Thirteen Days -- The First Crusade
A novel by Danny
When I managed to open my good eye again everything was bright, really bright, almost like trying to look into the sun on a clear July day. I remember thinking how nice the light felt. That's right, I could feel the light but `nice' is not a robust enough word to express what I felt but `nice' is the nearest word I know to articulate what I was ambiance of the light. It made me thirsty, not thirsty in my mouth but in my very essence and I longed to drink in the light. A step and then another; I was moving closer to it - the wanting within me growing with every step . . .
I thought I heard someone calling from behind me. I stopped walking and turned around but no one was there. The light, it was all around me now; it seemed to be embracing me as a parent would embrace a newborn child. I felt safe.
There it was again, I was sure I had heard it that time. "Who's there?" I called out - at least I think I said it - I wasn't really sure then or now if the words came from me or were directed toward me from somewhere else.
"Simon!" the voice called louder. I turned a complete circle but no matter where I turned the light was shining on me so brightly now that I could not see anything but the light. I wanted to blink but I couldn't for fear that the light would vanish.
I heard another voice, someone that sounded very upset - maybe crying, "FOR PITTY SAKE, BREATHE!"
And then I remembered that I needed to breathe and I wasn't. I think I actually told myself, "Hey stupid, you're supposed to breathe!" I tried to draw in a breath but the pain was incredible, like an elephant was standing on my chest and balancing on its head was a school bus loaded with children and each child had a full stack of text books in their arms.
There was a sharp stabbing pain in my leg and then it felt like flames were licking at my leg, my side, my chest and engulfing my entire body. Someone took holding of my hand and was squeezing it so tightly I wanted to scream out.
"The Light!" I tied to scream as it began to pull away from me but I couldn't make a sound, not with an elephant and a bus full of book-toting children on my chest. As the light pulled away from me I felt my eye growing heavy, so very heavy. It must have closed because suddenly I was in complete darkness again and I felt so desperately lost and alone.
That same voice called for me again and this time I knew it, I knew who the voice belonged too. It was Tate's voice and he was talking very calm and soothingly.
Simon, feel my chest on your back.
Feel me breathing, Simon?
Come on, Simon, breathe with me.
Feel the air, it's coming.
It's coming, Simon.
Can you feel it?
Here it comes.
The air is coming in now.
Feel it coming in."
And as suddenly as it had gone I felt the air rushing back into my lungs.
"Leave him!" someone shouted.
"That wasn't Tater, who was that?" I thought.
"Just breathe with me Simon.
Just breathe . . .
Feel the air flowing.
Let it move freely.
I cracked opened my one eye and could see the bright light again but it was different it was distant and offered no warmth almost as if it was dead. "Yes that is it!" the answer flashed in my head, "The light has no life to it now."
"What is that?" I thought or did I say it as something or someone shifted and was partially blocking the light.
"Move!" was that me that said that?
"Ssshhhhhh" Tater shushed, "Just breathe."
I blinked and blinked again and yet again. There was a face - but I didn't recognize it. Suddenly a smile cracked the wrinkles on the old man's face.
"Old" ok, now that time I knew it was my voice that had spoke.
"Old in deed!" the face and smile twisting humorously indignant.
I heard quiet laughter and someone cursed or was it a sneeze. It sounded like both.
"He's going to be ok now!" the old face said, "You just keep breathing with Tate, Simon." His voice sounded very odd, like that man on that one show.
"What is that show?" I think I asked.
"What show?" Tater cooed back into my ear.
"Tater? What is that show? The one with the guy?" I wheezed, coughed, winced and cringed against the pain.
"Shhhhhhhh, I don't know." He shushed and softly responded.
I closed my eye again and rested my head back against Tater. "I will figure it out later." I muttered as I listened to his breathing and tried to keep pace.
When I reawakened again the bright light was gone and was replaced by a lesser light. I started to realize that my head was freezing cold while the rest of me was very warm. I tried to move but couldn't, it was almost like I was being held down. I remembered the elephant but he had gone and taken the busload of book toting children with it.
I lifted my head and heard the clinking of glass - no it was ice moving, falling. I figured out that there must have been ice on my head again and some must have fallen to the floor. I managed to get my head up and inch or two enough to see Bull, Tater and Runt all sitting around me with their heads resting on their arms.
"Tater?" I said my chest still feeling sore.
His head jerked up and to the side as if it had nearly fell off his shoulders. He looked at me and smiled. He seemed so tired and yet relieved, "Coach!" he shouted.
That same face, the old face I had seen came walking through a doorway. Somehow he seemed familiar now, like I knew him from somewhere but I couldn't remember where.
"Oh there you are!" he said sounding like he had been off somewhere trying to find me and it hit me like a truck who he sounded like - Groundskeeper Willy from the Simpsons on TV!
"And how do you feel?" he asked in a very heavy Irish accent.
"Fine" I answered absentmindedly, "Uh, who are you?" I asked quite abruptly. I fully expected him to tell me his name was Willy or that he was the long lost brother of Groundskeeper Willy.
"This is our Coach!" Tater said with apparent pride.
"Yeah, when you passed out on us, Bull drove like a madman to get you here." Runt said.
"They might have just saved your life young man." The Irish man said.
I looked to Bull who was smiling but still looking rattled and then to Tater who was positively beaming down at me.
"You scared the sh*t out of us!" Tater said which earned him a thump on the back of his head by the big Irishman.
"Sorry Coach!" Tater apologized with a smirk.
The Irishman took hold of my left wrist and was checking my pulse. I started to ask what happened but Tater realizing what I was about to say began to tell me everything that had taken place with Bull and Runt adding in little details along the way.
When he had finished with my pulse the Irishman asked me, "You want to try set up?"
"Yes, please," I said.
"Huh," he grunted, "Since you are going to live, maybe you will teach some of those manners of yours to these three apes?" he snorted, while propping me up with a couple pillows.
I gave him a look over, still not sure what to make of him. "Where are we?" I asked to no one in particular.
"My home!" said Bull and the Irishman together.
I guess my expression spoke volumes because Bull laughingly said, "He's not only our football coach, Simon! He's also my dad and the one that gave you the epi -- epi . . ."
"Epinephrine" the Irishman corrected.
"Yeah, that stuff!" Bull added.
Now it started to make sense for me; that is why my leg was burning so badly. He'd had to give me an injection to stop my asthma attack. Only one other time in my life did I ever have an attach so bad that someone had to give me an Epinephrine shot and that was when I was so little that I don't even remember it. I only know about it because mom tells the story all the time. I looked up at the big man, "Thanks uh?
"Coach, everybody calls me Coach!" he said raising a palm in the air and motioning to all four of us, "Right, you rest up while I talk with these three." He added ushering them from the room.
While they were gone I had time to look around the room. It looked like something out of House Ugly. Aqua-blue wallpaper with yellow and white daisies, lavender colored plush carpet as far as the eye could see and water stained ceiling tiles, but the worst was the blanket that was covering me, pink and orange plaid with green shamrocks sewn to it in an increasing spiral pattern out to the edges. However, the one thing that caught my eye, I say my eye because after all I only have the one that is currently in service, anyway, what caught my eye was a large florescent light directly over me. It reminded me of `The Light' and that same feeling of being all alone and vacant inside washed over me again.
As I lay there thinking about what the light might have been and feeling nauseated by the surrounding decor plus resenting strongly the florescent light hanging above me, I let my mind go back to just before my asthma attack. Over and over again I saw Bull and Tater walk into that store and then run back out again. I can't believe how stupidly naive I was not to have realized what was happening when it was happening. The whole mess scares me more then I can put into words now.
I've seen enough movies and cop dramas on TV to know that I'm an accomplice just because I was in the car. "And Runt, he was the getaway man!" I supposed.
"Where did they get those masks from anyway?" I muttered quietly to myself.
"Did they use guns? I didn't see any guns!" I continued talking to myself.
After a few short minutes Tater came back in and asked if I was okay. Maybe it was the disgust and contempt that was projecting through my face or maybe he had heard me talking to myself but at any rate he seemed genuinely uneasy.
"Did you guys really rob that store?" I asked as quietly as I could.
I couldn't believe that he smiled, "Yeah, sure we do it all the time," he continued casually, "Well, not that store, we never rob the same place more then twice."
He was talking like it was nothing at all; I couldn't believe my ears.
Two questions popped into my mind, "Twice?" and "Why?" It was the second one that came out.
"To get the money, of course!" he said as if my question was the stupidest thing anyone could ever ask.
"B-b-but its ag-g-gainst t-the law." I was starting to stutter again and Tater, realizing I was getting worked up again, stepped right beside me and placed his hand on the blanket over my chest.
"Simon," he spoke very softly, almost as if he were trying to lull a baby to sleep, "Don't worry about it right now, okay? We can talk about it later, you cannot go getting yourself upset again or you might have another attack." He was patting my chest through the blanket as he talked.
I glanced down at his hand that was trying to sooth me and saw his watch and wondered aloud, "What time is it now anyway?"
He removed his hand to look at his watch, "Almost three." he announced.
I started to close my eye as his words pierced my brain. "THREE? IN THE MORNING?" I shouted sitting bolt right up in the bed like Lazarus being raised from the dead.
As I was sitting up I felt a very familiar squish under me and I knew that I'd wet myself at some point and from the feel of it I was sitting on a gusher!
In a flash Tater had both his hands on my shoulders trying to push me back down on the bed as the others came speeding back into the room to see what was happening.
"I have to get home, now!" I said with a little less enthusiasm as I attempted to wrestle Tater from forcing me to lie back down. He could have forced me back down anytime he wanted, but I could tell he was trying not to be too rough with me.
The Irishman said, "Don't be foolish! You rest and then you will go home later! The boys here have told me everything."
"Everything?" I thought and I finally gave in to Tater as he laid me back onto the pillow.
I wanted to say, "Did they tell you that they just robbed a convenient store?" but I didn't.
From the brief struggle with Tater I was already feeling exhausted and my chest and eye was hurting again. Tater pulled the blanket back up to my chin and it occurred to me that I wasn't wearing a shirt and just that quickly I become conscious of the fact that aside from soaking wet Goodnite I was not wearing a single stitch of clothing anymore.
An upsurge of shame engulfed me like a tidal wave at the thought that Runt, Bull and the big Irishman having seen my Goodnite and there was a distinct possibility that they had seen it while it was wet! I could feel my face blazing red with embarrassment and was so relieved when the three of them left the room leaving just Tater and I alone again.
"What's wrong?" Tater asked.
"What's wrong?" I thought. "What isn't wrong?"
I turned my face away from him. "Leave me alone!" I said cruelly.
He replaced his hand on the blanket over my chest, "Come on Spaz, it's only money and you know they charge way too much for all the stuff in those stores so they have lots of money!"
I turned my head back to face him as if I was going to say something but changed my mind and looked away again.
Without me realizing he was doing it, he leaned forward and kissed me on my right temple. "Please, don't be mad, Simon!" he whispered into my ear as I continued to act as if he was no longer in the room.
He kissed me again, this time on the cheek,and began to stroke my hair, "Simon?" he said it like he was about to ask a question. I felt his other hand move up and gently take hold of my chin. He pulled my head around so that our faces were only a couple inches apart and he kissed my lips and I think for the first time I kissed him back with no reservations at all.
After the kiss he pulled away and whispered, "I'm in love with you!" and ever so softly kissed my injured eye.
I didn't know what to think. Everything Mike had told me - well not told but eluded too - about Tater and what I suspected might involve others, maybe even Bull and Runt and who knows who else was all running through my head along with Tater's words like a Royal Rumble wrestling match where every wrestler is fighting in the ring all at once. It was almost too much for my head to deal with.
He stood up straight and was just about to speak but I beat him to the punch, "Where's my clothes?" I asked.
It was obvious that this was not what he was expecting or wanting to hear from me. I think he wanted some kind of reassurance or acknowledgement from me, or maybe he wanted me to tell him I loved him, too, but I wasn't able to give it to him, not yet.
I asked again, pausing between each word, "Where are my clothes?"
He thumbed over his shoulder and looking maybe a little disillusioned said, "Coach washed them, they're in the dryer now."
My embarrassment returned, "They all know?" I asked.
"Know what?" he asked unsure of what I was asking.
"That I wet myself!" I said sounding resentful to him for making me actually say it.
"Oh, yeah, that - the guys already knew and Coach is ok with it, really!" he said solemnly.
"What do you mean the other guys already knew?" I said quietly but heatedly.
Tater swallowed and took a breath before answering, "They both used to wet the bed too and well," he was looking down at the floor and shuffling his feet, "we've been friends for a long time. Used to have sleepovers and sleep in the same bed like . . ."
He stopped and looked up from the floor, "No one else knows, Simon! We've not told another soul and you don't have to worry about Bull and Runt ever telling anyone `cause they won't." He said trying to sound reassuring but failing miserably.
"You told them?" I complained.
"No!" he said looking hurt, "They saw!" he added.
Completely puzzled I asked, "Saw? When?"
"At your house." He said like he was sure I already knew this.
"When we came to bring you the team jersey?" he said like he was trying to help me remember.
Giving in to my ignorance, he said, "When we were carrying you around your house . . ." he paused before continuing, "it was showing above your pants in the back."
The horror I was feeling at that moment is impossible for me to put into words. Knowing that the entire Panther team had saw my Goodnite sticking out of the back of my pants was more then I could stand and I turned my head away from him.
Tater continued, "No one knows they were Goodnites except for Runt, Bull and myself."
Turning back to him, I said with obvious distress in my voice, "You sure?"
He managed a small smile, "Positive!"
I closed my eye again and took a deep breath of relief before asking, "Did you tell Runt and Bull about . . ." I couldn't bring myself to say it.
"You mean about you and me?" he finished for me.
I nodded still with my eye closed.
"Haven't you figured it out yet?" he asked.
I glared right at him and in a very irritated tone asked, "What?"
"Bull and Runt are boyfriends!" he said like it was the most obvious thing in the universe.
"What?" I gasped completely shocked.
He chuckled, "No! I am just kidding! They don't know anything about the other night, but they do know I'm gay and that I like you."
At the time I had forgot about what Bull had done when he had let me drive his car. It wasn't until I was home and writing all this down that I remembered it. I wish I would have remembered it then so that I could have asked Tater if he knew that Bull had been feeling me up and that I let him. Maybe it's a good thing that I didn't remember until now.
Ignoring my penetrating stare, he continued talking, "Why do you think they were so cool with us hugging and stuff in the car?"
"What?" I questioned again but it was useless. I couldn't hear anymore; my brain was shutting down from overload.
"Can you please go get my clothes? I want to go home now." I tried to ask in the kindest way I could muster.
"Don't you think you should rest some and then wash up, too?" he sounded disappointed.
"I don't want to rest, I want to go home NOW!" I snapped.
While he was out of the room I managed to get myself out of the bed with a degree of difficulty and was able to stand beside it holding on with one hand to steady myself. I still had on the Goodnite but it was so soaked that it had even soaked the sheet I had been laying on and I had to hang on to it with my free hand so that it wouldn't fall right off of me.
Over by the door I saw that there was a small waste can but I wasn't sure I could walk that far just yet. I allowed the Goodnite to slide down my legs to the floor and stepped backwards out of it leaving me completely naked in a strange room and in a strange house. I took a couple deep breaths that still hurt deep in my chest before I leaned over, picked it up and made my way over to the door where I dropped it into the waste can and returned to the bed where I sat down on the edge to rest. Just that short walk had zapped what little strength I had in reserve. I reached around behind me and pulled the blanket around to cover over my boyhood nudity.
A few minutes passed and I had let my chin fall to my chest. I was teetering on the edge of sleep again when I heard footsteps out in the hallway. I lifted my head again to see a sight that took me completely by surprise. There standing in the doorway was little freckle faced, red-haired Jasper wearing absolutely no clothes except for a white disposable diaper that looked to be a size too big for him and a single white on his right foot. Pinned to his chest by his crossed arms were my clothes. I looked into his sleepy yet eager face and he smiled concernedly. The idea that I was in Bulls house had not connected in my brain until that moment. Staring at Jasper standing there in the doorway gave me renewed strength and at the same time I wanted to break down and cry but I didn't.
His jaw dropped when he saw me and it took half a second for me to register that he was reacting to my eye. "It looks worse then it feels." I lied.
"Tate asked me to bring you these." He said turning nodding down to my clothes clutched in his embrace. He turned slighting and pointing with his head back out the door, "My brother said he's going to take you home, too."
Jasper walked up and set my clothes next to me on the bed. As he set them down I saw clear as day that atop the pile lay a single white disposable diaper exactly like he was wearing. I couldn't take my eyes off of him standing there looking so pail and yet so endearing.
When he took a step back I got a good look at him and it was my turn for my jaw to drop. Extending from just below his neck all the way down in a sort of backwards `J' under his left nipple was a huge gray scar and another smaller circular scar that was on his right side of his chest sort of peaking out from his armpit and an inch or so above his oversized diaper.
He stood next to me for what seemed like several minutes. I couldn't speak, heck I couldn't even think as I kept looking from him to the diaper and back again. Thankfully he finally reached out a hand took the diaper from the pile of clothes and extended it out to me.
"You can use one of mine until you get home." He said and then added in a higher almost squeaky sort of voice, "Are you okay, Simon?"
"I-I-I" I stopped and took a breath before trying again. "I-I have never, I mean I don't know how . . ." I looked to the diaper there in his hand. It seemed as if someone had folded a cloud neatly and laid it in Jaspers hand.
"Oh!" he said with dawning comprehension.
His eyebrows raised and his ears wiggled. I actually chuckled at the sight of his ears wiggling.
"What?" he said sheepishly.
Finding my voice, "How'd you do that?"
"Do what?" he asked.
"Your ears!" I said pointing to my own.
He smiled big and lowered his outstretched arm to his side still holding on to the diaper; "You mean this?" he said and wiggled them again.
I laughed having never seen anyone do that before, "Whoa that's cool! How do you do that?"
"I dunno, I always been able to do it since I was little." He said and I wanted to make the comment that with him standing there in that over sized diaper he didn't look all the big to me but I knew better. My eyes fell back on the folded diaper.
"Um, I can go get my mom to help you?" he said making it sound more like a question.
"No!" I said quickly and fearfully.
He looked at me funny.
"I mean, I don't want . . ." I couldn't finish.
Right then Tater came back looking a kind of disturbed. Without saying a word to me he reached out and took the diaper from Jasper, "Your mom wants you to go back to bed now. I'll help Simon."
Jasper released his hold on the diaper and turned back to me with those angel eyes of his, "I guess I better go to bed then. Ok if I come see you tomorrow, I mean today?" he smiled, "I mean to make sure you are ok and stuff." He asked.
Forgetting for the moment that I was grounded and probably going to be taken out and shot by my parents soon I said, "Yeah sure!"
He smiled and said before bounded out of the room with his overly padded bottom wiggling like a penguin, "See you then!"
"See ya Jasper!" I said which stopped him dead. He turned around with a stern look on his face, "That's Coach to you!" and smiled again.
I smiled and laughingly corrected myself, "See you Coach!" which seemed to placate him and he turned back to the door and continued one his way.
Once alone again Tater held up the diaper, "You think you will need this?"
I honestly didn't think I did, but the sight of it made my heart leap within my chest. Before I could think of an answer he answered for me, "It's a good thing you had on the Goodnite earlier or you would have peed all over the backseat of Bulls car.
Well at least I now knew when I had wet myself or maybe just the first time. Given how wet my Goodnite had been I probably had wet again sometime after having been brought here. I mean it's not unusually for me to wet more then once in a night. There have been times when I've woken up in the middle of the night, found that I was plenty wet and got up to change into a dry Goodnight before returning to the land of Wink'n, Blink'n and Nod.
I allowed my eyes to drift away from the diaper in Taters hand back up to his face. He appeared to be expecting me to say something - so I did, "Leave!"
That single word seemed to cut into him like a hot knife through butter. Setting the diaper back on the pile of clothes next to me he turned and without saying another word left closing the door behind him. Maybe I was being a jerk for treating him the way I did, but after everything I'd learned about Tater, I wasn't so sure he was such a good guy after all.
I'm not sure how long I sat there staring at the diaper before I reached out and touched it. Goosebumps sprang up on my arm when my fingers made contact. I sucked in excitedly. Had someone else seen me, I am sure that I would have looked like some kid trying to pet a strange dog without getting bit. I kept reached out slowly to lightly touch it before withdrawing my hand quickly. After a couple touches I reached out and stroked it with just a couple fingers at first, then all my fingers and finally my whole hand. The white plastic felt cold and smooth as glass and dimpled slightly at my touch. Eventually I got brave enough to actually pick it up with both hands.
A thought flashed across my mind, "What if Peter and his gang could see me now?" I snickered at the thought as I held the diaper up to my nose and sniffed.
Oh how wonderful the smell of a new diaper; so foreign and yet so familiar. No flower in nature can compare in my opinion to that of a fresh diaper. I sniffed again, and again before exhaling with a wondrous sign of exquisite bliss.
The simple thought of putting on a diaper had my heart galloping. It was so exciting to do this, to actually get to do what I've read about in so many stories, dreamt about so many time and fantasy on so many more occasions. At the same time I was nervous, maybe because I'd never worn an actual diaper since I was a baby or maybe because I was scared someone would walk in and catch me in the act. But then it occurred to me, that if Jasper had brought me this diaper, then they all must already know. How else would he have known I needed it?
I stood up letting the blanket fall away from me. With feet apart I slipped the diaper between my legs and held it to my bottom with one hand while pulling it up over my front side with my other. I fumbled with the two top tapes while still trying to hold the diaper from falling off of me. I struggled clumsily until I finally had all four of the tapes in place and the diaper relatively snuggly fitted to me. I was breathing hard both from my joy of wearing a diaper and also front the fight to get it on. All the stories I'd read had missed the mark at describing just how difficult it really is to put a diaper on all by yourself.
I twisted myself around as best I could to try to get a look at my backside, I enjoyed seeing the bulk of the diaper sticking out behind me and the way it sat so high on the sides that it exposed more of my hip then Goodnites do. From the front, I enjoyed a similar view as the back as the diaper bulged outward from between my legs and up over my pelvis. The waste band of the diaper was about an inch or so below my belly button and rested in the small of my back in the rear. It was so much bulkier then my Goodnites were and it wasn't until I tried to put on my pants that I realized just how much. I had to struggle to get the zipper all the way zipped and I couldn't stand normally because of all the bulk between my legs. I couldn't help but to waddle when I tried to walk and I was sure that my butt was wiggling just as Jasper's had done.
I processed to finish getting dressed and while I was pulling on my socks I saw that my shoes were under the side of the bed. Finally fully dressed I stood by the bed with one hand on the front of my pants feeling the bulge with delight. My chest still hurt a little and I still felt weak inside but I think my embarrassment at having to now face the guys again with the realization that, to an extent, my involvement with Tater was common knowledge among his friends and the idea that I was now an accessory to a crime was all giving me some strength.
I felt very self-conscious of the fact that I was wearing the diaper and was sure that it was very obvious to anyone that saw me that I was very well padded. Riding back home in the car with Bull driving, me beside him and Runt in the backseat - Tater had stayed back with the Irishman -- I kept thinking or maybe it was my imagination that Bull was sneaking peeks at the bulge in the front of my pants. Everything that had happened, from the moment I had climbed into the backseat with Tater after having left Jamie's apartment, all the way up to my asthma attack kept jumping around in my head and I finally couldn't stand it anymore and had to ask, "Why did you guys rob that store?"
Neither of them answered right away but took a moment to think, "It's . . . well . . . complicated Spaz." Bull finally said.
Runt spoke up, "Sometimes being the best of the best at something . . . "
"Like football!" I added.
"Yeah, like football," Runt agreed and then continued, "You have to take shortcuts."
"What does stealing have to do with football?" I asked with mounting irritation.
"Listen Spaz!" Bull said thumping his steering wheel with his thumb, "You don't understand how it is."
"Then help me understand!" I said.
Runt spoke up again sounding unlike the way I had become accustom to hearing him sounded; almost as if he were talking down to me. "People expect a lot of things from us; they expect us to be better then everyone else."
Bull chimed in, "And after a while our best wasn't good enough."
"Yeah, so Coa . . ." Runt changed directions in mid-sentence, "someone showed us a way that we could become bigger, faster, stronger and better then everyone else."
"I still don't see what stealing has to do with all of that?" I fussed.
"Steroids!" Bull barked.
"What?" I asked not knowing what that was since until the last few days I had nothing to do with sports of any kind.
Bull grunted his aggravation, "It's a shot or a pill that you can take that will help make you bigger and stronger then everyone else!"
I sat quietly for a couple seconds mulling that one over. I stiffed myself a little in my seat and though I am not sure if I heard it or imagined that I heard the diaper make a crinkling sound beneath me. I decided to stop moving for the rest of the trip and just in case they had heard it too I asked, "So kind of like vitamins?" to keep there minds on the conversation and not thinking about me in a diaper.
"Yeah!" Runt cheered, "Like vitamins!"
"Well, not exactly." Bull corrected, "You can't just buy them at your local drug store, they are not exactly what you might call - legal."
"And they can cost a lot of money!" Runt said.
"So you two use these vitamins?" I asked.
"Yeah and a few others I know." Bull added.
"And Tater, too?" I probed further to which Bull just nodded as he made a left turn.
"So why are they not legal if they make you bigger and stronger? I would think that everyone would want to use them and not just for sports, I mean they could create bigger and stronger soldiers for the Army and then they would have Super Soldiers." I supposed, unaware of my ignorance.
"That's exactly why they are illegal, Spaz. Some people don't want unnatural people running around so they force people like us to have to steal to be able to afford to buy the stuff." Bull said.
I sat quiet for a few seconds again thinking, "That doesn't make sense! If you want to use it you should be allowed and not have to steal to be able to buy it." I scoffed.
"Yeah, you got it now!" Runt said leaning forward and tapping me on the top of my shoulder.
"Since it is not legal then you guys have to keep it a secret, don't you?" I asked starting to figure it all out.
"Yeah, if people found out about us using it we would be kicked off the football team, My dad - our Coach - would probably go to jail and all the other schools we play against would be really mad." Bull said.
"But why do you have to rob stores? Can't you get job's?" I asked still trying to work out all the logic.
Neither answered for a few seconds and then Runt alleged, "Job's don't pay enough Spaz and if we had job's we wouldn't have time for practice!"
For the rest of the ride back to my home none of us spoke. As we were pulling onto my street I looked over at the clock on Bull's radio and saw that the time was just after 3:30 in the morning. I looked at the house and didn't see a single light on anywhere. I actually started to think that I might be able to get back to my room without my parents ever knowing I was gone but then I remembered that Jamie's mom said she would call on Sunday -- today, to talk with dad. There was no doubt in my mind that she would tell him I had been downtown to see Jamie.
"Ah, stop here!" I petitioned Bull and he pulled to the curb about three houses up from mine. "I'll walk from here."
As I was getting out of the car I felt I needed to thank them and with my feet out of the car but my diapered backside still on the seat I turned and said, "Thanks for your help tonight and I'm sorry I was so much trouble!"
"Anytime, Spaz! Runt said and Bull then asked, "Are we all okay?"
I knew he was asking if I was going to keep there secrets and for a brief second I thought about how my head was beginning to overload with all the secrets it was being forced to contain.
I looked down at the seat and then back up again, "I won't tell anyone." I said.
"Good!" Bull said and added, "Friends don't tell secrets on other friends." I got the message from his eyes as well as from his words that they wouldn't tell anyone about anything they saw concerning me either.
Before I got out of the car I asked one more question, "Won't you guys get into trouble coming home so late?"
"Na, our parents all think we're staying over at Coach's tonight working on plays and stuff like that." Bull said with a grin.
"Yeah, we're going back there now," Runt added.
I just shook my head and climbed out of the car and closed the door. They drove away as I waved goodbye and started toward my house. It was cold out, a lot colder after having been inside Bulls warm car. When I got to my bedroom window it was still open just as I had left it. I peeked inside, it looked like no one had been in my room either, I grabbed hold of the windowsill and tried to lift myself in but I was too weak to do it. I tried again but still couldn't lift myself up high enough.
As I was trying a third time I heard a car coming up the hill. I ducked down behind the bush to let it pass but instead of going past it sounded like it had stopped right in front of the house but I couldn't see any headlights. I peeked around the bush and saw that it was Bull's car again and I sighed a breath of relief. For a half a second I expected it to be one of the four police officers that are watching out for Peter and his friends. I knew it was early but I wouldn't have put it by them to be out causing some sort of trouble again.
I climbed out from behind the bush and met Runt half way between the house and Bull's car. "Sorry, Bull wanted to give you this." Runt whispered handing me a stack of the money they had stolen.
I pushed his hand back, "I don't want it!" I whispered back.
"You helped! You earned it!" he said a little louder
"All I did was sit in the car with you!" I whispered in my own defense.
He reached out and stuffed the money into the pocket of my coat. "It's yours, you don't want it then give it to some charity!" he said it in an almost normal level and sounding like if I refused again he would get mad.
As he started to turn to go back to the car I reached out and caught hold of his arm, "Runt! I can't get in the window!"
He stopped and turned back, "Sure! Come on!" and we both quietly made our way to my window where he boosted me up and in, headfirst. His hand was directly on my diapered butt, I was curtain he could feel the diaper and there was nothing I could do with my lower half outside while my upper half was precariously teetering on the inside. Once inside I turned back around and stuck my head back out to say, "Thanks!"
With a smile that could have charmed even the most cold-hearted woman he said, "No problem!" and taking a single step back from the window he reached down, unsnapped and unzipped the front of his pants. I know my mouth was hanging open a good foot as he pulled the front of his pants open to reveal what was obviously a disposable diaper just like I had on! His smile went from charmer to an evil grin; he wiggled his eyebrows at me as he refastened his pants and said, "You're alright, Spaz! A little peculiar," and holding both arms outstretched as he walked backward toward the car, "but then aren't we all?"
I watched them drive on up the hill and out of sight before I closed and locked my window. Since I had left it open all night it was as cold in my room as it was outside. I turned, leaned against the wall and slide down to floor under my window completely shocked at what I'd just seen.
Had someone told me when I started my quest, my crusade -- that I would have experienced so much in just a weeks time I would have laughed in there face! I tried to hold on to the two images in my mind of Runt with his diaper exposed to me and of Jasper walking into the room wearing nothing but that oversized diaper.
I must have fallen asleep there under the window because the next thing I knew it was nearly seven in the morning. It was still freezing in my room and unfortunately I had wet myself again while I had been there on the floor, which didn't help a bit with keeping me warm. My teeth were chattering and my whole body was shaking from being so very cold. I managed to get myself to my feet and started to strip off all my clothes and toss them into the hamper. My coat I hung up in my closet again and the diaper though obviously having been used would easily hold a lot more. I wasn't ready to give up on it either, I intended to put it back but first I wanted to go out and take a super hot shower to warm my bones! I slipped the diaper down over my hips like I would one of my Goodnites and set it in the bottom of my closet just in case one or both of my parents got nosy and stuck there heads in my room. Now completely naked I looked down and my poor little penis and sack were so shriveled up from the cold that they looked like a little white sleeping turtle.
Still not sure if my mom and dad knew that I had been out, and in case they did, I really was not ready to be confronted (mostly because I needed time to work up a good lie,) so I quietly opened my bedroom door and made sure the coast was clear. Tiptoeing, I managed to get to the bathroom and lock myself in. The first thing I did was to turn on the water and let it get good and hot. Then I went to the mirror with teeth still chattering away from the cold, to get a good look at my eye for the first time.
I turned my head this way and that to get a good look at myself. Just saying I have a black eye would be so inaccurate. The best way to describe how it looked is to imagine what an ape looks like with the protruding forehead, the sunken eyes and raised cheekbones. And then imagine both the top and bottom eyelids of one eye filled almost like bags of water and everything painted in deep yellow, green and black colors. About an inch from the bridge of my nose, was a gash or split that almost perfectly following the underside of my eyebrow down to what would normally be the outside corner of my eye when it's not swollen like a beach ball. The area under my eye was completely black as if I had rubbed shoe polish under it and was super sensitive to my touch. The butterfly bandages Jamie's mom had applied a few hours before were adhered to my skin just above and below my brow. If my eye was not swollen nearly shut I am sure the bandages would have been pulling my eyelid open.
I tried covering my good eye with my hand and I was pleased that I was able to still see out of my bad eye though my reflection in the mirror appeared very blurry with a sort of blue/white hallo around the edges. It was almost like looking through a slit in a piece of paper.
I guess I won't win any beauty contests for a while but I might win a few most hideous awards. I couldn't help but to chuckle to myself at the thought of everyone's reactions at school tomorrow as I walked down the halls. I imagine for everyone else it will be like seeing the elephant man limping around.
"I am not an animal . . . I am . . . a human being!" I said to my reflection and smiled, which looked more then a little creepy too. I'll have to remember not to smile too much for the next couple of weeks.
I gently poked at my eye; it dimpled at the touch of my finger and didn't spring back right away. It also didn't hurt as much as I would think it should considering how bad it really looks. I guess I have to give props to Jamie, he really clocked me good.
I can just here mom when she sees me later; she's going to go through the roof for sure! As I stepped into the shower the thought crossed my mind, "I've got to figure out a way to talk to them today without them seeing my eye first."
The water felt so very good against my nearly frozen skin. Several times I shivered as my core temperature started to come back to normal. I couldn't tell for sure as the warm water flowed down over my boyhood as to whether it is just my cold skin reacting to the warm water or if maybe I might have developed a little bit of a rash. Well anyway, that area was a bit more sensitive to the water temperature then it normally seems to be.
I was careful when washing my hair and face to not get soap into the cut over my eye. I've got soap in cuts before and its no fun at all. I remember once when I was nine someone dared me at lunchtime in school to put salt on a cut that I had on the side of my hand that I had got when I tried to climb over a chain link fence. I sat at the lunch table, several kids standing around me, flipped my hand over and pulled the Band-Aid off exposing the fresh cut underneath. I took a pinch of salt and sprinkled it on my cut, I don't remember much for the next few minutes other then me screaming like a wounded banshee. When Mrs. Nobel our teacher found out what I had done on a dare she told me I was one of the dumbest students she had ever had. She just didn't understand how it is being a kid, someone dares you to do something you have two choices. You either take the dare and whatever risks might be involved or you don't take the dare and risk being labeled a coward for the rest of your life.
I managed to get through my shower without causing myself too much discomfort and the hot water did the trick at warming my body back up. After turning off the water and stepping out of the tub I looked in the mirror again and saw nothing but steam. You can always tell when I've been in the shower because when I get out everything is covered in a nice layer of condensation.
Seeing how I was so nicely warm now and didn't want to be cold again I dried myself extra well still being very careful of my eye and only patting it dry. While I was patting it one of the butterfly bandages came loose. I think that was when it occurred to me that I had better remove all of them because we don't have any bandages like them in our house that I know about, and I was sure that mom and dad would notice. I took my towel and wiped a circle clean on the mirror so I could see what I was doing. I had to wipe the mirror a couple more times before I was done because it kept fogging back over after a few seconds.
They came off relatively painlessly. I figure the hot water had loosen them up and made them not stick to my cut. I examined my wound closer in the mirror now, it was staying shut but I could tell it could open easily enough if put under too much strain. I decided to try to play doctor myself and opened the medicine cabinet, which mom and dad both frown upon. Like I've said before, mom still thinks of me as if I am six years old.
I used two regular band-aids, the smaller sized ones and put them over the cut the same way Jamie's mom had done with the Butterfly ones. Also since they were flesh toned, unlike the white butterflies, they didn't stand out as much, granted my eye was a sight in and of itself, but all the same they looked better to me.
As I was leaving the bathroom I was very careful not to leave the butterfly bandages behind but took them to my room with me where I wadded them up in a piece of paper to disguise them and then tossed the wadded paper into the trash.
My room didn't feel as cold as it had before my shower but I still decided to take a risk and leave my door open so that more heat from the hallway would spill into my room. I was going to get dressed but chose not too when I thought about it. Dad had said I was grounded all weekend so what would be the use in getting dressed if I wasn't going to be leaving the house and probably not leaving my room either for the matter aside from eating of course.
I was feeling a lot better about having snuck out last night, I think mostly because I wasn't allowing myself to think about everything that happened too much just yet. I really didn't start to mull it over until I climbed into the bottom of my closet and started writing about it all.
Since I had resolved not to get dressed I figured the better plan would be to put on my pajamas. However before that, I went to my closet and retrieved the slightly used diaper and stepped into it. As I was pulling it up into place my boyhood parts squealed and pulled in close to my body away from the cold diaper.
"Oooo, that's cold!" I chattered and rubbed the front of the diaper in an effort to warm it up some. Despite being cold against the skin of my boyhood I was already basking in the joy of being so abundantly padded all around. I went to my dresser and retrieved my yellow pajamas with the red cuffs on the arms, legs and neck openings. I like this pair of pajamas because they are so very soft and warm too. And the fact that they look like something a seven-year-old boy might wear. I am sure by this time next year I won't be able to wear these anymore, I hope I can find a new pair like them then.
I climbed back into my closet and got comfortable before I started to write. I also kept my closet door cracked about an inch to allow the light to spill in so that I wouldn't have to waste the batteries in my flashlight. I think I was also leaving the door open a little so that I could hear when mom and dad started to move around the house.
I've been writing for a while now, some of the above was hard to think about again and I think that writing about it has helped me to understand some things but I still don't know what to think about the robbery -- a part of me knows what I did was wrong but . . .
I had just remembered the money! While I was writing it occurred to me that I had left both my life savings and the money Ryan had forced me to take in my coat pockets. I just retrieved both and put my life savings back were it belongs and relocked the canning jar. As for the other money, the stolen money, I'm not so sure what I want to do with it yet. I didn't want to put it in my jar. I guess in my head that if I did that it would somehow taint my money too. It's stupid thinking but never the less that's what went through my head. I ended up hiding it in a book I know Jamie or my parents will never touch. It's the little red Bible that Grandma gave me right before she passed away. It had been hers since she was a little girl and she wanted me to have it. I've never read it, mind you, it's too old, the leather cover is worn and tattered and the words on the back spine are almost impossible to read. I keep it wrapped in a white silk scarf mom gave me when I got home with it and it always sets in the top drawer of my desk.
I'm also aware of the irony of putting stolen money into a Bible. Maybe with it hidden in there it will be cleaned somehow. I know - it's another stupid thought.
At this point I was beginning to feel hungry. I'd been writing for the better part of the morning. I've not heard a single sound from anywhere in the house. I don't know if mom or dad had even got up yet which is surprising. I decided I would try to get to the kitchen and get myself some Pop-Tarts again and maybe a glass of milk to wash them down.
I took my bathrobe from the closet and slipped it on. I didn't do this because I was cold but to help disguise the fact that I was wearing a diaper under my pajamas. I left it hanging loosely instead of tying it around my waist. That would just emphasize the fact that my bottom was larger then it should be. As for the sound, well there was nothing I could do about that. I would just have to try not to make a lot of unnecessary moves to minimize any crinkling and hope that neither of them were anywhere around.
The door to mom and dad's bedroom was still closed as I passed it but there was a light on in the family room which meant one of them were in there. I tried to be as quiet as I could possibly be getting into the refrigerator for the milk. I actually thought I was going to make it back to my room unseen right up to the point were I was closing the pantry door.
Dad came walking into the kitchen carrying his empty coffee cup. Without saying a single word to me he refilled it and walked right back out again as if I had not even been in the room. I would have much more preferred it if he would have at least sneered down at me then to act like I was invisible.
I stood for several minutes staring at the coffee maker. I felt so bad, I wanted so much to rewind the last two days, heck I wanted to rewind the entire past week but that's not possible. Leaving my milk and Pop-Tart lying on the counter I went back to my room and closed the door.
It was about an hour later; after I had stopped crying and had gone back to writing again that I heard a tapping sound. I slid my closet door open part way and listened.
"Tap, tap, tap"
There it was again! I went a head and slid the door the rest of the way open and climbed out.
I looked over toward the sound which was coming from the window and there looking in at me was Jasper. I was a bit surprised to see him and for a half a moment was embarrassed to be seen in my pajamas and a diaper but that feeling left quickly when I realized whom it was. I went to the window, unlatched it and slid open the sash.
"Hi Simon!" Jasper spoke softly.
"Ah, Hi!" I said a big puzzled as to why he was able to see inside my window. From outside he would be just about at my windows height but here he was obviously a good foot taller. I stuck my head out the window and looked down. There on his hands and feet was a boy about the same size as Jasper but with blonde hair. I couldn't see his face since Jasper was standing on his back.
"How long you been here?" I asked still a bit surprised.
"Not long, just got here!" Jasper said with a smile, "Everything ok?" he asked.
"Uh, yeah. I mean, no not really. I saw dad in the kitchen a little while ago and he acted like I didn't even exist." I said.
"Uh, who are you standing on?" I asked sticking my head back out the window.
"Oh, that's just Lowell." He said as if standing on Lowell was as common a thing as breathing.
"How's the eye?" he asked.
I raised my hand to my eye, "Good!" I said.
"How you going to run tomorrow with that?" he asked.
"Huh?" I asked back not connecting the two subjects in my head right away.
"Run -- Tomorrow -- The try-out competition?" he said.
Something finally clicked in my head, "OH! Yeah!"
"There's no way the coach is going to let you run looking like that!" he said and wiggled a bit.
"HEY! Hold still!" Jasper said to Lowell who didn't answer back.
"I just got to compete tomorrow!" I said to Jasper.
"I don't see how." He said very matter of fact like and scratching the back of his head.
"You got to help me!" I pleaded.
"How?" Jasper asked and Lowell moved again causing Jasper to have to grab hold of me to keep from falling.
"Hurry up, you are killing me!" Lowell finally spoke sounding very agonized.
"OK!" Jasper hissed down at Lowell.
"You're the Assistant Coach now! Can't you do something?" I continued pleading with him.
"If the coach sees your eye there is no way he will let you even get on the bus!" and as he said the words a light went on in both of our heads. At that same moment, Lowell's back finally gave out and Jasper let go of me and vanished from sight.
I stuck my head back out the window to see Jasper lying on his back with his feet up over his head and his bottom sticking straight up in the air. About four inches of his Goodnite was exposed where his pants were coming off his backside. Lowell was laying face down in the ground looked like someone had just run him over with a steamroller. He was sprawled out spread-eagle on the ground and did not move for a few seconds. It was one of those times in life when you really wish you had a camera to snap a picture! The two managed to get to there feet again and I couldn't help but to laugh at them both.
Jasper was pulling up his pants when he said, "Yeah real funny!" while trying not to laugh himself.
I looked over at Lowell who still had his back to me. He bent over and was brushing his knees off with his hands and exposing his own Goodnite just like Jasper had on. As he turned around I nearly fell out of my window. Recognition illuminated both of our faces as we realized who each other was; for me, I was looking at the blond haired boy I'd seen at Wal-Mart a week ago and finally knew that I'd guessed right in that the Goodnites in the cart had been his. He also realized, despite my present facial deformity, that he was looking at the boy he had talked to in the toy isle and had seen being physically removed from the story by some raging fat woman!
It must have been apparent to Jasper that the two of us knew each other by the way we were looking at one another because after a minute of us staring he spoke, "So you two know each other or what?" and sounded like one of those bad New York mafia gangster types you see in bad Godfather wannabe movies.
"Yeah, I mean sort of!" Lowell said.
"Yeah we saw each other at the store early in the week." I said.
"Was that lady your mom?" Lowell asked.
"No way! That was my aunt." I said.
"Man I am glad I don't have an aunt like that!" Lowell returned.
"Yeah! Me too but unfortunately I do!" I groaned.
"What are you two talking about?" Jasper asked continuing with the funny voice. And so I told Jasper about my aunt and how she had caught me cutting school and had made a spectacle of dragging me from the store for all to see. Lowell filled in what had happened after I had left.
"Everyone was watching as she dragged you out. She was screaming so loud that everyone stopped what he or she was doing to watch. My mom said something about how people like her should not be allowed to have children. I guess my mom thought that your aunt was your mom too."
After Lowell finished with his account I asked, "So, you two friends?"
"Yep!" they both said at the same time.
"Jinks! You own me a Coke!" Lowell said to Jasper who said, "Oh shoot!"
Jasper had fallen prey to the Coke Jinx, which is not to be confused with the dreaded Jinx! The Coke Jinx goes like this, when you and another person say the same thing at the same time, the first person to say "Jinx! You owe me a Coke!" wins. That's all there is too it and you would be surprised how often it happens. I suppose the one that is jinxed is supposed to give the jinxer a coke but as far as I know, no one ever has.
Now for the dreaded Jinx, that is a totally different thing completely. If some Jinxes you then you cannot say a single word until someone says your name. It works basically like the Coke Jinx, if two or more people say the same thing at the same time and someone says JINX then unlike the Coke Jinx the other person or persons are forbidden to talk. If you talk before the jinx is broken then, hum, I don't know what happens! I've never known of anyone that broke a Jinx before and I am sure not going to be the one to find out either! I heard of this one kid that was ambushed into getting jinxed by his whole class and no one would say his name for a whole week. I guess he was some sort of troublemaker and I guess his classmates got sick of him and banded together against him. Man I would go nuts if I couldn't talk for a whole week. I should try that on Peter and his gang.
"Lowell used to live across the street from me." Jasper said.
"Really?" I said in astonishment.
"Yeah! Really! But we moved over to the new Condo's behind the Theater." Lowell said.
I knew exactly were Lowell was talking about. It was close enough to ride a bike too but too far to walk unless you really were determined to do so. I just couldn't believe how closely we lived to each other, had been going to the same schools, all wore diapers of one kind of another and yet had never met before.
"So anyway," Jasper redirected the conversation back on track, "how do you figure I can help you?"
"I don't know! Think of something!" I said in desperation.
"So you think you can run ok with that eye?" Lowell asked.
"I won't be running with my eye, I will be using me two feet!" I answered derisively.
Lowell, totally brushing off my comment to him said, "Well the way I see it is, all you have to do is make sure that your coach doesn't see you at all until after the race. That way he won't be able to stop you from running."
Jasper looked as if he were about to say something very `Coach' like but instead he just agreed, "Yeah, I think that could work!"
Lowell was about to add something when Jasper exclaimed, "OH - I got it! I mean my brother has it! Oh-yeah that will work great! Um, we'll be right back - come on!" he said grabbing a hold of Lowell's shirt and pulling him along. Before I could say anything the two of them were running down the hill.
I had no idea what Jasper was up to but if it would help me to get past the coach tomorrow so that I could run then I was all for it. Suddenly I was feeling a whole lot better about things. Maybe it was seeing Lowell again and finding out that we were nearly neighbors all the time, or maybe it was talking with Jasper as if we'd been friends for ages now; I don't know but I sure felt good inside.
I watched until they both were totally out of site before I closed my window again. When I turned around I caught a glimpse of mom passing by my door and I wondered if she was going to tell dad that I had been talking to someone outside my window when I should be grounded. Well actually, dad never said I couldn't talk to someone that came tapping on my window. He just said no computer, radio or phone for the weekend. The idea that she might have seen me in the diaper also didn't sit too well, but there was the chance that she didn't see it, after all I did have on my pajamas and her view would have been partially blocked by my bed.
I went back to my closet and closed myself in while still leaving the door open enough to allow the light in and to also hear if anything was going on out in the rest of the house.
I think I dozed off for a while and was reawakened by the sound of someone knocking on my closet door. I slid it open to see mom standing there, "You ready for lunch?"
I moved one leg and remembered that I had on the diaper. Thankfully I had my notebook on my lap hiding the diaper from her view.
"Ah yeah." I said shielding my eyes from the incoming light. I must have been quick enough with my hand to keep her from getting a lot at my eye because she didn't seem to react to it at all.
"Do you want a fried peanut-butter and banana sandwich?" she asked.
I was alarmed at the offer. She was either feeling bad about the fight she and dad had last night or was feeling as if I'd been punished enough. Either way, I didn't feel I deserved such a pleasant meal and asked, "Can I just have a baloney sandwich and some chips?"
"Well, yeah sure. Do you want to have them in the kitchen?" she asked.
OK! Now I was sure that something was up! She was giving me the option of eating somewhere other then the kitchen, which never ever happens! She has a steadfast rule that absolutely no food in the bedrooms. So I had to see just how badly she was feeling.
"Can I eat in here?" I asked trying to sound humble.
She paused for a moment before saying, "Ok" and left to go make it.
While she was gone I had time to think about why should would be so agreeable and the most obvious reason that I could come up with was that they really are going to get a divorce and she wants me to live with her. Ok, maybe I let my imagination run wild again and it might just be that she feels that yesterday really got blown way out of control.
A few minutes later she returned. I had slid the door to my closet partially shut again. She announced she was back in the room by saying, "I'll set it here on your desk, okay?"
"Ok!" I answered back from my closet.
I heard my bedroom door closing as she left which I also thought was odd since I'd left it open all morning. I waited a minute or two before climbing out and retrieving my sandwich and chips. She'd also included a cold can of Sprite too. I returned to my closet of solitude to eat and continue writing. When I finished my lunch I left my plate sitting on the floor outside my closet. It wasn't until much later when I reemerged and saw that it was gone that I realized mom must have come back in and got it without me knowing she had been in the room.
My reason for leaving my closet that time was because I had heard the tapping on my window again. Jasper and Lowell had both returned. I reopened my window to find them both standing outside on there own respective feet. Lowell had something orange and shiny in his arms.
"Hi Simon!" he said taking the orange bundle from Lowell. "Here, you can wear this tomorrow and it will help to cover your face!"
"Yeah and these will help, too!" Lowell said retrieving a pair of sunglasses from his pocket.
I took them both into my room and let the orange bundle unravel and fall open. It was a large orange sports jacket, sort of like you see people wearing at the Olympic games and this one has a very large hood on it.
"Go on, let's see it on you!" Jasper said from outside the window.
I slipped my right arm into the sleeve and then my left and pulled it on. It was defiantly big on me but not so big that I looked ridiculous. I put on the glasses and pulled the hood up over my head. The front of the hood hung down in the front to about the level of my eye. I stuck my head back out the window for both of them to see.
"Yeah, that'll work!" Lowell exclaimed.
"Yeah ain't no one going to know you're ugly under there!" Jasper said.
"Hey!" I objected and they both laughed.
"So how'd you get that anyway?" Lowell asked pointing to my face.
"My brother clocked me!" I said.
"Got ya good, too." Jasper said.
"Yeah he's not doing so good his self." I said, feeling bad again for what I'd done to Jamie.
"Okay, here is what you got to do. Stay away from the office, the gym and everyone that might leak work to the coach!" Jasper said.
"What? That would be the entire student and school body!" I exclaimed!
"You think you could get away with wearing the sunglasses in your classes?" Lowell asked.
"No way, my teachers would spot `em in a flash!"
Just about then I spotted someone else walking down the hill. "Guys, someone's coming!" I warned.
Lowell and Jasper ducked down behind the bush. Half a second later I saw two more following behind the first and I knew right away it was Peter and his gang minus one again.
"It's Peter Alderman and his friends!" I announced.
They both froze solid with fear and I ducked back into my window hoping they didn't see me. I waited several minutes before I dared to look to see if they had gone past; unfortunately they had not but instead were making their way up on the front porch and I saw that Steven was again absent from the group as he had been yesterday.
The doorbell rang and I waited for mom or dad to call me or to open my bedroom door. After a minute or two all four boys started back off the porch and up back up the hill in the direction they had come. Once they were completely out of sight I gave Jasper and Lowell the all clear. They both popped right back up looking a little pale.
"That was close!" Jasper said.
"You know they are not allowed to touch you now!" I said to Jasper.
"Yeah, well, that hasn't stopped them from still taunting me from a distance!" he said and at hearing this I started to grow angry!
"Are they? I when?" I asked.
"In the halls at school and they keep showing up at the same places as I am at and saying stuff," Jasper said.
I was fuming now and obviously they both could see it in my face despite the sunglasses and the orange hood!
"I'm just glad I don't go to they same school as you guys!" Lowell said.
"I'll talk with them about it tomorrow before school! If they keep doing it I will tell the principle or the for police officers that are supposed to be keeping an eye on them." I said through clinched teeth. My blood was beginning to boil and I could feel my pulse beating in my sore eye.
"Well, I told my brother about it already!" Jasper said.
"Geeze, what a time to be grounded!" I said.
"Yeah, well, it's probably best that you are!" Lowell said.
I'm sure that had I not been wearing the sunglasses and not had the hood covering my face Lowell would have seen the expression on my face that said, "How dare you say that!"
Jasper thumped Lowell in the chest with the back of his hand, not hard, just enough to let him know he said something stupid.
"Sorry, I mean if you had not been grounded then you probably would have got in a fight with them again," Lowell said.
"You know about the fight?" I asked.
"Yeah! I knew about it even before Jasper told me on Friday when I got to his house," Lowell said.
This redirected my thoughts back to the two of them and their obvious to me diapered conditions. "So you been sleeping over at Jaspers all weekend?" I asked.
"Yeah, almost every weekend since he moved." Jasper said.
I so desperately wanted to find a way to bring up the subject of diapers but I didn't know how.
"When you get off restriction, we should do a slumber party." Lowell said.
"Yeah, that would be so cool!" Jasper agreed.
"I've never been to a slumber party." I said, "What do you do at one?"
"They are a lot of fun! We can watch movies, tell ghost stories, and in the summer we could even camp out in the backyard!" Jasper said.
"Yeah I got a really nice tent for my birthday two years ago and it is big enough to fit four or five of us easy!" Lowell said.
"Whoa cool!" I said.
"I'm going to give Monday some thought and see if I can come up with a plan to get me through the morning without being seen. I'd better get inside too before my parents find out I've got visitors." I said.
"Yeah, that's a good idea!" Jasper said.
"Nice to finally meet you for real this time." Lowell said to me.
"Yeah, same here! Small world, huh?" I said.
The both waved good-bye and tore off down the hill again. I closed my window and took off the jacket and glasses. I stuffed them both into my gym-bag and covered them with my gym-clothes, which were again washed and folded. I guessed that mom must have washed them before I went ballistic on Jamie and before she got mad with me.
I decided it was time to remake my bed, as I'd not been in it since Friday night. I took all of my books off my bed and stacked them neatly on my desk and then went about putting sheets on my bed. I had to sneak out quietly to the hall to get the sheets from the linen closet but I'd been able to do it without being seen or heard. I also pulled my blanket and pillow out of my closet and put them back on my bed.
I'd decided to sit at my desk to do some writing for a while, where I could still see outside my window however as I went to sit down I realized that the diaper I'd been wearing for nearly a day now was very wet. I'd already gotten use to the bulk of it and I'd not noticed the extra weight. Taking it off was sort of an emotional thing; I mean I found myself wishing that I had another one of them to put back on instead of a Goodnite. But seeing how I didn't have one I pulled a fresh Goodnite out of my dresser and slipped it on. It felt very inadequate somehow now.
As for the very wet diaper, I knew I couldn't put it in the trashcan by my door. Mom or dad would be sure to see it then. Instead I decided to put it in the bottom of my book bag and I would just toss it out on my way to school tomorrow.
I sat down at my desk; the lack of front and rear padding was still very much on my mind. I continued to write up until I heard my bedroom door open. I turned just enough to see dad standing in the doorway but not enough for him to see my eye. I felt oddly relieved to see him standing there. I guess somewhere in the back of my head I'd been worried that maybe, just maybe he might have left sometime earlier in the day. Maybe it was the way mom had acted at lunchtime that had planted that seed of thought.
"You doing your homework?" he asked.
"No, just writing. I did all my homework Friday before I went over to Mike's," I answered.
"Hum." Is all he said in return as he stood there eyeing me.
"So is there something you want to tell me?" he said after a moment or two.
I really hate when parents ask that question. Surely they know that there is a list as long as both of their arms of things we've done wrong on any given day that we'd never been caught doing. Instead of implicating myself any further I chose the route that would lead me away from those fires.
"I'm sorry dad!" I said hanging my head low.
"Thank you, but that's not what I meant." He said.
Yikes! I thought. He's got me cornered now. I played the only card I had left in my hand and turned completely around looking as remorseful as I could.
"Simon!" dad exclaimed at seeing my eye for the first time. He started toward me and I don't know why but I flinched and he stopped dead in his tracks and just looked at me sort of shocked like.
I looked up at him and his eyes were all glassy. I'd never seen dad look like that before.
"I'm sorry!" dad said to me.
I wasn't sure what he was saying that so I just looked at him. He looked like he was struggling to talk and just when I thought he was going to say something he turned and walked out of the room.
I sat there at my desk confused and studded until mom came in the room. She got one look at my eye and burst into tears. She bent over me and hugged my neck tightly and was saying things like, "My precious baby," and "It will be okay," and on and on for several minutes.
Dad came back in the room with his clothes changed and his coat on. His eyes were still glassy and though he didn't say anything I knew he wanted to. He went to my closet and got my coat and a pair of pants.
"I've already called the Dr. O'Neil at home, he's going to meet us at his office," Dad said, handing me my pants.
I wanted to tell them both that I didn't need to go to the doctor but I chose to keep my lips closed or risk saying something I shouldn't. With them both standing there looking at me I stood up and slipped off my pajama bottoms. I was so very glad at that moment that I'd taken off the diaper. I would have had a very hard time explaining it to them to be sure. I don't know why but I felt just a little bit awkward standing there with my Goodnite exposed to them. I'm not sure why really since they have seen me like this nearly every morning of my life.
Mom held out my pants for my to step into just as she had done all those times before when I was much younger. Instinctively I reached out and balanced myself by holding on to her shoulders. She pulled them all the way up, buttons and zipped them for me.
Dad helped me put on my coat and mom snapped it up for me too. It was really a weird moment, none of us talking yet each of us knowing what the other was thinking. Well maybe it was just me. I really don't know.
Mom stayed at the house while dad took me to see the doctor. Nothing was said at all by either of us the entire trip and we arrived at the office almost exactly when the doctor did.
"Whoa! That's one heck of a shiner you have there, Simon!" the doctor said as I was climbing out of the backseat of our van.
"Come on it!" He said leading the way to the front door, "We'll get a good look at that eye and see if you are going to live much longer!" he said jokingly. I humored him with a smile.
He flipped on the lights as we filed in behind him with dad taking up the rear position.
"So you were saying on the phone that Simon here got in a fight?" Dr. O'Neil asked.
"Yeah, with my brother." I said and dad looked at me kind of oddly. I didn't realize until just now that the reason he looked at me that way was because he'd never once heard me refer to Jamie as `My brother' and it must have shocked him. I've always referred to Jamie by name or as my half-brother or sometimes my stepbrother. I guess it was my subtle way of keeping him out of the family.
I followed him back into one of the exam rooms where I took off my coat and handed it to dad. The doctor took off his coat and started to wash his hands.
"Well I hope your brother faired better then you did." He said and I had to look at the floor so that I wouldn't make eye contact with dad. I knew something they didn't because I'd seen Jamie a few hours ago and he looked much worse then I did.
The snap of the latex gloves going on brought my attention back to the Doctor. He picked up on of those cone shaped flashlight things and said, "Okay, let's see just what we got here!" I could see the light moving around with my injured eye, which I took as a good thing.
"Yep, yep, ah-ha, yep, very good!" Dr. O'Neil said.
He held up his hand in front of me, "How many fingers do you see?"
"Five," I answered.
"Alright smart boy! How about you close that other eye and try again?" he said jokingly.
I chuckled as he poked me in the belly. I covered my good eye with my hand and we tried again. "Um, two? No three!" I said.
"Oh? Okay, look at my pen . . . Where's my pen? I don't have my pen!" he said grasping at the spot where the pocket would have been if he'd had on this white doctor's coat.
"Here, use mine." Dad said.
"Oh good thank you!" Now, look at your father's pen and imagine it is mine!" he said laughingly and I giggled again.
"Can you tell me what you see?" he asked.
"Its blurry!" I said.
"Do you see the color?" he asked.
"Red!" I said.
"And what color is my watch?" he asked.
I glanced down to the wrist of the same hand, "Brown and gold." I said.
"Very good!" he said, "Can up look up at the light on the ceiling?"
I did as he asked.
"Can you describe what you see?" he asked.
"I see the light!" I said sort of matter of fact like.
I heard the doctor laugh, "Alright you! Can you see any floating lights or dark spots or maybe a hallo of light?" he asked.
I asked with a bit of a laugh, "Yeah, there is a sort of hallow but it's not like it was last night," I added.
"Well that's good then! You can put your head back down again so I can look at this cut." He said taking hold of my head and moving it around.
"So why were you fighting with your brother?" he asked as he examined my eye.
"It was stupid!" I said.
"OUCH!" I shouted as he touched one of the really tender spots.
"Oh I am sorry, I guess that's still sore?" he said and I wanted to say, "Yeah what was your first clue?" but I was able to hold that one in.
"I'm going to touch around your eye . . ." I withdrew from his hands as he said this but he grasped my head firmly. "I promise I will be gentle, you just tell me when it hurts and when it doesn't."
He proceeded to poke around my eye causing me to squirm, whimper and even cry out twice.
"Yep, I think it will heal up okay. Don't see that anything is broken," he said to dad and I sat there resenting him a lot.
"I'll give you some ointment that will help with the swelling and some butterfly bandages that will help to keep that cut closed up. I'd have probably put in some stitches last night but it seems to be healing shut nicely. Just keep the area clean and don't let him rough house for the next couple weeks. Why don't you bring him back in to see me in say about a week or so." He said as he scribbled something down on a piece of paper.
"I really appreciate you coming in to check him out," Dad said to him.
"Oh it's a good thing you called! He'll be all right but we've got to keep a close watch on his vision in that eye. I don't think we have anything to worry about but we still need to keep our eye on his eye." He said with a smile in my direction.
He opened up one of the cabinets on the wall and took out several things. Here are some antibiotics I'd like him to take one every 6 hours for the next week. Last thing we want is for him to develop an infection in that eye. And here is a bottom of drops -- two drops in the eye before going to sleep." He handed dad the bottle and looked over his shoulder at me.
"Simon, these drops might sting a bit but you still have to use them every night!" he added.
I sighed, "Okay."
"And here are a few of these," he said handing dad the butterfly bandages, "Oh and here's that cream. This is good stuff, it will help with the swelling, the pain and also help heal that nasty cut up fast."
He waved the tube at me, "This stuff is good stuff but it burns and stinks to high heaven! It's been around for ages and I still swear by the stuff!"
And of course this is the point where I chose to open my mouth and say something. "You shouldn't swear!" I said jokingly.
They both looked at me like I was a speck of dirt on the wall. I shut up and looked away again.
"I'm not sure but I think he funny bone might have been broken too!" Dr. O'Neil said to dad who added, "No, he just inherited his from my wife's side of the family!" and they both laughed loudly. I didn't really get it.
Before we left the doctor removed the Band-Aids I'd put on my eye this morning, recleaned the cut and applied some of that ointment. He was right, it burned like the fires of H E double toothpicks and smelled like someone died! He put on four of the butterfly bandages and then covered my whole eye with a piece of gauze and taped it in place.
"I don't want you getting hot and sweaty for the next couple of weeks ok?" He said as he helped me off the table.
I was a little weak in the knees from the pain the ointment had inflicted and I had to have dad help me steady myself as I walked.
"What do I owe ya, Doc?" Dad asked as we were leaving.
"Oh don't worry, I'll send you the bill for my next house!" he said jokingly.
"OK! I'll keep an `Eye' out for it in the mail!" dad said and the doctor laughed. I didn't think it was funny myself.
Dad helped me back in the van and instead of sitting in the seat I laid myself over. Before I'd come to see the doctor my eye was hardly hurting at all but now it was throbbing so bad I wanted to cry.
It was close to seven in the evening as we were pulling away from the doctor's office. Dad called home to tell mom what the doctor had said and I only heard a little bit of the conversation before I drifted off to sleep.