the house and fifty percent of their assets to Mary. He had his lawyer prepare a full-power-of-attorney for his Mother and entrusting his assets to her. As an afterthought, he asked his lawyer to create a document that would make his mother his legal guardian due to "medical problems which would make him unable to handle his affairs for the foreseeable future".

As he was discussing the changes with his attorney, suddenly the thought occurred to him that his mother's will might not be in order. Certainly if she was to be his caretaker, changes in her will would have to be made. She had told him that she had named him executor and sole beneficiary of her estate. What would happen to him if she died in an accident? He would be orphaned! Reluctantly, he asked his lawyer if he would review and update his mother's will to reflect the change in her circumstances. He told his lawyer that he would pay the fees himself and that he'd speak to his mother to gain her permission to revise her Last Will and Testament. Although he regretted the necessity, the only person he could see that could act as his mother's executor since his coming disability would automatically disqualify him, was his wife. He advised his lawyer of the changes that would be necessary, and assured his lawyer again that he would have a talk with his mother to gain her permission beforehand to make the transition as smooth as possible.

A few hours later, he had collected himself and gave his mother a call. She agreed to take him in and applauded his foresight in having his lawyer change both their wills. She told him that she would be pleased to act as his guardian until he could take care of himself. Thomas was disquieted by her ready acceptance of circumstances, but decided that his ominous feelings derived from his fear of being a baby again rather than a distrust of his Mother.

Thomas had given up hope of being able to stop his metamorphosis. Mary was speaking to him again, but the relationship was strained. He decided he could a least spend his last days as her husband in an amicable way and asked her to go to Disney World with him. Before they left, he went over to his mother's house and had a long heart-to-heart talk with her about his divorce, the money that his formula would generate and the necessity for changing her Will to make Mary the beneficiary in the event of her demise. As an aside, he told her of his plans to make her his legal guardian and that he had instructed his lawyer to draw up a full-power-of-attorney for his Mother as well as a document entrusting his half of his assets to her. He told her that the lawyer's fees were already paid and that all she had to do was sign the documents as presented. His lawyer's secretary would be calling her early the next week to arrange for him to stop by to get a copy of her current Will and talk to her about any other changes she wanted in her Will.

His mother sighed and agreed that the changes had to be made, telling him that she would never leave her "little boy" without someone to take care of him. Since she was adopted and her parents were dead, there were no other relatives to call on in extremis. Her husband had been an only child and all of his other relatives aside from his mother had died a decade before. She agreed with Thomas that Mary was the only reasonable choice as an executor for her estate and that she would cooperate with his lawyer as completely as she could.

When he told her of his plan to take a last vacation with Mary at Disney World, she was ecstatic for him. She gushed about how much he would enjoy the rides (as if he was a five-year-old going on an extended field trip) and how educational Ebcott Center was. When Thomas asked her how she knew about Disney World in Florida, she told him that she had watched several shows about it on the morning news show, "Good Morning America". She told him to make sure he took along enough extra pairs of "undies", as she termed his underwear, and enjoined him not to do anything dangerous like water-skiing at one of the nearby waterparks. He promised sincerely that he'd follow her instructions and wished them both a good trip.

They flew to Florida and spent the next five days on vacation, seeing Disney World during the day and making love all night. Toward the end of the weekend, they started getting funny looks from people. His physical age was approximately nineteen and he looked it. Mary was thirty-six and with Bobby as a babe in his mother's arms, she looked like she was cradle-robbing in every sense of the word. They returned home on Monday, exhausted from the trip. Mary was still mad at him, he believed, but she became more amorous with every passing day. Frankly, her heightened sex drive was wearing him to a frazzle. If he hadnít been a teenager again, heíd have never been able to keep up with her.

On Tuesday night it finally happened, he wasnít able to make love to her anymore. He had regressed through puberty and was unable to get an erection. Mary sighed with an air of disappointment at the missed opportunity, then kissed him on his forehead and told him in a condescending tone that she would take him to his mommyís house in the morning. She told him she considered him to be a little boy now and a child should be with itís mommy. Thomas wept with frustration and the thought that he was being abandoned by his wife. He begged her to take care of him, but she was resolute, she wanted nothing to do with him if he couldnít be her husband. In the end, he cried like a baby when she utterly refused despite repeated pleas to care for him after he had regressed. She turned the light out and slept soundly while he wept quietly in the dark.

When Thomas woke the next morning his gold wristwatch was hanging limply on his thin arm. He took it off and gave it to Mary to be packed with his clothes as they got dressed. Thomas felt like he was surrendering the last vestiges of his adulthood as he dropped the watch into the huge hand of the woman who towered over him. For Thomas, his rolodex wristwatch was a symbol of everything he'd achieved as an adult; his mother had given him the gold watch when he had graduated college and he'd worn it ever since. All that had gone before was wiped out by the simple act of relinquishing his treasured watch to his wife. His watch, like his married life, didn't befit a man in a child's body. His mother's selfless hand had yanked him out of adulthood and pulled him inexorably back into his youth.

Thomas mopped around the house all morning waiting for his wife to announce his departure from their home. At ten oíclock Mary drove Thomas to his motherís house. She handed him a plastic garbage bag full of clothes she had bought for him at Goodwill and told him to give the clothes to his mother. She wished him luck without leaving the car, then drove away. He stood at the curb and watched sadly as she cruised out of his life. Thomas walked up the crumbly old cement sidewalk to his motherís house alone and rang the bell.

Thomas never noticed the dark suited man in the unobtrusive grey sedan parked half a block away. The undistinguished man sat in the driver's seat of his car, pretending to read the local newspaper. If a casual passerby had been especially observant, he might have noticed that the newspaper the man held had a small tear that had left a hole at the fold of the paper as if the man in the car had been careless when he opened it in the confined area of the driver's seat. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The man's sharp eyes followed every movement of the ten year old boy through the hole in the paper as Thomas carried the plastic bag of clothes up to his mother's door. After Thomas entered the house, the exceedingly ordinary man carefully folded his newspaper and drove away. He had been waiting for the event for almost an hour.

His mother's house hadn't changed appreciably in the past forty years; it was a two story white shiplapped-maple boarded structure with matching off-white trim on the woodwork. The broad antebellum-style porch, which ran around the entire front of the structure and two-thirds of the sides, had originally been constructed with a subflooring of waterproofed two-by-fours covered with a diagonally-laid finish layer of one-inch maple boards that were tongue and grooved together and blind-nailed into the asphalt sheet covered pine subflooring. The maple boards had then been sanded to a mirror flatness and had been stained a rich nutty brown before the boards had been sealed with five coats of varnish. With only a minimum of care, his mother's porch had remained as beautiful as the day it had been built. Thomas's father, who had been extremely knowledgeable about construction techniques, had demanded from the contractor he had hired to build their house that steel I-beams be cut into piers and set permanently in deep steel-meshed reinforced concrete pad/piles that reached down to the dolomite bedrock five feet beneath the subsurface when the house was constructed. Then he had steel I-beams laid across the piers and were bolted together and arc-welded in place. As a consequence, the both the house and it's porch were supported by a foundation which rested directly on a one-hundred foot thick layer of solid limestone bedrock and was totally impervious to termites or woodrot. Thomas's father had built their home to last not for his generation, but for generations to come. His father had wanted his family to be as timeless as the home he had constructed for them.

Ten years before, when the sections of wood latticework that formed the face of the porch began rotting due to contact with the dampness of the soil, his Mother had had a contractor replace the fronting with preformed plastic lattice. The contractor had also replaced the columns on either side of the porch with non-rotting plastic-based columns, so the illusion of non-change was perfect. The agelessness of the recently painted and incredibly tough maple shiplap siding as well as the restoration of the well-designed porch made it impossible for Thomas to tell if the Earth's clock had advanced a minute for his mother's house since he was five. Only the crumbling cement of the walkway gave him any clue that time had its effects at his parental home. As for the condition of the cracked cement path to his mother's door, she had told him the month before that she intended to have the sidewalk torn out and replaced with longer lasting concrete the minute she save any extra money.

Thomas mused that the monies she would get from his discovery would give her the opportunity to refurbish the walkway as soon as the first payment was disbursed. The porch itself was as solid as the day it had been built. The handsome maple flooring had been stripped of varnish by sanding to its original smoothness, then soaked with preservative and re-varnished when she had the contractor restore it, so it looked as good as if it had just been constructed. The newness of the work and his reduced size made Thomas feel like he had gone through a time machine and had emerged some during his childhood. The illusion became perfect when his mother opened the door and he saw his mother as she had looked nineteen years before when she was only thirty-eight.

She hugged him maternally and said, "Welcome home, Tommy. Your old room is waiting for you. Why donít you take your things and put them away in your closet. Iím getting some things down from the attic. If you get bored you can watch cartoons on the TV."

Thomas nodded and went to his room. When he looked at the baseball pennant strewn walls, it seemed as if nothing had changed since he was ten. Even his old plastic airplane models hung from the ceiling by fishing line exactly as they had when he was a preteen. The paint on the walls was relatively fresh, perhaps only a year or two old, but the color was exactly as he remembered it. He was surprised to find that his mother had saved all the pennants and models from his childhood and put them away. She had unpacked them and decorated the room with his memorabilia to look just as it had when he was ten years old. The only objects that were anachronistically out of place were his old baseball bat that he wore in High School and the mounted game ball that all his teammates had signed after he had won the State Baseball Championship for his team by slugging it over the fence with all bases loaded in the ninth inning of the game. Thomas smiled as he remembered the adulation that his teammates had heaped upon him when he won the game and the State Championship for his High School.

Thomas unpacked the clothes and found that Mary had bought jeans and Tee-shirts in various sizes that would fit him until he had regressed into a very small boy. She had even included underwear in the bag. He threw them in a dresser drawer without sorting them and went downstairs to watch TV. At the bottom of the garbage bag, Thomas found his gold rolodex watch. He set it atop his dresser with a sigh and left his room to go downstairs.

When Thomas reached the landing at the top of the stairs, he gazed down at the freshly waxed walnut banister rail while fond childhood memories of sliding down its slick surface returned to him. The handsome stair was bounded by the wall on one side and hand-turned walnut balusters on the other. The heavy eight-inch thick banister had been side-sculpted in a succession of Roman Ogee curves of decreasing radii by repeatedly running the unfinished timber through an industrial molding machine before it was assembled, sanded and stained. The result was a wide piece of polished dark red wood that had no sharp edges and swept majestically from the second floor landing to end in a nautilus-style Archimedes spiral at it's terminus on the first floor, making it the perfect slide for a little boy's bottom. "Ohh, what the heck!", Thomas thought to himself, "Why not? As long as I'm the size of a little boy I might as well partake of a boy's pleasures! It's been thirty years since I slid down this banister. It's high time I did it again! Mother's in the kitchen and will never know that I did it!"

Thomas mounted the railing with remembered ease and held himself in place with his hands, grasping the banister in front of him while he readied himself for the ride. Then he let go and began his descent just as his mother came into view. He was three-quarters of the way down when his mother looked up and saw him sliding at breakneck speed toward her. "Thomas Burns!", she shouted at him in maternal reproof as he hastily checked his velocity by grabbing the banister with both hands and came to a palm-burning stop at the bottom, "How many times have I told you that the stair is not playground equipment? You could fall and hurt yourself! If you want to slide on something, go to the schoolyard at the Elementary School down the street and play there! Do you hear me?"

"It's been years since you told me not to slide down the banister!", Thomas accused defensively.

"Thomas!", his mother said in a rising tone of voice that meant she was losing her patience with his impertinence.

"Yes, Mother," Thomas said quietly as he dismounted from the railing to stand on the third stair step in front of her. The sixteen inch elevation of the step above the floor placed his head at an equal height with his mother's head and allowed him to look his mother directly in the eye when he added in a small, whiny voice, "I was only trying it out."

She shook her head at how childish her wayward son sounded trying to defend his puerile behavior and said in an exasperated tone, "When you've finished your lunch, you're going to go outside and play at the schoolyard! Honestly! I would have thought that you'd have outgrown such tomfoolery years ago!"

"ButÖ", Thomas began, trying to explain that the railing had proved irresistible and that he really didn't want to play at the school's playground. He might look like a child, but that didn't mean he thought like one. The idea of playing on the monkey bars or sliding down the slide left him cold.

"But me no buts, young man! If I catch you sliding down my banister again I'm going to paddle your fanny! Now git into the kitchen right now! It's time for lunch. When you've finished your lunch, you're going outside to play!", his mother ordered.

He stepped down from the stairs and walked ahead of his mother to the kitchen. As he passed, she swatted him on the bottom to remind him not to slide down the banister and to hurry him along. He yelped in surprise at the sharp blow on his behind and made a beeline for the kitchen as she stalked after her son to insure his compliance.

His mother ladled out a sensible lunch of hearty homemade vegetable soup from her pressure cooker into a large bowl, and directed him to sit down at the kitchen table and place the bowl on top of the dinner plate that she had previously set out for him. While he settled himself in, she bracketed his soup bowl with two halves of a diagonally-cut whole-wheat bologna sandwich that was garnished with French's mustard on one side and Hellmann's mayonnaise on the other. She went back to the refrigerator to pour a large glass of cold milk and returned a minute later to place a frosty tumbler of whole milk next to his plate.

When he had finished eating, she told him to go and play outside until dinner. As he trudged up to his room to get his baseball cap to shield his eyes from the sun, Thomas decided that she wasn't ordering him to go to the playground, rather she just wanted him to get some fresh air and get out of her hair for awhile. When he entered his room, he happened to glance at the autographed "game" baseball that sat on a small brass-plaqued pedestal on his bookcase next to the baseball bat which he had used to slam the winning homer on his trophy ball in the last game he had played in High School. "Baseball!", he thought to himself in glee, "There's the ticket! No swings for me! No sirree! I'll find some guys and we'll practice pitching and batting!"

Thomas was enthralled by the prospect of playing ball again. He hadnít played baseball since he was a teenager. He found his old practice baseball and first baseman's glove in his closet and dug around in his things until he uncovered an ancient can of Neatsfoot oil that had been tightly sealed in a quart-sized Mason jar since he last used it. He opened the can with no small measure of distrust and tipped the can to pour a tiny amount of oil into the palm of his hand. Frankly, Thomas didn't expect anything to come out of the can. Twenty years should have turned the contents into a thick coating of heavy varnish at the bottom of the can.

The light oil dripped delicately into his hand as if he had purchased it the day before. Miraculously, his mother's preservation technique had worked. The volatile solvents in the oil had been preserved by the tight-fitting lid of the Mason jar over a score of years. He sat cross-legged on the floor and oiled the stiff leather of the glove with Neatsfoot oil for an hour to make it supple again before leaving the house in search of guys his age who liked to play baseball. He had enjoyed Baseball immensely as a youth and had never had time to play after he had left his mother's home to go to college. He expected to have a grand time re-experiencing the joys of his childhood without having to worry about work or deadlines.

Towards evening Thomas returned home in a state of total dejection and despondency. His face was the very picture of childish melancholy as he plodded his way up the sidewalk to his mother's porch. He dragged his old baseball bat dispiritedly in the dust behind him in one hand while his baseball-stuffed glove dangled carelessly from the fingers of his other hand. Even his beloved baseball cap wasn't straight; the bill of the cap had been struck with the tip of his bat and been knocked askew when he had taken his bat from his shoulder to drag it behind him with one hand. Thomas was so depressed that he hadn't even bothered to reset his cap on his head. It rested lightly on his head sideways with the bill tipped down towards his right ear. He hadnít found anyone to play with all afternoon. All the houses in his neighborhood seemed to be occupied by retired people. He had forgotten that all the children that he had known in his youth had grown up and moved away years before and in most cases his friend's parents had moved as well.

When he went to the playground at his old Elementary School down the street in search of someone to play catch with, he discovered that the school was an abandoned wreck. From the number of broken windows, Thomas gathered that it had been closed for some time. He peered inside one of the windows and saw a thick coating of dust covering the empty linoleum-tiled floor. The school's closure must have happened years before and was obviously permanent. As Thomas turned away from the begrimed window, he realized that there simply weren't enough children in the neighborhood to justify spending the taxpayers money to keep it open.

He walked away from the building to stand amidst the Johnson grass that grew abundantly on the pitcher's mound of the school's baseball field. Thomas turned a fully three hundred and sixty degrees searching for some sign of children. There was absolutely no one to play with or talk to as far as he could see. He was all alone in the schoolyard. The windows of the classrooms stared out vacantly on the weed-choked baseball field and playground like a dusty epitaph to his solitary rejuvenation. He was alone in his second childhood; not a single person he had known in his boyhood remained in the neighborhood save his mother.

"It doesnít matter anyway," he thought morosely as he labored to push open the front door of his mother's house. Thomas was surprised at the amount of strength it took to open the front door; he couldn't remember it being that difficult to open. He hadn't realize before his rejuvenation what physical rigor it took to move the heavy, white-painted, solid-mahogany door's inertial mass. As he entered the house, he thought despondently, "By tomorrow I doubt if I'll even be able to open the door by myself. When I wake up in the morning, Iíll be seven years old and by Friday Iíll be four. If I had met anyone my age today, they'd be too old to want to play ball with me tomorrow."

He couldnít recall if his mother had let him go out and play alone when he was seven. It disturbed him that he couldnít remember being seven years old. His Mother seem to remember everything about his childhood so clearly. He went inside, closing the massive door behind him as quietly as he could. With his heart filled with loneliness and frustration, he laboriously climbed the stairs to go to his room and put his bat, glove and ball away before he washed up for dinner. He would never again think about playing baseball.

Thomas sat down to dinner with his Mother and saw she had made him his favorite; fried chicken with homemade mashed potatoes, fresh-baked biscuits and buttered green beans from her garden. She had even made a deep-dish apple pie for him. He didn't mention how lonely his day had been to his mother at dinner. Thomas felt that she wouldn't understand how it felt to be the only child in the neighborhood. His sense of desolation was compounded by the fact that he still retained his adult brain and outlook. He felt like he occupied some interstitial temporal continuum where the normal rules of time and space had been suspended indefinitely. Aside from his mother, he was alone in his universe. He had become what the philosopher/mathematician W. von Leibniz had characterized as a Monad. Thomas wished with all of his heart that he could, at the very least, return to a Cartesian Duality where there was another person he could relate to and love. He realized that in a strange way, he had brought his fate upon himself. If he had loved and trusted his wife as his full partner in life the way he should have, she might not have demanded a divorce and forced him to go home to his mother. He had allowed his work and his relationship with his mother to take precedence over his marriage. The thought made him want to cry. If his mother hadn't served him his favorite meal, he wouldn't have eaten at all. Thomas found the aroma of the chicken to be irresistible, his lack of appetite notwithstanding. He ate until he was stuffed, despite his depression.

He polished off the last vestiges of his dinner, wiping his greasy hands with his napkin and dropping the fat stained cloth beside his plate as he prepared to leave the table. As he pushed his chair back and rose, he was immediately scolded by his Mother, "Tommy! Sit back down! Did you ask my permission to leave the table? You didn't even clean your face before you got up!"

He looked at her with a surprised expression on his face, she hadnít spoken to him that way since he had been a child. With a shock he realized that as far as she was concerned he was a child again. He gulped and said he was sorry. She told him he had to behave himself if he expected to watch TV after dinner. Thomas nodded his understanding and asked humbly for permission to leave the table. It was granted, but only after his mother had come over to his side of the table and wiped his mouth for him with her napkin. Her loving maternal ministrations did little to make him feel at home; instead, her smothering care made him feel as if she thought he was an incompetent four-year-old who couldn't even wipe his face properly.

She let him go and watch TV until eight-thirty, when she made him go to bed. He lay in his bed staring at the nightlight long after midnight, thinking about how she had treated him at dinner. He realized that in some respects, Mary had been right. His mother did seem to be happy to have him under her care again. She was treating him as if he was a ten-year-old. He still had an adult mind! Couldnít she comprehend that? The episode on the banister that morning had only been a lark. The thought of how she would treat him tomorrow and the day after frightened him. Would she treat him like she did when he was seven years old?

He woke up the next morning to find his mother had laid out a clean set of clothes on the chair for him. "Well," he thought, "at least she didnít try to dress me."

He dressed and went to the bathroom, then went to the kitchen for breakfast. His mother set a bowl of oatmeal and a bear-shaped plastic container of honey in front of him before pouring a dollop of heavy cream over the oatmeal from the half-pint carton she had taken from the refrigerator. Thomas stared up at her wondering how she expected him to eat without silverware. The next moment his questioning gaze was humiliatingly answered as she placed the handle of a large spoon into his hand as if he was a toddler learning to feed himself. His embarrassment was complete when she took a single paper towel from the dispenser in the kitchen and stuffed it down the front of his shirt to act as a bib.

When he had finished, she put a bowl of stewed prunes in front of him and said, "Eat these, Honey. Momma doesnít want you to get constipated. You were always constipated when you were seven."

He ate the prunes reluctantly, then asked if he could leave the table. She told him it was a nice day and she wanted him to go out and play in the sunshine. He started to go out the front door and she said, "No Tommy, Youíre too young to go out and play alone in the front yard. I meant for you to play in the backyard where I can keep an eye on you."

He spent the day in the back yard, only coming in for lunch and to go to the bathroom. He was glad when darkness fell, he couldnít remember ever being so bored in his life. He ate dinner, watched TV and went to bed quietly at seven-thirty when his mother commanded. His mother was making him go to bed earlier and earlier he noticed. "Sheíll probably make me take a nap tomorrow," he thought as he slipped off to sleep.

Friday morning Thomas was woken up by his Mother. She pulled the coverlet off the bed and told him to get dressed. He sat on the edge of the bed, then slid off the mattress, put his feet on the floor and stood up. His underwear promptly fell off and draped themselves over his feet. He looked up at his Mother in alarm. She smiled, went to the dresser and returned with a smaller set of underwear, a tee-shirt and some pants. She told him to get on the edge of the bed and she helped him into the underwear. Thomas thought that the underwear looked strange, they were thicker than normal underwear with padding in the front. There wasnít even a hole for him to open and pee through. He thought about them while she raised his arms and worked the tee-shirt over his hands and pulled the collar down around his head. Then she bent down and started putting the pants over his legs.

He asked her, "Momma, what kind of underwear are those? I havenít seen any underwear like them."

"Oh yes you have," she smirked with a mother's knowing grin, "You just donít remember. You wore underwear like these when you were four. Donít you know what kind of underwear they are?"

Thomas admitted he didnít and she said, "Theyíre training pants. You wore training pants until you were five! Donít you remember? I had a terrible time getting you potty-trained. You hated underwear and kept demanding to be put back in diapers. Donít you remember?"

He blushed scarlet in embarrassment and shook his head no, saying in a little boy's voice, "Canít I wear regular underwear?"

"No, dear.," she replied firmly, "This is all that I have that will fit you. I wouldnít have even had these if Mary hadnít sent them in the bag home with you. I sorry now that I ever argued with her, she really is a considerate person."

She pulled up the pants around his waist while she was talking. He looked down and saw that they were not pants but a little boyís overalls. His Mother made him stand on the floor while she buttoned the straps on his bib for him.

"But what will I do if I need to pee? I canít open them," he plainted.

"Just tell me when you have to pee. Iíll come and undress you and put you on the potty."

She took him by the hand and led him into the kitchen for breakfast. He ate his oatmeal thoughtfully, thinking about what she had said about him being difficult to potty train. If she was right, and he had no doubts that she was, heíd have to be extra careful to run and tell her whenever he had the slightest urge to pee. Otherwise, heíd end up wetting his training pants. The thought of being dependent on his mother to help him go to the potty was depressing. If she was busy, heíd be forced to wait until she had time to take him to the bathroom. He could picture himself standing at her side doing the pee-pee dance while she finished her chore. The idea of being so dependent and helpless frightened him to the depths of his soul. Heíd be forced to beg for her help to go to the potty like he was a little boy. Sheíd probably pat him on the head and tell him to be patient.

Thomas grew so despondent over the thought that he put his face in his hands and began to weep silently. His mother saw him and told him to sit up straight and finish drinking his milk. When he lifted his head, she saw the tear streaks on his face. She asked him what was the matter and he explained in halting words the thoughts that had been going through his mind. His mother had gotten up from her place at the table and come over to him. She knelt at his side and told him how sweet he was to worry about peeing in his pants. She told him that she understood how he felt but that he shouldnít worry. She patted the front of his pants and told him that his training pants would stop any leaks. That was too much for Thomas; he burst out crying.

His mother took him off the chair and held him close to her in a tender, maternal hug until his sobs quieted. Then she sat him back on his chair, picked up his napkin and dried his eyes for him before telling him to finish his milk. When he had drunk his milk and she allowed him to leave the table, he went back to his room to read his old books. Thomas remembered his watch and decided to look at it before he started reading. He went over to the dresser to get it and discovered to his dismay that he had become too short to see the top of the dresser where he had placed it two days before. After casting his eyes around the room for some moveable object he could stand on, he reluctantly decided to use a stack of books as a stepstool. He laboriously gathered his books together and made a neatly organized heap upon which he could stand. When the pile was high enough, he carefully clambered on top of his books and stood on his tiptoes to see the top of his dresser.

Thomas was shocked to see that his gold watch had disappeared. He moved his arm frantically around the top of his dresser, disarraying his carefully warded keepsakes in his haste to find his treasure. Thomas's agitated motions dislodged the books beneath his feet and he fell backwards and landed on the floor with a loud thump. Thomas lay on the floor spread-eagled, momentarily stunned by the fall. He moaned his loss and looked up to see his mother rushing to his side. "Honey!", she exclaimed in concern, "Are you alright? Did you hurt yourself? Mommy heard you moan! Where does it hurt?"

Thomas looked sheepish and explained with the uncertain expression of a little boy, "I guess so. I just fell a little."

His mother eyed the pile of books in front of the dresser and immediately divined their purpose. Her face became severe as she asked, "And just what were you doing with those books, young man? Were you standing on them?"

Thomas suddenly remembered the object of his search and he said with a face that clouded over, threatening to rain tears, "My rolodex watch! I can't find my gold wristwatch! I put it on top of the dresser two days ago and I can't find it!"

His mother's stern expression softened a bit as she said, "Oh, that! I put it in my jewelry box yesterday."

Thomas shot her an irritated look and then quickly looked away before she saw the anger in his face. After a moment to collect himself, he turned his face up to her and asked politely, "May I have my wristwatch back, please Mother?"

"Certainly not!", his mother said firmly, "Expensive gold watches like that are not toys for little boys your age. Mommy put it away for safekeeping for when you're older."

"But it's mine!", Thomas countered with a hint of whine in his voice, "You gave it to me!"

"I gave that watch to a college graduate, NOT a little boy!", she replied tartly, "You're much too young to be trusted with something that valuable!"

"I'm not young!", Thomas argued with a small piping voice that belied his statement.

"Big boys don't have to make stacks of books so they can see the top of their dressers," his mother pointed out in a reasonable tone.

"ButÖbut," Thomas started to say.

"That will be quite enough out of you, young man! The watch stays in my jewelry box and that's final! You're lucky that I don't paddle your behind for making a mess like this! You know better than to stand on books! Books are meant to be read, they aren't stepstools!", his mother declared firmly.

"But I couldn't find anything else!", Thomas whined in self-defense.

"Pick up those books this instant and put them away, Tommy!", his mother ordered.

"But how will I get to the things on my dresser?", he demanded with pouting expression.

"Thomas Burns!", his mother reprimanded sternly, "If you don't get those books off of the floor this instant, I'm going to pull down your pants and spank you!"

Thomas looked up at her face and realized that she was serious. If he didn't start putting away his books, he'd find himself face down across her lap with a bare bottom in the next few minutes. He cast his face downward in surrender and said obediently, "Yes, Mother."

She watched as he picked up his books and put them back on the shelves of his bookcase, tapping her toe impatiently until he was done. When he had finished, she told him, "If you need anything from the top of your dresser, all you have to do is ask me. Okay, Tommy?"

"Yes Mother," he said dejectedly, "May I get a book out to read?"

"As long as you put it away when you're finished with it," she said to drive her point home.

"I will, Mother," Thomas promised.

"Mommy has chores to do, so don't get into anymore mischief while she's busy!", his mother warned, "If you give Mommy any more trouble today, you're going to have a sore bottom!"

"Yes, Mother," Thomas replied despondently. He had a hard time believing that his life could change so drastically in just two weeks. Only a fortnight before, he had been a successful Genetic Engineer on the top of the world, fourteen days later he had become a four-year-old whose Mother was threatening him with a spanking for being naughty. He wanted to cry.

Thomas got a book from his bookcase and lay down on the rug on the floor in the morning sun. He read parts of one book, then another, unable to decide which book he should read in earnest. He fell asleep on his rug while re-reading Robin Hood.

He woke up with his Mother shaking his shoulder to rouse him for lunch. He padded sleepily after her to the kitchen where she served him a sandwich, soup and milk. He noticed that the underwear felt strange while he was eating lunch. It felt warm and damp in front. He decided that the heat from the sunshine must have made him sweat. After he finished about half the glass of milk, he noticed that the underwear felt warm all the way down between his legs. He shifted his weight on the chair and his underwear squished beneath him.

"Oh God! Iíve peed in my pants!", he thought to himself in panic, "Iíve got to change them before she finds out!"

He finished quickly and asked for permission to leave the table. She granted it and he ran to his room. Thomas went to the dresser and found another pair of training pants, then rushed to the bathroom before he had another "accident". He removed his overalls and training pants, then opened the cabinet under the bathroom sink and started to stuff the wet training pants behind the cleaning chemicals stored there.

He jumped when he heard his motherís voice say, "And just what are you doing under there? Get out of there this instant!"

He dropped the pants, backed out of the cabinet and stood naked in front of his mother. "Stand right there, Tommy! I want to see what you were doing!"

She looked in the cabinet, then reached in and picked up the sopping pants between her thumb and forefinger. "Is this what you were trying to hide?"

Thomas gazed down at the floor, too embarrassed to look her in the eye or answer. "Get up on that potty, young man, and stay there until Mommy says to get off!", she commanded.

She washed the wet pants in the sink, then wrung them out and hung them on the shower curtain rod. She picked up the clean pants and his overalls and put them on the counter, then left the bathroom. Thomas hung his head in shame as he waited for his mother to return. "She must have eyes in the back of her head," he thought.

She came back and asked him, "Have you peed yet?"

"Yes, Mommy," he replied in a small voice.

She took him off the potty, patted him dry with toilet paper, then dressed him again and took him by the hand to his room. She sat him on the bed and told him, "Tommy, I understand why you were hiding the pants you wet. You were ashamed, werenít you?"

"Yes, Mommy," he answered.

His Mother took him by the hand and said sympathetically, "Tommy, you donít have to be ashamed for getting younger. Itís not your fault. Mommy understands. If you have an Ďaccidentí just tell me and Iíll take care of it. Okay?" She hugged him and said, "Thatís Mommyís sweet baby! Why donít you play with your toys while Mommy cleans the house?"

Thomas went back to his room and tried to play with his old toys from his toybox, but his heart wasn't in it. Finally, he gave it up as a bad job and went to ask his mother if he could watch TV. She agreed, but she told him that she'd choose the channel and what he'd watch. She explained that there were simply too many programs on TV that weren't appropriate for a boy his age. After finding Nickelodeon on cable, she put the remote on top of the entertainment center where he couldn't reach it and returned to her chores. His mother had called the cable company on Tuesday afternoon and added the Nickelodeon channel on a trial basis until the end of the month - which was only a week away. By Saturday, she knew he'd have lost any interest in watching TV and there wasn't any point in wasting money.

Thomas sat on the carpet in front of the TV and watched an episode of "Tiny Toons". The storyline wasn't so bad for a Kids' show, he decided. There were enough innuendo and inside jokes from the entertainment industry buried in the cartoon's dialog to keep his adult mind occupied and diverted from his problems. When the cartoon ended, his mother came in an switched the channel to "Animaniacs". Thomas was pleasantly surprised to discover that the cartoon which his Mother had selected for him to watch had even more film-based puns gauged to appeal to an adult mind.

The afternoon passed in slow fashion, with his mother coming in just as each show ended to switch to another she knew he would like. Thomas was a bit dumbfounded with her exact knowledge of children's programming and their schedules at first, but after some thought he decided that she must have gotten the television listings from the newspaper and have had a schedule already picked out for him. The thought of being so completely controlled by his mother depressed him and ruined the entertainment value of the cartoons. Instead of being diverting, they were only evidence that he had fallen into a the pit of helplessness and dependency from which there was no escape.

While he was watching TV, his mother made a number of trips to the attic for more of Tommy's old things. She was pleased by the energy that the rejuvenation had bequeathed to her and was able to move out all of his old furniture from his room up to the attic and replace it in just a few hours. When she was done with the transmigration of furnishings, she lovingly redecorated his room in a style that was more appropriate to his age group.

He sat moodily until dinner when she came to take him to the table. His mother picked him up, sat him on the chair and tucked a napkin into the bib of his overall. He ate without tasting his food, his world had suddenly become small and joyless. He ate his dinner silently, then went to the family room. He lay on the sofa and moped, occasionally weeping over his lost adulthood. Thomas turned on the TV and watched his favorite program. He wanted to see it while he could still understand it. In a few hours, he would lose the last years of childhood and with it his memory and ability to reason. His mother washed the dishes, then busied herself in his room for hours while he watched TV. When she came into the family room at eight oíclock and told him it was time to go to bed, he became enraged. He stomped his feet on the carpet and screamed that Mary had been right and that his Mother hadn't given him half of the formula because she thought that she was doing him a favor but because she wanted to control his life. His Mother listened patiently to her four-year-old son's tantrum without saying a word. When he had wound down, she told him he could stay up until ten oíclock and no longer.

At ten oíclock she walked him to his room. When she opened the door, he was stunned by what he saw. The color of the walls were the only thing that had remained the same. His Mother had removed his childhood mementos and turned his room into a nursery. A white-painted baby crib stood in the center of the room against the window. It had a large headboard which had a pastel painting of diapered teddy bears. Stuffed toy animals were lined up against the bars along the window side of the crib. The curtains were gaily colored and had the same teddy bear motif as the crib. Even the walls had cut-out posters of teddy bears. He saw a matching dresser against the wall with a changing table on top with baby powder, a roll of toilet paper, washcloths, and a stack of clean cloth diapers. A covered plastic pail had been converted into a dirty diaper hamper which stood alongside the dresser. The room smelled of clean sheets and baby powder. In the corner there was the large rocking chair he remembered from his youth. Thomas's earliest memories of the chair were of the times when he was a toddler that she used to rock him in the chair when he was fretful or ill. Despite the familiarity of the furnishings, they shocked him deeply; his bedroom wasn't the abode of a ten-year-old boy nor even that of a four-year-old. His room had been transformed into a baby's nursery!

Thomas quailed at the thought of being infantilized before his time. "No!," he yelled as he cowered by the nursery door, "Iím not a baby yet! Please donít make me sleep in a crib!"

His Mother knelt down and said soothingly to him, "Now Tommy, at the moment youíre about three-years-old. In eight hours youíll be two-years-old. Do you remember when you were two? You slept in a crib every night when you were that age. Now don't be difficult, Tommy! Letís get you ready for bed."

She picked him up and put him on the edge of the crib, then unbuttoned the bib on his overalls and slid them off his legs. She pulled his tee-shirt over his head and took it off. His Mother walked over to the dresser, picked up something and returned to him, holding whatever she had gotten behind her back.. "Do you remember what you wore to sleep when you were two, Tommy?," she said, gently pushing him down to lie on his back.

She moved in close to the crib and laid the object at the other side of her, out of his sight, and started to pull down his underwear. "You pooped in your pants until you were three. I had to put you in triple diapers every night so you wouldnít soak the bed," she said, slipping his underwear down his legs and pushing his chest back with her hand to lay on the bed, "Iím going to diaper you. Donít you remember what happened this afternoon? Training pants arenít absorbent enough. We canít have you wetting the bed, Tommy."

"Diapers!?," he wailed, "Iím too old for diapers! Canít I wear the other pants instead? Please donít diaper me!"

"Tommy, those training pants are for small Ďaccidentsí during the day. They arenít meant for a baby thatís not potty-trained," his mother said resolutely.

Thomas lay on his back, kicking his legs impotently in the air in an effort to bar her way to his bottom.

"Tommy, be still or Mommy will spank," his mother said firmly, "Tomorrow morning youíll be a two-year-old again. I won't have you peeing all over my clean mattress! Don't you remember having an 'accident' in your pants this afternoon? Youíre wearing diapers tonight and that's final! Do you understand me?"

Thomas nodded with tears in his eyes as she took both of his ankles in one hand to lift his bottom. She slid three cloth diapers beneath his bottom and proceeded to draw them up between his legs and pin them in place. His mother left him lying on the crib for a moment, dressed in nothing but his thick diaper while went over to the dresser to retrieve something she had forgotten. While her back was turned, Thomas moved his legs together experimentally. He was dismayed to discover that the triple layers of flannelette bunched up between his legs and made it impossible to bring his knees together closer than a foot and a half from each other. If he tried to stand up and tried to walk in them, he'd fall flat on his face. If his mother had only used two diapers, he'd at least have been able to manage a toddler's waddle. With three diapers, he'd have to crawl like an infant!

Surreptitiously, Thomas pushed on the diaper top to see if he could slip them off after she was gone. He was horrified to find she had pinned him so tightly that he couldn't slip out of the infantile garment. He probed the sides of his diaper with his fingers and discovered two long, hard objects on each side of his diaper. After a moment's thought, he realized that she had used two pins on each side. He grabbed one of the pins between his right thumb and forefinger to try to unfasten it, but the combination of the strong spring steel and the plastic safety lock of the diaper pin was more than sufficient to defeat the weak finger muscles of a three-year-old. He was trapped! Heíd never get out of these diapers without help!

"They're too thick!", he whined in a voice that was almost in tears, "You've made them so thick that I can't walk!"

"Exactly!", his mother replied tartly without turning around from the dresser, "I have no intention of letting my baby boy wander around the house in the middle of the night! You might fall down the stairs and break your neck!"

When she came back, she lifted his heels one-by-one and slipped a noisy, frosted-white garment over his feet.

"No Mama! PleaseÖNo!..not plastic pants too!", he quailed as she worked them down his upraised legs to his knees.

"It wouldn't do much good to put you in diapers unless I put a waterproof covering over them, now wouldn't it?", she smiled gently as she pulled the crinkly plastic up his thighs and tugged them up to the edge of the triple layer of diapers.

With one hand, she grasped his ankles and easily lifted his bottom off of the crib by raising his legs until he cleared the mattress while she quickly jerked the waterproof pants in place over his diapers. Once that was done, she lowered his feet and proceeded to tuck the waistband of the plastic pants in over the top of his diapers to make a watertight seal. Then she stood up straight to admire her handiwork with a maternal smile.

 

Thomas was mortified. While she turned her back to the crib to get his blanket from the bottom drawer of the dresser, he put his hands down to feel the protective pants she had put over his diapers and was met with the soft pliable feel of an infantís plastic pants tightly wrapped over his diapers. The bulky diaper bulged obscenely beneath his belly as if he had a massive erection beneath the diapers. He put his hands down and pushed on the crinkly plastic to feel how much fabric separated him from his privates. No matter how hard he pushed, he couldn't feel any pressure on his balls and penis. The triple thickness of flannel made it impossible for him to feel anything but the soft, yielding folds of fabric that protected his pubes from his explorations. When he tried to worm his fingers under the waistband of the plastic pants, he discovered that that entrance was barred too. The elastic had been designed for a toddler's waist rather than a three-year-old's tummy and would not let him get his fingers in more than an inch or two. Even if he had been able to get his hands beneath the waistband of the plastic pants, it would have done him no good; she had fastened his diapers far too tightly on his hips for him to wiggle his hand between the fabric and his skin. His infantile garments were far too tight for him to slip his hands underneath and reach into his diaper. It was as if his manhood had been absorbed into the velvety flannelette that caressed his crotch and bottom.

At that moment he realized that his mother had deliberately diapered him in such a way that made his crotch inaccessible to him. He vaguely remembered his mother telling him when he was a little kid that baby boys weren't supposed to play with themselves. Her maternal diligence in diapering had rendered him incapable of masturbating himself to relieve the tension that had wrought upon his personality. He effectively had become as sexless as the merest infant.

Thomas rocked from side-to-side experimentally as he lay on the bed and noticed that it was difficult to move in the diapers. They had shifted his center of gravity to his bottom and their thickness made it difficult to turn over. The fact that his legs were widely spread wasnít any help either. He couldnít bring his legs close enough to use them to help him sit up in bed. The only way he could stand up would be to roll over on his stomach and then slowly work his way up to crouch on his hands and knees like an infant, then he would have to use the railings of the crib to pull himself to an erect stance with his legs akimbo. On the other hand, if he merely accepted his fate and didn't try to stand up like a man, he'd look and feel like a foolish infant. The thought of kneeling in the crib on his hands and knees with the huge bulge created by the multiple layers fabric protruding from his rear like some infantile version of an Edwardian lady's bustle made him want to scream in frustration. He lay still on his back with his eyes closed as a single tear of defeat escaped and rolled down the side of his face.

His mother returned with a coverlet, turning him on his side and tucking the soft blanket around him before putting his teddy bear in his arms. The thick diaper forced him turn his pelvis so he could slide his upper leg over the other allow his upper knee to rest comfortably on the crib sheet. When she had finished folding the fleecy flannel under his tiny feet to keep him warm while he slept, she kissed him tenderly on the forehead and put up the side rails up on the crib. Thomas watched as his mother picked up the clothes he had been wearing before bedtime and took them to the laundry room. He looked up at the crib railing and realized with a soft groan that the crib had made it necessary for him to wear diapers. It didn't matter that he could only crawl, he had no place to go. The railing was too high for him to scale and climb over after his mother went to sleep. He couldn't have gotten out of his crib to use the potty if he had to pee during the night. If he needed to pee or poop, he'd have to do it in his diapers!

Thomas whimpered in frustration, hugging the teddy bear to his chest tightly to comfort himself as he whispered in quiet outrage, "Mama shouldn't make me wear dydees! I'm not that little!"

Thomas's whispered self-assurances were belied when he felt a growing warmth in his crotch as he dribbled into the soft fabric of his diaper. Thomas moaned in quiet defeat as he felt another spurt of pee bounce back from his diaper and wet his pubes slightly. "That wasn't enough to soak my training pants!", he whispered in an attempt to solace his besieged ego with a white lie, "She didn't have to diaper me!"

His thumb snaked its way around the teddy bear's neck as snuck up to his mouth and rested before his lips. As Thomas closed his eyes, he murmured desperately, "I don't wanna be a baby!"

Thomas's thumb wormed its way between his lips as he fell asleep. He instinctively sucked on his thumb a few times for reassurance before drifting into the deep slumber of early youth.

After a few minutes, his mother returned to dowse the gaily decorated lamp on the small table that stood a few feet away from the crib, leaving the small nightlight mounted in the duplex outlet near the floor as the sole source of illumination in the nursery. His mother started to go out the door, then stopped halfway and paused as if she had forgotten something. She turned around and went back to the crib to check on her son. By the time she arrived, he was already asleep with his thumb in his mouth. She stood at the side of the crib for a moment, marveling that God had returned her baby boy after all the decades that had passed. She gave a silent prayer of thanks to the Lord for the blessings he had bestowed upon her and her son, then silently slipped out of the room, closing the door behind her.

A breeze shifted the curtains and a beam of sunlight danced on the sheet in front of Thomas. Thomas was laying on his side, facing the window. He opened his eyes sleepily, looking out between the curtains of the window and was greeted by the sight of the morning sun half-hidden by the nursery's curtains and the joyous green of the leaves of the tree that grew on the side of the house. From the height of the sun it appeared to be about seven or eight am. Thomas had never had a good sense of time or date, relying as an adult on his wrist watch to keep him temporally oriented. He thought back and tried to remember what day it was so he could gauge his age, but the timelessness of his mother's house defeated him. He couldn't remember which the day of the week it was if his life had depended on it. He glanced back down and saw the knuckles of his hand on the pillow in front of his face. Thomas swallowed and realized he had something in his mouth. His thumb was in his mouth and he was sucking it!

He pulled out his thumb, staring at the damp, wrinkled thumb which had betrayed his trust and silently damned the untoward twist of fate which had cost him his adulthood. He threw off the blanket in disgust and used his arms to push himself up to a sitting position. As he sat up he realized that his bottom felt cold and wet ... A foul stench had polluted the air in the volume surrounding the crib. He sniffed and realized that the rancid effluvium was coming from his diaper! Alarmed, he looked down and clutched the front of his doubled diaper with both hands. It squished wetly as he pushed on it. He lifted the edge of his now ample plastic pants to investigate further and saw that his diaper was sopping wet and positively reeked of spoiled pee. He thought to himself, "Oh Lord, I positively stink! I must have spent half the night in wet diapers for them to smell this bad!"

Thomas realized that his worst fears had come true. He had regressed during the night into a baby. An anguished sob escaped his lips and he began to beat on the crib bars with his tiny fists in frustration. The sobs grew into a infantís wail of despair as he realized he had completed his transition into babyhood. There was no escaping the fate caused by the ignorant, if loving act of his mother. Heíd be a baby for the next ten years. He fell back in the crib and rolled over on his belly, beating his fists on the mattress in frustration. Presently he gave up to lay motionless in the crib, closing his eyes as he mewled in despondent defeat, hoping to shut out the reality of his helpless condition. Presently, he heard the door open as his mother walked in.

She came over to the crib and said brightly, "Good morning Tommy! Did Mommaís baby have a good sleep?"

She unlatched and dropped the crib side with a loud clash that hurt his ultra-sensitive infant tympanums. Then she bent over and grasped him under the armpits to flip him over on his back. As she turned him on his back, his Mother saw the slightly darkened wet spot on the crib sheet with nursery prints on a white background sheet where he had laid and smiled. Though it was hardly necessary, she put a finger inside the elasticized gathers of one of his legs of his plastic pants to peek inside so she could check the condition of his diaper. As she expected, he was wet but not poopy. As an experienced mother, she knew that the weight and smell of a diaper was a better clue to how wet it was than its feel. Taking three fingers of her hand, she put them under the plastic-covered crotch of his diaper and lifted slightly to gauge its weight. His sodden crotch felt like it had been filled with lead shot. He had peed so much during the night that the highly absorbent fabric of the triple layer of diapers was completely soaked.

She chuckled and said with a hint of loving amusement in her voice, "Oh Dear!, I see that Tommy has a very soggy dydee this morning! I guess you won't argue with Momma any more about what she makes you wear to bed." She bent her head down close to his and said to him in a condescending motherly tone, "I guess you'll listen to Momma from now on, won't you? Even with triple diapers and plastic pants, you still managed to make a spot on the bed. Didnít Momma tell Tommy that heíd need to wear dydees last night? What would have happened if little Tommy had had his way, hmmm? His little crib would have been ruined, that's what! "

Thomas cringed at her sharp remark, making his abdominal muscles contract and flooding his diapers anew with a warm, wet, comfortable sensation. When he realized that he had wet himself again in his Mother's presence, he whimpered quietly in shame.

She took the blanket from the side of the crib where it had been scrunched up during his tossing and turning while he slept and neatly folded the comforter up before hanging it over the end of the crib. His Mother picked him up by his armpits and carried him over to the changing station on top of his baby dresser. Before she laid him down, she pulled a fresh diaper from the stack and laid it on the changing pad to prevent soiling. She smiled down at him and said as she began to pull his plastic pants down his legs, "Well! Aside from having a wet dydee, how's Momma's baby boy this morning?"

She tickled his stomach with her forefinger. He gazed up at her self-consciously as she unclipped the pins on his diaper, first the far side next to the wall and then on the side nearest her. As she loosened his diapers, a strong ammonia odor assaulted his nostrils and made him grimace. She smiled and prattled baby talk to him non-stop, while pulling the diaper up away from his stomach and down between his legs. The reek of ammonia was overpowering! The stench made Thomas want to swoon and gag simultaneously. He pursed his lips and held his breath until she removed the odoriferous infantine loinclout and tossed it in the dirty diaper pail.

He lay naked and exposed to her thoughtful gaze and he blushed in deep embarrassment. Thomas was shamed and humiliated by his wet diapers. He realized that if she hadnít diapered him in triple diapers and plastic pants, the entire crib would have been soaked. He turned his head away from her and kicked his feet in dismay.

"Be still, Tommy!", his Mother said without pausing from the diapering process.

His Mother picked up both of his feet with her left hand and lifted him easily until his bottom was free of the table, then she removed the soggy diapers with the right and tossed them into the dirty diaper pail. She took a wet washcloth and wiped his front, then turned him over on his stomach and wiped his bottom. She sprinkled his bottom sparingly with baby powder, then flipped him over and dusted his pubic area with talc as well before lifting his feet again with her left hand while sliding two clean diapers beneath him with her other hand.

His mother drew the first diaper up between his legs the way she had the night before, but as she pulled the bottom diaper up across his crotch, she gave it a one-hundred and eighty degree turn before she smoothed it out and evened up the corners. Then she grasped the far front side of diaper corners with her right hand, simultaneously pulling the rear corners over with the left hand and pinning them down. She did the same to the other side, pinning his diapers tightly in place with the experience of a mother who had fastened thousands of diapers. She knew that once he began crawling about the floor to play that morning, the fabric of the diapers would stretch and loosen to ease the tightness of her fitting.

His mother checked the tightness of fit of his diapers before pulling a clean pair of plastic pants over his diapers. Thomas noticed that the panties were considerably looser than they had been the night before. He realized that the panties were doubtlessly the same size as the night before; he was the one who was changing. When she had finished, she returned him to the crib and stood him up in the corner of the crib. She tugged the sheet loose on the corner of the opposite side of the mattress, exposing the mattress beneath. Then she picked him up again by his armpits and swung him easily over to the other side to stand on the bare, plastic-covered mattress while she stripped the damp bedclothes off the crib, saying tenderly , "There you go, Sweetheart! You're as snug as a bug in a rug! Try and put your legs together for Momma! See? The twist Momma put in the outside diaper made all the bulk between your legs go away! Momma fixed it so you won't have any trouble walking and playing today."

Thomas took a few experimental steps on the mattress while simultaneously holding the crib railing with one hand for safety. His rejuvenation had left him unsteady on is feet and made walking difficult at best. His mother was right about the change she had made in her diapering technique. It wasn't as easy to walk in the bulky double diaper as wearing underwear would have been, but her innovative diapering technique at least made a waddling walk possible.

"You wonít have to wear triple diapers again, Tommy. Youíre too small now to pee so much that I have to take special precautions. By tomorrow, you'll only have to wear a single diaper during the day. Iíll only double diaper you at night," she said with an understanding smile.

His mother bundled the sheet and set it on the floor while she raised the side of the crib and locked it in place. Then she took the damp bedclothes into the laundry room while he stood at the railing of his crib. She returned quickly, opening the bottom drawer of his dresser to take out a clean sheet before she dropped the crib side again. She remade the crib efficiently while he stood watching. He only had to move twice to allow her to finish putting sheets on the bed without interfering with her work.

She smiled at him and said, "Weíre going to have to buy you some better fitting plastic pants to put over your diapers, Tommy. I put extra-large toddler panties on you last night and you're much too small for them now! We'll have to get some panties your size so that you don't dribble all over the bed!"

Tommy yawned as she laid him down on his bed again and placed his blankie beside him. "Is Tommy still sleepy?", she cooed at him maternally, "Would Tommy like his juice now or when he wakes up?"

He was suddenly aware of his thirst and stretched his arms out to take the bottle. She handed him the baby bottle and watched him begin to nurse. He nursed in a dilatory way, just enough to satisfy his Mother. The bottle was filled with apple juice. He was surprised to find out just how pleasurable nursing was. Instead of being difficult and awkward, suckling felt surprisingly ...good! Sucking on the nipple gave him a deep, gratifying, stimulating, almost sexual pleasure that pervaded him with a feeling of lassitude and security. The aroma of sweet apple cider filled his mouth and nose as he pulled each sip into his mouth. Thomas was delighted by his sensations of the fruit's liquor on his palate. He could taste it not only on top and sides of his tongue, but on the sides of his mouth as well.

As he half-drowsed in delectation, he heard his mother distantly encourage, "That's a goood Baby! Drink your juice all down. "Momma will let you finish your bottle and play in your crib for awhile while she does her chores", she said as she turned and left the room.

He felt warm all over and he was getting very, very, sleepy. Presently he stopped nursing and drifted back to into a dreamless sleep. As the fructose in the apple juice made its way down his small intestine, the high sugar content acted like a laxative and began loosening his bowels in his sleep. The unaccustomed sugars in his gut would prevent his digestive system from reabsorbing the water from his stools. Within nine hours, his stools would be as loose and uncontrollable as any infant's. His mother returned after a few minutes and watched him affectionately from the doorway as his eyes closed and the bottle began to slip from his hands. She came in the room and gently tugged the nipple from his lips, taking the bottle from his grasp tenderly while whispering softly, "Sleep tight, precious. Momma loves you!".

Once she was assured that her baby was in a sound sleep, she left his room soundlessly and closed the door.

Thomas woke to the sound of his mother saying, "Wake up, Tommy! Time for breakfast!" as she chucked him under his chin with her forefinger.

She put her hands under his armpits and picked him up, seating him solidly on her right hip with one of his legs in front of her and one behind her. As she turned from the crib and stood from the room, she cradled her hand across his bottom protectively and held him tightly against her side. Thomas bounced against her side as he rode her hip while she walked down the hall and went down the stairs. A strong feeling of guilt arose in him as he realized for the first time how much he enjoyed both her closeness and the security of being held at her side as she negotiated the stairwell down to the first floor.

She carried him into the kitchen where she had set up a high chair so she could feed him his breakfast. She placed him in the trayless chair and drew the strap up between his legs, fastening the strap securely behind him so he couldn't climb out of the chair while her back was turned. Then she took the wooden tray that leaned against the rear of the chair legs and locked it in place in front of him. Thomas felt humiliated by his state of undress and the circumstances of his meal. The thought of being belted into a high chair wearing nothing but a diaper and an infant's feeding bib was utterly degrading. While he waited for her to heat his food, he drew circles in the high chair tray with the index finger of his right hand as she stepped behind the high chair to fasten a kitchen towel around his neck for a feeding bib.

Thomas looked down at the terry-cloth bib that covered the protuberant belly of babyhood he had acquired during the night with embarrassment. She went to the stove and poured his breakfast from the pot that sat on the nearest burner and returned with a old fashioned silver feeding spoon and a bowl of food. His mother pulled a chair close to the high chair and sat down. Holding the bowl, she ladled a spoonful out of the ceramic bowl and began to slowly feed him. "You'll like this, it's oatmeal mixed with banana. It was your favorite when you were a baby. Mmmmm. Now open wide. Here comes the airplane. Now open the hanger door, Baby!"

The granules of imported Irish steel-cut oatmeal had expanded by boiling and steeping into a soft, fluffy-textured porridge with a strong nutty flavor. Thomas noticed that the taste of honey she had added to the oatmeal the day before was conspicuous by its absence. He didn't even see the honey container on the table where it usually sat on the off-white lazy-susan that held the sugar, creamer, salt and pepper. The mashed banana his mother had added to the recipe gave it a very pleasant sweet-fruity savor that balanced the nutty taste perfectly and compensated for the lack of sweetness that the honey would have given his oatmeal. He swallowed a big spoonful only to find another had taken its place before he was ready.

Thomas was having trouble swallowing the sticky mass. His mother saw he was having difficulties and stopped feeding him for a moment. She got up from her chair, taking the bowl with her. During the respite, Thomas realized that the combination of bananas and mushy oatmeal was, in effect, baby food, no matter how good it tasted. The thought of eating baby food repelled him, but under the circumstances he had no choice; there was nothing else his mother would feed him and baby food, however psychologically repellent it might be to his personality to eat, would nourish and sustain him.

His mother took the bowl to the kitchen counter and set it aside while she used a can opener to punch two triangular holes in a small can of concentrated milk. She blended the heavy off-white milk with the mixture until it was a soft, runny mush, then returned to her seat in front of the high chair to resume feeding him. She spooned it in faster than he could swallow it, and she kept ladling it in. For some reason, his mother couldn't seem to understand that his capacity to ingest large quantities of food in a few minutes had diminished along with his size. He made faces at her in an effort to get her to slow down, but to no avail. She merely smiled at the funny expressions he was making and continued to ladle the food into his mouth as fast as she could. Thomas was so mortified by the entire operation that tears of helpless humiliation welled up in his eyes and began running down his cheeks. Still, she continued to shovel food into his mouth until his mouth was so full that cereal dripped from his lips and ran off his chin to collect on the bib that protected his huge toddler's tummy.

As he tried to swallow the oatmeal, he felt the front of his mouth with his tongue and discovered that he only had a couple of teeth in front. Thomas knew he had gotten smaller, but the knowledge of his loss of teeth was a devastating revelation. He couldn't have eaten regular food if she had given it to him!

His mother proved to be an efficient and thorough feeding attendant; when the layer of oatmeal became too thick on his lips and lower face, she scraped the sides of his mouth and chin with the edge of the spoon and fed him the scrapings. Then she returned to feeding him until the bowl was completely empty. When she had finished, both the bowl and his face were almost completely free of any traces of oatmeal. Aside from a tan smear of liquid porridge that covered the area around his lips all the way down to the bottom of his chin, the only evidence that he had just eaten was the messy, drip-streaked bib that adorned his chest and bulging belly.

His mother got up, taking the empty bowl with her and went to the refrigerator. She set the dirty bowl aside on top of the microwave cart beside the refrigerator and opened the refrigerator door. While Thomas looked on, she opened the refrigerator to take out a gallon of whole milk and put it beside his dirty breakfast bowl. After rummaging around in the kitchen cabinets for a moment, she found a jar of corn syrup and a small plastic baby bottle decorated with Disney characters and brought it back to the microwave stand. Thomas watched in horrified fascination as she emptied the rest of the open can of condensed milk into the bottle, then filled rest of the bottle with cold whole milk, adding a bit of corn syrup to bottle and screwing the nipple on tightly. Then she held the tip of the nipple shut with two fingers as she gave the bottle a violent shake to dissolve the corn syrup in the milk before she gave him the bottle. He had drunk the apple juice that morning from the nurser without argument, but drinking baby formula was another thing entirely!

He looked up at her with an imploring look, hoping against all odds that she would forgo her final assault against his dignity, but the expression on her face left no doubt in his mind that he would be forced to drink the contents of the baby bottle, whether he willed it or no. Reluctantly, he took the bottle between both hands, putting the latex nipple into his mouth and began sucking, watching her intently for some sign of reprieve. The sweet aroma of corn syrup and taste of the cold milk permeated his mouth instantly. His infant body needed and craved the milk. He suckled thirstily, murmuring in unconscious delectation. Thomas was so engrossed in his nursing that he never noticed that he occasionally made loud sucking noises as the suction on the bottle was intermittently broken and renewed.

While Thomas was nursing, his mother went to the kitchen sink and moistened a washcloth with warm water. A few minutes later, his Mother returned and took the bottle from his unwilling hands, then held him under the jaw with three fingers, saying, "Let Momma clean you up, baby!"

She scrubbed his lips and face with the rough cloth until the skin on his face was red from rubbing. While she cleaned him up, she said, ""After you finish your breakfast Tommy, we're going to go shopping and guess who's going with us? Mary! She called while you were asleep this morning and told me that she'd found a store with the most adorable baby outfits! She said that she's just dying to see you in cute little baby togs! She'll be here in a little over an hour."

Tommy groaned inwardly at the news, remembering the last time he saw Mary. This was going to be a long, unpleasant day. Then his mother gave him back his bottle and took the washcloth into the kitchen to rinse out, leaving him sitting alone with the bottle to finish his milk. As Thomas's thirst slaked, his nursing slowed, allowing his mother time to wash the breakfast dishes. Thomas finished off the milk in the bottle with a long, hollow slurp just as she wiped off the last dish and put it in the dishrack to dry. She turned and returned to him with a smile on her face, to unlock the tray on the high chair and unbuckle the strap that secured him in the high chair. When she had freed him from his restraints, she took the bottle from his hands and set it on the kitchen table before lifting him out of the high chair. His mother hoisted him up to the level of her chest, securing him to her bosom with a single hand splayed out across the breadth of his diapered bottom while she carried him into the family room.

There, in the middle of the floor, was a mesh-walled playpen with a new blue receiving blanket laying in the corner of the pen. Thomas wondered where she had gotten the playpen, the design was too recent for it to have been one from his childhood, but the small tears in the padding told him that it had seen some use. She sat him down in the middle of the plastic padded playpen amid a profusion of baby toys, then bent over the playpen to talk to him. His Mother soothed the hair on the top of his head affectionately and said, "Can Tommy say something for Momma? Come on Tommy, try and say something for Momma. Say, 'Momma' Tommy. Come on Tommy, say 'Ma-ma'."

Thomas pursed his lips and said, "Mu....mo..." He frowned in frustration. "I canít talk. Iím too young! All I can do is babble!", he thought in disgust.

His Mother patted his head again and left him to finish her morning house cleaning. Thomas was depressed by his inability to speak; he wanted to tell her he could still think, even though he was in a babyís body. He realized it would be years before he could control his muscles well enough for him to do anything but jabber. Marge tidied up the family room while he sat watching her, sucking his thumb and playing with his toes. After a while he grew bored. He crawled over to the blanket and sat back on his legs, his knees folded beneath him. Thomas grabbed a corner of the blanket in one hand, brought it up to the side of his face and smiled as he felt its' soft, fuzzy texture against his cheek. As his blood sugar rose from his huge breakfast, he began to feel drowsy. Slowly, the front of his body tipped forward and he laid the side of his face down on the floor of the playpen, still holding his blanket grasped tightly in his tiny fist, with his knees tucked beneath him and his thickly diapered bottom in the air. His eyes closed as he unconsciously put his thumb in his mouth and fell into a deep slumber.

Thomas awoke when the doorbell rang and his mother left the room to answer the door. A few minutes later, Mary walked in carrying their son on her hip. She greeted Marge, saying, "Is something wrong with your phone? When I called you, I heard a series of clicks before the line connected."

"No, I don't believe so," Marge said, "Perhaps one of the switches at the telephone company was having a temporary problem. At any rate, it doesn't matter. You were able to call me, weren't you?"

Mary walked over to Thomas's playpen, leaned over and placed her free hand on the railing of the playpen. She looked at the baby boy on her hip for a moment, comparing him to the baby in the playpen and mentally marking the resemblance between the two of them. Then Mary turned her full attention to her ex-husband. Thomas crouched on his hands and knees at her feet and gazed up at her with an expression that was both embarrassed and fearful. She looked down at her ex-husband and smiled condescendingly at the sight of him confined to a playpen wearing nothing but doubled cloth diapers and oversized plastic pants.

Mary grinned at how infantile her ex-husband appeared and said, "I see your description of Tom on the phone this morning was right on the money! He looks so much like Bobby, that if Tom was a bit younger, they could be twin brothers. It looks like I was right about him needing baby clothes. Are diapers all you have for him to wear, or has he started to make messes in his pants like baby?"

His mother nodded and said with a faint trace of pride, "He wet his first diaper during the night."

Mary nodded and asked, "Other than peeing in his diapers, does he act like a baby?"

His mother smiled maternally and admitted, "He was sucking his thumb and playing with his toes in the playpen after breakfast this morning."

"Good!," Mary said surprisingly, "That means he's adjusting to his new life. Once we get him properly decked out in baby clothes like Bobby, I'm sure he'll be much more comfortable."

Mary cooed sarcastically down at Thomas, "Does Tommy wuv wearing dydees?" She turned to his mother and grinned, "Tom is an awfully cute baby. From some of the things he did while we were married, I know he must have regretted being forced to grow up. Although he was a good husband and father, I think that deep down inside, he would have rather been your baby than be a man. I always suspected that he loved you more than he did me. I guess heís happy now, Mother."

Thomasís mother smiled at Mary's admission of her son's devotion to his mother and her ready acceptance of the awkward situation. It made things so much easier. Marge said to Mary gently, "I think you should call me Marge, Mary. Iím younger than you are now. Why donít we put aside our differences and be friends?"

Mary agreed and put Bobby in the playpen with Thomas. "Iíll call you Marge if youíll call me Mary," Mary said, "And from now on, Iíll call Tom 'Tommy'. Tommy can call me 'Aunt Mary'."

Marge shook her head a bit sadly and replied, "I donít think heíll be calling you Aunt Mary for some time. I tried to get him to say "Momma" to me after I fed him and he couldnít talk. I seem to remember he didnít start talking until he was at least a year and a half years old."

Marge smiled and said, "Howís Bobby been doing?"

"Oh, heís fine. Bobby just finished a growth spurt so I thought I'd get him some clothes that fit him better. I thought that with all that's happened in the past couple of days, you might not have had time to go shopping for Tommy. Now that Tommy is about as young as heís going to get, youíll probably want to go shopping for baby clothes. I thought the two of us could go clothes shopping together. You know, youíre a lot younger now. You could probably use some new clothes too. That dress you're wearing would look good on someone in their fifties, but it's a little frumpy for a twenty-two year old woman. .....Besides," she said with a grin, "your measurements arenít the same as when you were fifty years old. Youíre a lot slimmer now!"

Marge nodded thoughtfully and said "Youíre right, I do need to get some new clothes." She turned to the playpen and nodded toward Thomas, "I'll need to get him some clothes too! Remember, I gave you all Tommyís old baby clothes I had when Bobby was born. If I hadnít just bought a new package of diapers last week to use for dust cloths, I donít know what I would have put Tommy in last night. With all the furniture moving and hurrah about our rejuvenation, I completely forgot to buy any baby things for Tommy. I thought I had everything here. The baby bottle I gave him this morning was a present I bought for Bobby and the plastic pants I have were some that got left here the last time I babysat the neighbor's little boy and became mislaid after I washed them. The crib sheets he slept on, his nightlight and the blankie that's in his playpen were part of Bobby's birthday present too.

When I got Tommy's old baby furniture out of the attic to put in his room, I found the plastic pants in a stack of old towels I had washed a couple of years ago and had stored in the garage as cleaning rags. There's really no point to giving my neighbor the plastic pants back; they're so stiff and brittle from age that they'll crack and leak within a week. Frankly, they need to be pitched! I only used them last night and this morning because they were all I had. Certainly my neighbor can't use them, her little boy has out of diapers for over two years. He's in Kindergarten now. I remembered about needing a playpen yesterday morning and called my neighbor to see if she had any baby clothes from when her little boy was a baby. She didn't, but she still had the playpen you see here and she agreed to sell it to me for twenty dollars. So you're right about me needing to go shopping for Tommy. He went through three cloth diapers last night and he's wearing two right now. I only have a few left and the plastic pants he's wearing are really too big for him. If he has a really big 'accident', he'll leak everywhere. I really need to go buy diapers and plastic pants for him before I do anything else."

Mary nodded and said, "Why donít you run up to the grocery store and get some disposable diapers for Tommy? Cloth diapers are great at home, but they're such a nuisance when you're away from the house. Youíll need some diapers to go shopping, and I only brought enough diapers for an afternoon with Bobby. Iíll stay here with Tommy and baby-sit until you get back."

Marge quickly agreed and left Thomas alone with Mary. Once Marge was gone, Mary looked down her nose at him in the playpen and sneered derisively, "I guess youíve finally got your wish, didn't you, Baby? Youíre Mommyís little baby again, arenít you?"

Mary half-smiled as a plan to humiliate her ex-husband formed in her mind. She well remembered the funny looks she got from Tom whenever she nursed Bobby. However rich his discovery made her, the knowledge that his twisted mind had come up with a way for him to leave her and become a little baby again rankled her. She took Bobby out of the playpen and said in syrupy tones intended to invoke her ex-husband's jealousy, "Itís time to feed Mommyís baby. Is Bobby hungry? Does mommy's baby need to be fed?", she said while she unbuttoned her blouse.

She lifted her breast out and guided it into Bobby's hands and mouth. Tommy stared in frank admiration at her teats, totally mesmerized by the sight of their baby nursing there. He gaped in rapt attention at her erect nipple. Unconsciously, his hand reached into his diaper and fondled his infantile penis. The tight pinning of the diaper had loosened as he had steadily regressed that morning; only they elastic waistband of his plastic pants kept them from falling off his baby tush. He was easily able to slide his hand down into the front of his diaper to address the gnawing, tingling sensation that was growing in his groin. As he pushed back on the elastic, the diapers slipped from his hips and slid halfway down to his knees. Thomas never noticed what happened to his diapers; his attention was elsewhere. Mary sensed his yearnings and glanced away from Bobby to check on him. She was startled when she saw what he was doing; he was standing in his playpen with his diaper at half-mast, furiously jerking off his tiny erect penis. She returned his stare with a shocked look on her face which grew into a mischievous grin. "I'll take care of you in a minute, Tommy, just as soon as Bobby is finished.", she said.

Bobby gradually slowed his feeding and fell asleep again. Mary took him into the nursery, put him into Thomasís crib, then returned to find her ex still hanging on to the railing of the playpen with his diapers down to his knees. She stood over Thomas and said, "Is Tommy horny? Aunt Mary will take care of that!"

She reached down and picked him up. His diaper slithered down his legs and dropped off into the playpen as she hoisted him over the side and into her arms. Mary picked up the diaper and carried him back to the couch. She sat down with him on her lap, lifted his feet and put them through his diaper. She pulled the diaper up over his bulging tummy with one hand while unbuttoning her blouse with the other.

"Did Tommy like watching Bobby nurse? Does Tommy like looking at Aunt Mary's teats? You always liked them when you were my husband," she said, tickling and petting the front of his diaper. "Would Tommy like some tiddy?", she said, taking his hand and stroking her breast and nipple with his fingers.

He lay there excited, red-faced, and fully erect under his diaper. The smell of her breasts intoxicated him, made him want to grab them and suck. She laid his head next to her breast and held him closely. He was so near to her nipple that he could smell the rich aroma of milk coming from her tit. She smiled broadly at him and said, "The sight of Bobby at my tit turns you on, doesnít it? You always wanted me to let you nurse at my tit. Now that youíre a baby, I guess Iíll let you. Do you promise to behave yourself while weíre shopping? Will Tommy be a good baby if he gets some tiddy?"

He watched as she lifted her teat free of her blouse and guided it to his mouth. "Sweet baby....." she murmured, as his cheek touched her breast and his mouth sought and took in the tit. His lips snuggled the aureole and nursed passionately. He put his lips around the nipple and felt the nipple grow, become erect and fill his mouth. He swallowed involuntarily and a jet of milk filled his mouth, trickling over his tongue and down his throat. His hunger for her tit consumed him. He swallowed greedily and gorged himself on her milk. Whimpering softly in unconscious pleasure, he began sucking noisily, lost in his return to infantile gratification. She switched teats and let him nurse the other for five minutes. Mary put her finger into the side of his mouth to break the suction and took the nipple from his lips. He lay in her arms serenely, content to lie cradled securely in her arms and bask in her embrace. His thumb snuck between his lips and he sucked it with a gratified expression. Mary looked down and smiled at her diapered, infant-sized ex-husband; he was the picture of a dulcetly charming, thumb-sucking baby. The sight of him nestled sweetly against her breasts, eyelids drooping and yawning with drowsiness aroused her maternal instincts. She grinned in spite of herself, "Tom turned into such an adorable baby!," she thought.

She held him close to her face and whispered, "Itís time for baby to go nite-nite." She took Thomas into the nursery and put him in the crib with their infant son.

Mary turned on the TV and waited for Marge to get back, she was taking an awfully long time. Bobby woke up and started crying. Marge shook her head, every time she sat down Bobby needed something. She was glad she had decided to give Tom back to his mother, she didnít think sheíd have been able to take care of them both. Mary got up and went to the nursery and checked on the boys. Bobbyís crying had woken up Thomas and he was sitting with a dazed expression on his face beside Bobby in the crib. She picked them both up, settled one on each hip and carried them into the family room. She put Thomas in the playpen and knelt down on the floor with Bobby. Mary checked Bobbyís diaper; it was just as she had suspected, he was wet and dirty. Thomas stood at the side of the playpen and watched intently while she changed Bobbyís diaper.

Thomas's tummy gurgled noisily with all the oatmeal and milk he had ingested earlier. There was an intense sensation from his rectum that meant he needed to take a dump immediately. "Oh no!", he thought in embarrassed dismay, "Iím going to shit my diaper in front of Mary!"

The pressure was turning into an unpleasant ache when he felt an abdominal rumble that quickly disappeared. As the pressure completely vanished, he felt a muscular ripple deep inside himself. He felt a slight movement of his bowels, accompanied by an equally faint wave of pleasure from deep within his belly. All at once, a shiver of intense physical delight ran up his spine as his anal sphincter completely relaxed and opened fully. Thomas sighed in relief and then tensed up as the sensation returned again. The second bowel movement lasted a much longer time. The pleasurable sensation grew in intensity, becoming a quivering throb that rolled through his pelvis and sent tingling thrills coursing up and down his spine. It radiated from the perineum, beneath and behind his pubic region to his belly button and was accompanied by a hot rushing sensation surrounding his crotch. A warm languid feeling of relaxation and release enveloped him and he floated momentarily in the physical bliss that remained as the odd sensation subsided.

The experience dazed him and he smiled vacantly as he stood, spellbound, half-crouched and holding onto the side of the playpen. Whatever had happened to him had felt almost as good as an orgasm! His lucidity returned and he realized what he had done. He moaned inwardly as tears of shame welled up in his eyes and he started to cry. He came to the realization that after ten years of intense pleasure from pooping in his diapers, potty training would be so difficult as to be next to impossible. Most likely, he'd never be potty trained again and be forced to wear diapers for the rest of his life.

Mary looked over at him with a concerned expression on her face and said, "Whatís wrong Tommy?"

She smiled at him with an expression of amused tolerance as the smell of a dirty diaper reached her and said, "Does baby need his dydee changed?"

He looked up at her with tears streaming down his face. She smiled at his complete humiliation and chuckled, "Diddums poop in his dydee?"

Thomas looked at her in desperation. "Aunt Maryís busy right now. Aunt Mary will change you when sheís finished changing Bobby. Mary re-diapered Bobby, put him in the playpen, then took Thomas out of the playpen and made him lie on his back on the floor. She knelt beside him with one of Bobbyís clean diapers and unfastened his diaper pins. Mary pulled his diaper down between his legs and looked at the stinking mess in the diaper. "Thatís a gooood baby. He made a good poopy in his dydee."

He scowled at the condescending tone in her voice. "Itís bad enough to be an incontinent infant, but praising me for shitting in my diaper is too much! She doesnít have to be patronizing about it!," he thought.

She pulled down the front of his diaper between his legs to expose Thomas's sadly dwindled genitals. Taking a baby wipe from the small travel case of Bobby's diaper bag, she thoroughly cleansed his tiny penis and balls, working backwards from his leg creases to the area underneath his scrotum. Next, she grasped his ankles with one hand just as she had Bobby a few minutes earlier and lifted his bottom off of the dirty diaper so she could fold the front of his diaper onto the back. She finished cleansing his buttocks by using the baby wipe to swab him down from the cleanest area on his crotch, his genitals, to the dirtiest area, his rectum. After cleaning his bottom, she gently dried him and lifted him by the ankles again. After Mary topped and tailed him, she slid one of his sonís disposable diapers under his bottom and fasten the tapes firmly. Once she finished re-diapering him, Mary sat him back in his playpen and put one of Bobbyís pacifiers in his mouth. Mary took Thomasís dirty diaper to the bathroom to dump itís contents into the toilet. He sat sullenly and wondered how long it would be until his Mother got back. The idea of his ex-wife babysitting him was embarrassing, but to have her change his diaper was humiliating.

Bobby crawled over to Thomas, cooed at him and sat down beside him. Mary was delighted. She grinned and said, "Arenít the two of you the cutest babies! Father and son, sitting in the same playpen together! Iíve got to get a picture of the two of you. Margeís got a camera with some film in it! Iíll ask her when she gets back."

Marge walked in the door at that moment with two full bags of groceries in her hands. "Iím sorry it took so long Mary, but I had to stop at Wal-Mart and buy a diaper bag so we can go shopping. The crowds were terrible! Give me a minute to put this away and then weíll go."

Marge finished putting away the groceries and came in the room with a new diaper bag in hand. She dropped it on the couch and asked Mary, "How was Tommy? Did he behave himself?"

"Tommy was fine," Mary said with a smile.

Marge looked at Thomas and said, "I see that you changed his diaper. Do you have enough for Bobby? I can give you more if you need them, I have plenty for the both of them."

Mary gestured at Bobby and Thomas in the playpen, "I was just thinking how adorable they look. Do you have a camera with some film in it so we can take some pictures of them together?"

"I have one in the hall closet, just a minute, Iíll get it!"

Marge left the room and Mary leaned over the playpen, put her face close to Thomas and said, "Your Mommyís gone to get a camera. Wonít that be nice? Weíll get father and son pictures of the two of you in diapers!" She laughed , "Everybody will think the two of you are cousins!"

Marge returned with the camera and they took pictures until they had used the entire roll of film. After taking pictures of them in the playpen, they gave baby bottles to both of them and took pictures of them lying on their backs nursing on their bottles. Then they took off their diapers and took nude baby photos of them lying side by side. Thomas was utterly humiliated. Mary made comments about how sweet the two of them looked together the entire time Marge took pictures. When they were finished, Marge said, "I guess we should get going. I donít want to keep Tommy out too late. I want him to take a nap this afternoon, he was always cranky if he didnít get a nap when he was a baby. Heíll have to ride on my lap, I donít have a car seat for him."

Mary looked surprised and said, "Oh, I forgot! I bought Tommy a present! Itís out in the car, Iíll go get it!"

She returned carrying a large cardboard carton in front of her. "Here you go Marge, just what you need for the shopping trip! Itís a combination car seat and baby stroller. I bought one just like it for Bobby a few months ago. Now Tommy can nap in the stroller while we shop!"

She opened the box and removed a box that she had stuffed inside with the stroller. Marge recognized it immediately; it was the gift box that she had packed Tommy's old baby clothes in when she gave them to Mary.

Mary smiled and said gently as she handed the box to Marge, "I think you'll want these back. Bobby never got a chance to wear them so they're in exactly the same condition you gave them to me. I never got the chance to take them out of the box. I know they'll fit Tommy perfectly. It's only proper that he wear the clothes that his mother made for him."

Marge took the gift with tears forming in her eyes and hugged her former daughter-in-law affectionately while murmuring, "Thank you, thank you! You don't know how much they mean to me!"

Marge finally regained control of her emotions and left the room momentarily to put the box of baby clothes in the nursery, leaving Mary in charge of the babies in her absence.

"Are you ready to go on a shopping trip?", Mary said to Thomas, smiling down at him maliciously. "If you donít mind, I want to buy Tommy some presents to start him on his new life. He gave me a set of nighties and undies when we were first married to start me in married life, Iíd like to do the same for him.", she said, converting her grin into a disingenuous smile and turning to Marge. "I'd like to buy Tommy some baby linens to show him there are no hard feelings. Heíll need a whole new wardrobe now that heís a baby. I saw some diaper covers and a sleeper that would look darling on him. There's a baby shop near Highlander's Mall that sells them."

Marge returned a few minutes later and packed Tommy's diaper bag for him, stuffing it with disposable diapers, baby wipes in a plastic travel pack and a bottle of prepared infant formula she had purchased at the grocery store. Then she gathered up her purse and Tommy's diaper bag and put them over her shoulder, before she picked Tommy up and set him astride her hip. "It's a warm morning, Tommy. You'll be okay with just a diaper on," she said solicitously. Then she turned to Mary and said, "Are you ready Mary? Can we take your Suburban? There'd be more room."

They put Tommyís new baby seat in the back of the Suburban next to Bobbyís seat and loaded them into the car. As they drove to the baby shop, Tommy mentally cursed Mary for her petty revenge. She was buying him baby clothes just to have the opportunity to make him wear something humiliating. Mary turned in her seat and looked at Bobby, then at him. He felt completely exposed to her. He squirmed uncomfortably, knowing that she knew exactly how defenseless and impotent he felt. The movement of his legs made the plastic of the disposable diaper rustle and reminded him that, except for his diaper, he was naked.

Tears rolled down his cheeks as he realized the hopelessness of his position. He realized in everyoneís eyes, he was only a babe well in his diaper days. He had to be washed, fed and changed like any baby. He could barely walk. He couldn't talk. When he needed something, he could only whimper and cry. He was imprisoned in the soft, warm, protected jail of infancy. He had lost control of everything; his home, his life, even his body. He was absolutely helpless and utterly in his motherís power. Heíd spend the next ten years as her baby.

Marge looked back over her shoulder at him and smiled. He realized that she had never stopped thinking of him as her baby! Momma had stood quietly in the background, watching over him until his wife had sent him packing back to her. Once he had re-entered his mother's house as a little boy, he had been doomed. Her maternal instincts had taken over and she had gathered him to her bosom, never to be set free again. At first he had thought he need only bide his time until she understood he still had an adult mind, but now he realized now she baby and pamper him until his mind regressed to his body's age. How long could he maintain his adult perspective if he was going to be treated like an infant for ten years; a yearÖtwo years? If his mind lasted as long as five years, he'd be surprised. Suddenly he realized that his emotional regression was not only inevitable, but that she expected him to become her baby in both body and spirit. She never wanted him to grow up! THAT was why she had kept his baby things all those years. Somehow during his childhood, she had subconsciously programmed him to find his way back to babyhood and into her loving arms.

Then the horrible truth hit him. This time Momma would never let him grow up! He felt his heart pounding and his breath come in short gasps. His mouth was dry and tasted coppery. He felt warm and wet between his legs. A poopy smell oozed from his behind. He knew he was completely hers now and she would never let him go near another woman. She would cherish and coddle him, scold or spank him when he was naughty and would always know exactly what he was thinking or doing. The worst part was the realization that he'd love every minute of it! Once he had regressed into mental infancy, he'd beg to be cuddled and would gleefully accept being her cosseted baby lambkins as the most natural thing in the world.

Tears rolled down his cheeks as he realized the hopelessness of his position. He had to be washed, fed and changed like any baby. He could barely walk. He couldn't talk. He really was her baby again! A second revelation stunned him when he realized that mental regression wasn't necessary. He thought about how good the sensations felt when he was being cared for by his mother were that morning. Although his conscious mind had fought the change, he knew that his infantile Id had secretly enjoyed every minute of it. His unconscious had accepted his new status. His Id had luxuriated in her attentions; he craved the sensation of his mother bathing, feeding, and cuddling him!

The more he thought about it, the more he realized how much he loved his mother's nurturing. It was as if some hidden side of his personality had flowered instantly after years of germination in darkness. Thomas suddenly realized how much he needed his mother emotionally. All at once, his hunger for her doting ministrations made him ache with desire. He yearned for her touch. He wanted to revel in her gentle caresses. Even her simplest comfort was precious to him. He wanted to be rocked asleep in his Mommaís arms, his bottom cradled securely in her lap, with his head nestled against her ample breasts. He welcomed the idea of receiving his afternoon bottle while laying in his crib. He could almost sense the pleasant, tingling sensations in his mouth and face while suckling the nipple as the sweet taste of the formula gave him a warm, comfortable feeling as he drifted off to sleep. He knew he would love the comfort of his flannelette sleepers and how their soft fluffiness would caress his skin. He looked down at the diaper and gave a half smile, appreciating the secure feeling wearing a diaper gave him. He knew that he neednít worry about having an "accident"; that any mess he "made" would be soaked up and safely contained.

With mounting horror he realized that it wasn't only his id that delighted in making messes in his diaper, but his conscious mind had enjoyed the sensation as well. It gave him not just a feeling of physical relief, but caused an intense, almost sexual, pleasure as well. Once his cortical censorship of his true feelings was lifted, he had to admit to himself that even the diaper change had been arousing. He had secretly loved the sensation of Momma changing his diaper; her gentle hands unfastening the soggy mass, the unhurried cleansing of his pubes and bottom, the silky texture of his skin after powdering, the clean smell of baby powder wafting from his crouch, the dry cushioned softness of a fresh diaper, itís perfume surrounding him in an almost palpable cloud of sweetness and purity, and throughout it all, Margeís quiet voice soothing him, comforting him, loving him. He wanted to be pampered and mothered! Since he had been a child, he had repressed his need to remain as his mother's baby!

Thomas was shocked by the revelation of his hidden desires. Once the faÁade of adulthood had been stripped away from him, he was exposed to everyone, including himself, for what he truly was; a nakedly infantile personality who was helpless without his mother's constant care! He knew that his personality was regressing and the sights and smells of the nursery; all the sensations of babyhood, were becoming an accepted part of his world. They were rapidly becoming his whole world! Then the horrible thought struck him; he already was Mommaís baby!

He shrank in on himself, the knowledge of his helplessness and growing appetite for his Mommaís mothering destroyed his pride and made him mewl in shame. His reason left him momentarily and left only a small, wet, defenseless baby boy waiting for his mommy to notice his dirty diaper and change him. He wanted to be clean and dry and for Momma to cuddle him and tell him she loved him and everything was alright. He squalled in humiliation and defeat. Mary looked over at Marge and pulled off the road into the parking lot of a convenience store. Marge got out and opened the back door of the Suburban and took him out of the baby seat. She gently laid him down on the back seat and changed him, putting him in a thick nighttime disposable diaper. She cooed, "Hush baby, itís alright, mommyís putting you in a nite-nite diaper so youíll stay dry all afternoon." She took him in her arms and cuddled him, telling him over and over that she forgave him and still loved him. He calmed down and she put him back in the baby seat. She got in the driverís seat and got back on the road. Tommy sat quietly looking out the window, much chastened and humbled, but feeling well loved and protected.

They arrived at the baby store and Marge got out and converted the car seat into a stroller while Mary did the same for Bobby. Mary held the door open for Marge and Tommy, then Mary led the way through the store, pushing Bobby in his stroller, and pointing out new baby products to Marge as they wound their way back to the infant apparel section. They stopped at a display with a gaily decorated sign labeled "Tommy Beddy Bear Sleepwear".

"What size does he take?", Mary asked. "He looked about twelve months old this morning," Marge said, "He's not quite as small as Bobby and Bobby is nine months old."

Mary looked at Thomas critically and said, "I think he may have gotten a little younger since then, Tommy looks like he's about ten months old now, don't you think?"

Marge looked at her son and had to agree that he had gotten younger. Her measurement of the formula hadn't been that exact. It was possible that she had given Thomas a tad more formula that she had given herself. "No, that isn't right," Marge thought to herself as she thought back to her birthday party and recalled what her adult son had told them, "Thomas said that the dosage only affected the duration rather than the amount of physical regression. He must have miscalculated when he compounded the treatment."

She examined her son again and decided that if he was still getting younger, than the process had slowed radically. Certainly he wouldn't get much younger, perhaps a month or so. Unless Marge missed her guess, Tommy would probably end up being exactly the same age as Bobby. Marge looked back at Mary and said, "I think you're right, let's buy clothes as if he was Bobby's size. I think by the end of the day, they will be the same age."

Mary rummaged through the stacks for a few moments and returned with some clothes over her arm. "Letís see how these look on him," she said, bending down to drape a sleeper under his neck.

It was baby blue and white flannelette with dancing teddy bears on the front and made him look younger than his apparent twelve months. Marge was delighted with the sleeper and told Tommy how adorable it made him look. Marge took the sleeper and put it over the handle of the stroller while Mary draped a white cotton onesie over him. "This would be perfect for daywear, Marge. See, the crouch snaps around his diaper and his legs are free for crawling, but the top will keep him warm during his nap without a blanket. I bought Bobby a bunch of these, they're so practical."

Marge added several more onsies to the basket and came up with another sleeper for him from the rack. "After all," Marge reasoned to herself, "This time I'm buying clothes for him to wear for the next ten years."

The colors on the other sleeper were similar, but there were pictures of diapered and crawling bears on the front and back. Tommy groaned inwardly at the teddy bear motif, realizing it was going to take a long time to get used to being in a baby's world. Images of teddy bears seemed to surround him day and night! He was so sick of looking at teddy bears in all their forms that he almost welcomed the thought of mentally regressing so he wouldn't be bored by the constant repetition of the infantile theme. They choose several more articles with a similar motif and continued shopping and browsing the aisles. Presently Mary said, "The diaper covers are over here. Theyíre really adorable!"

Marge stopped while Mary pointed out the covers she had found. "Hereís one", she said. It was aqua colored, with the words "Mommyís Baby" written across the back. She pointed to another that had "Poop Happens" printed on it. She picked up one that said, "The devil made me do it!".

Marge chuckled at that and said "Thatís perfect for him."

Mary said, "Wait, thereís one more, I want you to see."

She pick up another cover and gleefully displayed itís rear to Marge, who immediately burst out laughing. Marge took the diaper cover from Mary, and bent over to show Tommy what was written on the back. Blazoned across the seat was "Iím a Tittybaby! Has anyone seen any Titty?" "This one is definitely you, Tommy!", Mary said with a malicious giggle.

Tommy blushed a deep crimson in embarrassment at his ex-wife's amusement with his predicament. He was ashamed that he was strangely attracted to the diaper cover and his unspoken yen to be dressed in the infantile garb. "Iíll buy these for him." Mary said with a snigger, taking the diaper cover and sleepwear from Marge.

Mary went to the display and picked up one of each cover and put them over her arm. They continued to look around, buying washcloths and lap pads. Marge found the feeding bibs and pulled one out of the stack. She chuckled as she held it up for Mary to see. It read, "Got Milk?"

Marge was astonished by the gales of laughter that the bib produced in Mary. She couldn't understand why Mary thought that the message was so hilarious. Thomas dropped his chin to his chest when he read the legend on the bib. He remembered how much he had wanted his wife to allow him to nurse at her breasts and how she had gotten her revenge once his mother had left her alone with him. Marge had seen the commercials commissioned by the Milk Producers of America on TV and thought that the bib was cute, but Mary's reaction was inexplicable. When Mary managed to get herself under control again, she insisted that she be allowed to buy the bib for Tommy. Marge acquiesced to Mary's generous demand but she was never able to get Mary to explain what was so funny about the bib. Marge finished shopping after finding a wire basket to wash bottle nipples and pacifiers in her automatic dishwasher. They paid the cashier and left. Tommy listened quietly to them talking on the drive home.

"Maybe if Mary got used to the situation, she would be nicer to me," he rationalized in his baby seat in the back of the car, "After all, it's not as if I consciously planned to be a baby again!"

The ride bored Tommy, he couldnít see out of the car window very well, only the top part of road signs and the upper stories of buildings, so after awhile he became drowsy and fell fast asleep.

When he woke up he was in his motherís car, with the driverís side door was ajar. He could hear Marge saying goodbye to Mary. His momma must have put him and the baby seat into her car without waking him. Presently Marge returned and got into the front seat and started the engine. "Weíre going grocery shopping now, Tommy", she said, backing the car out of the driveway.

They drove to the Safeway near their house and she got out and carried him into the store on her hip. She got a grocery cart and put him in the baby seat facing her and began shopping up and down the aisles, systematically going through the entire store. Tommy looked coyly at the women shoppers behind Marge. Tommy caught the eye of one of them and she smiled back at him. He suddenly remembered his Momma and looked up at her guiltily. She beamed back at him with a pleased expression on her face. Then he realized that the woman had smiled at him because she saw him acting shy and only thought he was a cute baby. He tried to hide his face in the front of Margeís blouse and she held his head to her chest and stroked the back of his head. He snuggled his face in her warmth and she stroked him all the way down his back to the top of his diaper. He looked up at her adoringly as she stopped to comfort him. He felt the urge to pee and he looked around to see who was watching, embarrassed by the potential audience. Marge seemed read his thoughts. She leaned forward, patted the front of his diaper and whispered in his ear, "Go ahead and pee if you need to, Tommy. Thatís why youíre wearing diapers."

He was already peeing a little, just enough to dampen his diaper. Without warning his sphincter relaxed and he peed in a rush, soaking the front of his diaper. He blushed in embarrassment as the front of the diaper grew heavier and the urge to pee disappeared. He glanced around and realized that none of the other shoppers was paying the slightest attention to him. His crotch felt warm but he was reasonably dry and comfortable. He was glad that he was wearing a nighttime disposable diaper. He looked up at Momma only to see her smiling broadly down at him. Marge reached into her purse and removed a plastic baby bottle filled with juice and handed it to him, then turned to look through the bins of baby food. He took the bottle and put the nipple in his mouth so he could hide his face from the women around him. Tart apple juice trickled into his mouth and made him thirsty. He sucked hard on the nipple devoting his full attention to slaking his thirst. Within a minute he had forgotten his discomfiture and sucked noisily as Marge topped off the basket with baby food jars.

She moved the cart along as she shopped, stooping to get some baby wipes. Tommy watched a drooling, babbling, one-year-old boy the cart next to theirs reach out and try to touch him. Tommyís chest felt wet and he looked down and saw rivulets of drool running into the top of his diaper. He was drooling like the baby in the next cart! The babyís mother was a tall, willowy brunette with fantastic boobs and he wondered what it would be like to be her baby. Marge had turned into the diaper aisle and put a large package of medium nighttime diapers underneath the cart, then went to the check-out stand and drove home. Marge put Tommy down for a nap after she had unloaded the groceries and tidied up the house. It was five oíclock and she decided she would take a nap herself before taking her bath.

The next day his ex-wife, Mary, returned and suggested that they go shopping again. Marge told her that Tommy needed his nap and she didnít want to have him be cranky are night. Mary replied that she was going to put Bobby in daycare for a few hours while they shopped, why didnít she do the same with Tommy? Marge agreed and happily prepared Tommy for the trip. Because they looked so much alike, Marge decided to dress Tommy differently from Bobby so the two of them wouldn't get mixed up at the Daycare Center. Since Bobby had was wearing baby blue plastic pants, Marge dressed Tommy in aqua-colored pants. The diaper bags were different enough for them to be distinguished easily although the brand and size of disposable diapers each had selected for their sons were the same. When Marge finished dressing Tommy, they gathered together their babies and diaper bags and took them to the Tiny Totís Academy and left them there. Tommy was flabbergasted by his Mommaís actions; he didnít think she would ever let anyone else take care of him! The daycare workers were surprised at how much he and Bobby looked alike, Marge told them they were cousins. During the night he had regressed until he had reached the end of the process; he was nine-months-old and looked like his son's twin brother. When the worker carried Thomas out of sight of his mother, he whimpered in separation anxiety.

The attendants put them down in adjacent cribs for their naps. Tommy was awoken later from his nap by Bobby crying. He recognized the sound as the one Bobby made when he was wet. He tried to get the workerís attention by waving his arms and was finally reduced to crying himself. He pointed to his diaper in an attempt to show the worker what was wrong with Bobby. Instead of checking Bobbyís diaper, she took him out of the crib, put him on a changing table and took off his diaper! Another worker rushed up and picked up Bobby and put him beside Tommy on the changing table. While they were being re-diapered, another baby pulled a full tumbler of water off a counter down on his head and began to scream. The edge of the heavy glass tumbler cut the baby's scalp and blood flowed in profusion. The Daycare worker panicked at the sight of so much blood and screamed herself for help. Suddenly the nursery was in pandemonium. The other babies added to the din by wailing and screeching at the top of their lungs in alarm at the commotion while the Daycare's attendants hastily put down what they were doing and rushed to the assistance of their co-worker.

All the women in the room ran over to help their hysterical colleague staunch the flow of blood from the lacerated infant; somehow in the confusion Bobby ended up in Tommyís crib wearing Tommyís plastic panties and Tommy ended up in Bobbyís crib wearing Bobbyís panties.

When Mary and Marge arrived to pick them up, Mary was given Tommy and Marge was given Bobby. Tommy rode home behind his ex-wife while his son sat in Tommyís seat behind Marge. Marge took Bobby out of the Suburban with the seat and took him inside. Mary said goodbye to Marge and drove away with Tommy still sitting in the back. Tommy fussed and motioned with his hands to get Maryís attention and succeeded only in getting a pacifier put in his mouth. She drove him home and installed him in Bobbyís room. Thomas looked around at the nursery which he had helped decorate with a new eye. Even though he knew intellectually that the room was exactly the same as it had been two weeks before when his wife had divorced him and he had been forced to return to his mother's house, his new perspective as an infant made the room appear strange to him. The ten-by-twelve foot room had suddenly changed from a smallish bedroom into an vast expanse of space. The powder-blue star-studded ceiling loomed as high as a medieval cathedral's vaulting and the furniture seemed impossibly immense! It was hard to believe that he was the one who had used a mere stepstool to paste the self-adhesive foil stars on the nursery's ceiling only six months before. Even Bobby's crib seemed to have grown in his absence; before he had left, it had seemed barely big enough to safely contain Bobby. As he lay on the mattress, safety contained between the plastic-covered, bumper-padded sides with nursery prints of Sesame Street characters, he felt like he had been confined to a large open-topped, padded cell, compete with bars that were too high to even think about reaching, much less clambering over. "At least," he thought as his eyes closed drowsily, "I'm not surrounded by teddy bears!"

He fell asleep in Bobbyís crib and was awakened later by Mary. She hoisted him onto her hip and carried him into the kitchen, then put him in Bobbyís high chair and belted him into the seat. The padding was much thicker on Bobby's chair than on his old chair and the difference made him claustrophobic. Every hard surface had been padded; he could barely move. Even if he had wanted to hurt himself, the heavy padding would have prevented the slightest injury. He felt trapped within a web of his own design. He had personally insisted on purchasing that particular model of high chair for Bobby because of its high safety rating in Consumer's Magazine even though Mary had thought it would reduce Bobby's freedom to move while he was in the high chair. At the time, Thomas reflected in regret, it had seemed like such a good idea. Once he was the one secured to the chair with inch-wide straps of unbreakable, blue-nylon parachute-webbing like a blathering psychotic, the idea had lost its attractiveness. All of his careful planning for Bobby's baby things had become a cosmic curse. He felt like a male Black Widow Spider who wove a web for his wife only to have his colossal spouse watch while he became entrapped on its sticky strands. The image of Mary as a female Black Widow was overpowering. Thomas had the ominous feeling that she was even now planning her next meal. When she was done, he feared, his life and personality would only be a memory of something that had once nourished the baby spider named Bobby.

A minute later, she put a bowl of yellow baby food in front of him and ladled out a spoonful. Tommy looked at the vegetable mixture in disgust. "Does she really expect me to eat this revolting mess?", he thought to himself, "Why doesn't she fix me something I enjoy like Mama does?"

He looked over at her and found she was staring at him intently. "Go on, Bobby. Itís your favorite vege. You love squash! Arenít you hungry?"

Tommy reluctantly allowed her to put a spoonful in his mouth. Mary studied each expression on his face as she ladled in more spoonfuls. After three spoonfuls he grimaced at the taste of the squash and turned his head away in utter disgust. He couldn't eat another mouthful of that crap or he'd toss his cookies then and there. "Youíre not Bobby!í" she yelled, "Bobby loves squash! Tom always hated squash. Youíre Tommy!"

"She knows who I am!", he thought in panic. He began making hand motions to try and tell her what had happened. She looked shocked as she realized that he was trying to communicate with her.

"You can still think, canít you?", she asked.

He nodded his head vigorously.

"Do you know whatís going on?" he nodded again.

"Hold up two fingers on each hand so Iíll know this isnít a coincidence." Tommy gave her a Nixonian greeting which had previously become popularized during WWII as Winston Churchill's famous single-handed victory gesture.

"Do you know who I am?", she asked.

He nodded assent.

"Was there a mix-up at the Daycare Center?", she queried.

He nodded again.

She laughed and said, "Do you mean that Marge has Bobby?"

He nodded again.

"Well, Iíll call her so we can exchange babies. Does your Mommy know you can still think?", she asked in a slightly bemused tone.

He shook his head "No."

He moaned and started to cry. She stood in shock for a moment and then a quizzical expression came over her features. She took the bowl from the tray and removed the tray from the high chair. She looked down at him while he sobbed. She hesitated, then put three of her fingers down into the front of his diaper. "Did you wet your diaper?", she demanded.

Tommy nodded and continued to sob. Her expression softened and she said, "I'm not going to call your Mother, at least not for the moment. Now, calm down while I get you a dry diaper. I'll be right back."

His crying had quieted to sniffles when she returned and kept looking down at his diaper and weeping. "Are you finished? Is that all? ", she asked.

"Yes," he nodded.

He frowned looking down with an expression of intense concentration on his face. He looked up at her, then his expression changed to surprise and he started to cry again. "Well, ......Whatís wrong now?", she demanded.

His face blushed crimson in embarrassment. The smell of a dirty diaper assailed her nostrils. She smiled broadly and said with venomous condescension, "Did little Tommy make a poopy in his dydee?"

He nodded miserably.

"Well, well, well. What would you do to get a clean diaper? Would you suck your thumb?", Mary demanded of her ex-husband.

He nodded vigorously.

"SoooÖYou LIKE sucking your thumb!", she exclaimed with an air of astonishment and disgust, "I didn't really believe Marge when she told me you had sucked your toes the first day we went shopping. But now I know! That explains why it took you four years to quit smoking! You're no better than some of the little boys I had when I was teaching Kindergarten and First Grade. If you had been one of my students, I'd have marked your personality in your student file as horribly immature! It's obvious that you've never matured beyond the oral stage of personality development. I'm sorry that I misjudged Marge! I had thought that she was exaggerating for effect! Now I know she was telling the truth! You don't only suck your thumb, you like to suck your toes too! I wish I had known how infantile you were before I married you! Since you didn't object to sucking on a baby bottle the other day while we were shopping I guess you enjoy nursing a bottle too! You must have been ecstatic when I breast-fed you yesterday!"

Mary went on, venting her anger at what had happened to their relationship by telling him, "You know, I felt sorry for you because I thought that your mind was completely gone and that you needed to be nursed like a baby. What a fool I was! You managed to get the best of both worlds, didn't you?"

She put her face close to his and said, "You fixed it so your Mommy could take care of you and then inveigled me into nursing you the way you've always wanted! You're disgusting, do you know that? For two cents, I'd take you over my knee and give you the spanking of your life!"

Thomas whimpered helplessly under the hurricane of female emotions that battered what was left of his frail defenses. Copious tears ran down his face as he looked up at the livid face of his former wife.

Mary smiled grimly at the effect her tirade was having upon her ex-husband, he appeared to whither and become even more helpless under her hurricane of anger. She renewed her attack on the weeping pseudo-infant who was inescapably secured to the high chair before her. She leered down at her captive audience and said in a tone that dripped the vitriol of absolute aversion with the sadly reduced state of her ex-husband, "Sooo,ÖIt appears that you're a crybaby too! Well! I'm not surprised! I'll bet you get a real kick out of peeing and pooping in your diapers! You deserve to be an infant, do you know that?"

Thomas hung his head in shame, the last two days had proved he did enjoy making messes in his diaper like a baby. She was right. He did deserve to be an infant! Just as he began open his mouth to wail his sorrow at what he had become, she laid into him again with words that marked his soul like a metal-tagged, cat-o'-nine-tails.

The gorge rose in her throat as she bore down on the nine month old infant in front of her with her ex-husband's mind, "Now I know you for what you are! This explains all the brown stains you left on the back of your undies almost every day since we got married! It also explains your dribbling in your pants when you peed standing up, doesn't it? When I think about all the times I worried about you having some sort of medical problem that was making you incontinent, I could just scream!

Remember when I discovered you with Bobby's diapers in your undies? I thought that you were just worried that you'd wet the bed and appreciated your thoughtfulness. Or have you forgotten that little incident? Did you really think I would ever forget finding my husband with his baby son's diapers stuffed into his undies? You like the idea of being dominated and cared for by women, don't you? You like peeing and shitting your pants in front of them so they'll have to change your dirty dydees! You never wanted to be a man! You just went along with the process of growing up because you had to! If you had your way, you'd spend the rest of your life cooing and gaaing at every woman who thought you looked sweet, who would change your dydees and feed you!"

Thomas's head dropped to his chest as her words wounded his soul. She was right. He was less than nothing. He had never earned the right to call himself a man. He was and had been an infant at heart all of his life. Bitter tears of acceptance of his absolute lack of moral character rolled down his cheeks.

Mary could see that she had him on the ropes, knowing that it would only take a few more well chosen remarks to reduce his adult mind to its proper state of submission. In her mind, he was less than a limp-wristed, effeminate, panty-waisted male, at least homosexuals had the strength and character to act like adults. The poor imitation of a male who sat before her had deliberately made himself a permanent infant. She intended to make him comprehend in the most graphic terms possible that his social position had fallen from the respectable rank of husband/provider to the lowest rank possible for a human; for the next ten years, his station in life would be that of helpless babbling infant under a woman's care. She was still livid about the loss of her husband and wanted to make him pay for his foolishness in spades! "Would you crawl on the floor at my feet, Baby?", she asked in an attempt to get him to agree to completely humiliate himself in front of her by groveling abjectly at her feet.

He nodded again, but less vigorously.

"Good," she said with a smile of superiority, "because youíre going to get the opportunity to crawl on your belly like a helpless infant wearing nothing but a tight little cloth diaper to show off your cute little tush in front of my video camera. When you've gurgled, bubbled and sucked on enough baby toys to establish how infantile you've become, I'll come over and turn you over so you can lay on your back on the carpet. Then I'll put a ba-ba full of nice, warm baby formula in your hands and let you nurse on the nipple while you kick your cute little feet in the air in delight. You'll look darling when a big yellow stain of pee-pee appears on the white cotton diaper between your legs while you nurse on your ba-ba! When you finish your formula, I'll come over and sit you on a nice waterproof plastic playpad while I burp you! I'll even turn up the microphone volume on the camera so no one will miss your baby belch.

Won't that be fun? Then I'll set you down on all fours to play on the pad with your baby toys until you've made a nice poopy in your dydees for Aunt Mary. Then she'll lay you on your back again and slowly unpin your diapers in front of the camera so everyone will see what a mess you've made of yourself. Aunt Mary will tickle you on the side to make you giggle as she drops the dirty dydee to the pad between your legs so everyone will know how much you enjoy wallowing in your turds and pee. Then she'll get your sweet little bottom all nice and clean again while she talks babytalk to you and you babble back at her with a sweet rosebud smile on your face. When she's done, she'll get up to fetch a clean cloth diaper for you. When I do, I'm going to zoom down on your crotch with the video camera so everyone can see what a tiny little pee-pee you gave yourself in exchange for your manhood. Then I'll come back and rediaper you while you make cute cooing noises of pleasure. For the finale, I'll do a closeup of your face as I blow on your tummy with my lips and make you chuckle with delight! And since you'll be so adorable, I'm going to share your charms with everyone!

Once the formula hits the market, I'm going to show the video tape to ALL of our friends so they can see for themselves what a baby you've become! Who knows? Maybe I'll send the tape to "America's Funniest Home Videos" and win a prize! On the other hand, the tape will have historical value that may make it worth more than the prize money. I guess I'll have to hire an agent to sell the video for me. Just think, you'll be a star! Think of how big an audience that a video of the world's most famous scientist creeping on the floor on all fours and shitting in his pants like an infant would draw! Hmm, I think I'll zoom in on your face just at the right moment so the entire world will see you drooling in ecstasy while you take a dump in your dydees. Little Tommy would like everyone to see what an adorable baby he turned himself into, wouldnít he? I could make millions from the tape alone, do you realize that?"

Thomas whimpered in fear. He knew that she was serious and would do exactly as she said. After he grew up again, the world would know his secret. If he was very, very lucky, he might be able to hire some woman to be his nanny and take care of him when he grew to old for his mother to care for him. Which, given the way his mother had been acting, might be in about forty years.

Mary tapped her foot impatiently and said, "Well? Are you going to cooperate, or do I take down your dydees and give you the spanking of your life? Don't worry about Bobby. Your final humiliation won't take long! I know that your mother will take good care of Bobby for a few hours. After all, she'll think he's her baby just like I thought you were mine. She'll look after Bobby better than any Daycare can! Just think of it, baby! YOUR Mommy will be lavishing the love on your son that is rightfully yours! How does that make you feel after all your work to get back into her arms? Does that bother you? Does it make you feel sick to your stomach? I hope it does! Because that's how you make me feel; sick to my stomach!"

Thomas couldn't agree and shook his head "no". Despite all that had transpired, his last shred of masculine dignity prevented him from abasing himself before the world. Mary nodded at his decision and removed the tray from the high chair. Within minutes, he was across her lap to receive maternal punishment from the hand of his ex-wife. She tugged at the back of his disposable diaper, pulling it down to expose his bare bottom.

Whap! Whap! Whap!

She gave Thomas three solid slaps on his fanny and asked, "Are you going to do as I say or should I continue?"

Thomas lay defiantly motionless across her lap. He had no intention of surrendering to her will.

"Okay," Mary said, "If that's the way you want it! We'll do it your way!"

Mary laid into him with a will, intending to spank him until his spirit was completely broken. His little bottom quickly turned beet-red under the violence of her blows. Thomas began to squirm from the mounting agony that radiated from his inflamed backside. "Oh God!", he prayed silently, "Please make her stop!"

Mary said nothing as she continued to rain blows down on his behind. She knew from the way he writhed that the pain would soon become unendurable. Mary redoubled her efforts, increasing the number of whacks per minute to bring his punishment to a conclusion in the quickest time possible. If she didn't stop soon, he would become badly bruised and she didn't want Marge to know what she had done to her baby boy.

Thomas whimpered at the pain of his tortured bottom and his wounded ego. The mortification of being paddled on his bare behind by his ex-wife was as psychologically punishing as the physical torment he was undergoing. He prayed over and over for the humiliation and torture to end, but his silent petitions went unanswered. The agony and shame reached a crescendo and he began bawling like an infant.

Mary increased the tempo of the spanking once again as her ex-husband wailed in helpless agony. After four more minutes of flogging his bottom with her palm, he began choking on his tears and peed uncontrollably in his diaper.

A few minutes later, his wails died down to broken sobs as she beat him into complete submission. Thomas was more than willing to agree to anything she wanted, but he had no way to indicate that he had given up. The spanking continued until his painful plaints diminished into an whimpered mewl of utter surrender. The combination of helplessness, humiliation and agony had broken him. He was beyond thought or action. He could only lay on her lap and accept the punishment that seemed to be endless.

Abruptly, Mary stopped flailing his bottom. She pulled his diaper up again and sat him on her lap, cuddling him to her bosom in a complete reversal of her behavior that simultaneously mystified and confused him. In a fraction of a second, Mary had transformed from a vengeance-bent Fury with the attributes of a Grecian demigoddess to a consoling, comforting mother-figure. Thomas's mind couldn't compass the sudden change so it retreated to a behavior that he had used when he was utterly baffled by the adult world when he was a small child; he wept, sniveling like a small child while he rested his head against her protective breasts. "Are you going to do what I say?", Mary demanded gently as if she was speaking to a naughty child.

Thomas nodded his tearful, red-visaged agreement and tried to hide his face in her bosom as he began to wail again. She tenderly pushed him back and said, "Here Honey, suck on this! It will make Aunt Mary's baby feel all better!"

Thomas allowed her to shove the nipple of the pacifier she held into his mouth. A few muffled sobs escaped the infantile gag, but it effectively shutoff Thomas's incontinent blubbering.

"Suck on your binkie, Baby!", Mary commanded with a creamy smile of victory over her former husband.

Thomas meekly began pulling rhythmically on the latex nipple with his mouth and tongue and was surprised to discover that Mary had been right; it did make him feel better. He nuzzled his nose deeper into her bosom in an attempt to find solace in human nearness.

"I think we can forego the video tape, Sweetheart," Mary said consolingly as she pulled him free of the safety of her chest and put her bent forefinger under his chin to raise it in a display of her adult prowess. When he was looking directly into her eyes, she continued, "You've been punished enough for one day! Remember the spanking Aunt Mary gave you, Honey. If you're ever defiant or naughty again around Aunt Mary again, she will spank you so hard you won't be able to sit down for a week. Do you understand me?"

Thomas nodded his head woefully.

Mary smiled at his defeated demeanor and said patronizingly, "Little Tommy is only an itsy-bitsy baby now. If he doesn't want his sweet bottom spanked, he'll listen to his elders. Does Aunt Mary's baby understand me?"

Thomas nodded tearfully and tried again to hide his face in her bosom like a small child. This time Mary allowed him the privilege of being succored by nestling his face in the cleavage between her breasts. She patted his back affectionately as she said, "Aunt Mary is going to ask your Mommy if she can babysit you sometime next week. That will give you and Bobby time to play together. Won't that be fun?"

Thomas moaned weakly behind his pacifier, thinking of how demoralizing the experience would be. She had totally destroyed his sense of self-worth with the spanking. He suddenly realized that he had never loved or trusted his wife with the same diligence that he had shown his mother. Somehow Mary had always seemed like an outsider who was trying to interfere with his relationship with his mother. Thomas realized the that he had invited her severe treatment because of his lack of trust when they were married. Thomas whimpered a bit more and wished that his mother was there. She would take care of him. It didn't matter if she babied him and kept him in diapers. All he wanted at that point was to be cared for lovingly and without imposed psychological distress.

Thomas wanted to go home. He was ready to return to the arms of his mother no matter how smothering her love was. Whether he was in diapers or not had become a moot point. He no longer cared about how he was dressed or where he peed or pooped. Thomas didn't even care whether he drank from a glass or sucked on the nipple of a nurser. He just wanted the assurance that he was loved and would never be punished in the same way again. His punishment at his ex-wife's hand had both astounded him and completely demoralized him. His absolute helplessness had been made perfectly clear by the punishing paddling his ex-wife had given him. Thomas had been made acutely aware he could no longer defend or take care of himself. He had become dependent on the love and good will of the adults who ruled his life. All he could think about was how much he wanted his Mommy!

When Thomas peed and pooped his diaper again a half-hour later, he bawled like an infant in distress. He couldn't help himself; his self-control had completely vanished. After a few minutes, Mary took him out of the playpen and carried him to Bobby's nursery for a diaper change. When she put him on the changing table to remove his dirty dydee, he was like a limp rag in her hands; his ability to resist had been irrevocably shattered. Thomas had ceased to care about the image he projected to his ex-wife. The spanking had reduced him to a sniveling, whimpering shell of what he had once been. She babbled maternal babytalk down at him as she taped the clean diaper in place and tickled him on the stomach to lighten his mood. When that failed, she sat down in the rocking chair with him and nursed him at her breasts. Thomas suckled hungrily but without any joy or sexual excitement. Until his mother came to reclaim him, the world was only a sequence of meaningless grey shadows that had once had importance. Without his mother's presence, it didn't matter what happened to him. As far as he was concerned, none of it was real.

The afternoon dragged on slowly with him indolently playing with Bobby's baby toys in the playpen. Although Thomas desperately wanted Mary to call his Mommy, there was no way to message his need to her. From the sneer on her face as she watched him play in his son's playpen, she seemed disinclined to give up her control of her former husband prematurely. Mary wanted him to experience what it was like to be her baby in the smallest detail, so he would know and regret his actions to the fullest.

Every once in a while she would come and stand by the playpen and make disparaging comments about his manhood. Fortunately for Thomas, his partial escape into unreality inured him to her petite humiliations. He ignored her statements as meaningless adult gibberish. The intense boredom of his confinement to his son's playpen made him fall asleep frequently, causing hours to pass without notice. The phone rang and Mary went to answer it, hoping it was Marge telling her she discovered the mixup and was coming over to exchange babies. She had tired of the game of humiliating Thomas. It wasn't much fun if the victim acceded to one's every demand and mortifying whim. Instead, of it being a call from Marge, it was a call from a man who identified himself as a police officer was on the line, asking her she was Mary Burns and if knew a woman called Marge Burns. Mary answered carefully that she did and there was a long pause at the other end of the line as if the caller had something to say but was reluctant to put into words. The policeman finally said, "We found a card in Mrs. Burns wallet that indicated you and your husband are her next of kin. I regret to inform you that she and a child who remains unidentified were struck by a pickup truck this evening while turning onto Mulberry drive. Both occupants of the car were killed instantly in the crash."

Mary turned white as a sheet, saying, "Oh Dear God! No! This must be some kind of mistake!"

"No mam," the male voice on the phone said with conviction, "The picture on the driver's license and the fingerprints that were taken from the woman's body positively identify her as Mrs. Marge Burns, who lived at one-'o-one Martindale Drive. The vehicle she was driving, a light blue ninety-two Chevy sedan, was also registered to her. We'd like your help in identifying the baby boy who died in the accident with her. Legal papers in Mrs. Burn's purse seem to indicate that the boy in question was her son, but the police department is unsure of the identification. The papers seem to indicate that her son was forty years of age and she had recently been made his legal guardian. They also indicate that her son was recently divorced from you, is that true?"

"YesÖ", Mary whispered into the phone. The world had suddenly become surreal to her as if she was actually having some terrible nightmare from which she would soon awaken. Her baby couldn't be dead! He just couldn't!

The police officer took a deep breath as if preparing himself for the next part, then said, "The department is having difficulties reconciling the evidence that your ex-husband, a forty-year-old man is the same person as the baby boy, who has been tentatively identified by the coroner as being approximately nine-months old. There are some other anomalies about this case we would like your help with, mam. According to her driver's license, Mrs. Burns was sixty-one years old, but the woman who died in the accident was in her early twenties. Can you shed some light on that. mam?"

"My ex-husband was a biomedical researcherÖ", Mary began, "AndÖand he had developed a treatment to restore youth. He gave his mother a treatment so she could be twenty-two again."

"And your ex-husband, what happened to him?", the officer asked, trying to draw her out. So far the ex-wife's story matched the evidence that the police had found at Mrs. Burn's house. When they pulled the twenty year old woman out of the wreckage, with a purse whose driver's license was issued to a sixty-year-old woman, the department had suspected foul play. They sent two squad cars and an evidence team over to Mrs. Burn's house. When they arrived, they discovered no evidence that a forty-year-old man lived there, but instead they had found a fully equipped nursery. Examination of Mrs. Burn's diary indicated that both she and her son had somehow been rejuvenated. The curious thing about the diary was that the woman's handwriting had changed in the past two weeks. Up until two weeks ago, Mrs. Burn's handwriting had had the shaky, spidery cramped style that one expects of a woman who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis of the hands. Then overnight, the handwriting had taken on the appearance of someone who was in the prime of health. If the fingerprints on the body hadn't confirmed that the woman was in fact, a sixty year old woman named Mrs. Burns, they would have never believed it. The story was just too fantastic to be true. Still, there was corroborative evidence from the woman's ex-daughter-in-law to be considered. Some of the investigators theorized that a clone had been substituted for Mrs. Burns, but that was definitely a minority opinion.

"Mam?" the officer queried, "I asked you about your husbandÖ"

Mary answered the investigator's question dully, "My husband was accidentally dosed with the youth treatment and became a baby again."

"I see," said the officer, "Is there anyone else who can corroborate your story?"

"Well," Mary said speaking slowly because of her state of psychic shock, "There is the family lawyer. He drew up all the papers and knows about what happened to both them."

"His name was on the papers we found in Mrs. Burn's purse and he's already been asked to come in for questioning," the officer said.

Mary was appalled. Questioning? Did the police think that some crime had been committed?

"Is there anyone else?", the investigator asked.

"Well, there's the president of the company he worked for. He knows about it. He gave my husband a huge cash bonus and awarded him a large block of stock for his discovery. The treatment is secret until they finish the final tests and get it approved by the FDA. He would be able to tell you about it if you agreed to maintain the company's secret," Mary answered.

"Excellent!", the officer said, "Would you mind coming down to the hospital and identifying the body of the baby boy? We have a patrol car waiting outside when you're ready."

"Patrol car?", Mary thought, "They must have believed it was some sort of plot and expected me to run out of the house the minute they called. She told the investigator, "I have a baby that can't be left alone. It will take me a few minutes to get him dressed, would that be okay?"

"Certainly, mam," the officer said sympathetically, "Take all the time you need."

"Oh and I'll need your officers' help to put his baby seat in the patrol car. It's illegal to have a baby in a car on your lap. I wouldn't want to get into trouble," Mary said sincerely.

"I understand, mam," the investigator said solemnly, "I'll call the officers on the radio and ask them to assist you with your baby. I'll meet you at the hospital, okay?"

"YesÖ", Mary said distantly, "Öat the hospital."

Mary put down the phone and took Tommy into the nursery. It was a bit chilly and she decided to put him in a sleeper. As she opened the snaps on the sleeper and slipped it over his head, she kept asking herself how Bobby could be dead. It was too horrible to be true. A fey look came into her eyes as she pulled the sleeper down over his disposable diaper and snapped the floppy fabric of the sleeper's legs around his thighs and feet. She looked at the adorable face of the infant on the changing table by her side and compared it to a recent picture of Bobby which hung on the wall; the face was the same. "Noooo!", she thought, "It's a lie! Bobby isn't dead! He's right here in front of me!"

She glanced at the framed pictures of Bobby on the wall as she carried Tommy out to the living room, thinking, "How could God let a sweet little baby who looked like that get killed? It's impossible! Pictures don't lie! This is Bobby! Tom was the one with Marge! He spent all those years figuring out how to become young again just so he could be at his mother's side. If anyone died with Marge it must have been him! He was wearing the same color plastic pants coming out of the Daycare that he wore when Marge carried him in. There was no way that they could have switched both them and their plastic pants.

My imagination ran away with me when I fantasized that little Bobby answered me. The strain of our separation and divorce made me lose my senses for a little while. I'm alright now. I just daydreamed that Tom and Bobby got switched because I was angry with him. I wanted to humiliate him for leaving me by making him act like an infant. Of course Bobby behaved like a baby. What else could I expect? He's only nine-months-old! The police know what they're doing. They told me what happened. It was Tom who died in the accident, not my little baby boy!"

"Come on, Baby!", Mary told Tommy rhetorically as she gathered up her purse, keys and Bobby's blankie and diaper bag as she went to the door, "Mommy has to go to the hospital with the nice police officers and she can't leave you here."

She went outside, closing the door behind her and locking it. When she got to the Police car, one of the officers opened the rear door and held it open for her, then said, "Mam, Inspector Gates radioed and told us you needed the baby seat out of your car to put in the squad car. If you would be so kind as to lend me your car keys for a moment, I'll go and get it for you."

"Oh! Thank you, that's very considerate of you!", Mary exclaimed as she handed over her keys, "The key with the black plastic top on the end unlocks the doors."

"Yes, mam," the officer said, "I'm familiar with car keys. Just sit on the edge of the backseat and I'll be back in a minute.

True to his word, the officer was back in short time with the baby seat in hand. The officer helped her out again and fastened the baby seat securely in the backseat of the squad car with safety belts and then invited Mary to get her son settled in his seat. Mary strapped him in carefully and was led around the car by the officer, who opened the door for her. The police officers that Inspector Gates had sent were both fathers of young children and had a justly deserved reputation for solicitousness with women with babes in arms. Inspector Gates had told them that the woman had just lost her mother-in-law and husband in a MVA so they were being especially gentle with her. They had been instructed to see her to the morgue at the hospital and knew what kind of grisly experience awaited her. It was not an experience that they would have wished on the wives of their worst enemies. From what they had heard of the accident over the radio, the truck that had hit them slewed around and it's long-range, side-mounted gas tank had split open on the car's passenger side. Sparks from the collapsed tie-rod assembly on the passenger car's folded front wheel as the metal grated against the macadam had ignited the spilled gasoline within microseconds of impact. While the woman who drove the car wasn't burned, the male in the car had been badly burned. Fortunately, the force of the impact had broken both of the car's occupants necks causing them to die instantly and painlessly.

Mary's confused condition made the ride to the hospital seem short. When they arrived, she asked the police officers if they intended to stay or whether she should take the baby seat out of the squad car. They reassured her that they had been instructed to escort her to the proper place in the hospital and wouldn't leave without her. She expressed her gratitude and wrapped Tommy up in the receiving blanket and held him to her shoulder before she began walking between the two uniformed men to the elevator and rode down into the hospital basement. When they got out, they lead her a winding path through empty corridors roofed with green painted pipes and conduits until they reached the morgue. Although a four by twelve inch wood-grained, engraved plastic sign over the door clearly indicated what the room beyond the heavily locked door was, Mary hadn't noticed.

Inspector Gates met them at the door, and left the two officers outside as he escorted Mary and the baby in himself. They walked through the chill air of the morgue straight back to the area used by the deniers. The Inspector opened a second door to reveal a white-tiled floor with inset floor drains and a work area which was populated with solidly mounted stainless steel tables with six-foot long and three-inch deep depressions to catch and drain bodily fluids while the cadavers were autopsied. The sharp, slightly-sweet, pungent tang of formaldehyde from innumerable necropsies mixed with biting, acid reek of chlorine-based disinfectants that the janitors swabbed the floor with each night to produce a carcinoginous vapor that lingered evilly in the air.

In the center of the room there was a large dialed hanging scale marked in kilograms hanging from the ceiling. A large stainless steel, scoop-like bucket hung by three chains from the organ weighing scale. Chain Mary shivered at the thought of what the scale must be used for. The sides of the room were lined with shimmering steel cabinets that matched the rest of the furnishings. Everything was immaculately clean. Aside from Xerox copies of standard operating procedures affixed to the cabinet doors and the inevitable clipboards full of forms to be filled out by the deniers hanging from hooks on the walls, one would think that work was never done in this room. Unfortunately, the coffee pot that sat on the counter underneath the cabinets at the near end of the room with the metal trash can full of empty paper cups positioned on the floor next to the pot belied the image of disuse. Those who died of crime or misadventure would come to the hospital's morgue whether they willed it or no; because this room was for the County government, literally the dead end.

At the end of the room, were the stainless steel doored refrigeration units that housed the cadavers waiting for examination or deposition of the remains. After checking the name on the red cardboard label that rested in the plastic envelope that was glued to the door, the Inspector pulled on the handle to unlatch the refrigerator door. He halted in respect as Mary drew the blanket over the head of the baby in her arms protectively to shield his eyes. She didn't want her baby to have any memory of what she was about to see. The Inspector nodded grimly as if agreeing with her decision to guard the innocent from the reality of human death. Then he opened the door fully and pulled out the long tray which held the remains of Mrs. Marge Burns. Her body had been covered with a long drape of hospital green so that only the vague outlines of the body that was beneath could be discerned. The Inspector pulled back the drape to enable Mary to view Marge's face. He asked Mary in formal tones, "For the record, Mary Burns, do you recognize this woman?"

Mary only looked at Marge's face a moment before she turned away and said, "Yes Sir, that's my mother-in-lawÖI'm sorry, she was my mother-in-law,ÖNoÖI meant my ex-moÖ"

Although Thomas's head was covered by the receiving blanket, he had listened closely to what was going on and the positive identification of his mother as deceased caused him to begin wailing uncontrollably. The vast room's walls were tiled half-way up the sides to make them easier to clean. They reflected his wails of sorrow perfectly. The room echoed with the distressed infant's howls of ultimate loss.

"Don't cry, baby! Momma's here!", Mary said soothingly, trying to quiet the screams of her son.

The Inspector put his hand on her arm sympathetically and said, "I understood what you meant. You've identified her and with the fingerprints, that's enough. Please forgive me if I have to ask you to view another body. I want you to try to calm yourself now, if not for your sake, then for your baby's sake. From his reaction, I know he's attuned to your feelings. Please accept my apologies in advance. I know it'll be difficult. We think that the body we have is your ex-husband's body. I want to warn you that the truck that hit your ex-mother-in-law's car ruptured it's fuel tank and there was a fire. The body on the passenger side was badly burned. So much so, that we can't get a sample of the fingerprints. The hands on the body were badly charred. Your identification of the body is crucial to conclude the accident investigation.

I've spoken to the president of your husband's company and I've agreed to keep the oddities of your husband's death from the press in order to preserve the company's industrial secrets unless there are unforeseen complications that require further investigation. Your uncooperation might constitute such a complication. The president of your husband's company tells me that you, as his sole beneficiary, would stand to gain tremendously by his death when the announcement of your husband's discovery is made. Please understand, Mrs. Burns, I'm not accusing you, but we have to know who this individual is so we can lay the matter to rest.

Inspector Gates didn't mention that the president of the company threatened him with prosecution under the Federal Industrial Secrets Act if he released information that would reveal the company's plans about the youth formula prematurely. The president told him (and he believed every word), that if the secret was revealed, the company would put all of its resources into bring to justice the person who destroyed the value of their discovery and stock. Millions of dollars were more than sufficient to overwhelm the County's legal resources. If they sued, he didn't have a snowball's chance in Hell of surviving the onslaught. His superiors would throw him to the wolves in a heart beat to save their own asses. If the Inspector was convicted of Industrial Espionage, he'd be facing five years in a Federal penitentiary. The lifespan of a Police Inspector would be less than a spring mayfly's voyage from pupae to death in a correctional institution. The Inspector had lived a long time and come to feel that under certain circumstances, discretion was the better part of valor. As far as he was concerned, he planned to keep mum. Nevertheless, there was no reason he could think of to reveal his vulnerability to what might be (however improbable) a suspect.

The Inspector respectfully covered Mrs. Marge Burns face with the green drape and closed the long drawer, closing the door and snapping the latch firmly in place. Then he checked label on the compartment to the right of the one he had just opened and unlatched it. As he opened the door and began to pull out the drawer, he stopped dramatically, so as to make his final statement, "Again, Mrs. Burns, I truly apologize for this, but I must. It's my duty. Please forgive me."

The Inspector slide the long drawer about a foot and then stopped. The body contained within the drawer could not have been longer than thirty inches and was probably less, given the way that the drape fanned out from the top of the tiny covered feet.

As she looked down at the dead baby's still face, lying wrapped in a hospital green surgical drape to conceal the worst of his injuries, she saw the face of Tom imprinted on the impact-bruised, grayed visage. The baby's eyes were closed, but had they been open, she was sure that it wouldn't have made any difference in her opinion. Miraculously, the baby's hair was unburned, although a strong odor of cooked pork emanated from the refrigerated drawer. The chin and nose were obviously Tom's, Mary was sure of that. Certainly, they were those that he wore as a baby, but there was no doubt in her mind that the body in front of her was Tom's. After all, who else would look like her baby? The resemblance between father and son was unmistakable. Tom was dead. There was no question of it in her mind.

"That's Tom," Mary said with a note of finality, "I would know his face anywhere, even as a child."

The baby in Mary's arms began howling anew, screaming his objections to the misidentification of the body.

"You're sure? You're absolutely sure?", the Inspector asked over the din to confirm the identification.

"Yes, I'm sure. You had him covered up so I couldn't see his body. But did YOU look at the color of the plastic panties he was wearing? Did they survive the fire?", Mary asked.

"Parts of his clothing survived," the Inspector admitted reluctantly as he covered the baby's face with the drape and closed the drawer again.

"Well then," Mary said angrily, "Check the Daycare where we put the boys into this morning! The Daycare workers on duty will tell you what he was wearing! My son wore blue plastic pants while Tom wore aqua pants. What color of plastic pants was the baby wearing? If you want to ask them, the name of the facility is 'Tiny Tots Academy'. Do you need their address and phone number? I have it right in my purse!"

"That won't be necessary, mam. I'll call the Daycare tomorrow as you suggest. I'm sure that their evidence will be enough to identify the baby here and wrap up this case," the Inspector said with conviction, "Thank you. I think that we've asked enough from you for one night. The officers outside will take you and your son home. Frankly, I don't think you should concern yourself about our investigation any further. I believe you and the facts fit the evidence. I want to tell you personally how sorry I am for your loss. Please understand that I was only doing my duty to identify the dead. Go home and get some sleep, Mrs. Burns. Spend some time with your son. After awhile, your memories of this night will all seem like a bad dream. Some officers will bring an affidavit to your home tomorrow attesting to what you told me tonight. If you have any problems with it, please call me. Here's my card. If the affidavit is acceptable to you, then sign it and the investigation, at least your part of it, will be over.

Mary walked slowly out of the morgue carrying the sobbing Thomas in her arms. In one moment, he had lost his son and mother as well as any chance he had to escape his fate. Once the MVA case was closed, his identity as Bobby would be permanently established. It was plain to Thomas that Mary was mentally incapable of even considering that he was anyone other than her beloved baby boy. Marge's and Bobby's death had caused a psychotic break in her reality. No amount of evidence would convince her that her baby Bobby was dead. Like most people, she wanted what she wanted when she wanted it and no amount of rational argument would make a difference. Thomas had recognized from his own infantilism that most people are emotionally little better than small children. Unlike infantilists, most people they think that their rationalizations for their childish wants and demands are adult in nature.

Thomas knew that politicians were aware of this facet of human nature and that they used it instinctively to manipulate the public to increase their power. For that reason, the natural tendency of every democracy was to decline into a patriarchal dictatorship as the politicians veered the ship of state towards a parental role rather than the partnership role that every founder of a democratic state originally intended. Historically, the ancient democracies of Israel, Greece and Rome sank into kingdoms as the people demanded the "right" to be relieved of their responsibilities to think and act for themselves. Hitler demolished the budding democratic government in Germany in less than a decade by the same tactics and Thomas had seen third world countries fall within days to the people's lack of political sophistication. The natural desire to return to childhood rather than embrace the difficult decisions of adulthood had historically destroyed not only individual personalities if left unchecked, but also governments and nations.

At least, Thomas mused in his sorrow, an infantilist knew the perils of acting like an infant in an adult world. If an infantilist found a mate who dominated him completely and he disagreed with the situation, then he could get a divorce and walk away. That wasn't true of government or the fictional construct called "society". When government decided to take the paternalist approach to its citizens, then they had no choice but to obey or be murdered by the police. An infantilist's emotional need to be mothered or fathered by a real person rather than by a philosophically driven desire to be parented granted them a measure of immunity from the lure of government paternalism. Infantilists as a whole don't deny their feelings and condemn themselves to repeat the mistakes of the past.

As Thomas considered the long view of history and the nature of human desire, the instinctive psychic abilities of a baby blossomed in Thomas's mind like a lotus blossom; suddenly his future unfolded in his mind like petals opening up to reveal the heart of a flower. His ex-wife/mother would never recover from her loss and she would continue to see him as her baby. Thomas saw his rolodex watch being taken from his mother's jewelry box per the instructions in her last will and testament and being placed in Mary's hands. Mary would in her turn, place his gold wristwatch in her jewelry box. After five years, her milk would dry up and she'd put him on formula. Her madness would keep her from taking him to a doctor until he began growing again. By then his fate would be sealed.

He'd never regain his continence nor would he ever be able to talk more than a few baby words. The world would think its most famous scientist had died in an auto crash. Initially, he would be labeled as a mentally challenged child and his inability to speak would be diagnosed as severe retardation. Failure to thrive physically was another symptom of a particular genetic disorder which caused retardation. Further testing wouldn't be necessary in his case; the symptoms would point to a particular disorder and nothing else. He would be medially labeled and put in his slot to await the early death that his doctors predicted.

After ten years, when Thomas began to grow again, Mary would begin to emerge from her illusory world. After a day of weeping and crying over her lost son, she was serendipitously called by one of Thomas's old friends to see how she was doing. When he heard what had happened, he recommended that she see a psychiatrist friend to help her deal with her feelings of grief. After a month of hypnotherapy, she would know what she had to do. She would engage a powerful group of Washington lawyers with connections at the highest levels of government to create a permanent trust in her infant husband's name for the hundreds of billions of dollars that had continued to grow in size as the years had passed. Little did she know that the senior partner of the law firm was the legal advisor to a secret government group codenamed, "Majestik 12".

Until Thomas had matured enough for him to take control of his wealth, Mary arranged for the executors of the trust to see that he would be cared for by a succession of nannies in an isolated house high in the Colorado Mountains. Once she saw that her ex-husband/baby was properly cared for, she would take her car and run it off the side of a cliff in a fit of depression about her wasted life and lost child. The one-year-old Thomas would be truly alone in the world except for the nanny who would change his diapers, feed him baby food and nurse him from baby bottles. When each nanny in her turn tired of caring for him, another would be found and then another as decades passed. After Mary died, his gold wristwatch would be carefully secured by the executors of his trust; it would be locked in a safety deposit box deep in the vaults of a souless, impenetrable bank, never to emerge again.

Thomas wailed. Not just for himself, but what he saw coming for his country. The government of America would become a dictatorship of politicians and lawyers. The rich would hire lawyers to construct legally enclosed encastrametations that could not be broached by common man or the IRS. The poor would become poorer as higher education became less reachable. Automation and ultra-high speed computers with artificial intelligence would replace the lower ranks of the work force as the four-gigabit per second processor became commonplace and heuristic self-re-programming auxiliary job chipsets came into general use for low and medium priced computers.

When the heuristic self-re-programming auxiliary job chipsets were released, Microsoft Corporation, the largest software company in the world, announced that it intended a new release of Windows 98 with capabilities that far surpassed NT 9.0. The company had reconsidered its OS structure in the light of the new hardware and had decided to resurrect the long dead Win98 in a new form. They would abandon the monolithic block structure that had been the hallmark of NT's architecture and use the heuristic hardware to create a "self-aware" OS. According to press releases, Win10 would reprogram itself on the fly to meet any challenge and construct drivers to match any device that was installed. Aging Bill Gates proudly announced that the Beta version had performed "flawlessly and had met every test that the programmers could devise".

When one of the reporters present at the press conference had asked if he could attach his AI (Artificial Intelligence) "Einstein" (the successor to the rather slow, stupid, ancient "Newton" palmtop), gray-haired "Old" Bill (as the industry called him) agreed. The result was a disaster for Old Bill; the reporter's AI had correctly divined that it was connected to an enemy computer and had imaged the hard drive onto it's unused space before activating a self-defense program that wiped Old Bill's drive and made the head of the hard drive on Bill's desktop unit vibrate at ultrasonic frequencies to burn out the motor. Within seconds, Bill's demonstration was in ruins as the thermal control circuitry mediated by the software on the hard drive died and his secretly overdriven eight gigabit per second processor cooked itself in an futile attempt to compensate. Smoke poured from the demo unit as "Old" Bill went down in flames.

In the meantime, aside from Microsoft's difficulties, food and housing riots would ensue from the increasing rate of joblessness, causing the State to focus on "Bread and Circuses" as it had in Rome. Only this time, it would be "TV Dinners and TV" for the masses. Food stamps would be replaced by TV stamps; which would guarantee every "citizen" full Cable TV, an eight megabit per second Internet connection and five POP accounts as well as a Web site and three TV dinners (approved by the FDA) per day. Within ten years a Constitutional Amendment would be passed denying the right to vote to anyone who was on TV welfare. Nutrition would slide into a pit from which the public would never emerge. Agribusiness would make fortunes from the government giveaway of TV dinners. It wasn't necessary to waste any advertising monies to leverage the populace out of the trap which it had complacently allowed itself to fall into. The national taste in TV programming would slide southward of Italian TV. Nudity and fetishism would be commonplace. Drug use would be almost universal as the people gave themselves over to hopelessness. The only bright side to the dismal future which Thomas beheld in his mind was that the police would give up their fruitless drug wars against the poor and desperate.

By that time, the drug lords would be part of the elite and warfare against them would be made illegal. Marijuana would be part of what kept Amerika from revolting against its masters and would become part of the "Bread and Circuses" program (as it was derisively referred to in closed Senate Conferences on 'How to Deal With Popular Unrest") What the drugs didn't take, State-sponsored gambling in the form of the lottery would. When that failed, the Federal government would lower taxes on alcohol substantially in order to keep the populace drunk, drugged and hooked on TV. By that time, there would be no difference at all between organized crime and the government. They were the same animal. The personages who ruled either organization would be the same. "A difference which makes no difference is no difference", ipso facto, the government would become a criminal organization.

Actually the changes in government attitude had been happening since WWII, but no one wanted to admit it. Once Janet Reno, the Attorney General of the United States, who acted as the "situation manager" that ordered BATF to assault and burn a wooden church building full of parishioners in Waco, Texas down to the foundations in "order to protect the children" inside, it became supremely evident that the government's gloves were off. No group or people could resist the will of the Federalist apparatchiks. To resist the government meant death. The Constitution of the United States of America was a de facto joke to anyone "in the know" by the year 2000.

The small town governments acted accordingly and rewrote the law of the land as they went. Citizens had no rights. The rights of the people that weren't subsumed into the power-hungry maw of the Federal government were left as crumbs for the black-hearted crows of State and Local tyrannies. Populations and private property became financial resources to be "harvested" at will. The lawless cops could do as they pleased; they were the official "gangs" that enforced the illegal and immoral acts of local governments gone mad.

Amerika was, ipso facto, in a legal state of anarchy. There was no law, only the ever-changing and bribe-biased opinions of the rulers. When the government breaks the law, there is no law, only individuals trying to survive. The government tried to stem the tide by invoking the death penalty in as many cases as it could, but its efforts only cheapened lives and made murder more prevalent. The message from the government was clear and understood by those who lived by violence. Murder by government or individual was in, tolerance was out.

In 1998, one group of heinous white-supremacists in small town of Texas beat up an African-American and tied him to their pickup truck to drag their victim down the street. They left pieces of the innocent man all over the highway. The press went crazy for twenty-four hours decrying the injustice of the black man's death and then fell silent as the poor man's demise fell out of public interest. He was only another victim. America had become a land of victims.

The Amerikan government had made it clear that it was the enemy of religion and of the people as a whole. Local and Federal Judges and Prosecutors died by the dozens as the people made their personal will known and followed the moral example of the government. IRS agents had been ordered to arm themselves in the late nineteen-eighties. In many ways this had been a good idea for its time; when one sends lawless thugs out to mug the American public, Americans have a disconcerting tendency to shoot at robbers no matter who their criminal "Godfathers" might be.

Congress tried their collective best to rectify the situation, but the budget and politics always made any effective change impossible. In 1998, the Senate and House both had IRS "reform" bills before them. The Senate version of the bill had a $18.3 billion dollar price tag for IRS "honesty", whereas the House's bill came in approximately 3 billion dollars cheaper. The House version, which was approved by a majority of both parties and was therefore largely symbolic, died in Committee as expected. The Senate's version, which was championed by the Republican philosophical diehards was thwarted by the liberal Democratic faction over the largely theatrical objections of the Democratic President, expired after extensive debate on the floor of Congress. It was all a sham. No one had any intention of paying over sixteen billion dollars for reform of the IRS; the showmanship had all been smoke and mirrors for re-election. The government's thugs would go on extracting revenue by "hook, crook or outright theft" as had become customary since WWII. Citizen-slaves had no rights! Any money the IRS deigned to leave the commoners were "unharvested resources" to be taken from the slaves at a later date. The idea of having a "Citizen Review Board" for the IRS was considered by Washington insiders to be ludicrous in the extreme. Who could govern a populace that wasn't properly terrorized by their government? Certainly not the adolescent-minded and rebellious citizens of the United States! The childlike citizens of the U.S. had to be kept in place by their betters!

Although the secret group called Majestik 12 had originally been formed in the 1940's to deal with the possible invasion of the United States by extraterrestrials, it had extended its mandate when secret battles in space had shown that the inhabitants of the Earth were capable of defending themselves. Captured spacecraft had been disassembled and patiently reverse-engineered to reveal the technological secrets of the aliens. As each member of the group aged and died, another was selected to take his place. President Reagan's Star Wars Initiative hadn't been an effort to make the U.S. secure from missile attack from the Soviet Union, but the culmination of forty years of research into alien technology. When the American flying saucers met the aliens in space, the extraterrestrials were soundly defeated. Unknown to the world, America had won its first Space War.

Instead of quietly toasting their victory and slipping away into quiet retirement after winning the Space War, the invisible government schemed to tighten its hold on the reins of power. They had secretly bought stock in Thomas's company when it was still a fledgling company and had supplied some of the data upon which Thomas's discovery was made. They knew of Thomas's discovery and what had happened to him and his mother. The existence of a means to rejuvenate each member meant that the group would never have to replace a member due to death by old age again. As each year passed, their power would grow until they would utterly control every human life on the planet. Nothing could be allowed to block their path to absolute power!

The successors of Majestik 12 made plans to assassinate the President of the United States just as their predecessors had when John Kennedy had spun out of their control. They reasoned that the assassination of the sitting President would so shock the country that the public would clamor for an end to terrorism and mandate real gun control. Intensive government surveillance on the public would become a fact of life as national ID cards were issued with every individual's complete medical, educational and personal history digitally encrypted into a rewriteable magneto-optical storage area built into every card. Aside from the individual's name, date of birth, social security number and color photo in plain text on the front of the card, the individual's fingerprints and DNA would be encoded into the storage area on the rear for instant identification. The cards would replace all cash and credit cards and thus provide the means of tracking every monetary transaction that the subject made. For the first time in history, no one outside of prison would be immune from the prying eyes of government. The leaders of the invisible government could envision a time in the near future when they could destroy an individual by denying him credit, emptying his bank account, erasing his educational achievements, removing his licenses and modifying his medical history to show that he was an untreatable paranoid schizophrenic who had escaped from a maximum security institution for the criminally insane. The cards represented total power over Americans and the plotters lusted after it in much the same way that a heroin addict looks forward to his next fix.

The President's secret plans for the public were laudable, but he had refused to take the final step in securing ultimate power for the group. That refusal, in their eyes, was a form of treason against the invisible government. The President would expiate his sin by dying so that their plans could proceed without interference from the so-called "Chief Executive". The aging ex-military sharpshooter who had engineered the Kennedy assassination was called in and briefed on his new mission. The stone-faced, chain-smoking killer nodded his agreement with the invisible government's plans and asked for an effective closure date for his mission. They told him that he was not to commit until the order was given, but to prepare a plan that could be executed within two weeks of the action order. In the meantime they asked him to take care of a small security breach on one of the group's "special" projects. The hit wasn't particularly difficult, they told him. They only wanted him to arrange a fatal traffic accident for two unimportant individuals. They slid a sealed manila envelop with photos and the personal details of the intended victims across the polished mahogany table and told him that the action was to be concluded as soon as possible. He stood up and nodded again, leaving the room while dragging the invisible chains of Karma he had forged by the multiple murders of innocents behind him.

For reasons his physicians couldn't fathom, the elderly killer had developed a pronounced limp in his right leg. No one except the members of Majestik 12 knew that the smoking killer had used a more vicious version of the CIA's programming technique to make Jack Ruby shoot the poor patsy that had been set up to take the blame for Kennedy's assassination; Lee Harvey Oswald. Lee was a purblind fool whom the CIA had been using for years. He was so stupid that he thought he'd be able to penetrate Soviet intelligence when the CIA asked him to renounce his citizenship and move to the U.S.S.R. under deep cover. Actually, his entry had been a diversion for a deeper penetration that the CIA was planning. Under a sort of "Gentlemen's agreement" the Russian government allowed him to emigrate and live in Moscow. The Soviet government were running deep moles of their own and didn't want to overly excite the American government at the time. After his usefulness was ended in Soviet Russia, his controllers pulled him back to the United States for reassignment. Majestik 12 picked up his dossier and knew they had the perfect patsy for a high level assassination when they needed one. He was an ex-marine, so everyone would naturally believe he was an expert with a rifle even though his records indicated that he was a lousy shot at any range with any sort of weapon. All that was needed for him was to be in the right place at the right time for him to be blamed. Then he would be killed by a CIA-controlled sociopath and no one would be the wiser. Majestik 12 had agents within both the CIA and the FBI. Any evidence that failed to correspond with their manufactured truth would disappear as certainly as John Kennedy's bullet riddled brain would disappear from the Dallas Coroner's morgue.

The termination of the woman and child went off without a hitch. It had been child's play to rig the side tank of the pickup to split on impact and dump gasoline all over the road. The driver was a nobody who no one would miss. He had been a down and out alcoholic construction worker who had lost all of his friends and family to the bottle. He had subsisted from day-to-day eking out a living as a day worker at a temp agency that specialized in single day jobs for the barely employable. The only things of value he had managed to retain from his former life were a few of his carpenter's tools and his old pickup truck. It wasn't difficult to find a near bum to be a disposable assassin by promising him steady work, nor was it arduous to drug him and reprogram his already sodden brain into slamming his truck into the target car at the correct moment. The flames destroyed both the assassin and his tiny victim. The impact had killed the woman instantly. There was no evidence that any crime had been committed. It was only another MVA. For the smoking killer, it was all in a day's work.

Fortunately for the sitting President of the United States, his assassination wasn't necessary for Majestik 12's plans. The downhill slide of the Pacific Rim economy changed everything. Even the President, who was widely reported to be a waffling, womanizing, draft-dodger became tough on the public. Unfortunately for Majestik 12's plans for world domination, control of the American public became impossible when the millennium arrived. After the IRS debacle of the year 2000, the American public had had enough and had become positively dangerous.

When the IRS computers collapsed due to the Y2K syndrome (Year 2000), none of the returns for the year 2000 could be processed. By 1998, it had fallen short of its plans to fix the "Year 2000 Problem" on sixty-six of one hundred and twenty seven of its most vital systems and the price tag for the program patches and chip replacements had zoomed from $250 million to $1 billion. By the year 2000, they had managed to fix only seventy-three of its network servers and the balance of the improperly programmed servers crashed catastrophically on Jan 1, 2000. Nothing could be processed; returns were stalled, audits became impossible, and the refunds and the Earned Income Credit that people needed to pay bills went unpaid to deserving citizens.

Not that the government was broke; far from it! Money was pouring into government coffers from corporations who had foreseen the problem and updated their software years before, but the government's ability to analyze tax returns or disburse monies was crippled. The computers of the Treasury's Department of Financial Management Services, which disbursed checks for Social Security as well as Medicare, Medicaid, and Veteran's Benefits had not had a single upgrade and went down completely. Oldsters and youngsters alike went hungry, homes were lost and all the government would permit was to declare that it had "Sovereign Immunity" for its negligence.

The public was livid. Regional IRS offices were bombed and/or attacked by angry mobs. The Congressional Mail Server went down as the server became flooded with literally billions of angry email messages from the citizenry. When local offices of the FBI attempted to investigate the IRS bombings, their offices were bombed as well. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Administration) attempted to convince the President to revoke the Constitution and impose a dictatorship under its mandate to assume absolute control of the country in a time of national emergency, but the President refused. The Executive office had long term plans that it wanted to be kept secret from the enemies of the State. Concentration Camps and "Disposal Facilities" were being constructed secretly to deal with the nonconformists and ne'er-do-wells that the government had on its hit list. When the time came, FEMA would be called upon to invoke the emergency provisions of its mandate that would enable Martial Law be legally declared. In the interim, the government was quite happy with the chaos that filled the void. The chaos that was enveloping the nation would make it that much easier to effect a total dictatorship when the time was right.

Homosexuals, transvestites, transsexuals, infantilists, pederasts, feminists, known petite drug users, computer hackers of all ages, members of any non-Western or non-Christian cults were slated for the "Disposal Facilities" under construction. Known Asian, Latino, Black and Jewish radicals had their FBI dossiers tagged with "black" flags to indicate that they would make a one-way trip to the ovens as soon as the facilities were ready. (The senator from Utah was most insistent that the Mormon population be left alone. After an intensive review of the religious group's history of patriotism, it was reluctantly decided to allow the Mormons to continue to exist if their missionary work was completely quashed by Federal fiat.) Liberals and leftist pinkos were to be forcibly re-educated in Concentration Camps, after which they would be released. The government psychologists promised that once they had been "psychologically treated", the former liberals would be unable to resist any authority figure for the rest of their lives.

Secret government computers had been compiling lists of target subjects for years. The NSA (National Security Agency) had maintained lists of "problem citizens" since the Internet's inception and had devoted huge resources to ferreting out the "Enemies of Democracy." The government "knew" where everyone lived and what they thought.

Since the 1960's, even the U.S. Army had been involved in the subversion of democracy; the Fifth Army's Intelligence Server situated in the southwest corner of the old limestoned-walled fortress of the Quadrangle of Fort Sam Houston had been amassing incriminating data on American citizens slated to die or be re-educated under a new regime. The Army's server collected data on those citizen-individuals who had publicly disagreed at any time with the government's position on anything and thus made themselves suspect as traitors to the absolute rule of Federalism. The Army's Intelligence Department had secretly studied the public and had infiltrated most political organizations including both ruling parties. Since their activities were both illegal under civil law and forbidden by military law, the intelligence operations were kept secret from both the public and Congressional Oversight Committees.

When the time came, a single "Long Night of Knives" would be all that was necessary to remove the elements of society which harbored "criminal thoughts" against the government or its policies. Convict rapists and pederasts, as well as the criminally insane and mental incompetents without familial support (i.e., those unfortunates who were under State "care".) would be transported by the fastest means possible to the nearest "Disposal Area" where they would be gassed and incinerated immediately. Unlike Hitler's inefficient, bribe-ridden government, the Federalist bureaucracy determined it could "vanish" the "unproductive population" without a single trace or clue within weeks.

When the Armed Forces went unpaid because of the revenue problems caused by the IRS's and Congress's lack of diligence, national incidents of ghastly terrorism by high explosives increased by three orders of magnitude.

America exploded in an orgy of bombs that were carefully placed by the opposition to cripple the government while causing the least number of civilian casualties. The infamous bombing in Oklahoma City had taught the American Resistance Movement a valuable lesson. Civilians were to be left strictly ALONE! The Resistance had learned that they could do as they pleased as long as the public at large was left to live its life unmolested. When IRS agents were kidnapped during the 1980's and abandoned in the Texas desert along the Mexican border to wander naked and barefoot while their IRS pickup burned, the people of South Texas chuckled in quiet glee. As far as the people of San Antonio were concerned, the two agents had been subjected to a well-deserved lesson in humility to which no one objected. The perpetrators of the so-called "crime" were never identified.

After a time, the hurrah over the kidnapping died down and the infamous acts of the IRS in San Antonio continued unabated. As far as the American citizens as a whole in the year 2000 were concerned, it was well past time for another lesson in bureaucratic humility.

A limited analysis of random samples of the residues of the explosives revealed that munitions produced for the Armed Forces were being employed against the government. The National Guard was called out to protect IRS workers, but as the workers went home they were followed and individually slain in an orgy of outrage. It took five years and twenty billion dollars for the government to upgrade its computer systems. By that time, the American public had lost all respect for the Federal government and saw the IRS for the enemy it truly was. Without the IRS, the government could not fund its most evil functions.

When an IRS auditor came for a visit, most small business opened their books fully and let the agent assess the toll. When the agent left the office and walked out the door, the owner frequently followed him down the street with a sawed-off, double-barreled shotgun under his or her business jacket. More often than not, the small business owner simply pulled out the shotgun and squeezed both triggers to loose both barrels as the IRS agent reached his car and blew the IRS bastard in twain. Then the owner would quietly pick up the agent's brief case and remove it from the scene for disposal before the police arrived. Public anger being what it was, the FBI rarely found anyone who would testify against the murderer and the shooting was put down as a gang-related driveby shooting. Deaths of IRS agents mounted. For the first time, unscrupulous IRS auditors were being shot in the back faster than they could be replaced. After all, how many misanthropic, ethics-free accountants were available in the labor market?

The IRS seriously considered hiring ex-cons with a history of bilking the public but the idea was nixed due to the re-training costs involved in changing a conscienceless con man into a loyal member of the government's Infernal Revenue Service. The CIA had a developed a technique during the Cold War that could regress anyone's personality to a mental age where loyalties could be induced or changed. Unfortunately, many of the individuals who were subjected to the technique became infantile and became incontinent of both bladder and bowel as well as developing a tendency to suck their thumbs in moments of stress. The idea of sending out diapered agents was abhorrent to the IRS and the thought of having agents start sucking their thumbs while arguing with a "delinquent" citizen sent shivers up the spines of the IRS's management. The only recourse was, of course, retraining, but the process of rebuilding the resulting infantile personality needed long and arduous psychological counseling and reprogramming before that person could function minimally as an adult again. In the end, they decided that it was too expensive and dropped the idea, however attractive it seemed on the surface.

Despite the overturn in government ethics, life went on. The problems with the IRS caused the more fascist members of the government to shelve its plans for a "Restructuring of American Society" for a time when it was deemed that the remaining public would accept it. In time, the Super-Rich, those who had become the Barons and Dukes of America in power but not in name, would rule the land. Thomas knew that the dream of democracy in America would be over soon and his work would be part of the cause of its demise. He had seen the effects of the formula he created and the thought sickened him. The New Amerika would be a land of the poor and disadvantaged, ruled by the fabulously wealthy and the exceedingly ancient whose wealth made them ageless and thereby effectively deathless. He envisioned "Old" Bill Gates use his fantastic wealth to immediately became a teenager again. His vast fortune would insure that he would never grow a day older.

The Justice Department attempted to sue Mr. Gates for the imagined crime of his, "monopoly on youth", but since he was unable to purchase Thomas's company at any price, the suit collapsed by its lack of merit. (Thomas's company had wisely bought back the public shares of their stock prior to the announcement of their discovery. As a result, the holders of the company's private stock became wealthy beyond even Bill Gate's wildest imaginings. Thomas's undivided stock and royalties on his discovery made Mary one hundred times richer than any of the other stockholders.)

Thomas's wife/mother would die within ten years due to grief-induced mental illness. The lawyers who administered the gigantic trust that would be established in his name would discover that the hundreds of billions of dollars they controlled were too great a temptation to resist. The political power conferred by managing the trust made them the most powerful individuals in the world. Silent agreements would be made to maintain the status quo; they would have no intention of turning over control of the world's largest accumulation of private wealth to someone who couldn't even be potty-trained. A few well-placed bribes in high places secured the passive acquiescence of government. Majestik 12's members smiled and let the lawyers have their dreams of fortune. They would take the money away from them soon enough. A few "accidents" and the only member of the trust left alive would be Majestik 12's own man in the firm. The power that had accrued to the trust would be Majestik 12's alone. Before Thomas's body had attained the age of eighteen months again, they would use the full strength of the formula to regress him back into a nine-month-old infant. He would never be allowed to become old enough to claim the wealth that his work had created. He would be regressed over and over, every score of years, in a successful plot to retain control of the trust. He would go on and on, century after century, as an infantÖThere was no end in sight. Thomas would drift aimlessly in a timeless sea of baby formula and dirty diapers. He would be a baby forever!

Thomas wept and whimpered all the way home in the squad car. What made matters worse was that he had peed and pooped in his diaper sometime while they were in the hospital and he never knew it. Only the rising reek from his diaper and the itching caused by his incipient case of diaper rash gave him a clue as to what he had done. He had become as truly incontinent as any infant.

The police officer that had removed the baby seat from Mary's car courteously volunteered to restore it to its former place in the backseat of Mary's vehicle while Mary sat in the heated police car with her babe in arms. Once his task was finished, he returned her keys and escorted the grieving woman and weeping baby to their front door. The officer offered his condolences and wished them good night before returning to his squad car.

Majestik 12's second operative watched clandestinely from a car parked down the street as the woman emerged from the car with her baby. His superiors had decided to forgo the second act of "wet work" in an uncharacteristic act of mercy. As long as the woman thought that the baby was her son, she would be safe. The minute she came to her senses, they could always arrange an "accident" for her as well.

Mary dropped her purse on the couch and proceeded immediately to the nursery to change Bobby. Once there, she laid him on the changing station and lifted his legs to put a cloth diaper beneath his bottom before undressing him. She, unlike Marge, had learned the technique from her Mother. Marge had learned from sad experience that a plastic pad that becomes soiled by a dirty bottom is far more difficult to clean than washing a mildly soiled cloth diaper. Mary began unsnapping the fasteners that closed the inseam that ran up Thomas's feet all the way up to meet at his crotch. Once his legs had been freed of the confining material, she lifted his legs with one hand and tucked the bottom half of the sleeper behind his back to protect it from soiling during the diaper change.

Thomas was beside himself with both embarrassment and emotional exhaustion. He was wet, dirty and his mother and son had died that night. His wife had gone mad and had decided that he was her baby even though he had identified himself clearly earlier in the evening as her husband. His bottom itched from a case of diaper rash and he was famished. He couldn't even talk about his grief over his loss. As a consequence, the infantile instincts encoded into the neurons of his brain took over and he became fussy and fretful. He cried.

With a quick flick of her finger, Mary set the mobile in motion that she had placed over the changing station to reduce Bobby's fidgeting while she worked on him. She sniffed as she pulled the diaper down between his legs, saying, "Peeu! You're really stinky tonight, Bobby! If I didn't know better, I'd think that someone had tried to wean you without my knowledge. I wonder what the dickens got into your gut! You must have some sort of intestinal infection! That's okay, Baby, Mommy will let you sleep late tomorrow to get over it. This has been a trying day for the both of us."

Mary topped and tailed him quickly, then applied a thick coating of Diaperene to his paprika-hued, papule-peppered bottom. After she had treated his diaper rash with the sticky white cream, she wiped her hands on a clean baby wipe to prevent the oils in the cream from getting on the tapes and rendering the adhesive unusable. Then she lifted his bottom again and slid a disposable Nighttime Pamper under his bottom and drew it over his crotch to tape it down securely without bothering to put baby powder on him. Being the modern, informed mother that she was, she knew that baby powder didn't really prevent diaper rash, but only made a baby smell better for adult's olfactory sensibilities. While she had no objection to little Bobby smelling good, she didn't want to spend more time changing him than she had to that night. He was obviously tired and cranky and it was well past his bedtime. Since he had not wet his sleeper, she decided to let him sleep in what he was already wearing rather than discomfit him by changing his clothes for no reason. Once she had given him his evening breast feeding, she was sure he would fall into a deep slumber until morning.

She picked him up from the changing station and settled down in the large rocking chair in the corner of the nursery by the crib. Once there, Mary decided to forgo the receiving blanket that she normally wrapped Bobby in while she nursed him and unbuttoned her blouse to reveal her nursing bra. When she unfastened the cup over her right breast and presented her nipple to Bobby's mouth, Mary was floored when he seemed to reject her teat. Mary persisted, forcing the nipple between his lips and using her fingers to start the flow of milk into his mouth. Bobby struggled wildly for a few moments as if she was doing something unnatural to him, but after his mouth filled with his mother's milk, and he swallowed convulsively, he seemed to quiet somewhat. Mary was truly surprised that her baby boy had suddenly found suckling objectionable. She put his odd behavior down to the stress of the evening. She had read that babies often perceived and reacted to the stressful emotions of their mothers. Certainly she had undergone a stressful night; both her ex-mother-in-law and her regressed ex-husband had died in an auto accident.

As Bobby drained her right breast, she turned him around in her arms and switched him to her left teat. This time, he took it without fussing, so she was reassured that her baby had only been reacting to the events of the evening. Once he was finished, she took the cloth diaper that always lay over the right arm of the rocking chair and laid it across her shoulder. She put Bobby to her shoulder and patted his back gently, producing a prodigious belch as she winded him. Then she took him back in her arms and held him close to her bosom while she removed the diaper from her shoulder and returned it to its customary place on the arm of the rocking chair.

Instead of putting him in his crib after feeding as she normally would, Mary rocked and cuddled her baby for almost an hour. At first Bobby didn't drift off to sleep the way she would have expected him to, but after thirty minutes of gentle rocking, he fell fast asleep in her arms. She continued to rock, dissipating with repetitive motion her own angst over her ex's death. Finally, with her eyelids drooping, she put the sweetly slumbering Bobby in his crib for the night and sought the solace of her bed.

When Thomas woke in the morning, his sleeper had already been removed. The ego shattering spanking had been forgotten amidst the horror of his mother's death. His adult mind, such as it was, had returned to relative normalcy. Mary had finished topping and tailing him and was slipping a clean diaper under his bottom. In loving manner, she sprinkled him lightly with baby powder and gently massaged it into the pubic skin of her sleepy baby. Then she opened the tube of Diaperene and squeezed out a dollop on her tip of her index finger and held his ankles with one hand to hoist up his legs and administer a thin coating of the protective cream over his peritoneum and rectal area. After she lowered his bottom onto the soft padding of the disposable diaper and wiped her fingers clean with a baby wipe before taping him securely into his clean dydee.

Strangely, that morning Thomas didn't feel the embarrassment at having his diaper changed by his ex-wife that he did the afternoon before. "Perhaps," he mused to himself drowsily as she fussed about closing the top on the baby powder and capping the open tube of Diaperene, "I'm getting used to diapers. On the other hand, I wasn't awake when and if she cleaned my butt last night. All I know was the feel of her fingers as she put the cream for diaper rash on my ass and then rubbed baby powder onto my crotch.

Christ, it felt good when she rubbed the powder into my crotch! I could go for that even if I wasn't a baby! God, I wish I could tell her how much I missed her when I had to go back to my mother's house! That's the worst part of being an infant again; I can't fucking well talk to anyone! And her tits, Jesus! They blow me away! I liked them before Bobby came, but the way they've gotten bigger since she started nursing has driven me absolutely crazy! Christ! I begged her for months just after Bobby was born to let me have just a sip from her tit and she rejected my requests out of hand. I would have given anything as an adult to suck milk from her tits.

The weird thing is that now that I'm little again, her boobs look like the teats of a giantess and make me even more horny! When she put her nipple in my mouth last night, the idea of being treated like an infant really grossed me out! When she nursed me before putting me to bed, all my desire for her tits returned in spades. I guess I got my wish, but it was one Hell of a surprise! Then her milk started flowing and I totally lost it. When her nipple got erect, it filled my entire mouth! If she nurses me again today, I don't know what I'll do. God knows I want it, but I'll probably cum in my diaper if she does it! I'm not going to fight it the way I did last night. If she wants to nurse me, then I'm her babe! Oh-oh, she's bending down to pick me up! Damn! I hate being picked up by my armpits! She's holding me next to her chest again. Jesus! Her boobs are bigger than my chest. Damn, it's comfortable being carried by her. Oh! We're going to the rocking chair. Does that mean what I thinkÖ

God! This is heaven! She's holding me next to her huge breasts and patting my diapered bottom. What is she doing? Oh God! She's going to breast-feed me again. She's unbuttoning her blouse. Dear God, I don't think my heart can stand it! I'm having palpitations! Look at the size of her boob! Jesus! It's enormous! It's almost as big as my head! Ohhhhh, she's stroking my cheek with her nipple! My head is turning towards her boob automatically. No, no, this isn't what I wanted! I just wanted a little titty before I fucked her! I don't want to be suckled like a baby! Ohh, God! I can't stop my head! Oh Dear Jesus, my mouth is going for her tit! Her aureola must be half the size of my face! No, noÖ."

Thomas's mouth took in her nipple instinctively and began to voraciously suckle Mary's teat. As the thin, sweet milk filled his mouth with warmth, he began to drowse again and slip back into slumber. He drained one teat and then the other in less than ten minutes, and woke as Mary held him across her lap and tenderly winded him. She brought him back to the changing station and held him down with one hand while she reached down to his sock drawer and brought forth a pair of white cotton socks with matching fluffy little white pom-poms stitched to the toes. In a thrice, she worked the clean socks over his tiny feet and laid him back in his crib to sleep until it was time for her baby to get up.

When he awoke again, Thomas was wet. He whimpered a bit in discomfort until Mary appeared in the doorway of the nursery. He got on his hands and knees and crept to the side of the crib to call out for Mary when she appeared in the doorway. At that moment, his bowels decided to loose themselves and he dumped prodigiously in his dydee and emitted a huge fart. Mary came to the side of the crib and looked down with a mother's smile of satisfaction with her baby's timely bowel movements. "Good!", she thought, " I was so afraid that yesterday's the excitement would make him constipated. Babies' digestive tracts are such finicky things, that one can never be absolutely sure."

Tiny baby farts escaped his behind making little popping noises between the passing of each loose stool. The back of Thomas's diaper began filling with a yellowish-brown muck that had the consistency of pudding. "Is Bobby going poo-poo for Mommy?", she asked redundantly, patting his head condescendingly over the rail of the crib.

Thomas whimpered again as he pooped once more into the steadily filling diaper. Mary patted his head again affectionately; she had no intention of changing him until he was done dumping in his dydee. She had learned early on in Bobby's infancy that to change him too soon after a bowel movement was to invite another eruption from his nether regions and cause her the double-duty of changing him again in a few minutes. "I'll change him when he's finished making his poopy," she thought to herself as she watched his face redden as his abdomen contracted and pushed the last stool from his rear end.

"He looks like he's almost done, but I'll give him a few more minutes to make sure," she thought to herself as a look of temporary look of relief came over Thomas's face, "His bottom is protected with diaper cream so there's no hurry."

She went over to the changing station and took out one of the pacifiers that were stored in the clear acrylic jar that stood next to the container of baby powder. She stuck it in his mouth and went to the rocking chair to await his final poop of the series she was sure wasn't finished.

A few minutes later, his gut exploded with a long, sonorous fart that echoed from the walls of the room. His intestinal tract was unused to a diet consisting solely of mother's milk, hence the gaseous production that led to his bubbling behind.

Mary took the last sound as a signal that he was finished and took him back to the changing station on the dresser to change his diaper. She took off his socks first to keep the his poopy diaper from soiling them, then quickly changed him, dressing him in a diaper only for the warm spring morning. Then she carried him out the living room to let him amuse himself in his playpen while she cleaned house.

Thomas lay on his back watching Mary through the semi-transparent mesh walls of his playpen. He sucked his thumb idly and wondered if she would ever get over her madness and remember who he really was. In the long run, she'd have to realize that something was wrong in the next month or two when he failed to grow like a normal infant. Unless the rational part of her mind had gone on a permanent vacation, she would soon have to come to the conclusion that something was very wrong indeed with her baby. In the meantime, Thomas reflected, there was nothing he could do about it but wait. Thomas looked at his knees that had drawn themselves up to his chest and marveled at the flexibility of his baby legs. When he took one of his feet in his hands to examine it, he discovered that he could bring his foot all the way to his face effortlessly. A sudden urge to suck his big toe hit him and before he knew it, his digit was engulfed by his lips as it was drawn into his mouth.

Boredom overtook him as it had the day before and he fell asleep in the playpen lying on his back. When he awoke, it was time for his noon feeding and Mary had already taken him from the playpen to sit on her lap. A few minutes later, he found himself laying on her lap with as she opened her blouse and unfastened her nursing bra. In seconds, he was suckling at her teat.

Suckling had become so natural to over the two days that he had come home that Thomas that hardly thought about the unnaturalness of being breast-fed three times a day by his ex-wife. The thought of being weaned and separated from Mary's nutritious bounty made him quake in anticipatory fear. Without teeth, he couldn't eat and there was no one else to take care of him save his ex-wife; he was absolutely helpless unless some took charge of his life and cared for his every need. Since his mother had died, there was no one left who had ever cared for him but Mary.

When Mary changed his soiled diaper later in the day, she was pleasantly surprised that Bobby's messy diaper was almost odorless again. Mary decided that he must have gotten over his intestinal infection since his diet hadn't changed. Unknown to her, Thomas's milk diet had almost completely replaced the remnants of solid food that remained in his intestine. If Mary's mind had been whole, she would have realized that the baby food that Thomas's mother had fed him a few days before was the cause of his previous reeking diaper. By the next day, his feces would have virtually no odor whatsoever as the last vestiges of baby food were flushed from his system by Mary's milk.

On the following day, his stools would have no odor at all. The combination of his regression and his wife's milk would return the absolute innocence of infancy to Thomas. His wife/mother would cuddle the sweet-smelling little baby who had become the center of her existence on an hourly basis in her arms and adoringly pamper him. He would be loved and accepted no matter what he did. Nothing he did would be wrong. Quite literally, his shit wouldn't stink!

Thomas was half-drowsing when Mary picked him up again. In the interim, he had lost the ability to focus his eyes precisely and he saw her in a haze that made her appear as if she was dream that he had wished for all of his life. All the horror of the past two weeks had distilled itself in his subconscious and it had made a decision on its own. As far as his subconscious was concerned, he was an infant. While he slept, the adult templates of memory and behavior had been overwritten with the more primitive and reliable templates of infancy.

Mary smiled down at her and he smiled back; it was obvious to him that she adored him with all of her heart. He reciprocated her feelings without thinking. When she began to speak to him in a motherly babble, he listened with his soul. To Thomas's reduced intelligence, somehow things had changed, but the important things had remained the same. Mommy loved him!

The timber of Mary's voice became indistinguishable from what Thomas remembered of his real mother as his wife's face melded with his childhood memories of a maternal visage looking down at him with love. The two personages were blending themselves in his mind until he couldn't demarcate a difference, if there ever had been. Suddenly, Thomas was filled with a sense of absolute trust and love for his wife/mother. His mother hadn't died, she was right there, holding him in her arms with breasts full of milk waiting for him to suckle when he was hungry again. The memories of being alone in college faded as he snuggled closer to her ample breasts and basked in the glow of maternal love.

Thomas decided that his mother had always been at his side and had never once left his side or abandoned him. At one time his mother seemed to have changed slightly as she briefly became his wife and mistress, but then their world had changed again to allow the two of them to return to their proper relationship.

Mary stroked Thomas's thin baby hair affectionately, lulling him into blissfully complacency. His vision of the future evaporated as his mind dimmed and returned to an earlier state. Slowly, Thomas's psyche slipped into a wordless rapture which would keep him securely cocooned until the sad day his mother left him forever. Until that day, however, he would be utterly content with his life as a perpetual baby. When Mary died, his mind would reawake to face the horror of being an adult mind trapped in an infant's body for eternity. The realization that his work had caused the loss of his mother, wife and infant son as well as the capacity to act like an adult would draw his psyche back into adulthood kicking and screaming at his fate. Then the adult infant's whimpers and wails of sorrow would start and go onÖendlessly.

Mary sighed with evident regret and said sadly, "I wish your father was alive to see you grow up, Bobby. I miss him so much!" She looked down at the beguiling infant face peering back up at her with love and concern in it's wide innocent eyes. Mary cuddled him closer to her breasts as she said tenderly, "I love you, Sweetheart, and know you love me too. I can see it in your eyes."

Drool rolled down Tommy's chin as he smiled winsomely and began to blow delighted bubbles of spit. He snuggled against mommy's warm body and cooed his commitment to Mary inarticulately. There was no doubt in his mind that his mommy loved him. Tommy loved his Mommy with all of his heart; he always had.

Finis coronat infans

 

Copyright 1998 Jennifer Loraine