Written by Danny
A series of truths
A few days after
Despite being threaten with physical harm if they told anyone someone must have talked because soon all of us knew that most of what was being brought into the Banachelli was computer equipment but no one seemed to know what it was for and why there was so much of it. The other thing that we seemed to be taking on was plastic CD cases, hundreds—no thousands of them! The entire belly of the Banachelli was stocked with the cases.
I had been laying in the bathtub for hours writing in the dark. I had lost all track of time and kept the bath water warm by draining some of the water out and adding in fresh hot water whenever I'd start to feel cold. It wasn't until I heard a noise outside the bathroom door that I was drawn away from my memories of the recent past.
Suddenly and without any warning the bathroom light came on. It felt like someone was trying to rip my eyeballs from their sockets.
"Turn it off! Turn it off!" I cried and no matter how hard I squinted my eyelids shut, the light still seemed to find its way to the backs of eyes.
"Simon?" Mom called.
"Mom, turn off the light!" I cried.
"Simon how long have you been in there?" She said ignoring the fact that my eyes were being burned out of their sockets. "Simon look at you, you're all shriveled up like a prune."
Despite my pleas to have the light turned out she forced me from the tub and began to dry me off with a towel.
"Why were you in the bathtub so long?" she asked.
"I was writing and thinking and stuff." I said with one arm still shielding my eyes. The worst of the searing pain had subsided but my eyes weren't yet use to the light that the one little light bulb was putting out.
"Simon, just look at you!" mom said drying my feet.
"I can't, you blinded me for life!" I whined.
She began to dry my boyhood parts, "Well you look like a shriveled old man!"
"Ouch! Not so hard down there!" I complained when she gabbed my boyhood jewels a bit too forcefully.
When she was satisfied that I was dry she sat down on the toilet and began to brush my hair. I guess my mind was stuck in replay mode because while she brushed out the tangles I began to recall the time that I had hid under the desk while Madam-M was talking with Runt. I had overheard some very disturbing things that were so very hard for me to believe.
"Mom?" I started.
"What sweat-heart?" she answered.
I couldn't believe I was about to ask her this.
"Mom?" I asked again.
"I said what?" she answered kind of in a sing-song sort of way.
"When I was... Well when I was away," I started and I felt the brush slow slightly.
"I... well I heard... something." I was finding it hard to ask but I honestly felt, deep in my heart that I was ready to ask. She didn't say anything, she just gave me the time I needed to form the words and then get them out of my mouth.
"Well that's not exactly right; I mean... well you see at first I had this dream and, well, Aunt Catharine was in it."
The words were coming a bit easier now.
"Well at first in my dream it was just Aunt Catharine and me but, well, some other people were in my dream later too."
The brush got caught in a hair tangle and pulled a little, "Ouch!" I complained.
"Sorry." She said and I noticed that she sounded kind of funny.
I continued, "Well it was just a dream. I mean I thought it was just a dream and I nearly forgot about it but then I heard someone talking one day... and well..."
Mom stopped combing my hair and wrapped her arms around me, hugging me against her. She was crying and kissing my neck.
"Mommy?" I was crying now too, "I heard someone talking on day when I was... well anyway they didn't know I was listening."
My heart was racing and mom was hugging me so tightly that it felt as if I were wrestling a python but I continued anyway, "She said that Aunt Catherine was my real mom."
We both fell apart crying so hard that I couldn't see for all the tears and I knew for sure then that it was indeed true. I guess I already knew it was true but didn't want to believe it, didn't want to think about it but now it was out of the box and there was no way to put it back in again.
She spun me around, my hair swung around and landed on her shoulder but she didn't brush it off.
"No matter what," she said, "No matter what, I love you and I will always love you."
Huffing and balling I said, "You're not my mom?"
"Oh baby, of course I'm your mommy!" she kissed me, "Even though I didn't give birth to you, I am still your mommy and nothing or no one can ever change that."
I threw my arms around her and fell on her neck weeping into my own hair.
We cried together a while longer before I was able to ask, "Aunt Catherine is my real mom?"
It took her a moment for her to answer, "Yes baby, she gave birth to you but she..."
"Aunt Catherine did something bad to me huh?" I asked even though I wasn't sure I wanted mom to confirm what I already knew inside.
"She was giving me bad medicine right? Just like happened on... I mean when I was... I mean..."
Mom put a finger to my lips to silence my blathering; it worked. She then began to tell me, "It was the same thing that evil Yolanda Mecums tricked all of you boys into taking. It was a sort of bad medicine; you know that much right?" she asked and I nodded twice.
"Your Aunt... I mean your real mo..." She started to correct herself.
"Please don't say it; you are my only mommy!" I began to cry hard again.
"Ok, your Aunt Catharine then, my sister, was giving you that stuff to try to keep you little. She didn't want you to ever grow up. It did things to your body inside, things that cannot be changed. The doctors hoped that she had been caught soon enough so that you would still grow up mostly normal. But then when you came back to us after being taken," she started to cry harder too, "and we found out that evil woman had tricked all of you boys into taking that stuff again and for so long..." mom trailed off into a fit of tears as she tried to wipe my own away.
A thought struck me and I had to ask, "Is dad my real dad?"
Using the towel to hide her face she shook her head ever so slightly.
My heart sank into my stomach, "He-he's not?"
I felt confused when I started to get angry and at first I didn't know why but then a question began to make its way to the front of my mind and I couldn't understand why this question would make me feel so angry but it did. "So, Jamie isn't my half-brother?"
She pulled the towel down so that I could see her eyes and once more she shook her head as she said, "No baby, he's not."
I don't know why but I pushed away, stood up and then sat down on the edge of the tub.
"Wait!" I said through sobs.
"Wait!" I said again.
"You are not my real mom?" I sobbed so hard it made all my body shake and hurt. "Dad isn't my real dad and Jamie isn't my real brother?"
"Then who is my real dad?" I asked.
Moms face went all white, "Catherine was artificially incriminated."
This was something I wasn't expecting or prepared to hear. I knew what it meant, I learned it in health class but still, how are you supposed to act when you find out you were a Popsicle before?
"Nobody knows who my read dad is?"
From the doorway came, "I'm your father, I love you and that's all that matters!"
I looked up to see my dad, or at least the man I had always thought was my dad standing in the doorway. His face too was streaked with tears. I stood up but didn't take a step.
It took every bit of strength I had left in me to say, "Dad?"
He ran to me and picked me up into his arms. After we had hugged for I don't know how long I loosened my grip, looked down at mom who was sitting on the floor beside the toilet weeping bitterly.
"Mom?" I said reaching for her.
She stood up and the three of us embraced each other. And after a while my dad said, "I have feared this day would come ever since the courts gave you to us. But no matter what a piece of paper might say, no matter what any judge or court or anyone else might say; you are our son and we love you so very much. No matter what, I don't want you to you ever, ever forget that!"
I've no idea how long the three of us stood in the bathroom crying together. It wasn't until BJ was heard out in the hallway, "But mom I really, really, really got to go number two noooooooow!"
Mom then said, "I think someone needs to use this room."
"Yeah well that's ok because I think I need to change my shirt." Dad said looking me right in the eye, "Seems someone peed all over the front of this one."
With my arms still holding to the back of his neck I pulled away until my arms were straight, looked down at his wet white button up shirt and with a goofy grin said, "Gee-whiz, I wonder how that happened?"
"Yeah, I wonder." Dad said.
Then he looked at mom, kissed her ever so softly and asked her, "Why don't you and I take our son and get him diapered."
So that's what they did; the two of them tag-teamed me and had me diapered in no time at all. I hadn't been given the option of what I preferred; instead they taped one of the big disposable diapers on me before slipping a pair of plastic pants on over the diaper and a pair of shorts over those. For a shirt mom pulled a white tank top over my head and kissed me for good measure.
"We love you so very much!" she said.
I never did go back to sleep. Instead I sat out on the beach alone with my mom and dad. I don't know what BJ and the rest of them did that morning and it wasn't until a little before lunch time when BJ walked up behind us.
"Are you guys done being mushy and junk?" BJ said.
We all looked up at him. He was smiling and had a really bad case of bed-head. I'm surprised that his mom hadn't done something about it. He was holding my new remote controlled boat.
"Because dad says we're leaving after lunch and I'd really like to have some fun. It's been so boring sitting inside all this time waiting for you guys to stop hugging and junk."
Dad reached out, "Let me see that boat."
BJ handed it to him and dad handed it to me. Before BJ knew what was happening he had been snatched right off his feet, flipped and dropped on dads lap belly side down.
"Oh you did it now!" I said to BJ.
Dad gave him one firm swat on the backside and then tickled the life out of him. I'm sure a better friend would have tried to save him but it was too funny watching dad torture BJ.
When dad released him, BJ rolled several feet away before rising up on one elbow and using his other hand to rub his backside.
"You are mean!" he said sticking his tongue out.
Dad acted like he was going to go after BJ but in a flash BJ was up and running toward the water. I didn't waste any time getting to my feet and going after him with my boat in my arms.
BJ and I spent most of the remainder of our time at the beach trying not to sink the boat. It took us both a while to figure out the controls and make it skip across the water. We found that if we got down low and looked across the waters surface the boat actually looked real.
After lunch was over everyone, Tom included, helped to get everything packed up and ready to go home. Inside I was feeling kind of glad to be going home again and at the same time I was feeling like I didn't want to leave the beach house.
None of us noticed when Tom disappeared but I wasn't worried. I knew that if I needed him he would be somewhere close by watching out for me.
With friends like you...
BJ wanted me to ride back with him and his parents but my mom said that she thought I needed a little time alone with her and dad.
After saying my goodbyes and thanking them for bringing me along, I climbed into mom's van and buckled myself in. I really don't know what they had in mind for the drive back home. Perhaps they hoped I would have questions for them or something but I honestly didn't feel like talking.
As the car began to move I looked out the window at the setting sun hanging only a few inches above the water. That is when I saw her. She was silhouetted against the blue sky right at the edge of the horizon. Even from that great distance I could tell that all thirteen sails were driving the Banachelli forward. A momentary panic filled my heart as I wondered if Tom saw her too and though I quickly looked around for him I didn't see him. All I could do was hope that he hadn't seen her too.
A moment later and we were out of sight of the beach house, the sandy shore and the water. We were on our way back home. I made myself comfortable, pulled out my electronic journal and was about to begin writing but when I saw my e-journal it struck me that all along I had thought that my e-journal had been a birthday gift from my aunt when if fact it was a birthday gift from my real mom. With that thought a chill ran up my spine and caused me to shiver.
"Are you cold?" mom asked.
"Nah, I'm fine." I replied and turned on my e-journal to begin writing some more...
"You sent for me?" I asked as I pushed open the door to Runts private room.
"Oh hey Simon, didn't think you would be here so quickly; `mon in and uh, close the door would ya." Runt said without looking in my direction.
"Hiya Tate!" I said when I spotted him sitting on Runts bunk.
"Spaz! Howzit going?" Tate shot back.
"Ah you know," I said back.
"So what's for dinner?" he asked.
"Bat bladders and rattlesnake rectums." I said repeating what I had heard Fyer say once.
Tate looked away as he said, "Hope there's lots of ketchup."
Runt piped in, "With warm diaper gravy!"
Tate put a hand over his mouth, "OK! I am sorry I even brought it up!"
"Oh yeah, speaking of bringing it up..." I began knowing that I'd get Tate with this one, "That's what we're having for desert."
Tate made a fake retching sound before saying, "Whelp Runt ol'buddy, ol'pal, ol'chum, ol'...!"
"Whatever you're going to ask for the answer is no!" Runt said with a half laugh.
Tate grabbed his heart with both hands and looked mortally wounded. With a phony expression of shock and hurt Tate looked back and forth between Runt and me.
"Do you believe him?" Tate said to me while motioning toward Runt.
"My best friend thinks that I would take advantage of our friendship like that?" Tate said while still feigning a mortal wounding.
"Well they say that the sword of a friend cuts the deepest." I said off handedly.
Tate now looked honestly stunned and was staring at me with his hands out like a common street beggar.
"What?" I snapped when I couldn't stand his eyes burning a hole through my forehead any longer.
"Spazoid, that was incredibly deep!" Tate said and though I hadn't seen Runts face yet I could tell he was chuckling.
With a shrug of my shoulders I dismissed his comment.
"So I was told you wanted me for something?" I said directing my words to the back of Runts head.
"On that note, I think I will leave you two fruits alone!" Tate said beginning to get up.
Runt turned partially toward Tate and threw something at him. Whatever it was it missed him by a mile and instead ricocheted off the wall before falling behind Runt's bunk.
Before he left, Tate stepped up behind Runt and said, "See ya melon head!" right before giving Runt a big, wet, sloppy, puppy dog kiss across the neck and ear.
"You sick mother..." Runt complained as he wiped at the tongue slime. Before Runt could finish Tate gave him a firm swat to the diaper and ran from the room messing my hair up in the process.
"Hey!" I complained but it was too late.
"See ya Spaz!" he called from the hallway.
"Later Tater!" I said partially laughing.
And a second later I called out, "Oh wait! Tater come back a second would ya?"
I heard Tater's shoes squeak as he stopped and did an about-face. He stuck his head back in the door, "Yo?"
It was all I could do not to laugh when I said, "So how far would you be right now if I hadn't called you back."
He shot me a dirty look and flipped me off before slamming the door.
From the moment I had come in, Runt had been standing in front of a large canvas that had three bright yellow diagonal slashes of paint on it and one big splotch of black; at least it looked black but when I got closer I could tell that it was a very deep blue. Runt was wearing nothing but his diaper without any plastic paints and a paint spattered bandanna wrapped around his head. It wasn't until after Tate ran from the room that I realize it wasn't a bandanna but an old cloth diaper knotted in the back to keep it in place. It was the first time I had ever seen him like that and to be completely honest, it was giving me the heebie-jeebies big time. I mean yeah I knew he wore diapers too; you would have had to of been blind not to see the obvious bulge under his clothes... and I ain't talking about his muscles.
"So did you just call for me to stand here and help heat your room?" I tried teasing but even I knew that it had sounded lame.
He reached up, pulled the diaper from off his head to wipe the sweat from his brow and when he did I saw that his hair had been completely buzzed off. At first I was stunned because his head looked like a fuzzy cue ball and I almost laughed out loud but I chomped the inside of my cheek to ward off any giggles.
"Nice hair cut," I said and he put the diaper back on his head but at least now I understood why Tate had called him a melon head.
I'm kind of surprised that I hadn't noticed when I first came in that his cabin room had been decorated... obviously by Runt himself. Three of the four walls were covered with pictures which frankly looked like he had taken a bunch of magazines and tore out any ad or picture he could find. When I was back home I had a chance to talk with Ian, the guy that lives in the same building that my brother Jamie and his mom live in. He was the same guy who painted the portraits of Jamie and I for my newly decorated room. He told me that he had known of some artists that did that too. They used the images kind of like models when they painted.
The far wall in Runt's cabin room was different; it had several paintings of various sizes and colors hanging in an absentminded fashion. There were several more painting on the floor leaning against the same wall and still more blank canvases stacked in the far right corner of the room. The floor was paint-spattered and even the ceiling had hints of green, white, gold and one big splatter of yellow.
Music was playing and it wasn't rock or anything from our lifetime. It sounded like something an old man would listen too. Also, the room wasn't lit very well; actually it was down right gloomy but I guess that was the way Runt liked it.
Seeing Runt like that kind of threw me. I mean Runt didn't seem the type of guy to enjoy painting but then again, when I first met him I didn't think he was the type of guy to get mixed up in drugs and crime. So I guess we've established that I am a dreadful judge of people, huh?
"Umm, what are you d-doing?" I ask trying to
be friendly even though I knew that Runt and I weren't on the friendliest of
terms. We're more like the
At first he didn't answer me. He was sanding before his canvas with his diapered butt swaying to the crooning of the man on the radio.
"Come here a sec'." He eventually said and he sounded almost... well nice; but I knew better then to let my guard down around him. Once upon a time I blindly trusted him but those days are long gone. I've seen him do an emotional flip-flop too many times not to keep my guard up around him.
I stepped a little closer.
"No, come over here; I want to show you something." He said.
And after thinking to myself, "This isn't a good idea Simon!" I walked right up to his side.
You know, it was kind of funny because with each step I could hear Captain Janeway from the TV show Star Trek Voyager in my head...
"All hands to battle stations!"
"Bring weapons to maximum!"
"Prepare for impact!"
Had the current song on the radio not ended, my imagination probably would have gotten the better of me. Runt stopped painting and was just standing there as if he was studying the canvas or something. Like it knew what was supposed to happen next and Runt was waiting for it to tell him what color to use.
I watched him watching his painting for a few seconds then asked, "Since when do you paint?"
"Since always," he said stepping back from the painting.
The radio announcer said, "That was Gregory Gilbarco singing `Loving the Rain' and now here's the Tweeters with `High Life'.
I wonder if I will ever outgrow the habit of speaking before engaging my brain; because that is just what happened to me yet again. "Isn't that kind of gay?"
The little voice in my head was screaming at me, "Way to go idiot! Now you've gone and pushed his buttons."
Runt made a sound that told me he thought my comment was amusing, maybe even witty but I would have liked it if he had laughed... I'd have even settled for a tiny chuckle but I had to settle for his amused grunt.
"Wanna give it a try?" He asked me.
The memories were still fresh in my head of him chasing me with Fyer's cooking knife and now he wanted to teach me how to paint? Granted it wasn't just yesterday that it happened but it also hadn't been so long that I would have forgot about it. Maybe he thinks I have that thing, uh what's it called? Oh yeah, selective amnesia.
"Be gay or paint?" I asked and couldn't believe that I'd done it again. Mentally I envisioned slapping myself in the back of my head and saying, "Hey up there! You want to get with the program here?"
As soon as I asked, "Be gay or paint?" I thought I could see his neck muscles tighten just before he softly replied, "Paint."
"Nah, you seem to be doing just fine." I said even though none of his paintings, I mean the few that I could see, seems all that good.
I then added, "Besides, I don't want to get my clothes dirty."
"Why do you think I'm dressed like this? Strip down and step up. It's really easy." He said.
Ok, now I got it! Painting was just a ploy to get me out of my clothes; or was that just my imagination? I mean I did kind of set myself up for that one.
A silent argument was going on inside my head. My inner voice was trying to get me to understand that I was pushing Runt too far and that I needed to get my diapered butt out of there and fast. The other side of the argument went something like this, "Yeah but what if he is genuinely trying to mend the fences between us? Wouldn't it be better if we were good friends again? I mean isn't life here bad enough without having Runt as my mortal enemy?"
So, against my better judgment I started to remove my jacket and shirt. All the while that dang little voice wouldn't stop taunting me, "You're the one that pushed his buttons! Whatever happens now is your own fault!"
"Better lose the pants too." Runt said as I dropped my shirt and jacket to the floor, "Like you said, you don't want to get paint on your clothes. She wouldn't be too happy about that."
"She?" I thought to myself knowing that he had meant Miss-M, "When did SHE get brought into this?"
The little voice was beginning to win me over and I hesitated as long as I dared before lowering my pants to my ankles and stepping out of them. That left me wearing my socks, cloth diaper and clear plastic pants.
Somehow I got the feeling that Runt probably knew I was contemplated making a run for the door and I knew that if I was fast enough I could probably have reached Sister Sarafina or anyone before Runt caught me; that is, if he chased me at all. There was a chance that he wouldn't come after me; small as that chance might have been, I seriously considering it for an extremely long ten seconds.
That whole time, Runt had kept his back to me, but when my pants hit the floor he turned and for the first time I saw his bare chest and his face. There was a bright red mark on his chest exactly the shape of someone's hand. Each finger was clearly evident and I knew instantly that his chest had been slapped appallingly hard. I looked up at his face and he had the biggest and blackest shiner around his right eye. I mean it was so dark and so shiny that I wondered for maybe half a second if it was shoe polish or makeup or something. The bruise covered most of his upper cheek and stretched all the way back to his ear; it was shaped kind of like a tear drop on its side. Like he was wearing half of a black mask.
"Yikes!" I exclaimed, "What the heck happened to you?" I asked, "You get in a fight with a wall or something?"
Without a reaction or an answer he turned back around, drops his left arm to his side and reached back with a brush in his hand. I got the hint that he either didn't want to talk about it or wasn't able to talk about it yet. I mean, by the look of him it couldn't have been too long ago that it had happened; maybe the day before or possibly earlier that morning.
Maybe it was because of his shiner, maybe it was the red handprint on his chest or it could have been because I'd never seen him so emotionally stripped that I decided to trust him this time. I suppose only God knows the real reason I lowered my shields.
With my right hand I took the brush he was holding out for me and he also handed me a tray that resembled the bottom half of an egg carton only it was made of clear plastic. It also looked like it had never been used before now. He set his brush down; removed from the easel the canvas he'd been using and replaced it with two smaller ones.
"Now we can start," He said softly.
As he went to pick up his brush again I said sharply, "Wait!"
He paused and looked at me with that prominent black eye.
"I don't have a clue what I am doing!"
He smiled and I think it was the first time in a long time that I saw the old Runt. He put a hand against my right cheek and rubbed my lips with his thumb.
"It's called painting?" He started to say, "You put your brush in the paint and then put the paint on the canvas." He removed his hand from my face and added, "It's not rocket science you know!"
I tried to joke with him to get a better feel for this strange new artistic Runt I was meeting for the first time. "Rocket science I can do... but painting? That's hard!"
I was surprised when he put his hand on my cheek again and played with my bottom lip with his thumb. It kind of tickled too.
"No it isn't. All you have to do is listen to the music." He spoke softly as though he were trying to charm a butterfly into landing on his finger. "Follow the song, don't think about painting and don't worry about trying to create something. Just paint."
His thumb was partially in my mouth only stopped by my bottom teeth and he looked at me hard and long before reaching down and taking up his own tray of paints. He dipped his brush into his tray of paints and added, "Let the song become part of you."
I was feeling very nervous, I knew this because my heart was thumping almost as loud as the radio was playing plus I had just soaked the front of my diaper. "But what if it sucks rocks?"
He gave me a bump with his diapered hip.
"Don't worry about that." He said, then walked over to the radio and turned it up more.
The music filled the room and seemed to swallow up everything including Runt and me. The music was so loud that I could see little ripples in my paint tray and it felt like someone was using my chest as an amplifier.
First there was a single flute playing and it was soon joined by some kind of deep throaty sounding horn. A violin began to grow up between the notes and eventually took center stage. It cried out like a lady weeping deep within her soul. And then a voice, this saintly, smooth voice began...
Never knew I could feel like this
It's like I've never seen the sky before
Want to vanish inside your kiss
Every day I'm loving you more and more
I looked up at Runt, he had his eyes closed and his head tilted way back so that his nose was pointing toward the ceiling.
Listen to my heart can you hear it sing?
Come back to me and FORGIVE everything!
Seasons may change winter to spring
I love you, `til the end of time
"Wait, I think I know this song but who is that singing?" I asked him.
"Don't remember but you probably heard it sung in that movie Moulin Rouge." Runt said with his eyes still closed.
"Oh, I remember that movie. Whoever this is singing now, she's really good!" I said.
"Don't dwell on the words too much." Runt said opening his eyes and ready to put his brush to the canvas. "Go along with the melody."
At first I didn't know what he meant so I watched and imitated him. I plunged my brush into my paint tray; it wasn't until I put it on the canvas that I knew I had dipped into a cinnamon-brown color. I drew in a breath of air through my nose, held it, raised my hand to the canvas and listened to the music.
A man had joined her...
Come what may! Come what may!
I will love you until my dying day
I placed my brush against the canvas and tried to make the bristles dance in time with the song. I swooped it left, then right again... I was not painting a thing, I was painting a song.
The song continued...
Suddenly the world seems such a perfect place
Suddenly it moves with such a perfect grace
Suddenly my life doesn't seem such a waste
It all revolves around you
I watched Runt clean his brush in a small can hanging beneath our canvases so I did likewise before trying a different color. A red that was nearer to copper than red came to rest on the canvas in random splashes while an emerald green seemed to tease the cinnamon lines.
The song ended and another, more modern sounding song began. It was a man singing this time with a low deep sad voice like he was singing a bit of poetry...
Little boy wishes he wasn't small
He'd give his turtle to be six feet tall
got photos of Shaq and
And he'd try a jump shot but he's afraid he'll fall
I allowed my eyes to drop to the tray in my hand and contemplated all the different colors Runt had given me. Runt was humming now and I remembered seeing this guy painting on TV a long time ago; he hummed when he painted too. I remember they guy would put more then one color on his brush at a time so I thought I would give it a try. I added a mixture of burnt umber and mist gray to my canvas with a single, bold flick of my wrist.
Not sure what to do next I closed my eyes and just listed; when I opened my eyes I glanced over to Runt and saw that he had been looking at me, not my painting but me. I think he realized that I got what he was saying.
Another song and I was able to see things on my canvas; the hint of distant trees against the balance of an autumn night sky. I hadn't meant to paint trees or a sky but none the less, there they were.
Runt startled me by speaking, "You know what happened before?" he said as though the words were razorblades slicing at this tongue.
I figured he meant the incident with the knife but won't sure.
"Yeah," I answered back.
Still focused on his own canvas he made a stroke of blood red, "I-I didn't... I mean I'm sorry." He said.
Twenty minutes ago I wouldn't have believe him. Twenty minutes ago I would have thought he was setting me up. Twenty minutes ago I secretly wanted him dead. But now... well... now I didn't know anything for sure.
"Yeah, me too." I said though I didn't know if I really believed my own words.
I stopped painting and watched him for a moment. He became lost in the music again, moving his brush as though he were caressing the canvas. His emotions seemed to be flowing down his arm and out the bristles of his brush.
He must have sensed my stillness and turned to me. There was something in his expression the moment before he spoke; I couldn't tell whether it was genuine sorrow or something else. Was he unsure of his apology or unsure of mine?
"So let's see what you painted." He said and the moment, whatever it was, had gone.
"It's not very good." I said as the next song began.
"Let me see." He said.
Part of me wanted to quickly smear all the paints with my hands to keep him from seeing but I step aside to let him get a good look at it. He was standing beside me; his diaper was brushing my upper arm. Runt was looking at the songs that I had recorded on my canvas. When he spoke Sammy Davis Jr. was singing, `What Kind Of Fool Am I'.
"Simon, this—-this is remarkable!" he said breathlessly.
I dismissed his complement, "Nah, you're just saying that."
But I could tell by the way he was talking, by the air in the room, by the electricity between us, that he meant what he was saying.
"No really Simon, this is really good!" he said again and then looked down into my eyes, "You're a natural! You must have paint running through your veins."
I was still holding the paints and paintbrush; as Sammy sang his last verse Runt reached down for my hand and guided my hand across the canvas leaving an apricot swash across the bottom.
Our hands lower together but Runt still held my hand and was squeezing in rhythm with the music of Nat King Cole. He began to sing the words...
I think of you every morning
Dream of you every night
Darling, I'm never lonely
Whenever you are in sight
I love you for sentimental reasons
I hope you do believe me
I've given you my heart
Right then the door to his room burst open. We both turned to see Tater's younger brother Mikey standing in the doorway. He looked surprised to see us and said, "Oops! Wrong door!" and quickly closed it again with a wall rattling bang.
Runt and I both looked down and seen that we were still holding hands. He released my hand and returned to his painting. After a moment he looked over at me and smiled; I was almost sure that it was the old Runt that was smiling at me.
"You probably better get dressed and get back before someone figures out you're not in the kitchen."
I paused and looked into his eyes; I couldn't believe it at the time, heck I don't believe it right now but I honestly wanted to stay. I smiled back and started to raise my brush to my canvas again.
"I SAID GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!" he snarled like a pit-bull dog.
Maybe I was so startled because he yelled so loudly into my face, or maybe the fact that I'd witnessed in a brief second the old Runt being yanked back like a dog on a leash and the mean Runt reemerge. Either way it didn't much matter because they both would have resulted in my reaction which was my body shaking with shock, my brush and paint tray falling to the floor and me tumbling backward onto my diapered backside. I wasn't about to take the time to debate with myself why I was on my diapered butt. Like a fish I flopped onto my belly, smearing paint all over myself and the floor in the process. I quickly gathered my clothes and scrambled to my feet. With my clothes wadded up in my arms I started to open the door as I turned to look at him one last time. I shouldn't have stopped.
"You know with a friend like you..." I began, "who needs enemas!"
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Runt griped.
"It means you're a real shit!" I said and tried to run out the door but I didn't make it even half a step.
His hand came toward my face in ultra slow motion and collided with my chin sending the back of my head knocking against the doorjamb and then bouncing forward into the edge of the solid oak door like one of those speed bags you see boxers training on in the gym. When my head hit the edge of the door it sounded like a melon being smashed open. I had been laid open from over my right eye, down past my temple to my cheekbone. Of course I hadn't known it at the time, all I knew was that I'd heard the crunch of my face hitting the door and saw the platter of blood.
After that first hit I swear I tried to fight him off but he was too strong and he only had to punch me in the chest once to completely overwhelm me. Even with my plastic rib guard on it didn't stop the full impact of the blow. The air was forced out of my lungs and I collapsed to the floor with a knee crunching thud. How many times he hit me after that I don't know; I just remember lying in a ball and him kicking and punching me over and over and over.
The next thing I knew I was lying face down on his bed and the top of my head kept ramming into the hard wooden wall while on the radio the Judds sang...
Mama, he's crazy
Crazy over me
I could feel him on top of me, "NOOO!" I cried out. Then suddenly I couldn't breathe; at first I didn't know why but then I realized that HE WAS CHOKING ME! I tried to move, tried to buck him off and I must have succeeded because the next thing I knew I was on my back on the floor and he was on top of me with his hands clamped around my throat. His face was right there, less then an inch away from my own and oddly it was his buzzed head that I focused on. And just before I blacked out I heard a screech, saw Vera appear out of nowhere and attach herself to Runts face. Runt screamed like a girl, fell over backward and then everything went dark.
I woke up to find Lowell and Peter standing over me looking wholly bothered. Each was holding one of my legs up in the air like goal posts and neither gave the impression that they had noticed that I had regained consciousness. They both appeared to be experiencing some measure of discomfort; however, too late I understood they were merely experiencing sympathetic pains for yours truly.
I felt quite a lot of pressure at my rectums opening and felt a U.R.O. slip into me. If you don't know what a U.R.O. is, don't feel bad, because I just made it up. A U.R.O. is an Unidentified Rectal Object. The instant I felt the U.R.O. enter me I began to think that Runt was at it again and began to fight but I couldn't because my arms didn't seem to be working. I rolled my head left and then right to see that Timmy and Jonathan were playing a game of tug-a-war with my arms.
"Let go!" I ordered but they acted as if I was speaking Klingon or something.
I looked into Timmy's eyes, "What are you doing? Stop! Let go of me!"
I felt a sharp pain, I mean SHARP and I opened my mouth to scream but nothing came out because someone had clamped his or her hand over it. I found out later that it had been Cho.
Sister Sarafina stood up and that's when I realized she was there too and I knew that if she was there then there was no way Runt was there doing what I first thought was happening to me again. She handed this big red balloon thing to a ten foot tall Tyler who must have been standing on something to be so tall. He strained to hold the red balloon way up over his head while Sister Sarafina bent back over and began pinning a thick diaper onto me. While she worked my stomach started to feel full like after a Thanksgiving dinner; and by the time she finished diapering me the full feeling had steadily grown until I felt like I had one of those baby aliens from the movie Alien inside of my stomach trying to get out through my belly button.
When she had finished diapering me I looked
back up at Tyler who was still holding the red balloon only it appeared to have
shrunk quite a lot. I also noticed for the first time that it had an especially
fat red string tied to the end of it. Oddly,
Given that I couldn't move, I had no choice but to lie there with my feet held in the air and watching as the balloon shrank smaller and smaller until it was flat as a pancake. It was actually kind of a remarkable thing to observe.
Once deflated, the Sister took the balloon
I must have went back to sleep after that because I don't remember anything until I woke up again and no one was around; or at least that was the first impression that I got. But boy was I feeling bad! I felt like I'd just spent twenty minutes in the ring with the wrestler `The Undertaker'... and I lost!
I only had a few moments to wonder where I was and to remember what Runt had done to me. Over and over again I kept seeing his face close to mine, and the way the dim light highlighted the stubble on the top of his head. The mentally recorded images of him repulse me more then what I can put into words here. That was when I made a promise to myself that I would never be anything like him and ever since then I have never allowed anyone to cut my hair.
When Sister Sarafina appeared with a cool washcloth I felt relieved that I wasn't alone. She began to dab softly at my forehead and saw that my eyes were open.
"Welcome back to dee living my boy." She said with a caring smile.
When she spoke, her Jamaican accent sounded like an angel was speaking to me, and it made me feel better somehow.
She rewet the cloth and dab at the side of my face and for the first time I realized that I must be injured pretty badly because each time she dabbed at my face with the cloth it felt like she was jabbing me with a red hot poker.
When the bulk of the pain subsided I was able to find my voice.
"W-where am I?" I asked and I didn't recognize my own voice. It sounded feeble and nasally.
To my surprise Micky, who I couldn't see, answered. "Found ya like that lie'n in here with that devil-cat lie'n on'ya." He explained.
He stepped to where I could see him and held out his left arm. Pulling the sleeve of his jacket up with his right hand I saw that his hand and forearm had been badly scratched.
"Dat cat wouldn't let eny'a us get n'r ya!" He continued to say, "So'z we fig'red we had ta trust da Sis'er chere and tell `er about dis place. `Cause she's da only one dat rat eat'n monst'a likes."
"Vera likes Sister Sarafina?" I thought to myself. Well it seems there are two people in this world that she's taken a liking too; her master, Mr. Peterson and now sister Sarafina.
When I realized that Micky and the Sister were looking at me longingly I spoke up, "Found me like what?" and before they could answer I said, "Wait!"
I began to realize where I was at.
"Am in our secret place?" I asked looking around with my eyes only and not understanding how I could have got there.
I knew there was no way Vera could have dragged me out of Runt's cabin room and that is for sure. Of course at the time I didn't know that my brother Jamie had been hiding aboard the Banachelli all that time. Later he would confess that he had found me lying on the floor inside Runts room and brought me into the secret room.
Now I'm sure you are wondering how Jamie knew
about the secret room! Well I was too, so a day or two after he had rescued
When Micky found out that Jamie had been in the secret room he had said, "Boy! I thought t'were dat cat wot's always sneaking af'er Simon."
Which I wouldn't have put passed Vera. I mean a cat that old and that mean probably knows how to find food no matter what kind it might be.
It was a real mystery to everyone at the time how I managed to get into the secret room all by my self considering how terribly messed up I was but everyone was more concerned with my wellbeing then that little mystery.
Sister Sarafina shushed us all.
"You be still now child."
She placed a finger over my lips to keep me from talking anymore.
"Let Sister Sarafina fix you up good as new." She told me and so I closed my eyes to rest them for just a minute but that minute lasted several days.
When Sister Sarafina finally allowed the guys to come visit again I started to get some more answers. They told me that someone had beaten me badly; of course I knew who that someone was but I wasn't telling... at least not right away.
How they even knew to go looking for me in the first place was just dumb luck because Timmy and Lowell had happened to run into Micky. They told him that I had never showed up to help make dinner and well, then Micky told the rest of our bunk mates and a couple others that he knew could be trust. Like a good War General, Micky ordered his men to search every room, every corridor, every nook and every cranny until they found me. He also told them to not let anyone else know that they were looking for me... just in case.
"You best know now," Micky said and held a small broken mirror overtop of me.
When I seen my face and how swollen it was and the gash that ran all the way down the side of my face I began to cry. But my tears didn't last very long; they quickly morphed into anger, then rage, then burning hatred.
"We t'ink t'was..." Timmy started to say but Micky broke in with, "Dat Runt fella!" and there was great distaste in his words... more then what I thought there should have been.
I looked in Micky's eyes and I instantly knew that what Runt had done to me—I mean the sex part, not the beating part—he'd done to Micky too and God knows who else.
Jonathan jumped in with a jovial, "Ya should see `is face!"
"Spec't dat cat got hold o' `em!" Micky said with a devious grin.
"Looks like ya gave `em a blackeye!" Peter said with a twinkle in his eye.
I didn't acknowledge or shoot down their theories about Runt but I took a bit of pleasure in knowing that Vera had done some damage when she was attacking him. I just wish she had got there sooner and then I realized that had I not got the door open when I did, Vera never would have been able to help me. Who knows what else Runt might have done to me then; he probably would have strangled or beat me to death.
Micky had taken to leaning over me when he talked
so I pushed him away and asked, "Where's
The guys got quiet so I tried to lift my head up but it hurt too much.
"Don't move!" the Sister said pushing me back down, "I gave you some special medicines to make you better but it will also make you very, very dizzy if you get up. So stay still or I'll give you some of me good stuff and you will sleep for a week!"
"And more vitamins too!" someone else added and the comment went completely unnoticed by me until much later when I would learn that the liquid vitamins we were being given everyday were not vitamins at all. It was a drug that originally was developed for young children that suffer from Precocious Puberty and helps them to grow at a more normal rate. However, in the quantities that we were receiving it was doing great harm to our bodies `causing among other things, severely stunted growth and development, as well as kidney problems that resulted in complete incontinence. But then again, none of us knew any of that at the time, we had been sold on the idea that we were being given vitamins and vitamins are good for you... right?
Micky sighed hard, "He got sent to work with the puters?"
"Puters?" I asked unsure if he was talking about golf or something else.
"Yeah sorry," he tried to talk without his strong southern accent, "Com-pu-ters" he said breaking the word apart.
Obviously I'd been out of it long enough to fall behind in the doings of things aboard the Banachelli so the guys filled me in. Apparently what had been in all those big boxes and crates were computers—and lots of them too. And now any kid that knew anything about computers had been put to work. When I asked what they were doing on the computers I was told that they were making tons and tons of copies of movies and music CD's.
"She ev'n shut down da plastic factory!" Peter added.
"Yeah an' bunches a' us had t'bring the boxes of CD cases all the way here in the middle of the night and they were dang heavy!"
And all the pieces began to come together for
me. The CD and DVD cases are what we had been helping to make in the plastic
factory. And I was sure that Madam-M, or Miss-M as I was getting use to calling
her before Runt attacked me, was now trying to make the Banachelli her base of
operations. I mean, since I had forced her to evacuate the cave under the barn
It took me a while before I was healthy enough to get up. During that time all of the guys managed to cover for me so that Madam-M never suspected I was missing. I also used that time to make plans, send the guys out on information gathering missions and hopefully find out why each of us was brought here in the first place. Something inside of me was making me think that we weren't randomly selected but until I had more information I couldn't be sure what that reason might be.
Of course the day finally came when I was well enough to venture from the secret room however, as luck would have it, while I was walking toward the kitchen Miss-M came out of the door to the room that had formerly been Mr. Wriggle's office. When she saw the enormous scar on my face her entire head turned purple just like in the cartoons. She started to reach out to touch my face but out of instinct I shied away from her hand.
I'd never seen someone grind their teeth and frown at the same time.
"Who did that to you?" she said trying to keep her mounting rage in check.
When she spoke she reminded me of a bear standing on his back legs about to attach.
"I-I d-don't know," I lied.
Saliva foamed at the corners of her mouth. It was the fourth time I had seen her that mad and I would only ever see her that mad once more.
"What do you mean you don't know? How could you not know?"
Despite my lies she found out and I expected she would have beat the crap out of Runt or something but he never showed any sign that she'd punished him at all except for the fact that he missed a couple meals. The next time I saw him was shortly before dinner time the very next day. I had expected him to look like hamburger but instead he looked normal minus the still healing scratches Vera had given him. Even his black eye was healing; there was just some orange and yellow left under his eye.
After I had the run in with Miss-M my first day out of the secret room I went to the kitchen where I found a sober though still rough looking Fyer and Timmy cooking up a storm. The two of them had become a cooking tag-team. The only downside was that Timmy was starting to look a lot like Fyer.
Timmy was the first to spot me coming through the door.
"SIMON'S BACK!" he cheered as if he hadn't just seen me that very morning.
When Fyer saw me, the first thing out of his mouth was, "YOU! YOU BLEW UP MY KITCHEN!" and he threw a whole pickle at me. I amazed all three of us when I caught it.
"I otta turn you over my knee!" he added and the mental image of that was laughable to say the least.
Timmy let loose with a, "Whoa!" when I caught the pickle and that pretty much summed up my feelings about it too.
Fyer then saw my face and seen how I wasn't
standing completely upright. I knew that he already knew about my face because
Fyer was standing on a stool but climbed down from it, walked over to the other side of the kitchen and got out a big sauce pan. He brought it over, turned it upside down and told me to... "Sit your bottom down there and don't even think of trying to help us!" and he actually smiled. It wasn't a normal smile, it was one of those smiles you see the dorks in school use when they are getting their year book photo's taken.
I couldn't get over how Fyer sounded, I mean I thought that the way I had heard him before was how he talked but that was just all the booze.
While I sat on the sauce pan watching Timmy chop up a mess of carrots, Fyer came back up to me and handed me a bowl and spoon. I couldn't believe my eyes when I looked into the bowl and saw chocolate chip ice-cream and not that store bought kind; this had big chunks of chocolate and was fresh made right there in the Banachelli kitchen. Boy nothing has ever tasted so good as that ice-cream did.
That was the only day that Fyer let me just sit and watch them work. The next day he made me sit on that same pot again but this time he put a vegetable peeler in my hand and had me peeling potatoes until I thought my fingers were going to fall off.
When I had come in that second day Timmy had been giggling as was Fyer but the boy stopped when they saw me. After I'd been sitting peeling potatoes for about ten minutes Fyer popped up with, "Alright, I got one!"
"One what?" I asked him thinking he was talking to me.
Timmy looked over at Fyer, "It's about time!"
Fyer glanced my way then looking at Timmy as he began, "There was this Indian walking through the desert when he found a cowboy hat."
"Have you heard this one?" Fyer asked and I knew he wasn't asking me.
"Nope!" Timmy answered.
Fyer then looked my way and figuring he was telling a joke I shook my head to indicate that I hadn't heard it before either.
Fyer continued to work while he spoke, "The Indian picked up the hat, brushed it off and put it on his head saying, `Good hat!' and continued walking.
A little while later, the Indian came upon a stage coach with several cowboys in it. The cowboys asked the Indian if he wanted a ride.
The Indian thinks to himself, `Must be lucky day. First me find hat now get to ride. He tells the cowboys, `Me like'm ridding better than walking.' and so he climbed into the stage coach.
After a few minutes one of the cowboys says to another cowboy, ask him if he wants a beer. When asked the Indian replied, `Me like'm beer very much!'
A while later one of the cowboys says to another cowboy, `Ask him if he's into oral loving.' to which the Indian quickly replied, `No, no! Me no cowboy! Me just find the hat!"
When Fyer finished telling his joke he began to laugh so loud and so hard I thought he was going to fall into whatever it was he was cooking.
"I don't get it!" I said after thinking about it for a minute.
I looked at Timmy and he looked perplexed too but then suddenly, as if a firecracker had gone off in his head, Timmy yelped with laughter, "I GET IT! I GET IT!"
And even after Timmy explained it to me I still wasn't sure I got it.
"I still don't get it." I said more to myself then to them.
Fyer just waved me off with his ladle and said, "You're too young for that joke anyway!"
"What?" I griped, "I'm older than Timmy!"
Fyer looked at Timmy before saying anything else. "Well then he's smarter," he said pointing at Timmy with the ladle, "and you're too soft up here." He pointed at his head.
"What?" I griped again, "Are you saying I'm dumb?"
They both laughed and I just sat there abusing a potato.
There was something else that happened that second day in the kitchen that bears recording here. I was sitting in such a way that when the door opened I had an unobstructed view into the outer room. It wasn't intentional for Fyer to put me there, that's just how it worked out. I was about a step and a half away from Timmy who was kneeling on a tall stool chopping green peppers when the door swung opened and Mikey, Tater's younger brother walked in with a large sack of onions slung over his shoulder.
"Where you want these?" Mikey grunted to Fyer.
Mikey then saw my face and exclaimed loudly, "What happened to you!"
While Mikey stood holding the door open with his elbow I could see out to the other room where Miss-M, Tater and Runt were standing talking and laughing. After what he'd done to me, seeing Runt laughing made something in me snap.
I wasn't aware of standing up or grabbing the big chopping knife away from Timmy or even running out of the kitchen either. I think the entire ship heard Runt let out a blood curdling scream as I swung the knife wildly. It wasn't until Tate had wrestled me to the ground that I even knew I was off my cooking pot seat.
"What the hell's gotten into you Spaz?" Tater shouted.
"Ask that son-of-a..." I started to scream but Tater had unknowingly tried to cover my mouth and had hurt me bad enough to silence me.
Runt was standing about ten feet away cradling his arm which now had three gashes, each about six inches long and was spewing blood.
Madam-M snatched the knife out of my hand before I could get my arm free from Tater's grip.
"What's he talking about?" Tater asked and I didn't know if he was addressing Runt or Madam-M.
Tater got to his feet, but I was still on the floor recovering and that was when Tate saw the nasty scab covered scar on the side of my face.
"What the f**k! Who the hell did you get that?" he asked and I looked into his eyes but it wasn't Tater that I saw.
Madam-M was hurriedly trying to rap a cloth around Runts arm when Tater stood up and looking at Runt while pointing back to me he screamed, "What the f**k happened to him?"
"F**k him and f**k you too!" Runt shouted back trying to keep his bleeding arm tightly to his body.
"All of you stop it this instant!" Madam-M said trying to get the three of us under control.
In an instant Tater launched himself at Runt knocking Madam-M over in the process. I saw Tater's left hand collide with Runts face and heard several more smacks before Runt toppled over backward with a floor rattling crash. But that didn't stop Tate, not even Madam-M was able to pull Tate off Runt.
Tate was talking between each punch...
SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK!
I couldn't see the blows connecting but I could hear each one of them between the flaming words coming out of Taters mouth.
I don't know why it came to mind right then but I found it ironic that Tater was the one beating the crap out of Runt considering that he was kind of guilty for the same sort of thing. Yeah I didn't know the true details but I had a good idea what he'd done to Mikey before and I knew for sure what had happened between him and me that one night in his room. Then again, since I didn't know the details, maybe Tate had never crossed the line and forced himself on Mikey the way Runt had me. Maybe what happened back then between the two of them was something mutual just as it had been between Tate and me.
All of this was happening in the space of a few seconds and finally Madam-M stepped back and kicked Tater in the stomach as though she were punting a football in the Super Bowl. Tater went spinning sideways into the air and landed on top of one of the tables which sent it sliding across the floor and into the recently repaired wall. The same wall I had blown a hole threw not so long ago.
The kick looked incredibly painful but Tater didn't stay down. He rolled off the table and tried to stand but Madam-M's hand came down like a tomahawk chop making contact with the right side of Tater's neck. With a moan of pain he went down hard to his knees and this time he stayed down much longer.
In the furry of her stopping Tater from killing Runt, Runt had managed to slip out of the room. When she saw that he had gone, like a switch had been flipped Madam-M turned toward me, reached down and lifted me to my feet.
"Are you ok Simon?" she asked sounding motherly.
I was still mad, "You might have stopped me this time but I swear to you I will kill him one day." The words came out of my mouth but they didn't sound anything like me; they sounded almost daemonic.
She squatted to be at my height but even while squatting she was still head and shoulders above me. "No you won't. I have already dealt with him for this." She said gesturing toward my face.
I spat my words into her face. "Doesn't look like you did!"
Her eyes were dwelling on my scarred face, "Not all scars are visible for all to see but that doesn't mean they aren't there."
"My boy hurt you," she said softly.
"Your boy?" I hissed and I could tell by her eyes that she hadn't meant to call Runt that.
"Runt," she corrected herself, "hurt you and now today you got your revenge by cutting him. It's over now. Do you hear me?" she said keeping her voice calm.
Tater was trying to get to his feet. He was holding his stomach and wincing a lot but he was able to stand.
Madam-M snapped her fingers in front of my face to get my attention off Tate. "It is over!"
I looked over at Tater again and again she snapped her fingers.
"I want to hear you say that it is over." She said still remaining cool and under control.
"How do I know that he won't try something again?" I snapped my fingers back at her and was disappointed when she didn't react to it at all.
She only paused for a split second before saying with extremely confidence, "He won't!" but she must have seen that I wasn't sold on it yet so she added, "However, if he disobeys me and tries to harm you again I will make sure there won't be a third time."
There was a small clanking sound behind me. I looked over my shoulder to see Fyer standing in the doorway to the kitchen holding a cleaver in one hand and an iron frying pan in the other. His eyes were locked on Madam-M with a hatred I thought only I felt for her.
I looked back to Madam-M and said, "And that's supposed to make me feel better? I'll be dead but that doesn't matter because I know you will punish him?"
"I already told you that he won't do anything to you ever again." She said this time her voice sounded a bit colder.
I looked over at Tater who was now leaning against the wall looking pissed and also trying to keep his distance from Fyer. Both of his hands looked to be bleeding but I supposed that could have been Runts blood.
"Ok, but if he so much as looks at me wrong the deals off!" I said still just as angry and on fire as I was the moment I'd attacked Runt.
"That is if I don't get to him first!" Tater said directing his words toward me. His words didn't come out sounding very strong, as a matter of fact it sounded like it pained him greatly to speak but he still got his point across.
Madam-M turned her whole upper body to look at Tater, "That goes for you too!" she said and somehow she sounded more like she were scolding a disobedient toddler when she addressed Tate.
I felt someone tugging on my arm and looked over to see Fyer had a hold of my right forearm. "Come on son; get yourself back to the kitchen."
And that was the end of that. Once Fyer was sure I hadn't hurt myself he sat me back on the overturned pot, shoved the vegetable peeler into my right hand and a potato into my left.
"No more knives for you!" He said patting my knee and giving me a wink.
Timmy was just standing there with his fists on his hips looking very annoyed.
"What?" I said as though nothing had happened.
Trying to look mean Timmy said, "Ya' took my fav'rite knife!"
Rounding third and headed for home
When I wasn't in the kitchen pulling potato
duty I was elsewhere within or on top of the Banachelli helping with various
things that needed done. It was one week to the day after I had emerged from
the secret room that Hurricane Katrina struck and that very night I was
reunited with my brother Jamie. On the early morning of the next day, the
Banachelli, which had been land locked for so many years, returned to the open
waters from which it came. The winds of Katrina blew us out into the middle of
the Gulf of Mexico where the current found us and carried us out into the
middle of the
There is no way to accurately describe the sounds that old ship made as it tipped and rolled front-to-back, side-to-side, up-and-down. At first it was so scary that every last one of us found it hard to sleep but within a few days either we got use to it or we got so tired that we didn't care what went bump in the night.
After my run in with Miss-M over my little
problem with stuttering which nearly got
The night after I had attacked Runt I'd asked
Mickey, Lowell and the rest of the guys from our room to bring every boy they
knew they could trust to our room in one week to plan our escape. Thirteen of
us including Mikey and Tater came to that first
meeting however our escape plan was of course foiled by Hurricane Katrina. That
put an end to any ideas of escape. I mean where would we escape to in the
middle of the
After a few weeks out to sea I had been summoned to Miss-M's office for reassignment elsewhere on the ship. At least that is what the boy told me when he came to fetch me in the kitchen.
"You that Simon kid?" He asked with a trembling voice. It was clear that he wasn't comfortable being in such close proximity to Fyer. I might have also been a bit of a contributor to his nervous condition. I'd heard some of the rumors going around the ship about how I had tired to cut off Runts arm or tried to carve my name in Runts flesh. It seemed everyday the rumors got more and more wild.
I nearly barfed when I saw that the boy had a booger hanging half way out of his nose.
"Oh dude!" I gasped. "You have a booger hanging out of your nose!"
I'm not sure what I expected him to do but I sure as heck didn't expect him to do what he did. No, he didn't eat it but it was nearly as gross watching him reach up, pick it and then wipe it on the front of his shirt.
I could feel that feeling you get way down deep when you know your about to blow chunks however Fyer said something right then that got my mind off the booger.
"What do you want?" Fyer shouted from the other side of the room causing us both to jump.
The kid began to quake as he said, "Madam-M sent for Simon. He's being reassigned!"
The boy was positively scared to death and for good reason. Fyer had a reputation on our ship for chopping up kids and putting them in our food. At least that was the latest rumor I hard about him. It was one of my favorite rumors too.
"Well go tell her ladyship that she can't have him!" Fyer was all but growling at this point, "He's mine!"
When the boy didn't run away Fyer waved a knife in the air and this time he did growl just like a big angry bear. The boy began to cry and scream as he ran out of the kitchen.
I laughed as did Timmy and Fyer.
Fyer said, "Boy I love scaring the life out of them brats!"
"Yeah bet you scared the pee right out of him!" I said.
When neither of them reacted to that I said, "I suppose I better go see what she wants."
"Ah the hell with her!" Fyer said.
"Yeah but still." I said and dropped the big spoon I had been using to stir the soup.
"Simon?" Mom called for me from the front seat but I was so lost in my writing that she had to say my name three more times before I heard her.
Sounding a bit like a caveman I grunted as I looked up from my e-journal, "erruuuh?"
I noticed almost immediately that the van was stopped at a gas station.
"Where are we?" I asked looking out the windows.
"The vet!" Dad joked, "We're going to have you fixed."
"Har—Har—Hardy—Har—Har!" I scoffed back up to him, "I may have a few dents but I'm far from broken!
"Maybe we should put you into the body shop then." Dad laughed back.
"Yeah you can pimp my body..." and instantly I knew that what I had said didn't sound right. "Oh wait that didn't come out right!"
But it was too late; both mom and dad roared with laughter. You see lately dad's favorite show on TV has been Pimp My Ride on MTV and that was what I was trying to mean but as usual I flubbed it up.
"NO! NO! NO! I didn't mean it like that!" I laughed and tried to hide my embracement with my hands.
"Out of the mouths of babes!" mom chuckled.
Now I didn't think what I said was as funny as dad seemed to think it was. He was pounding on the steering wheel and snorting.
Still laughing dad looked at me in his rearview mirror and said, "Nearly out of gas; got to fill up." And then mom said to me, "I was trying to ask you if you want a Coke or something?"
During the long drive back I'd worked up a healthy thirst as well as a strong case of the munchies. "Oh yeah!" I said unbuckling my seatbelt, "Can I come in and get a candy bar or some chips or something?" I asked.
"Come on." Dad said climbing out of the van.
Mom called after dad, "Better get some milk too."
The second my shoes hit the hard concrete I knew that I had a serious problem. Dad was turning around with the pump nozzle in his hand and started to ask if everything was ok but stopped when he saw the enormous wet spot on the back of my pants.
I looked up at him, "Honest! I didn't know!"
He poked his head into the van and saw the spot I'd left on the seat then gave me his dad look. I hung my head and turned to mom, "Mom I..." but she was already out of the van and coming around to help me.
"Back up in the van and lay down." She said.
"But mom, what if someone see?!" I objected.
Her reply was, "No one is going to see. Now hurry up or you won't get to go into the store."
"Are we almost home? Can I just change into a GoodNite in the bathroom?" I pleaded earnestly.
"Oh I suppose!" she finally relented and thankfully she was the one to go ask for the bathroom key from the gas station attendant while I stayed partially hid by the van and the gas pump. Dad got one of my GoodNites out of the back of the van along with a change of clothes and a couple towels for the seat. As soon as mom came back with the key I lit out like a wild animal was after me. When I got to the bathroom door I looked down at the key and the large piece of wood that it was chained too. The wood said, LADIES in big red block letters.
"Ah mom!" I groaned and thought about running back to the van and having her get the other key but I heard someone coming. Panic was setting in so I made a quick decision, unlocked the ladies bathroom and quickly closed and relocked the door.
"OH MY GAWD!" I said when the horrible stench was drawn into my nostrils. "That's just nasty!" I exclaimed and instantly wished I hadn't opened my mouth because not only could I smell it, now I could taste the retched stink!
I started to reopen the bathroom door to escape the smell but I could hear at least two people outside the bathroom door talking and from the sound of them it was two girls.
I pressed the clean shirt and pants against my fact and tried to breathe threw them but honestly it didn't help.
"OK Simon!" I started to say to myself, "You can either go out there and have those girls see you with wet pants and a wet sagging diaper... and also have them see you, A BOY, coming out of the girl's bathroom; or you can stay in here, change your clothes and probably blow chunks in the process."
In the end I decided to stay in the bathroom. Puking I could deal with! Having strange girls seeing me in wet pants and a wet diaper? Nope that would be worse then upchucking!
However, changing proved to be harder then I thought. There wasn't a single surface that I could set my clean clothes on while I changed. So I had to hold my clean clothes while I took off my wet clothes.
"Did you see how beautiful his eyes were?" one of the girls outside the door said and I figured they must be real close to the door for me to hear them so clearly.
Boom! Boom! Boom! Someone hammered on the outside of the door and then yelled, "Hurry up in there would you!"
They startled me so badly that I nearly dropped my clean shirt onto the sticky bathroom floor.
I started by removing my wet shirt and spreading it out on the floor. I then was able to remove my shoes without having to stand on that floor. I then stripped nude, tossing the sopping wet diaper into the trashcan and disturbing the three flies that were buzzing around it. Boy it sure made a lot of racket too and I wondered what the girls must have thought about it.
Boom! Boom! Boom! They pounded again, "Come on would ya! There's other people that need to get in there ya know!"
I had the GoodNite pulled on and was pulling my dry pants back on when I heard a man's voice outside the door say, "Come on; you can go at the restaurant across the street."
Standing motionless I tried to listen for them leaving but I couldn't hear anything at all. I think I finished putting the rest of my clothes on in record time.
When I had my shoes back on I stepped off my shirt and carefully picked it up being sure not to touch any part of it that had been in contact with the floor or my shoes. The fabric stuck to the floor, especially where I had been standing on it and I had to pull to get it up.
Since I didn't know if those girls were still outside the door or not I unlocked the door and ran out so fast that had they been there, they never could have seen who I was. However no one was around and boy was I glad.
Back at the van mom asked for the key.
"Mom you don't want to go in there!" I said and then explained just how bad it really was.
When I tried to hand my wet things to her she said, "Oh no, you take them and put them in one of those plastic garbage bags." She then added, "And use one of your diaper wipes to clean your hands!"
By the time I had put my wet things away Dad had finished pumping the gas and was inside paying. I ran for the store and opened the door as he was coming out.
He handed me a ten dollar bill and said, "I already got the milk. Get whatever you want and bring me back my change."
I slipped past him with a quick, "Thanks," and entered the convenience store. It only took a few seconds to locate the snack food isle but to my surprise I found more then just snacks. There was another boy in the isle and at first sight I was sure that I knew him from somewhere but for the life of me I couldn't place where I'd seen him before.
"Hi," I said hoping that he would remember who I was. The boy, who had been trying to choose between a Milkyway bar and a Payday candy bar, turned to face me and that's when I recalled where it was we had met before.
"Cole?" I gasped not really believing that I'd run into one of the boys that I'd spent time with in the hospital after being beaten up by Peter Alderman. Gee-whiz that seems like such a long time ago now.
Cole looked at me like I had three eyes and carrots growing out of my ears. Realizing that with my scar and long hair I didn't look the same I said, "It's me Simon Leonard from the hospital."
It was funny watching his eyes and seeing the recognition dawning on him.
"WOAH, SIMON?" Cole shouted and his expression told me that he was just as surprised to see me too.
He put down the Milkyway bar and exclaimed, "Holy freaking buckets!"
He then raked his fingers through his sun faded hair to pull his bangs out of his eyes.
"Man I saw them talking about you on TV." He said pointing at me with the Payday candy bar in his hand.
"Yeah I get that a lot." I replied, "So how's the arm?"
He raised his hand up and wiggled his fingers, "Works like new! I can do everything but this..." he said and then lifted his arm up over his head and laughed.
"Oh you can't do that huh?" I laughed too.
Right then his mom walked into the isle and despite my long hair, my scarred face or the fact that I was skinnier and well tanned, she still knew who I was in an instant. I knew I was in for a painful reunion when she saw me and I braced for it. She fell on me balling and hugging too tightly and I was right `cause it hurt like mad.
"You're hurting me!" I whimpered.
I wish she hadn't felt so bad about it, I mean it wasn't like she meant to hurt me. She apologized profusely as she petted my scar lovingly and tried to stop her own tears.
I glanced at Cole who was rolling his eyes and looking embarrassed to have his mom blubbering in a public place.
"Moooom!" Cole pleaded for her to stop.
After a few more tears and another, much more gentle hug she stood up and took the candy bar from Cole. She then went to the cashier and left the two of us alone again.
I was just about to say something to Cole when from behind me I heard my dad ask, "Simon is everything ok?"
I turned to see that he looked very concerned.
"Dad! This is Cole, from the hospital when..." I didn't have to finish.
"Well I'll be! How are you doing Cole?" Dad said extending his hand to shake Coles. Dad looked just as surprised to see Cole there too.
"Real good!" Cole said.
"Yeah well you look great to kiddo!"
Oh man why do parents have to call our friends stupid names like kiddo, sport or champ?
Finally Cole's mom spotted my dad and the two of them started talking so Cole and I were able to have two words between us.
"You look like you've been out in the sun!" I said.
Cole explained that his parents had bought a new house and while it was being painted they went on vacation. What was even more remarkable was the fact that they were vacationing not far from where we had been.
"Really?" I exclaimed.
"Yeah I went up with my best friends' family and then mom and dad came up later." I said.
"Were you in the tan beach house or the red one?" he asked.
"The tan one." I answered even though I was surprised to hear that there was more then one beach house around where we were staying. I had honestly thought we had been the only people around for miles.
"Yeah, we stayed in that one last year. It is the best one too `cause it's so close to the water!" he said and then proceeded to explain to me that there are three private houses but they are so far apart so that no one can bother you while you are vacationing there.
After talking for a few minutes dad said that we needed to be going soon. However before I left I gave Cole my home number because he didn't know what their new number was going to be at their new house.
When I was back in the van with mom and dad, and after mom and dad had another little reunion with Cole's parents outside, I found out from dad that Cole's family was moving into the new housing complex that is only about ten minutes by car from our house.
We were only back on the road for a few minutes when it struck me that I'd been so excited to see Cole that I had forgot to get my soda and a snack. Dad decided that it was probably a good idea for us to stop and have a good meal so we stopped at some fish restaurant.
It was so funny what mom did next. Dad hardly had the van stopped when mom jumped out and ran into the restaurant to pee. Dad and I were just walking in the door when she came back out of the bathroom looking so relieved.
When she got closer to me I leaned in and whispered, "Mom if you wore diapers like me you wouldn't have that problem."
She grabbed a fist full of my hair on top and acted like she was pulling me up by my hair. At the same time she leaned down and gave me a kiss on my lips before acting like she was going to bite my nose off.
We were being shown to our seat when all of a sudden my bowels constricted and I filled the back of my GoodNite and I do mean FILLED. I didn't have to tell mom or dad because it was obvious to everyone around us because it had been loud.
The restaurant had been packed and noisy but when I crapped my GoodNite those that had been sitting near by stopped talking, eating or whatever they had been doing and looked right at (GULP) ME!
I didn't look at anyone; I only concentrated on my shoes as mom said, "Sweetheart, could you order for us. We'll be right back." And I figured she was talking to dad.
She took my hand and led me to the back of the restaurant and into the ladies bathroom. This time I didn't even hesitate when I saw the sign on the door however, when mom started to open the changing table that was mounted to the bathroom wall I just had to voice my objection, "Mom I'm too big for that! I will break it!"
But she acted like I hadn't said anything. She just sat the diaper bag on the floor and I knew she intended to put me up there no matter how much I objected.
I quickly looked to the bathroom door however, there was no lock.
"Please God! If you are really up there then please, please, please don't let anyone come in!" I prayed silently but of course you know that wouldn't be the case. God was probably off worrying about some third-world country and much too busy to help someone like me. Sure enough, no sooner did mom have my poop smeared rear exposed then the door swung open.
I still don't know why I lifted my head to look but I did and I saw two girls. Both looked to be in their early teens and they were leading in a boy that I guessed was maybe six but since I could only see part of his head I wasn't really too sure.
Mom looked toward them, hesitated for a second and then said, "I should only be a couple more minutes then you can have the changing table."
"That's ok miss, you don't need to rush. We can wait." I heard one of the girls say back.
My entire head must have been filled with blood because I could feel each beat of my heart echoing around inside my skull. It seemed to take her forever to clean my bottom and to make matters worse she didn't use a disposable to re-diaper me but instead she pulled a cloth diaper and plastic pants out of my diaper bag. Had those girls not been present I would have put up a fuss but I just wanted it to be over and get the heck out of Dodge-City!
When she sat me back up I saw that the plastic pants were clear blue with green frogs sitting on yellow leaves. With my pants still around my ankles she helped me off the changing table and made me move out of the way so that the two girls could gain access to change the other boy.
While mom pulled my pants up I saw that the boy was older then I first though, though he was short he looked more like he was seven or maybe even eight-years-old. Amazingly he didn't seem to mind at all that the two girls were changing him while mom and I were standing right there.
Back out in the restaurant I sat next to the wall and did my best to slouch down in the seat without hurting my back too much. One good thing about that particular restaurant was they leave the menus at the table all the time. They just fold them up and slip them into this wooden holder against the wall. I was able to use one of the menu's to help hide my face and thankfully mom and dad didn't make me put it away; well at least not until the food came.
The food was good but I didn't really enjoy it too much. All through the meal I could feel everyone looking at me and I couldn't wait to get out of there. I ate so fast that mom had to tell me three times to slow down and chew my food.
When dad asked if I wanted dessert I said, "No can we just go?" the desperation on my voice must have come across loud and clear because dad asked for the check right away.
Now I didn't actually run out of the restaurant but as soon as dad said, "Let's go." I was the first to my feet and walked quickly out of there with my eyes on the floor.
Back in the Van mom said, "I think we're going to have to work harder on your learning to be re-toilet trained." I didn't say a single word back either.
The Three Cabiaros back together again
We hadn't been home ten minutes before I was already getting myself into trouble. The second I walked through the door I kicked off my shoes and socks. Mom told me to keep them on but I'm sorry, bare footing it is the only way to go! Anyway, I was helping to carry in the stuff from the van when I walked threw the backdoor and stubbed my pinky toe on one of the kitchen chairs. You know something about stubbing your toe? When you first do it, for like three-tenths of a second it doesn't hurt which is just long enough for your brain to say, "Oh no that's going to really hurt!" Well I'm here to tell you that it did hurt, A LOT!
As soon as my toe made contact with that chair leg my mouth opened and out came, "Ah f**k!" and I dropped what I'd been carrying.
To make matters even worse I then punctuated it with, "Shit that hurts!" And if stubbing my toe weren't bad enough when I went to catch myself I jammed my thumb against the back of the chair and bent my thumbnail backwards.
"Son of a..." I started to say but I didn't get to finish.
"Simon David Leonard!" Mom shouted, "What did you just say?"
I should have kept my big mouth shut but oooooh no, I had to say something cute. "Uh, ouchy?"
Once mom was sure I hadn't broken my toe or my thumb she then got mad. She threatened to make me eat an entire bar of soap which would have been bad but at least it would have been over and done with after a few minutes. No, she decided that I needed a time out. A TIME OUT?!?! What am I six?
So I got to spend the next hour standing with my nose in the corner of the living room like I was a toddler. Ok granted I might look like an overgrown toddler but still...
I was in that corner so long that I had time
to think and the first thing I thought of was the fact that I didn't even get a
chance to call for a lawyer to come bail me out of this suburban penitentiary.
I was grumbling and groaning over the whole idea of being made to stand in the
corner just because I said a couple cuss words. I mean, I know saying them is a
bad thing but give me a break, it's not as if I said them on purpose! I
shouldn't have got solitary confinement when it was obvious that I only said
them under extreme direst! I was under attack by a chair! What was I supposed
to say? `Ah gee-whiz and shucky-darn that hurt ma?'
What does she think I am? Some kind of country bumpkin like that
Yeah I know I'm exaggerating a bit but still it just didn't seem fair! After standing there a bit longer I began to imagine myself calling the White House and asking to speak to the President. "Hello Mr. President? Yeah I'm being held prisoner without a trial which I do believe is a complete violation of the Geneva Convention! Do something would ya?"
Seeing how my thumb was still aching a bit, I shoved it into my mouth to try and sucked away the pain.
"Ouch!" I exclaimed and pulled it back out to look at the nail. I then said, "I need my thumbnails trimmed!"
After I'd done my time I apologies for cussing and promised I wouldn't do it again. Yeah, I'm sure she believed that one! Dad then took me back to my room and changed my diaper which I hadn't noticed until I moved was hanging so low on me that I had to walk like I had a load in the back; which I didn't have. If I hadn't had pants on I'm sure my diaper would have fallen right off of me.
When he was done he asked me to take all of my dirty clothes, along with the wet diaper and put them in the laundry room.
Since we were home now I didn't even bother to put my pants back on which turned out to be a bad choice. I was coming back out of the laundry room when the doorbell rang.
"Simon can you get that please?" Mom shouted from the back of the house.
"OK!" I shouted and answered the door.
It didn't occur to me until after I had opened the door that I wasn't wearing any pants and that my disposable diaper was right out there for anyone and everyone to see. When I saw Mary's dad standing there I went from zero to full tilt embarrassed in less than 3.5 millisecond. Mr. Turner who was in full uniform was obviously taken off guard by my appearance because he didn't say anything.
I tried to pull the front of my shirt down to hide my diaper but my shirt was much to short for that. I turned and started to run to my room while shouting, "Mom, Dad, it's Mr. Tucker!"
I wasn't half way down the hallway when once again my bowels tighten and I felt like I was about to crap a whole chicken. The feeling hit so fast and with hardly any warning at all that I didn't have a chance to stop it. This one was much louder and much more liquidy then the one I'd had in the restaurant. As I slipped into my room the contents of my diaper sloshed around and I was thinking to myself, "I feel sorry for the one that has to change this diaper!"
A moment later I could hear dad saying, "Simon, why didn't you ask him to come in? I'm sorry about that, please come on in!"
"On no; I should be the one to apologize. I think I might have caught your son while he was getting dressed." I heard Mr. Tucker say just before I closed my bedroom door.
I got the door closed just in time for my next performance of the diaper toots. Have you ever farted while in the bathtub? That is how it sounded, like gasses under extreme pressure being released deep under water. I think I muttered something like, "Looks like it's going to be one of those evenings!"
I knew I probably should have gone to get mom to change me but with Mary's dad out there, there was no way I was going to be leaving my room in my present condition.
That's when I spotted the bottle sitting on the corner of my desk and thought out loud, "Geez! That was sure nice of mom to get a fresh bottle for me already!" I picked it up and sucked.
"AH-Bllluuuuck!" I groaned, "Oh boy! That is defiantly not fresh!" and then remembered leaving it setting on my desk before I left to go to the beach with BJ. Using my shirt I wiped at my tongue to try and get the tasted of extremely spoiled milk out of my mouth.
"Vile, discusting, blucky, gross!" I said while spitting onto my shirt. I found it utterly impossible for my mother to have left a bottle of milk sitting in my room all the time I'd been gone. Mom just doesn't do things like that. She's the kind that while you turn to get ice will take your glass, pore it out and put it into the dishwasher before you have a chance to turn back around.
When I finished gagging I pulled off my shirt and dropped it into my laundry basket.
Of course right then, there was a tapping nose
on my window. I figured it had to be one of my friends and expected it to be BJ
but when I pulled the curtain back I saw that it was
Now I should explain here that gone are the days when I could sneak out or have people crawling in threw my bedroom window. Dad had installed a special, high-tech keyed lock that prevents me from opening my window more then three inches except in the event of an emergency. Don't ask me how a stupid lock is supposed to know what is and what isn't considered an emergency but apparently it does. He never told me he did it either, I discovered it for myself the day before I left for vacation and chose not to say anything about it.
I lifted the sash as far as it would go and said, "Hey Lowell! How'd you know we were home?"
"I saw your van," was his simple reply.
"Oh, well are ya happy to see me?" I joked with him.
In fact that struck me as about the funniest thing I'd heard today however Lowell didn't think it was as funny as all that.
"You're easily distracted by bright shiny objects aren't you?" he said while trying to look like a retarded hillbilly bumpkin.
"Shut up and get in here!" I said still chuckling.
"Well, aren't we just a ray of sunshine?" he said before I could get the window closed.
I heard the doorbell ring and a few seconds
later I heard the phone ring too. When
I chuckled to myself and said, "That's because I need changed dorko!"
I could have killed
"MRS. LEONARD? SIMON NEEDS HIS POOPY DIAPER
I wasn't exactly playing around but he was laughing like I was tickling him and not like I was trying to squeeze his head like a rotten melon.
"No really Simon you seriously reek!" he gasped but I wasn't about to let him go.
The way I was holding onto
I let go of
When mom finished changing my diaper I sat up from my bed and blew mom a kiss while saying, "Thanks mom! You saved my butt again!"
I shot him a look that said, "Shut up or I'm going to hurt you sooooo bad."
Before she left mom pointed at
"Too?" I quickly shot back.
"Jamie's coming over. You're father is on his way to pick him up right now." Mom answered.
I then hesitantly asked, "Mom, is Mr. Tucker still here?"
"Don't call me a dork, you're the dork!" was the only come back I could think of on the spot.
After mom left my room
"Do you think he suspects something?" I asked using the same whispered tone.
Changing the subject I leaned in close to
He smiled knowingly then returned his voice to normal and asked me about my vacation. I told him all about the beach and when I told him about re-hurting my back he punched me hard in the leg with his knuckle and called me a butt-face.
"Man that hurt!" I complained as I rubbed my now aching leg, "You do that again and I'll release the flying monkeys on your diapered butt!"
"Boy!" I said grabbing his hand just in case he was going to do it.
"Ok-ok, keep going." He said.
When I got to the point where I had to decide
if I was going to tell
"I don't know if..." I started to say but
"Just say it really fast." He said.
So I did and when I finished
He stood up and began to pace the room like an expectant father. When he finally started to speak again he looked concerned... no that's not the right word... he looked scared.
"So did they tell you anything else?" he asked.
"Like what?" I asked quickly. It was obvious he hadn't anticipated my question because my words appeared to be causing him considerable pain much the way shoving a sharp pencil in your ear might do.
"R-r-remember when on the Banachelli when I told you that I had read what you had been journaling?" He asked.
"Yeah," I said slowly while trying to figure out where he was going with all of this.
"Well, remember the dream you had?"
"What dream?" I asked, "I have lots of dreams."
The lights just went on in my head. I shoved
"Wait!" I snapped at him angrily. "You knew I was adopted and you didn't tell me?"
"No!" He said shaking his head wildly. "No I didn't know! I mean when I read about your dream that is when I remembered it happening but I didn't know that your Aunt was really your mom until just now!"
It was my turn to begin pulling at my hair
and let's face it, I have a heck of a lot more hair to pull on then
Neither of us spoke for a long time. We eventually both sat back down on my bed staring at each other and thinking. When we did begin to talk again we learned that we had both been thinking about the same thing... the brown colored glass bottle which Aunt Catharine and his mother alike had kept in their refrigerators. We instantly recognized it for what it was, the brown bottle was exactly the same sort of bottle that Madam-M had been giving us our vitamins from when given in the liquid form. There was also the pill form which was given to the majority of the boys on the Banachelli. Really only those of us that were `in charge' received the liquid form. Of course we now know that the so called vitamins were actually a medicine designed to halt and even reverse the natural emergence of growth and puberty in children. I had also learned while on the Banachelli that the drug had been supplemented with other chemicals such as pleasure and mood enhancers and still others that had very strong addictive properties.
Now feeling much more calm and over the first shock of the idea that we had met long before we had first thought, the two of us settled into talking about the past, the extreme past as well as our present lives and our futures too.
"Ok so you're adopted?"
"Uh, I guess you can call it that." I answered.
"So how does that work? Is it like buying stuff on eBay?" he asked and tried his best to hide a grin.
"Shut up!" I said shoving him over and punching his diapered rear.
We both laughed and then
"George Clooney," I said.
"Well why not?" he shot back at me and I was about to reply with something derogatory when we both heard a car door slam.
"Yep it's him!" I said and turned to go for
my bedroom door.
"Simon!" he whined and laughed at the same time.
I stepped out into the hallway as Jamie appeared at the other end. Like I was announcing a major league ball game I held an imaginary microphone to my mouth, "Ladies and Gentlemen! Boys and Girls of all ages! I give you the eighth wonder of the world! The one! The only! Jaaaaamie Koooonnngggg!"
Jamie smiled, thumped his chest with his fists and gave the Tarzan call.
"Bravo! Bravo! Encore! Encore!" I cheered and clapped.
Jamie bowed several times, "Thank you! Thank you!" and took off his ball cap like he was expecting someone to drop some money into it.
Jamie barely made it into the room before
"Oh get off you tub-o-lard!" Jamie groaned
"What?" I said with my voice cracking and going so high I wouldn't have been surprised if my bedroom window shattered.
Dad appeared in the doorway to my room holding Jamie's overnight bag. He scared all three of us when he bellowed, "What's going on in here!"
"Oh crud Mr. Leonard you scared the crap out
"I think that was the idea dorkster!" Jamie said elbowing
It was probably better that none of us could hear him or he might have ended up in the corner next.
Dad made a sympathetic expression and said, "Oh that looked like it hurt!"
Dad pointed one finger at Jamie and another at me. "There will be no rough-housing or bleeding!" He put extra emphasis on the bleeding part.
Jamie snapped dad a salute, "No bleeding! Yes sir!"
Dad then asked him, "Are you going to live?"
"No I think he broke `em!"
poor baby!" Jamie teased
"Just as long as you're not bleeding! Right dad?" I said smartly.
"OK, I am revising my previous commandment. There will be no rough-housing, bleeding or whining!"
We all laughed at that.
"Or hitting people in the
"You did not clean your room like he told you to do before you came over." Dad said with half a smile.
Dad snapped his fingers and said, "Oh, well I guess I won't bust your butt then."
"Did you two already have your supper?" he asked Jamie and Lowell.
Jamie shook his head, "I didn't."
"You two hungry?" he asked Lowell and me.
"Nah, I'm good." I said but
"OK you two can have sandwiches and ice-cream. Simon doesn't get any." Dad said.
"Hey!" I objected.
The three of us filed out after dad with
"You know something Jamie."
Before Jamie could say anything I quickly jumped in with, "Actually his fat butt makes my butt look big?"
Instead of fighting his own battles Jamie whined to dad, "Daaaaad... make them stop talking about my buuuuutt!"
"Sorry son," dad started to say, "I only do what my Rice Krispies tell me to do."
While Lowell and I sat down at the kitchen table, Jamie went up to mom and hugged her for a long time. It was kind of comical to watch because mom was on the phone while he was hugging her.
I don't know who mom was talking to but instead of just saying goodbye she said, "Gotta go. The kids chewed through their straps again."
Dad opened the refrigerator and pulled out a
glass bowl of something kind of brownish and gelatinous. He sat it right in
"What's that?" he asked.
"It's ham salad." Dad answered.
scrunched up his nose and curled his upper lip, "Well it looks like twice eaten ham! Lowell
Dad stopped for a moment and looked at Lowell, "You going to eat this food?"
"No, but leave it;"
started to say, "I want to see what it does when it wakes up." Lowell
Dad then pressed the cold pickle jar against the back of
's bare neck. Lowell made a sound like he'd just stepped on a soiled diaper. Lowell
"OH! So very cold!"
While Lowell and Jamie ate their ham salad
sandwiches I just sipped on a glass of strawberry milk and told Jamie all about
the trip except I left out the part about seeing the Banachelli sailing by as
well as the part about him and me not really being brothers. I could tell by
With food in our bellies and sippy-cups filled with chocolate milk the three of us retired to my bedroom where we found my kitten, Lil' Vera, sleeping on the pillow of the lower bunk. Jamie picked her up, sat down at his desk and then got online with his computer.
Ever since Lil' Vera and I returned home she's pretty much stayed under mom and dad's bed only coming out when she is hungry or needing to use her litter box. At first I felt kind of bad that she wouldn't let me hold her but after a while I figured she had her mother's temperament. However, she took to Jamie like she was madly in love with him. Yeah I'm still jealous about that.
Lowell and I messed around for a while trying to figure out how he could be on the Internet on my computer at the same time as I was on with my e-journal.
"No you're doing it wrong!"
"OUCH! Stop hitting." I whined.
"Oh please! I hardly touched you." was
"If you two don't stop it this instant I'm going to spank both of your bottoms!" Jamie said trying to sound like dad; he even lowered his voice a little.
Lil' Vera must have senses that trouble was brewing because she shot off Jamie's lap and ran out of my room so fast that she looked like a streak of fur.
Well you know all that Jamie's comment did was to get the two of us going even more.
We both heard Jamie sigh and to get on his nerves a bit more I whined, "Jaaaammmmiiiie, tell him to stop yanking my coooord!"
Quietly and calmly Jamie pushed his chair away from his keyboard, stood up, walked over to my side of the room near the window, grabbed the pillow off the top bunk and then...
He clobbered me with the pillow.
"Hey!" I shouted.
Just like he was swinging a bat Jamie wacked me with the pillow again.
The force of it knocked me backwards and had I not caught myself with my elbows I would have fallen backward on the bed and probably hurt my back.
I didn't see the next hit that Jamie did to
"OK! OK! I surrender!"
WOMP! WOMP! WOMP!
"Hey he surrendered! You can't keep attacking
when someone waves the white flag!" I said getting up and coming to
Quick as could be I grabbed Jamie from behind
in a bear like hold effectively trapping his arms. He tried to struggle free
but in the process he lost the pillow. I was too busy trying to keep a hold of
Jamie so I didn't see that
It was like a storm of pillows that hit not just Jamie but me too.
"HEY! I came to your rescue!" I complained as I took two hits to my head.
Jamie was crying out for mercy, "I surrender! Uncle! No more! Peace! For the love of God I want to liiiiiiiiiive!"
Dad appeared in the doorway to the room
Dad actually smiled, "But I distinctly heard whining and rough housing."
"Um, that wasn't rough housing either!" I tried to keep a straight face while still attempting to keep my grip on Jamie.
"Yeah it was war!"
I honestly expected dad to catch the pillow
but instead it hit him right in the stomach. I guess dad hadn't thought
"OOOOH... YOU DONE IT NOW!" Jamie said to
I let go of Jamie and the two of us scrabbled
for the top bunk while dad got a hold of
A moment later mom appeared, "What's going
on?" she said and then saw that dad was tickling
"He started it!" dad said but he didn't stop.
I don't actually remember thinking about jumping on dad; it just sort of happened. One second I was kneeling next to Jamie on the top bunk and the next I was on my dad's back.
In the movies that sort of stunt usually
works, however dad just reached over his head and pulled me down so that I was
lying face down on top of
I don't know how dad managed to keep us both on the bed and still tickle us at the same time but he did. Mom kept trying to get dad to stop but he wasn't listening to her or to our pleading to stop.
"You want some of this to?" I heard dad ask and I could only guess that he was talking to Jamie.
That coward Jamie sat up on the top bunk acting sweet and loveable. "No way `cause I love you so very much daddy and I would never ever, ever, ever, ever attack you the way they did. They don't love you like I love you daddy!"
"Oh brother!" Mom said and I was able to glance toward her just in time to see her throw up her hands before walking away.
"Mom, don't leave us!" I cried out and laughed at the same time.
From out in the hallway we heard, "Oh no, you got yourself into that mess, you can get yourselves out."
Suddenly there was a bloodcurdling scream and the next second dad collapsed onto my legs. Jamie had done a Kamikaze dive onto dad turning us all into a mountain of flesh. Poor Lowell who was on the bottom cried out in pain.
I don't know how he managed to get away after attacking dad but when dad got up Jamie was already running out of the room screaming, "MOM SAVE ME!"
I was so glad he ran off like that because dad took off after him which meant that Lowell and I were able to recover.
"See what you started?" I laughed.
"Quick, lock the door before they come back!"
He tried to twist his upper body so that he could see his bottom kind of the way a dog does when it's chasing its own tail. "You would have leaks too if you had three people crushing you!"
The two of us heard Jamie howling from out in the living room. "Simon, Lowell! One of you, come save me!"
"NO WAY YOU TRAITOR!" I shouted back.
And then I remembered that I owed
"Yeah, I had that one coming!" he said.
"Yes you did!" I said.
We heard Jamie call out again for help, "Mom help please!"
"Sorry I'm needed elsewhere." We heard mom
say and she sounded closer than Jamie had which meant she had heard me and was
on her way to change
When she walked into the room she looked at
Out in the living room Jamie was squealing and we knew that dad must be tickling the life out of him. That's when dad's voice resonated down the hallway, "Honey this one needs changed too!"
"Bring him here then!" mom sang back.
She then looked at me and asked, "What about you?"
I'd been having so much fun that I had absolutely no idea if I needed changed or not so I just shrugged.
"No matter," Mom began, "You'll need something more substantial to get you through the night anyway."
"Well," Mom exclaimed when she pulled
I looked over and saw that the front of his diaper was bulging. For it to be that wet already I figured that he must have already been wet before he got here.
Dad came walking in with Jamie draped over his left shoulder. Jamie's pants were already down around his ankles leaving his padded butt exposed for us all to see. Dad gave his diaper a squeeze and with a laugh he said, "I think I tickled the pee right out of him."
"You can let me down now!" Jamie gripped.
But dad had no plans of letting go of Jamie just yet. "Not on your life!" he said.
When mom was done putting Lowell into a dry diaper dad then flopped Jamie down onto the bed and began to change his diaper while mom helped Lowell get his pajama's on.
All the while I just stood by Jamie's desk and watching the free show. It turned out that Jamie had done more then just wet his diaper but he didn't seem to care at all when dad said, "I'm going to need a few extra wipes here."
Once Jamie was done Mom told him to come to her and while she was getting his pajamas onto him dad laid me down for my own changing.
"Woah," Dad exclaimed when he opened my diaper. Like I said I had no idea if I needed changed but as it turned out I'd had the liquid squirts again without even knowing it.
"I think we need to start lining his diapers with pine chips to help counter the stench." Dad said to mom.
Jamie took it a step further, "No, use kitty litter instead!"
I came back with, "How about if we don't and say that we did?"
"Why not just train him to go in a Litter box like Lil' Vera." Jamie offered.
"Hello! I'm right here! And I'm not a cat!" I said and right on que in walked Lil' Vera again. She announced herself with a loud, "Meeeeeeoooowwww!"
I patted the bed to get her to come to me but she completely ignored me and walked right up to Jamie.
"See! She loves me and not you!" Jamie said sticking his tongue out at me as he bent down to pick her up.
"It isn't fair!" I protested, "She's my kitty!" and I would have gotten up to take her from him had I not been in the middle of getting my bottom cleaned.
Dad said off handedly, "Probably should have just put them in the tub to soak." Which was his way of saying that I'd made a mess of myself?
I thought it was kind of a silly thing to say given the fact that Jamie and Lowell were already changed and in their pajamas.
"I'm too tired tonight." Mom sighed, "They can have their baths in the morning."
Lil' Vera didn't stick around too long and by the time dad was done pinning a thick cloth diaper onto me she had jumped out of Jamie's arms and was long gone again.
Since my back is how it is, mom didn't want Jamie or Lowell sleeping with me. She figured it would be better if the two of them slept in the top bunk while I slept alone in the bottom bunk. I didn't argue that point because I knew once she and dad were in bed; the three of us would be in one bed together.
Sure enough, within minutes of us hearing mom
and dads bedroom door close Lowell and Jamie climbed down from the top bunk.
Jamie was down first and went over to quietly close our door so there would be
less chance of them hearing us.
"How's that?" He asked trying to make sure he wasn't hurting me. I gave him a nod that I was fine.
Jamie wasn't as considerate. He jumped into
bed like he was sliding in to home plate headfirst.
The three of us laid there in the dark talking softly for quite a while.
"So when are we going to be going?"
"I don't know for sure," I answered, "but seeing the Banachelli sailing so close must mean that we'll be going very soon."
"What?" Jamie sat up on one elbow, "You saw it? Why didn't you say so?"
Once I explained to him that I couldn't have said anything earlier `cause mom and dad might have heard he then calmed down.
"Well I don't know about you guys, but I'm ready to go now!" Jamie said rubbing his hands together eagerly.
"What if Tom finds out?"
"Honestly?" I began, "I think he already suspects something but I don't think he knows what's going on or he would have tried to stop us already."
"Do you guys think anyone knows that we're planning to leave?" I asked them.
They both looked at each other before answering.
"I mean why would they think that?"
Jamie crossed his legs and was rocking back and forth the way little kids do. "I think my mom thinks that I want to come live here with my real dad and brother." He said as he flared his nostrils excitedly. Jamie and I gave each other a covert glance. Jamie continued, "But I don't think she has a clue that I'm really going back to the Banachelli."