A word from the Author:

I took over a year off from working on the Simon's Journal series. Actually, when I finished writing Thirteen Sails I thought I was done with Simon and his friends but as the weeks and months passed I found myself thinking more and more about him. It took me a while to realize that I had to write at least one more story for him. It took a few more months before I finally settled on a plot that would interest both me and hopefully you the reader. In the end I think I have come up with a story that honors the previous novels while bringing a fresh new adventure to the series.

In all of my stories and novels I endeavor to keep them as real and based in reality as possible given the subject matter. With that being said, this will be my first attempt at drawing on folklore and urban myths to build my story on. However, many around the world believe they are very much a part of reality.

Please note that I when it comes to my writing I live by Jesse Stuart's mantra, "Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it." First and foremost I write for myself, for my own enjoyment and pleasure. Writing to me is at times therapy, a way to escape reality or to unwind after a crazy day. In the past I have allowed myself to be swayed by popular opinion as well as by death threats by fans (yeah I've actually had a few of those) but in the end I am the one I have to please. That being said, I take seriously the views and feelings of my readers. I know that for many of you Simon and his friends are not just some made up characters but real live boys. If I am truthful, I would have to say that in many ways I feel the same way about them. There have been many times I have sat here laughing and crying over my keyboard at they events taking place in Simon's life. I have made myself sick, lost sleep and even fallen into a pit of depression. So believe me when I say that I feel and know your pain. With that said, please feel free to write to me and tell me what you like or dislike about the stories. I promise that if you are patent with me, I will read and respond to everyone that writes to me at m12@thedoghousemail.com.


The following narrative is nearly a complete work of fiction. Some events and characters were pulled from real life. In those cases they have been distorted, enhanced and/or warped to better fit with my desires. Any other similarity to actual individuals living or dead is completely unintentional!


The story you are about to read contains diaper use, violence, adult language and strong sexual content of both a heterosexual and homosexual nature. If reading a coming of age story about boys wearing diapers and exploring their awakening sexuality doesn't tickle your pickle, or if pickle tickling is illegal in your area, then I suggest you select something else to read.

This is the continued story of Simon's Journal.
Before you begin this fourth volume in this series,

I highly recommend that you read the first three volumes

as each picks up where the previous left off.




Simon's Journal

Volume IV

Thirteen Summer Days
A New Beginning

Written by Danny


I am only thirteen, but in those few short years I have seen a lot and done a lot; some good and some not to good. I've had amazing adventures that have taken me from the suburbs of south-west Ohio down to the south-east parts of Louisiana and back again. I have sailed through the Gulf of Mexico and up and down the eastern coasts of North and South America. I've come up against some nasty people with lofty yet wicked goals on the global scale. I've aided in the capture of thieves, kidnappers, murders and rapists. I have been beaten down, bruised and physically as well as mentally scared for life, but in the end I was the good guy that got to sail off into the sunset.

You'd think I would have had enough excitement and adventure for more than one lifetime, but not me. When all was said and done and I had a chance at a semi-normal life, I chose to leave that life behind and strike out for new adventures in unknown places. However, when one allows their destiny to be determined by the winds of fate, one must be willing to face whatever might come; whether good or bad or somewhere in that gray area between the two...



Chapter – 1



"BJ!" I shouted, but he didn't respond because he was wearing his headphones and jamming to his mp3 player again.

I reached out and touched his shoulder. You would have thought I had attached a car battery to his nipples. He jumped about six feet in the air, spun around and then fell backward onto his butt.

"Damn Simon you scared the crap out of me!" BJ shouted.

With my hands I motioned for him to take off his headphones which he did.

I grinned mischievously and asked, "Did I really or is that just a figure of speech?"

He cocked his head to one side like a dog and grunted out a confused sounding, "Huh?"

"You said I scared the crap out of you." I reminded him.

BJ gave me that smile of his which is his way of saying I said something funny but he was too uncomfortable to come up with a retort.


BJ instinctively closed his lips to hide his braces.

"When did you get braces?" I asked.

"Last month." He said.

"No kidding!" I said and then offered him a hand to help him to his feet.

As soon as he was up he threw his arms around me and hugged me in macho guy fashion.

"When did you get home from the hospital?" he asked.

"A few days ago." I told him, "And it wasn't a hospital; it was a Rehab Retreat Camp.

"So what's with your voice?" I asked.

BJ shrugged and dismissively said, "Puberty I guess."

He then thumped himself in the head, "Whoa, whoa, whoa! Back the train up." He put both hands on my shoulders, "You have been home for days and this is the first time you've come to see your best friend?"

I honestly felt bad and explained, "Don't feel bad. I haven't seen anyone else either. I needed some time... you know... to get my head cleared."

He let go of my shoulders so that he could stuff his headphones into his pocket along with the mp3 player.

"I thought that is why your parents made you go to that place." He said.

"Yeah well it is complicated." I told him hoping he would drop it; but he didn't.

"Simon?" he said almost singing my name.

I mimicked him with, "BJ!"

"Please don't make me kick your butt again." He teased, but I also knew he could do it.

Where as I had not grown so much as a fraction of an inch in the past year, BJ had skyrocketed to be a full head, shoulders and chest taller than me now, but he was still as skinny as a flag pole. He looked like someone had taken his twelve-year-old body and stretched it out a couple feet. He looked goofy, but being the best-friend that I was, I never teased him about his gangliness ... yeah right!

"Do me a favor and turn sideways." I said while trying my best not to smile and give myself away.

He did and asked, "Why?"

"I just wanted to see if you still vanished from a side view." I said with a laugh.

That did it. BJ kicked out a leg, curled it behind my own legs and shoved me to the ground before I had a chance to react at all. He then sat on my thighs, grabbed both of my arms and pinned me to the ground.

"Say BJ is the best." He commanded.

"No! Get off!" I laughed and squirmed uselessly.

He now had both of my arms pinned using just one of his arms and with his free hand he pulled up the front of my shirt, exposing my pink belly.

"Don't you dare!" I warned, laughed and thrashed harder trying to escape.

That was all the prompting he needed. He began to give me an Indian Red-Belly which is when you start slapping someone's tummy until it turns bright-bright red.


"They aren't dolls! They are super hero action figures!" he said with an especially hard slap to my stomach.

"BJ Otteranski!" came a sharp, shrill cry from their front porch, "You let him up this minute!"

It was his mother who'd come to my rescue, but BJ didn't get up. Not right away anyway. Thankfully he did stop giving me the Indian Red-Belly.

"Hi Mrs. Otteranski!" I said while still pinned to the ground and laughing.

"BJ, get off him right now or so help me." She shouted and it sounded like she was getting closer.

BJ rolled off me and continued rolling across the grass to keep from having his mom catch him.

"It's OK Mrs. Otteranski, I was about to take him down anyway." I said with a chuckle.

She lifted me to my feet and hugged me so tightly that I thought she was going to squeeze the stuffing right out of me. Then she did something that totally surprised me. She released me from her hug, grabbed my arm, spun me sideways and gave me three hard pops right on the butt. Granted, had I not been well protected back there it would have hurt but still it was a surprise to be sure.

"That is for scaring us, your parents and everyone else young man!" she said and then hugged me again... only harder.

"HA! HA!" BJ laughed mockingly at me, "Mom spanked your butt!"

"Just you wait!" She said with a warning finger pointed at him, "You keep going like you have been and your turn will be coming soon enough."

I looked deeply into Mrs. Otteranski's eyes as I said, "I'm sorry for scaring everyone and for being such a butt when I got back."

Kissing my cheek she said, "You are forgiven."

She then gave me one more swat this one landing on my bare right thigh and stung something awful.

"If you ever do something like that again I will spank your bare butt so you won't be able to sit for a month!" she said smiling.

I returned the smile and hugged her neck before she stood up and pointed at BJ again, who was still keeping his distance, "Behave!"

He grinned this wide, toothy, innocent grin, which seemed to appease his mother `cause she went back inside.

No sooner was she out of sight then I lunged at BJ. He hadn't been expecting me to move so fast, so when he hit the ground he let out a funny sort of, "Yaaaoooya!" sound.

I gave him one solid jab to the ribs with a raised knuckle and then just as quickly as I had attacked, I rolled off him, did a backwards somersault and ended up on me feet, ready for him to counter attack, but he didn't. Instead he lay on his back on the grass, propped up on his elbows and looking at me with surprise.

"Where'd you learn to do that?" he asked.

I pointed my nose in the air and stuck out my chin with pride as I answered, "I might have learned a thing or two about fighting while I was gone."

"They taught you to fight at the hospital?" he asked.

"No! I learned from a friend on my boa..." I stopped, cleared my throat, "And I wasn't in a hospital!" I said with a hint of anger peppering my voice.

"Oh that little guy you were telling me about?" BJ asked.

"Yeah, Fyer; he taught us all how to defend ourselves." I said.

BJ's face then went blank and I could tell he was having a thought.

"What?" I asked.

"Do your mom and dad know you are here?" he asked.

I grimaced, bent over and pulled down my right sock to reveal an ankle monitor bracelet.

"Can't go anywhere without mom, dad, my probation officer and probably the FBI knowing where I am." I said to him. "If I am leaving the house I have to call a special number and tell them where I am going, how long I will be gone and when I will be back home."

"Geeze man!" BJ exclaimed as he sat up Indian style and peered at the bright yellow gadget.

"How long do you have to wear it?" he asked.

"Until I get off probation I guess."

"How long will that be?" he asked.

I sighed as I answered, "Until I turn eighteen."

"EIGHTEEN?!" BJ shouted and startled me, which made him giggle knowing he got me.

"Why so long?" He asked.

I shrugged.

"Isn't that kind of harsh?" he asked.

I shrugged again.

He swung at me, however he was too far away to have had a chance of hitting me, but that hadn't been his intent at all. He just wanted to get my attention, which he had.

"I'm not supposed to talk about it with anyone." I said, which was a bold-faced lie, but I was hoping BJ would buy into it. He didn't and he poured on the guilt.

"When did that ever stop you from telling your best friend anything?" he had said.

I hadn't been looking at him when he said it; I had been bent over making sure my sock was completely covering the bright-yellow monitoring device.

"I've seen those on TV before, but they looked bigger and were gray or silver or something." He said.

"Yeah that is what I had to wear when I was at The Ranch." I said, "But when I got home they put this on me instead. The guy said that this tracks me by satellite, kind of like those things they put in cars now."

"Wait, what is The Ranch?" he asked.

"That is the name of the rehab retreat camp I was at." I told him.

I bent over to readjust my sock again.

"Gosh Simon! What did you do that was so bad that they have spy satellites watching you all the time?" he asked.

I shrugged once more and said, "I can't talk about it."

BJ made a move like he was going to get up and attack me again. I jumped backward about four feet right into a rose bush which stabbed my bare legs and made me cry out.

"SON OF A..." I started to shout.

"SIMON DAVID LEONARD!" I heard BJ's mom shout from somewhere inside the house and stopped myself before I said the dreaded B-word.

"Sorry Mrs. Otteranski, but BJ pushed me into the rose bush!" I lied.

"I DID NOT YOU LITTLE LIER!" BJ shouted as he was trying to free my shorts from the bush.

Right then a car pulled into the drive way and we both looked up to see that his father was arriving home from work. He pulled his car around the house and into the garage. When he came back around, BJ and I had managed to free me from the bush without causing any blood loss, but dang my legs got scratched up!

BJ's dad walked right up to me, scooped me into a bear hug and shook me from side to side while growling like a bear.

"How's my favorite son?" he asked.

BJ made a funny sort of sound as he began to object, "Heeeellooooo! Real son...standing right heeeeeerrrrrre!"

Mr. Otteranski looked to BJ and played like he hadn't seen BJ at all.

"OH! Well hello son!"

"Yeah right! And I love you too, DAD!" BJ scoffed and laughed at the same time.

I know, I have probably penned this before, but it might be worthwhile repeating: you see, BJ's folks are more like a second set of parents to me and my parents are the same way with BJ. It's been that way for so long, that I can hardly remember life any other way. I love BJ's mom and dad just as much as I love my own. BJ's parents had been the ones that drove mom, dad and me to The Ranch, so they knew all about the place and why I ended up there.

"How was The Ranch?" he asked.

"Oh you know; it was just like summer camp!" I joked and Mr. Otteranski knew I wasn't being serious.

As he put me back down on my feet I started to say, "Um, sorry about what..." but he didn't let me finish.

He grabbed my chin and made me look him in the eyes when he said, "I love you and I have already forgotten all about it!"

That did it; I started to get all misty, but then he faked a jab to the gut and told me to "Cowboy up!" which was kind of like saying "Stop crying and be man", but in a cooler, kinder and less critical sort of way.

I had to shake my head at him and tell him "No, I need to tell you that I am sorry and I am! I was a jerk to you and mom (I was referring to BJ's mom just then) and I said a lot of things I didn't mean. I feel horrible about it and..."

Mr. Otteranski knelt down on one knee and gave me another hug except this one wasn't a playful bear hug. It was a long time since he had hugged me like that and once more the tears welled up in my eyes.

As he was letting go of me again, BJ, using his knee, clipped me in the back of my right knee, nearly causing me to fall. It's funnier if you can do it to both knees `cause the person almost always falls, but this time BJ's dad caught me. I swung backward with my elbow only missing BJ's stomach by a fraction of an inch.

BJ's dad talked with us for a few minutes before he went inside the house and left BJ and me alone again on their front lawn.

I looked at my watch and told BJ I had to go home to check in.

"Already?" he asked.

"Only had an hour." I sighed.

"But you've not been here an hour!" he said.

"Yeah, well it took me a while to build up my nerve to talk to you." I said back.

BJ gave me a playful shove, "You are such a dork!"

He then shouted in to his parents that he was walking me back to my house and his mom hollered back for us to wait a minute. She came out carrying what I guessed by the shape and size was a pie covered with aluminum foil. It turned out that I was right; it was a fresh baked Apple Crumb pie which my father absolutely loves. It was even warm to the touch.


BJ and I arrived back at my house right when my watch alarm went off telling me I had fifteen minutes before I was due to check in. We walked in and were greeted by mom and dad, who both were talking with BJ while I went to the kitchen to make my phone call.

I returned to the living room and saw that Dad was already picking at the pie with his fingers.

"Are you boys going back outside?" Mom asked.

Though BJ looked like he wanted to, I shook my head and said, "Nah, think we'll hang out in my room for a while."

I think mom and dad were just happy that I wasn't sitting around the house moping like I had been for the past few days'.

"You boys want some pie?" Dad asked.

"Nah, I'm pied out." BJ confessed and I declined some too.

"Maybe after dinner then." Mom suggested.

Dad balked at this with, "What makes you think there will be any left come dinner time?"

At that, mom took the pie away from dad and he followed her to the kitchen protesting the abduction of his precious pie.

While we headed down the hallway to my room Mom shouted after us, "BJ sweetheart, will you be here long enough to join us for dinner?"

BJ looked at me to see if I minded him sticking around and I answered for him, "Yes he will."

"OK, I'll call your mom and let her know you are staying." Mom said.


"You've got the best room!" BJ said upon entering behind me.

"You should know. You helped make it like this." I said to him.

"Yeah I have only seen it a couple times since then." He said.

I chuckled, "Yeah me too."

He started to close the door.

"No, leave it open." I said.

"How come?" he asked.

I plopped myself down on my bed and started untying my shoes.

"`Cause I am not allowed to close it." I told him.

He seemed stunned by my response and asked, "Really? Why?"

"It's a long story." I said with a groaning sigh.

"That's twice you've tried to side step on me." He said as he approached me like a wild beast stalking its prey. He had his fingers out like giant claws and his upper lip was raised to show his teeth.

"Touch me and I will feed you your own testicles!" I joked, but it worked `cause he stopped in his tracks.

He dropped his hands and said, "You're sick!"

"Yeah, well I got it from you." I said.

Then changing the subject, I asked, "Want to see something cool?"

"Yeah sure." He said.

I kicked off my shoes and using my feet I slid them under the edge of the bed before going to my shelves and retrieving a small coin and tossed it to him. I had only been a couple feet from him when I gave it a soft little underhand toss, but still he fumbled it. It hit the side of his hand, bounced off and fell to the floor. He quickly recovered it and just as quickly apologized.

"Sorry; wasn't expecting you to throw it at me."

He began to inspect it and seen that on one side was a cross with the number 60 behind it. On the reverse side was a saying wrote in tiny—tiny lettering.




"What is it?" he asked.

"It's a coin they gave me about a week ago." I said.

He then asked, "What's it for?"

"It means I have been clean for 60 days. Well more than 60 now." I said.

BJ didn't understand and I had to explain to him what I meant by clean.

"I don't mean clean like taking a bath I mean clean like I haven't had any drugs."

That is when I found out that BJ had not been told everything about why I had been sent to The Ranch.

"Dang BJ I didn't know that you didn't know." I said, "I was seriously messed up when I came back a few months ago."

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"Yeah, well you have seen how I was." I said knowing that BJ remembered full well how big of a jerk I was when I came back.

"It wasn't the only reason I left, but it was one of the biggest reasons which was to get my hands on this one kind of drug again.

"You mean the one that fat lady forced you all to drink?" he asked.

"You know about that?" I asked with no small amount of amazement.

"Uh, yeah! You told me about it while we were at the beach last year. Plus, Lowell told me a little about it."

"I did?" I asked, honestly not remembering.

"Do you even remember being at the beach with me and my parents?" he asked.

"Was Tom there?" I asked.

BJ cocked an eyebrow, "Uh yeah!" he said in such a way as if to say "DUH!"

As though someone had just turned on a TV within my head memories of our beach stay came flooding back.

"What?" BJ asked when he saw my facial expression.

"I... I just can't believe I had forgotten about that until now." I said while looking at the floor.

After a moment I shook my head as though I were trying to change the channel on the TV within my mind.

"Anywho!" I said, purposefully saying it wrong, "The reason I wanted to find the stash of the drug she had made was because one of the drugs that was in it was opium."

"Do you know anything about that stuff?" I asked him and he rattled the stones in his head by shaking his head vigorously.

"Well, it is highly addictive and in larger quantities it can really screw up your head; not just while on the drug but forever. It can even kill you. Besides turning me into an opium junky, there were many other negative side effects from all the other drugs in the concoction."

"Dang Simon I didn't have a clue. Really!" he said with exasperation at his own blindness.

"Yeah, well I'm feeling much better now. And I'm even taking some new medications from the doctor that will help me with some of the problems the drugs caused." I said.

He sat down at Jamie's desk and asked, "Like what?"

"Like maybe you didn't notice, but I am sort of shorter now than everyone else our age." I said.

"Yeah, well I kind of like you short. It's like I have my very own living action figure." BJ said and it took every bit of willpower to keep from jumping off my bed and pouncing on him. I settled for giving him the evil eye which he seemed to relish in receiving from me.

"What else?" he asked.

"Can we change the subject?" I pleaded.

"Sure." He said, "We don't have to talk about that stuff if it is uncomfortable for you. So what was it like at that hospital?"

"Grrrrr!" I growled at him which only made the big doofus laugh.

"Well, why won't you tell me about it?" he asked.

I threw myself back on the bed, grabbed the pillow and tried to smoother myself.

"Need help?" he asked.

"NO!" I shouted through the pillow.

Thank God for diapers `cause when I wasn't looking, he tossed something from off my brother's desk and nailed me right in the no-no spot. If I hadn't been wearing a thick cloth diaper it probably would have hurt. As it was I got a nice shooting pain for about half a minute. He was laughing his big head off and I whipped the pillow at him, but missed by a mile.

"Short and you throw like a girl." He teased.

I tried not too, but I smiled at him. BJ has a way of making me laugh when he is torturing me.

"So?" he asked.

"So what?" I asked back.

He picked up the pillow and tossed it back, "So are you going to tell me about The Ranch or are you going to make me ask you twenty more times?"

I jammed the pillow under my head and groaned loudly, "OH ALRIGHT!"

When I looked over at him he had this self-righteous glowing aura all around him. I was going to say something mean, but chose instead to say something really unexpected.

"You really do look good with your hair cut short like that."

"Don't even try to sweet talk your way out of telling me!" he said and then countered with, "And you look loads better with that ponytail cut off!"

I reached up with both hands and ran my fingers through my hair.

"On my very first day at The Ranch I was taken into a big gray room and they took all my clothes and everything I had brought with me. They went through everything to make sure I hadn't brought any drugs or anything else that wasn't allowed. While they were searching all my stuff, this one guy who at first I hated, but later I got to know him and he wasn't such a bad guy; anyway he cut off all my hair right then and there."

"Boy, I bet you were mad?" BJ asked.

"Actually I don't remember any of that. It is just what I was later told had happened." I said.

BJ asked yet again, "So what was it like? I mean being at The Ranch."

With a surrendering sigh I said, "I wasn't kidding when I said it was like camp. Only it wasn't at the same time. We didn't ride horses, shoot bows and arrows or make stupid little craft projects out of Popsicle sticks or macaroni. But we did sleep in cabins, go on hikes and play some physical type games. Those parts were cool, but there was also calisthenics in the very early mornings, one-on-one counseling three times a week and group sessions every day, plus Chapel three times a day.

"You had to go to church?" he asked.

"Well it wasn't like church really." I struggled with how best to describe it.

"It was like a big meeting room with no walls, but it did have a roof and a place where they preached from. It was actually kind of cool `cause though we were protected from the rain and sun we were still outdoors."

I began to giggle.

"What's so funny?" He asked.

"I just remember this one evening." I began, "My cabin was late getting to last Chapel `cause someone had put a stick against our cabin door and we couldn't get out. We had to send our smallest guy out the back window to open the door from the outside."

"What made you think of that?" he asked.

"No! That wasn't what I was thinking about." I said. "That was just why we were late, but when we got there the place was totally empty, yet all the lights were on."

"Was that weird?" BJ asked.

"Yeah really weird, but then we saw everyone down by the river all waving at us to come to them. They were shouting too, but we couldn't hear them. And then we realized why everyone was down there and not in the chapel."

"Why?" BJ asked sounding like he was on the edge of his seat.

"Bees!" I said, "Hundreds of them!"

"Oh crap!" BJ exclaimed.

"Yeah, well one stung our cabin counselor and then we all saw them like this dark cloud and we took off running like... well like we were being chased by bees."

"That was the only time we had chapel service down by the river." I said.

"Yeah ok, but you still had to have it three times a day?" he asked with a sickened expression.

"Well, the morning service was really more like a quiet time, where we had to read our bibles, pray quietly or spend the time memorizing verses. Then we got to go have breakfast, followed by different activities each morning. Sometimes they were fun, but most of the time they were boring or just plain painful. That is only if it wasn't our day for our one-on-one. Mine were always in the morning, but some had theirs later in the afternoon or evening after dinner."

BJ shifted in the chair and listened intently as I went on.

"Before lunch we went back to the Chapel to hear that day's announcements and then we heard a short bit of preaching from different people. Sometimes it was a staff member who preached and sometimes they would let some of the more senior campers preach. Every now and then we had preachers or Evangelists come, just to visit and preach. Those were always good. Lowell's father came at least once a week and sometimes more than that, but I wasn't allowed to talk with him `cause... well you get what I mean right?"

He nodded and I saw that BJ was about to say something. Reading his thoughts I said, "No, I never preached. I would have died if they made me get up there in front of everyone like that."

That seemed to satisfy his curiosity and he went back into listening mode.

"Did you know that it was Lowell's fathers' idea that I go to there?" I asked and he nodded again.

I took a momentary mental detour as I asked, "You still see much of Lowell?"

BJ took a second before he answered, "Yeah, all the time. He slept over again last weekend and he was over earlier today. We've been building a go-cart in the garage."

"Really? Why didn't you show me when I was there?" I asked.

"`Cause you said you had to come check in." he said.

My only reply was to say, "Oh."

"Wanna know about Runt?" he asked.

I shook my head softly, "Already do, except I didn't hear how long he will be in jail."

"He's not in jail!" BJ said, "I mean he was, but now he's up at the hospital in Bowling Green."

I looked up at BJ with both surprise and maybe a little bit of joy. I knew the hospital he spoke of only because it had been suggested that I get put there.

"Are you serious?" I said not sure if I believed him or not.

"Lowell told me that he got sent there not very long ago and he won't be getting out of there ever."

"Good!" I said without even trying to hide my true feelings.

"Lowell said he heard that Runt tried to kill himself and that is why they put him in that place." BJ added.

He then scratched his belly and said, "OK, enough about everyone else. I want to hear more about you at that camp."

"Thank you." I said.

"What for?" BJ asked.

"For not calling it a hospital again." I said.

"That really bother you?" he asked.

I nodded, "Yes."

"Good!" he said with a smirk.

I continued where I had left off.

"Right after lunch we always had group time. At first I didn't do too much talking in our circle, but after about the third week I started getting into it; mostly because I figured out that, if I ever wanted to come home again, I better get with the program."

"Program?" BJ asked softly.

"Ummmm, like doing the stuff I was supposed to be doing there. Talking about my feelings and the junk that happened. That sort of stuff and junk."

"Stuff and Junk. Got it!" BJ said with an amusing little snort.

BJ again looked like he was going to say something but I jumped in with, "Do you want to hear about this or are you going to keep interrupting me?"

"I didn't say a word!" he defended.

"Yeah, well shut up anyway." I snapped, but not really serious or anything; he knew I was teasing.

"Anyway, after group we either took part in some sort of activity or went to our one-on-one meeting for the afternoon people. Afternoon activities were usually better than the morning ones `cause it was warmer out and the grass wasn't all wet with morning dew like it always was when we were doing calisthenics."

I sighed hard.

"What?" he asked.

"I really hated getting up every stinking morning before the sun to do calisthenics." I told him.

Once again BJ looked like he wanted to ask a question or say something.

"What?" I asked almost as though I were getting annoyed with him. I wasn't really, but I made him think I was.

"Nothing, go ahead." He said.

"Dinner was always kind of fancy. Well, as fancy as you can get in a camp like setting. We all had to put on clean shirts and pants and it was always a kind of meal like at home."

"What's that mean?" he asked.

"You know, like stuff you have to eat with a fork. Roasts and veggies. A few times we had grilled fish and corn on the cob. That sort of stuff."

"So lunch and breakfasts weren't like that then?" he asked.

"Nah, most of the time for lunch we had stuff like sandwiches, wraps, hotdogs or hamburgers. You know, like stuff you eat with your hands." I said.

"Oh and we had tons of Tatter Tots!" BJ knows I love Tatter Tots; especially with a bit of salt and ketchup.

He smiled knowingly and let me continue once again.

"Oh yeah, before each meal we also had to pray, someone different was always called on to pray and bless the food. I only had to do it once the whole time I was there and that was on my very last day. I thought I would freak out when I had to do it, but it turned out not to be such a big deal."

"I don't think I could do that." BJ added.

"Everyone had to recite a bible verse together after we prayed." I said.

At that, I stood up from the bed which caught BJ totally by surprise. I stood at perfect attention with my eyes forward and recited from memory.


"Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13."


"Whoa!" BJ exclaimed, "I could never remember that!"

I smiled and sat back down with one foot on the floor and the other on the bed.

"Yeah well, say it three times a day for over two months and you will never forget it." I said.

"Anyway, after dinner there was usually group time for some of us and for some it was free time. The last service of the day was always right before bedtime. The camp director always preached at the last service and afterward we could come up to pray with one of the staff just one-on-one or sometimes two or three of them would pray with just one of us if we needed that sort of thing. I got lots of praying for me like that."

I repositioned myself on the bed to make myself more comfortable as I continued.

"By the time we got out of evening Chapel it was mostly dark and we had to walk back to our cabins in the dark. I never much cared for that part `cause we were in the woods and all. Lots of creepy crawlies and critters come out when it gets dark you know."

BJ finally spoke up by asking, "Can I ask something else?"

"Sure." I told him.

"So was that how everyday went?" he asked.

"Well most of the time; except for the weekends. Weekends there were no group or one-on-one sessions, but we still had to go to Chapel three times a day. And once we got with the program and proved we were really trying; then we'd get to earn weekend field trips, which were always so cool."

"Really?" BJ asked, "Like what sort of field trips?"

"Well, my first one I got to go on was my fifth Saturday there and we went on a canoe trip down a river that took all day long. We started before it got light and we stopped to do our Chapel times beside the river and to eat breakfast and lunch. Except those Chapel times were different. Nobody preached. Instead we took turns reading from the Bible and then talking about what we thought it meant. My canoe was the only one that didn't get turned over. Not even one time, but everyone else did at least once and some couldn't stay in their canoes no matter how much they tried. It got funny after a while.

Oh and this one time we went on this fairy ride that had a glass bottom and we could see all the really cool fish as they swam under us. Did you know that there is a fish with a mouth like a duck?"

BJ shook his head.

"Yeah, all the scientists thought that it was ex-ext..."

"Extinct?" BJ said for me.

"Yeah that," I said and continued right on with what I was saying, "for thousands of years, then someone caught one right here in the Valley. Since then lots of people have seen or caught them while fishing. We actually saw two of those, which the guide on the boat said was totally amazing. He said he had been doing the fairy boats for five years and never once saw one, then that day we all seen two of them. We also saw a few small freshwater sharks. I didn't know there were sharks that didn't live in oceans, but there sure are. And we saw the biggest catfish I ever seen in my life. It was almost as big as me." I said.

"So it wasn't very big then?" BJ joked.

"I'll make you pay for that one later." I warned him.

"The field trip parts sound cool." BJ said, "Maybe if you are allowed; later this summer we can go canoeing or something like that."

"That would be cool!" I told him.

"Yeah, well like I said, sometimes it was cool at the camp, but other times it wasn't." I added.

"So, did they really make you talk about all the stuff you told me about?" he asked.

I nodded, "Pretty much."

"What do you mean by that?" he asked.

I shrugged, "I dunno. Guess I mean, that I ain't done working on me."

BJ got that confused look again.

"I mean I still have to go to counseling and stuff, even though I am home." I clarified.

"Oh, you do?" he asked.

"Yep." I said.

"He then added, "Lowell's been going to a shrink too. He goes twice a week."

"Really?" I said `cause I hadn't known that about Lowell. Actually I didn't know much of anything about Lowell or anyone else pertaining to the last year.

BJ leaned forward, putting his elbows on his knees and asked, "What about the whole God and praying and church thing? You still got to go to church three times a day?"

I chuckled. "Nah, I don't have to, but I do want to. I am going to church on Sunday. Dad said he would take me to church."

"With Lowell?" he asked.

"No, I am not allowed to talk with Lowell yet." I said.

"Your parents say that?" he asked.

"Nah, my probation officer did." I told him.

"Actually, I am not allowed to talk with anyone from the..." I trailed off for a minute before saying, "From before on my..."

"Are you trying to say from that ship?" he asked.

I nodded and then he asked, "Does that mean your brother too?"

"Well, actually that is kind of a big mess still. I mean, I sort of messed stuff up with him and Marsha when I got back before. They are coming over tomorrow but my probation officer will be here, as well as Tom."

"Tom is back?" BJ asked with excitement.

"Yeah, well he never really went away. He was in the hospital for a while, but he's been out for a few months now. He came to see me after I had been at The Ranch for a little over a week. But I wasn't doing so well just yet and we kind of had a few words. Actually I cussed him out for dragging me back to Ohio and tried to hit him with a metal folding chair. I don't remember any of that, but I was told that I kicked him in the tenders and even bit him."

"No way!" BJ laughed, "You really kicked him in the nads?"

I nodded again, "Yeah, but like I said, I don't remember any of it. Actually, there is a lot of stuff that I don't remember. I don't remember but a few things from my first two weeks at camp and there is a lot of stuff from before which I have trouble remembering."

"How come?" he asked concernedly.

"Well, I was coming off the drugs and frankly when I saw what some of the others had to go through, I wouldn't want to remember. Actually the doctors said that is what opium does. It kills off parts of your brain. I guess I was really messed up there for a while."

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"You ever see a movie called The Basketball diaries?" I asked.

"Uh yeah, you and me watched it here in your room, remember?" he said.

"Uh, oh yeah." I said, even though I didn't remember that.

"Well Leonardo Dicaprio did a good job of acting `cause that is exactly what it is like when..." I wasn't able to finish what I was saying.

"You ok?" BJ asked when he seen me wiping at my eyes.

"Yeah." I said even though I wasn't.

"So what do you think will happen tomorrow when they come over?" BJ asked after allowing me time to regain my composure.

"You mean Marsha and Jamie? Well, I hope they will let me apologize. But dad told me I said and did some pretty bad stuff." I told him.

"I don't suppose you want to tell me about that, do you?" he asked.

I shook my head.

"Yeah that is cool." BJ said, "Oh and here you go."

He tossed my 60 day coin to me and I got up to return it to my shelves.

"You should keep that forever." BJ said.

"Oh no, I will get to trade it in for a 90 day coin in about three weeks and I get a new one every thirty days until I get a one year coin. Then after that I get a new coin each year." I told him.

"Sheesh Simon! How long will you have to keep that up?" he asked.

"For as long as it takes I guess." I said.

Mom shouted down the hallway to let us know that dinner would be ready in fifteen minutes and that we should get ourselves cleaned up. I looked down at my hands and saw I had grass stains on my palms from where BJ and I had been wrestling on his lawn. I then looked at my knees and they too were showing signs of green.

Before we headed for the bathroom, BJ asked one more question.

"So are you better now? I mean you don't still want to take that junk anymore, do you?"

At first I didn't answer. Not because I didn't know the answer, but because I didn't want to have to tell him the truth.

BJ read my mind and said, "You really do?"

I hesitantly nodded.

"Boy Simon. Even after everything you went through?" he asked.

"When I got home I did one thing I wasn't supposed to do. I contacted Fyer and told him where I had hid all of it on my..."

BJ got this surprised expression.

I stood up and pointed at him, "Promise you won't tell anyone that I talked to Fyer?"

"Why?" he asked.

"`Cause firstly Tom would probably skin me `cause he wants to know where my... I mean..." I growled with frustration before saying, "And secondly because no one knows that I know how to contact Fyer on the..."

"Why can't you say it?" BJ asked.

"Say what?" I asked knowing full well what he meant.

"Boat or ship!" he said almost like he was spitting the words at me.

I looked at BJ. I mean really looked deeply into his eyes when I answered with all honesty, "I don't know."

BJ got my meaning and offered probably one of the best suggestions I'd heard in weeks.

"Then why not do like in the Harry Potter books?" he started saying.

It was my turn to get confused.

He chuckled, "I mean, if you can't say boat or ship or the name of it, then maybe you should say like they did for Voldemort?"

He then knitted his eyebrows together and asked, "Uh what was the name of the ship again?"

"Banachelli." I answered.

"See, you can say it." He said with a self satisfied chuckle at tricking me into saying it.

He then made the funny grin when he said, "Try saying `The place that shall not be named!' or something like that."

I laughed.

"Ok maybe that is a bit long but how about just calling it something else." He suggested, "Like your summer home, or your floating house, or just call it the floating hotel."

And then BJ stood up. His face went red and I thought for a second he was going to punch me right in the face.

With all joking aside he asked me, "Wait a sec! Are you planning to run away to that ship again? And so help me if I think you are lieing to me; I swear I am going to kick your ass right here and now."

"Boy you have a dirty mouth now!" I said.

BJ's hands were balled up in fists at his side as he said, "Simon, just answer the question!"

I raised my foot in the air and motioned to the ankle monitor bulging beneath my sock.

"Uh hello! I can't go anywhere without everyone swarming on top of me."

"Simon I am serious! If you don't tell me the truth right now, I am going to knock every last tooth out of your head!"

I dropped my foot back to the floor and looked him right in the eye again as I answered, "I am never going to run away like that again. As far as I am concerned my life at sea is a thing of the past!"

BJ started looking around my room, but I didn't know why, then his eyes landed on my bible which Grandmother had given me a long time ago. He picked it up and held it out to me.

"Put your right hand on your bible and swear to God that you are not going to run away again." He ordered.

Without hesitation I did just that.

"OK then!" he said setting down my bible.

"So you still wanting to try to kick my butt or would you rather go eat?" I asked him while still prepared for him to attack.

"Nah, I believe you now. But I might kick your butt later just for the heck of it." He said and tried to give me a playful face slap, but I knocked it away.

"Oooh! The little diaper boy has moves!" BJ teased.

"Yeah, well I got to, metal mouth!" I said and jumped past him and out the door before he could try again.


Dinner was actually really cool with BJ there. Things had been kind of uncomfortable at home since I had returned. I don't mean that in a bad way, I just mean that everyone seems kind of edgy. Like my parents and I were all walking on eggshells but BJ somehow made all that go away and it never came back after that one evening. I do however think BJ is a little uncomfortable with my spiritual awakening. I happened to glance his way when I was saying grace and seen that he was rolling his eyes.


After dinner, while dad and BJ were cleaning up, mom and I went back to my room so that she could help me get changed. This time however instead of a cloth diaper I opted for a disposable. When we were finished BJ came back to my room and the two of us messed around on the computer, playing video games and just having a good time.

While we were playing an old motorcycle computer game called Road Rash he asked me right out of the blue, "Do you mind if I ask how you dealt with the whole diaper thing when you were at that camp place?"

"You mean The Ranch?" I asked.

BJ nodded.

"Well I got teased a lot at first and even got into a couple fights. Then I started opening up and sharing with others about what had happened and everyone stopped teasing me, all except this one guy." I said.

"What happened with him?" he asked.

"If you mean, `Did I pound his head with a tire iron while he slept?' then the answer is no. I wanted to, but I didn't." I chucked as my motorcycle guy crashed into a road sign. "Actually, I didn't have to do anything about him."

"How's that?" BJ asked as his guy started down the track.

"He got caught trying to sneak out of camp for the third time and was sent away." I said.

"No way! Seriously?" BJ asked.

"Yeah, just goes to show you that God takes care of his own." I said.

BJ let his guy crash as he turned to me and flat out asked, "OK, so are you like a religious nut now or something?"

"Does it matter if I am?" I asked back with a bit of a smug attitude.

BJ thought for a second before he replied, "I guess not."

"Good!" I said and punched him in the arm when he wasn't looking.

"Hey what was that for?" he cried out while rubbing the sore spot.

"To let you know that I might be a Christian, but that don't mean I'm an angel." I said while protecting myself with my hands up so that he couldn't hit me back.

We played a while longer and then it was my turn to ask an out of the blue question.

"Hey BJ?" I said.

"What?" he said back while in the middle of our sixteenth race.

I spoke kind of slow like and I'm not sure why, but for some reason it seemed like maybe I might be rushing things, nevertheless I asked anyway.

"If my parents are cool with it and if your parents are cool with it, do you want to see if you can stay over tonight?"

BJ put down his controller and looked at me seriously again. I remember thinking how I wished he'd stop looking at me like that so much.

"I was kind of hoping we could, but I didn't want to be the one to bring it up. I mean I didn't know if you were..." he trailed off.

"Were what?" I asked.

BJ shrugged, "I don't know."

"Sane enough?" I said for him.

"Oh man no!" BJ said while blushing, "Heck, I didn't mean it like that! Oh, you don't mind if I say heck, do you?"

"Heck no!" I told him.

"Funny!" he said, "But really, I was meaning like... GEEZE! I don't know what I want to say!" he said with frustration.

"I think I get what you mean and since we're being honest: I kind of feel weird asking, I mean not weird for you or me, but kind of weird for our parents. Does that make sense?"

"Yeah I think so. Maybe we should talk to your parents before we even think of asking mine." He suggested.

"That's a good idea. I mean us talking to them together. That might be better." I said.

As we were walking out of my room BJ tapped me on the shoulder.

"Uh by the way, one of us pooped and I'm pretty sure it wasn't me. I mean as sure as I can be... I suppose it could have been me... nope pretty sure it was you. Yep, had to be you." He said while trying to be cute about it.

I turned completely around so that I was blocking his escape from my room.

"What are you trying to say?" I teasingly said.

"That you might want to think about getting changed again Sir Stinksalot!" he said and we both laughed.

I took a second to allow my mind to venture downward and realized that he was right. I had crapped myself.

Spinning back around and beginning to walk again, I looked over my shoulder I said, "Keep your nose out of my diaper."

"Yeah, that is gross!" he said and then gave me a shove down the hallway.

"Hey! Take it easy Gigantor!" I complained.

"Well, get your stinky butt moving a little faster, would ya Tiny Tim!" he laughed.

As it turned out, convincing my parents to let us have a sleepover was the easy part. Actually my parents were overjoyed with the fact that I was finally starting to act normal again. However, his parents were not so easy to convince. To get them on board with the idea I had to pull out the big guns... I got mom to talk with his parents and convince them, that having BJ stay the night would really help me. That did the trick.


BJ had to go back to his house to get some stuff and while he was gone I took the opportunity to take my shower and get diapered for the night. Dad was the one to help me this time and like he always did, he put me into cloth diapers. Someday I am going to ask why dad prefers the cloth diapers and mom prefers me in disposables. I mean, it has always been like that.

I had only just pulled on a pair of plastic pants when dad and I both heard someone at the front door. Of course we both assumed it was BJ returning, but we were wrong. I quickly pulled on a clean pair of shorts over my diaper and plastic pants and found a t-shirt to wear before following dad out of my room. I hadn't put the shirt on yet as we walked out into the living room; I had it draped over my left shoulder.

"Mr. Davis!" I said with shock when I saw my Probation Officer standing by the front door talking with mom.

"Hello Simon." He said.

Mr. Davis isn't exactly the likable kind of guy; at least on the surface. He is quite stern and very authoritarian when it comes to his job. Even his appearance is scary. This is the second time he's come to the house since I returned from The Ranch and both times now he has shown up wearing a gun, cuffs, a bulletproof vest, mace and a badge pinned to his chest.

"I-I didn't know you were coming today." I told him and my voice gave away that Mr. Davis scared the hell out of me.

"I don't have to tell you when I will be checking up on you." He said as though I had just insulted him.

"Sorry. I didn't mean." I said with knocking knees.

"Would you like to sit down?" Dad asked.

Mom said, "I already asked him, but he said he wasn't here to socialize."

Mr. Davis pulled a small notepad from his left breast pocket and examined it.

"My records indicate that Simon was away from the house earlier today for forty-one minutes."

"I-I called before I left and when I got back." I said and my voice cracked badly revealing just how unsettled he made me feel.

Again he spoke to me as though I were accusing him of something, "I didn't say you hadn't."

"I'll need to check your GPS band and then I will be inspecting your bedroom." He said while pulling out what looked to me to be some kind of Taser weapon.

I hesitantly stepped around dad's recliner and offered my ankle for inspection. He held the black device close to my ankle, it made a beeping sound and then he clipped it back on his belt.

"Are you going to mess up his room again?" Mom asked, but he didn't answer.

The first time he came he did a thorough search of my room. No nook or cranny was left untouched. His excuse was to be sure I hadn't hidden any of the opium drugs. My only thought was, how stupid would I have to be to hide it in my own bedroom when I could have hid it virtually anywhere within the house.

The last time it had taken over two hours for mom, dad and me to clean up my room. Thankfully he didn't destroy my room this time. He still went to my bedroom, but was only in there a grand total of maybe half a minute then returned to the living room and continued asking questions as though he hadn't stopped.

"Have you had any contact with anyone you are not supposed to?" he asked.

"No sir." I answered.

"Who was the boy you were with today?" he asked.

I was surprised he knew about that, but he probably got that from when I had called in to say I was going over to BJ's house.

"My friend BJ." I said.

"And what does BJ stand for?" he asked while scribbling in his little notebook.

"It doesn't stand for anything; that is the boy's name." Dad answered for me.

"Excuse me sir; I was speaking to your son." Mr. Davis said just as determinedly to dad as he had been when speaking to me.

Mom had moved and repositioned herself behind me with her arms crossed under my chin and the palms of her hands pressed tightly just above my bare nipples.

Mr. Davis asked me a few more questions such as if I had seen my therapist yet, if I had been taking my prescribed medications and he listed each of them. He asked if I had been taking any medications or drugs that he had not mentioned and then said something that surprised us all.

"I am happy that you are following the rules that have been set down for you. Because of that I feel it is appropriate to approve your request to attend the Evangelical Brethren Church. I have spoken with Reverend Vandoan and his wife; beautiful people by the way. They both agreed that as long as you continue working your program..." his voice went cold, I mean colder then normal as he got in my face once more, "and let me make this perfectly clear that this is only on the condition that you do not slip up in anyway." He stood erect again and continued, "Then you are allowed to have supervised visits with one Lowell Rasputin Vandoan."

"I CAN SEE LOWELL?" I shouted and like someone had turned on a faucet I began to cry. Boy I hate when I do that!

Mom pressed her hands tighter against my chest. It was only then that I realized dad had been holding my left hand the entire time I had been standing there. I only noticed `cause he squeezed it tightly when I had burst out crying.

Mr. Davis didn't seem the least bit moved by my outburst of emotions. He continued in his cold machine-like way of talking.

"Yes you may. However only under the supervision of either his parents or your own. Do I make myself clear?"

I nodded my head.

Mr. Davis snapped, "Are you disrespecting me?"

I flinched at his sudden sharp words.

"N-No sir!" I answered, though I didn't know why he had asked that question.

He bent over and put his big nose right in my face. "Are you one of those bobble-head dolls that people put on the dash board of their car?"

I finally figured out what I'd done to tick him off. He didn't seem to like my non-verbal response.

"I am sorry sir. Yes you were clear!" I answered.

With his big nose almost touching my face he smiled and said, "Thank you."

He stood upright, stuffed his little notebook back in his pocket and directed his next words to both mom and dad. "I am pleased," he began, "with his progress thus far and I don't think I'll have to worry about him. You can expect that I will be checking up on him regularly for the first month or so and if he is still doing as well as he has been we may not have to continue these uncomfortable intrusions."

"One last bit of business before I go." He said to dad and then looked to mom. "I won't be able to attend tomorrow evenings scheduled meeting with Mrs. Marsha Anne Applegate and her son Jamie Tiberius Applegate as planned.

"Do you need us to reschedule it?" Dad asked.

"No, I feel confident that I won't be needed." And as he continued speaking, for the first time he allowed his tough guy facade to crack. "Besides, Tom'll be here if things get out of hand."

I glanced at dad. He too had seen the crack in Mr. Davis's armoire. The brick wall of a man had let show that he wasn't all tough and mean and that he actually had friends. We already knew that he was my probation offer because Thomas Segal had pulled some strings to get him assigned to my case. Now we could see that Mr. Davis and Tom must be friends.

"I have already spoken with Mrs. Applegate and I doubt there will be any problems." He told us all while looking at me.

"He talked with Marsha?" I thought to myself.

Dad went to the door as Mr. Davis started to leave, but then something popped into my head and without thinking I called out to him.


Both Dad and Mr. Davis turned back around. Dad looked surprised by my outburst, but Mr. Davis looked plumb offended again.

"Sorry," I apologized for shouting then asked, "Did you say Lowell's middle name is Rasputin?"

Mr. Davis pulled his little pad of paper back out and flipped through a few pages.

"Lowell Rasputin Vandoan? Is that not correct?" he asked.

I scratched my cheek and thought.

"I'm not su..." I started to say but then asked, "Did he say his name was Rasputin?"

He eyed me with what seemed like unwillingness to continue the conversation, made a sucking sound through his front teeth, stuffed his pad into his pocket and walked out the screen door.


Dad watched as Mr. Davis got in his car and left. Only then did any of us say anything.

Mom was the first to speak, "Oh, I do not like him at all."

"He's only doing his job." Dad said to her, "Tom told us he was hard nosed."

"Scares the willies out of me!" I mumbled.

"Well, he doesn't have to be so mean. He makes me feel like a criminal." Mom said.

With her still holding me tightly from behind I tilted my head back, shot her a smirk and said, "Uh, I am a criminal."

She let go of me and playfully pushed me away while swatting my diapered bottom, "You are not and don't say that."

I wiped my runny nose with my bare arm and said, "Did you hear what he said? I can go to Lowell's church on Sunday after all!"

I felt like doing cartwheels around the living room.

Right then the doorbell rang and all three of us jumped. Mom and I both screamed and then laughed as dad opened the screen door to let BJ back in. He stepped into the house and froze.

"Uh, what's going on?" he asked.

"My probation officer was just here." I told him.

Dad walked past me, patted my cheek and pulled on my earlobe while smiling down at me.

"Oh, so that's who that was. I saw someone coming out when I was at the top of the hill." BJ told us.

"He said I can see Lowell and I can go to their church too!" I was almost bouncing with pent-up excitement.

"You been crying?" he asked as though I hadn't said anything about Lowell.

"No!" I lied, "It's allergies!"

Mom popped me on the butt again and said, "Don't lie!"

She then followed dad into the kitchen.

"No more pie! You are supposed to be on a diet!" she shouted at him much the way she might me.

I took BJ's backpack from him and the two of us headed back to my room.

"Holy crud! Did you bring your entire room?" I exclaimed when I felt the weight of his pack.

"Are you ok?" BJ asked when I tossed his bag on my bed.

"Yeah, just a little shaken up." I answered honestly.

And while I had my back to him he kicked me right in the diapered butt. It weren't no love tap either! I flew forward landing face first on the bed, draped over his pack.

"What'd you do that for?" I asked as I started to get up and counter attack.

"You had that coming and you know you did!" he said as I came at him swinging.

He jumped to the side and I went sprawling out the door and onto the floor of the hallway. It happened so fast and we were both laughing so very hard. It was too funny the way it had happened.

"I couldn't have made you do that if I were trying!" BJ laughed.

"I was like whoosh! Boom!" I said demonstrating how I had flown right past him.

"Hey did you know that Lowell's middle name is Rasputin?" I asked.

"No it isn't!" BJ said.

Loudly I exclaimed, "That's what I thought! What is it then?"

"Heck if I know, but it's sure not something stupid like Rasputin!" BJ said.

"What bunk do you sleep in?" he asked.

"Bottom," I answered, "You can sleep in Jamie's bed up there."

I took his backpack and tossed it up to the top bunk.

There was a screech, a hissed, and then his bag fell back down as something furry flew past BJ's head. He had to duck to avoid it.

"What was that?" BJ asked with shock.

I laughed, "Oops! Sorry Lil' Vera," I called out after her, "I didn't know you were up there!"

"You still got that thing?" BJ asked.

"Hey! Don't sass the kitty!" I warned him.

BJ picked up his pack and tossed it back up to the top bunk again.

He then commented, "Probably better that you are not on top."

"Keep it up funny boy!"

"What'd I say?" He balked like he hadn't meant anything by it.

"Yeah, just watch it or I might get mom to diaper you too." I joked.

"Wanna bet!" he laughed.

I made a dismissive wind sound though my nose.

"If Lowell couldn't talk me into it, what chance have you got?"

"I didn't say anything about convincing you to do anything. I said I'd get mom TO DO IT." And I put a lot of emphasis there at the end to really drive home my point.

He only chuckled amusingly and I was left wondering if Lowell had any luck at all with trying to get BJ to try them. Knowing BJ, there was no way he'd ever consider it, but also knowing Lowell the way I do, he could talk a drowning man into buying a bottle of water.

BJ froze while looking toward the door. I looked too and saw Lil' Vera's head poking around the edge of the doorjamb.

She quietly meowed when she realized we had spotted her.

"Did we wake up the baby?" I asked in baby talk.

She meowed again and I started to take a step toward her, but she hissed and ran off.

"Why do you keep her if she hates you?" BJ asked.

"She doesn't hate me." I said, "She sometimes will even lie on my lap."

"Can you pet her?" he asked.

"I did once or twice." I told him, "Besides, she likes mom and dad."


We spent the rest of the evening playing computer games and just having a great time together. It was like there hadn't been months since we had seen each other.

A little after 9:00 P.M. we were both starting to get tired and were starting to talk about going to bed early when dad came in.

"Alright boys, time to get ready for bed!"

BJ and I laughed.

"What'd I say?" Dad asked.

"We were just saying the same thing." BJ told him.

"Well why don't you get a shower." He said while bonking BJ on his head with the side of his fist.

BJ stood up and kicked off his shoes, one went sailing over into the corner by the closet and the other landed somewhere by the ladder to the top bunk.

"I'll be right back." Dad said and slipped out of the room.

Don't ask me why I watched BJ undress, `cause I don't have a clue. Maybe I was curious about how much he had changed.

When his shirt came off it flew like a ghost and floated heavily to my bed. When his pants dropped he gave them a kick and they sailed through the air too; landing on the floor near Jamie's desk. His pants actually had better hang time than his shirt did.

Before he turned around I got a good view of the back of his white boxers and seen first hand just how skinny he was. I'm talking sickly skinny here. He didn't even have a butt to speak of; it was like his back went all the way into his boxers and then his legs sprouted from there.

He turned around and said, "Take a picture it will last longer!"

I hesitated for a second and then frantically reached for the top drawer of my desk while saying, "Can I?"

Of course there was no camera in my desk, but it was funny to watch BJ quickly attempt to cover his near nakedness with only his two big hands.

"NO WAY!" he exclaimed and ran out of my room.

As soon as BJ was gone Dad returned and asked, "You need to change before bed or are you good to go?"

We both snickered at his unintended pun.

"I think it would be better if I changed. I think I might be getting a rash again." I said, "My backside itches a little."

"Another one?" dad said, "Guess I better get the butt butter." He joked.


"Whoops!" BJ said as he spun around in the door frame. "Sorry, forgot my toothbrush in my bag."

Dad had been right in the middle of smearing my private parts with Desitin diaper rash cream when BJ had come in.

"Geeze BJ it's not like you haven't seen me like this before." I laughed.

He turned back around red faced.

"Well I didn't want to make you feel bad." He said.

I came back with, "Don't be a dork!" which earned me a pinch to the inside of my thigh

"OUCH!" I shouted at dad.

He then looked at BJ, "That was very nice of you."

"Dad that hurt!" I continued to moan.

"Oh don't be a baby!" dad said and all three of us laughed `cause it was so funny.


By the time BJ got back from showering and brushing his teeth I was fully changed and wearing a pair of pajama bottoms over my double layered cloth diaper dad had pinned me into. I was sitting on my bed tinkering with my electronic Journal when he came walking in wearing nothing more than a towel wrapped around his middle.

As he reached up for his backpack from the top bunk he made the comment, "Forgot to take a change of clothes with me."

As he stretched himself to obtain his pack, his towel fell away and I was privileged to an in-my-face view of his utter nudity. I guess his growing taller wasn't the only change about him. His penis and balls had grown too. Actually, compared to my own he was huge. Like the rest of his thirteen year old body they were hairless...or nearly so. There weren't even the beginnings of pubic growth on his wrinkled sack. However there were more than a few thin dark hairs like a crown gracing the base of his penis.

"Great Grizzly Adams! Who fired the gardener?" I exclaimed.

Red faced he quickly covered himself with his backpack.

"What are you embarrassed about?" I asked, "I've seen you naked loads of times."

He turned his bare butt toward me and I almost laughed when I saw the dimples in his snow white butt cheeks. He quickly fished out a pair of white satin boxer shorts and pulled them on. The funny thing is that they were so thin that I could see right through them, but I chose not to say anything. He seemed to be suffering from a bad case of discomfiture as it was. Yeah I can be a cruel S.O.B. but this time I took the high road.

However I did have to ask one question. "Since when do you wear satin boxers?"

He pulled out a white t-shirt and started pulling that on too and I noted that he still had no arm pit hair.

"They're silk, not satin." He said.

"Oh, excuse me!"

Without saying anything he climbed to the top bunk and stretched out. I had just enough time to think that maybe I might have hurt his feelings when a pillow came from out of nowhere with deadly force. It only missed my head by an inch at the most. I moaned anyway and acted like he had hit me in the face.

"OOOH! My nose!"

My thespian talents were as sharp as ever, for BJ's head appeared over the side of the top bunk looking all worried and concerned, which is exactly what I had hoped he would do. As soon as I saw his face I reached out cold cocked his melon with a stinging hand to cheek slap.

"Oh you dirty dog!" he growled from above me.

I laughed.

"OK, truce!" I said.

"Yeah, I remember how you are with truces diaper boy!"

"Keep it up metal mouth!"

"OK! I agree to the truce!" he finally agreed.

I guess he was still sensitive about his braces. He should have known better then to let me know he had a tender spot like that.

I chuckled, "Now why don't I believe you?"

He laughed too, "Probably `cause you know as soon as your guard is down I am going to try again."

"Uh, how? I still have your pillow." I said.

BJ groaned as he realized he had thrown down his only pillow.

He tried convincing me to give it back by saying stuff like, "You have to let me have it back so I can go to sleep."

"Yeah good luck with that Tin Man!" I scoffed.

"Tin Man?" He screeched.

I was laughing so hard I blew a booger out of my left nostril which handed somewhere over the side of the bed.

A minute or so later he spoke down to me again, "Come on Simon. Let me have my pillow back."

But he hadn't realized that I had slipped off the bed and was already sneaking up the ladder to bomb him again.


This time the pillow didn't get him in the head but right in the tenders.

"OOOOH! Simon you whore child!" BJ moaned.

Fearing that he was coming after me I jumped off the ladder and dove under the bottom bunk.

"Serves you right!" I laughed.

"Why'd you do that!" he continued to moan.

Still laughing under the bed I asked, "Did I get one or both?"

Trying not to laugh when he answered he whimpered, "You got the left one!"

That only made me laugh all the more.

"I don't care what you say, you are still a no good underhanded pirate!" he hissed.

I cautiously poked my head out from under the bed.

"I have two responses to that. The first is, `Thank you!' And the second is, `You know what they say.'"

There was a measure of reluctance to his voice as he asked, "What?"

Impishly I remarked, "Once you go pirate you never go back."

BJ's head reappeared, "They really say that?"

"I've no idea." I laughed, "So you going to live?"

"I think so; although my children are probably going to be born with dents in their heads."

I laughed harder, "So you going to kill me in my sleep?"

"Oh no! No, no, no! I'd never kill you while you were sleeping. What sort of person do you think I am anyway? I'd wait until you are wide awake so you'd know when I did it!" he said and then laughed like some crazed madman.

"You'd of made a fair pirate me thinks!" I said in poor storybook pirate speak, "Save for one failing grace ye have."

"What's that?"

"You're much to pretty!" I said and started to laugh when he began to groan at being called pretty.

I started scooting out from under the bed while saying, "So you'll kill me when I'm looking; that sounds like a plan to me. Just promise me I can die with my boots on."

"You don't wear boots." BJ said.

"Yeah, well then I guess you won't be able to kill me after all. Sorry about your luck."

After I was back in bed BJ's head appeared once again and he asked, "Can I ask you something serious?"

"What's that?" I asked.

"How'd Tom manage to find your ship and bring you back?"

"He didn't actually find it. I had left it."

"You did?" BJ said with surprise.

"Yep. Down in Florida."

"Wow! How come?"

"`Cause I found out that my friends were going to mutiny. So I snuck away before they could do it."

"Why would they do that?" he asked with no small amount of amazement.

"They wanted to get me help." I flippantly said, "But after I got away, a few days later I got caught by some off duty bumpkin with a badge who happened to recognize me from TV or something."

With my pinky I traced the scar on my face to indicate nonverbally how I had been recognized so easily.

"I was put into an emergency foster home while they attempted to contact those who were looking for me."

"Is that where Tom found you?" BJ asked.

"Nope! I actually escaped from there with the help of a Cuban boy named Rico, who had been staying there too."

"Is this true or are you just pulling my leg?" BJ asked.

I sat up and spun around so that I was sitting at the foot of the bed and able to see BJ lying on his side using his arm and hand to keep his head propped up.

I placed my right hand over my heart and raised my left. "I swear it is all true."

"Dang, you are like some kind of super magnet for trouble." He said.

"Yeah, well it gets worse. It turns out that my leaving the..." I faltered.

"Foster home?" BJ offered.

I shook my head.

"Banachelli." BJ said for me.

"Thanks." I said, "Anyway it turned out to be a good thing `cause that low down jerk Tom had been tracking me all along."

"You best not let Tom hear you talking about him like that." BJ warned with a self amused little chuckle.

"Yeah, well for all I know he has my room bugged and is listening in right now." I said comically.

"Are you serious?" BJ gasped.

I laughed, "No I am not serious! Dang, you been watching too much James Bond or Austin Powers or something."

"So, how was he tracking you anyway?" BJ asked while ignoring my slam against him.

"Right before I left the last time I met this kid at school named Wambleeska. He ended up coming with Jamie, Lowell and me `cause his life here sucked so bad."

"Yeah I remember him, kind of; but Jamie and Lowell never made it." BJ said.

"I know that! Would you shut-up and let me tell it?" I said with a huff.

"So, come to find out none of what Wambleeska told me was true. For starters he wasn't even a kid; he was like 21 or something. He has this genetic thing where he never physically matured."

"Kind of like what Madam-M wanted to do to all the boys of the world huh?" BJ observed.

"HA!" I laughed, "I thought the exact same thing when I found out about him. Anyway, I looked it up on the internet and it is a real disorder and there is like one in every million babies born that end up with this genetic illness."

I crawled forward on my bed to retrieve my pillow, which I then laid in my lap.

"Oh and get this, Wambleeska isn't even his real name either. It was Myles something or other."

BJ gave a snort at the name Myles.

"Luckily Fyer had met him before when Wambleeska was only an FBI trainee and Fyer was still working for the FBI. They had only met the one time so it took a while for Fyer to realize who Wambleeska really was. As you might imagine Fyer was totally seeing red and wanted to toss Wambleeska off the ship right away. Of course we didn't."

I began to giggle to myself.

"What's so funny?" BJ asked.

"Well after we found Madam-M's stash of money and the missing surplus of the drug she had concocted, we were making our way to Florida when we discovered that we had a rat sailing with us. Without letting on that we knew who he was, Fyer put a bunch of sleeping pills in Wambleeska's dinner and knocked him out cold."

"So what did you do with him?" BJ asked.

"In the middle of the night we tied him to a flag pole in the middle of some town wearing only a diaper and a makeshift baby bonnet. Both had been Super Glued in place too. For added measure I had pinned a note to Wambleeska's diaper that was for Tom, telling him he had to try harder than that to find me."

BJ was giggling with delight at our cleverness.

"The next day we found out that it was too late. Wambleeska had already sent the FBI a message on how we managed to keep hidden when we were docked."

"So when did your friends figure out you are hooked on opium?" BJ asked.

"Oh, I think they had known for a while, but it was only after we got to Florida that Fyer, Sister Sarafina and Cho confronted me about it. Boy we had a big, big blow up."

"You remember all that?" BJ asked, "I thought you said the opium made you forget stuff?"

"Well it's like I said; some stuff I remember and some I can't. And I also had my journal entries for those times as well."

BJ nodded and said, "Oh ok. That makes sense then."

"Well anyway that night I snuck away while everyone was asleep. But a couple days later I went into a convenience store to buy a soda and something to eat. Like I said before, there was this off-duty cop in there who recognized me."

"See, I'm telling you, you are a magnet for trouble!" BJ said.

I made a humming sound of agreement before I said, "Yeah, tell me about it."

"If I'm not mistaken, I think I just did and for the second time to boot." BJ said sarcastically.

"Oh do shut up! You're beginning to bore the life out of me!" I said.

BJ made a breathful sound through his nose, "You totally butchered that line."

"Hey well I didn't want to say hell." I joked.

"Simon!" BJ Exclaimed, "You cussed!"

"Yeah well you should know! You cuss worse than a drunken sailor." I said.

"Anyway, go on with what you were saying." BJ said.

"I met the coolest sixteen year old Cuban guy named Rico at the emergency foster home they put me in. He was skinny like you."

"I'm not skinny, I'm wiry." BJ protested.

"Whatever!" I said waving him off, "Anyway like I said Rico helped me get away from the emergency foster care home and we took off together."

"So how did Tom catch you then?" BJ asked impatiently.

"Take it easy! I'm getting to that part." I said.


Right then, mom came in carrying a glass of water and a handful of pills for me to take.

As soon as I had swallowed them all she told us, "Ok, it is time to turn off the lights and get to sleep."

"Fifteen more minutes? Please?" BJ begged.

"OK, you can talk for fifteen minutes, but I want you under your covers and the lights out!" she said.

"Night mom!" I said giving her a hug and a kiss.

BJ did likewise by leaning down from the top bunk.

Mom flipped off the light at the switch and said, "Fifteen minutes then you both need to get some sleep."

"Night mom," BJ and I said nearly in unison.

"Ok, she's gone now!" BJ said from above, "What happened next?"

I started to get out of bed again as I said, "You know what. I have something about this saved on my e-journal. How about if I just call it up and let you read it?" I asked.

BJ was quiet for a minute or two. Long enough that I began to wonder if he had fallen asleep or something.

"BJ?" I called.

"Yeah?" he called back.

"Well? You want to read it or not?" I asked.

I saw the silhouette of BJ's head peering over the side of the bunk as he said, "Are you sure you want me to read your private journal?"

"The way I see it, if I can't trust my best friend, then who can I trust?" I said.

"OK then." He agreed albeit somewhat reluctantly.


It took me a few minutes to find the right entry, but once I had, I passed my e-journal up to him and then bunkered down for the night.

"Hey BJ?" I called out one last time.

"Yeah?" he sent back down.

"Would it bother you if I prayed a little before I go to sleep?" I asked.

"Are you going to pray out loud or something?" he asked.

I chuckled to myself, "No, not like that."

"Well, then why would I mind?"

"OK, in that case goodnight."

"Happy praying!" BJ joked and I giggled aloud as BJ began reading to himself.


I lay looking out the back window of the old rusted out Dodge watching as the tires tore up the gravel road and repurposed it as a vast dust cloud behind us while we accelerated to greater and greater speeds. I continued to watch as the dust quickly obscured the russet bricks and the silver chain link fence of the emergency foster home. It wasn't until the car turned onto a paved road that I rolled out of the back window, allowing myself to fall down into the back seat with a bounce. I then climbed into the front passenger seat; landing on my head and having to perform an in-place summersault in order to right myself again.


"Sheesh, why do you have to go into such detail when you write? Why not just write normal?" BJ grunted.

"I tried being normal once. I didn't like it." I teased.

When he didn't reply to my attempt at injecting a bit of humor I said, "That is just how I write. And besides, I don't remember you complaining when you snuck and read my journal before!"

His reply came in a near whisper, "Oh you remember that, huh?"

"Yeah, that I do remember!"

"Well you are just as snippy as you've always been!" he observed.

"Bite me!" I said.

"No thanks. I'm not supposed to have sweets with my braces." He said.

"Umm, did you just call me sweet?" I asked.

BJ hesitated momentarily before responding with a strong-minded, "No!"

"Well I think you're sweet too, sugar lips!" I joked while trying not to laugh too loud.

BJ groaned and though I couldn't see him it sounded like he had covered his face with his pillow.

"Are you finished bugging me now?" I asked.

"Uuuuuuh, yep now I am." He said.

"Good then shut-up! I am trying to talk to God down here."

"Oh sorry, I forgot. Uh, tell him I said hi." BJ said.

"Yeah Ok I'll be sire to do just that." I replied.

I went back to praying while BJ went back to reading my old journal entry.


The once well dressed, well groomed young looking Rico was sitting behind the steering wheel with his green, sunken eyes focused on the road ahead. When I first met Rico I had a hard time believing he was as old as sixteen and now... well now I was finding it hard to believe that he wasn't a lot older than sixteen. A couple days ago he had been clean cut, nicely tanned and mildly dignified; he now sat across from me sporting a dirt-smeared face, hair that looked as though it had not seen a drop of shampoo in days let alone a comb and hardly a spot of color in his face. He was wearing what was once one of his crisp white button-up shirts, but now showed the signs of food and other mysterious stains. There was also a large smear just above the right breast pocket of what I was guessing was jelly from a jelly doughnut.

From my vantage point I could only see the right side of his face, but if the other side looked half as drained then I knew I had better not try messing with him. I am not talking about the kind of tired you might feel if you miss a night or two of sleep, but the tired one feels from being on the run and having to watch your back every second of every minute without even a millisecond to let down your guard.

He turned and shot an emotionless look then snapped at me, "Shut up!"

"I didn't say anything!" I shot back.

"Well stop looking at me so loudly then!"

I knocked myself on the side of my head with the palm of my hand, shook my head and grunted, "That doesn't make any sense!"

He eyed me real good, his nose bobbing once, twice and a third time before he spoke again.

"You look like hell." He observed.

I'd have to agree with him because it was true. I did look like hell and frankly I wasn't happy about it either.

I snarled back with, "You're not so hot looking yourself Pal."

He quickly examined the stains on his shirt before sharply exhaling his disapproval.

"It's a good thing I like you!" he said.

Ignoring his last statement I asked with a nervous twitch, "You manage to find my stuff?"

Before Rico had run away from the foster home two days ago I had told him where to find a bag I had hid which contained clothes, money and most importantly several small brown bottles.

He pointed to a tattered brown grocery bag, which was rolled closed and lying on the floorboard beneath my feet.

I dove for it and frantically ripped it open to get at the contents.

"Where is it?" I screeched and then I found what I was so desperately in need of.

"Oh there you are!" I sang out as I lifted a small brown bottle from what remained of the sack.

"Simon," I know you made me promise never to ask about those bottles, but maybe you shouldn't take whatever it is anymore."

"You know what? I have this great idea; how about you shut that whole in your face and drive!" I snapped as I struggled to get the screw cap off the bottle.

When I couldn't get it to budge I put the cap between my teeth for leverage. Finally it came loose. I spun the cap off, tipped the bottle up to my lips and swallowed every last drop.

It had been three days since I had any of my precious liquid of which I had become so gravely addicted too. I had just started to feel the onset of a complete detox-meltdown only a couple hours before running away from the foster home. But I started feeling better as soon as I felt that familiar tingle as it flowed over my tongue and down my throat. Minutes later I was feeling GREAT with a capital WOWZERS! That full body ache that had been steadily growing within me was replaced by tingling that radiated through me like ripples in a pond. It's like drinking a cup of happiness, Christmas morning, watching cartoons with a bowl of cereal on your lap, and yellow sunshine warming your skin. It's like being in love without all the crap that comes as part of the packaged deal.

What is in the brown bottles that would make me act the way I was? Well, to answer that I need to take you back in time and tell you about this one lady who had lofty goals of condemning every boy in the world to living the rest of their lives in diapers. Impossible you might say? Well you weren't there so you'll just have to take my word for it. At the core of all of her plans was what she called vitamins. It was a chemical cocktail with several intended side effects, such as stopping and even in some cases reversing the early onset of puberty. It also lastingly altered the takers natural ability to control their bodily functions. There were other chemicals introduced to alter and/or heighten ones mood and probably the most important aspect of it was the fact that each bottle contained just enough opium to get each and every one of the boys aboard the Banachelli addicted to the stuff. Yes that's right, even me!

"You know there is only three more of those left." Rico said.

"Well you got to get me to Ohio then and fast. I have more stashed on my boat and they should be getting there right about now. At least I hope that's where they went." I said.

"OHIO!? I thought we were going to California?" he shouted with no small amount of exasperation in his voice.

That sparked off a long argument, which ended when neither was willing to talk to the other anymore.


We sat silent for what felt like an hour as the tires thumped out an uneven rhythm from the cracks and potholes in the road. The autumn trees flew past the car windows in a blur of shades of reds and golds while the telephone poles came and went so quickly that they looked like a picket fence.

The so called vitamins had taken full effect and feeling better than I had in days I reached down for the rest of the stuff that had been in the bag, only to experience an odd sensation. My left arm had not responded when my brain had told it to reach down. My eyes drifted ever so calmly to my left hand where I found my five fingers intertwined with Rico's.

Again my eyes slowly tracked up his arm to his shoulder and then his face. He was looking at the road and softly smiling. It was so nice to see him smile again and I decided not to deprive him of that one small pleasure.

With only one hand I leaned down and began to take inventory...

A pair of Blue-jean shorts with a length of braided leather rope which acted as a belt. The belt had been made for me by an incredibly sweet 101-year-old island woman named Fajah Tashaonda. She is the great-great-grandmother of my dear friend Sister Sarafina. You are meant to tie the loose leather ends together over your right hip and allow the fringe tips to dangle. It is truly a beautiful thing that one must see in person.

Also among the contents of the bag was a white baseball shirt with light blue three-quarter sleeves. My first name was plastered across the back in big blue Roman block letters. On the front in smaller blue lettering it said CAPTAIN. Everyone who didn't know me and saw me wearing it might assume I am the captain of my Little League Baseball team, but that wasn't the case at all. It had been a gift from my fellow shipmates upon my return several months ago.

I spread the shirt and the shorts across my lap and brushed out any wrinkles with my hand before I continued examining the other items which lay at my feet.

There was my electronic journal; dead `cause it had been turned on when I was detained. The battery had completely discharged and I didn't have the charger with me. I had mistakenly left it on the Banachelli when I left.

There was a single pair of brand new, white tube socks with a yellow and green band around the top.

My beloved track shoes, which had also been a gift from some other friends and I might add still in mint condition as I had not yet worn them.

Three new white disposable diapers.

One dried out french-fry, which I almost ate seeing how I was starving. After a moments hesitation I tossed it out the car window and noted the slight sent of meat grilling in the early summer air.

And finally, five small brown bottles; two empty, one was missing its cap and three still full.

Rico released my hand so that I could pull off the pale-blue t-shirt given to me by my Foster Parents. I wadded it into a ball, rolled my window all the way down and tossed it out of the speeding car. I had thought about pulling on the baseball shirt, but seeing how it was such a beautiful day I made up my mind to remain shirtless for a while. Since I had disposed of the shirt, I figured I might as well do the same thing with the tan slacks and the itchy white boxer shorts. After all, they both reeked of pee and the boxers had a massive brown stain in the back from where I had crapped myself my first day.

Naked except for my socks I sat looking out the open window enjoying the fresh air of freedom. Eventually I turned from gazing at the passing scenery to the guy behind the wheel, who now looked more drained then ever. His eyelids were at half-mast, dark circles were forming under each eye and his head was tilted slightly forward. A toothpick hung lazily from his bottom lip, glued there with dried saliva.

I got up on my knees, leaned forward to kiss his cheek, but at the last second he turned to see what I was doing and our lips made contact.

Boy you should have seen the grin that gave him.

"Thanks Rico," I said with a soft chirp.

By the way, that is his name, Rico. Well, actually it is Ricardo Vasquez, but he hates his first name. If you ask me, he doesn't look like a Ricardo — he looks like a Rico. Well, not right now he doesn't; right now he looks like a two day old corps. No, a dead guy wouldn't let himself get that disgusting.

All I have now is Rico, `cause the ones I thought were my friends had begun to act like strangers when I was around. They would shake their heads at me and say I'd changed. But when something's lost, something is always gained, though we don't always see it so clearly.

Rico moved his eyes from the road and put them on me again. He examined my naked state, smiled a half smile and then let out a bit of a snort. It wasn't the first time Rico had seem me naked, it was the second and it wasn't really my nudity that he was snorting at.

"So Pañal, how was it there without me?" Rico's voice sounded as rough as he looked from years of drinking whiskey, which he says he started doing when he was only six-years-old; he's now nearly sixteen... or so he says. Actually, except for his height, Rico doesn't look anything like a teenager. The last time I saw him his face was smooth and zit free. Oh and I can testify that he doesn't have a stitch of hair anywhere on his body except for the top of his head.

I looked out the front windshield for a moment to think about what parts I wanted to share and what parts I wanted to keep to myself. The first thing that came to mind was him calling me `Pañal' which he had shortened from the longer version of `Pañal Cabrito'. On that first day I met him back at the foster home he started calling me that. Rico had told me it was Spanish for `little man' and like a fool I believed him; but after he left I was told what it really meant.

I turned back around and punched him in the arm as hard as I could. I felt my knuckles sink through his lean muscles and come into contact with the bone. The car swerved and several car horns began to blare at us.

"Why'd you do that?" He shouted while rubbing his arm and trying to keep from driving into the oncoming traffic.

"I found out what `Pañal Cabrito' really means you butt-hole!" I shouted and punched him again in the same spot.

The car swerved again as Rico laughed harder then I'd ever seen him laugh. He was rubbing his arm and blasting the windshield with his hilarity. You see, Rico wasn't like me and Theodore, the other boy in the house. He wasn't a bed or pants wetter and he did not wear diapers.

"All this time you have been teasing me and calling me `Diaper Kid'?!" I squealed.

The more I carried on the harder Rico laughed, so I stopped talking about it and after a while he calmed back down. Although every once in a while he would start giggling again and I'd act like I was going to hit him again.

"Why did it take you two whole days to come get me?" I asked.

"What?" he said defensively, "I had to find your stuff and then get us a car, didn't I?"

"My stuff was less then twenty minutes from the foster home! So you're telling me it took you two days to buy a car?" I asked.

"Who said anything about buying?" Rico shrugged.

"Oh! Oh yeah! Yeah this is great! Just effing great! So you are telling me we are two wanted men riding around in a stolen... uh, what kind of bucket is this anyway? And if you were going to steal a car, couldn't you have got one that was made before Elvis Presley died?"

I had used the Elvis crack because that was who was currently singing on the radio.

"First, we are not two wanted men." Rico was saying while replacing his toothpick which had fallen from his mouth the first time I hit him, "We are one wanted man and one pañ..."

"Don't even think of saying it!" I growled and shook my fist at him.

Rico laughed again, thumping the steering wheel while rocking back and forth on the seat. He tried to fumble for another toothpick when he realized he'd bit the other in two, but he was laughing so hard he broke it in half as well.

"Ok so second. If you don't like my car then you are welcome to get out and walk." Rico said, but I knew he wasn't serious.

"That's just it! It isn't your car! You stole it!" I shouted.

"Technicalities!" he said with a single shoulder shrug.

"So what took you so long?" I asked again.

He was quiet for a moment while he pulled out yet another toothpick, positioned it just right in his mouth before answering so softly, that I barely heard him.

"Maybe I stole a different car and maybe I sort of ran it into an ambulance."

"Are you serious?" I started to laugh, "You crashed into an ambulance?"

"Shut up!" he whined and blushed.

"Why didn't you just buy a car? I mean it isn't like we NEED money." I said.

Rico got this unbelievably guilty look on his face.

"Rico? Tell me you didn't loose all my money?!"

Rico had confessed to me our first and only night together, that he had a not so little problem with gambling and this is an exact quote from him, "You name it, I'll put money on it and probably loose."

Rico tried to turn his head so that I couldn't see his face.

"RICO!" I shouted so forcefully that, if he had been looking at me, he would have seen my fangs and horns showing.

"So now I know what took you so long! You went off to play cards while I was left sitting and waiting on you like some idiot? And to top it off now you tell me we're broke?"

"It was the hand of a life time! I had four aces! I couldn't loose!" he said.

"If you couldn't loose then where is my money?" I asked angrily.

"How was I supposed to know that he had been dealt a Straight Flush?" Rico said just as angrily.

"You bet all that money on one hand?" I asked in disbelief.

"Do you know the chances of being dealt four aces?" Rico argued.

I sat and brewed for a minute or two before asking, "Do we have any money left?"

"You know something, I think that dude cheated." Rico said, totally ignoring my question.

"Rico! How much money do we still have?!" I asked again as my head swam.

Come to think of it maybe my head wasn't swimming so much for being angry, but from the opium and other drugs I'd sucked out of the brown bottle. I mean I did just ingest about five or six doses in one gulp. That's the problem with opium. The longer you take it, the more you have to have just to get a decent buzz going.

"It was the hand of a lifetime!" He explained again.

"RICO!" I shouted and kicked the underside of the dashboard. Yeah it hurt `cause I was barefoot, but I didn't let it show.

He whimpered, "About two hundred."

"You're joking right? You're pulling my leg? You didn't bet nearly twelve thousand dollars? You are just joking right? Tell me you are joking!"

I reached out and took hold of him by the shirt.

"Rico! That was supposed to get us all the way to..."

I didn't get to finish `cause Rico jumped on my words.

"Well I did! OK! I did and it is gone! At least I got us a car and we have enough money for gas to get us there." Rico said as he pushed me off him.

I sat sideways in the seat with my back against the door and brewed a while longer until I decided that it wasn't worth getting so upset about.

"Well, there is more where that came from." I said.

"So I guess we are going to Ohio after all?" Rico asked.

I tried to hit him again but missed `cause he had flinched away from my swing. That and because the drugs I had taken were in full effect now and I must say that despite the news that we were nearly broke, I was feeling all sorts of wonderful!

"All we have to do is get to Ohio where the Banachelli is supposed to have gone after I left her in Key West." I said.

There was a minute or two of dead air between us before I spoke again.

"Well thanks for coming for me anyway. I don't think I could have waited for you much longer."

I sighed, lifted myself off the seat and slid a leg under my butt. As I leaned back against the door so that I was facing Rico again and slowly allowing the opium to ravage my mind I shared one last thought.

"Well we should make it to Ohio as long as nothing else happens."

After a few minutes it reoccurred to me that I was hungry. Actually it was the rumbling of my tummy that had reminded me.

"So, got anything to eat?" I asked.

"Not quite." He softly rumbled.

Thinking he was answering my question about the food I leaned in toward him and asked, "What's that supposed to mean?"

"There are blueberries and noodles in a bag in the back." And then as though he had nearly forgot he added, "Oh and a few bottles of champagne."

"Blueberry noodles?" I croaked while pretending to vomit.

Rico shook his head as he said, "You were with them for nearly three whole days." he paused long enough to let that sink in, but he didn't have to; I knew all to well how long I had been in there. It had been three days that felt more like three months. For three days I lived in fear that Tom Segal or my parents were going to show up and take me home!

"And what's that got to do with whether there is food or not? And what the heck are blueberry noodles anyway?" I asked.

Rico almost laughed... almost. If he had, I probably would have punched him again.

"I said AND..." Rico said while pretending to take a swing at me. He followed that up with a playful sounding "you little twit!"

I didn't even duck because I knew Rico would never hurt me... not intentionally. I can't tell you how I knew, I just did.

Rico was born in Cuba, but came to America with his parents as illegal immigrants when he was less than three years old. About a year ago his parents were caught and sent back to Cuba, but Rico hadn't been home when the INS came and arrested his parents. When he heard about it, he ran away and hid in the basement of his family's church. No one had a clue he was living down there and he pulled it off for close to a year before he managed to get himself into trouble and his true nationality was discovered. Despite spending the larger part of his life, due to no fault of his own, here in American, the United States was now deporting him back to Cuba as well.

Before his parents were sent away he had been studying for nearly two years to become a Catholic Priest. That is until he got into some trouble with the law. Rico told me that it had been discovered that he had been stealing from the church to the estimated sum of more than $27,000 to support his addiction to gambling, drinking and smoking, as well as to buy food. I still have no idea how a 16-year-old gets access to that sort of church money, but apparently he had. Despite his fallout with the church, he still conducts himself the same. If you were to overlook this glaring trifecta of flaws, you would see that Rico is a very honorable young man, worthy of almost anyone's trust; just don't let him be in charge of your money. It was because of his true kind nature that he and I had become instant friends.

It had taken a bit for my brain to register what he had said, but once it had I spoke up.

"Wait a second, what's the champagne for?" I asked.

I immediately followed that up with, "You said all you ever drink is that nasty rot-gut, toilet water junk."

I was referring to the particular whiskey brand he preferred to drink. No kidding, the stuff really did look and smell like water from a used public toilet that hadn't been flushed in a few days. I tasted it once and thought I was going to die; imagine drinking fermented diarrhea and you'd be really close to understanding how vile that stuff really is.

Rico took another swing at me, only this time he hadn't missed. It had looked like he was trying to knock my block off, but what he was really doing was getting a firm grip on the back of my head. It wasn't done mean or nothing, just playfully aggressive. I could feel his fingers wrapping around the base of my long pony-tail.

"Well it's true!" I said almost laughing and gripping his forearm with both hands.

"I missed you Pañal Cabrito!" he said while still trying to hold me by the hair. "God knows why I missed you; but I did!"

He started pulling me close and after a second or two of resistance I gave in, leaned forward and we kissed like before, only longer.

"I missed you too and you better stop calling me that or else!" I hissed and tickled his ribs.

The conversation and kissing dwindled into mutual silent bliss until Rico asked, "So you packing?"

Packing was what Rico called it when I was wearing a wet or dirty diaper. Actually that one day we spent together in the foster home, he had asked it so much that I even started saying it. His asking it now seemed really weird, seeing how I was sitting there stark naked.

I tilted my head to one side as I asked, "Did that nasty stuff you drink finally make you go blind?"

Rico didn't respond so I said, "I do however smell like a toilet and could use a bath."

"Tell me about it! And you better not pee in my car!" he warned.

"I'd say pee is not the thing you need to worry about coming out of me right now." I joked.

Rico scrunched up his nose and stuck out his tongue.

He then looked at me. I mean really looked at me and repeated his previous statement from a few minutes back, only he added more to it to really drive home what it was he was trying to say.

"You were stuck with those two for quite a while." He said it in such a way as to imply that he was saying more than he was.

"Don't take long and lord knows they had you where they could get to you anytime they wanted."

I shuttered as Rico's words brought back images of those three days. When my foster parents discovered that I had a wetting and messing problem, they changed from this loving couple to prison wardens who watched my every move every second of every moment I was with them. My first day there, after having had an accident in my pants, I was made to sit for three straight hours sitting on the toilet.

Rico didn't have to say it, but he did anyway. "Three days? Plenty long enough for them to have bugged you. Might have even happened before you got there."

Fear instantly exploded throughout my body.

"No, no they didn't! I would have known! They didn't bug me Rico! I am not bugged! I swear it Rico!" I shouted while beating the door with my elbows to try to escape. I have no idea where I was planning on going when we were traveling at more than sixty miles an hour.

It isn't a widely known fact that eleven of the fifty states use sub-dermal electronic human-tracking devices on all inmates regardless of age. And four of those eleven states also use them on all children who are put in state care, whether they are in a juvenile facility or foster care. The devices are not unlike those used for decades on beloved pets by their owners. The location where the device is implanted varies, but the most popular place is deep within the flesh of the left butt cheek.

My first night in the foster home Rico had told me all about it and how he had found and removed his own tracking device. He pulled it out of his pocket where he kept it until he was ready to make his escape. When he finally did leave, he left it under his bed, so that it would seem he was still in the house, if they started looking for him.

Rico leaned over, opened the glove compartment and pulled out a short hook-bladed knife with a duct tape handle, as well as what looked to be a fat green ink pen. Actually, it wasn't an ink pen at all; it was a common electrician's tool for finding live electrical wires inside walls. It also works great for finding electronic bugs in someone's backsides. All you do is drag it across the skin until a small LED light comes on and it starts beeping. However, the pen wasn't what alarmed me; it was that damn knife.

You see, I had been bugged before and didn't know it until I had returned to the Banachelli. While I had been home someone had managed to implant a bug into my hindquarters. The very first thing that happened when Wambleeska and I got aboard was to have Fyer take us to his cabin room to check us for tiny transmitters. Unfortunately we both were found to have them. I don't know for sure who put that first bug into my butt, but I have a good solid guess and when I see him again, I am going to kick him right in the tinderbox! It would be futile for me to attempt to tell you how much it hurt having that tiny device removed. Suffice it to say that I wasn't able to sit for a week afterward.

Rico examined the tip of the hook bladed knife.

"Oh God Rico no!" I cried as I scrambled to the backseat out of Rico's reach; or so I thought.

Rico pulled the car off the main strip, down a gravel road about half a mile and parked under a large cropping of trees directly across from a cornfield that went in both directions as far as the eye could see. He put the car in park, turned off the engine, turned in his seat and spoke in as caring a voice as he could possibly muster.

"You know damn well that if we stop moving and you are bugged, it will only be a matter of days, maybe even hours, before we are located. And if they catch us you'll get put back in that God forsaken place, or maybe someplace worse and they'll probably ship me back to Cuba which would be a death sentence for me."

My face showed every bit of fear that was coursing though my under-developed thirteen year old body as I cringed as far away from Rico as I could.

"They didn't bug me Rico!" I sobbed as tears flowed like raging rivers down my face. That's the other thing about opium, it is great for wiping out negative emotions, but when they do manage to get through, oh boy watch out!

"I swear they didn't bug me again!" Fear gripped me so much, my bowels quivered at a near state of collapse.

Rico just sighed and rested his forehead on the headrest. After a minute he looked up at me and saw that I was still cowering against the back passenger door looking back at him with my face still contorted with fear and wet with tears.

Without saying a word Rico got out of the car and went around to the trunk to retrieve something. I took that opportunity to open the back door. I hit the ground running, but only made it about ten feet before I tripped and fell. Rico was on me so fast I had no chance to get up and continue running.

I was screaming and fighting Rico, "NO! GOD NO! PLEASE RICO NO!"

He did something that stopped all resistance on my part. He punched me right in the jewels.

"OOOOOOH!" I moaned as I fell to the ground and curled into a ball.

You know, that is something funny about getting hit in the balls. No matter who it is, how big they might be, one swift ball tap and down they go.

"YOU DIRTY..." I called him a rectum, although I used a much more poignant version of the word, "Why'd you do that?"

Rico bend down and as he was picking my nude aching body up to carry me back to the car he said, "Evil, when we are in its power, is not felt as evil, but as a necessity, or even a duty."

He dropped me face first on the backseat and then climbed in on top of me. He was sitting on the backs of my knees so that there was absolutely no chance of me running away again.

I heard a popping sound and having thought he had done something to my backside, I let loose a blood curdling scream. It only turned out to be the cork from one of the champagne bottle.

"I can't believe you nailed me in the balls!" I groaned.

"I can't believe how cute your little butt is!" he said while giving it a squeeze.

"Hey no squeezing the merchandise!" I complained.

He then put the bottle to my lips and said, "Drink this. It will make you feel better."

He kept pouring it into my mouth and I had no choice but to drink it or drown. It tasted absolutely nasty; like diluted unsweetened white cranberry juice mixed with Seven-Up.

He made me take several large gulps of the champagne and after about five minutes my head began to swim. Remember I had an empty stomach at the start of all this, so the alcohol in the champagne went right to my bloodstream and into my brain.

I'm not quite sure how he managed to do it, but he had flipped me around and had my head in a headlock between his thighs and continued feeding me from the big green glass bottle. Every time I would try to speak or move he would shove the bottle into my mouth again.

When he saw I was more than tipsy he allowed me to sit up. He handed me the bottle, I tilted it up and chugged.

"You're thirsty." he said.

I let go one enormous belch that rattled my fillings.

"Well now. That was disgusting!" he exclaimed.

Rico held up one of his brown whiskey bottles and asked, "Would you rather have some of this?"

"I would rather eat diaper gravy than drink that stuff again." I said which made him laugh.

"Well drink up. It will help you not be so hungry too." He said.

I tilted the champagne bottle back and took a long swig. Actually, the more I drank the less bitter it seemed to taste.

I learned something that day... if you drink something with alcohol on an empty stomach; you are going to get utterly blitzed out of your skull.

Rico turned so that we were looking at each other again. My eyes widened a bit, the tears were drying on my cheeks and a small grin stretched across his face.

"What?" Rico asked.

"You got tw-two heads!"

"And you are getting drunk!" he said as he handed me a second bottle of that wonderful Champaign!

"You-you-you know something?" I started to say, "I-I-I really am sure! I just-I just know they didn't do it! You know what else? You-you know what, you know what, you know what they called me?" I asked, "Do you know?"

"What's that Pañal?" Rico asked.

I tilted the bottle up and drank deep. "And stop calling me Pañal! My name is Pañal!" I said followed by another loud belch.

Rico chuckled and I noticed he now had three heads.

"I-I-I am going to start calling you Fluffy." I said.

"Why Fluffy?" he laughed.

"Cause you have three heads just like that dog."

"What dog?"

"You know." I belched.

"No I don't."

I tilted the bottle up again before answering, "The dog in that book."

"What book?"

"What?" I grunted.

"You said I look like the three headed dog in some book. What book do you mean?"

I rubbed my nose and face with the back of my hand and arm.

"My face tingles." I said.

"I think you are drunk for sure now." Rico commented.

I tried to lean forward but couldn't, so I resigned to becoming a permanent part of the back seat.

"You know what? I might be drunk, but I know something I am not!" I said.

"What's that Pañal?"

"Stop calling me that!" I said with a hiccup.

"OK, what are you not then?" he asked again.

"I-I-I might be, um, what you said..."

"Drunk?" Rico offered.

"Yeah that." I burped again, "But!" I said loudly while holding up a droopy but determined finger, "I... uh."

"What?" Rico asked.

"What, uh, what was I saying?" I asked.

"You were saying you are not something."

"Oh yeah. Thank you. You-You know something?" I asked, but answered without waiting for Rico's response. "I really like you Rico!"

"You and I are two souls woven together by God and can never be unraveled, but tell me what you are not." He said poetically.

"Wow!" I said.

"Wow what?" he said back.

I hiccupped as I said, "That was beautiful what you just said."

Rico growled like a dog to himself before saying, "Yeah-Yeah! Don't change the subject again. Tell me what you aren't."

"Oh yeah!" I burped loudly again before I finally told him, "I-I am not bugged!"

I think he might have laughed a little when he said, "I'm glad to hear it."

Rico held out his bottle of whiskey, linked it against my large green champagne bottle and said, "Let's drink on it!"

I tilted the bottle back and chugged until my stomach could hold no more.

"Well, I wish I was as sure as you are, but there is only one way I will be, Pañal..." he stopped and corrected himself, "I mean Simon."

"You know something?"

"Now what?" he asked.

"Don't tell Rico but I kind of like it when he calls me Pañal."

"Ok I wont breathe a word."

After several minutes I tried to sit up again, but again I failed. I took one last swig from the bottle before saying a word meaning excrement only not quite as polite sounding.

"What was that for?" he asked.

"Look down." I said.

He did and then exclaimed loudly, "SIMON YOU'RE PEEING ALL OVER THE CAR!"

And then I promptly passed out cold.

~ To Be Continued ~