mind-wiper

    The Look

    Based on a story idea from musclelover4826

    It was unexpected when Adam messaged me.  I hadn’t heard from him in a few months.  We had been good friends for years, but then he moved a few suburbs over, got a new job that ate up all his time and gradually we had hung out less and less.  So it was welcome to see that he had messaged me.  

    When I read the message though, it wasn’t had also probably been his best friend for the longest time. He must not have anyone else to turn to.  

    That’s amazing mate!  I’m not sure I’m very good with kids, but if you really need the support, of course I’ll do what I can

    It was the best I could do.  I mean, I didn’t want to say no, but I also didn’t want to be too enthusiastic.  

    The bubble appeared showing he was typing a reply right away.  

    Thanks dude!  I know kids have never been your thing, so this really would mean the world to me.  How about we meet at Harold’s tomorrow around noon, talk things over?  

    Damn, he must really be that desperate.  Well I couldn’t refuse, what kind of friend would do that?  

    Cool, see you then!  

    **

    Harold’s was a cafe Adam and I used to have lunch at pretty often.  But it had been nearly a year since I’d last been there.  I hoped it would be like old times, but I knew that was impossible now.  I had so many questions.  How did he end up adopting, how old was the kid, how did he manage the expenses?  

    Adam looked pretty much the same as always when I spotted him sitting at a table toward the far side of the cafe.  He was thirty-two, thin with a receding hairline.  He used to wear glasses, but he’d had that laser surgery a few years back.  He wasn’t as well groomed or dressed as he could have been.  I took a lot of pride in my appearance, spent time getting my hair and outfit right each morning.  Adam often looked like he just threw on whatever was cleanest.  

    Today he was in a t-shirt and track pants, his standard attire when he wasn’t at work.  I never said anything about it anymore. 

    “Sam! Great to see you!” he greeted me, rising from the table to shake hands and then give a quick man-hug.  

    “I’ve missed hanging out,” I told him.  “I thought you were just busy with work, so I didn’t try to push you.  I had no idea your life had got so complicated.  Sorry I didn’t stay in touch.”  

    “No worries mate, I’m the one who should have been keeping you in the loop,” he told me.  “Anyway, the adoption was very sudden.”

    “I guess it must have been.  You never talked about wanting a kid,” I said.  

    “Well it was an unusual circumstance.  My little boy, he isn’t actually little, physically I mean.”  

    I was confused and it showed on my face.  

    “I mean he’s a little boy on the inside, up here,” he explained, tapping his temple.  “But on the outside, he’s big.”  

    “So you adopted an intellectually impaired adult?” I asked.  

    “Essentially yeah.”  

    Now I really didn’t know what to think.  

    “I didn’t even know that was possible.”  

    “Well technically I’m his legal guardian, his power of attorney.  It’s an alternative to putting him into an institution, some heartless bureaucracy,” he explained.  

    “How did this happen?” I asked, utterly baffled.  

    “Mikey was a co-worker of mine.  He was a really smart guy, really friendly, but kind of kept to himself.  He didn’t have a partner, he was estranged from his family.  And then there was an incident, and he was left profoundly impaired.  With no family, he’d have been stuck in some institution and I couldn’t let that happen… so, I adopted him,” Adam explained.  

    Oh Adam, poor bleeding heart Adam.  Of course he’d done it.  He’d never talked about kids, but he was the caring type.  

    “That’s incredible Adam, I really have to take my hat off to you.”  

    “It’s been wonderful, really.  He’s still big on the outside, but he’s really just a sweet, silly little boy now and I’ve found it so rewarding being his daddy.  That’s what he calls me you see.  It’s easier that way. We don’t ever mention his old family, who just abandoned him.

    “But it is very draining to be daddy all the time, twenty-four seven.  And I was hoping to have a night a week off.  The problem is that no babysitter will watch a boy like mine.  So I was wondering if you’d do it for twenty dollars an hour, once a week?”  

    Every week was way more than I had expected.  But I also hadn’t expected to be offered money to help my friend.  I was saving up to buy a house and every bit helped.  But watching a grown-up man who behaved like a child?  I wasn’t sure I could handle it either.  But again, I felt obligated to at least try.  

    “I’d love to help, Adam,” I told him.  “When were you thinking?”  

    Adam looked overjoyed.  

    “Thanks so much Sam!” he gushed.  “Well, I was thinking Tuesday nights, so I could do pub quiz.”   

    “Tuesdays would work for me,” I agreed.  

    “Perfect! Now, you should probably meet Mikey,” Adam went on.  

    “Sounds good.  You want me to meet him before Tuesday then?”  

    Adam laughed. “No silly, I meant right now.”  

    He gestured over my right shoulder and I looked over where he was gazing.  Harold’s had a small area for little kids to play while their parents ate.  It was just some basic toys, but it kept the little tots entertained.  

    But right now it wasn’t a tiny tot playing there, it was a grown man.  Mikey appeared to be mid-twenties, average build, with messy light brown hair.  He was down on the floor on his hands and knees, playing with a toy tractor.  His t-shirt featured a cartoon raccoon and the words Daddy’s Little Rascal.  He had a pair of bright blue board shorts on as well, but he was barefoot and looking around I didn’t see any discarded pairs of shoes or sandals either in the play area or under our table.  

    “Mikey! Come over here honey!” Adam called to him.  

    I blushed at the attention being drawn to this grown man playing with little kid toys.  Other cafe customers looked of course.  Eyes widened as others noticed the oversized tyke.  Some looked disgusted, others filled with pity.  

    Mikey shoved his toy tractor along the floor, running towards us hunched over as he pushed it along until it rammed into the empty chair next to mine.  

    The barefooted man giggled and then looked up at us.  I could see the innocence in his eyes now, the slackness of his face.  Yes, it was obvious he wasn’t mentally all there.  

    “Tac-taw go boom!” he announced.  

    Keep reading

    musclelover4826

    Thank you for going with my idea. This story was perfect! Thank you

    mind-wiper

    Story idea by Galloway2017

    Witness Protection

    They called him Vinnie the Mouth because he talked a lot, but in the end his mouth was their downfall because he squealed.  It wasn’t like he wanted to be a rat, he had been given no other choice.  Jimmy Marconi, his long-time boss, had put a hit out on him, all over his running a tiny little protection racket on the side.  He was taking initiative, they should have been impressed.  

    In any case his career in organised crime seemed to have come to a screeching and permanent end.  Two months stuck in a flea-bag motel off the interstate had been followed up by a stellar court performance.  He made sure they knew they’d fucked with the wrong guy.  He knew where all the bodies were buried… literally.  After all he’d put a few of them there himself.  

    The kind of shit he admitted to in court would normally get a guy a lifetime sentence.  But he’d gone to the feds himself.  They had nothing on him, so they had to pay a high price for his full cooperation.  Full immunity, and a guarantee of witness protection somewhere far away, and somewhere with a warmer climate than Chicago.  

    But to be honest when he asked for somewhere warmer, he’d been imagining California, or even Florida.  Which is why he was more than a little disappointed when Special Agent Garcia pulled off the highway and headed deep down some winding, country roads into the most backwoods part of Appalachian Tennessee.  This was major redneck territory.  He’d have to set up a moonshine operation to make money here.  

    Things were looking down already, but then the car turned down a dirt driveway, winding up through a thick stand of trees that hid the property from the small country road it sat upon.  

    “Here we are!” Agent Garcia announced happily.  Too happily in Vinnie’s opinion.  

    Garcia didn’t like Vinnie, that was no secret.  It would have been weird if the fed had liked the gangster.  So if Garcia was happy, Vinnie knew it couldn’t be good for him.  

    “Where the fuck are we, Garcia?” he demanded.  

    “The ass end of nowhere, Tennessee,” Garcia replied cheerily.  “This is going to be your new home for the foreseeable future.”  

    “This is bullshit Garcia, and you know it.  I’m going to talk with Landau,” Vinnie threatened.  

    “Go ahead, he approved the assignment.”  

    Shit, Garcia seemed pretty certain.  This was going to suck.  

    They cleared the trees, revealing an old farmhouse, a small barn next to it, surrounded by an expansive yard.  Vinnie saw a couple chickens pecking around the dirt in front of the house.  Wow, this really was the worst.  

    And then it got even worse.  

    A man came running out of the woods just to their right.  He was a tall, strongly built man, probably in his thirties, with a shaved head.  He was wearing a pair of blue-jean bib overalls, shirtless, with the legs cuffed up over bare feet.  He was grinning like a fool, racing to keep alongside the car, waving frantically to them.  He looked mentally challenged.  Or perhaps seriously inbred.  Vinnie wondered if the man had many teeth.  

    “This is some Deliverance bullshit Garcia!” Vinnie roared.  

    Garcia just laughed and laughed, pulling the car to a stop in front of the house.  

    The bald man in overalls planted himself alongside Vinnie’s window, patting it with his palms and hopping up and down on those bare feet, giggling and saying, “Hi! Hi! Hi!”  

    Vinnie was a bit nervous to get out.  The man was even bigger up close.  Sure Vinnie was a tough guy, but he usually let his gun do the talking or sent in one of his enforcers.  This guy probably had the strength of the stupid.  

    The door to the farmhouse opened and another man emerged.  This man was older, likely in his forties, well built but only average height, with a full head of dark hair but graying temples.  He was also wearing overalls, but he had on a long-sleeved plaid shirt and workboots as well.  

    “Well hello there!” he greeted them.  “Bobby, get yer butt back and let the poor boy out of the car!” he called to the bald man.  

    Bobby pouted like a small child, but stepped back as instructed.  “Yes Pa,” he said.  

    “Good boy,” the older man praised him, like he really was a small child.  

    Vinnie got out of the car, feeling the oppressive heat and humidity wash over him at once.  God, the AC really had hidden their descent into the South.  

    “Welcome home Vinnie,” the older man greeted him.  

    Vinnie awkwardly extended his hand, feeling the touch calluses on the other man’s dirty hands as they shook.  He reflexively wiped off some of the transferred grime on his thigh.  

    The man chuckled.  “Oh boy, you best get used to gettin’ dirty.  You ain’t gonna be all clean like this again for a long, long time.”  

    Bobby giggled at that as well.  

    “He’s awll cwean Pa!” he chimed in.  “He gonna look diff’rent when he awll dirty!”  

    Vinnie looked the man-child over more closely, seeing that he was in fact much dirtier than the father.  His body odor smelled even from a foot away.  His hands looked like he’d been making mud pies.  His bare feet were absolutely filthy, grime caked under each toe.  God he was a mess.  

    “I take pride in my appearance,” Vinnie cooly replied, running a hand through his well styled black hair.  

    “Well, we’ll just see how long that lasts,” Pa declared.  

    “Okay Vinnie, you’re all set,” Garcia jumped in, dropping the one bag he’d been allowed at his feet.  “You keep safe now, and if you have any problems at all, feel free to call us.”  

    It was an odd thing to say, but obviously totally insincere.  What did that mean then? That they wouldn’t take his calls?  If they wouldn’t, he’d have no choice but to walk away from witness protection and take his chances.  He couldn’t stay here long term.  

    Garcia got back into the car, wasting no time in pulling back down the driveway, smiling the whole time.  

    “Okay then, let’s get you inside and get you changed out of those city clothes,” Pa declared.  

    Vinnie shook his head.  “Look Pops…”

    “It’s Pa,” the man corrected.  

    “Whatever.  You’re only what, ten years older than me though, so it’s a little weird to have me calling you Pa, don’t you think?”  

    “All my boys call me Pa.  Bobby’s about the same age as you.  He calls me Pa,” the man explained.  

    All his boys?  

    “Are there more of you here?” Vinnie asked.  

    “Oh yes. Jason and Chris are around here somewhere.  Jason! Chris! C’mon out ‘nd meet the new boy!” he called.  

    Two more men quickly emerged from the barn and Vinnie’s jaw actually dropped.  He’d seen a lot of fucked up stuff in his time in the maffia.  But this… this took the fucking cake and then some.  

    The first man was a bit younger, maybe twenty-five, skinny with buzz-cut blonde hair.  He was wearing a pair of undies that seemed to be covered in dinosaur designs, like a little boy’s.  That was all he wore though.  The rest of his body was bare and he was every bit as dirty as Bobby.  

    Right behind him though was a tubby man, somewhere between the skinny man’s age and Bobby’s.  Like Bobby his head had been totally shaved.  He was also completely naked. He’d been shaved all over in fact.  His balls had been shaved too, he was all smooth down there, his penis just bouncing free.  All tubby and smooth and naked, he really looked like a massive toddler.  

    “Daz da new boy Pa?” the man in the undies asked, pointing rudely right at Vinnie.  

    But Vinnie could see the man was oblivious to manners of any kind.  His eyes also lacked any flicker of intelligence.  They were dull and glassy, and yes he was missing several teeth, visible as he stood there slack-jawed.  

    “Yes Chris, this is Vinnie, he’s our newest little family member,” Pa answered. 

    The naked man, who had to be Jason, suddenly and inexplicably blew a big, wet raspberry at Vinnie, before grinning at his joke, spittle dribbling down his chin.  

    “Don’t be silly to the new boy, Jason,” Pa chided him.  

    “Sowwy Pa,” Jason said, twisting his dirty toes in the soil and nibbling on one of his fingers.  

    “So, all your boys are…” he almost said retards, but reminded himself he needed to stay here at least a little while.  Don’t piss them off right away if possible.  

    “They’re all disabled?” he asked.  

    “Oh we don’t think of it like that,” Pa told him.  “They’re special boys, that’s all.  And they’re all very happy, very good boys for their Pa.”  

    All three of the men grinned and squirmed like hyperactive little boys, drinking in what they evidently took as praise.  

    “And you let them… um… wear whatever clothes they feel like?” 

    For a moment Vinnie was sure the redneck bastard would be offended.  But Pa just chuckled again.  

    “Well not exactly.  They have outfits for if we got to go to town and a special outfit for church.  But at home, well I’ll explain the rules to you shortly.  We got to get you inside, show you your room and get you changed into your home clothes.”  

    “I’m quite happy dressed as I am, thanks,” Vinnie told him.  

    Pa looked him up and down, clearly finding that very funny.  Okay, so the expensive Italian shoes and suit he was wearing weren’t for a farm.  And he didn’t really want to mess them all up walking around here.  But he wasn’t putting on any clothes this guy thought was more appropriate either.  

    “Just c’mon in and we’ll get you settled,” Pa said, leading him up the steps onto the porch.  

    Vinnie followed him inside.  The house was pretty clean actually, better than he’d expected given the outside.  

    “So you expect me to help you with taking care of the… special men?” Vinnie asked, not really prepared to deal with retarded inbred rednecks like that.  

    “No, no, not at all,” Pa assured him right away.  “That’s my job and mine alone.”  

    Vinnie breathed a sigh of relief.  

    They entered a bedroom and Vinnie saw there were two beds in the room.  One had clearly been occupied for some time by one of the boys, as Pa called them.  There were small children’s toys cluttering the floor between the beds and the sheets were car and truck themed.  

    The other bed was clean and made up.  And lying across it was a single item, a simple white tank-top, a wife-beater some would call it.  

    “There you go Vinnie,” Pa said.  “That’s your bed, and you can leave your bag downstairs.  I’ll deal with it later.  Everything you need is right here in this room, in the closet and dresser.  I got some clothes in there for church and town.  But I don’t want you going in there, gettin’ them on, gettin’ them dirty.”

    “I’m sorry?” 

    “It’s natural for farm boys to be messy, to get themselves dirty. They’re always playin’ in the barn, wrestlin’ with each other, and with the pigs too.  They get messy doin’ their chores, the get messy eatin’ their dinner.  And four boys means a lot of laundry if they’re gettin’ their clothes messy.  

    “So, y’all got one outfit for home, but y’all got to share it,” Pa told him.  

    Vinnie was totally confused now.  “Share it? Share an outfit?”  

    Pa nodded. “Today Bobby’s got them overalls.  Chris got the undies and I saved the shirt for you.  Jason don’t mind though, he liked bein’ nekkid more ‘n anything else.  With four boys there always gonna be one a you nekkid.  Well at least one.  No rule that you gotta wear your part of the outfit,” Pa explained with another chuckle.  

    “You can’t mean… you, don’t expect me to take off all my clothes and put on that wife-beater and what, that’s it?” 

    To his utter shock, Pa nodded instantly.  “You get changed out of those city clothes before they get ruined.  I’ll take them down to goodwill when we go to town in a couple days.  Get changed quick, then come on down to the kitchen and we’ll give you a haircut.”  

    Vinnie jerked backwards reflexively, as thought the scissors were coming for his hair right then.  

    “Look man, I got my hair just how I like it.  No one touches my hair, you got that,” he warned, using his most menacing tone.  This guy didn’t know who he was fucking with.  

    But Pa wasn’t deterred at all.  

    “Hair on little boys just gets filthy, gets matted, gets infested with lice.  It gets in your eyes, gets all sweaty when you’re playin’, when you’re explorin’ and doin’ yer chores.  Easier to get rid of it.

    “Now hurry up, we got to go on our walk too.  The boys are all excited for it.”  

    “Walk? Where are you planning to walk to?”  

    “Oh we have a nice trail that goes up onto the mountain behind the house.  It’s real quiet, no tourists or anything around here.  It’s a rough one, but that’s just the point.  We need to start getting your feet toughened up.  It’ll be sore at first, sorry to tell you, but it won’t take no time at all ‘nd you’ll be able to run over gravel like the others.  

    “But we gotta get your feet used to it, so a nice long walk up the mountain will get you started.  It’s gonna feel so nice Vinnie, especially since you’ll be nice and cool in your new outfit, no hair to get in your eyes.”  

    “Get my feet used to it? What does that even mean?”  

    “Well none of my boys have shoes, not even for church.  Around here it’s pretty much expected for little boys to be barefoot.  Keeps ‘em surer on their feet, makes climbin’ the trees easier and saves buyin’ boots for the barn.”  

    Vinnie had heard enough.  The old bastard wanted him to be like these morons he cared for.  He actually thought he’d enjoy a half-naked, barefooted walk in the woods.  

    “Just stop right there man.  None of that is going to happen.  I’m not stripping naked and walking around with my cock flapping in the breeze for you to see.  I’m not letting you touch my hair. I’m not going for a stupid walk, and definitely not barefoot.  

    “You don’t seem to get that I’m not a retard like those other guys.  I’m not an inbred hick with an undeveloped brain.  I’m actually a pretty smart guy.  I ran a lot of rackets back in Chicago.  People knew not to fuck with me.  I don’t need you to take care of me.  I can take care of myself just fine!”  

    “Okay, okay, okay, just calm down now,” Pa urged.  “Look, I know you aren’t like my boys.  I get that Vinnie, I do.  And I seen your file. I know what you done, what you can do.”  

    Vinnie nodded, finally glad to have a little respect.  

    “I’m not a rich guy like you.  The only valuable thing I even have is this pocket watch, passed down from my grandpa to my pa to me.”  

    He fished the tarnished, old pocket watch out of the pocket of his overalls.  Pa held it up for Vinnie to see more closely and Vinnie wondered what the piece of junk would bring at a pawn shop.  Probably not nearly as much as this idiot thought it was worth.  

    “I cherish this pocket watch, mostly for the sentimental value,” Pa admitted.  “But also because it has helped me to build a loving family.”  

    Pa pressed a button and the lid of the pocket watch flicked open.  But inside it wasn’t a clock face.  It was a digital screen, something much newer than the outside of the watch.  And it was filled with these strange swirling colors.  So bright, so eye-catching.  Vinnie didn’t even hear Pa still talking, he was just looking at the swirl of colors.  

    “It’s so pretty ain’t it?” Pa whispered.  

    He was standing next to Vinnie now, patting his arm gently.  Vinnie found himself nodding.  Yes, it was very pretty.  

    “Each of my boys saw my pretty pocket watch on their first day here,” he went on.  “They weren’t so different from you before that.  They were smart, they were all so independent, so confident.  And then they saw this pretty watch.  Don’t worry Vinnie, it feels good, doesn’t it?”  

    Vinnie did feel good.  It felt so peaceful now. All his other thoughts and worries were just gone.  There was just the pretty watch and Pa’s voice, echoing around his head.  His muscles were all getting nicely relaxed too.  His whole body was just losing its tension.  

    “Yeah,” Vinnie mumbled, so relaxed now, it was hard to even speak.  

    “Yes, it feels lovely. They all saw the pocket watch just like you.  And then they changed out of their city clothes into farm boy clothes.  They got their haircuts, they went for their walks and they became a part of the family.

    “Jason was the last one to join us.  He was a banker before.  He didn’t want his farm clothes either when he saw them.  But after he saw the pocket watch he still didn’t want them, but for a totally different reason.  After our lovely, sleepy talk, he didn’t want clothes at all, silly boy.”  

    Somewhere in his head Vinnie felt alarm bells going off.  He needed to stop looking at the watch.  He needed to get out of here.  But his body wasn’t responding.  His muscles were all relaxed, all asleep, his arms and feet heavy as stones.  

    “Don’t… don’t wanna forget…” he managed to slur.  

    “Oh you won’t forget everything, I promise you that.  No, you’ll still know who you used to be.  I won’t take that away from you Vinnie.  But you are going to need to forget a lot about how to be that person.  You’ll need to forget things a simple farm boy doesn’t need to know, like how to drive, or how to read, or how to tie a pair of shoes.  Course you won’t have any shoes to tie anyway.

    “We need to make sure that you need your Pa.  Make sure you mind your Pa, appreciate your Pa.  Make sure you only got the simplest of thoughts, ‘bout playin’ with your brothers, doin’ your chores, gettin’ nice and messy.”  

    Vinnie managed to shake his head.  It took a lot of effort.  His eyelids were drifting half closed, but he still couldn’t look away from the swirl of colors, even as his chin came closer and closer to resting on his chest.  

    “That’s it Vinnie, you’re almost there buddy.  Just let go buddy, let your eyes drift shut and let it all go.  You’ll have the most lovely nap, it won’t feel like long at all to you.  And when you wake up, you’ll be special just like the other boys.  Your head will be nice and empty, nice and clean, the opposite of how your outside will be from now on,” he added with a laugh.  

    “I know you think you can fight it honey, but you just can’t.  All the other boys let their chins touch their chests, let their eyes close and when they woke up, they were silly and simple and ready to be my good farm boys.  

    “It’s much better this way.  They don’t even remember the naughty things they did before.  Now they’re innocent.  It’s a relief for them, and it will be for you too darling.  Soon you’ll have the most innocent of eyes.”  

    Vinnie felt horror flashing through his mind.  He didn’t want to be innocent and utterly helpless.  Jesus, others would see him too, when they went to town, or church.  And Agent Garcia had made a point of telling him he’d visit from time to time, see how he was enjoying his new life.  He understood what he meant now.  He was looking forward to seeing Vinnie reduced to idiocy.  

    That couldn’t be his new life!  It just couldn’t.  He wasn’t going to go to sleep.  He wasn’t going to let this fucker do this to him.  

    “Deep sleep Vinnie.  Deep peaceful sleep,” Pa whispered, gently pressing his head downward until his chin touched his chest and his eyes got so heavy and they drifted closed.  It felt so good to finally drift off to sleep.  

    **

    Vinnie’s eyes fluttered open.  He was still standing up, but no longer in the bedroom.  They were in another room, facing a mirror, so he could see what he looked like now.  

    He gazed into the mirror, looking first at his smooth head, his hair all shaved away.  His fancy suit and Italian shoes were gone too.  He was wearing the tank-top now, but that was all.  It was a bit small for him, only just reaching his belly-button, leaving his penis fully visible, soft between his legs. It was smooth too. Pa had shaved him all over apparently.  

    Vinnie looked down at his feet, wriggled his toes experimentally against the wood floor of the farmhouse, feeling it under his soles, getting used to it.  

    Pa’s hand pressed the middle of his back.  

    “What you looking at there Vinnie?” he asked.  

    “Toes,” Vinnie answered.  

    “Oh yes, toes are interesting.  You should have a closer look, honey.  It’s okay, go ahead and sit on your bum.”   

    Vinnie sat on his bottom, feeling the floor under it as well.  He took one foot into his hands, looking at it, wiggling the toes again.  His eyes widened.  Toes were so interesting.  He wanted to do something else with them, but he stopped.  That was silly.  That was dumb.  

    Pa got down on his level, put a supportive hand on his shoulder.  He looked over at Pa, confused by his urges, by how fascinating he found his toes.  

    “It’s okay Vinnie, go ahead,” Pa assured him.  

    It’s a huge relief to know it’s okay.  He pulls the foot to his mouth, puts the big toe between his lips and tastes it, explores it with his tongue, jams two more toes in there, slurps at them as Pa watches and nods encouragingly.  

    Finally they come out with a pop, a line of drool slips out too, he feels it running down his chin, dripping on his chest.  

    “Why I wike toes Pa?” he asked the man.  

    Pa ran a hand gently over his smooth head.  It felt lovely to Vinnie, felt so soothing.  

    “You were such a good boy for me Vinnie.  You looked at my special pocket watch and had a wonderful, long nap.  And we took away all the smarts in your silly little head.  So now you’re just a little boy honey.  

    “You’re a very little boy inside a big boy’s body.  But it’s okay because I know you’re all little inside.  And it’s okay to do little boy things, to enjoy little boy stuff, like playing with your toesies,” Pa explained. 

    Vinnie nodded his head.  He remembered going to sleep now.  He’d had a nice nap and Pa had helped him forget all his naughty things.  He was certain he’d been a naughty boy before.  But he couldn’t begin to recall what it was he’d done that was so bad.  Pa had taken the burden away.  And now he was little inside.  Yes, he felt little. Pa was telling the truth.  

    “Okay honey, let’s go for our walk now. After that your feet will be awfully dirty and those toes will taste different when you eat ‘em next time,” Pa said, helping Vinnie to stand up.  

    That did sound good! What would his toes taste like next time?  Vinnie wanted to know.  And walking sounded fun too.  He was going to be such a good boy for his Pa.  

    **

    Special Agent Garcia pulled the car around the final bend, exiting the woods and sighting the farmhouse he’d last seen two months ago.  He hadn’t even parked it when Chris emerged from the barn, rushing over in a pair of shirtless overalls.  

    “Garcia hewe!” he announced brightly.  

    Bobby appeared right behind him, beaming ear to ear, wearing a tank top and dirty looking holey undies.  The two giggling idiots were eager to say hello to their visitor, but it wasn’t them he’d come to check up on.  

    “Where’s your Pa?” he asked them.  

    “Pa’s feedin’ the hogs.  Bwudders is hewpin’,” Chris answered.  

    “Right, well maybe you should go tell them I’m here.”  

    The man in overalls nodded like a bobble head and rushed off.  

    Moments later he returned, hopping along, hand now being held by Pa.  A moment later two more men emerged from around the side of the house.  Tubby looking Jason, nude as always, and right behind him Vinnie.  

    Vinnie was just as naked as Jason now, his whole body deeply tanned, his hands and feet brown with dirt, head shaved, body smooth like the others.  Garcia couldn’t help but smile.  The former gangster had been such a smooth operator, such a good liar and manipulator.  They called him the Mouth, but it was really his brains that made him so good and so dangerous.  

    Garcia had worried that those brains would have found a way out of this end.  That he’d have slipped past Pa somehow.  

    But as the naked man came closer he could see in his eyes the same vacancy, the same blankness as in the other boys.  His face had a slackness to it that utterly transformed his facial features.  He had worn a near permanent sneer before.  Now his jaw was slack, his chin shiny with drool.  

    “Vinnie, do you know who this man is?” Pa asked him. 

    Vinnie gaped at Agent Garcia, his eyes looking at him, but still not focusing.  

    “Pow-ees-man!” Vinnie declared after a moment, his lips then tugging upward into a pleased smile.  

    “That’s right Vinnie,” Pa praised him.  “He’s the policeman who brought you here to Pa.”  

    Vinnie looked stunned for a moment, then hurried over to Garcia, grabbing his arm.  

    “Pa made me hab a nap,” he told Garcia, clearly excited to deliver this news.  

    For a second Garcia was worried.  Was Vinnie trying to break through, trying to get out of this after all?  

    “He did?” 

    Vinnie nodded.  “Made me all spethal ‘nd widdle,” Vinnie told him seriously.  “Widdle inthide.”  

    Garcia swallowed hard and nodded.  

    Then Vinnie’s lips tugged up again, that silly smile reappearing on his face.  

    “Now I go nekkid!” he announced, grabbing his soft penis and yanking it upward to show to Garcia.  

    Garcia laughed out loud.  

    “I see that.  It’s nice being all nekkid then?”  

    An emphatic nod from Vinnie.  Then he turned to Pa and urged him, “Show da pow-ees-man Pa! Show ‘em da spethal watch!”  He turned back to Garcia and assured him, “Feews so good!”  

    Garcia ran his hand over the man’s smooth head, looking into his eager, peaceful eyes.  

    “I’m glad it felt so good for you.  But I have grown-up things to do.  I can’t let Pa empty out my head and turn me into a dumb little nudist redneck like you, okay?”  

    Vinnie blinked, his mouth still hanging open. 

     “Otay,” he said, not a flicker of insult taken at the response.  

    Then he sat down with his bare bottom in the dirt, grabbed his foot and slipped his toes into his mouth, sucking on the filthy digits even as he gazed vacant eyed up at the two grown-ups. 

    anonymous

    can you write an age regression story of a guy who discovers a park where there's a bunch of happy barefoot guys playing around like a bunch of kids, and as soon as his feet touch the grass, he becomes a kid too? tysm!

    I like mental AR but writing it is a bit different than my usual so not sure how this will go but here you go.

    Dan was walking around his old home town. He was back after college and for now until he got a job needed to stay with his mom. He hasn't been here for years so he wanted to take a walk and look around. While out he passed a newly built park. The park was always there but the playground that was there now wasn't. When he was a kid it was a run down rusted piece of junk that only the least attentive parent would think to allow their child to climb on. It was populated by several people playing but Dan noticed something strange. The people playing were all grown adults. All grown men in their 20s and early 30s, grinning from ear to ear like idiots. Climbing and swinging and sliding down slides and giggling, playing tag and chasing. They all wore t shirts and shorts though some were in various states of undress. Some were shirtless, some in just breifs, even a few were naked. One thing was common among all the guys, they were all barefoot. Oddly enough there were no abandoned shoes anywhere though, like they came without them. He was so confused by the situation that he had wandered onto the grass of the park without realizing it.

    He felt some strange tingling in his shoes as he looked down watching his shoes suddenly vanish and then a moment later his socks faded too causing him to be barefoot. He felt the grass and dirt under his feet and between his toes. He felt weird as it was like energy shot up from his feet straight to his brain. It was like nothing he ever felt before as his pants changed to a pair of basketball shorts and his shirt vanished. His hair got a bit messy and turned blond as his skin tanned. Suddenly he forgot everything from college as a dumb grin started to form on his face as he started to laugh. He felt almost high and giddy. He was forgetting high school and middle school, losing his manners, his personality changing from a quite studious stressed college student to a wild hyperactive dumb outdoorsy kid. He felt like something was wrong but he couldn't focus suddenly as he laughed amd ran towards the playground equipment and playing with the other guys laughing his head off. Eventually he'd go home and his mom would find she had a happy mentally damaged son to take of from now on.

    mind-wiper

    Sam and Kevin had been building up to this day for some time. They began their relationship after meeting on a dating app for people with unusual romantic interests.  Both of them were into age play, basically pretending to be a toddler while the other took the role of daddy.  Sometimes they liked to act naughty and be punished, other times it was loving cuddles they most desired.  They had experimented a lot with role-playing over the last year but after all those months it began to lose its excitement, its level of intrigue.  So Kevin had come up with a new idea to restore that spark.  

    The time had come to make their role-play a lot more realistic.  They saw a professional hypnotist, someone who actually held a degree in psychology and had formal training. This wasn’t parlour trick stuff, or some tape bought off a dodgy website. This was a man they had to see in person at his office and actually explain in detail what they wanted.  That was followed not by some instant, magical session, but by several weeks of regular sessions, sometimes together and at other times individually.  Their visits were augmented by tapes they had to listen to every night and different files to listen to an hour each day, with repeats urged if possible.  

    The first few sessions focused on just getting them relaxed enough to drift off into truly deep trances, on getting them really comfortable going under and then dropping them over and over so it became instinctive, automatic, normal for them to drop into a trance with a simple trigger.  Then they worked on deepening the trances, going into a really suggestible state where major changes could actually happen.  

    After that the hypnotist began to implant the actual suggestions. Kevin quickly noticed that once this phase began, he was unable to recall the actual sessions anymore.  His memory stopped working when he entered the office.  Sam agreed he had the same issue. The hypnotist explained this was intentional, that their conscious minds couldn’t know the actual suggestions, so there was no chance of fighting against them when triggered.  

    That was okay, Kevin knew what the suggestions would do, they had gone over their needs in detail.  When triggered it would reduce their intellectual abilities, their emotional maturity, their physical and social abilities to those of a two year old boy.  They would be totally dependent on their daddy for basically everything. They wouldn’t be able to tie their own shoes or cut up their own food.  Every ability above the level of a small two year old toddler would be a mystery to them.  Reciting the alphabet would be an impossibly complex task.  

    The ability to return their abilities would rest solely with the daddy.  As soon as the trigger was given they would totally forget the trigger itself and more importantly the counter-trigger.  They would have no control over their own fate.  

    They would still remember who they were, or more accurately, who they had once been.  They’d know the hypnosis had taken that all away, but they wouldn’t know how to reverse it. Only daddy would have that incredible power.  

    Keep reading

    mind-wiper

    “Hello, hello! Anybody here?” Steve called as he walked into the house. Weird, he thought, there didn’t seem to be anybody home at all. Yet he’d just received a text from Justin asking him to come over. 

    Steve walked further into the house, looking for a sign of life. He was about to head back out when he heard something, a giggle maybe, from upstairs. Maybe Justin was watching Family Guy with his flat-mate, Tim, again.  He headed upstairs, hearing more giggling now. It was weird though, it didn’t sound like dudes laughing, it sounded like a little kid.  

    As soon as Steve walked into the bedroom where the sounds seemed to be coming from, he knew something really strange was going on. Sure enough Justin and Tim were in the room and it seemed their buddy Ethan had joined them too.  But all three young men were kneeling on Tim’s bed, wearing nothing but thick diapers, bouncing and giggling.  Their clothes were scattered around the floor, abandoned.  

    “What are you guys doing?” Steve asked, feeling really confused. 

    It was Ethan who twisted around, looking at Steve with this really dumb open-mouthed grin. His whole face just looked so wrong, so stupid. But Ethan was studying medicine, he was no dope. Yet now he looked idiotic, like he was retarded or really high on something strong.  

    “Daaa! Ptthhh!” he babbled and blew a raspberry at Steve before returning his attention to whatever had the others so intrigued. 

    “Tim, Justin, what the fuck is going on here?!” Steve demanded. 

    The two other men spun around, both smiling brightly. Justin’s chin was shiny with drool. Tim’s eyes were clearly blank, just so empty of recognition, of thought. And both young men sported obvious erections in their diapers. Now at least Steve understood what was so interesting to them, even if it horrified him further.  

    “Guys, what are you doing?” Steve asked, more quietly, concerned. 

    Justin and Tim hopped on the bed, giggling and babbling more nonsense. He was getting nothing out of them.  They clearly needed help, professional help. But as he prepared to call triple one for an ambulance he noticed something. There was one fresh diaper, sitting on the end of the bed.  Why just one clean one, he wondered.  

    Carefully Steve walked to the bed, watching the nearly naked young men, his mates, suck on their fingers and stick their hands in their diapers to play with themselves shamelessly in front of him.  What had happened to them? And did the diaper have something to do with it? He picked it up, to see if there was anything unusual about it. 

    It was like an electric shock. The second his skin made contact pleasure rippled through his body.  He knew instantly that the diaper had done it. The diaper was some kind of magic. He needed to put it down right now. How strange that he brought it to his face instead, rubbed his cheek against it, moaned with pleasure.  

    He needed to put it on. He needed it up against his cock. He knew it was a bad idea, but he needed it, he physically needed to do it. He took off his clothes, finding it hard with only one free hand, but he had to hold the diaper. He couldn’t put it down for a second. Off went his shoes and socks, his shorts, his t-shirt and finally his boxers. The other men grinned and hopped on their bottoms, eager for a new play-mate. 

    Steve tried to stop himself then. He saw their eager looks, he knew this was what happened to them. He needed to have more will-power. He looked down as he felt his erection building. Oh God, it was so big, so good. He needed this. He couldn’t deny it! 

    Steve dropped to his bottom and pulled the diaper underneath him. As the soft material contacted his bottom he moaned with instant pleasure. God he needed release! He pulled the diaper up between his legs and taped it shut. His erect penis brushed against the material. It was the most erotic thing he’d ever experienced. 

    He managed to stand on his shaky legs, fighting to keep his eyes from rolling back in bliss. He could still think though. He was still him. He just needed to get control of himself. There was still time. 

    But something else was telling him that it would all be better if he wasn’t still him. It would be twice as good if he was just like them, like the others. He needed to turn off his mind, stop thinking about anything but his nice, soft, warm diaper.  And he needed release, so, so badly. 

    Steve grabbed the front of the diaper with both hands and thrust into them, feeling the soft material slide perfectly across his lengthened shaft. Up and down, up and down, so perfect until…

    “Ugh! Mmmm! Ohhhh!” 

    Steve came into the diaper, squirting out his load and feeling a sensation beyond sexual release. It was a mental release, the freeing of all his other worries and thoughts, letting them go, letting it all disappear. 

    Steve finished his sticky squirts. The other boys smiled at him and he grinned back. What lovely fun! He climbed onto the bed to be with them.  They babbled silly sounds at him. Steve made silly sounds right back. He could make noises too! And his chin was all wet and icky but that was okay, that was just fine. And he didn’t even see his phone powering up, sending out a text message all on its own as it lay on the floor in his piled clothes. 

    Twenty minutes later Liam walked into the bedroom, seeing four young men nearly nude on the bed. Steve twisted around to see him, wiggling his bare toes, pushing warm pee-pee into his lovely special diaper and smiling as he dimly understood they’d have another playmate now! 

    jamestmedak

    Let’s get wet …

    mind-wiper

    Dylan was not a happy man. Growing up was supposed to be cool, it was supposed to bring independence and adventure and the freedom to set your own bed-time and decide when and what to eat. That’s the way he’d always imagined it as a little kid. But the reality of adulthood was loneliness and responsibility. It was having to dress up in the most uncomfortable shirt and tie, strangling his throat, the tightest, sweatiest good shoes and long pants in the middle of summer to make a living. It was only occasionally hanging around with his former best friend, Brett, and never really sharing any close moments with him anymore.

    Why couldn’t grown-ups have sleep overs? Why couldn’t they play fight on the couch, or really share any more physical contact than shaking hands? He really began to envy the kids living across the street from him. The little boys could often be seen running screaming and happy around the neighbourhood in nothing but their shorts and maybe a t-shirt. They held hands, wrestled in the grass, got big hugs from their mums and dads when they needed them.  It became clearer and clearer to Dylan that it was kids who had the freedom. Growing up had been the mistake.

    Dylan spent more and more of his time pining for what he’d lost and wondering if he should try to get it back. It was actually a possibility because Dylan worked at a research facility and one of the most secret projects was simply called “the device.” Oh it had a much longer, scientific name of course, but most of the guys just called it the device because everyone knew what you meant.  For a secret project it wasn’t a very well kept secret within the company. 

    The device was said to be able to alter reality itself, to actually twist the world into some new form, even if totally illogical. Of course once reality changed no one would know, so there was no way to know if the device had already been used. This idea tortured Dylan. He began to wonder if adulthood as it was had only been created by the device. Was this really how things were meant to be or the mad invention of a power-drunk scientist?

    Finally, unable to take it anymore, Dylan used his top level security clearance to steal the device and smuggle it back to his house. The machine itself appeared to be a slightly oversized laptop with a black screen showing only a blinking command prompt. Dylan had thought very hard about what he was going to type. He knew it was too dangerous to make massive changes, they needed to be as small as possible. So he sat on his couch, looking at the blinking screen and waiting.

    “Hey mate, what’s going on?” Brett asked, walking into his friend’s house. “I got your message, what was so important I had to come over right now?”

    Dylan looked his old buddy over, frowning at the suit the twenty-six year old wore. It was the dull corporate uniform of adulthood. He just knew Brett felt the same as him, trapped, cheated, tricked into boring maturity.

    “You remember when we used to play in the bush, back behind your yard?” he asked Brett.

    The other man looked confused. “Yeah, like when we were in primary school you mean? I remember that, sure, but what’s that got to do with anything?”

    “I miss those days Brett. I know you do too. No deadlines, no work…”

    Brett just shrugged. “Yeah, but there was homework, there was chores. They seemed tough at the time.”

    Dylan nodded. “True, we did have some small responsibilities when we were nine or ten. But remember even before that, when were really little?”

    Brett glanced at his phone. “Not really, not that much. What’s this about Dylan? I have a dinner to get to.”

    “I found a way out Brett. For both of us.”

    Now Brett looked clearly concerned for his friend, putting the phone in his pocket. “Out of what?” he asked softly.

    “Adulthood,” Dylan answered with a smile, typing on the laptop:

    Dylan and Brett are five year old boys. They are best friends…

    He paused, looking up at Brett’s nervous face. Could he do this to his best friend? Could he do it without him?

    He continued to type:

    They are happy little boys and will never have to grow up.

    “What is that? It looks like some kind of weird laptop?” Brett asked.

    “It’s basically a god machine,” Dylan answered as he finished typing. “And I can tell you that because it really doesn’t matter anymore.”

    Brett started to shake his head, really thinking his friend had lost it, when Dylan hit the large key marked “Execute.”

    A wave of energy erupted from the machine, sweeping through the room around them. All of Dylan’s things seemed to be transforming, pictures changing, showing some other man, the couch shifting colours right beneath him. It was becoming someone else’s apartment.

    “What the hell…” Brett began to exclaim. But there was a flash that blinded him, an odd sensation of falling and then they weren’t in the apartment anymore at all. They were still together, but they were standing outside in the sun. 

    Brett looked around in shock as he recognised the location instantly. It was his parent’s backyard. Well, it was the backyard of the house they’d owned when he was a kid. But they’d sold that five years ago. And yet there they were. He could see them, sitting just inside the sliding door, watching TV. For an instant he thought they had travelled backwards in time. But no, the TV was clearly modern and his parents didn’t look any younger.

    But the yard had changed. There was a swing-set there, kind of like he had as a very little kid, but newer, plastic rather than metal, better than what was available twenty years ago. There were toys scattered across the lawn. A bike big enough for him with neon green peddles and handles but with training wheels, Spiderman action figures, a plastic cricket bat and tennis balls. It looked like a child really lived here, a big child.

    He looked up at Dylan, who was smiling as he looked around, like this was exciting rather than terrifying. “What did you do?!” he demanded.

    Dylan looked ready to answer when another ripple of energy rolled across the yard and over them. Brett felt it as their clothing changed. Suddenly Dylan was wearing a t-shirt and jean shorts but no shoes at all, standing there barefoot in the grass. And his shirt seemed to have an image of… Big Bird? What the…

    And his clothes changed too. The material shifted, the colour changing, his arms receding upwards, leaving them exposed. Suddenly he had on a sleeveless shirt, something he hadn’t dared to wear since puberty. His good pants tightened and grew rougher, becoming jeans, then slitting with rips and fading, looking like the jeans of a rough-housing boy. The ankles rolled upwards and cuffed themselves below the knee as his dress socks slipped down, disappearing into his shoes and then in a pop the shoes vanished without a trace.

    Brett felt the hard dirt under the soles of his bare feet. It was so real. He’d had shoes and now he didn’t. And it wasn’t over yet. He watched his toes grow a bit wider, muscles in his feet strengthening, and a tickle on the bottom of his feet made him look at the sole of one. It was dirty brown, as though he’d been running around without shoes all day. And it was thick and callused, like that was his normal, everyday state. His body was changing in subtle ways, adjusting to some new reality.

    Dylan was wiggling his toes in the grass with a smile though, looking delighted with these changes.

    “What the fuck mate! My clothes! My shoes are gone! What’s happening to us?!” he managed to yell.

    But Dylan’s smile didn’t flicker for a moment. “You don’t need ‘em. Remember how you never wore shoes when we were little? You could run on glass without flinching.”

    “We aren’t little kids Dylan!” he roared.

    Another wave of energy rolled across the yard. Brett tensed, not knowing what this one would do. He fully expected to shrink down to the size of a five-year old.  He waited for the ground to get closer, for his muscles to waste away. But as the wave passed over him he didn’t shrink at all.

    Instead Brett felt all his worrying come to a screeching halt. His anger at Dylan, his desire to punch him in the face was wiped away. His fear at what was happening was gone. His heart-rate came down, his muscles relaxed. His toes wiggled in the dirt and totally lost his train of thought.

    What was he just thinking about? What had he been doing? There was a moment of confusion and disorientation and then he remembered. Him and Dylan were gonna go ‘sploring in the bush. 

    Dylan hopped up and down on his bare feet. “I gonna find a lion in the bush!” he exalted.

    Brett giggled at the silliness. “Nuh-uh. Lions is in Afwica,” he told his mate.

    “It’s a special lion. Daddy sawed it in the bush,” Dylan insisted. 

    “That’s just pwetend,” Brett declared.

    “Is not!” Dylan shouted. “I’ll show you. I gonna find it!” he insisted, twisting around and running towards the edge of the lawn.

    Brett was about to take off after him when he remembered that would be naughty. “Wait Dylan!” he called. “Wait for me!” he urged, heading quickly over to the sliding door and pulling it open. “Me ‘nd Dylan gonna pway in the bush!” he told Mummy and Daddy, knowing he needed the grown-up’s permission so he would be safe and not get a time-out.

    The older man and woman shared a look then addressed the barefoot twenty-something man standing in dirty cuffed up jeans and looking at them with the most eager, innocent eyes. “Okay, but don’t go any further than the stream,” Daddy told him. 

    “Kay! I won’t Daddy,” he promised.

    “There are thorns in the rose bushes, you should put on your shoes,” Mummy warned.

    Brett frowned and shook his head. “I don’ need ‘em Mummy. My feets is tough,” he told her, holding up one to show.

    “I don’t like it,” Mummy said.

    “Dylan don’t got shoes ‘nd he’s fine. He didn’t bring none with him neither,” Brett argued.

    Finally Mummy shrugged and said, “Okay, but you’ll need a good scrubbing with the hose before you come inside with those filthy footsies.”

    Brett didn’t need telling twice, he raced off across the grass yard to join his buddy Dylan. The two young men held hands and charged into the thick bush behind the house, romping through it with giggles of glee searching for the imaginary lion.  They were quite tired out by the time they reached the little stream, sitting down to take a rest and clean some of the dirt from their bare feet.  Brett helped clean the mud from between his buddy’s toes while Dylan wrapped an arm around him for a little cuddle. It was always nice to have a cuddle from your buddy. Neither Dylan nor Brett could imagine life being any better.

    mind-wiper

    Ben wasn’t pleased with the way his former best mate, Eric, was treated by his girlfriend turned caregiver. Before he contracted ACDV Eric had been a well groomed, metrosexual guy who was about to start law school. His parents had raised him with good manners, taught him the value of appearance. He was the kind of guy who spent an hour getting his hair just right in the morning. 

    But when he caught ACDV all that changed overnight. Eric’s dad had died a couple years earlier and his mum just wasn’t young and fit enough to want to take on a grown toddler. So it was agreed to let his girlfriend, Claire, take care of him.  Claire had a very different style of parenting though and it pained Ben to see the changes in Eric’s behaviour that he knew would have horrified his mate if he’d had his mental faculties.  

    Obviously the days of styling his hair for an hour and wearing flashy ties and designer jeans were going to be over, that was a given. But Claire took things much further. She let Eric wear whatever he felt comfy in, insisting children didn’t need to conform to societal norms yet and Eric was a child now. She even threw out every last pair of his shoes, even his jandals. “Boys are much more comfy in bare feet anyway,” she told Ben. 

    And of course Eric didn’t complain, he couldn’t. The poor young man had lost all his manners, all his grooming and dress sense. He was soon running around the main streets of the town in his bare feet, dropping to his hands and knees to look under tables, and cars or just to roll around on the filthy ground, giving everyone a good look at how tar black the soles of his feet had become.

    It wasn’t just his clothing either. Please and thank you left his vocabulary. Eric was a wild, feral little boy now. He would tear around the supermarket, screeching and giggling and knocking things off shelves, bumping into other shoppers and continuing on like they weren’t there. And Claire just smiled and said, “Boys will be boys.”  

    But certainly the worst part was his total loss of body modesty or awareness. Claire encouraged him to streak around the house and yard in his birthday suit all summer. She called it a perk of toddlerhood he needed to indulge in. But poor Eric, his adult sensibilities stripped from him, had no concept of boundaries, of public and private and he took to regularly stripping down in public. Usually his nudity was at least brief since Claire at least insisted he keep undies and shorts on and would chase him around and re-dress him. But if it was the park, or a public fountain, or a beach, she’d strip him naked herself right there in public view.  

    Now it wasn’t like he was the only grown-down virus victim playing in the buff in public. No he had good company in that. But it wasn’t like that was the norm either. On a beach with a dozen grown-downs Eric might have one or two bare naked compatriots, at the park, maybe one other big tot would be toddling about with free bouncing boobies or a pee-pee.  But the point was it wasn’t required and it marked poor Eric out as particularly juvenile, a very immature and wild little tyke.  

    But despite all that Ben didn’t say anything to Claire about her parenting. He wanted to remain close to his friend, help out when he could and he knew Claire didn’t take criticism of her parenting well.  So he kept his mouth shut. 

    But he kept it shut a bit too long. That’s how he ended up in a bad position one afternoon when his day long fever and sore throat suddenly escalated to serious mental fog and confusion. Lying in a hospital bed at A&E, his head a fuzzy mess, he at least knew that he was in big trouble.  It had been a relief when he’d seen his mum standing outside his room. But she was there with Claire and Eric. At first Ben had felt even better, seeing his friends there. But then he could see his mum was very upset, and in the end she left and it was Claire and Eric who came into the room. 

    “Hi there sweetie, look who’s come to visit,” Claire had greeted him. 

    Ben hadn’t liked the way she spoke to him in a juvenile way. But his head was so foggy, he knew what was happening, he understood he had the virus, that the feeling in his head was only going to get worse, much worse. And in how long? Did he even still know how to tell time? He’d looked at the clock on the wall and, though it took him a long time, he managed to read it and felt a bit better. 

    “I’m not little like him,” Ben had insisted, pointing to Eric, the twenty-four year old man who was standing there shirtless and barefoot in some neon green board shorts, a toddler leash on his wrist connecting him to his carer while he innocently picked at his nose.  

    Claire had seemed understanding. She hadn’t antagonised him, just took a seat on the bed at his side and let Eric drop down on his hands and knees to play with a toy car she’d brought to distract him. 

    “I know honey. But Ben, you know you’re going to be, very soon. And when that happens, you’ll need someone to take care of you.”

    “I got my mum,” Ben had told her. 

    But she’d frowned. “I’m sorry Ben, but your mum isn’t really up to caring for a boy your size. I had a talk with her about it just outside.”

    Ben felt apprehensive, more than usual. He knew it was his emotions getting harder to control. Soon his behaviour and maturity would devolve as well, joining his simplifying intellectual abilities. He was going to lose all his manners and grooming too. He didn’t want to be a dumb feral little boy like Eric! He needed his mummy, she’d make sure people didn’t point and laugh at him for being silly, make sure adults didn’t roll their eyes and mutter about him being a dirty little brat.  

    “Where’s mummy gone?” he’d demanded. 

    “She needed some time to absorb what’s happened sweetie. It’s tough on her too. But the good news is she was happy to take up my offer, to look after you and Eric, make sure you aren’t pulled apart. Won’t that be lovely dear? You get to be buddies and brothers now!” 

    While the thought of being brothers with his best mate was appealing, especially in his vulnerable state, the idea of being cared for by Claire was terrifying. He didn’t want to be wild and free, he liked wearing shoes, he certainly didn’t want anyone seeing his private parts! 

    “Claire, I don’ wanna be like Eric, okay?!” he snapped. 

    Claire frowned and nodded, brushing a hand through his hair. “I know baby, you don’t want to get all little. I know it’s scary, but I can’t stop that. What I can do is make it fun for you. You get to be little all over again, and that means everything will be an adventure for you. We’ll have lots of fun, I promise.” 

    Ben shook his head. No, she didn’t understand. He had to explain that he meant he didn’t want to run around in nothing but a pair of shorts, if that, in public. But when he tried to explain, when he opened his mouth, the words weren’t there anymore. In horror Ben realised his intellect was dropping again, dramatically. He opened and closed his mouth in terror, straining his muscles, needing to tell her, to explain, but totally incapable of doing so. 

    And then it was too late. The terror of the intellectual regression faded as his maturity, his behaviour regressed as well.  All at once his muscles relaxed and the feeling of Claire’s hand stroking his head became heavenly. It felt so good to have that physical contact. Benny wanted more. He opened his arms towards the pretty lady. Even though he knew her, she suddenly seemed so much bigger, so totally in control. She’d keep him safe, she’d love him. And sure enough she accepted his need for a hug and pulled him into a big, tight cuddle. Oh yes, and her hand was on the back of his neck and it felt so, sooo good. 

    The next morning, after the doctors finished their observation period on Benny and declared him stable, Claire was able to take him out of the hospital. Benny held her hand as they walked through the lobby. He didn’t want to get lost. He accepted that Claire was in charge of him now, he yearned for her guidance. She carried a bag filled with the clothing and possessions he’d entered with. It had his watch and his iPhone, his wallet and belt, the checked shirt and khakis pants he’d been wearing when admitted, his Adidas sneakers and socks. As they neared the sliding doors Claire stepped to the side and dropped the bag into the rubbish bin. Benny wouldn’t be needing any of those things again. All he wore for their trip home was what she’d brought him that morning, a simple pair of cotton underoos decorated with Goofy prints, covered by a baggy pair of blue board shorts with big red flames down the sides. Benny didn’t have a shirt or shoes to wear anymore and the twenty-four year old didn’t seem to miss them either.  

    **

    It was a lovely warm day to go to the beach. Benny was having lots of fun. As soon as they arrived Mummy had set up a nice towel for them to lie on and broke out toys for him and his brother to play with. Grown-ups were just lying around on their towels, reading books and stuff. Boring! Benny couldn’t believe he used to be so boring like that. How could anyone just sit still when there was so much space to play!  

    But before they could go skipping away to dance in the waves and roll in the sand Mummy stopped Eric and slipped his shorts off him so he was nakey bummed. How wonderful! Benny hurried over to Mummy and yanked down his own shorts cuz he was big and knew how to undress himself. 

    “Benny get nakey Mumma!” he chirped, kicking the shorts away. 

    Mummy giggled and told him, “You sure are! Look at that silly pee-pee bouncing around.” 

    Benny hopped up and down to make pee-pee even more bouncy. He was a very silly boy! The grown-ups couldn’t go nakey-bum. They had to keep undies on. Benny felt a rush of happiness at knowing he was just a little boy and he didn’t have to wear clothes if he didn’t wanna. And just like that he took off, running helter-skelter all over the beach, screeching his glee.  

    Later he and Eric dug holes in the sand and were joined by a grown-up man who helped them dig. He asked them questions about being little but Benny found them confusing. He didn’t have enough words to understand big person questions now. The man seemed to see that and moved on after a bit. But not long afterwards Benny noticed Eric squatting down and feeling his pee-pee. He crept over and looked at his brother’s willy. It was getting big. He was having a good time. Boys like them got happy pee-pees when they had a lot of fun. 

    “Gots all happy,” Eric told him, gently fondling it.  

    Benny nodded and wanted to help brother, make him feel good. “Goza wub wike dis,” he instructed, reaching over and taking Eric’s big pee-pee and rubbing it harder, faster.  Brother liked this, breathing faster too, closing his eyes after a moment.  Grown-ups nearby looked away, clearly uncomfortable. Benny didn’t notice. He was just making his brother feel good, the same way they often helped each other during or after bathy time.  The fact they were in public meant nothing to him. His mind had been wonderfully unburdened of such concerns.  

    It took a minute or two before Eric make his stickies. Then the happy brothers held hands and toddled back across the sand to show Mummy the lovely mess Eric had made.     

    mind-wiper

    Brian had always been a good student. In primary school he looked forward to report days, eager to race home to show off his top marks and glowing comments to his parents. He prided himself on being well behaved and mature for his age. He kept his clothes clean as he could, picked up his toys when he was done with them and kept his room neat.  

    His good self-control served him well in high school. He focused well on his studies even as his parents fought more and more, their marriage falling apart. As the only child he had no one to share his anger and fears with as he hid himself away in his room to avoid the shouting. It was just him and his books. They became his companions from early in primary school and in his teens he threw himself into reading, escaping into more pleasant worlds. 

    Brian’s Mum and Dad finally separated when he was sixteen and he went to live with his father. His Dad wasn’t the most loving man but he urged his son to keep up his studies and was very proud when he won a full scholarship to university.  

    Brian enjoyed being a student. He was good at it. At age twenty-four he had finished a Bachelor’s and his Master’s in English literature and was embarking on a doctoral programme.  Reading and writing was his life. He regularly attended a local poetry slam and a writers club.  The bookshelf in his little apartment had run out of room.  

    Before he could start his dissertation though, he had one matter to attend to. His Mum kept leaving him e-mails begging him to come for a visit, insisting it was of vital importance she speak to him in person. He ignored them at first, even considered changing his e-mail. But finally he decided it would be best just to get it over with so he could concentrate on studying.  

    That was how he found himself driving out of the city and along three hours of winding country roads to the small town his Mum now lived in. He hadn’t been to visit in over a year. He didn’t feel comfortable around her new family at all. He wasn’t comfortable with her second husband or with how much she had changed since she was his Mum as a kid. 

    Back then she’d been career woman, managing raising him with working as a dentist. She was a city girl, born and raised, university educated of course, well-groomed and with high expectations for him.  

    But within a year of the divorce, while Brian was still trying to finish school, trying to be his year’s Dux, Mum remarried. And immediately, things got weird. Her new husband, Ted, was nothing like Dad. He was a counselor of some sort, out in some middle of nowhere town. He was a rough-looking guy, didn’t seem educated at all. They had a barefoot wedding, the guys wearing shorts even, outside in tent.  

    Then it got really awkward when Mum went and had kids with the guy. She was early 40s by then, but still managed to have two boys. And she gave up her career as a dentist and became a simple stay at home mother. That made Brian very uncomfortable. Sure the boys were technically his brothers, but he’d always seen himself as an only child and with them living so far away, it just didn’t seem real. 

    When he did visit, he didn’t see things he approved of. Mum wasn’t treating the boys like she’d raised him at all. She’d chased after him to keep his helmet on when on his little bike, insisted he wear a coat in mild weather, always made sure he had his shoes on before leaving for school.  No sugary treats for little Brian of course, what dentist would let their kid get cavities? 

    But with her second family things couldn’t have been more different and it just felt so wrong to him. That’s why he didn’t visit, unless he had to. Like today. 

    The house was modest compared to the place he’d grown-up. He pulled his car up the short driveway, just fitting it behind Ted’s pick-up. Ugh, he would drive the ultimate red-neck vehicle.  

    The boys were already out playing in the front yard. They regarded his car with some curiosity but didn’t approach. He wasn’t too surprised, a year was an eternity at their age so they probably barely remembered him. 

    The older one, Craig, was six. He was a wild little kid with a mop of black hair currently standing in the grass in just a pair of short bright red rugby shorts. It was no surprise. Mum always seemed to let the kid run around in nothing but shorts. Last time he was there she let the kid go to the supermarket like that, no shirt, no shoes. 

    His little brother, four year-old Eddy, was squirming around next to him wearing just his birthday suit.  Craig rolled his eyes. Never in a million years would Mum have let him run around the house that way even as a toddler, never mind in the front yard, in full view of the street. 

    Brian steeled himself for the weekend then got out of the car. To his surprise Craig seemed to instantly recognise him.  

    “Brian! It’s Brian!” the little boy yelled, running straight over and throwing his arms around him.  

    “Wow, okay, hey there Craig. Good to see you too buddy,” he said, feeling incredibly awkward as he patted the boy’s back. He wasn’t used to little kids at all. 

    Eddy then added to the awkwardness, copying his brother by cuddling up to Brian with his skinny little arms.  

    “Hi there Eddy, aren’t you a big boy!” Brian tried to enthuse. 

    “I four now!” Eddy announced. 

    “Wow, you’ll be in school before long.” 

    “Like Cwaig!” the little boy agreed. 

    Brian managed to free himself of the hug eventually, letting the boys lead him by the hand over to their toys. 

    “Dis is my big twuck,” Eddy demonstrated, squatting down and pushing a big yellow plastic Tonka truck around the grass, looking back up at Brian for approval. 

    “Trucks are for little kids! Lookit my ball!” Craig insisted, holding up a rugby ball. 

    “Do you play rugby?” Brian asked, really shocked. Mum had always said it was a dangerous and barbaric sport and forbid Dad enrolling him in it.  

    Craig nodded eagerly. “I love rugby!”

    “Oh, okay… and how does Mum feel about you playing?” 

    “She’s always there when I gotta game. She takes us for Maccas after.” 

    “I gonna play! I c’n tackle!” Eddy announced, rushing his big brother and trying unsuccessfully to wrestle him to the ground. 

    “Don’t Eddy! You’re too little!” Craig told him, roughly pushing the boy away. 

    “Don’t be too rough now,” Brian warned, trying not to upset them but also afraid Eddy could actually get hurt. 

    “Do I hear a familiar voice?” 

    Brian looked over to see Mum had emerged from the house.  She looked pleased to see him and he tried his best to smile back. But it was hard when she’d changed so much. She was wearing a simple t-shirt and leggings, casual wear she’d eschewed before. Her hair was tied back in a simple bug and she had no make-up on.  

    “It’s been way too long honey,” she declared, walking into the yard as barefooted as her little boys and pulling Brian into a big hug.  

    “Good to see you too Mum,” he managed to say, feeling tight and trapped in the hug. 

    “I know you didn’t really want to come this weekend Brian, but I promise you’ll feel different by the end of it,” she whispered to him. “Now, let’s head on inside and I’ll get you some tea.”  

    “I ate on the way down.” 

    “Not Mummy’s cooking you didn’t. Now let’s go.” 

    **

    The house was a bit cluttered with kids’ toys left here and there, dirty dishes in the sink, papers on the kitchen table.  But Mum didn’t seem to mind the poor presentation. Maybe because he was family, maybe because she didn’t care about such things anymore. 

    While she got something ready he checked out the photos on the living room wall. The obligatory wedding and baby photos of course, one of the two boys in the bath tub together, a recent one of Craig in school uniform standing at the end of the driveway. Brian couldn’t help but notice the one missing item of the boy’s bright new uniform, he was barefoot. It shouldn’t have surprised him, had he ever seen the boy in shoes? Even once? No, nothing came to mind. Still it was more evidence of how Mum had changed. 

    “He was so proud to be in his big boy school uniform,” Mum commented, appearing behind him with a plate of food. 

    “Oh, yeah, he looks really cute.” 

    “What’s wrong?” she asked bluntly. 

    “Sorry? Nothing, I said he looks cute, that’s all.” 

    “Brian, don’t bullshit me. I know you honey. Spit it out.” 

    “I just noticed he didn’t have shoes on. I guess that’s a small town thing. It’s nothing, like I said.” 

    Mum shook her head. “Not a small town thing. As I recall your friend David, he used to walk to school with you in his bare feet every morning, summer and winter.”  

    Brian frowned. She wasn’t going to let him get away with making an excuse for her.  He was just trying to avoid another argument so early in the visit. But no, that was not allowed. Fine. 

    “Yeah, he did. But you never let me, even in the summer. You called it trashy. I think you said David’s parents were bogans.” 

    “And you wish I had let you?” 

    “What? No! I didn’t mean it like that. Just, I mean, I’m surprised you’re letting Craig go to school looking like David did back then, like a bogan.” 

    Mum didn’t look upset at being called a red-neck though. She just smiled, seeming actually pleased that he’d said it.  “Well, I reckon I was a bit harsh on David’s parents back then. As I recall his dad was a lawyer so he was hardly a bogan. I just said that because I was a snob. I’m over that now and I’m sorry I didn’t let you have a real boyhood as a result. I’m fixing that with Craig and Eddy. I encourage them to get messy, play rough, and yes, go to school barefoot as long as they still want to.”  

    “And run around naked in the front yard,” Brian practically spat. 

    Her resolve faltered slightly. For a second he saw a chink in her armour. But it was gone just as fast as it appeared. 

    “I’m sorry that I gave you such body issues when you were little. It was wrong of me. Little ones shouldn’t have any concept of modesty until they get to school age. So if Eddy wants to play in his natural state, that’s what I let him do.” 

    Brian just shook his head. “What happened to you Mum?” he asked. 

    “Eat your tea Brian, before it gets cold. There’s plenty of time for discussion later.”

    **

    Ted joined them not long after tea. Brian was less than pleased to see the man he viewed as responsible for all these changes in Mum.  But he forced himself to be cordial, shake the guy’s hand, watch while he cuddled the boys then got himself a plate of food.  

    “So, your drive okay?” Ted asked him, sitting on the couch, eating. 

    “Yeah, it was nice to get away from the city,” he answered, watching the two boys climbing all over the couch around Ted, rolling off it onto the floor. It was loud and annoying, but Ted seemed oblivious. 

    “Yeah, it’s so much nicer out here in the country isn’t it? I don’t know how you life up there in Jafa-land. There’s no room to breathe.”  

    Brian cringed. He couldn’t stand provincial towns like this one, with their weird hatred of Auckland. 

    “Actually I like the city. It’s just good to get away from my work, I meant.” 

    Ted nodded. “I can only imagine. I don’t know how you can stand all that studying. I was so happy the day I left school.” 

    “I like school!” Craig interjected, looking up brightly from the floor. 

    “Of course you do buddy. But Brian’s school isn’t like yours. There’s no colouring, no recess, no play time at all.” 

    Craig’s jaw dropped. “Not even jump jam?” 

    “Nope,” Ted confirmed to the boy’s horror. 

    “We even have to wear shoes,” Brian added with deep sarcasm that of course went right over the boy’s head. 

    “That’s awful! I don’t wanna go to that school. I don’ like shoes,” Craig informed them. 

    “I bet Brian would love to go to your school buddy,” Ted suggested. 

    Craig lit up. “Yeah! You could pay with me.” 

    Brian had to smile at the little boy’s innocence. It never ceased to amaze him how gullible silly little kids were. “Your Daddy’s kidding you Craig. I’m way to old for your school, and besides, I actually like wearing my shoes.” 

    The little kid looked more shocked than ever. “You’re weird,” he told his older brother. 

    “Come on now Brian, surely it wouldn’t be so bad. You get to colour, and no one expects you to produce any real work. No deadlines, no responsibilities. Wouldn’t it be nice for a day?” Ted suggested. 

    “Still think I’ll have to pass.” 

    Mum walked in from the kitchen, dishes apparently cleaned, sitting next to Brian. “It’s my fault,” she said sadly. “I raised too uptight, too obsessed with school.”  

    He frowned. “I don’t see how you can consider my school success a bad thing. Most parents would be over the moon at how well I’ve done.” 

    “You were always so bright honey, even as a little one. But you missed out on so much fun as a result. The way Craig and Eddy are growing up, I’m realising all the mistakes I made with you. And I want so badly to fix them.” 

     His food finished, Ted got up and moved across to the other smaller couch, sitting on the other side of Brian.  He found it a bit odd being between them. It just didn’t seem a normal arrangement. He also felt a bit weird being the best dressed person in the house. He was still sat there in his button-down shirt, jeans and shoes while even Ted was in a t-shirt, faded old jean shorts and bare feet.  

    “Brian,” Ted began sounding a bit more serious. “The reason we asked you over here this weekend is your Mum has been feeling really bad about how things turned out with you. The fact you don’t have a relationship has really been hurting her.” 

    Brian looked over to see Mum was tearing up. He was upsetting, but he wasn’t here to be guilt tripped. 

    “That’s not my fault,” he answered coldly. 

    “No, that isn’t what I’m saying at all,” Ted assured. 

    Mum patted his leg. “It’s all my fault Brian. I know that. And I want to fix it.” 

    “Exactly,” Ted went on. “You see I helped your Mum get on her better path when we first met.” 

    “It’s been so much better,” she added. 

    “Yes, and now your Mum wants me to do the same for you Brian. We want to give you a fresh start, a do-over.” 

    Brian shook his head. “I don’t need a do-over. I’m working on a doctorate for goodness sake!” 

    “But you could be so much happier, I just know it,” Mum said. 

    “You really can be. Do-overs, they’re sort of a specialty for me. Usually I work with people in the justice system, in rehab. I’d been reluctant to work with you, I’ll admit it, because of your superficial success. But your Mum has convinced me,” Ted explained. 

    Now Brian was confused. Mum wanted him to get therapy, from fucking Ted of all people? He was the last counselor he wanted to sit down with. And he didn’t need therapy anyway!  

    “This is nuts!” he told them. “If this is really why you dragged me all the way out here, I’ll just drive right back tonight.” 

    “Please, don’t do that,” Mum urged, grabbing his arm. 

    “And why shouldn’t I? Give me a real reason.” 

    “I want you to know your brothers,” she answered. 

    Brian paused at this. He couldn’t really argue with that.  “Well, of course I’d like to know them better,” he agreed. 

    “Then let Ted help you,” she urged. 

    “Help me how? I don’t understand.” 

    Ted put his hand on Brian’s shoulder. He looked over to see the man had his hand held outstretched right beneath his mouth. Brian was very confused by this until he saw there was a little mound of white power in the palm of his hand. But before he could react Ted gave a sharp blow, like he was blowing out a candle, and Brian got hit right in the face with the white stuff.  

    “What the hell?!” he demanded, sneezing and inhaling the stuff.  He wiped at his face, blinking his eyes to clear it away. 

    When he opened them full again he saw Ted was nodding happily to his wife. “He took I nice deep breath,” the man said. 

    “What? I took a breath of what?!” 

    Mum patted his shoulder. “Don’t be afraid sweetie, it’s going to be so much better now.” 

    “What are you talking about? What’s going to be better?” 

    “Calm down buddy,” Ted directed, a hand firmly on his hip now. 

    “Stop telling me it’s going to be okay! What was that stuff?” 

    “It opens up your mind, makes it malleable,” Ted explained. 

    “You drugged me!” 

    “You should feel it kicking in very soon. I promise it will be quite enjoyable. As I’ve said, this is sort of a specialty for me. I’ve never had an unhappy customer, once it’s finished.” 

    “You’re going to change my mind? So what, you’re gonna brainwash me to come visit more? Make me happy you let Eddy run around buck naked in full public view, think it’s just great that Craig plays rugby and has filthy bare feet. Make me proud my Mum’s gone full-bogan?”  

    “No honey, we don’t want to that. We want you to be happy,” Mum told him. 

    “We’re giving you a total fresh start Brian,” Ted explained. “I’m going to take your right back to the start, let you be a happy little boy this time.” 

    Brian paused, terror dawning on his face. “Wait, what?” 

    Mum continued. “You’re going to be a little one sweetie, just like Eddy. Actually, a bit littler than him. We decided it would be best to go back to well before school age so we settled on three years old.” 

    Brian shook his head violently. “Are you absolutely nuts?!” 

    “No baby, we just want to help you. I promise it’s for the best. You’ll get to have all the same fun as Eddy and Craig. You’ll be following them around like a puppy, getting into the same messes, playing with the same toys. You won’t have to be a lonely only child this time. You’ll have big brothers.” 

    Brian wanted nothing to do with this. But then he felt it, an odd floaty sensation. It hit very fast and strong. His head was swimming and he couldn’t stand up.  

    Ted patted his back. “That’s it, you feel it now don’t you sweetie? Just let it sink in, let it relax you all over.” 

    Brian shook his head. “I’m going to be a professor. I have to write my dissertation.” 

    “I’m afraid you won’t be writing or reading much of anything for a bit sweetie,” Ted cooed. “We can’t really have a three year-old who knows words like dissertation, can we? I’m afraid I’m going to have to clear all those big boy ideas out of your sweet little head. All your thoughts are going to be so nice and simple though, it’ll be a wonderful relief.” 

    The world seemed to spin and Brian had to fight to keep his train of thought. “You can’t! I’m too smart!” he argued. 

    Ted chuckled. “You won’t be for much longer buddy.” 

    “We don’t want you growing up too mature this time baby. Ted’s going to make sure you’re a bit more simple this time. Not too dumb of course, just less academic.”  

    “No, please…” 

    “No point in a reset of course, a complete re-do. The point is to start fresh and make the right changes. We don’t want you to be upset when we pack away those shoes, we want you happy to be in bare feet. We want you following Eddy out front to play in your birthday suit without feeling any silly modesty,” Ted went on. 

    It was a nightmare. All his learning, all his work. They weren’t just making him a little kid, they were going to take away his intelligence too, strip away his manners, his modesty, his work ethic, leave him a dumb redneck boy, a silly nudist. 

    “People will see me. They’ll know…” he tried to explain. 

    But Ted was shaking his head. “You’re a special boy, Brian. Your Mum and I took you in after a drug overdose burned out your once brilliant brain.” 

    “Stop fighting it sweetie, there’s no reason to,” Mum whispered, stroking his hair now. 

    Brian tried not to give in. He didn’t want to forget, to lose all the things that made him who he was. But the drug was very powerful and his eyes were going glassy and vacant, the world blurring, dimming.  

    Ted leaned close and whispered in his ear. “Just listen to my voice Brian. Everything I tell you is the truth. You know it with all your heart and soul. Listen carefully to every single word now…” 

    **

    Two Weeks Later

    It was children’s story time at the local library. Mums arrived with an assortment of small children and Susie, a librarian’s assistant greeted them and directed them to the right area. 

    A woman walked in leading two young children with her. One boy of about six wearing a rugby uniform and his little brother, not yet old enough for school, wearing just his board shorts. She was used to that, the woman was a regular and her boys were often in just shorts. 

    But this time she had another charge, a fully grown young man with messy long hair and a short beard. He was holding the six year-old’s hand, but not as though he were in charge of the boy. No, it seemed clear that the boy was leading him. He was wearing a pair of simple short shorts, perhaps boxer shorts. That was all he wore. The man was barefoot and shirtless. He gazed about the library with empty, innocent eyes and a curious expression. 

    “Well hello there,” she greeted the odd little family. 

    “Hi, we’re looking for story time,” the mother said. 

    “Yes of course. It’s just around the corner. The children can sit on the mat and we have some chairs for grown-ups.” 

    “Lovely, thank you.” 

    “And, um, is he here for the story?” she asked awkwardly. 

    The mother smiled. “Oh yes, he’s a special boy, you understand.” 

    “Oh, of course. I was just going to say he’s very welcome to sit on the mat with the other little boys and girls.” 

    “Why thank you. Did you hear that sweetie? Can you thank the nice lady for helping us?” she cooed in the most saccharine sweet voice to the nearly naked man. 

    The ginger man looked over and smiled a simple child’s grin. “Tank-you,” he said brightly. 

    “You’re very welcome dear.” 

    “My name ids Bwian,” he informed her with a bright smile. 

    She couldn’t help but chuckle at how silly the man sounded. 

    “Well, it’s nice to meet you Brian. And I must say you look very comfy on this warm day.” 

    The man giggled. “Mummy gibbed me shorts. But I wan be nakey!” 

    Susie had to cover her mouth to stop from laughing out loud. The mother didn’t look embarrassed at all though. She just patted the man’s bare back and nodded. “But we can’t go nakey in public, can we?” she prompted. 

    Brian shook his head. “No-ooooh,” he answered in sing-song. “Not awwowed.” 

    “That’s right, so we’re going to keep our shorts on like a good boy until we all get home. Right?” 

    “Yeff Mummy. Bwian be good.” 

    Susie watched the young man toddle off after the little boy pulling his hand, noting the soles of the fellow’s feet were pitch black, like he hadn’t worn shoes in days or more. Poor fellow, she thought, he probably didn’t know any better. 

    **

    Brian sat on the floor of the library amidst the other young children. Grown-ups sat in seats. The librarian sat in the biggest chair of all, reading from Mother Goose, doing lots of silly voices. Little children liked silly voices. He liked silly voices too, because he was a little boy. 

    It was perfectly clear that he belonged down here with the other children, even if he was older than them and bigger. The grown-ups were all so smart. They sat in chairs, they wore big people clothes. Being at their feet, it felt right. 

    He sat cross-legged and looked at his own feet. They were all dirty, all black. He got a smile on his face. It felt so nice to have icky little boy feet, all messy and silly. There was another little boy next to him. He was the same size as Eddy, and he also had bare feet and his were all dirty too. It made Brian feel good to be like the other boys, like his big brothers.

    After story time Mummy took Eddy to the toilet. She told Craig to watch Brian. His older brother frowned and then took his hand. “Guess I gotta watch you again,” he said unhappily. 

    Brian frowned. “Dun gotta watch me,” he told Craig. 

    “Yeah I do. Cuz you’re too little to be alone now. Daddy made you too little.” 

    Brian squirmed and wiggled his toes on the soft carpet. “Wike bein’ widdle,” he said. 

    Craig nodded and patted his arm. “I know Brian. Daddy helped you get happy. It’s just, I wanna… hey, let’s play hide ‘n seek!” 

    Brian got even more excited at this idea. For a brief second he thought that would be a bad idea. He was supposed to stay here. Then a voice in his head seemed to come from nowhere, reminding him he was a playful little boy, he was too silly and little to follow the rules. 

    “Yeah! Pway hide ‘n theek!” 

    “Okay, do you want to count to twenty?” Craig asked. 

    Brian nibbled on his finger, trying to think of numbers. But there were none. Daddy had taken them all away. “Umm… I ‘unno.” 

    Craig chuckled. “I’m just kidding silly Billy. I know you can’t count. Okay, you hide and I’ll count! One, two, three…” 

    Brian squealed in glee and hurried off, racing through the library on his nimble bare feet. He raced up the stairs on hands and knees, then hurried right to the end of the stack, dropping to his bum against the wall, rough-soled and dirty bare soles outstretched.  

    Brian waited for big brother to come find him. He hoped it would take him a long time. He was such a good hider! Then he looked over at the books. He remembered something about books. He knew grown-ups read them. But not him. He was too little. He looked at the titles. Nothing made sense. The symbols were meaningless to him, just scribbles. 

    A flash of memory hit him. It happened now and then. He saw himself as a graduate student, living in the city on his own, reading advanced books like these, no, bigger than these. And he was all dressed up, and so smart! And he remembered now, he remembered coming here to this little town, coming to visit, driving himself, a full grown-up able to drive a car like Mummy and Daddy. 

    “There you are!” 

    Brian looked up to see Mummy walking along the aisle to him. He picked himself up, standing and feeling clearer by the second. And also more embarrassed. He remembered so much now. He remembered waking up after Ted drugged him, understanding he’d been made little, but not what that really meant.  He remembered waking up completely nude and then going right out into the yard that way, playing with the boys just as naked as little Eddy, and passersby could see him and he hadn’t covered up at all.   

    He remembered flashes of the last weeks. Walking to school with Mummy and Craig, marveling at the boy’s “big” uniform while he wore only his shorts. Letting Mummy lead him by the hand everywhere, letting her parade him around sucking his thumb, prattling nonsense. And now he was in the library, in public, in boxer shorts.  It was horrifying. 

    “C’mon sweetie, we need to get going,” she said now, reaching out for his hand again. 

     He shook his head, and gave her is angriest look. “I wemembah,” he insisted. “I’m big! I’m gwown-up!” 

    Mummy gave him a sad look, then stepped sharply forward and grabbed his boxer shorts with both hands, shoving them down, exposing his penis and bottom in one fell swoop. 

    Brian’s eyes widened as he felt the air on his privates. 

    “What?” he managed. 

    “You’re not big sweetie. You’re not a grown-up. You used to be one and Daddy took that all away.” 

    Brian tried to shake his head no. But Mummy put a finger to his lips. “Sweetie, you’re my little jaybird.” 

    He wanted to tell her no, tell her how he was remembering things. But when she said those words, something changed. He looked down at his naked body and felt, so silly, so little, so very, very good. 

    He hopped up and down on his bare feet, making his pee-pee floppy.  “Imma jay-biwd!” he repeated. 

    She nodded, smiling now. “You certainly are,” she agreed. 

    “Is everything okay?” 

    Mummy turned around to look at the pretty library woman.  

    “Oh yes, I’m sorry but I’m afraid he just got out of his shorts for a moment and I was about to help him get them back on. He just doesn’t know any better I’m afraid.” 

    Silly Mummy. He didn’t take his shorts off. Did he? He was a silly nakey jaybird. And his pee-pee was extra nice and comfy all free. Yes, he must have taken them off. He was a very silly boy after all. 

    “No problem,” the woman answered, though she looked concerned. “Would you like some help?” 

    “Oh certainly, thank you dear.” 

    “No worries.” 

    The library lady came over. Brian liked her. She was very pretty. 

    “I nakey now,” he informed her with a grin. 

    “I can see that dear. But we need to get your shorts back on, okay?” 

    “Otay,” he chirped, completely forgetting about his brief lucid moment. 

    A few minutes later, his shorts back on, Brian padded across the lovely warm pavement of the car park, enjoying the sun on his back, his Mummy gripping his hand tightly, sure everything was just perfect. 

    mind-wiper

    Liam knew there was something off with the village as soon as he arrived. He’d been studying the tribal region for his Master’s in Anthropology for years now, spending the last three months in the field.  He’d seen a number of remote tribes, spent hours trekking through the dense rain forests. But this one was different. 

    For the most part only the old men still walked around in loin cloths with painted skin and all the other stereotypical effects.  Most adult men still went shirtless as a concession to the relentless heat and humidity, but they wore Western style shorts and flip-flops.  Sure it was common to see most of the little kids running around the villages completely unclothed, but no one over the age of five.  Except here. Except in this village. 

    Liam noticed it right away, it would have been hard not to. Fully grown, adult men were walking and running about the narrow jungle paths, darting between thatched huts, chasing each other around the fire pit all completely nude, their bare penises just swinging free, their bare feet dirty and hardened on the soles so they could climb trees with the same nimbleness as the small children who usually partook in such games.  

    It also became very quickly apparent that these men were little more than oversized children themselves. They played the same games because intellectually they were all about two to four years old.  Bare breasted women cared for them the same as they would normal children, like this was all perfectly normal.  

    It really intrigued Liam. He tried to get them to explain how this had come to happen. Were the men always like this? Did they raise youngest boys to remain children? Was it part of a ritual? 

    He didn’t really get any satisfying answers. 

    “They are happy boys,” one tribal woman explained to him while a thirty-something man lay across her lap, feeding from her bare boobs, milk dribbling down his chin while he tugged idly at his small, soft penis. 

    “But they’re clearly not boys,” Liam pointed out. 

    “Boys come in all sizes,” she told him with a smile, running her hand through the nursing man’s wild hair. He murmured pleasantly, his glassy eyes totally lacking in any comprehension of the conversation.  

    Talking to the men themselves was also useless. They giggled at him and tried to steal his pen and paper pad, growing bored of his questions and wrestling each other in the dirt at his feet.  

    Finally, after a week in the village, he was granted an audience with the chief, a wrinkled old man with no hair left on his head, wearing only a loin cloth.  The ancient chief sat propped up in a simple chair, right beside the fire, somehow cold even on this hot day.  

    “You are wondering about our boys. You ask many questions,” the chief noted. 

    Liam nodded. “Yes, I’m sorry to intrude. I only seek to gain knowledge about your people, to understand you better.” 

    The chief nodded. “We are a simple people and we prefer to keep to ourselves. The outside world is cruel. I keep my people happy here.” 

    “But you must need some contact with the outside, for medicine and technology?” 

    The chief shook his head, frowning. “That is what some of the men thought. They left the village, went to the cities. They brought back dangerous ideas. They had been corrupted. So we cleansed them. We made them innocent again.” 

    Liam’s eyes widened. The chief was admitting that this had been done to these men. They’d been rendered mentally incompetent somehow, stripped of their abilities. 

    “You made them innocent?”

    “Yes. They are but boys again. That is why they do not wear clothes. Clothing is the first step to manhood. Little boys have no need of clothing, no need for privacy. Everyone who sees their nudity knows they are not men, even from far away, there can be no mistake,” he explained. 

    “But… how?” Liam asked, truly amazed. 

    The chief smiled. “It is ancient magic. Few alive today know how to use it.” 

    Liam jotted down his notes, feeling ecstatic. This would really make his thesis. He could head back to civilisation, to his university, right now and have his degree in a couple months.  

    As Liam began to pack away his notebook the chief leaned forward, his hand flat under his chin. As Liam looked up the man blew a strange powder right into the young man’s face. 

    Liam coughed and shuddered in surprise.  

    “What the hell?!” he snapped. 

    “We prefer to keep to ourselves. I did tell you that,” the chief explained.  

    Liam felt woozy already. His vision blurred, his whole body got tingly. “Wah.. What is this?” he slurred, finding he couldn’t even stand up. 

    A woman sat down beside him, put her hand on his shoulder. He looked over at her, finding the topless young woman very attractive. But to her right was one of the naked men, squatting in the dirt, nibbling his thumb and picking at his toes. 

    “It’s going to be okay dear. Your brother is here to watch your transition,” she explained to Liam.  

    His brother? Liam looked again at the drooling, empty-eyed man squatting to their side. No, he couldn’t be like that! He had an education! He was smart, he was civilised. He couldn’t stay here with some backwards tribe, never mind as a dumb little kid.  

    “I… I need to write about this. I have to go…” he pleaded. 

    “Shh. Shh. Your days of writing are over little one. It’s time for you to be happy. Time for you to play. We’ll get you out of these awful clothes, you’ll feel so much cooler, so much more comfortable.” 

    He wanted to keep pleading, but whatever he’d breathed in was getting stronger. His head was swimming. Her words didn’t make sense anymore. He couldn’t focus at all. He looked around frantically and couldn’t recognise anything. He couldn’t remember where he was, or what any of these things were. It was terrifying for a moment, and then even fear slipped away, his anxiety calming. He focused on the warm hand on his arm, yes, the pretty lady. Such a big, pretty lady. He liked her. He knew that.  And he didn’t know much at all. 

    **

    A month later Liam was happily climbing a tree when he saw the strange White man walking into the village. The man looked concerned, looked confused. Liam found his clothes interesting to look at. Should he go over there? 

    No, he was having too much fun climbing. He giggled and used his tough bare feet to grip the tree bark, scooting forward, his penis brushing across the tree. It actually felt kind of nice. He liked climbing trees. He was so good at it now his feet were tough like the other boys, like his brother’s.  

    “Liam! Is that you?!” 

    The White man was there by the bottom of the tree now. He was calling up to Liam, but he wasn’t sure what the man was saying. He didn’t know many grown-up words, he was too little. Liam leaped down out of the tree, landing nimbly on his bare feet. His pee-pee flopped around, so silly. He didn’t even consider his nudity before the fully clothed man. He didn’t have any clothes. He was much too little for man clothes. So there was no shame, no flicker of modesty, his penis always hung free this way, it always had as far as he was concerned. 

    “Liam, I came to find you when you didn’t come back,” the man explained. “Everyone was so worried. I can’t believe it’s actually you! What happened to your clothes buddy?” 

    Liam picked at his nose as the strange man talked. Then he leant very close before grabbing onto the black thing hanging from the man’s neck. It was strange, Liam wanted to have it. 

    “Liam, ow! Don’t pull the binoculars like that!” the man shouted, pulling away. 

    Liam smiled and giggled at the man’s ouchy expression. He hopped up and down in delight. The man looked very worried. Liam wasn’t. He hopped back onto the tree. He could show the man how good he climbed. He scooted back up the bark, looking down just in time to see the wrinkled old chief tap the strange man’s shoulder then blow some powder in his face when he looked. He felt happy. Somehow he knew he was getting a new playmate. 

    mind-wiper

    Molly and Dave used to be some of our best friends.  We would go to concerts with them, meet up at cafes for lunch, go to their house for a BBQ, that kind of stuff. But all that came to a crashing end when Dave got the Big Baby Virus (ACDV).  After that we didn’t see them at all. Molly stuck with him to her credit. Lots of girlfriends and even wives would dump a dumbed down man with his parents or a sibling or even abandon him to state care.  

    But that loyalty sure came at a high cost. We never saw Molly anymore. My girlfriend, Sarah, would ring her up and invite her to stuff anyway, but it was always the same answer, she had to stay home with Davey, as she now called him.  

    Sarah would try to convince her to get a babysitter, but Molly just insisted she was happy to stay with Davey herself, that she didn’t want to go out. 

    “Poor Molly,” Sarah would always say after hanging up. 

    “It’s probably hard to get a babysitter for a baby that size,” I suggested one time. 

    But Molly just shook her head. “There are whole services dedicated to that. I just don’t get it, Mike.” 

    Then after not hearing from them for months, Molly rang us up to invite us over for a barbecue at her place, like old times. I hadn’t seen Dave since he got the virus so to be honest, I was a bit reluctant.  We used to talk sports and movies. We had common interests. We were both in our twenties, just finished with uni. Now what would we talk about? Thomas the Tank Engine? Barney? 

    It was actually worse than I’d imagined. Molly greeted us at the door and right away I could see the changes. There were toys in the front yard, toddler toys. Inside the house things were far messier than ever before. Usually it was spotless for company. 

    Molly didn’t seem self-conscious about the mess. On the contrary she looked very happy. Perhaps she was putting on a good face, an act to convince us not to worry about her so much. 

    “Come on in!” she urged. “So great to see you both again!”  

    “Well we’ve missed you too,” Sarah told her. “Are you doing okay? You need any help?” she asked with clear concern. 

    Molly laughed and shook her head. “No I’m doing just fine, we both are. It’s amazing the support network for carers of big little ones. Davey has plenty of little playmates with big bodies but innocent little minds just like him. And I have other carers, Mummies, to have tea with, to talk while the kids play. It’s really not much different from having a baby yourself.”  

    Sarah seemed elated to hear it wasn’t so bad. “So you aren’t just spending all your time cooped up in here?” she asked. 

    “Oh no, not at all. There’s a special Mummy and bigger baby reading time at the library every week, and a special class at Gymboree for us too. It’s really quite fun for us Mummies and Davey and the other little guys enjoy it too.” 

    We headed out onto the back deck. The BBQ was there and normally Dave would standing at it, tending to the sausages. But now it was Molly checking the meat. Davey was out there too though. There was a new swingset and slide in the middle of the yard, right where we used to play backward cricket. Davey was playing on the swings and to my horror he was completely naked, legs pumping back and forth as he swung, in full view of the windows of all the neighbouring houses. 

    He didn’t stay on the swing long though. Spotting us he leapt off and came running over to the deck. I just couldn’t help but watch his penis swinging wildly about as he ran. It also was shocking to see how hairless he was. He looked even younger that way, but still physically six feet tall, still way too old to be strutting about in his birthday suit. 

    Of course that wasn’t really true anymore. I’d occasionally seen nude grown-downs at the beach or in the park, just like they were real toddlers. But this was my friend after all, this was different. And what’s more Molly had clearly left him this way knowing her backyard was far from private, and knowing we were coming over. 

    “Well look who’s come to say hi!” she chirped instead. 

    Davey climbed awkwardly up with three steps onto the wooden back deck and to my real horror, made a bee-line for me, arms wide open. Before I could shake my head or pull away I found myself being squeezed almost painfully tight in a bear hug from my naked former friend.  

    “Aww, isn’t that sweet,” Molly cooed.

    I looked to Sarah for some support but she seemed to think it was adorable as well.  

    “Mikey come Mummy!” Davey announced. 

    “That’s right sweetie, and you’re such a nice boy, giving your buddy a cuddle.” 

    Still being squeezed almost out of breath I heard Davey reply, “I c’n gib good cuddles Mummy.” 

    “You sure can baby, but I think you better let Mikey go before he breaks something,” she warned with a laugh. 

    Davey finally released me and stepped back, grinning like a moron. “Wanna pway?” he asked me. “I got swings!” he announced brightly, pointing to them like the most amazing toy in the world. 

    “Um, not right now Dave… er, Davey,” I mumbled awkwardly.  

    “Oh, honey, have fun with your friend,” Sarah urged, an evil smile on her face. 

    I rolled my eyes at her, not impressed. But Davey was oblivious, he grabbed my hand, pulling with full adult strength. “Uh-huh, lez swing!” he urged. 

    Dave was still bigger and stronger than me by quite a bit, so I had no real choice but to follow him to the swings. He thrust his bare bottom into one and I took the other. It was so embarrassing with the women watching, waving to us, whispering surely disparaging comments to each other about how ridiculous I looked.  

    “I c’n go weal high!” Davey announced, swinging again. 

    “Yeah, you sure can,” I agreed, beginning to swing slowly myself. It wasn’t too bad, the swing set was built with grown-downs in mind and it fit me well.  There was no danger of breaking it like a real toddler’s toy.  

    As we swung I couldn’t help but ask, “So Davey, you remember me right?” 

    “Uh-huh. We fwiends.” 

    “And you remember that I’m a grown-up right?” 

    “I wad gwown-up!” he announced. 

    “Yeah, I remember Davey. But you got little didn’t you?” 

    “Hadda boo-boo in my noggin,” Davey answered. 

    “And you’re happy?” 

    “Mummy kiff it bettah. I getta pway now. Dun gotta go work!” he told me like it was all delightful. 

    “And you don’t have to wear clothes either I see.” 

    Davey grinned, not a shred of modesty left in his drained mind. “I go nakey!” he agreed like it was the best part of it all.  

    I nodded, noting the lack of tan lines on his bare body. “Yeah, I can see that Davey. Looks to me like you go nakey a lot.” 

    Another cheerful nod from my reduced friend. “I Mummy’s jaybiwd now. Cuz I c’n use a poddy now!”  

    A potty. Ugh. And it was crystal clear he considered that an accomplishment. Swinging back and forth I spotted the potty seat, sitting on the deck, in full view of the other houses, right next to where we would be eating. That was where my old friend pooped and peed now, naked and unashamed for all to see.  

    I didn’t have to wait long to see it actually happen. As we ate our corn on the cob, cut up our steaks, Davey sat on the bright blue and yellow plastic potty seat concentrating, gripping the handles and making rude noises, then looking right at us and grinning ear to ear. 

    “Good boy,” Molly praised him. “Making poopies in the potty for us and showing your friend Mikey what a big boy you are!” 

    “Dabey big boy!” he agreed. 

    I hated the use of Mikey for my name, but what point was there in complaining? A moment later Davey was standing with his hands pressed against the side of the house, mooning us all as Molly wiped his bottom clean with wet wipes. It was quite the show he was giving us. Sarah thought it was cute, I could tell from her smile. I was humiliated for my friend.  

    “I can’t tell you how nice it is to be able to just leave him nakey,” Molly commented as Davey went back to eating his food, mostly using his fingers of course.  

    “He’s usually naked then?” Sarah asked, not looking disgusted at all, the way I felt. 

    “Oh yes, pretty much all the time at home. I only put clothes on the little guy to go out and then we try to keep it as light as possible. Usually just his pull ups and a t-shirt. It makes it so much easier for him to potty and he’s always making a mess of himself so keeping him nakey saves me a ton of laundry. 

    “He doesn’t even have a pair of shoes anymore. There’s just no need for them. No one minds a barefoot toddler and he’s really much comfier that way. His feet toughened up quite quickly so hot pavement or gravel no longer cause any issue.” 

    I looked over at Davey to see what he thought of this. He was oblivious, putting kernels of corn in his mouth a few at a time, his hands all sticky with melted butter and smashed corn. I hated it when people talked about a kid like he wasn’t even there, but Davey really wasn’t capable of joining in the conversation anyway.  

    “He really does look quite happy in his skin,” Molly agreed. 

    “Oh he is. It’s one of the better parts of the virus, just wiped away all that body modesty. It makes it much easier for us. After all with diaper changes and accidents it’s inevitable people will see them nude. It’s really a mercy that those changes also make sure they won’t mind. And when you go to the beach and forget a swim diaper or the little guy gets icky sand and dirt all down his pull up at the park you have a very easy solution. Just yank those pull-ups off and let him jaybird for a bit.”  

    Molly laughed along with her and poor Davey grinned and giggled too, probably no idea why but wanting to mimic the grown-ups.  

    **

    Molly started inviting Sarah to come along to some of her support group sessions after that. I didn’t get it at all, but as it didn’t really affect me I could hardly complain. As long as I didn’t have to spend time with them I was happy. It was just too weird seeing my friend behave that way and honestly it bothered me the way Molly left him to run around naked. I mean poor Dave just didn’t know any better, but he would have hated the idea of people seeing him this way, running around a public park with his junk bouncing around. 

    It had been a few weeks when I came back from work to be greeted by Molly standing right there in my house. 

    “Oh,” I said in surprise, “I didn’t know you were coming over today. Sarah hadn’t mentioned it.” 

    “Oh it was a bit of a surprise,” she answered. “Come on in, don’t let me get in the way.” 

    I nodded and put down my stuff. I could hear people in the living room. “Some of your group come over too?” I asked, trying not to sound upset. 

    “Not exactly,” Molly answered. I hated that kind of cryptic reply. 

    I headed into the room to see for myself. There was a man I didn’t know sitting on the couch and down on the floor, just as I feared, was Davey. He was sitting on the floor with his legs splayed out. At least he wore a t-shirt today, though it was a bright blue shirt with childish lettering declaring “It Wasn’t Me!”  But he was still naked from the belly down, no pull-ups even to cover his penis.  

    Davey was smiling though, thoughtless and happy as ever, ignorance being bliss and all. And he was pushing a bright pink ball across the floor. And that’s when I saw he had a playmate. Ugh. There was two big babies in the house now. And even more awkward this other giant toddler was a girl and she was completely nude as well, her pretty breasts on full view, her hairless privates perfectly visible as her legs were also splayed wide apart.  

    I tried to stop staring at her boobs and snatch, knowing how lewd that appeared. But where else was there to look when she was so completely naked. But as I tore my eyes from the breasts I saw something much more shocking. The pretty young woman on the floor was Sarah, my girlfriend. 

    I stopped in my tracks. I blinked my eyes, sure I was missing something. It couldn’t be her. And yet, it was. 

    Sarah’s blonde hair was done up in the highest, most juvenile style of pigtails. She had lipstick smeared all around her lips, a bit on her cheeks and her forehead, like a two-year old left to play with Mummy’s lipstick.  There were other things wrong too. She was hairless, and that was not normal for her. The soles of her bare feet were dirty brown. They weren’t as tough and dark looking as Davey’s but she’d clearly been walking around outside without any shoes for more than a little bit, perhaps all day even.  

    But the worst part was her expression, her face. Her eyes were as wide and empty looking as Davey’s, her face relaxed, a big silly grin on it. She looked happy but dumb, nothing like her normal look at all.  She was smart, focused, professional. And now she looked like a moron. 

    The bright pink ball rolled into her hands, pressing against her bare skin. She giggled and gave it a rough, uncoordinated shove back, drumming her heels lightly on the carpet as it went the right direction back to Davey.  

    “Sarah!?” I managed to gasp after a very long couple seconds. 

    She looked over at me, her jaw slack for a moment. Then she grinned and reached out her arms in my direction. She didn’t cover her boobs, didn’t frown or look embarrassed at me seeing her like this. No, she was utterly delighted. 

    I hurried to her side and tried to comfort her. “Sarah, what’s wrong honey, what are you doing on the floor like this?” 

    Sarah blinked innocently and then said, “Pwayin’ wid Dabey.” 

    She said it like it was normal, like it was something fun she wanted to tell me about. 

    “Lookit!” she continued, pointing. “Gotta ball!” 

    I frowned but nodded. “Oh yes Sarah, I can see that honey.” 

    “Ids pink!” she added. 

    “Yes honey, that’s right.” 

    “I wike pink,” she informed me, like it was very important information. 

    “Honey, what’s happened to you? Why are you playing ball with Davey? You’re a grown-up honey.” 

    Sarah gaped at me a moment and I hoped I had jogged her memory, maybe woken something up inside her. 

    She took one finger and tapped it against her temple. “Gotta boo-boo ‘nd Mummy fixed it. But Sawah gots widdle.” 

    I shook my head. That just wasn’t possible. The virus couldn’t work that fast. She couldn’t have regressed so suddenly, so completely could she have? 

    Sarah saw that I was upset and she pouted too. But she wanted to help, wanted to cheer me up. She grabbed my hand and announced, “Sawah got all pweety!” showing off her lipstick smeared face.  

    I forced a smile, for her sake. “Oh, yes, I see that. You used your lipstick.” 

    She nodded wildly. “Is Mummy’s wippy-stick. She wet me hab it.” 

    “Mummy?” I questioned, wondering who she was talking about for the second time. 

    Sarah nodded, looking behind me, looking at Molly. 

    “Honey, that’s Molly, your friend,” I reminded her, so embarrassed. 

    But she shook her head. “No. Daz Mummy,” she insisted. 

    I frowned. “Sweeetie, you’re just very confused right now. Because of the boo-boo,” I added for her benefit. “We’ll worry about that later, but we need to get you dressed right now,” I told her quietly, feeling very uncomfortable about my girlfriend being nude in front of this man who I had never met, a man who was just sitting there watching us without even introducing himself to me. 

    But Sarah scrunched up her face like something smelled bad. “Dun wanna get dwessed. Mummy said I c’n be nakey.” 

    I gave Molly a reproachful glance then explained, “Honey I’m in charge right now and I think you’ll actually be a lot more comfy once we have you in a shirt and some shorts and um… big girl panties.” 

    But Sarah crossed her arms and shook her head, pigtails whipping about. “Dun wanna! Dabey gotta nakey bum,” she pointed out. 

    “I think it’s much better for her to just stay as she is,” Molly interjected. “It will help a lot with pottying.” 

    I could ignore her presence no longer. I stood up and faced her. “First of all, I don’t see how that would help. She’d just have accidents all over the house…”

    “When Davey has accidents like that he has to help Mummy clean them up. It helps him learn,” Molly interrupted.  

    “But much more importantly what happened?! If Sarah was sick why didn’t you take her to a hospital? Why not call me? You have my number!” I raged. 

    Molly took the abuse with a smile. “Oh she wasn’t sick honey,” she answered. 

    I blinked. “Wasn’t sick? Are you nuts? Look at her, she’s had ACDV!” 

    Molly just shook her head. “No, no, nothing like that. She’s just had a nice chat with my friend Dr Morris over here.” 

    I looked over at the silent man on the couch. He gave me a little nod as if to confirm what Molly was saying. 

    “What do you mean a chat?” 

    “Dr Morris is a very skilled hypnotist. He helped Sarah to forget all get grown-up worries and thoughts, helped her be the happy little nudist toddler you see now,” Molly explained. 

    This was madness, she’d clearly lost her mind. “You can’t hypnotise someone to be like that,” I gestured to my girlfriend as she played with her own bare feet, pulling one to her mouth and slipping a toe between her lips.  

    Molly just chuckled. “How do you think Davey ended up so sweet and innocent? No, he never had the virus either,” she explained. 

    I looked back at Davey, looking for some horror at this revelation of betrayal. He was nibbling on the filthy tips of his own toes, copying Sarah’s explorations the way little children often did.  He wasn’t paying attention to a word being said.  Grown-up talk meant nothing to him now. And apparently that was all just due to being hypnotised. 

    “That’s criminal!” I yelled. 

    Molly wasn’t offended. “I did what I had to. Dave was infertile. I’ve wanted children all my life, a big family. I could have left him, but to be honest I just loved him too much. I wanted to have a family with him in it. And Dr Morris showed me that was possible, but with Davey as one of the little ones. 

    “It didn’t hurt him,” she assured. “He went very easily, just drifted off into a trance. He was so happy when he woke up, so loving and silly I knew I’d made the right decision.” 

    “That’s truly horrible. Did you even discuss it with him? Did you ask if he wanted to be an incompetent toddler who needs help wiping his own butt after pooping?” 

    Molly shrugged. “Boys rarely know what is best for them. He’s happy now, that’s the important part.” 

    “And then you decided he needed a sister? So you did this to Sarah?!” 

    Molly finally shook her head. “No, no, not at all. I wanted him to have a playmate dear, a brother. I worked very hard the last few weeks trying to convince Sarah, trying to get her to agree you needed a trip to Dr Morris. But she just wouldn’t agree.” 

    I blinked, trying to take in this admission. I was the target, not Sarah. 

    “Well I knew she wouldn’t just sit by and do nothing if I acted on my own, so I’m afraid she had to see Dr Morris as well,” Molly explained, not really sounding sorry. 

    I looked down at my toe-sucking girlfriend and felt so sorry this happened to her because of me. “You’re a monster,” I whispered. 

    “Not at all,” Molly insisted. “Dr Morris was very good with her. He made sure she’d be ever so happy with her return to toddlerhood. She’s just overjoyed to be my pretty little princess.” 

    “She’s sitting there naked and sucking her toes! You took away her mind!” 

    Molly didn’t budge. “She’s adorable is what she is. She’s Mummy’s jaybird princess.” 

    “Reverse it! If you did this to her you have to be able to undo it. So put her back and we’ll forget it all.” 

    Molly shook her head. “Oh Mikey, you are going to forget it all, after you have a nice talk with Dr Morris. It won’t be so bad honey. I know it seems scary but look how smiley Davey and Sarah are.”

    “Not a chance in hell! No you have him fix her, right fucking now!” 

    Molly frowned. “Sorry honey but it’s a one-way trip. It’s too risky to just leave the adult personality and intellect hiding inside their heads somewhere. It could bubble up at the wrong time. Dr Morris has to wipe it away for good.”  

    This was a nightmare but I’d had enough of Molly’s excuses. I knelt back next to Sarah, tickling the sole of her foot lightly until she let the big toe slip from her lips. 

    “I eated footsies,” she giggled. 

    “Yes sweetie, you’re a very silly girl, but we need to get going now, okay? You need to come with me.” 

    Sarah looked confused. “Mummy comin’?” 

    “No baby, just us.” 

    She pouted. “Dun wanna go,” she insisted. 

    “Honey I’m your boyfriend, remember? You can come with me.” 

    Sarah giggled again, looking less upset, more amused. “Too widdle fow boys,” she told me. “Daz siwwy.”  

    Damn it. She was too far gone even to trust me as her boyfriend. She actually trusted Molly, her betrayer, the woman who ordered her reduced to a retarded simpleton, more than me.  

    Meanwhile Davey had stood up and walked over to Molly. I glanced over and noticed that his penis had grown fully erect and was bobbing back and forth as he walked. 

    “Mikey comin’ home?” he asked Molly eagerly.  

    “He sure is sweetie. Gonna have a new brother to play with,” she assured him. 

    This made Davey very excited. He bounced from foot to foot, his penis twitching and oozing precum. Molly noticed and reached right down, gripping the man’s erection. “Look how happy Davey is sweetie. He’s so keen to play with you he needs to make stickies.” 

    “Needa go squirt!” Davey announced brightly, thrusting forward into Molly’s hand. 

    Molly nodded and patted his back, pulling him closer and beginning to stroke his penis harder and faster. “That’s right, that’s a good boy. You deserve a nice big sticky squirt for being such a good boy. I bet Mikey will love having his stickies too.”  

    I shook my head. This was the last thing I wanted to see, my old friend panting and grunting as this monster jerked him off. But there was no stopping it and it was only seconds before his body tensed and we all watched his semen erupt out onto Molly’s hands and arms.  

    “Good job baby, get those creamies all out,” she urged him. “Feels so nice, I know.” 

    “That’s it. Sarah, we are going,” I declared, taking her hands and forcing her to stand up. 

    “Goin’? she asked innocently. 

    “For ice cream,” I lied. “Whatever kind you want princess!” 

    Her eyes lit up. “Bubba-gum!” she answered. 

    “Yep, bubblegum ice cream!” 

    Now she was willing to go, even if I was an icky boy. But as I turned, her hand in mine, the man on the couch got up, stepping in front of us. 

    “Look man, I have no desire at all to end up like them. If you come any closer or don’t get out of the way I will fuck you up.” 

    “Dazza naughty word!” Sarah gasped. 

    Morris didn’t budge. 

    “I’m very good at what I do,” he said, finally speaking. His voice was soft, calming, not at all what I expected from the large man.  “I promise you it will be fast and it will be complete. I finished with Sarah in about an hour. You can see how effective I am.” 

    “You aren’t listening to me. I don’t want to be a dumb baby and more than even that, I don’t want to be her dumb baby. You can’t make me love that monster!” 

    Morris showed no emotion. “You will be her toddler, her three year old little boy, a brother to Davey and Sarah. You’ll be a happy boy, a silly boy. You’ll run around nakey same as them, using the potty when you can, learning your colours and shapes. You’re going to have fun, you’re going to forget all about these silly worries you’re having.” 

    I turned to Molly. “Call him off. You can’t get away with having three of us. It’s suspicious.” 

    “Not really. It’s a virus, it’s contagious. You caught it from Sarah, you’re both toddlers and I’ve been gracious enough to take you both in on top of my own poor little Davey.”  

    Sarah stamped her bare foot on the carpet. “Wan’ my ithe cweam!” she insisted. 

    “Just a minute honey,” I urged. 

    “Toddlers don’t have patience,” Morris interjected. “You won’t either in a few minutes.” 

    It was time to end this standoff. He couldn’t hypnotise me against my own will. I was leaving and so was Sarah. Holding her hand tightly I moved for the doorway. Morris didn’t jump at me, he just threw something in the air. It was a handful of some kind of powder. No it was glitter. And it filled the air before me, shimmering and blinking, dazzling me. 

    I stopped, waiting for it to clear, but it almost seemed to hang in the air, a blizzard of flickering colours. How did it stay up like that? 

    A hand tapped my shoulder. I hadn’t even seen Morris move but he was at my side suddenly. “Amazing how it flickers,” he said softly. 

    I wanted to pull away from him, but he was right. It did flicker, it was so weird. I focused more on the floating glitter. 

    “It’s special dust,” he continued. 

    I nodded. 

    “It’s sleepy dust. Just looking at it puts you right to sleep.” 

    A wave of drowsiness. No! I had to look away. But I couldn’t. The glitter was making me too sleepy. It was sleepy dust. 

    “You’re a sleepy boy now,” came a soft whisper. 

    I was so tired. 

    “Drop deep, nice deep sleep.” 

    My head got so heavy, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I let them shut, just for a second. 

    **

    Sarah and Davey is hidin’ somewhere. It’s a game. We play games a lot. My job is to find ‘em. I the seeker. The seeker supposed to count. But I’m not big enough to count yet. Mummy says I’ll learn numbers at preschool. So Mummy counted for me. She counted to a big number while I covered my eyes. Then she patted my back and said I could go find brother and sister. 

    I look all over the upstairs. I don’t see ‘em anywhere. They not under the bed, too small. They not in the closet, that’s my most favourite place to hide. They gotta be downstairs. 

    I walk along the wooden floor and my feet make squeaky noises and it feels sticky on my bare soles. My feets are really tough now. I c’n run on the driveway and the footpath when we go for walks to the park in the middle of the afternoon. Mummy says it’s too hot for grown-ups feets cuz they got shoes. 

    I gonna go downstairs but then I remember something. That feeling I got in my tummy. It’s pee-pees. I need to do ‘em so bad. But forgot cuz I was lookin’ and now it’s so bad and uh-oh, I’m doin’ lots of tinkles all over the wood floor, all over my bare feets. I not wearing any clothes so my pee-pee just goes everywhere as my doodle is all free between my legs. I always go nakey at home. I really like being nakey, feels so free and comfy and Davey goes all nakey too. I wanna be like him. He’s my brother. 

    I feel bad, I feel silly. I suck on my thumb and wait for the tinkles to be done. 

    “Mikey honey, what are you doing?” 

    It’s Mummy! I turn around and look at my toes. She must see the puddle. Am I in trouble? 

    “Oh baby, you had a tinkle accident,” she coos. Her voice isn’t angry, it’s soft and nice.

    I not in trouble. I nod. “Hadded ‘n akee-dent Mummy. Dids pee-pees,” I admit.  

    Mummy waves me over, arms open. I feel much better. I hurry over and she gives me big cuddles. It’s always extra nice having cuddles at home cuz I’m nakey and that’s extra good feeling Mumm’s arms around my bare skin. 

    “It’s okay Mikey. Accidents happen. But we need to clean up before someone slips don’t we?” Mummy asked. 

    I nod. “Gotta cwean,” I agreed. I’m a big boy, I can help clean! Mummy gets me the bucket and cloth and I get down on my hands and knees, my pee-pee is all dangly and I wash it as best I can. Mummy watches and I grin back at her.  I love my Mummy so much!