A young man connects with his inner desires. An age regression and diapers story. 12 min read.
A veil of sun-dappled water cascaded from the skylight oculus in the center court of the mall. Gavin pecked away at his pasta salad – bow-tie twists, fresh salmon, black olives, pine nuts – as shoppers scurried around him like windup toys across the polished terrazzo floor.
His late father had been a prolific inventor. In addition to eccentric oddities like a pneumatic-powered egg cracker and a vending machine for suntans, he had also created an elevator-sized chamber that could change a person’s age.
Within days, the military had come knocking and purchased his age-changing technology for a tidy sum. They tried to re-engineer it into a ray gun, but the contraption proved too fickle and unreliable even after decades of work and massive amounts of funding. The final straw came after the accident, vigorously denied, when a prototype exploded and left an entire army base an adult-free zone, requiring the emergency scrambling of a bus-load of nannies armed with a mini-mountain of diapers, while frenzied technicians worked around the clock to get everyone back to normal. A few months later, Gavin was able to buy the technology back for a song.
He was in his thirties, but already burnt out from his job as an autonomous vehicle engineer in a fast-paced tech firm, and had decided to quit to pursue his childhood dream of starting his own company. Finishing up his lunch, he glanced with satisfaction at the gleaming sign above his fledging business, WiggleWerkz, in dancing jaunty characters and flecked with confetti.
A pair of young mothers in cream-white blouses was registering at the front door, eager to deposit their buck-toothed and pig-tailed tots into the safety of Gavin’s indoor playground while they cantered off to prostrate on yoga mats and sip tall glasses of cold-pressed vegetable juice. Many of his customers were just like them, though collectively they barely covered the rent. It was the other part of the business that made WiggleWerkz a sustainable enterprise.
Gavin rose to his feet, aluminum chair shrieking, and rode the escalator to the upper floor, making his way to WiggleWerkz’s back entrance, an unmarked door located along a side corridor. That was where his father’s invention was housed, where customers could shrink themselves down to an age of their choice, frolic for as long as they wanted in the playground, before returning to change themselves back to normal. His “rejuvenation spa” has been advertised discreetly – there were some narrow-minded folks out there, and he could do without the drama. A few targeted social media ads and a handful of messages to the right online groups had been sufficient to draw a steady trickle of enthusiastic customers.
Stepping inside, he shuffled past the reception area, and was busy clearing email in his adjoining office when there was a click and the outside door heaved open. That was odd – he hadn’t been expecting anyone. Uncoiling himself from his chair, he found a young man standing in the reception, eyes the color of caramel chews, a head of curly brown hair with honey highlights. He was wearing a rumpled T-shirt, black jeans, and clasping a sharp serrated knife in his right hand.
A needle of fear sizzled through Gavin’s body when he recognized the man – wasn’t this the same guy who had crashed the East Coast Age Play Convention, calling himself an “Diaper Hater” and then trying to trash the place before the organizers called security? And before that, hadn’t he also been evicted and banned by all the online diaper-lover forums for trolling and harassment?
Squaring his narrow shoulders and thrusting his jaw forward, the intruder fixed a dark gaze on Gavin and launched into an impassioned tirade, his words tumbling out like wasps from a burning nest – menacing curses and colorful insults about the evils of a diapered lifestyle. But most terrifying of all was the knife he shook in his direction like a crab. Gavin’s blood was beating in his ears, his heart turning over like a dirtbike in the wrong gear as the scratchy voice modulated between anger, conviction and a sort of evangelical fervor.
“Get inside!” the man pointed toward a booth that looked like a glass elevator framed with thin neon braids. “I’m going to shrink you into a toddler, give you a big spanking, and then wreck your machine so you and your stinking friends will be stuck as diapered tots for the rest of your lives!”
Gavin obeyed, his eyes never leaving the pointed knife. The man activated the booth, and there was a mechanical purr as a squalling gale of wind rose from beneath and whipped around Gavin’s body, while neon lights bathed him with a blue luminescence.
But Gavin’s chest did not deflate, nor did his arms and legs wither into slender beanstalks. His craggy features did not soften into huge innocent eyes, chipmunk cheeks, and an endearing button nose. Instead, when the machine’s cycle ended and the wind died down, the only thing that had changed about Gavin was that his ponytail had come loose, and a wild feral shock of hair now stood up jaggedly from his crown like the mane of a hyena.
Uncertainty crept into the man’s eyes as Gavin emerged from the booth. “I’ve no clue what you’re talking about.” Gavin said. “For your information, this is where we host our private birthday parties. And that…” he pointed at the alleged age-changing machine “… is a game that we put the birthday kid in, fill it up with prize tickets, and challenge him to grab as many as he can while the wind is blowing. Are you sure you got the right place?”
The man was looking sheepish and even a mite embarrassed. “If you don’t believe me, take a look at our individual party rooms.” Gavin said as he led the man down the carpeted corridor. Then, taking advantage of the man’s temporary distraction, he smacked the knife from his hand, shoved him into a room, and flipped a hidden latch.
There was a surprised shout, a dull hum like a spacecraft lifting off, and flickers of lilac light shooting out from under the crack in the door. Gavin picked up the knife and hid it out of reach as a series of panicked screams rang out from the room, growing higher and higher in pitch.
Gavin took several deep breaths and noticed that his hands were still shaking. This was a disaster: an armed assault in broad daylight! Insurance would go through the roof! And he’ll have to call the police to take this guy away, there would be an official report, and maybe even some press coverage which could scare customers away. With a groan, he paced around, wracking his brain trying to think of ways to minimize the damage.
Then the door slid open and a towheaded child stumbled out. The moment Gavin laid his eyes on him, he knew that his troubles were over. The boy had pulled on a pair of diapers he had found in the room which had little stars and planets running down the front, and was staring at the mirror with a look of wonderment that Gavin had seen many times before.
“Looking good, champ?” Gavin said as he stepped behind the beaming tot.
“What? No no… this is… this is wrong… I shouldn’t be… I…” his chubby face contorted with angst before he turned on Gavin and pointed a stubby finger. “It’s you! You must have messed with my mind!”
“Nope. The age change process has no mental effects.” Gavin grinned. “Perhaps it’s you who’s been living in denial?”
“What do you mean living in denial?!”
“You know, what they say about how people who are the most hostile may themselves harbor the same desires, albeit undercover ones?”
The boy flinched, as if Gavin had touched something inside that was extremely soft and tender.
“Do you know that sometimes, the people who repel you the most also reveal parts of yourself that you can’t see?” Gavin said as he tousled the child’s hair. “Wait here, I’m going to join you.” He vanished into the room and activated the machine. Moments later when he reemerged, he was only slightly bigger than his companion, and wearing a Bumblebee T-shirt that hung over a pair of diapers emblazoned with the Transformers logo.
“I’m Gavin.” he said as the boy stared at him with wide saucer eyes. “What’s your name?”
“Alright Joey. Let’s have some fun shall we?” He slapped the boy on his padded rear and dragged him towards a round portal at the end of the corridor. “You first!”
“But where does this… aieeeee!” he squealed as Gavin pushed him down the plastic slide. He felt a rush of air as he careened through the looping tunnel, the darkness of the purple plastic punctuated from time to time by a Plexiglass view of the playground from above. Finally he burst out into the light, plunging into a pool of red, green and teal foam cubes.
Gasping, he hauled himself out, and very nearly got bowled over by a pair of girls dashing past with soft plushies under their arms. He blinked, and realized with shock that he was standing at the edge of the playground, facing the glass wall that looked out into the mall, where shoppers were ambling past and a handful of parents were pointing and snapping photos of their little ones playing inside.
Blushing tomato red, he whirled around in search of cover. Behind him was a forest-themed area with speckled toadstools, a pair of animatronic rabbits and a giant snail with a hollow shell. He scuttled forward, went down on his belly, and wedged himself inside the shell the best as he could.
After some time, he saw a Transformers logo flit past, followed shortly by Gavin’s face peering into the shell’s opening. “What on earth are you doing in there?”
“It’s so embarrassing!”
“Dude, when you are ever going to get out of your cocoon?”
“But…but I’m naked except for a diaper!”
Gavin pondered this for a while, then ran off and returned with a Sonic hedgehog T-shirt. “Will this work?”
“Sonic…” Joey said, memories flooding his mind. “When I was little and my parents were fighting, I would hide in my room and play that game. It made me feel less scared.”
“We all have our stories.” Gavin said as he wrapped his arm around the boy’s shoulders. “But there’s nothing to be afraid of here. Come, let me show you around.”
They strolled through the park, passing a life-sized Super Mario game where kids were leaping onto suspended platforms and down into lime-green pipes, a pastel-colored swing carousel with inverted lollipops to cling onto, and Gavin’s pride and joy – an Autobots-themed bumper car ride he had built with parts imported directly from Universal Studios.
Without any warning, a volley of plastic balls whapped them from above. They looked up toward a multistory play structure where an olive-skinned boy in a camouflage print diaper was leaning over an air cannon.
“You slacking off already? And who’s that shrimp?”
“Who are you calling a ‘shrimp’?” Joey glared at the newcomer. “You don’t look any bigger than me.”
The boy laughed, his voice still betraying hints of its adult bass quality. “Buddy, I can tell.” he winked, before sending another spray of colored balls pelting down at them.
Joey’s cheeks flushed – he had always been sensitive about his small build, which had caused him to be bullied and hazed relentlessly at school. Dashing to a nearby air cannon, he loaded up its chamber and fired back at Trent. But his balls flew up in a parabolic arc and bounced back onto the ground, not a single one getting anywhere near its target.
“Looks like you’ve got a gravity problem!” The camouflage-diapered boy grinned and sent another fountain of balls walloping at Joey’s face.
“I’m so going to get you for that…” Joey said as he rushed towards the entrance of the play structure, clambered up a spiral of giant triangular steps and sprinted across a wobbling suspension bridge. But by the time he arrived at the air cannon, Trent was nowhere to be found. As he whirled about, another hail of balls pelted him on the back.
“You got to move faster than that!” Trent shouted and gave him a friendly wave from a platform at the opposite end of the play structure.
Joey ran as quickly as his skinny little legs would carry him, dodging punching bags that swung from the ceiling, scrambling up a tunnel enclosed with netting, and squeezing his way through an inflatable mini-maze. But again, Trent was gone by the time he reached the platform.
“Joey!” he heard Gavin shout. Looking down, he spotted his host waving at him from the trampoline section of the park. “Come join us!”
Whizzing down a wavy slide, he raced to where Gavin and a large cluster of diapered kids were bouncing up and down in an area lined with wall-to-wall trampolines. Trent was among them, joking and kibitzing with a bunch of other boys. There was also a trio of girls, dressed, without embarrassment, as if for a competition “How Many Things Can You Wear That Say ‘My Little Pony’ on Them?”
“Are you ready?” Gavin asked.
“Ready for what?”
Joey barely had time to blink before Gavin blew a whistle and the kids rushed towards the pair of yellow foam balls at the center of the court. Within moments, the balls were whizzing around like flaming comets amid cheers and laughter.
“Watch out!” A boy in a superhero cape leapt forward and seized a ball that was heading straight for Joey. “I’m Dan.” he said with a grin wide enough to see off the Cheshire cat. “You’ve never played this before, have you?”
“Well, let me give you a tip. You’ve got to RUN!” Dan said, clapping Joey on the back while he bounded away with gymnastic precision, dodging a ball that slammed into a paw-print-diapered tyke behind him, sending the unlucky kid out of the game.
Joey skipped to the side, lost his balance, fell and bounced up again on his padded butt, skittered and slid, waved his arms around like a drowning fairy and otherwise performed a compelling impersonation of a clown auditioning for Cirque du Soleil. But in spite of himself, he managed to avoid the whooshing balls, in part because the other kids were focusing on friends they already knew.
When he finally found his footing on the pulsing mats, he noticed that most of the kids were already out and the game had separated into two small groups at the opposite ends of the court. A few more whacks and cries later, there were only three tykes left standing – himself in the center, Trent in one corner, and a boy with “GUS” on his blue onesie and a furry skunk tail in the other.
Both boys fixed their gaze on Joey and charged, hands gripping the balls before them, poised to strike. In a panic, Joey jumped hard, springing up into a near somersault as the balls sailed under his feet and walloped the hapless pair below.
“Joey wins!” Gavin shouted as the other diapered kids bounded in, slapping him on his back and yelling friendly greetings. A tremendous feeling of buoyancy and joy welled up inside of him, he couldn’t remember the last time he’d won anything, he was always the loser, the runt, the mistfit nobody wanted to be seen with. The warmth of the crowd made him feel safe, as if he had finally found a place where he could belong.
“And now, let’s DANCE!” Gavin clapped his hands, and the room exploded into life like a comet touching down, multi-colored strobe lights raking the floor, the music cranked to the sonic level of a rocket launch. Joey joined the others, pumping his arms and rolling his hips in synch with the beat, shimmying, pulsing, swaying, amid a seething mass of cranking shoulders, whiplashing hair, and the buckling of diapered bodies.
After the music died down and the kids dispersed in little knots to their favorite corners of the park, Joey followed Gavin to the water gallery, still in a fizzy euphoria. A miniature chest-high river sculpted from faux granite meandered through the space. A pair of ruddy rugrats were perched on a step-stool and tossing in colored balls, squealing with delight as the current swept them downstream.
“Hello professor!” Gavin waved at a boy wearing a pair of round glasses and a miniature lab coat over his diaper. He was leaning over a Perspex tank setup with an elaborate system of jet nozzles, spinning paddles and water wheels.
The tyke looked up and scowled. “You guys are always making such a racket! How do you expect me to relax with that loud music blaring?”
“Don’t be so grouchy. We have a visitor today. This is Joey.”
“Hi!” Joey waved his hand.
The boy’s face flushed and he gave Joey a shy smile. “Hi.” he muttered before turning back to tinker with his aquatic Rube Goldberg contraption.
“Don’t mind him, he likes to play by himself.” Gavin said he yanked a blue leatherette apron from a hook and handed it to Joey. “Here, splash protection. You won’t want to get your shirt wet.”
Joey stared at the stiff garment. It looked uncomfortable and… restrictive. “Nah.” he said, stripping off his shirt and tossing it on the bench. “This works too!” he grinned, standing with arms akimbo, hands resting on the waistband of his diaper.
“Attaboy!” Gavin laughed and pulled off his shirt as well. “Come here,” he gestured towards a Lego-filled bin. “Let’s build a boat, and race them down the river!”
Minutes passed as Joey snapped prefabricated blocks together into a barrel-like tugboat that looked vaguely seaworthy, before turning to find Gavin putting the finishing touches on a svelte vessel that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Ferretti catalog.
“Since you’re my guest today, why don’t we swap boats?” Gavin said sportingly as they scampered to the head of the stream. A waterfall cascaded into a tabletop pond lined with a mosaic of round beach pebbles, the boys launched their ships, and it didn’t take long for Joey’s adopted craft to take a commanding lead.
But Gavin wasn’t standing idly by. He had raced ahead and slid a plastic sluice gate into a groove, blocking the path of Joey’s boat while his own glided by.
“Hey!” Joey sprinted forward to remove the gate, but by then Gavin had erected another gate further downstream. They continued this dance until Joey finally caught up, at which point Gavin switched tactics and aimed a water jet by the river at Joey’s craft, nearly capsizing it.
“That’s not fair!” Joey tried to commandeer another water jet but its pressure was too feeble to encumber the advance of Gavin’s tugboat, which was nearly at the river’s end. In desperation, he seized a plastic triple-wheel-water-mill that was sitting in an adjoining pool and flung it into the river with a tremendous splash, sinking both boats and sending a spray of cold water over himself and a few other kids, who yelped with surprise and started laughing.
“I’m wet…” he said to Gavin, who was shaking his head with disbelief.
“There’re some towels by the sink.”
“That’s… not what I meant.” Joey blushed and looked down at his diaper, where the stars and planets had faded to a dull gray.
He followed his Transformers-padded host to a quiet room that was divided into many private nooks like a honeycomb, each with its own little cot. They found an unoccupied space, and Joey clambered onto the mattress, which was spread with satin sheets soft as cool skin.
“You want to change on your own?”
“I suppose… I could use some help… if you don’t mind?”
“Sure.” Gavin said, as he helped Joey strip off, and handed him a packet of lavender scented wipes. Then he motioned Joey to lie down, sprinkled on some talcum powder, and slipped a fresh, crisp diaper under his bum, before helping the boy pull up the flap and tighten the tabs.
“I was wondering… if you might have a… pacifier I can borrow?”
Gavin peered at him with his brown almond eyes. “That’s… something people usually bring on their own. But I have an idea that works just as well.” He stuck up his thumb and slipped it between his lips.
Joey nodded and started sucking contentedly, surrounded by baby blue walls and gazing up at fluffy white clouds & iridescent butterflies hanging from the ceiling. Gavin settled down beside him in a peaceful, companionable silence.
“You know…” Joey said after a long while. “…it feels as though I’d been wandering around in the dark, and then you came along, switched on the lights, and revealed a palace.”
A big galvanic smile spread across Gavin’s face as he gave his new friend a hug. “Welcome to WiggleWerkz!”