@mind-wiper
Mind Wipe Time
Posts
106
Last update
2021-04-23 06:04:49

    Final Descent

    This is a quickie set in Sebtomato’s Parkdale Universe. 

     The cabin was dark, most of the passengers trying to get some sleep.  The bluish glow of the seat-back screens of those who couldn’t sleep provided an eerie light.  They were somewhere over the Indian Ocean now, six hours into a marathon seventeen and half hour flight from Dubai to Auckland.  At least the A380 is a spacious plane, cutting down on the claustrophobia at least a little bit. Being in Premium Economy helped even more.  At least Parkdale hadn’t skimped on the expense.  

    Neither Mark nor Shaun were sleeping though.  Despite the comfortable seats which reclined much further than normal economy ones, they were both wide awake.  The man to their Mark’s left was finally asleep though.  It was about time. It finally gave them a moment to breathe.  The tall, blonde man was the reason they were here.  He needed to be escorted, handed off to the partners Downunder.  Parkdale had done the deed, but his new home was to be in a different small town, one in New Zealand.  Ngatea.  

    Just the whisper of that place could strike fear into any Parkdale agent.  They all knew the rumours, that there was a town like Parkdale but twisted, wrong.  A place where they stuck the mistakes, the broken ones, the incorrigible and rebellious.  If you ended up there, well there was no coming back.  

    Mark couldn’t help but wonder what the man beside them, Aaron, had done to deserve a one-way ticket to Parkdale’s evil twin.  He wasn’t an agent, wasn’t anyone Mark recognised from around the town.  And there was no point asking Aaron who he really was, what he’d done to piss off the powers that be.  He was still six foot-two, still appeared to be in his late twenties.  But from the moment he’d met the man back in Parkdale, it had been instantly obvious Aaron had the mind of a small child.  

    And it wasn’t just that. Aaron’s mind had been crippled. There would be no learning, no recovery from this. Mark’s superiors had made that clear. His IQ had been obliterated.  Aaron would be a special boy for the rest of his life.  And that was why he needed to go to Ngatea, where he could be properly cared for.  

    “You should try to get some sleep, while you can,” Mark whispered to Shaun.  

    Shaun looked tired, but he also looked stressed. Taking care of a twenty-something with the mind of a three year old could do that to you of course.  But Mark knew that probably wasn’t the main reason Shaun looked so stressed.  

    “I can’t,” he whispered back.  “Aren’t you nervous?” he asked.  

    Shaun had been asking Mark that since they got this assignment.  As far as he could tell there was no reason to be sending two agents.  It was very suspicious, he thought.  It was common for agents to be paranoid like that. Parkdale did that to you.  How many times could you watch unsuspecting, innocent people have their lives stolen from them and not be a little paranoid yourself?  

    “He’s a big guy, they need two of us to keep him under control. That’s why they chose us and not one of the girls. In case he has a temper tantrum,” Mark had assured him.  

    It was true that it would probably have taken the both of them to restrain Aaron.  He and Shaun both appeared to be about eighteen years old. Skinny English boys off for a working holiday in New Zealand after finishing college.  But of course that wasn’t true.  Shaun was only a few years older than he appeared.  Mark wondered if his appearance was due to Parkdale or if he was just a young looking twenty-two year old.  But Mark himself was nearly double the age he appeared.  He’d been with Parkdale for nearly a decade, and spent most of it as a teen agent.  

    There were advantages to being a teen of course. Lots of energy, no need to worry about your diet, amazing sex drive of course.  But a decade of being sixteen to eighteen really wore on you.  Mark just reminded himself it could be worse. He could be a cub agent of course. The idea of that, stuck as a primary school kid for decades, made him shiver.  

    Shaun looked up to Mark, given his age and experience.  So he had kept his nerves in check, trusted that all was well and this would be a nice little adventure to the other side of the world.  But clearly now they were on the last leg of their flights, Shaun was getting more anxious.  

    “You need to take a breath mate. You’re going to have a panic attack, start hyperventilating,” Mark told him. 

    “Hey, you’re the one who told me about that agent you knew, the one who disappeared down to this place, never came back,” Shaun argued.  

    “Damien? I told you that to scare you a bit mate. You were thinking of complaining to head office and that never ends well.  But I have no idea what happened to Damien. He might have just left Parkdale, found a new job,” Mark suggested. 

    “No one leaves Parkdale,” Shaun stated seriously. “Everyone says it.”  

    Mark shrugged. “Believe what you want.  I’ve got a job to do.  You have the instructions? We should run through them one more time before we get there anyway.” 

    Shaun nodded, looking happy for a distraction.  He fished out his phone and unlocked it.  “Right, so we meet Anne in the Arrivals hall at the airport. She’ll be wearing a yellow jumper.”  

    “That it?” 

    “I guess so.  Oh… it says to take off Aaron’s socks and shoes and leave them on the plane.”  

    Mark looked confused. “Why would we do that?” 

    “Not sure. But I think we should follow all the instructions,” Shaun urged.  

    “Whatever. I don’t think he’ll be complaining anyway.”  

    Shaun frowned.  “How many more hours we have?”  

    “Best not to think about that,” Mark told him.  “Just watch a movie... or five.” 

    Shaun nodded, putting on his noise cancelling earphones and selecting the new Johnny English movie.  

    Mark didn’t put any film on though. He just sat back and closed his eyes, letting the minutes tick by.  

    An hour later Mark was awakened by his phone buzzing in his pocket. It was the silent alarm he set when Shaun began his film.  He was worried he might drift off, given how tired he was. And he had been right.  

    Blinking the sleep away Mark checked to see Aaron was still snoozing himself. Yep, out like a light, thumb pumping in his mouth, soft teddy bear snuggled against the side of his face.  Then he turned to his right, to Shaun.  His cohort was looking at the screen, his face slack and expressionless.  A very quick glance showed that it wasn’t Johnny English playing anymore. No the screen was a swirl of colourful lights.  And Shaun just kept on staring into it.  

    Mark frowned, looking at his dazed coworker, knowing he was fully under Parkdale’s spell now, even here, even thousands of miles away.  Secretly Mark had had feelings for Shaun for a couple years now.  They’d worked together a couple dozen times and they’d grown close. But relationships between agents were a big, huge no-no, and Mark knew better than to mess with that. The consequences would have been severe. Most likely a demotion to cub agent, when there wouldn’t be the risk of sexual attraction anymore.  

    Seeing Shaun like this, in such an open, vulnerable state, was actually exciting on one level.   And what’s more, while Shaun’s face was slack and his shoulders were slumped, not all of his body was so relaxed.  His erection was obvious, tenting his athletic shorts.  Shaun was enjoying this at least, so there was that small mercy.  But Mark still felt awful about what he needed to do next. It was always strangers before now. Doing this to his friend, to a man he actually really desired, was not what he wanted. But there really was no choice, and if it had to happen, Shaun at least deserved to enjoy it.  Mark would make it as comfortable a transition as he could, and he was pretty good at that.  

    Carefully he picked up the blanket from the floor, ripping open the plastic bag it was inside.  Though it appeared to be a normal airplane blanket, the feeling of it, the incredible softness, assured Mark it was anything but ordinary.  Of course the nice texture did nothing to him. He was immune.  It would have been a major problem if he wasn’t. 

    “Hey buddy, you look chilly. Let’s get you more comfy,” Mark whispered to Shaun, offering the blanket.  

    The teen agent finally moved his eyes away from the screen, looking to Mark.  Those eyes were totally glazed over though.  He could see the distant, uncomprehending look in them. Wow, it must be quite a show.  

    “You need a blanket, don’t you?” Mark prompted him again. 

    A bit more awareness returned to Shaun’s face.  He looked down at the blanket and bit of panic crept into his expression. “No blanket,” he muttered.  

    “What?”  

    He shook his head now, blinking and getting back a bit more focus.  “Blanket’s from Parkdale. Mark, something’s wrong!”  

    “Don’t be silly Shaun. Look, I’m holding it right now and I feel perfectly fine.” 

    Shaun didn’t look fully convinced. He pointed at his screen.  “The movie, it… it…” he trailed off.  The swirl of colours was gone. It was just the credits of Johnny English. 

    “What? You didn’t like the movie?” Mark asked.  

    “I… I dunno…” Shaun stammered.  

    “Look buddy, I just thought you needed some privacy, okay?” Mark explained, nodding down at Shaun’s tented crotch.  

    He followed Mark’s gaze and then gasped.  

    “So, can I?” Mark asked, gesturing with the blanket.  

    Shaun nodded now. “Okay.”  

    Mark settled the fluffy blanket over Shaun’s body.  

    “Thanks, I… um…” Shaun stammered, his eyes going glassy once again.  He’d barely touched the blanket when it began.  After a second he patted it with his open palms, then pulled it up and rubbed the material against his cheek.  “Ohhhh,” he moaned, eyes rolling back. 

    “Feels really good, huh?” 

    Shaun murmured, “Mmmhmm.”  His eyes fluttered and he kept stroking the blanket against his face.  

    “You know what’s happening now, don’t you?” Mark asked him. 

    Shaun opened his eyes, but they stayed glazed over.  “Bad blanket. Is a trick,” he answered, all the while holding onto the blanket.  

    Mark nodded.  He pulled the armrest up, removing the only barrier between them.  Then he snaked his arm around Shaun’s shoulders, pulling his buddy closer.  “That’s right buddy. It’s a special blanket. It’s going to make you all little in your head, just like Aaron. All tiny and simple and so, so happy, forever and ever. No growing back up, no more being an agent.”  

    Shaun groaned and struggled, but he didn’t throw the blanket away, he didn’t get up or shove Mark off of him.  

    “Shhh, no point thrashing around now. You know it’s already much too late for that.  Just let it do its work, let in make your brain all soft and fuzzy so you can be like Aaron.  Then we’ll leave your shoes and socks here on the plane too, just like the instructions said.  And you can meet Anne in your bare feeties.”  

    “Don’t… don’t wanna be dumb.  Please, Mark, help me!” Shaun pleaded. “Take… take it off!”  

    It really pained Mark to hear his buddy pleading like that.  Of course he wanted to throw the blanket away, run off with Mark, try to disappear.  But he knew all too well that it was a futile effort.

    So Mark didn’t take it off. Instead he wrapped his arms around Shaun, cuddled the blanket even tighter against him.  

    “To be honest I feel a little jealous of you right now,” Mark lied to him.  “They say this kind of regression feels the best. The total release from adult thoughts, forever, the simplification of your brain. It’s supposed to be euphoric.”  

    Shaun wriggled in Mark’s arms.  “Why?” he whined.  

    “Oh Shaun, you know why.  For someone so paranoid you really were bad at covering your tracks.  Parkdale is always watching.  Remember I told you that, all the way back when you started?  I told you about Damien and yes, you’ll be meeting him very soon I think.  I told you not to break the rules.  

    “But you did. You’ve been touching boys, touching them in naughty places.”  

    Shaun shook his head. “No! Not kids! Only the grown-up ones!” 

    “Grown-up bodies but innocent little minds,” Mark corrected. 

    “They’re still grown-ups down there. They needed it,” he urged.  “But… but I won’t do it again, I promise!” 

    Mark sighed. “Yes, you will. Now you’ll be one of them Shaun, so it will be okay. This way you can play with other boys pee-pees to your heart’s content. You can share stickies with your playmates and no one will mind one bit. And you won’t have to hide it either. You won’t have to sneak around at all.  Seren told me that at the special school, in the little room, lots of the boys run around naked, just completely naked.  Think of that, all those doodles bouncing around, just begging for a tickle, for a little tug.  It’s your dream buddy.  

    “Of course you’ll probably be naked too. Maybe one of your new buddies will even return the favour, give your pee-pee a tug.  Wouldn’t that just be the best?”  

    Mark slipped his arm under the blanket, snagged the elastic waist of Shaun’s shorts and his undies and yanked them quickly down. He gasped at the sudden movement, but no one else could see a thing under the blanket.  And a second later Shaun’s erection brushed against the blanket, giving it a little bulge.  

    “Ugh, ohhhh,” Shaun moaned as the fluffy material caressed his stiffy.

    “Yeah, there we go, that’s much better, isn’t it?” Mark whispered in his ear.  

    And Shaun nodded. “So tingly,” he sighed.  

    “I’m sure it is. Much nicer to have a free doodle. Soon that might be the norm for you,” Mark suggested. 

    Shaun seemed to be considering this.  Before he could reject it or thrash some more Mark wrapped his fingers around Shaun’s erection, feeling how warm and hard it was now.  

    “Isn’t it nice, being helped yourself?” Mark cooed to him as he began to stroke gently up and down.  

    “Ohhh, yes,” Shaun agreed, no longer struggling. 

    “This is what you did for all those big little boys. You played with their pee-pees just like this, didn’t you Shaun?”  

    “Mmmhmm,” he murmured. 

    “And now it’s your turn. You must be so happy, it must be such a lovely release,” Mark suggested, continuing to stroke.   

    For the next few moments Shaun did nothing to fight back. Instead he pushed his penis harder into Mark’s grip, urging him on, gripping the blanket tight against his face.  

    Mark listened to Shaun’s breathing getting faster.  It felt so good to finally be able to hold his friend, to actually be touching him down there, giving him pleasure.  Of course he would have greatly preferred it wasn’t in these circumstances.  Shaun had been foolish, yes, but this was a very severe punishment.  But what could he do? If he warned Shaun, if he let him get away, then he would have had to run as well. And he was so close to finishing his contract, so close to leaving Parkdale with a sizeable sum of money and the youth to enjoy it.  

    And it was clear what would happen if he got caught. It would be permanent.  There could be no other way. They’d wipe away his IQ, turn his brain to mush and he’d never recover.  He’d be left to play with other simpletons for the rest of his life.  He couldn’t risk that. 

    Shaun’s body began to tense, he was ready to shoot his load.  

    “No, no, I don’t wanna!” Shaun called out, trying to resist in the last moment, as he realised what was about to happen.  

    Mark knew it was too late though, so there was no point stopping.  Instead he gave his friend a couple really strong, really fast strokes, pushing him over the edge even as he tried to pull away.  

    He felt Shaun’s body fully tense, his back arching and pushing into Mark.  Then came the warm goo. He could feel it running over his fingers as Shaun sent jet after jet shooting into the blanket.  

    “That’s it Shaun, that’s a good boy,” Mark urged him.  “Get it all out for me.”  

    Shaun grunted and spasmed for a full thirty seconds.  Then his body relaxed and practically melted into Mark’s arms.  He closed them back around Shaun, over the blanket now.  It was over, and Mark felt awful.  The Shaun he’d known for all these years was gone.  He’d actually felt Shaun expel everything that had made him who he was.  There was no going back now, it was all over. 

    Mark pecked a kiss on the back of Shaun’s head, listening to his breathing slowing down.  “I hope that felt really, really good buddy.”  

    Shaun lifted up his hand, looking at how his fingers were now covered in cum.  Then he looked over at Mark and said, “All methy.”  

    Mark giggled. “Yeah, you made a big mess. You squirted all your big boy thoughts out didn’t you buddy? Okay, better clean you up a bit.”  

    He grabbed some wet naps from the bag, then looked back to see Shaun had slipped the gooey, sticky fingers into his mouth.  

    “Eww, Shaun, that’s icky!” he declared.  

    Shaun blinked his wide, glazed over eyes and just kept suckling on his dirty fingers until Mark pulled them out and began to scrub them clean with the wipes.  As he did so he looked more closely at his friend. Shaun’s face was still slack, but in a different way to when he was watching the programme earlier.  Now he just looked totally empty-headed, like nothing was going on behind those eyes.  

    “How you feeling now Shaun?” he asked him.  

    Shaun looked at his newly cleaned fingers in wonder.  “Awll cwean,” he announced.  

    “That’s right, you’re all cleaned up.  But how do you feel buddy? What’s it feel like in your head now?”  

    Shaun gaped back at him, totally uncomprehending.  Then he pointed at Aaron and said, “Him sweepin’.”  

    Mark was certain of the programme’s success now. Shaun’s mind was as simple as any two and half year old’s.  He barely had any words left.  So, all that remained was to get him changed into his new outfit.  It was packed carefully in his carry-on, buried to ensure Shaun didn’t see it too early.  

    “Okay sweetie, let’s get you changed, then you can have a nice sleep just like Aaron.”  

    **

    Just over ten hours later, and after getting some well deserved rest, Mark undid his seat belt and grabbed their bags from the overhead compartment. Aaron and Shaun were both awake now and playing games on their tablets. Simple, colourful games perfect for the simplest of little ones.  

    “Hey guys, we need to put those away. It’s time to get up,” Mark told them brightly, undoing their seatbelts for them.  

    When they got onto the plane Shaun had helped Aaron into his seat, helped the simple man do up his belt. Now he simply sat there while Mark undid his belt for him, letting his former colleague take his tablet and stow it away.  

    Mark guided both young men out into the aisle. He left the special blanket lying on a seat, along with their rubbish. On the floor beneath the seats sat two pairs of sneakers, socks stuffed inside of them.  Mark smiled as he looked down at the floor, at the two pairs of bare feet padding along the aisle ahead of him.  None of the other passengers seemed to mind though. It was obvious these men were special as they say.  Aaron had boarded the plane wearing his yellow t-shirt and blue jean overalls.  But now Shaun was in his own pair of faded blue bib overalls, the ankles cuffed up.  There was no mistaking him for a grown-up anymore.

    The Special Teacher: Chapter 7

    Back to School

    Ethan didn’t leave his house the rest of that day or the next. He thought about jumping in his car and getting the hell out of this town, but he didn’t do it.  If he disappeared with no notice to the school he would never get another job.  He thought about calling the police, but what could he tell them that wouldn’t land him in a locked psych ward?  

     He decided the best thing would be to simply e-mail in his resignation to the school and get the hell out as soon as they acknowledged it.  He was hoping that he’d have a response as soon as they opened Monday morning, but it turned out to be much quicker than that.  

    Dear Ethan,

     So sorry to hear that you are not able to continue your employment with us. However I must ask that you continue until the end of this week so that we have time to hire a new reliever.  If you are not able to work on Monday we may not be able to operate the school, which would be a shame for all the children.  Please help us out with this week and I can promise you a good letter of reference.

     Kind regards,

    Anna Lewis

    Deputy Principal

     Ethan thought about blowing it off anyway.  He didn’t want to have to see Liam again or risk running into Claire.  But he couldn’t go through all of this to save his mind only to throw his career away by quitting his first school without notice. He decided to just go in on Monday and privately explain the situation to Jackson, see what he thought was best. Jackson’s judgement wasn’t the best but at least he would offer an outside opinion.  

     So on Monday he put on his normal teaching clothes of a t-shirt and khakis shorts with his durable Teva sandals and drove to the school.  He arrived a bit late, missing the staff briefing and the drop off time for most of the kids so he wouldn’t run into Claire.  Jackson could supervise them until the start of school time.

     He walked quietly through the corridor and into his classroom.  The kids were all there already of course.  Their bags and hats were in their cubby holes along the wall and they’d already broken into groups doing different activities. A gaggle of girls were at the sensory tub, a few boys were play wrestling on the mat, a few children were colouring at the table.  But there was no sign of Jackson.  Instead there was a woman with very shiny blonde hair confidently working her way around the classroom.  

     She spotted Ethan and gave him a little wave, settling a boy down to play with some blocks before heading over to greet him.  

     “You must be Ethan,” she said, “I’ve heard so much about you.”

     She gave him a greeting hug before he even knew what was going on.  “I’m sorry, who are you?” he finally managed to ask.

     “Oh sorry, silly me. I’m Susan, this is my classroom you’ve been looking after for me.”  

     Ethan’s eyes widened. “Oh! I thought you weren’t due back from the UK for weeks.”  

     She nodded. “Yes, it was a bit of a change of plans, but don’t worry the school will pay you out for the rest of your contract.”  

     Now that sounded good. Maybe things would turn out for the best after all. He got to quit and he got paid out!  “So has Jackson already gone?” he asked.

     “Oh no, he’s in Janet’s room today.”

     Ethan was surprised to hear that. Janet ran the Nursery room, and that was the last place he expected Jackson to be teaching.  He was about to ask her what he was doing there when a familiar voice shouted, “Efan!”

     He barely managed to turn to the sound before a pair of strong arms grabbed him, pulling him into a crushing hug.  

     “I miffed you!” Liam told him, snuggling him even tighter.  

     “Yeah, I missed you too buddy,” Ethan assured the desperate young man, unable to get his arms loose to even hug him back.  

     “Why you go bye-bye?” the man-boy demanded, looking hurt.  

     “Sorry buddy I was really sick, I had to go to the doctor,” he lied as the man finally released him so he could breathe again.

     Liam pouted. “You’s okay?” he asked.

     “Yeah, I’m fine buddy, don’t you worry,” he reassured the scared tot.

     Liam brightened up right away. “You comin’ home den?” he asked.

     “Well, we’ll see. I have to talk with your Mummy first.”

     Liam nodded. “You gotta come home,” he urged.

     “I will buddy,” he lied, to get the boy to stop talking in front of Susan.  

     “Kay!” he chirped, hurrying back to the teddy bear he’d been playing with on the floor.  

     “Sorry about that, he’s… um, very attached to me,” Ethan tried to explain.

     “It’s adorable isn’t it?” Susan replied.

     “Yeah, they’re really great.”

     “So, would you like to go join Jackson? I’ve really got things covered here and I’m sure Janet would like some more help.”

     Ethan really had no desire at all to work with even more mentally challenged young adults than these but what choice did he have?  At least he could speak to Jackson about the craziness this weekend.  

     “Yeah, I’ll go join him,” he agreed.

     “Lovely, I know you’ll have a good time,” she said.  

     Ethan found it an odd comment, but he didn’t really know Susan, so perhaps that was just her way of talking.  

     He headed back out of the classroom and down the corridor to the Nursery room.  It’s door was covered in stars and smiling sun stickers.  Ethan rolled his eyes and headed inside.  There was a different smell to this room and he noticed it instantly.  The whole atmosphere was a bit different.  For one thing he could see the potty seats lined up next to each other right there in the classroom, no attempt at privacy even made for these children.  The walls were painted in bright colours with rainbows and smiling faces depicted on a mural.  Yep, it felt even more juvenile than his normal room.  He hadn’t thought that possible.  

     “Why hello there!” Janet greeted him.  “Susan told me you’d be coming down to join my class today,” she said cheerfully.  

     Ethan didn’t really like the way she put it. Sounded more like she expected him to be a student than a fellow teacher.  He hated the way more experienced teachers treated some newbies like they weren’t real teachers.  

     “Yeah, she said I should help out with your class,” he replied.

     “Lovely, I’m sure you’ll be a big help. Oh, would you mind just leaving your shoes there, we like to keep our carpet clean,” she said.

     Ethan glanced down and noticed Janet was in just a pair of thick pink socks, her shoes sat on the floor by the door.  There weren’t any other shoes there, none of the students arrived in any of course.  

     “Yeah, of course,” he agreed, slipping his sandals off.  He didn’t like it one bit though. After his experience over the weekend being barefoot made him feel really juvenile.  

     “Wonderful, now come meet the class,” Janet said, taking Ethan’s hand and leading him into the room. It was very weird the way she was leading him by the hand. This woman had spent way too much time dealing with adult toddlers obviously.  

     The first thing Ethan saw as they entered the main room was a row of huge high-chairs designed for adults. And strapped into them were four young men and women in the process of eating.  They were clearly much more intellectually challenged than his normal charges. All were sitting there shirtless, stripped to their undies in fact. That included the two young women, who were sitting there bare breasted, only their thick white nappies covering giving them any privacy.  

     “It’s easier to feed them without their uniforms on,” Janet explained, noticing his staring. “Otherwise they tend to ruin them.”  

     “Right, of course,” he answered automatically.  He wasn’t really paying attention because he recognised one of the bare boobed girls as Jessie.  She was eating some kind of oatmeal with her fingers and had the muck all over her face and boobs as well as her hands.  She was patting the plastic tray of her high-chair and babbling loudly, swinging her long bare legs out and in like she was on a swing.  

     A group of children were playing on the floor to their right as well. There were uniform items left here and there as the children seemed to have a natural tendency to strip.  A couple boys and a few girls were in full uniform, but quite a few were less well clothed.  One of the boys wearing just a yellow polo shirt and some bright red Spiderman underoos was Simon.  He was chewing on the rim of a neon green bucket, staring with his empty eyes.  

     Ethan felt so sad for him. He was certain now that his Dad had somehow done this to poor Simon, rendered him simple and docile.  What had he been like before? Was he smart? He’d never know, poor kid.  Now he was trapped by his slow-moving mind, just another empty-headed, drooling overgrown tot.  

     But there was little time to ponder the boy’s fate as another one of the big toddlers came ambling up to them wearing nothing but his birthday suit.  Somehow this young man had escaped his entire uniform already and was now toddling about the room stark naked and evidently unashamed.  And as he stopped before them Ethan realised he knew this boy too. It was Timmy, now pantsless in addition to being shirtless.  

     “Him poddy!” the naked boy announced loudly, pointing behind him.  

     “Thank you for telling us Timmy,” Janet told him. “You’re a good boy letting us know. Such a good little helper.”

     Timmy beamed and began sucking on his fingers.  “Tell da teachah!” he babbled around his fingers.

     “That’s right, we tell the teacher when someone has an accident,” Janet said.  “What a smart cookie you are.”  

     Timmy giggled and toddled back off, his penis just flopping about.  

     “Is it okay for him to be like that? We usually try to keep them clothed in our room,” Ethan asked.

     Janet shrugged. “It’s a losing battle with some of them. They’re just natural jaybirds at this mental age.  Not all of them thank goodness, but when we get a born streaker like Timmy we just go with it, let them be comfy.”  

     They headed over in the direction Timmy had pointed them. And sure enough there was a young man squatting with his back to them, wearing just the bright yellow polo shirt, his shorts and his undies abandoned.  His penis was visible hanging between his thighs and it was still dripping out the last spurts of urine into a big wet patch at his feet.  He’d clearly made a huge tinkle on the floor, his bare toes squishing the wet carpet around them.  

     Janet went straight to his side, kneeling down next to him and putting and hand on his back. She wasn’t angry, she didn’t rebuke him. She knew he couldn’t help himself, the boy was just too young of mind to hold it in, or to know it was wrong to do pee-pees on the carpet.  She just rubbed his back and asked, “Have you had an accident baby boy?”

     The young man nodded. “Pee-pee tinkas,” he answered, poking his finger into his dangling penis.  

     “I see that sweetie. And I see you took your undies off.”

     He nodded again. “Nakey boy,” he told her brightly.

     She smiled. “You want to leave them off then?”

     “Yeff!”

     “Okay, well let’s get you cleaned up at least.”  

     The young man nodded once more and let the teacher guide him to a standing position, then turning around to face Ethan.  Instantly Ethan’s jaw dropped.  The young man who was standing there with his still wet penis exposed was none other than Jackson.  He was wearing a school uniform bright yellow polo shirt and nothing else.

     “Jackson! What are you doing?!” Ethan cried.  

     Jackson gaped at him without any sign of recognition.  He was still holding Janet’s hand, like that was normal.  His face was slack, his eyes were unfocused and lacking in any intelligence. He looked retarded, he looked like he was just another one of the children, like he belonged here. Anyone else would have just assumed he was another one of Janet’s charges, an unfortunate mentally challenged young man with mind of a two year old.  There was literally nothing to indicate Jackson hadn’t been like this for years.  

     “He’s made a tinkle accident and he needs to get cleaned up,” Janet answered for the man.  

     Jackson was picking his nose, happy to have the woman answer for him.  

     “But he doesn’t belong here. I mean, he’s a teacher, he’s smart,” Ethan argued.

     Janet chuckled maliciously. “Not anymore he’s not.”  She turned to him and cooed, “Jackson are you a teacher sweetie? Are you a big smart grown-up man?”

     Jackson grinned and blew a silly raspberry in response.  

     “I’ll take that as a big no,” Janet said.  “You see, Jackson here doesn’t even recall being a big teacher man.  He’s perfectly happy as one of my sweet little tots. And that’s a good thing because this is right where he’ll be staying.  Jackson’s noggin is all nice and empty now you see, so there’s no going back.”  

     She led the half-naked boy right past Ethan, who was wordless in his horror.  He just followed them to the row of potty seats, where she took a tissue and gently cleaned Jackson’s penis for him while he sucked on his fingers.  

     “There we are, all clean,” she pronounced.  “Now off to play with your buddies,” she urged, patting his bare bottom playfully.

     Jackson squealed in delight, his moronic grin lighting his face as he toddled wide legged right past Ethan again, back to the other boys playing on the floor. Then he dropped to his hands and knees, mooning them with his big pale bare bottom and also revealing his tar black bare soles. It looked like he hadn’t been wearing shoes in a couple days at least.  

     “I’m sorry you didn’t get to enjoy a fun weekend like Jackson had sweetie,” Janet said to Ethan.

     “What?”

     “Sarah had Jackson all nice and empty-headed by beddy-byes time on Friday.  He’s had a wonderful weekend of play already.  I’m sorry that Claire wasn’t able to give you the full treatment. It seems you needed something a bit stronger.”

     Ethan backed away from Janet.  “I don’t know why you’re doing this, but I want nothing to do with it,” he told her.

     She shrugged. “Sorry baby but it’s never really been up to you.”  

     “This is crazy! You can’t do this to me,” he snapped.

     Janet smiled wickedly. “Why not? We’ve done it to all the other boys and girls here.  Each and every one of them used to be smart, independent young men and women. And now look at them, look at how simple their lives are, how content they are. They’re happier this way, and you will be too sweetie.”

     Ethan was disgusted. All the students he’d been treating like toddlers had once been smart like him. And these people had robbed them of that, forever. “This is wrong!” he spat at her. “How can you do this to people?”

     Janet just shook her head. “It’s for their own good darling.  I’d say you’d understand once you’ve experienced it, but you won’t be able to comprehend something that complex once it’s all over.”  

     “Is Claire paying you for this?” he demanded.

     She laughed. “Honey Claire is being paid to do this to you.  She’s an agent, like me.  No, someone else is paying for you.  So I’m sorry but you won’t get to be Liam’s brother.  But don’t worry, I’m assured you won’t be alone. And in any case you’ll get to come here and play with your friends every day.”  

     Ethan shook his head. “No way. You step anywhere near me and I’ll break your neck.  I’m leaving, right now.”  

     Janet shook her head. “You can’t leave sweetie, you won’t be able to drive. In a few minutes you won’t be safe walking down the street, you could get distracted by a pretty birdie and wander into the road.

     “You should just stay right here. In a moment all you’ll want is for me to help you get undressed like Jackson and Timmy.  You’ll be happy to join them, play with them.  All these big boy worries will be completely gone, forever.”  

     Ethan shook his head again, but this time something odd happened. The whole room seemed to swing back and forth. He swayed on his feet, blinking his eyes.

     “Ah, there we are. You’re feeling it now, aren’t you sweetie?”

     “What… what is this?” Ethan demanded, feeling dizzy, feeling spacey and slow.

     “The same thing as happened at Claire’s house baby. Don’t you feel it in your feeties, the nice tingles?”

     And Ethan knew she was right. He could feel the tingles in his feet, his bare feet on the thick carpet. He looked over at Janet, at her thick socks, then at the other children. He was barefoot like them.  They were all being exposed, not Janet.  

     She nodded. “That’s right baby, it’s in the fibres. The kind at Claire’s house worked fast but it wasn’t powerful enough.  Then you experienced the plaster. It works very fast, but it was always going to be a temporary fix, just enough to keep you docile and simple until we could expose you to the permanent form again.  Too bad you got it off before we could collect you.  

     “Oh well, it’s all worked out in the end. This carpet takes longer to kick in, but it is so, so much more powerful. We increased the dose just for you baby.  It’s going to feel amazing, I promise.”  

     Ethan didn’t want to hear it. He needed to leave, but the tingling feeling was filling his whole body now and it was amazing.  He scrunched his toes in the carpet and endorphins washed over his whole being.  

     Janet was already beside him now, rubbing his arm, looking into his eyes. “That’s right, it feels so good doesn’t it,” she whispered. “Mmmm, so much pleasure,” she cooed, as though she were feeling it too.  

     Ethan wanted to stop it, but the pleasure seemed to double just at the mention of the word.  He moaned out loud, the whole room seeming to grow brighter, shinier with each second.  

     “That’s it baby, let it take all the worries away for good.”  

     “No,” Ethan managed to say. “I dun wan’ it. Not forever,” he insisted.

     But Janet kept rubbing his arm. “Sorry Ethan, but it’s a one way trip this time. We can’t risk someone who’s been through our process talking about it can we?  We need to make sure every last bit of those big boy smarts are gone, permanently.”  

     He didn’t want to lose his smarts, he didn’t want any of this. He yanked his arm away from her and walked back towards Jackson.  They both needed to go. They were buddies, they had to leave together.  Every step caressed the soles of his feet, his head lighting up with bliss.

     Jackson was sitting on his bottom facing Timmy.  They were pulling their feet back and forth, giggling at one another, nibbling on the tips of their toes like the very dumbest of babies.  

     “Jackthon, we gotta go!” Ethan yelled.  

     Jackson looked up at him slack jawed, then popped his big toe back into his mouth and stared cross-eyed at it.  

     “Jackthon, we gettin dumb!” Ethan tried to warn him, but the boy was just sitting there bare bummed and drooling all over his foot.  It was evident it was far too late for Jackson. Janet was right, his mind was gone forever. Now Ethan had to leave before he ended up down there with him.  

     He turned himself back around, heading for the door. His head was already so foggy, but he was sure if he got off the carpet the big thoughts would eventually come back.  He just needed to leave.  Right next to the door were his sandals. He just needed to put them on. But no matter how hard he tried, he didn’t know how. There was just a big empty space in his mind where the knowledge had been. He couldn’t recall left and right, he didn’t know front to back.  He couldn’t begin to understand how the buckles worked.  No, he’d have to leave them.  

     Except there was one more problem. There was this stupid fluffy teddy bear sitting on the floor right in front of the door.  In fact he recognises it as Liam’s teddy.  Where had that come from? He should just kick it aside. But that would be so mean. Teddy wasn’t hurting anyone. He should move him. He reached down and picked the teddy up with both hands.

     The sensations travelled through his hands and up his arms, straight to his brain. It was ten times better than from the floor. “Ugh, ohhhh,” he grunted then sighed, a huge section of his mind going dark, intelligence simply being blasted away.  

     Reasoning powers dimming, Ethan smiled at the friendly teddy bear, pulling it close and cuddling it against his cheek. All thoughts of running away vanished.  Teddy was so cuddly. Ethan felt just lovely touching him, holding him.  

     A nice hand on his back and a warm voice in his ear. “Isn’t teddy nice darling?”

     He nods his head against teddy’s fur. “I wike teddy,” he agrees. “Him fuzzy.”

     “Yes, he makes you feel extra lovely, I know.  Now, why don’t we get you changed. You’ve been playing dress up, time to get back into uniform.”

     Ethan nods silently. He can’t remember where he is, what’s going on. He just knows he feels good and he needs to be a good boy and do as the nice lady says.  He feels her take off his shorts, steps up extra high for her while she lifts them from his feet.  Then she snakes his shirt off him, careful to let him keep holding teddy though. It feels even better when he can press teddy against his bare skin.  

     “Ready for your new shirt?” she asks a moment later, holding up a bright yellow polo shirt.  

     Ethan frowns. Teddy is so nice on his skin, he doesn’t want the shirt between him and the fur.  But can he be shirtless? Aren’t people supposed to wear shirts? He looks over teddy and sees Timmy crawling on the carpet. Timmy isn’t wearing a shirt. Why not? Then he remembers something very important. Timmy’s a little boy. Little boys don’t need to wear shirts, just like they don’t need to wear shoes. He looks down at his feet. He’s got no shoes, his toes are all wiggly in the soft carpet, just like Timmy’s. He’s got little boy bare feeties. He’s little just like Timmy. And little boys don’t need to wear clothes at all.  Timmy’s a silly little jaybird. What a silly little boy he is!  

     Is Ethan like Timmy? For a second that feels like a very silly idea, but then he isn’t sure why. Teacher will know, the nice lady will be able to tell him.  

     He shakes his head. “Dun wan’ it,” he tells her.  

     The lady smiles. She isn’t upset, she isn’t angry with him.  “You want shorts?” she asks instead.  

     Ethan feels super extra silly when he shakes his head again. He can’t help but smile, can’t help but grin at how silly he’s being.  

     And the lady smiles again, so he knows it’s okay. She nods and puts the shirt down.  “That’s fine Ethan, little boys don’t have to wear shirts or shorts in my class. And you’re a little boy, aren’t you sweetie?”

     Ethan feels so good knowing he was right. “Yeff!” he answers eagerly.  

     “But I really can’t have a little boy wearing such grown-up undies, they aren’t right for a little boy at all,” the lady says.

     Ethan looks down at his boxer shorts. They’re all tented out in the front, all pointy. No those aren’t the right undies for a little boy.  And he’s glad when the pretty lady reaches over and slips them down his legs. His pee-pee flops out right away, all big and happy.  That’s okay, all sense of modesty has floated away with the rest of the big boy worries.  Ethan just feels a lovely sense of freedom when the air hits his doodle.

     She gently fondles his stiff doodle and says, “Yes, that’s perfect, look at what a happy boy you are. I told you this would be fun.”

     Ethan’s breathing gets faster, his penis jerking and oozing precum.  “Big doodle!” he announces.

     Janet nods. “Yes it sure is. Why don’t you go show your friends, I’m sure they’ll want to see you’re a jaybird too.”

     Yes, that makes sense, Ethan wants to show the other boys he’s little like them.  It feels so, so good to know that now, to have that certainty of where he fits in this classroom.  He turns and toddles to the group of boys.  They look up at him, naked like Timmy, his penis bouncing against his tummy, bobbing back and forth like a metronome as he walks, and they smile and giggle.  

     “Him nakey!” Jackson declares brightly.  

     “Jay-buwd!” Timmy announces too.

     And there is no shame, no embarrassment as Ethan drops to his hands and knees with the others. Yes, his place is with them, on the floor, playing with toys, being a silly little boy. And it makes him, so, so excited to know that.  It’s the most arousing thing he’s ever thought about.  And he can’t help it as he takes teddy and pushes him down against his pee-pee and then begins to hump him.  

     It’s ecstasy as his penis rubs long and hard against the magic fur, blasting away what little remained of his cognition, of his awareness.  The other young men giggle and watch the show.  His breathing speeds up, grows ragged. His body tenses, back arching and at that moment he experiences a sudden mental clarity, a window of perfect lucidity.  

     He becomes completely aware of what he is doing and where. There is revulsion to the pit of his stomach as he realises he’s buck naked on the floor masturbating in front of all these people, even Janet standing above them, smiling at his total loss of inhibitions. He let her strip away all his clothes, even his boxers. He asked her to do it, to let him be nude.  He had been so close to leaving when he’d picked up the teddy, he was sure that he could have gotten away otherwise, they couldn’t have stopped him. And he was equally certain that it was now too late.

     He knew he was about to become just like the mentally impaired young men surrounding him. All of his education, his preparations for adulthood would mean nothing, would be forgotten, wiped away as though he’d never been to a day of school or even kindergarten. He’d never teach another class, he wouldn’t even know his ABCs, wouldn’t be able to count his own fingers or toes.  His bright career would never happen, it was over before it began.  

     In a moment that seemed to stretch into an eternity he thought about the car he’d never be able to drive again, the rented house with all his stuff in it, things he’d never see again and wouldn’t know how to use. He wouldn’t be able to contact his parents, his friends, to tell them what had happened, he wouldn’t know how to use a phone, wouldn’t have the vocabulary to explain even if someone dialled it for him.

     The naked and half-naked toe-sucking, babbling, drooling young men around him were visions of his future. He’d never learn, never grow up.  He’d spend his days playing at grown-ups feet.  And the very worst part was that he’d enjoy it. He was going to forget just how wrong this all was, he was going to forget that this was forced on him, that he had intelligence before, that he knew things.  

     He just couldn’t let that happen. He couldn’t let them take that too. He had to remember, just that one thing, that this was wrong. They could make him a moron but they couldn’t make him happy about it, make him a grinning idiot like the rest.  He focused all his effort on holding onto that memory.

     He came with more force than he ever had in his life. Every nerve sang with bliss. His bare toes curled tight, his back arched further and he exploded jets of warm pearlescent cum across the teddy’s soft fur, onto the carpet, across his tummy and chest.  

     “Ahhh, ohhhh,” he moaned, experiencing complete euphoria for thirty solid seconds.  

     Finally Ethan dropped back from the cum-covered teddy, sitting on his bottom, legs splaying wide apart, catching his breath.  

     Janet knelt down at his side, a hand on his bare back.  “There we go, that was it sweetie, all those big boy thoughts are gone for good now. A lovely special sticky squirt is just the thing to finish the process off.  And I think those stickies might have even been a bit bigger than the ones Jackson made for us Friday night.”

     Ethan looked over at the woman who had just destroyed his adult mind, blinking his wide, unfocused eyes at her, face slack.  A moment passed, then he grinned, a big ear to ear smile.  “Awll sticky!” he chirped, patting his hands on his cum-streaked tummy.

     Janet chuckled. “You certainly are Ethan, you’re a real mess buddy.”

     He laughed along with her, wriggling his legs back and forth and chewing on his fingers.  There was no sign of enmity from him, just peaceful acceptance of this as being normal.  Janet simply cleaned him up and left him to play with the others.

     Ethan twisted around and watched her leave. He was finally alone with Jackson and the other boys. They looked at him, seeming to be wondering what he’d want to do now.  Ethan grinned at the boys and announced, “Efan siwwy,” before grabbing his right foot and jamming his big toe in his mouth, slurping away at it.  The other boys giggled and quickly copied his antics. They were quickly becoming playmates.

     Epilogue

     Six Months Later

     Winter had come to Ngatea. It was damp and rainy and only about eight degrees Celsius in the mornings but Jack Sanders was amazed to see most of his new students at Ngatea Special School arriving in shorts and bare feet.  He was here to relieve Janet, the Nursery class teacher, for a month.  It was his first job out of university, so he hoped he didn’t mess it up.

     A few minutes before the bell a pretty blonde woman approached leading another young man by the hand. Like so many before him he wore a yellow fleece jumper over his polo shirt and a baggy pair of navy school shorts but was still barefoot, his feet looking wet and muddy from the walk to school.  His caregiver was in sensible boots of course, but apparently didn’t see that as necessary for him.  It wasn’t like the poor young man had the sense to know what was good for him.  It was obvious from the slack expression on his face and the vacant eyes that he was just another mental toddler like the others.  

     “Hi there!” Jack greeted them cheerily nonetheless.  “I’m Jack, the relief teacher, and I just wanted to be here to say hello right at the start.”  

     The woman smiled. “Well hello there Jack, it’s very nice to meet you.  This is my little one, and I’m sure he’d like to say hello, wouldn’t you honey?”  

     The barefooted young man grinned a silly, dumb smile, licking at his lips in an awkward way and twisting his dirty toes on the floor.  “Hewwo,” he slurred.  

     “Hi there buddy,” Jack replied.

     “Tell him your name sweetie-pie. Remember how Mummy taught you that?” she prompted.

     The blank-eyed man was slack-jawed but he nodded dutifully and said, “I Efan.”  

     Jack put on his best fake smile and said, “Wow, hi Ethan, it’s really cool to meet you. Can you give me a high five?” he asked, holding out his hand.  

     Ethan giggled childishly and slapped the offered hand with his free one.  

     “Wow, what a strong boy you are!” Jack declared, pretending his hand hurt.  

     Ethan squealed happily. “Efan stwong!” he declared proudly.  

     “Okay buddy, we better get you into class. Your tootsies must be awful chilly.”  

     “Oh his feet will be fine, he never wears shoes, absolutely refuses to,” the woman explained. “And I’m afraid he’ll have the rest of that uniform stripped off in no time flat,” she warned.

     “No problem, from what I’ve been told he’s not alone in that.”  

     “Yeah, they just don’t know any better,” she said. Then she told Ethan, “Bye-bye honey, be a good boy for Mummy,” and gave him a hug.  

     Ethan nodded then turned to Jack and lunged forward, giving him a big hug as well.  Jack was a bit taken aback, but he closed his arms around the man’s body and whispered, “Aww, thanks buddy. You’re a really sweet little guy aren’t you?”

     “Efan gib cuddles,” the boy answered.  

     Soon enough the whole class was there and Jack was ready to start. The only thing was something had been bothering him since he’d met Ethan. The boy strongly reminded him of a guy he went to university with a few years ago.  Was it possible that it was the same guy?  

     He walked into the room and looked for Ethan.  The young man was already stripped down to his birthday suit, his uniform clothes strewn around the floor.  Ethan was climbing on one of the low tables, showing off those thickly callused but filthy bare soles of his and mooning everyone.  Jack just rolled his eyes. Of course this wasn’t the same guy. What the hell had he even been thinking? The Ethan he’d known was a bright university student.  This poor fellow had never made it past nursery school.  There was no point investigating it any further.  

     “Ethan, get your dirty bum-bum off the table silly boy!” he called to the overgrown tot.  

     Ethan twisted around and giggled, creeping off the table and then running away as the teacher pretended to chase him. He wasn’t afraid of course, he was just playing.  And that was what his life was about now, playing. He was good at playing.  It was easy, even for a special little boy like him.  

     The only tiny flicker of a memory of his past that Ethan had wasn’t triggered until much later in the day, when teacher took his shoes and socks off to be more comfy.  Ethan didn’t know how he knew it, he didn’t even think about it.  He just knew to get the teddy bear from the toy pile because teacher would need it soon. And that made Ethan smile because somehow, as though by instinct, he just knew that meant he’d be getting another playmate soon.

    The End

    The Special Teacher: Chapter 6

    Making New Friends 

    He was sure they’d chase after him, but he was bigger, he had his muscles, they were just girls. But when he looked back over his shoulder there was no one following him.  He was alone.  But he was also lost. He had no idea where this show was and he had no money, no phone, no car keys on him.  He felt naked without them.  Even if he could get to a phone he had no idea who to call. All his friends’ numbers were in his contacts, he didn’t know their actual phone numbers.

     To make matters worse he could feel people watching him, their eyes glancing over his stupid shirt and then down to his bare feet.  They thought he was one of the retards. They thought he shouldn’t be on his own.  So he walked with as much determination and maturity as he could, arms crossed over his chest to hide as much of the stupid cartoon monkey as possible.  

     It’s a very long walk home. Thankfully Ngatea is a small town or it could have proved impossible.  Still, he was barely halfway there and his feet were already killing him. How on Earth did Liam and the others walk all the way from their houses to school, play there all day running around like crazy, then walk all the way home, all in their bare feet?

     And then it got worse. A jab of lightning hot pain stabbed through his big toe.  Ethan cursed and grabbed at his foot, hopping on the other one then dropping to his bottom on the roughly paved footpath.  He looked over the sole of his right foot, spotting the bright red blood bubbling from the big toe where he’d stepped on a particularly sharp twig.  Damn it all! It was bad enough the bottom of his foot was now just as filthy as his students’ usually were, adding to his juvenile appearance, but now he was injured as well and with another couple kilometres to walk.  

     As he sat there wallowing in self-pity a middle aged man turned the corner and noticed his trouble. The man regarded him with some concern, no doubt taking in his wardrobe before asking, “Are you okay there buddy?”

     Ethan cringed. It was obvious from the tone of voice that the man thought he was one of the town morons. A big part of him wanted to quickly correct that mistake, tell the man he was a grown adult and didn’t need his condescension.  But on the other hand that seemed likely to be even more embarrassing. A grown man dressed like this, with a bleeding toe.  It was easier just to play along for now.  

     “Hurt my toe,” he whispered back.  

     The man’s concern deepened and he knelt down beside Ethan.  “Oh, you poor boy, let me have a look,” he urged.

     Ethan died of shame inside as he let the man take his dirty foot and examine the wound.  After a moment he smiled and assured, “It’s not too bad. Where do you live?”

     “Te Aroha Road.”

     “Really?!” the man exclaimed. “What are you doing all the way over here all by yourself?”

     Ethan didn’t have an answer for that, so just shrugged.

     “Well, that’s too far to walk with a cut like this,” he said. Then he ran his fingers gently across the rest of Ethan’s bare sole. It tickled and made him feel even more uncomfortable, especially as he couldn’t help but giggle.  

     “And your feet are so soft,” the man noted, sounding surprised. “You better come back to my house, it’s just around the corner. We’ll get that cut cleaned up and then I’ll drive you home. That sound okay?”

     Ethan didn’t see he had much choice, so he nodded and let the man help him up. He didn’t let go of Ethan’s hand once he was up though, he led him by it, like he might run into the street after a shiny ball if not guided by an adult.  It made him blush, but he said nothing, he just needed to get home, change into adult clothes, then he could worry about his dignity.  

     “What’s your name by the way? I’m Richard.”

     “Ethan,” he answered quietly.

     “Well don’t you worry Ethan, we’ll have you fixed up in no time.  I’ve dealt with ouchie toes plenty of times before. It’s an occupational hazard for you boys always running around with bare feet.”

     Ethan cringed at being called a boy, at the assumption he’d chosen to run around dressed like this.  He walked on the heel of his right foot until they got to the man’s house, which did luckily turn out to be just around the corner.  He noted there were some plastic toys abandoned in the front yard. Before he could ask about them the sound of plastic wheels on pavement grabbed his attention.  

     A young man was riding a big plastic child’s toy that looked like a tractor.  The fellow looked to be in his late teens but was clearly one of the special school students.  He wore a green t-shirt that reached his belly-button and nothing else. As he propelled himself down the driveway with his own bare feet his hairless, fully exposed penis flopped against the plastic seat of his toy.  

     “Da-dee! I widin!” the young man shouted, grinning from ear to ear.  

     The older man smiled at the boy on the toy and called out, “I can see that sweetie. Look at you go!”

     The boy giggled and raced his toy right up to them, stopping it sharply before them and grinning ear to ear at his Daddy and the visitor, swinging his legs out and wiggling his toes. “Who dat?” he asked, no sense of manners, of introductions.

     “This is Ethan and he’s got an ouchie toe, so Daddy is just going to help him get it cleaned up,” Richard answered for him.

     The teen boy pointed at the hurt foot and said, “Gotta boo-boo.”  

     Richard nodded. “That’s right Simon. Just like you did last week.”

     Simon nodded, actually looking proud, perhaps at remembering correctly. He grabbed one of his filthy, rough-soled feet and held it up to show it to his Daddy and the guest. “Wads awll ouchie,” he explained in his toddlerish diction. “Daddy kiff it bettah!” he declared, as though to assure Ethan that Daddy knew just what to do.  

     “I sure did,” Richard agreed, reaching over and mussing up the boy’s hair, earning an ear splitting screech of joy from Simon.  

     “So you going to be my special helper?” Richard asked the boy.

     “Yeth!” Simon assured, standing up and abandoning his toy, reaching for his Daddy’s free hand.  

     Richard took the teen’s hand and they began to head for the house.  But they’d only made it a few steps when Simon stopped abruptly and grabbed his dangling, floppy penis with his free hand, saying, “Uh-oh!”

     Richard stopped too, asking Simon, “Is it tinkles buddy?”  

     Simon nodded sharply. “Pee-peeth!” he echoed.  

     “Well, do them now before we go inside silly boy!” Richard urged.

     Simon giggled and pulled his hand free of his Daddy’s, widening his stance and grabbing his bare penis with both hands. It was only a second before he released a steady stream of tinkles into the grass before them.  

     Ethan couldn’t believe the man was allowing the boy to urinate in their front yard like this. It was absolutely disgusting.  “No potty?” he asked, too shocked to stay silent.

     Richard shook his head. “No need for that out here. It’s why we always let Simon be nakey-bummed when he plays outside. Much easier to do tinkles whenever the need strikes him and no accidents in his undies means no extra laundry for Daddy.”

     Ethan felt a wave of revulsion at this explanation. The poor boy should be starting university, leaving home, becoming independent, dating girls, going to parties.  Instead he was left half-naked to play in the yard because he wasn’t house broken yet, because he needed to pee in the grass like a puppy. And worst of all, he was smiling, he was oblivious to his state of utter dependence.  He was just a simply little toddler in a big body and that’s probably all he’d ever be. This was his future, Ethan could see it. In ten years he could come back here and Simon would still be running around the yard with a floppy bare penis, doing his tinkles on the plants.  He’d never know any better.  

     The stream slowed down to a series of spurts, then Simon was done.  Richard rubbed the boy’s back and cooed, “You sure had a lot of tinkles that time buddy. Good boy.”  

     Simon absolutely beamed at the praise, turning to his father and letting himself be embraced in a tight hug. It wasn’t a manly hug, brief and with back slapping. No, it was a cuddle, a tight long embrace with Simon’s head resting on his Daddy’s shoulder.  

     “Okay, now, let’s deal with that toe,” Richard finally said, ending the cuddle and taking Simon’s hand again.  

     The house had been toddler proofed for a giant tot.  Instead of knee-high gates at the doors there were soft mesh gates covering the whole door frame.  Not just the lower kitchen cabinets but the upper ones also had childproof latches. Toys were scattered here and there, left wherever Simon had grown tired of them.  

     Richard noticed him looking at the toys.  “You can play a bit after we fix up your toe buddy.  I’m sure Simon would love to have a friend.”  

     “Hab a fwiend!” Simon parroted brightly, hopping up and down so his hairless pee-pee flopped against his tummy.  

     Ethan shook his head, he had no intention of staying here a moment longer than he had to. “I gotta get home,” he insisted. “Or… I’ll be in trouble,” he added, remembering to maintain his embarrassing cover.  

     Richard nodded. “Of course, we wouldn’t want that.”  

     They went up to the bathroom, Ethan sitting on the side of a tub filled with toddler bath toys.  Simon dropped to his bare bottom on the floor, legs bowed out in front of him, wiggling his toes against one another and sucking his fingers.  What kind of a life was this, Ethan wondered.  He often thought it about his students, but he never saw how they lived out of school. To see what awaited them at home, it was jarring.  

     Richard got anti-bacterial wipes and plasters from the medicine cabinet.  “Okay, let’s see that boo-boo,” he said kindly, kneeling down and cleaning the cut with the wipes.

     “Ow!” Ethan couldn’t help squealing as the alcohol covered wipes made the cut sting nastily.

     Richard frowned. “Sorry Ethan, but your feeties are very dirty and we don’t want the cut getting infected. It’s all clean now and it won’t hurt long.”  

     Ethan nodded and gritted his teeth until the stinging subsided.  

     “There we go, now a nice cool plaster for your war wound,” Richard joked, taking out a bright yellow SpongeBob plaster and wrapping at around Ethan’s big toe.  “And it’s all done!”  

     Ethan was glad to have it over with. The god awful bright yellow plaster with its cartoon design was annoying, but at least now he could be on his way.  He was about to stand back up when he noticed the toe was still tingling, but not in the same way as before. It wasn’t a stinging sensation, like the wipes. No it was actually kind of pleasant.  

     “See, you’re good as new!” Richard declared, patting his knee.  

     “Good ath newth!” Simon chirped around his fingers, wriggling his bare legs on the floor and clapping his feet together.  

     Ethan felt kind of funny as he stood up, sort of light headed. He blinked as a rush of fuzziness seemed to stuff his head up, clogging his brain.  

     “You feeling better now Ethan?” Richard asked.

     Ethan only half caught his question, but managed to nod. The whole room seemed to nod up and down along with him.  It was kind of silly, it made him giggle in fact.  What a silly thing to do, what a silly boy he was being.  

     “Yes, you’re feeling much better,” Richard nodded. “Is your head all fluffy sweetie? All light and airy for me?”

     “Uh-huh,” Ethan confirmed. “All fwuffy.”  

     He had to giggle again. His tongue felt all heavy and he’d said that word real funny.  

     Richard smiled and put his hand on Ethan’s shoulder comfortingly. “I know, it feels really good doesn’t it?  That’s your special plaster doing its job. It doesn’t just fix the boo-boo on your toesie, it also fixes your head.”

     Ethan gaped down at the special plaster, wondering how something way down on his foot could fix his head.  And what was wrong with his head? Did it have a boo-boo too? He wasn’t sure. Suddenly he was quite confused about a lot of things.  He looked back at Richard with slack-jawed confusion, feeling lost, feeling out of his depth.  

     “That’s right, it’s okay buddy, c’mere,” Richard cooed, opening his arms and inviting Ethan into a hug.

     Ethan was more than happy to accept the cuddle. He wrapped his arms around the kind man and felt the Daddy’s arms close around his body, pulling him in extra tight. It felt so perfect, so safe. All his worries and confusion slipped away and he relaxed in the man’s embrace, letting his head rest against Richard’s strong shoulder. The man’s hand rubbed his back so gently, one cupping the back of his head too.

     Richard whispered in his ear, “Good boy Ethan. Let it all go, let all the big boy thoughts go bye-byes. It feels just wonderful doesn’t it?”

     Before the plaster went on his toe Ethan would have screamed at such a prospect, would have shoved the man away and run for it, cut toe or not.  But now being called a good boy made him feel warm and loved, deep down inside. And the question was said with such kindness, it had to be a good thing. He found himself giggling even more, then turning his head to face the kind man and planting a big wet smooch on his cheek.  

     It was Richard’s turn to giggle now.  “Oh, what a loving little boy you are,” he said.  

     Ethan didn’t even register that he was being called little. He made no objection this time, no insistence he was a big boy even.  His head was too floaty, too melty.  

     “Now, we do have to get you home to Mummy soon, but I think first a little play time would be nice,” Richard mused, slowly releasing Ethan from the cuddle.  

     The idea of Mummy coming for him should have been terrifying, but now Ethan could only imagine more cuddles and kisses when he thought of Mummy.  And play time sounded absolutely perfect!  

     “Yeff! Wanna pway!” Ethan agreed, not even noticing his loss of diction and vocabulary now.  

     Simon had climbed into a squatting position now and clapped his hands with joy at getting a new playmate.

     “Okay, let’s get you two outside. It’s a lovely day after all,” Richard declared, taking Simon’s hand as he stood up and holding on to one of Ethan’s.  

     Ethan didn’t mind being led by the hand now. His intelligence was still slowly but surely ebbing away and he couldn’t recall feeling more excited about playing before. He was happy to be led to wherever the toys were. And he knew the grown-up man was in charge, he was just a little boy.  He needed to be good and let the man hold his hand.  

     They headed back down to the front door, still wide open, the bright sunlight flooding in from the yard. But Richard stopped them at the front door. Ethan looked out at the yard and everything seemed brighter and more exciting again. He grinned ear to ear as the plastic toys left in the grass caught his eye.  Toys were so much fun!  

     “Hold on buddy,” Richard said, holding Ethan back from running outside on his own to get to the toys.

     “Wan dem toyth!” Ethan pleaded, pointing.

     “I know buddy, but first I think you might be more comfy with your shorts and undies off, so you can tinkle easier, like Simon,” Richard suggested.

     Ethan looked over at Simon, at the other boy, his equal, his playmate. He looked at Simon’s soft, hairless doodle hanging between his legs, all nakey.  Yes, he wanted to be like his buddy of course, he wanted to be just like Simon. And it was so tricky to get clothes off when he needed to make pee-pees. Yes, this would make things so much easier.

     “Wan’ off,” he agreed, tugging at the elastic waist of his board shorts with his free hand.  

     Richard smiled. “That’s what I thought.  You’ll be much more comfy all nakey-bummed.”

     Richard snaked his thumbs into the waist of Ethan’s shorts, grabbing the undies’ waist too, then yanked them both down in a single swift move. Ethan smiled at the feeling of air on his doodle and bum, placing his hands on Richard’s shoulders for balance as the man slipped his shorts and undies off each of his feet.  

     He felt the man’s big hand rub his smooth bare bottom as he stood back up with the discarded shorts now left in a heap on the floor.  “There we go. That’s much better isn’t it?”

     Ethan nodded with a grin. It felt much better than he’d even expected. No wonder Simon liked being bare-bottomed so much.  Why would he ever wear undies if he didn’t have to?  

     Richard looked down and seemed to be really touched, smiling and patting Ethan’s shoulder.  “Oh sweetie, I’m so glad to see you’re really enjoying this.”  

     Ethan didn’t understand what the grown-up meant. He was feeling really good though, really happy and all tingly in his head.  

     Richard continued though. “Look how happy your pee-pee is silly boy,” he said, gesturing.  

     Ethan looked down and saw that his doodle was indeed standing straight up, all stiff and big, the head bobbing against the bottom of his t-shirt.  What a silly doodle he had! Richard reached over and lightly caressed it, stroking softly from his balls up the shaft.  Pleasure exploded into Ethan’s head and he moaned and gasped.  

     “Oh sweetie, you really needed this didn’t you? You’re so excited you can barely contain yourself. I’m so happy I could help you,” Richard cooed, leaning in and kissing Ethan softly on his forehead. “You’re going to be such a happy boy, just like my little Simon. He needed it so badly too. And you’re just the same.”  

     Ethan was barely listening. He was lost in ecstasy from having his pee-pee fondled.  But then Richard’s hand slipped away.  Ethan frowned and pushed forward. He wanted more! But Richard shook his head. “No sweetie, you need to save your creamies for Mummy. She’ll help you baby, don’t you worry.”  

     Ethan didn’t want to wait. But then Richard gestured towards the toys again, and whatever he’d been thinking about was utterly forgotten.  Ethan wanted to play!  

     “Go ahead boys, have fun,” Richard directed.

     Simon toddled out the door and Ethan followed right after him. The sun was warm and delightful on his skin, the grass so perfect and soft under his feet. They reached the plastic tractors and fire trucks and cars in the middle of the lawn and both young men fell to their hands and knees in the dirt.  Ethan grabbed a bright yellow toy tractor. It felt so satisfying in his hands. He pushed it along in the grass, his doodle going soft now, swinging free between his thighs just like Simon’s. The grass tickled it now and then, made him shiver and giggle, made it twitch like it might get all happy and stiff again.  But he was too engrossed with the toys and the feelings would pass.

     They played there for an unknown amount of time before Simon tired of his fire truck toy and sat back on his bottom, playing with his own toes.  Ethan let go of his toy too, wanting to mimic his buddy. The grass was so gentle on the smooth skin of his bare bum when he sat on it.  He grabbed his feet, exploring them like Simon was doing. It was fascinating how the toes wiggled.

     Simon calmly yanked one foot right to his face and jammed his big toe in his mouth, slurping away at it, his eyes calmly scanning the sky. Ethan wondered what that taste like. He pulled his foot to his mouth and slipped his big toe between his lips.  It was rough and funny tasting.  But then something came loose in his mouth, something icky. He let the foot go and spit out the icky thing. It was the plaster. He’d forgot he had it on.  Oopsie. He was a silly boy for forgetting.

     No matter, Ethan grabbed the other foot, trying that big toe. Yes, that was better. He probed it with his tongue, licking at the dirt on it, gazing over at the flowers along the fence, wondering what they taste like. He wanted to know.  He let his foot go, stood up and toddled right over to them, dropping down to a squat, resting on his haunches and grabbing a flower in his clumsy hands. He giggled brightly as it came loose, jamming it straight into his mouth, chewing at it.  

     Yucky! He spat the flower out. He didn’t like that at all. It was bright and pretty but didn’t taste nice. He felt warm liquid on his toes then and looked down to realise with total surprise that he was making pee-pees. Uh-ohs! He stood up, still doing tinkles, but managed to direct his doodle away so he got them on the flowers. He giggled because he was watering the flowers! What a silly boy he was! He scrunched his icky toesies in the grass, continuing to pee-pee, when with shocking rapidity the fog in his brain lifted.  

     It was like a light-switch was flipped. Ethan was fully lucid and horribly aware that he was standing naked from the belly-button down, peeing on the flowers in full view of Simon and Richard and, even worse, the road.  What the fuck was he doing?! Why had he allowed the man to strip him naked like this and send him outside that way? More memories came flooding back and he gagged and nearly vomited as he recalled sucking his toes, his jamming his filthy bare feet in his mouth.  

     The peeing finally came to an end and Ethan was able to look around the yard.  He instantly spotted the bright yellow plaster in the grass. The light-headed feeling, the tingling and foggy mentality had come on as soon as the plaster was on his toe.  To his horror he realised that only his infantile decision to suck his toes has saved him, had removed the offending plaster.  

     But now what?  He turned around to face the house, forcing himself not to cover his penis, not to give away his mental clarity.  Simon was lying on his back in the grass, still playing with his toes.  Richard was sitting on the front steps, on his phone, not paying full attention. But he couldn’t very well run for it this way.  No, he had to get his shorts back on at the least.  

     Ethan toddled back across the lawn, straight up to Richard, ready to put on his best act.  He nibbled on his index finger, trying to make his eyes wide and dumb looking.  The man looked up from his phone with a smile. It was time to act.  Ethan grabbed his penis, not to hide it, no to play with it, to yank at it like silly toddlers with no shame did.  He grinned dumbly around his finger and said, “I wan’ juthe!”  

     Richard nodded, looking perfectly satisfied that the man before him had the mentality of a two year old. “Sure you can buddy. I saw you made some tinkles on the flowers, that must have felt good.”  

     Cringing inside Ethan nodded like a bobble-head and announced, “Doned uh-ohs!”  

     Was it too much? Was his over the top performance going to seal his fate? Was Richard going to force another plaster on his toe and watch him extra carefully this time, till his brains were gone for good and he wouldn’t even have to act like a toddler again, he’d actually think like one?  It was a legitimate fear. If he didn’t get away right now he had no doubt Richard would make certain the next treatment was complete. A week from now, a year from now he’d still be lying in the grass with his penis flopping about for all to see, munching his toes next to Simon, a simpleton’s grin on his face.

     But Richard simply said, “You sure did buddy, lots of uh-ohs. Okay, I’ll go get you some juice.”

     The man got up and headed into the house.  Ethan waited for him to completely disappear then darted inside to where his shorts and undies were thankfully sill lying in a heap. He yanked them on as fast as he could, then darted back out.  But how to get away? His feet were still killing him and now there was no plaster on the cut.

     That’s when he spotted the mountain bike with training wheels attached, sitting just inside the open garage. Wasting no time he sprinted across the yard, hopped on the bike and peddled it down the driveway and onto the footpath. He knew he still looked like a special boy riding a training wheeled bike in bare feet, but it was his best bet.  

     All the way home he kept looking over his shoulder, expecting a car to be following him, for another kind stranger with ulterior motives to jump out and capture him.  But that didn’t happen.  He made it home, hid the bike in the bushes and found his spare key still under the flower pot.  

    The Special Teacher: Chapter 5

    Blast From the Past

    The room looked much different in the morning sunlight.  Somehow it appeared even more juvenile with the pale hues of the walls and ceiling illuminated so well.  Ethan didn’t notice though. He awoke to the most comforting sensation of being cuddled in his brother’s arms, the other boy’s breath warm on his cheek as he continued to slumber.  

     But Ethan didn’t want to keep sleeping, he felt eager to start the day now.  He rolled over, waking Liam up as well.  He blinked the sleep away and smiled at Ethan.  

     “Lez wake Mummy,” he suggested.

     Ethan liked the idea instantly. He climbed out of bed, his pee-pee all big again, flapping against his tummy as he hurried after Liam, who was giggling as he raced out of the bedroom and down the hallway, straight into Mummy’s bedroom.  

     Mummy was still asleep, but that didn’t last long. Liam pounced on her bed, laughing loudly as she was jolted awake.  Ethan wasn’t far behind, flopping onto Mummy’s bed and crawling up to her side, smiling at her, his stiff pee-pee waggling about between his legs.  Mummy was startled, but not angry. She grinned right at Ethan and said, “Looks like somebody is still feeling silly this morning.”

     Ethan didn’t really understand, but he liked being silly, that was certain.  He nodded and lied down beside her, pecking a big good morning smooch on her cheek.  Liam did the same and Mummy pulled back the covers and told them, “C’mon then, let’s cuddle.”  

     Ethan shivered with joy, climbing under the covers and snuggling his lovely Mummy for all he was worth. It was a perfect start to the day.  And after a few minutes of cuddles Mummy turned on the TV and Ethan instantly recognised his favourite show, Sesame Street!  He and Liam reversed direction, lying on their tummies with their feeties swinging in the air, giving Mummy a perfect view of their bare bum-bums.  They didn’t care, Elmo was on!  

     It was only when the show was over that Mummy reminded them, “Okay boys, time to brush your teeth like good boys, then you can have breakfast. Remember we’ve got a busy day in front of us.”  

     **

     The big day Mummy was talking about turned out to be a trip to the A&P Show.  It was a rural Kiwi tradition, a weekend where all the farmers turned up and showed off their best produce and stock. But there was more than sheep and cows to look at, there would be rides for the kids, games to play, food stalls and more.  It was a big day for little Ngatea and they got to be a part of it!

     After brushing his teeth and letting Mummy fill his tummy with brekkie Ethan found himself getting dressed for the day.  He didn’t choose his outfit of course. That was Mummy’s job. His job was to be a good boy and not fuss too much while she worked his new shirt over his head and arms, take big steps into his fluffy new undies and shorts.  Ethan knew how to do that, he was a smart cookie, Mummy said so.

     Finally they were heading out the front door, all ready to go. It was all very exciting and Ethan was looking forward to seeing all the animals.  His nice new bright orange t-shirt had an animal on it too. It was a monkey! Mummy said it was appropriate for a cheeky monkey like him.  There were words too, but he couldn’t read them upside down.  He wore board shorts with his shirt. They were baggy and comfy, falling well below his knees. There was a little cargo pocket on one leg, but he didn’t need it for anything. Mummy was carrying all they needed.  

     “Ready to see the sheep boys?” she asked as they stepped out onto the front steps.

     “I wike sheeps. They fwuffy!” Ethan declared, smiling at his silliness.

     “I wanna see a tigah!” Liam added, making his hands into mock paws and clawing at Ethan playfully, scowling and roaring.

     Mummy laughed at their antics. “Well I don’t know if we’ll see any tigers today sweetie. But we’ll do our best.”  

     Liam giggled and hurried ahead to the car. Ethan chased after brother but the gravel driveway was a bit ouchie on his feet.  Liam didn’t seem bothered at all, charging ahead.  Ethan frowned and told Mummy, “Da gwound is all pinchy.”

     “Oh, I’m sorry baby,” she consoled him, rubbing his shoulder. “Don’t worry, the show grounds are nice soft grass.”  

     Ethan began to nod when he noticed that Mummy was wearing sneakers. She didn’t need to worry about the sharp gravel of the driveway. How come he didn’t have sneakers?  

     “C’n I wear sneaks?” he asked, pointing hopefully.

     “Sneakers? Why ever would you want to wear those, silly billy? You’re much better off with free toesies, so much more comfy for running and climbing for boys like you.  Don’t worry your feet will toughen up like Liam’s very soon and then you won’t even notice the ouchy gravel.”  

     Ethan looked over at Liam, hopping up and down on the driveway with a big smile. If it was good for him, it must be right for Ethan too. Mummy must be right, sneakers must feel icky.  

     “Why you wear ‘em?” he asked, instead.

     “Grown-ups have to do a lot of things we don’t like,” Mummy explained.  

     It must be awful to be a grown-up, Ethan decided. No play time, no toys, no one to tuck you in and kiss you goodnight and you had to wear shoes.  

     Yes, he was definitely lucky to be a boy, he thought as Mummy buckled him tightly into the back seat next to Liam.  

     **

     Ethan scrunched his fingers in the soft, warm grass on either side of him, momentarily distracted by the sensory experience.  Giggles around him brought his attention back to the man in the bow-tie and top hat, a magician!  Ethan smiled as the man made a ball simply disappear in his hand when he made a fist. Magic was amazing!  

     “Where’d it go?!” a little boy to his right called out, pointing.  

     Ethan wondered too. How did the man do magic like that? He adjusted his position, sitting on his bottom in the grass among a gaggle of twenty or so children, all totally entranced by the magician’s show.  Ethan rubbed his bare soles back and forth in the grass too. That felt really nice. It was so comfy having free toes. Why did that feel like such an amazing freedom though? Shouldn’t that just be normal?

     “Bwing it back!” a little girl demanded, hopping up and down.  

     Most of the other kids were really little. They probably only came up to Ethan’s thigh if they were all standing. Ethan liked being so tall.  Liam was tall too though, and there was another girl sitting on the other side of the crowd who looked tall too.  She could have been mistaken for a grown-up, except she was wearing a frilly princess dress and had bare feet too.  Ethan remembered what Mummy said, grown-ups had to have shoes.  

     The magician began making balloon animals next. At first the children rushed up, but he warned them to be good boys and girls and they quickly got into a line.  Everyone would get their turn, he assured them.  Eventually he got to the front, even though it felt like absolutely forever.  The magician man was shorter than him too, but Ethan was still a little scared of him cuz he knew magic.  

     The magician looked Ethan over and smiled warmly.  “What would you like buddy?” he asked brightly, using the same tone he had for the five-year old boy he’d just made a balloon sword for.  “How about a doggy?” he suggested.

     Ethan shook his head. “Don’ wanna doggy,” he insisted.

     The magician nodded sagely. “Well, maybe a monkey then, like your shirt?”  

     Ethan’s eyes lit up and he nodded. “Mummy says I’m a cheeky monkey!” he announced.

     The magician chuckled. “I bet you are buddy.”  

     “My name is Efan,” he told the man, remembering you were supposed to introduce yourself to new people.

     “Nice to meet you Ethan,” the man replied with a smile, beginning to work at a bright blue and orange balloon, moulding it expertly into a crude version of a monkey.  

     “How’s that Ethan?” he asked after a moment.  

     Ethan’s eyes were wide as saucers and he couldn’t help but hop up and down on his bare toes. He reached out and took the amazing monkey balloon, the thing that was all his own and barely remembered to use his manners and say, “Fank you!” to the magician before rushing off to show Mummy.  

     She wasn’t far away. Most of the Mummies and Daddies were standing just behind the gathering of kids, chatting while the little ones had their fun.  Ethan could see the tall girl in her princess dress, showing off a bright pink tiara balloon resting atop her pig-tailed head. Ethan thought it was silly that the little girl was taller than her Mummy.  

     “Mummy, lookit my bawoon!” he called to Mummy, spotting her in the crowd of grown-ups.

     Claire waved him over and made a big show of inspecting his balloon.  “Oh my, it is quite a cute monkey,” she agreed.

     “Is not cute Mummy! Is cheeky!” Ethan insisted.

     “Oh, of course! We’ll have to keep a close eye on it then,” she agreed.  

     Something poked Ethan softly in the back and he turned to see that Liam was jabbing him with a balloon sword. It didn’t hurt or anything, but it was annoying. Ethan pulled away and snapped, “Stop it!”

     Liam was only more eager to poke him after getting a reaction, giggling all the more as he jabbed at his brother and told Mummy, “I’m a piwate! Arrrrr!”  

     Ethan felt his emotions spiralling quickly. Liam was stealing Mummy’s attention away from his cool monkey with that stupid sword. His thing was just like the one several boys had. Ethan’s monkey was special, it was just for him.  

     “Don’ do dat!” he screeched, getting angry now, ready to tantrum, ready to cry.  

     “Liam, don’t poke at Ethan,” Mummy ordered, intervening just in time.  “I think we should all go get some ice cream. Does that sound good?” she asked, looking for a distraction.

     It worked. As soon as Ethan heard ice cream mentioned it was all he could think about.

     “I wan’ staw-bewwy!” he shouted.  

     “You can have whatever flavour you want sweetie. But you need to be a good boy and don’t shout.”  

     Ethan bit his lip and nodded. He’d do anything for strawberry ice cream.  

     They made their way across the show grounds, looking for the food stands.  There was lots of other stuff going on, that was for sure. Crowds were watching men race to cut logs with handsaws and chainsaws. Kids were showing off their calves and lambs, parading them around the grass. But they were big kids, they were probably almost through primary school.  Ethan identified with the little kids, the boys and girls holding their parents’ hands, sitting on their shoulders.  Most of them were physically small too, but not all.

     “Why hello there Claire!” a woman’s voice called to them.  

     Ethan turned and looked at the woman who was calling to Mummy. She was a bit older looking than Mummy, but not really old. She was a Mummy too, that Ethan instantly understood, as this woman was pushing a girl in a pushchair. Except it was much bigger than a normal pushchair.

     The girl sitting in it was clearly a woman in her 20s.  But her brown hair was done up in high pig-tails and she wore a short pale yellow t-shirt that just barely covered her breasts and what was unmistakably a puffy white nappy.  She wore no pants, no shorts or skirt to cover her infantile underwear.  And it was clear she didn’t care either. The young woman was chewing on a plastic teething toy, her chin shining in the sunlight, glistening with spittle which dripped from her chin and left a big drool stain on her tiny t-shirt.  Her eyes were completely glazed over and unfocused and she batted her bare feet uselessly against the footrest of her chair, oblivious to how she appeared.  

     The woman in the pushchair wasn’t alone though. Ethan was more interested in the Mum’s other charge. It was a man who appeared to be about the same physical age as himself, a couple inches taller and thin with short dark hair.  But it was obvious to anyone that mentally he was little bigger than the girl in the pushchair. While he was walking on his own he was tied to the pushchair by a child leash, the white restraint looped around his wrist.

     Of course it would have been laughably simple for an adult, for a primary-schooler, to escape from the simple restraint, to simply undo it.  But this young man didn’t have the mental faculties to even attempt it.  He was wearing a pair of pale blue shorts with just brushed his knees, the elastic waist failing to conceal the top of the pull-ups he was wearing.  The white plastic material was clearly visible and all the more so because the man had no shirt on at all.  He was wandering around the show shirtless and of course barefoot, his toes noticeable a bit grimy, used to being in the dirt without shoes.  His lips and chin were smeared with chocolate ice cream, now dried and sticky, his fingers also bearing the evidence of his most recent meal.  

     And none of this registered to the young fellow. He just hopped about, spinning in circles until the leash stopped him, toddling wide-legged ahead until the leash yanked him back by the arm and he pouted and pointed at whatever had caught his interest now and called, “Wook Mumma!”  

     “Grace! How nice to see you,” Claire called back, stopping their search for ice cream momentarily.  

     “It’s been too long,” Grace said, stopping the pushchair before them.  

     “Mummy, ice cream,” Liam pleaded and Ethan nodded.

     “Be patient Liam. Or you won’t be getting any ice cream at all,” Claire warned.  

     Liam pouted but stayed quiet.  Ethan decided he better be good too. The grown-ups were talking now, and it was naughty to interrupt them, he knew that.  Instead he watched the other little boy.  The boy gaped slack-jawed at the grown-ups talking for a second then lost interest and dropped to a squat, picking at his toes, then ripping up blades of grass and flinging them aimlessly, babbling nonsense to himself.

     “So things are still going smoothly?” Claire asked her friend.  

     “Oh yes, they really are the sweetest things.  It was a bit hard at first of course, you know they get attached to their first caregiver and all, but it’s been over a year now and I think they’ve forgotten all about it,” Grace explained.

     “Why’s he gotta leash?” Ethan blurted out. The question had come to his mind and he forgot to be a good boy and let the grown-ups talk for a second.

     But luckily both the women smiled and laughed at his question.  

     “Well, it’s just because Timmy here is a very little boy, much littler than you, and he doesn’t know to stay by Mummy’s side. He could run off and get himself lost, or hurt,” Grace explained.  

     Ethan nodded, watching Timmy chewing in some of the blades of grass, the green flecks sticking to his already messy face, gazing at them with eyes totally lacking in intelligence. Yes, clearly Timmy was just a silly little toddler.  

     “I’m a big boy,” Ethan added, to be clear that he was nothing like silly little Timmy.  

     “Of course you are,” Grace agreed, then addressing Claire she asked, “How long has this little one been with you?”

     “It’s still his special day,” Claire answered quickly.

     “Oh, so he hasn’t…”

     “No.”  

     Grace nodded and looked back at Ethan. “Well, you sure are a lucky boy getting to come to the show,” she suggested, changing the subject.  

     Ethan found the whole exchange confusing. But grown-up talk was always confusing so that was nothing new. But Timmy seemed to be really staring at him now, having dropped the rest of the grass. He stood back up and pointed. “Bah-oon!” he declared brightly, an open-mouthed smile on his dumb face.  

     “Yes sweetie, that is a balloon. Aren’t you a clever little boy,” Grace cooed, rubbing Timmy’s bare back.

     The young man reached his arms out and lunged forward, trying to grab the monkey balloon animal. Ethan dodged backwards and snapped, “No! Mine!”  

     Timmy’s smile faltered and he moved away, looking deeply confused.  Grace quickly pulled the man into a cuddle and began stroking his hair and whispering assurances to him.  

     “Ethan, don’t be selfish,” Mummy admonished him.

     “He gonna ruin it Mummy,” Ethan insisted.

     “Don’t be rude,” she retorted.

     “No, it’s okay,” Grace assured. “Timmy has a problem with grabbing things that aren’t his.”

     Ethan felt better once the other Mummy took his side. And besides the little boy wasn’t crying, he was okay now.

     “Why he don’t gotta shirt?” Ethan then inquired.

     Grace smiled.  “Oh, Timmy doesn’t like wearing clothes at all. He’d be nakie waking up to beddy-byes if I let him. So if the weather is nice I don’t bother putting him in any more clothes than I have to.”  

     “Jay-buwed!” the shirtless man announced, grinning again, looking delighted at the discussion of his exhibitionist streak.  

     “That’s right, Timmy’s Mummy’s jaybird,” Grace confirmed brightly.  

     “The important thing is he’s comfortable,” Claire agreed.  Then she put her hand on Ethan’s shoulder and said, “You know it would be fine if you’d like your shirt of too sweetie. I know you prefer being nakey too.”

     Ethan felt a flash of embarrassment. Nakey was okay for at home with just Mummy and Liam, but he wasn’t a baby like Timmy. He shook his head right away. “No Mummy, I’m a big boy!” he insisted.

     “Okay, okay,” she calmed. “No one will force you. I just want you to know it’s okay if you want to leave the shirt at home sometimes.”  

     Ethan shook his head at the very idea. In fact, this whole thing was starting to feel more and more embarrassing.  Not for Timmy though. He was just sucking his thumb now, ignoring their conversation. And the woman in the pushchair was playing with her own feet, yanking her right foot right to her face and jamming her toes in her mouth.  

     “Ewww!” Ethan and Liam exclaimed together.  

     “She’s eatin’ her toes!” Liam followed up.  

     “Jessie’s always been a toe-muncher,” Grace said, giving the woman’s bare legs a light tickle, smiling at her foot-eating antics.

     Watching the grown woman slurping away at her own toes, a line of drool working its way down the rough sole of her bare foot, something in Ethan’s mind began to come back to life. He looked at Timmy and didn’t feel quite so superior anymore. He was a dumb little boy, but how much better was Ethan? They were both being talked down to by the grown-ups, but they were both bigger than their Mummies. Could that be right? Weren’t little boys supposed to be… little?  

     His head spun and he felt suddenly sick, like he might vomit or pass out.  He blinked hard and thankfully the awful feeling passed as quickly as it had come on.  

     But as the feeling receded the world seemed to come back into focus. It had somehow lost its shiny new feeling.  The sights and sounds of the A&P Show had dulled. Everything seemed a bit more boring and mundane.  But at the same time Ethan experienced a clarity of thought that felt astounding. It hit him that Claire wasn’t really his Mummy of course. She was just a woman he’d been interested in.  And Liam wasn’t his brother, he was a student, a mentally challenged man in need of constant care.  And yet Ethan had spent the day so far playing with him as an equal.

     Liam looked himself over, taking in the silly cartoon print t-shirt, the juvenile board shorts which held no wallet or keys and finally the dirty bare feet.  He became distinctly aware of the feeling of the grass poking between his toes.  Just a couple feet away Timmy’s feet look just the same, Liam’s too.  His eyes flicked to the women’s smart looking shoes and he began feeling sick again.  Everyone who saw him would think he was just another intellectually impaired boy like Liam and Timmy, like the toe-sucking girl in the pushchair.  

     And Claire had suggested he take off his shirt too, like the man on a toddler leash, the man currently blowing raspberries and hopping from foot to foot for no reason.  Was that what she wanted Ethan to end up like?  

     The last few hours were a bit blurry, but Ethan recalled enough to know something was very seriously wrong now.  And he knew that staying with Claire was also a very bad idea. She had something to do with all this, obviously.  He started to back away silently, but Liam called out, “Where you goin’ Efan?”

     The two women turned to him instantly.  “Sweetie, we’ll get your ice cream in just a second I promise. I just thought it might be nice to set up a playdate for you two and Timmy.”

     “He too widdle!” Liam complained.

     But Ethan didn’t care about play dates. He just wanted out of this.  “Sorry Claire, I… I gotta go…” he stammered out, the spun on his heel and walked quickly away before they could say a word.

     “Ethan wait!” Claire called out, but he ignored her, just walking faster.

    To Be Continued...

    The Special Teacher: Chapter 4

    Snug as a Bug in a Rug

    It was a very successful dinner, in fact far better than Ethan could have hoped. Yes Liam made a mess of himself, as usual, but then he and Claire had shared the job of cleaning the young man’s face and hands. And just when he thought the evening was ending, with a polite hug from Claire followed by a tighter and more awkward impromptu cuddle from Liam, things took an unexpected turn. Claire invited him back to her place for dessert.  

     It turned out Claire lived just on the edge of the tiny township in a cosy little hope hidden from the road by thick native bush.  The late summer sun was getting very low in the sky as they arrived back there but it was still light enough to see the mountain bike with training wheels attached, sitting in the driveway.  An inflatable kiddie pool and sprinkler sat in the front yard, toys were discarded here and there around them.  

     Inside, the place had a wonderful lived in feeling. It felt like a home, not just a house.  He recognised some of Liam’s scribbled “artworks” from school stuck to the fridge with magnets.  A potty seat very similar to the type they had at school was sat right in the middle of the living room.  Batman and Superman action figures were discarded on the floor, a Thomas train and a couple matchbox cars on the couch.

     Ethan followed Claire’s lead in discarding his shoes at the door.  Liam had none to take off of course. He raced straight into the living room to play with his toys.  

     “I’ll make some tea first. Could you just make sure he gets settled? Once he’s playing he’ll be in his own little world, won’t care what us grown-ups are doing,” she added slyly.

     “No worries,” he assured, heading into the living room after Liam.  

     The young man was lying on the floor, pushing a bull-dozer toy across it.  Ethan walked over to his side and knelt down beside the man.  

     “Having fun Liam?” he asked.

     “Dis my tac-tuh,” the man told him brightly.  

     “Yeah, that’s a cool toy,” Ethan agreed, leaning next to him to look closely, placing his hand on the soft, well-worn carpet.  

     “I wike tac-tuhs,” Liam agreed simply.

     Ethan began to nod but something was distracting him.  His hand felt sort of tingly. No, he felt kind of tingly, kind of fuzzy all over. He giggled. That was a silly thing to do.  He blinked away the giddy sensations, trying to focus.  What on Earth was suddenly so funny, so silly? Why was the carpet making him feel so tingly?

     “Is the carpet tingly?” he asked Liam, as though the mentally challenged boy could possibly know the answer.

     Liam giggled. “You bein’ siwwy!” he chirped.

     The giggles were very contagious. Ethan couldn’t help but smile and giggle too. It was silly. He was being silly.  No, the carpet was the silly one, being all tingly.  He leant closer to it, there was a scent. He sniffed harder. It was like a cake, like a lovely birthday cake. Had someone spilled cake all over the floor?

     “Well aren’t you two sweet,” Claire said in a lilting voice. “Two bugs on a rug.”  

     Ethan turned around to see the pretty young woman walking into the room and standing above them. He didn’t like being compared to Liam though, being grouped in with the silly dumb boy, just because he was being silly and giggly didn’t mean he was dumb. Ethan quickly stood up. Yes, he was just as tall as Claire, he wasn’t little and silly like Liam.

     “Your carpet is silly,” he told her suddenly.

     “Silly?” Claire repeated, still smiling.

     He nodded. “Smells funny. And it makes me… tingly,” he added.

     She chuckled lightly. “Well we can’t have that. We already have one silly little boy.”

     Ethan nodded vigorously. “Yeah, Liam’s the silly one.”  

     “He sure is,” Claire agreed. “He’s not a big boy like you. That’s why he’s on the silly carpet, because the couch is for grown-ups,” she went on, sitting down on the couch and patting the seat next to her.

     Ethan beamed at her invitation to sit on the couch. The couch was only for grown-ups, she just said so. He was more than happy to sit next to her. Claire was so pretty. And he was a handsome guy. He knew that, people had told him so. He was a big handsome man, not like the silly boy on his hands and knees on the carpet. Look at him in that silly t-shirt with cartoons on it, with his jeans cuffed up like a farm boy, those dirty bare feet, soles as black as tar. What a mucky, stupid boy he was. Ethan was infinitely more mature in his nice new button-down shirt, his khakis pants and black socks.  Claire must really like him, to have him back for dessert. But that reminded him…

     “Where’s dessert?” he asked, noting she’d brought nothing back from the kitchen.

     “It’s coming soon enough, don’t you worry,” she assured him.  “But I thought we could talk a bit first.”

     Ethan nodded, feeling a bit clearer now, the tingling, the giddy feeling receding.  “Yeah, I like talking,” he said, realising how lame he sounded instantly.

     “I’m sure you do. But I was afraid you wouldn’t want to a second ago.”

     “What? Why not?”

     “Well when I came in you looked quite happy down on the floor looking at Liam’s toys. I thought you might prefer to play with him tonight instead of me.”

     Ethan shook his head insistently. “No, no! I wanna talk with you,” he assured her.

     But now Claire didn’t look convinced at all. “Are you sure about that Ethan?  When I came in here you looked very happy to be playing with Liam. I wasn’t sure you’d want to sit on the couch and talk with a boring grown-up like me. To be honest I thought you might prefer to have your socks off like him, have your tootsies free.”  

     Ethan was feeling clearer in his head, but more confused at the same time. Why would she think that?

     “Liam’s got dirty feet. I’m really clean,” Ethan assured her.

     “Yes, you’re a very clean boy,” Claire agreed and he smiled at the praise.  “But what I’ve found is that a clean boy very often isn’t a happy boy.”

     Ethan frowned again. He was happy though, wasn’t he?

     “Boys are meant to be mucky, to get filthy. I think you might be a whole lot more comfy with those socks off. I think you were feeling awful jealous of Liam tonight, seeing him run around with his tootsies nice and free while you had to sit there in icky, tight shoes and sweaty socks.”  

     “Nuh-uh, he looked like a dumb little kid running round in his bare feet in the pub like that. He looked like those little boys at the other table.”  

     Claire seemed to consider this a moment, then she said, “Maybe you’re right. I guess maybe you weren’t jealous of him at all.”

     Ethan nodded.

     “But if that’s the truth you should at least give it a try. Then if you’re right, if you don’t like having free toesies at all, then we’ll know you aren’t a silly boy like Liam at all,” she suggested.

     “Give it a try?”

     “That’s right,” Claire said with a nod, leaning over and taking Ethan’s right foot in her hands. “Let’s just see if you really are more comfy like you are, or if you secretly want to be a barefoot silly boy like my Liam.”  

     With that she slipped his sock of his right foot and quickly grabbed the left, repeating the gesture and then balling up the sweaty socks and tossing them aside.  Ethan wanted to stop her but he couldn’t see how without ruining the evening.  He felt naked without his socks on, he felt so exposed.  But she was still smiling at him, she still wanted him and he wanted to prove he was a competent grown man, not a silly boy, so he smiled back and let his feet rest on the carpet.  

     “There, isn’t that much better?” she asked him.

     Ethan shrugged.  

     “Oh come on, give those toes a wiggle and then tell me you still want your socks back.”  

     Ethan sighed and did as she said, he wiggled his toes in the soft carpet.  And it was so odd, but now they tingled, kind of like his hand earlier. But no, it wasn’t like that. It was much, much stronger.  And it spread rapidly upwards, his whole body going fuzzy, going tingly and giddy until it hit his head.  

     Ethan couldn’t help but giggle. It was the most pleasant, relaxing sensation. He could feel his muscles losing tension, his shoulder slumping. All his concern about impressing the pretty girl just slipped away, all his fears about work, about his future, it all just seemed to drift off into the background.  

     “So silly boy, you still want your socks back?” Claire asked, a hand patting his shoulder.

     Ethan smiled broader, feeling so very silly. “Noo-oooh,” he sing-songed.  

     “Are you more comfy being a barefoot boy?” she cooed.  

     Ethan slipped his feet back and forth on the carpet and almost nodded. “I’m not a little boy,” he corrected. “I just… it feels nice.”  

     “I know sweetie, I understand. Now, how about you watch Liam for me again while I finish dessert.”

     “I’m in charge,” Ethan checked.

     “Of course sweetie. I can trust you to be a big boy and watch Liam can’t I?”  

     “Mmmhmmm!” he assured.

     “Perfect,” she said, leaving for the kitchen again.  

     Ethan sat on the couch another moment, but watching Liam play with his toys, he felt undeniable jealousy. It just looked like fun.  Why should little boys get to have all the fun? So big boys got to sit on the couch, what was so great about that?

     Ethan dropped down onto the floor, back on his hands and knees, the tops of his now bare feet still brushing across the carpet, same as his hands.  He crept over to Liam’s side and watched up close as he played.  The scent of cake drifted up to him again. It made him feel extra nice. He leant over and sniffed, filled his lungs with the smell. It was sooo nice. He dropped down onto the carpet fully, letting it brush across his cheek and hair.  

     A finger poked him in the arm. He opened his eyes to see Liam looking at him curiously.  

     “Takin’ nap?” he asked.

     Ethan shook his head and sat up. “Nuh-uh. Those are for babies,” he declared.

     Liam nodded. “Gonna pway?” he asked, pushing a toy truck his direction.

     Ethan took the toy experimentally in his hand. It felt nice. Why not play? Big boys played with little boys, kept them happy. That had to be okay. He was just watching over Liam.

     “Uh-huh,” he agreed, pushing the truck into Liam’s bull-dozer and making a crash noise.

     Liam giggled and began driving his toy away, making noises for it. Ethan vroomed and screeched, pushing his truck after Liam’s, rising to hands and knees to push it along, giggling as they caused crashes and near misses.  

     “Who’s ready for dessert?” Claire’s voice interrupted their play.

     Liam immediately looked up and started reaching for his treat. Ethan was slower to react. How long had they been playing? He’d totally lost track of time.  He twisted around and saw Claire holding two small bowls of chocolate ice cream.  

     “Manners please. How do we ask?”

     “Yeth pwease,” Liam crooned.

     She looked seriously at Ethan. “Well?” she prompted.

     Ethan felt so foolish for forgetting his manners. “Yes please!” he quickly repeated. How on Earth would she think he was a big boy if he forgot to say please?  

     “Good, but I think we better protect your nice clothes from the mess shouldn’t we?” Claire added, putting the two bowls down on the coffee table.  

     Liam nodded and automatically raised his hands in the air. Claire quickly pulled his t-shirt off him, leaving him bare chested.  Liam then stood up and without prompting managed to undo the button on his jeans and yank them down to his ankles. Claire held his hand while he stepped clear one leg at a time, leaving him in nothing but his Despicable Me print cotton underoos.

     “There we go, much better,” Claire stated and Liam smiled was allowed to tuck into his dessert, awkwardly gripping the spoon and very quickly proving it was a very good idea to take off his clothes first.  

     Claire looked to him and asked, “What about your clothes Ethan?”  

     He quickly shook his head. She couldn’t mean for him to take his clothes off could she? He wasn’t a dumb baby like Liam!  

     “I not takin’ my clothes off!” he snapped, immediately feeling foolish for his poor diction.  

     “Use your inside voice please Ethan. Remember you’re a role model for little Liam.”  

     “Sorry,” he apologised immediately.

     “That’s okay. I certainly wouldn’t make you take your clothes off. You’re a big boy after all. But I don’t want you getting them messy, so I just wanted you to know it’s okay for you to take them off if you want, nobody will mind and I think Liam would enjoy the company.”  

     Ethan thought about it for a second, it all sounded so sensible when Claire said it and he did want to make Liam feel comfortable, be his big buddy.  But no, he was a big boy even if he was feeling silly right now.  

     “Nuh-uh. Gonna keep my clothes on,” he stated firmly.

     “That’s fine, just be careful with your ice cream.”  

     Of course he’d be careful. He always was. Ethan picked up his spoon and held it properly, not like stupid baby Liam, gripped in his fist, chin and cheeks already smeared with chocolate. But as soon as Ethan took his first mouthful he forgot everything else. It was amazing, it lit up his taste buds. So sweet and creamy and chocolate! He wanted more and more, he devoured it in no time.  

     “Oh Ethan,” Claire sighed.

     Ethan blinked in confusion. What was wrong? Then he felt it, the cool liquid on his cheeks, on his chin. He’d been messy after all. And even worse, he looked down and saw the melting ice cream staining his shirt, running right down it, and a big spoonful in his lap, ruining his nicely pressed new pants.  What had he done?!

     “I… I dunno how…” he stammered.

     Claire leant over him and roughly wiped off his face with a cool wet wipe.  She yanked his hands out and cleaned them too. He got no say in it. He’d lost the right to object, to be treated like an equal.  He felt so foolish, so small.  Liam was just as messy, the ice cream dripping down his bare chest and tummy, coating his chin. But he wasn’t upset at all, this was normal for him. And once again Ethan felt an overpowering sensation of jealousy.  

     “Ethan, we need to take these off, get them cleaned,” Claire told him, directing his arms upward.  

     He shook his head. “No… please,” he begged.

     She didn’t listen. Claire lifted the shirt up over his head and clear of his arms, leaving his chest and tummy so exposed. He felt so silly again, but this time the silliness wasn’t wholly embarrassing. Now it was kind of thrilling, exciting. He felt odd stirrings in his pants even as Claire made him stand up.  

     As the bare soles of his feet again came into full contact with the carpet Ethan’s protests died on his lips. Whatever clarity had been slowly returning to him, it was washed away in a wave of fuzzy sensations. It was so nice, so delightful.  He barely noticed Claire undoing his belt, unbuttoning his pants, unzipping him and yanking them down to his ankles, leaving him in nothing but his boxer shorts.  

     “There we go, now isn’t that much better?” she cooed again, bringing Ethan back to reality.  

     He looked down at his mostly exposed pale body, at the huge erection tenting out his boxer shorts, fully visible to Claire and Liam.  He felt so exposed, so embarrassed, and filled with tingling excitement all at once. The erection visibly jerked and he grunted softly, involuntarily.

     “Yes, you’re feeling good now, I can tell.”

     Ethan could only nod slowly, his words just not coming to him.  Claire turned to Liam then, standing him up as well.  “And look at the mess you’ve made,” she cooed in a sing-song tone, clearly not upset at all.  “I think you need a bathy before beddy-byes.”  

     Liam just giggled and put a couple fingers in his mouth.  Without another word Claire slipped her fingers into the elastic waist of the boy’s underoos and yanked them down to his ankles, exposing a flaccid, hairless penis.  It also revealed a total lack of tan lines. In his daze that was one thing that still registered for Ethan. This other man was much more tanned than him and it was clear he’d been playing in the kiddie pool, in the sprinkler, in his birthday suit quite a lot.  

     Of course Liam had no issue with his exposure. He stepped clear of his undies and began to play idly with his pee-pee.  

     “That’s nice isn’t it?” Claire cooed to him.  She looked to Ethan and said, “You see that Ethan. Liam’s my sweet little jaybird. He just loves running round nakey-bummed, don’t you sweetie?”  

     “Imma jay-biwd!” he agreed happily.  

     “You sure are!” she cooed to him, giving the nude young man a cuddle before saying, “Let’s go give you a bathy!”  

     Liam squealed with glee and toddled quickly off, penis swinging about freely as he ran.  

     Claire put her hand on Ethan’s bare shoulder and told him, “You just stay right here and feel free to play sweetie. I’m just going to run Liam’s bathy and then I’ll come have a nice talk with you.”  

     Ethan nodded. It was all he could do. He was feeling so fuzzy and thick.  When she left the room, left him alone, he couldn’t think of anything to do except to play. Yes, the toys were still there, so many of them, and they all looked so bright, so cool.  

     Ethan got down on his hands and knees again, but now so much of his skin was in contact with the carpet and the tingles multiplied exponentially.  Excitement coursed through his body. He couldn’t focus anymore. He saw that Liam had abandoned a teddy bear on the carpet under the coffee table. He reached under and retrieved it.  An urge overtook him and he cuddled the teddy close, feeling its soft fur against his skin.  It was bliss.

     He felt so little, so silly and dumb and that made him more aroused than he could ever recall being. He didn’t care where he was, he needed release, he needed it now.  Ethan took the teddy and began to hump it, rubbing his huge erection against it, feeling the material of his boxers caress his penis. It felt so good.  It was the best feeling ever.  He was a dumb little boy humping his teddy, he was so silly and little.

     A warm hand touched his bare back as he humped. He looked over to see Claire kneeling next to him. He hadn’t heard her come back at all, and yet even though she was there, he just couldn’t bring himself to stop.  He kept grinding against the teddy even as he stared at her.  

     Claire wasn’t upset though, she was smiling, nodding. “That’s right Ethan, I know it feels really good. You’re doing so well sweetie, you’re being such a good boy for me.”  

     The praise felt so right, so good. He was a good boy, he was doing the right thing.

     “Let’s get these off sweetie, they’re just in the way now and I can tell you’ve reached the point where you don’t need them anymore,” she cooed, reaching down and slipping his boxer shorts down, allowing his stiff pee-pee to spring out and come in direct contact with the teddy.  

     “Yes, that’s much better. Once enough big boy thoughts are gone it becomes much more comfy to run around in your birthday suit. I know it was just lovely for Liam when he reached that point, it was a lovely release to have his modesty all gone.  Isn’t it nice sweetie?”

     Ethan grunted and pushed his pee-pee harder against the teddy. He didn’t understand what Claire was even talking about anymore, just that he felt amazing and it was so much better having his pee-pee free to hump.  

     “Okay baby I know it feels good but I don’t want to get teddy all messy, so I think we should take you to join Liam in the bathy. Doesn’t that sound nice? A bathy with brother?” she cooed.

     Brother? Liam was his brother? Was that right? Ethan wasn’t sure. But Claire had to know, she was so smart, so kind and pretty. Yes, he was going to have a bathy with brother and that would be lovely.  

     Claire held his hand as he stood up. He didn’t want to let go of the teddy, it was making his pee-pee feel so good, but he wanted to be good for her.  His pee-pee was all big and hard, nearly touching his tummy the way it stood up straight.  But something else happened as he stood. The soles of his feet came into full contact with the carpet again and the happy tingles surged through his body.

     “Ohhh,” he moaned, eyes glazing over.

     Claire smiled and rubbed her hand softly on the middle of his bare back.  “That’s okay Ethan, I know if feels just lovely. Go ahead and wiggle your toesies sweetie,” she encouraged.

     Ethan blinked in confusion. He could barely hear her words he was so lost in pleasure.

     “Come on sweetie, give your piggy toes a wiggle in that silly carpet,” she urged.

     Ethan scrunched his toes, feeling the carpet more. It was bliss. He grunted and felt his pee-pee jerk against his tummy, leaving a little smear of pre-cum on the soft skin there.

     “That’s a good little boy,” Claire whispered to him. “Silly little boys love their silly wiggly tootsies.”

     Ethan grinned and giggled. He liked being called a silly little boy for some reason.  

     “Okay honey, it’s bathy time now,” Claire directed, leading him by the hand.  

     It felt so odd to walk through this strange house completely nude. His pee-pee kept bouncing against his tummy as he walked. Claire was wearing clothes, but he wasn’t. Something about that still felt really weird.  He was taller than Claire after all, he was bigger than her. And yet, he was little. No, he was silly and little.  He was certain of that.  

     Liam was already in the bath tub.  He was standing up in it, arranging magnetic colourful letters along the wall. The young man twisted around when they walked in, revealing his pee-pee was standing up now too.  He instantly grinned and giggled at seeing Ethan entering the room equally naked and led by the hand.  Ethan for his part felt so much more comfortable when he saw Liam had a big pee-pee and was nakey-bummed too. He wasn’t alone. He had his brother.  

     “Okay, into the bathy,” Claire directed, helping him step into the lovely, warm water one foot at a time.

     “Him gots nakey!” Liam declared, reaching right over, no sense of privacy, and poking Ethan’s stiff pee-pee.  “He gots a happy pee-pee mummy!”  

     Ethan giggled at the feeling of his pee-pee being poked. It didn’t feel like an invasion of privacy at all. It was just brother being curious. Instead Ethan reached over and poked brother’s big pee-pee and told Claire, “His pee-pee big too!”  

     Claire found their explorations hilarious, and simply confirmed. “Well of course you silly-billies, all boys get happy pee-pees at bath time. Now, get those filthy bare bums in the water so Mummy can get you clean,” he ordered, giving them both light tickles on their tummies.  

     Ethan shrieked with laughter at the tickles and dropped into the water with a big splash. Mummy had told him to sit so he needed to. Was Mummy her name? Why did he think that was odd? Liam dropped into the water with a splash too and got water everywhere. Ethan laughed and laughed and forgot all about his worries.  

     The two young men sat in the perfectly warm water facing each other. Ethan let his legs fold underneath him while Liam sat on his bottom with his legs stretched out, his feet on either side of Ethan’s body.  Mummy had given them some toys to play with and Ethan found himself absolutely engrossed with a Lego boat. Liam was busy with some colourful rings.  

     Mummy scrubbed their bodies but neither man was really paying much attention to her.  Ethan did at least look up when Mummy lifted Liam’s feet out of the water and began roughly scrubbing his dirty soles.  

    “My goodness, look at those feeties,” she cooed. “You see how hard Mummy has to work to get them clean Ethan? Just wait until yours look like this, then Mummy will have double the work.”  

     Ethan giggled at poor Mummy having to work doubly hard, but then he thought about his feet. They weren’t icky like Liam’s at all were they? He twisted around and pulled his feet up to examine. Nope, nice and clean.  He held one above the water to show Mummy.

     “My feets all cwean Mummy!” he told her proudly.  

     “They are now sweetie but now that you’re a silly little boy they won’t be staying that way for long.”

     Ethan didn’t really understand, but he didn’t have much time to think about it. Liam splashed him with water, grinning as he did so. “Hey!” Ethan shouted, splashing back.  Soon they were in a full splash fight, only stopped when Mummy intervened.  

     “Let’s keep a little of the water in the tub, okay?” she chided.

     “Yeth Mummy!” the two men sing-songed in unison.  

     The best part of the bath came when Mummy squirted some more soap in her hand and reached down to Ethan’s happy pee-pee and began to stroke it up and down.  Instantly he gasped and tensed his body, letting the Lego boat go and reaching out for Mummy. She let him close his arms around her neck and cooed, “I know it feels sooo good, doesn’t it baby?”

     “Uh-huh!” Ethan gasped, his body jerking as she continued to stroke his stiffy.  

     “Special little boys always love doing their stickies,” she whispered to him.

     Ethan didn’t know what that meant, but he didn’t care. He just never wanted the sensations to stop. But unfortunately that’s exactly what happened a moment later. Mummy’s heavenly stroking stopped and her hand pulled away.  Ethan mewled and fussed, but she shushed him.  

     “Don’t worry sweetie, you won’t have to wait much longer for creamy-pies,” she assured him, moving on to his legs.  Ethan didn’t want to wait though and it was with reluctance that he returned to his toys.

     Soon they were relatively clean and Mummy helped them out of the tub, taking a big fluffy towel and drying Liam first while Ethan stood there dripping.  He was so glad when Mummy turned to him and began to scrub with the nice warm towel. It was especially nice when she dried his pee-pee, almost as good as when she cleaned him there earlier, though much more brief.

     “There we go, all nice and clean and ready for beddy-byes,” she crooned, putting down the towel and picking up a bright red t-shirt which she slipped over Liam’s head and arms, then retrieving a blue one with a smiling cartoon parrot on it for Ethan. He knew instinctively to lift his arms in the air. The idea of her handing him the shirt didn’t even cross his mind, he knew she was going to slip it on him, same as brother of course.  

     “There we go, in your jammies and all ready for bed,” she declared.

     Ethan looked at Liam in his bright red t-shirt. It barely covered his belly-button, doing nothing to hide his erection.  Looking down the same was true for him.  All they were wearing was t-shirts, no undies, no pyjama-bottoms.  Was that okay?

     “I dun wanna go to sweep,” Liam complained, pouting.  

     “If you don’t go now, there will be no story,” Mummy threatened.

     Liam’s eyes widened and he stomped his bare foot on the tile floor. “I wanna stowy!” he insisted.

     “Then you best get your bum in that bed,” Mummy said firmly.

     Liam nodded and hurried off. Mummy turned to Ethan, offering her hand. “You want a story too, don’t you honey? Doesn’t a story in bed and kiss and cuddle nighty-night from Mummy just sound perfect?”  

     They really did. He hadn’t known it until she said so, but now Ethan was certain he wanted nothing more in the world than to be read to and tucked in bed by Mummy.  Except there was still something wrong.

     “Mummy, I don’ got panth,” he pointed out.  

     Mummy nodded. “That’s right sweetie, undies just get all messy from stickies when boys your age sleep in them. You’ll be much more comfy sleeping nudie-bum.”  

     Ethan didn’t really understand, but he trusted Mummy, she always knew best. And yes, it was quite comfy being bare bottomed, now that Mummy mentioned it.  So he let her take his hand and lead him to the bedroom.  

     How odd that it felt both foreign and familiar at once. Liam was already in the bed, bouncing on the choo-choo train bed sheets.  There was an overflowing toy box in the corner, the walls were painted a gentle blue like the sky and number of stuffed animals looked set to share the bed with them. Of course there was only one bed, why wouldn’t they share?  

     The sheets crinkled underneath him as Ethan joined Liam in bed. They were made of something other than just cotton, something to make them waterproof, to protect the mattress from little boys’ accidents.  Mummy sat down between, a big storybook in her hands.

     “So what story would you like to hear tonight?” she asked.

     “One wid da beaws!” Liam urged.  

     “Goldilocks? Again?” Mummy asked.

     Liam nodded eagerly. “Uh-huh! Gow-dee-wock!”

     “Is that okay with you Ethan?”

     The name of the story felt intensely familiar, and yet, it meant nothing to him. It was like he should know it, like he did know it, but now there was just a blank place in his mind where that knowledge used to be.  Confused he just nodded, hoping it was a good story if brother liked it so much.

     Mummy read them the story and Liam was right, it was good. It still felt vaguely familiar but Ethan had no idea how it went or ended and was surprised by each twist and turn. Mummy was a good reader too. She did all the voices and Ethan found himself really frightened for Goldilocks.

     He and Liam rested their heads on Mummy’s shoulders as she read.  Without realising it Ethan found himself gently sucking his thumb. He didn’t stop when he noticed it, why should he? It felt comforting.  He was quite sleepy by the end.  Mummy closed the book and pecked kisses on their foreheads. Her smooches felt like heaven to Ethan.  He leaned in and got a big cuddle from Mummy too.  

     Then she climbed out of the bed and gathered up the top sheet and duvet, pulling it up and tucking the two young men in.  

     “You two sleep tight, we have a busy day tomorrow. Love you both,” she told them, turning out the light, though thankfully leaving a nightlight on, and closing the door.  

     For a moment Ethan had expected to drift right off to sleep. But the second the top sheet dropped across his body, its fuzzy material brushing across his bare legs, his pee-pee, a surge of tingly feelings swept over him.  His erection, which has subsided over story time, returned with a vengeance, tenting the sheets.  He scrunched his toes and pressed the sheets down against his pee-pee, groaning with pleasure.  

     “Ohhh,” came a soft grunt from beside him.  

     Ethan looked over, in the dim light cast by the nightlight he was able to see a second mound forming in the covers, showing Liam was having a similar reaction to him.  Their bare legs and feet brushed against one another as they squirmed in growing pleasure.  It was so nice being in bed with his brother. Ethan felt a surge of intense affection for the other boy.

     “My pee-pee got all big,” he told Liam.  

     The other boy giggled and rolled on his side.  “Mine big too,” he shared.  

     Ethan rolled to face Liam, their faces almost touching, their pee-pees brushed together and Ethan felt a surge of pleasure even more intense, more delightful than the sheets gave him.  Liam squirmed and giggled too, he felt it.  

     “Need cweamies,” the boy told him.  

     Ethan was still a bit confused, but Liam knew what he was doing. Suddenly his arms were around Ethan and he quickly reciprocated. Cuddles were always nice after all.  Soon their legs were also entwined and then Liam began to grind against him. It felt beyond lovely and just like with the teddy earlier Liam couldn’t help but begin to hump his pee-pee against Liam’s.  

     Ethan had never felt so good. Everything was so perfect, Liam was such a nice brother, Mummy was such a good mummy. He was a very good little boy! He breathed faster and faster and he could feel something was coming, something wonderful. And then, oh, ugh, he was doing tinkles, except it felt so much better than tinkles!  And then Liam was doing them too, silly messy boy! He could feel them squirting across his bare tummy, all warm and sticky. It tickled so nicely.  It was the very nicest thing in the world.

     Afterwards they had really good cuddles. Their tummies were both all gooey and it made them giggle because it was so messy.  But Ethan was also really sleepy after his creamies and before he even knew it, he was out cold.  

    The Special Teacher: Chapter 3

    A Hot Date

    Going out to dinner in Ngatea could only mean one of two things. It was either the Chinese and European Foods Takeaways for fish and chips, or the local pub, The Hauraki Hotel. Obviously the takeaway shop was out for a first date, so that left the pub by default.  Of course it wasn’t exactly a first date because Ethan hadn’t really been confident enough to put it that way. So he wasn’t really sure if it would just be Claire or if she’d have her disabled brother Liam with her. And honestly, he wasn’t sure which would be preferable.  He was just so nervous.

     The pub was always bustling on a Saturday evening. Farm families from an hour out of town came to have a family dinner. Young blokes who laboured on the farms, sheep sheering crews, loggers from the Coromandel all came out to have a beer or ten.  It was known to get rowdy later in the evening, but it was still family time now. The bouncer wasn’t on the door till eight and the sign demanding a “High Standard of Dress” was more of a suggestion than a rule.

     When Claire did arrive Ethan was partly relieved to see that she wasn’t alone. He could see Liam being led along by the hand through the car park.  It took away some of the nerves he’d been feeling. It wasn’t a date yet, there was less pressure. He could get closer to her now and then propose a proper date for next time.  

     Claire was somewhere in her late twenties, tall with dirty blonde hair and hazel eyes. She was always wearing pretty low-cut dresses when she came to pick up Liam and this evening she’d added some stylish boots to the outfit. She didn’t look like she belonged in Ngatea. She was no farm girl, she would have fit in perfectly at a Ponsonby club or a fine restaurant in Newmarket.  

     Liam, on the other hand, couldn’t have been more Ngatea-chic if he tried. It was actually the first time Ethan had seen the young man out of his school uniform. It surprised him really, because there was no way Liam would have chosen his own outfit. No, Claire must have dressed him. And she’d made herself up so beautifully.  But Liam wore a simple green t-shirt featuring a yellow digger and the words Dig It across the front. He was at least wearing pants instead of shorts, a pair of faded blue jeans, but they were cuffed up to his ankles and he was still barefoot.  

     Claire caught sight of Ethan, already at the table and waved brightly, leading her little brother across the pub. No one looked upset that the young man was padding across the pub in bare feet. No one gave him a second glance. He wasn’t the only shoeless pub patron. A family had arrived a little earlier with all three of their little kids in bare feet. But the oldest of them was about ten. Liam was the only adult lacking footwear.  But nothing was said even by the waitress. Was it the cartoon t-shirt? The way Claire led him along like a child, the simple-minded slackness to his face which belied his juvenile status?

     Whatever the cause it was crystal clear to Ethan that everyone in the pub knew that Liam was a child and adult rules and expectations didn’t apply to him any more than they did to the three young children squirming around in their seats a couple tables over.

     “Hi there, sorry we’re running late!” Claire greeted as Ethan rose from his seat.

     “No worries, you aren’t late at all,” he assured, leaning in for a little hug.  

     “You’re being kind. I’m afraid this little guy had made a mess of himself, again, just as we should have been leaving,” she chided.

     Liam was oblivious to the blame being laid at his feet.  He had already sat down and was looking restlessly about the pub, taking in all the sights.  He had zero interest in adult talk.  

     “Believe me I know all about the messes boys like him can make,” Ethan assured her.  It was so easy to speak of Liam as though he really were just a small boy, a very tall one, but still very much a little kid.  

     “Yes, you certainly would,” Claire agreed. “It must be difficult work, having so many of them to deal with. I only have Liam and he runs me ragged.”  

     “Wan’ cwayons!” the man interrupted, squirming in his seat and pouting in a way that was ridiculous on his adult face.  

     Claire laughed. “Case in point.”

     “Yep,” Ethan agreed, waving to a waitress.  “Can we have some crayons for him?” he asked, hoping she wouldn’t give them any trouble.

     She glanced down at Liam, taking in the bright green t-shirt and probably noting the dirty bare feet brushing back and forth across the floor. Instantly she smiled, completely understanding. “Of course. We do also have a little play area, over there in the corner, with some toys. If he doesn’t need to be too closely supervised that is.”  

     Claire looked and nodded. “Oh yes, that would be perfect thank you.” She took Liam’s hand and asked, “Would you like to go play with the toys sweetie?”  

     The man’s eyes lit up and he nodded.

     “Okay, you can play but you must be quiet and stay in the corner area there. Can you be a good boy for me? A big boy?” she asked him seriously.

     “Uh-huh. I big boy,” Liam assured her, then looked up at the waitress and nodded seriously, making the woman giggle.  

     “Okay, go ahead,” Claire agreed and Liam bolted from his seat, scurrying between the tables on his silent bare feet then dropping to hands and knees to play with the simple toy cars and blocks.  

     He wasn’t alone. A tiny little boy of about five had left the other table and gone to play as well. The little boy in his bright t-shirt, board shorts and bare feet looked like a mirror image of Liam, just scaled down, and it was adorable the way they knelt side by side playing in the same manner.

     “Do you come here often?” Ethan asked her.

     “No we usually just do takeaways when we want to eat out.  We’ve been here a couple times but that’s it. I never realised they had toys before, so maybe we’ll be back more often.”  

     “I guess there isn’t much selection around here,” Ethan noted, realising how awful it sounded as soon as he’d said it. Damn, he was sounding like a stereotypical Aucklander already. No wonder the rest of the country hated them.  

     Luckily Claire didn’t seem offended at all. “No there isn’t much choice in Ngatea, but it’s got its advantages too.”

     “Oh I’m sure,” Ethan agreed heartily. “I guess I’m just new. I have a lot to learn.”

     Claire nodded. “Well you really need a local to show you around. And I’d be happy to do that,” she added, smiling warmly.

     “Thanks,” Ethan said, returning the grin. “So, did you grow up around here?”

     “No, I’m afraid I was raised in Auckland too. I’m a secret Jafa. You know, Just Another Fantastic Aucklander,” she joked.

     Ethan smiled. He knew the F in Jafa didn’t actually stand for fantastic, but he enjoyed her twist.

     “I moved out here when I was twenty-three, after I finished uni and spent a couple years on my OE in the UK.”  

     “Really? I did my OE in Canada and the US, spent two years over there between uni and teacher’s college,” Ethan said.  “How was the UK? Were you in London?”

     “London for a few months but I got tired of how busy and expensive it was. I ended up in a smaller town, much more wholesome, more welcoming. That’s why I came here when I returned, Auckland felt too big after that. I wanted someplace where I knew my neighbours. And somewhere I can actually afford to buy a house,” she added.

     “Ugh, tell me about it,” Ethan agreed.  “I’ve basically given up. Renter for life right here.”

     Claire frowned. “So you wouldn’t consider moving out to a town like this, so you could buy?”

     “Well, maybe. I guess it hadn’t really occurred to me before. But… yeah, it’s possible.”

     “Ngatea is a great place,” Claire told him. “And it was lucky I was here already when Liam needed my care. The school, well you know how special a place it is.”  

     Ethan nodded, intrigued to hear her talk about her brother suddenly needing her. “So, your parents couldn’t care for him anymore?” he asked, hoping not to cross the line in prying too much, but really curious.

     “Oh no, it wasn’t that at all. It’s just, when Liam became like this, like he is now, we decided it was best that he come live with me because the school is here and Mum and Dad, they’re retired now, they aren’t in any shape to be caring for such a big toddler.”

     Ethan’s eyes widened. “Oh, so you mean Liam wasn’t born this way?”  

     “Oh no, not at all. Liam was a smart kid at one time. He went to Auckland Uni, studied law, was headed for a bright future. But he worked crazy hours, and he always subscribed to the work hard, play hard belief. He started smoking pot when he was in high school and then graduated to harder stuff.

     “He was twenty-three when he overdosed. They never figured out exactly what it was, probably not the drugs themselves but something nasty it was cut with.  Either way, he burnt out his brain. All that brilliance, gone, poof,” she finished with a shrug.  

     Ethan shook his head, sorry that he made her repeat such a sad story.  “I’m so sorry,” he apologised.  

     “No, nothing to be sorry for, it isn’t your fault. Liam made his choices and really it isn’t so bad. He was never a happy man, that’s why he got so heavy into the drugs I’m sure. Now look at him. He’s actually happy, you must see it at school.”  

     Ethan had to agree, Liam was a smiley, silly little boy at school, rarely throwing tantrums like some kids did.  

     “He is entertained very simply now and all that complexity, all those responsibilities and stresses he once had are gone. He knows I’ll take care of everything and all he has to do is play. In some ways he’s been incredibly lucky.”  

     Ethan had never really thought of it that way.  “Yeah, I guess I can see what you mean.”

     Claire continued. “Liam was a really high-strung, dressy guy. He worried a lot about appearances I mean, what people thought about him. Now, I kind of like letting him be the opposite, letting him enjoy his lack of self-awareness.”

     “Yeah, I get that,” Ethan said. “You mean like letting him go around barefoot?” he asked, hoping she wouldn’t take offence.  

     He breathed a sigh of relief when Claire laughed out loud at the question.

     “Well yes that is part of it. Liam was always a shoe-wearing kid even in primary school, wouldn’t even wear jandals. It was nice that along with his intelligence Liam also lost all his hang-ups, all his neurotic little quirks like that and when I packed away all his shoes he didn’t say a word of complaint.

     “But mainly I dress him to fit in with the other boys in his school. Bare feet instantly announce he’s one of them, one of the special boys.  It avoids having to explain it.”  

     “Except when someone directly asks you to explain,” Ethan finished for her. “Sorry about that.”

     “Don’t be silly Ethan, I just meant it’s easier to have strangers see his feet and know he’s little. You’re not a stranger, not anymore.”  

     They shared a smile.  

     “I hung-wee!” Liam declared, suddenly appearing back at the table, a toy dump truck in his hands.  

     “Okay, we better order and get some food in this boy’s tummy before it starts to eat itself,” Claire said, playfully tickling Liam’s tummy until he giggled and squirmed and raced back to the toy corner.  

    The Special Teacher: Chapter 2

    A Bright Future

    The classroom was incredibly quiet once all the oversized rugrats were gone. It looked massive too, without all the extra bodies.  Jackson and Ethan cleaned up the scattered toys as best they could. The cleaners could deal with the pee-stained carpets, again, but everything else was the teachers’ job.  

     “Can you believe this?” Jackson asked, chuckling derisively as he picked a well-worn teddy bear off the floor.

     “What?” Ethan replied.

     “We have degrees, we both spent five years at university, and we’re picking up after a bunch of nose-picking pants-wetting morons. I mean honestly, is this where you expected to be in your late twenties?”

     “I’m not late twenties yet old man,” Ethan chided his co-worker, knowing he was all of 11 months older than him.

     Jackson rolled his eyes, tossing the bear towards the toy box and missing, shrugging as it bounced off the wall and landed on the floor.  “You know what I mean mate.  This isn’t what I did uni for and I don’t think you did either.”

     Ethan shrugged. “It’s a job.”  

     “A job in Ngatea,” Jackson retorted, almost spitting out the name of the town.

     “You’d prefer to be back in Auckland, where the average house price is about to break a million dollars? On a teacher’s salary of 50k?”

     “Nah mate. I’d rather be across the ditch in Sydney. Y’know what they pay teachers there? Starting salary round eighty-grand.”  

     Ethan hated whinging. “So what’s stopping you?”

     Jackson paused and frowned. “Need two years’ experience first, then I’m out of here, believe me.”

     “Well you’ll just have to put up with Ngatea for a bit longer then. We’ll be out of here in a few weeks anyway, with a reference.”

     Jackson kicked a barbie doll across the floor like it was a soccer ball.  “Oh I know, believe me I’m counting the days. Cleaning up moron’s messes, wiping their snotty fingers, I’ve had enough of it for a lifetime already. And I’ve seen way too many dudes’ junk!  I swear to God I want to tape Billy’s shorts and undies onto him.”  

     “You’ve also seen a fair amount of boobs,” Ethan pointed out.

     “I didn’t say it was all bad,” Jackson chuckled.  “But seriously, you can’t be enjoying working with these empty-headed retards.”

     Ethan hated people using that term. His aunt had Down Syndrome and he didn’t like it when people took the piss out of conditions like that. But he kept his cool, he had several weeks left working closely with Jackson.  

     “I feel pretty bad for them actually. Don’t you?”

     “Oh yeah, of course I do. I didn’t mean that,” Jackson insisted. “It’s just, they have no shame, they’re always such a mess, so oblivious. They run around with those filthy feet, runny noses, wet pants.  I get that they aren’t embarrassed, but I’m embarrassed for them.”  

     Ethan understood that sentiment a lot better. “Yeah, I feel the same way. But remember it isn’t their fault. They just don’t know any better.”  

     “And isn’t it weird how this whole little town is just cool with them. I mean they’re all over the place and everyone just… I dunno, it’s just weird right?”

     “They’re just used to it. We’re new here. We’ll adjust too.”  

     “I don’t want to adjust Ethan, I want to do my time and go back to Auckland. You aren’t thinking of trying to stay on are you?”

     Ethan shook his head quickly. “No, of course not.”

     But Jackson looked at him suspiciously, putting down the box of crayons he was packing away.  “You haven’t found a girl here or something have you?” he asked slyly.

     Ethan forced a laugh. “No way,” he assured.

     Jackson didn’t look convinced. “You sure about that. Because I can’t think of any other reason someone would want to stay in this ass end of nowhere little town.  Only people living here are farmers or retards who don’t have any say in where they live.”  

     Ethan flinched at the r-word again. “There’s no girl, not yet anyway.”  

     Jackson shrugged. “Okay, if you say so buddy. But just be careful if you do pull a farm girl. They aren’t like Auckland girls, they want a bit more long-term commitment.”

     “Yeah, yeah, steer clear of ‘em, I got it.”

     Jackson laughed. “Nah mate. You just gotta pretend you’re in for the long haul too. That’s how I got Sarah. You should see her face light up when I talk about our future. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so pathetic.”  

     Ethan pretended to be particularly engrossed in cleaning a stain off one of the tables and Jackson got back to his own work. He didn’t want to say anything he couldn’t take back.

    The Special Teacher: Chapter 1

    The following story is based in Sebtomato’s Parkdale Universe. Many years ago I had the pleasure of writing a collaboration with Sebtomato, my favourite mental AR author, but since then have never set a story in that universe. 

    This one is based in the Ngatea satellite town to Parkdale, from the stories Silly Squirts and Undercover, which are available on his website.   

    Chapter 1: Just a Job

    Ethan knelt down with his knee on the soft but well-worn carpet, his hand placed gently on the knee of the twenty-something man sat before him.

     “You’re doing so well!” he praised in the most condescending, the most saccharine sweet voice. He felt so fake using it, so silly. Any normal twenty-something man would have slugged him in the face for using such a patronising tone. But this wasn’t any normal man.  

     The young man’s bare toes wiggled against the carpet, his navy shorts with their elastic waist and tiny, useless pockets were gathered around his ankles as he sat bare bottomed, exposed, on a brightly coloured but oversized juvenile potty seat.  

     The twenty-ish young fellow, a six-foot tall well built man with bright blue eyes and curly blonde hair, was named Edward.  But to everyone here he was known as Teddy. Little Teddy, a sweet little boy in a grown man’s body.  

     Teddy smiled. He lapped up the praise in the sing-song voice Ethan used for little ones.  He didn’t mind the hand on his knee, on the contrary it was reassuring. He yearned for physical contact, for a hand on his knee, a pat on his head, a cuddle.  

     The sounds of liquid splashing against plastic alerted Ethan to Teddy’s success. He immediately gave the young man a bright smile, rubbing his knee gently. “Good job Teddy!” he announced.

     Teddy beamed as well. “Doin’ tinkles!” he announced loudly, proud of his ability to wet the potty rather than his pants.  

     “That’s right! What a big boy you are!” Ethan assured, moving his hands to sit tightly atop the man’s bare thighs, to make sure he didn’t stand up or hop up and down on his bottom in excitement and give Ethan a disgusting shower.  

     Teddy squirmed a bit but didn’t try to move thankfully. He stayed still until he was apparently all done. It was quite an achievement for him. He hadn’t used the potty successfully since he’d enrolled two weeks ago.  

     “All done?” Ethan double-checked when the noise had died away for several seconds.

     Teddy looked down at his crotch, a finger poking into the side of his mouth in concentration. After a moment he nodded sharply, gazing at Ethan with bright innocent eyes.  

     “Okay, upsidaisy,” Ethan chirped, slipping his hands under Teddy’s armpits not really to lift him, the six-foot tall man was about ninety kilos and far too heavy to lift, but to prompt him to stand up.  

     Teddy obliged, standing straight up, his hairless, soft penis hanging between his legs. He wasn’t embarrassed by his exposure, he still looked proud at his accomplishment. There was no expectation of privacy here, not a hint of modesty. He just grinned like an idiot, which he was, while Ethan took a tissue from the dispenser and gently dabbed the young man’s pee-pee dry.

     Then he leant down to pull the boy’s shorts and undies back up but was stopped by a sharp “No!”

     Teddy was fine with the helper cleaning his penis dry but apparently this he had an objection to.

     “Teddy, you need pants on buddy,” Ethan explained, knowing the proclivity some of the boys had for nudity.

     But Teddy shook his head. “I c’n do it!” he insisted, leaning down and pulling up his thick training pants first, little snowmen and penguins printed on the soft cotton, then his navy shorts. His shirt ended up half tucked into the shorts and undies but Teddy looked satisfied.

     “Awll done!” he announced. “See I doned it.”  

     Ethan chuckled lightly. “You sure did,” he agreed, gently untucking the boy’s bright yellow polo shirt.

     Teddy arms closed around him without warning as he finished fixing his shirt. It wasn’t unexpected though. Teddy really liked cuddles. He’d greeted Ethan with a big one the very first time they met. Teddy had no sense of danger or fear of strangers. He was perfectly innocent.  

     “That’s a good boy,” Ethan cooed softly to him, returning the hug, letting Teddy’s head rest on his shoulder and rubbing the man’s back in slow circles.  

     After their cuddle Teddy automatically took Ethan’s hand. He didn’t need to be told to do that anymore, it was instinct now, it was routine. If nothing else the little ones here craved such routine and structure. It made them feel safe.  

     Ethan led the young fellow back across the hall to a door that announced “Juniors’ Jungle!” in bright letters. Ethan wasn’t really sure why they bothered with such a silly sign when none of the children in the room would be able to recognise the letters on it, never mind actually read it.  

     The door opened easily from the outside, but once they were in, it closed with a noticeable click. The only way out was to enter the four-digit pin code on the pad next to the door. They didn’t want the people in this room wandering around outside. They were all adults, but they needed constant supervision.  

     As soon as they were inside Teddy broke free. It wasn’t like Ethan could have held him back if he wanted to, the man had three inches and twenty kilos on him. But there was no need to hold his hand any longer, they were safely back with the rest of the class. Teddy hurried straight back to the blocks he’d been playing with before he’d sharply raised his hand and screeched “Poddy!” a few minutes ago.  

     Ethan didn’t get the chance to see what Teddy was trying to build now as he was immediately confronted by a beautiful young woman with the face of a model and a playful smile. She was the kind of blonde bombshell Ethan had fantasised about since he was a pre-teen. And now she was standing there in front of him topless, her perfect breasts on display.  

     Unfortunately her pretty blonde hair was in pig-tails and her only item of clothing right now was a pair of navy blue shorts.  Ethan frowned, forcing himself to look her in the eye.  “Lizzie, where is your shirt?” he asked her firmly.  

     “Off!” Lizzie chirped happily. She didn’t have the mental capacity to lie, or to feel any sense of body modesty.  

     “Yes sweetie I can see you got a bit nakey. But where is your shirt?” Ethan tried again.

     Lizzie twisted back and forth and pouted as she took one of her long pig-tails and began nibbling at her hair. “Dun’ wan’ it,” she fussed.

     Ethan nodded but said, “I’m sorry Lizzie, but at school we have to keep our clothes on. Now are you a good girl or not?”  

     She pouted hard but finally nodded. “I a good giw-ul,” she said.

     “So you’ll put your shirt back on?”

     “Yeth,” she agreed in defeat, walking over to the toy box and retrieving her yellow polo shirt, handing it to Ethan and raising her arms straight up in the air. The poor young woman knew how to take her shirt off but not how to put it back on.  

     Ethan carefully slipped her shirt back on, then sent her off to play with the sensory tub.  That settled he looked around the classroom, spotting his counterpart.  

     “You didn’t happen to notice the naked girl wandering round the room?” he asked Jackson angrily.

     The only other man in the room who wasn’t wearing a yellow polo shirt looked up from where he was working on shapes with another boy.  Jackson was a year older than Ethan, a fit twenty-seven year old with dark hair and green eyes.  He was usually a laid-back guy but he didn’t look relaxed at the moment.

     “You know how hard it is when only one of us is in here,” he retorted. “There’s twenty of them, makes it impossible to keep tabs on them all.”  

     “I get that mate. But really, Lizzie, walking around with her boobs out. You didn’t notice that?” Ethan asked.

     Jackson smirked. “I was going to get around to it… eventually.”

     Ethan shook his head. “They’re like toddlers Jackson, you can’t take advantage like that…”

     “Exactly. They’re like toddlers. Toddlers run around topless, they run around naked. It doesn’t do them any harm, they like it, they’re more comfy that way. So, I let her have her fun for a bit, no harm done,” Jackson said, cutting Ethan off.  

     All Ethan could do was roll his eyes. He didn’t have time to waste arguing with his colleague.  There were twenty oversized toddlers in the room and they needed teaching, they needed supervision.  

     Ethan had started at Ngatea Special School three weeks ago. It was far from his first choice. He had a degree in psychology and a year’s teacher training. He expected to work in a high school. But there were no jobs and the rent in Auckland was outrageous even with a well-paid job. So he’d been reduced to living at home, doing relief teaching on and off, working weekends and nights at a supermarket.  It was embarrassing.  Finally he’d applied for this job, fixed-term relief at the special school for intellectually disabled children.  

     It was not what Ethan had expected. He thought the children would be, well, kids. Instead they turned out to be adults, mostly in their twenties and thirties.  At first he’d felt incredibly awkward around them. But soon he came to realise they just had big bodies. On the inside they were just silly little boys and girls, the sweetest and simplest of little tots.

     Ethan was now the co-teacher of the Junior Room.  His charges were between three and four mentally. They could only learn the simplest of things, their shapes, colours, how different materials reacted to manipulations.  The alphabet, numbers, even these were well beyond most of them. The Senior Room had young men and women whose mentality was between five and eight years old, the Nursery was for those with an infant to two year old mentality.  

     At first Ethan had questioned how a small, rural town like Ngatea could have so many intellectually impaired people. But the principal, Meredith, explained to him that the school accepted students from across the country. Many families moved to the town to send their kids there. Apparently the school had that good a reputation.  

     Certainly everyone spoke of the woman he and Jackson were replacing, Susan, as an amazing teacher. She certainly had to be, to have managed the class all by herself. Ethan knew he and Jackson were poor replacements, but it was only for 8 weeks after all and it was impossible to get someone truly highly qualified to drop everything and fill in for such a short time.  He just hoped they didn’t screw up too badly before Susan got back from her trip to the UK. He wanted a good reference out of this job more than anything.  

     Jackson was in a similar position but he wasn’t coping as well. Men weren’t natural carers, at least in Ethan’s opinion. But it was natural to have men teaching in a classroom like this, where dealing with the toddlers’ tantrums required physical strength. Again, he had to wonder how Susan did it.  

     Ethan headed over to where Liam was creeping on the floor, pushing a Thomas the Tank Engine toy train. Liam was mid-twenties, with short brown hair and build similar to Ethan’s, neither thin nor overweight, but not by any means fit.  It wasn’t just their similar age and size that made Ethan pay more attention to Liam though. He didn’t like to admit it, even to himself, but it was Liam’s caretaker.

     Claire was a very beautiful young woman and clearly had a good heart given that she was caring for her disabled little brother.  Ethan had met her at their regular parent/guardian check-ins and they’d immediately hit it off.  It had gone so well that they were meeting up over the weekend for dinner.  Ethan feared it was a violation of the rules, so he kept quiet about it. He especially needed to keep it on the down low after he’d chided Jackson for getting involved with another caretaker the week before.

     But that was different, he knew Jackson wasn’t after a real relationship. He was a dog. All he wanted was to get laid and move on. That was bound to cause him problems if the woman went to school admin.  

     Ethan looked down at Liam, smiling as he listened to the young man making choo-choo sounds to himself, immersed in imaginary play.  He was actually a cute kid, down on his hands and knees in his little uniform with the dirty soles of his bare feet facing up. None of the kids wore shoes or sandals to the special school. Parents were strongly encouraged to send them in bare feet, like they really were in a primary school.  Ethan had no idea what the reasoning was, beyond further making them look like little kids. Perhaps that was reason enough.  Certainly that seemed the point of the rest of their brightly coloured uniforms. They looked exactly like the local primary school’s but with navy shorts instead of black.  

     The idea of being kept barefoot didn’t sit that well with Ethan. He had tender feet and was never a very wild rambunctious kid, the kind who usually came to school without any shoes back when he was a little boy.  But Liam didn’t seem to mind at all. From the colour of his soles and the obvious calluses he rarely wore shoes outside of school, if at all.  In fact it seemed all the kids here shared the rusty brown or tar black callused soles of children who only rarely wore shoes.  

     Ethan knelt down next to the young man and placed his hand on Liam’s shoulder to get his attention. Liam smiled immediately and moved to sit on his bottom.  

     “Who you got there buddy?” Ethan asked him brightly.

     Liam held up the toy train. “Domas twain,” he said cheerily.

     Ethan shook his head. “Are you sure buddy? I think that might be Gordon,” he suggested.

     Liam looked at the toy a moment and then nodded with certainty. “Uh-huh! Daz Go-don!”

     “And what sound does Gordon make?” Ethan prompted.

     Liam knew the answer to this one. He eagerly announced, “Go-don go choo-choo!”  

     “That’s right! Clever boy!”

     “Choo-choo! Choo-choo! Twain go choo-choo!” the excited twenty-something man repeated, twiddling his dirty bare toesies together and shaking his toy train in the air.  

     Ethan let him get the energy out then asked, “But do trains run on carpets?”

     An instant shake of the head from Liam. “No-ooo,” he sing-songed.

     “Where do trains belong then?” Ethan asked, scratching his chin, playing dumb.

     “Twacks!”

     “Of course?!” Ethan declared, slapping his forehead like he’d forgotten, earning lots of giggles from the grown toddler before him.  

     “Well, do we have any tracks around here for Gordon?”

     Liam nodded and dropped back to his hands and knees, crawling rapidly across the carpet, pushing the train in one hand until they reached the plastic set of tracks made specifically for the Thomas set. A thirty-something red-headed woman was pushing the James engine back and forth on it, but it was otherwise abandoned. Liam quickly settled Gordon down on the tracks and began pushing him around, making little tooting sounds for his whistle.  

     Ethan stood and watched the young man play alongside the woman, Rosie, for a couple minutes.  They didn’t play together, they were too young of mind for that, but they got along playing next to each other.  They both looked absolutely engrossed, happy, lost in imagination.  It was times like these Ethan almost felt jealous of their simple lives.  

     A finger poking him roughly in the arm ended his reverie and Ethan turned to find a portly man of thirty standing before him, his navy shorts soaked at the crotch, urine running down his legs and onto his bare feet before staining the carpet yet again. The man, Lewis, sucked on his wrinkled thumb with teeth ruined from constant suckling, his eyes glassy and empty of complex thought.  

     “Had an ack-ee-dent,” the man explained, gripping his wet crotch with his free hand to show his teacher.

     Ethan sighed. And this was when he remembered why the last thing he should be feeling for these young men and women was jealousy.