Simon's Journal


Volume II




Thirteen Nights -- After the Crusade




Written by

Author of Thirteen Days


Chapter - 2

Monday, March 01, 2004


PART 1 - Sir Isaac Newton wasn't just some chump!

Several weeks ago in Science class at school we'd been talking about the laws of physics and in particular Sir Isaac Newton's' law that `For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction'.

Now we'd been discussing this in relation to space flight. It went something like this: If you push on anything, it pushes back on you. That's why if you lean against the wall, you don't just fall through it. The wall pushes back on you as hard as you push on it, and you and the wall stay in place. If you throw something, you put more force behind it then just leaning on it, so it pushes back with more force. Our teacher explained that this is hard to observe, because usually, if you throw something away from you, the friction between you and the floor makes resistance to keep you in place. However, if you take away the friction and try again, you will move away from the thing that you threw as much as it moves away from you.

The bigger the push, the bigger the push back. That is why cannons and guns recoil. As the cannon ball flies in one direction, the cannon moves in the opposite direction. Our teacher went on to say that if we were to turn to the cannon up on its end, it gets closer to how a rocket works. The force that pushes the cannon ball down also pushes the cannon up. But since the cannon is bigger then the cannon ball it has more inertia acting to keep it in one place. We would need a larger force to push the cannon a great distance. If we could make a long continuous hot explosion in the cannon, instead of one quick one, we could push the cannon a far distance. The air that is heated would push out the back, pushing the cannon in the opposite direction. This is how jets work as well as how rockets get into space. Therefore, since every action as an equal and opposite reaction, something will go forward if it is pushing matter behind itself.

So why am I thinking about this heavy brain bending stuff? Well, something got me thinking earlier today and I started to wonder if Sir Isaac Newton's law could also be applied to non-matter, such as life or life events. For example; say I am walking down the street and see someone I know from school; I wave to them but instead of them waving back to me they flip me the bird before turning to walk away. That is an action with an equal and opposite reaction, right?

I'm probably not making any sense here at all but here's what has happened today that's got me thinking about this sort of stuff. This morning I woke up, managed to get out of bed all by myself and staggered out to the kitchen where I found dad starting to make coffee.

"Morning," I said through a yawn.

Dad turned to look at me, "Wow, you're up early!"

I yawned again, stretched and rubbed the sleep from my eyes.

"What time is it?" I asked.

"It's not even five o'clock yet." He said.

"Huh?" I stopped rubbing my eyes and stood looking at him as my brain attempted to comprehend what he'd just said.

"It is?" I finally asked.

The left side of dad's mouth rose in a half smile and then with a twitch of his head he motioned for me to come to him. I moved further into the kitchen and stood beside him as he placed the filter into the coffee maker. He reached his left arm around my shoulders and pulled me in close to his side, giving me a one armed hug. I watched as he scooped the coffee from the canister into the awaiting filter.

"How many do you use?" I asked.

"Two heaping scoops." He showed me how he scooped out the coffee and then dumped the second scoop into the filter.

I rubbed at my taped up chest, "Oh, I didn't know; I guess I always thought you'd use more then that."

"Nope, just two scoops is all it takes!" dad said, hugging me a little tighter.

He picked up the plastic lid to the coffee decanter and was about to put it back on when I asked, "So now you have to put in some water?"

"I already did that. All I have to do now is turn it on and sit back and wait!" he pointed to the black switch on the side of the coffee maker, "You want to do it?" he asked.

Without answering, I reached out and flipped the switch - I didn't hear anything. "Is it working?" I asked.

He was reclosing the cabinet door after having put the coffee away, "Well, sure it is!" he said.

"I don't hear nothing, though," I said tapping the side.

Dad laughed softly, "It's `I don't hear anything'." He corrected, "You have to give it a minute or two to heat up the water first!" I didn't even catch his correction of what I'd said right away and when I finally did, it felt too late to comment on it.

He released me from his semi-embrace to go get his coffee cup out of the dishwasher.

"Can I have some when it's ready?" I asked trying to sound confident and mature.

He didn't answer right away but he did look up at me as he reached into the dishwasher and raised a single eyebrow at my request.

"I suppose it would be okay for you to have half a cup!" he said.

I beamed back at him and rocked up on the balls of my feet a couple times excitedly. I watched as he got a second coffee cup down from the cabinet. Normally those were only used for company `cause dad has his own coffee cup that he always uses all the time.

"So how do you take yours?" he asked petting the back of my hair.

Not knowing what he meant I wrinkled my nose a bit and grunted, "Huh?"

He laughed again, "That was the right answer!"

I still had no idea what he was talking about, but he went on to explain, "Some people like their coffee `black'; that means they don't want anything in it. Then there are those that like it `regular' and that means they want both cream and sugar."

"I don't know; how should I have mine?" I asked.

"I'd imagine you'd like yours `Regular'." He answered as he reached over the counter for the little sugar bowl.

"Ok, I'll have mine regular please!" I said smartly and he gave the back of my head another pet.

It was then that I realized mom wasn't out of bed yet. "Where's mom?" I asked.

"Your aunt called again last night and needed your mom to come over and help her. She over did it yesterday at your party and her foot is all swollen up again." Dad said as he put two spoonfuls of sugar into the coffee cup he'd taken out for me to use.

"Can you get the milk out for me?" he asked.

"Sure!" I said moving to the refrigerator.

"So did she stay all night over there?" I asked.

"Yep, but I expect she'll be home after bit." He said as I handed him the half-gallon jug of milk.

For the first time since waking up, I looked down at the condition of my diaper and saw that it was sagging quite a bit in the front from being so wet. I don't think I like cloth diapers so much in the mornings `cause when they are really wet they seem to become a little loose. I suppose that if I didn't have on the plastic plants, it might just fall right off my hips.

Dad must have saw me looking down at myself too `cause he said, "You want me to help you get changed?"

I thought about it for several seconds before I answered, "I guess maybe so."

"Why don't we go take care of it while the coffee is brewing?" he said.

"Okay." I agreed and started to turn but I'd not been paying attention this time and turned my upper body without turning my feet in the direction I wanted to go. I had a quick flash of pain that froze me to the spot.

"You okay?" dad asked, taking hold of both of my arms to support me.

"That was dumb!" I exclaimed.

"No it wasn't! You just moved wrong is all." Dad attempted to tweak my thinking.

"Yeah but it still hurt!" I countered.

"It looked like it! Your face went white as paper so fast I thought you were going to pass out on me." Dad said.

"I don't think I'm going to move like that again!" I said, which made dad laugh.

Bending down he scooped me up and cradled me in his arms. "I'd probably avoid it if I were you! It didn't look like a lot of fun."

He carried me back to my room, deposited me on my still unmade bed and was just reaching up to pull off my plastic pants when a twinge in my lower back told me that I was about to need to poop.

"Dad?" I said stopping him before he pulled them off, "I think I need to go number-two."

He surprised me by smiling, "If I get you out of this wet diaper can you hold it until you are sitting on the toilet?"

"Yeah, I think so." I answered.

He went ahead and pulled off my plastic pants and the stale smell of urine wafted into my nostrils. For some reason he had a little trouble getting the first safety pin opened, but after a couple seconds he got it and the other safety pin came right open. I helped him by lifting my bottom off the bed so that he could pull the wet diaper out from under me. My skin was quite damp and the coolness of the morning air caused goose bumps to creep across my skin.

"Cold?" he asked with a smirk. I nodded, wide-eyed.

He then picked me up again; I could have walked to the bathroom on my own but he seemed to want to carry me and I didn't have any qualms about letting him. In the bathroom he sat me on the toilet and asked, "You want to give me a shout when you are done and I'll come help you wipe?"

"Okay." I answered and I could feel the pressure quickly building. No sooner had he pulled the door closed behind him, than my bowels let loose like a cannon into the toilet bowl. I waited several minutes to be sure I was done and sure enough, I wasn't. I had two more eliminations before I'd finished. "I shouldn't have had all those hotdogs at my birthday party yesterday!" I thought out loud and made myself grin at the humor of it.

"DAD! I'M DONE!" I called out from our porcelain throne room and dad reappeared only seconds later.

"Woah! Son, I think something may have crawled up inside you last night and died!" dad joked as he covered his nose. I guess I was feeling a little uncomfortable about the situation and maybe a little humbled, too; maybe the combination of the two is what made me laugh, more so then what dad had said.

He had me standup, hold on to the sink and bend over so that he could wipe my bottom clean for me and when he was satisfied he'd got the job done, he flushed the toilet and gave my bare-bottom a swat.

"Hey! What was that for?" I jokingly complained.

"Pick something!" he joked back by pinching my ear.

"You ready now?" he asked.

"What for?" I asked stupidly.

"To go finish getting changed maybe?" He said giving me a soft thump on my forehead. "You can't go running around the house with that hanging out!" he pointed to my boyhood member and I blushed uncontrollably.

I laughed again while rubbing my forehead where he'd thumped me, "Oh yea!" and this time he let me walk back to my room with him right behind me.

I assumed the position on my bed with my legs spread while dad went to my dresser. "What'll it be this morning?" he asked.

Having not been given a choice since having had to be put back into diapers again, I didn't expect his question and it took me a moment to decide. "Disposable?" I said finally.

"Tough decision huh?" dad joked as he retrieved one of the diapers.

I watched him as he stood there with the diaper in his hand. He was looking around inside the drawer and seemed to be confused.

"What?" I asked.

"Where's your mom keep the wipes?" he asked.

"Oh, she just uses a warm wet washrag." I said finally understanding what he'd been looking for.

"Okay!" he said sliding the drawer closed, "In that case, I'll be right back!" and as he passed by my bed he dropped the still folded diaper on my face.

"Hey!" I complained and laughed at the same time.

He was back in no time with a dripping wet washrag; "I probably should have just threw you into the shower while I had you in there." He said as he started to place the washcloth against my skin.

"AAAAHHHH! DAD THAT IS COLD!" I screamed as the wet rag made contact with my boyhood jewels.

"Well I didn't want it to be hot and scald your skin!" he said in his defense.

"Yeah but did you have use only cold water?" I continued to complain.

Dad laughed, which made me think he'd done it on purpose just to make me scream. By the time he'd finished washing my front, and had lifted my right leg to wash my backside thoroughly, I was officially cold and shivering.

As he was lowering my leg back to the bed he asked, "Cold?"

I just glared at him without commenting.

"Right! Then let's get you rediapered and," he dropped the cold rag on my stomach just below where the tape around my ribs stopped.

"Dad!" I whined and he laughed harder this time. I took the washrag and tossed it at him but he caught it and set it on the floor.

I think I like having dad change me more then mom or Jamie. For one thing, I don't have to lift my own butt off the bed so he can slide the diaper under me. He just takes hold of my right ankle and lifts my leg and bottom off the bed with one hand and positions the diaper under with his other hand before lowering me back down onto it.

When he had the diaper taped on me he asked, "Do you want to wear plastic pants too?"

"So many questions!" I thought.

"Na, maybe just some shorts." I said.

"Actually, why don't we get you all the way dressed, then we can have our coffee and go out and get breakfast at McDonalds?" dad offered.

"Can we?" I asked surprised and excited at his offer.

"Sure, I've taken the day off from work today and McDonalds opens for breakfast at six-o'clock." Dad said and I looked over his shoulder to my alarm clock to see that it was almost 5:30 already.

"Can I drive?" I asked knowing he'd never allow me but I have a theory that if I ask him enough times, eventually I will wear him down and he'll say yes. So far, in all the years that I've asked, he's never said yes.

"Sure!" he said.

"REALLY?" I shouted.

"Sure, when you are sixteen!" he said straight faced.

"Ah dad!" I whined and he laughed.

So dad helped me to get dressed, tied both of my shoes for me and just as he were finishing he leaned forward and kissed my forehead.

"What was that for?" I asked rubbing his kiss off.

"Just because I love you." He said swatting my backside once again.

This time I followed him down the hall and back into the kitchen. The coffee was finished brewing and we both sat down at the table with our cups. We talked while we drank; he asked me what I thought about going back to school and I told him I was sort of starting to miss it, but I was also worried about someone accidentally bumping into me in the hallways. Then he started to ask harder questions; questions about Bull, Tater and the others as well as Peter and his friends. I found it really hard to talk about some of the stuff and when dad tried to get me to talk about what Tater and I'd done the night I had slept over at his and Mike's house I totally clammed up.

"I know it's embracing for you to talk about Simon, but I really wish you would." He said placing his hand over mine.

"I-I r-really d-d-don't w-want to." I stuttered so softly that it was barely audible at all.

"It's not your fault!" Dad said and I honestly didn't know what he meant, well not at first.

I looked up at him, I'd been staring down into my nearly empty coffee cup and trying desperately not to make eye contact. However, his last comment caught me off guard, I looked up from my cup and into his eyes, and that is when I saw that he was crying.

"Dad?" my voice broke, "Why are you crying?" I asked fighting against the lump that was forming in my own throat.

"Oh Simon! I am so very sorry! I just didn't have any idea! I would have done anything to protect you from it!" the tears were running down his cheeks and dripped off his chin.

I couldn't hold back anymore as my own tears burst from my eyes as if Hoover Dam had busted. I got up from my chair and he swept me into his arms and held me tightly as we sobbed together for what seemed like hours but was more like ten minutes.

When we both finally were able to stem the tides, he sat me on his knee with my head still resting on his shoulder and he started to tell me some really hard things. He told me that Bull, Tater and Two-Toe's were not going to be sent to the Military Academy as Mr. Freeman had hoped but were going to be charged as adults and more then likely would be going to prison for a long time. He also said that if, or when Runt comes out of his comma and recovers, he will likely be charged with attempted murder of a police officer along with all the other charges against him and the other boys.

If hearing that was not hard enough, he then told me that he'd spoke with his lawyer and he'd said that there was a good chance I might be brought up on charges too. His words scared me so badly that my tears instantly dried up and my body went ridged in my father's embrace. He went on to say that at the very least they might charge me with `Withholding evidence to a criminal investigation', which I didn't really fully understand but then he went on to explain to me just what I'd done wrong. As dad talked my tears began to flow again and my entire being became infused with a fear so strong that I thought I was going to die and without my knowing it, my bladder had let go and soaked my diaper. It wasn't until later when I was getting in the car to go to breakfast that I realized just how wet I really was.

Dad and I talked, well dad talked and I cried into his shirt for a lot longer then I think either of us expected. It was nearing seven when dad had me calmed down enough to get me to stop crying. He'd explained to me, that even if I were charged, his lawyer felt that I'd get nothing worse then probation. Then dad had to explain to me what probation was and how it worked.

As I sat there on his knee, I realized that I'd thoroughly soaked the right side of his shirt with my tears as well as dampening my own somewhat. Dad finally gave me a smile and said, "What say you and I go change our shirts, go get some breakfast and then go spend some time together today, just you and me?" he asked wiping my face with his hand.

I nodded but instead of getting off his lap I fell on his neck and hugged him with what little strength was left in my young body after having cried so hard for so long. He hugged me back for a good while before I got up from his lap and the two of us walked back to my room again.

With shirts changed, coats on and mom notified that we were going out together, we left the house and started getting in the car. At first I thought about getting in the backseat and lying down since I seem to get carsick really easy since getting all busted up. However, I didn't feel like being alone in the backseat and I ended up deciding to climb in the front-passenger-seat next to dad. No sooner had I sat down on the seat and felt my diaper squish a little under me than I realized just how wet I was. Dad started to buckle the safety belt around me when I said, "Uh oh!"

"What?" dad asked and I could tell from the look he had that he thought he'd accidentally bumped my ribs or hurt me somehow.

"I just realized ...," I said looking down at the crotch of my pants that were bulging in the front due to my diaper.

Dad's eyebrows rose in understanding, "Do we need to go back in and get you changed again?"

Now that would probably have been the best thing to do but honestly, now that I was fully dressed and in the car, I didn't want to have to go back into the house and start all over again.

"I think I'll be ok for a while?" I said in such a way as to hopefully, get him to agree.

"Are you sure?" dad asked.

I nodded even though I wasn't so sure.

Dad finished buckling me into the seat and closed my door, but instead of walking around to the driver's side of the car, he went back into the house and reemerged a few minutes later carrying a paper grocery sack with the top all rolled down. He went around to the trunk, opened it and put the sack in before closing the trunk again and joining me inside the car.

"What's in the bag?" I asked though I could already have guessed had I thought about it.

"Insurance!" dad said with a smile.

"Oh!" I said realizing just what he means, "Good idea!" I said and he started the car.

It was really a nice morning today and nearly all traces of the snow had melted away again. It was still a little cooler then it had been a week or so back but it wasn't so cold that I had to zip my coat shut.

I don't know why, but in the car the fear and dread I'd been feeling just sort of fell away. The two of us went to McDonalds and had our breakfast while sitting in the car. We then went to the Autobody Repair where mom's van had been towed to, to check on it. Dad said he was surprised they already had it on the lift and were working on it.

As we were getting ready to pull out of the parking lot of the Autobody Repair Shop dad's cell started to ring. It turned out to be his work and after he got off the phone he said, "Mind if we make a quick stop by my office?"

"Not at all!" I said, "Can I come in and say hi to everyone?"

"I think they'd be offended if you didn't!" dad joked and slapped my thigh but not so hard that it hurt, just somewhat in jest.

At the office, people kept asking to see my taped up ribs but I knew if I lifted up my shirt then they'd see, not just my ribs, but also the diaper I was wearing. The diaper stuck out of the top of my pants several inches and there was no way I wanted all those ladies to know I was wearing diapers! So to compromise I just unbuttoned the top two buttons of my shift and pulled it open. All the ladies in the office were saying stuff like, "Oh you poor dear!" or "You are just so brave!" and my personal favorite, "But you're still just a baby!" A couple of them seemed to feel it important to bend down and kiss my bad eye that really wasn't bad anymore, it was just yellow with a hunt of black in the corner next to my nose.

I managed to find dad, who had-after we got out of the elevator-abandoned me to all those gushing women; he was sitting at his desk and talking with someone on the phone. Whoever was on the other end of the phone, must have really screwed up something `cause dad sounded like he was about to jump into the phone and throttle them.

It was maybe another ten minutes before dad finally got off the phone. "Sorry about that." He said to me while hanging up the phone.

I only smiled back to let him know that I didn't mind waiting. However, I was a bit concerned that those women might find me and want to pinch my cheeks some more.

"You want to do me a huge favor?" Dad asked.

"Sure!" had I been able too, I would have jumped to my feet excitedly ready to do whatever he asked.

Dad reached out an overstuffed manila envelope that was held together with crisscrossing rubber bands. "Can up take this up to the fourth floor for me?"

I took the bundle of papers from him and asked, "Where at on four?" I'd been up there before when he'd brought me to work with him.

"When you get out of the elevator, go straight ahead down the hallway until you reach the other elevators and then turn right. John Kutter is in the last cubical on the right. Got it?"

"Got it!" I said and took off for the elevators. I was just about to press the button to call the elevator to dad's floor when someone behind me, it was a ladies voice, called my name.


Not thinking anyone would be calling for me, and that there must be someone else on the floor with my name I didn't bother to turn to see who it was.

"Hey Simon!" the voice called again and this time I went ahead and looked. I recognized the ladies face but for the life of me, I had no idea what her name might be or why I knew her. Without saying anything, I pointed to myself as if to ask if I was the one she was calling for.

"Well of course you! Come here! I've not seen you in so long!" I walked over to where she and another lady were standing.

"Hello!" I said trying to be polite and to not show my ignorance at not knowing who she was.

"You have grown so much!" she gushed and then turned to the other lady, "This is Simon Leonard's son."

"Oh my goodness! You mean this is little Simon? Why he looks just like his daddy!" the other lady said and the way the two of them talked it reminded me of the way Mike's mom talked to me, like she was trying to shower sweetness on me through words.

The two ladies continued to gush over me for a couple more minutes before I said, "Um, I'm sorry but I got to get these up to Mr. Kutter right away!"

"Oh yes, you run along!" The first lady said with a dismissing wave of her hand and I didn't wait around for anything else to be said. I got back to the elevator; hit the button and much to my relief it opened right up.

I got to Mr. Kutter's cubical without any more delays and I apologized for taking so long. I explained to him about the two ladies, which made him laugh and say, "You have to watch out; there are some seriously man-hungry ladies that work in this office building."

I smiled politely but, inside my head, I had the vision of those ladies trying to roast me like a pig!

"If you can hang on for a minute I'll walk you back down so you won't get waylaid again." Mr. Kutter offered.

"I'd like that very much!" I said realizing that I sounded like I was scared of being someone's lunch.

Mr. Kutter laughed at my comment. "I need to get up and stretch my legs anyway." He said as he opened the overstuffed folder I'd brought to him and began riffling through the papers until he found what he must have wanted. He made one quick phone call before handing the folder back to me and walking me back to the elevator. We talked about my school as we waited for the elevator until two other men I didn't know came up behind us and were talking loud enough that we could hear them.

"There are three missing now?" one of the men asked quite strongly.

"And with absolutely no trace whatsoever!" The other man said.

Mr. Kutter turned around and asked, "You talking about the missing children?"

At his question, I too turned to face the men.

"Oh hi John! I didn't realize that was you standing there." The man on my right said as he reached out to shake Mr. Kutter's hand. "And is this your new assistant?" he smiled wider and extended his hand for me to shake, which I politely did and then shook the other mans hand as well.

"Nah." Mr. Kutter said patting me on the back, "This here's Simon. He's Simon Leonard's boy from downstairs."

"Oh yeah! How is your old man? Hardly see him anymore since he moved down there!" the second man said. I couldn't help but take offence with him calling my dad an old man, but I didn't have to answer as Mr. Kutter did it for me.

"Oh he's doing great! Really great!" and then restated his previous question, "So were you talking about those missing kids?"

"Oh yeah! I just heard on the radio that a third boy came up missing this morning." The first man said.

Mr. Kutter put his hand to his chest and looked genuinely disturbed at this news. I on the other hand was thinking about the conversation that I had overheard yesterday morning when mom, dad, Jamie and I had gone to the IHOP for breakfast. I'd heard someone saying something about someone being kidnapped and now it seemed there had been two more kidnappings since then.

The elevator door opened and the four of us got in. The three men continued to talk about the missing kids and I found out that all three were young boys, one was 10-years-old and the other two were both 11-years-old. I stayed quiet and listened unfortunately the two men were going all the way to the basement, so Mr. Kutter and I got off on dad's floor and managed to meet dad just around the corner.

"Hi dad!" I said nearly running into him as I turned the corner.

"Oh hello John!" dad said to Mr. Kutter, "Did you find what you needed in there?" dad motioned to the folder I was still clutching to my chest.

"Yes and thank you very much for sending Simon up with it!" Mr. Kutter was saying as he looked down at me, "I was just walking him back down to you so that he didn't get caught and coddled by any more women."

Dad looked down at me and chuckled, "Oh is that what took so long?"

"Some lady saw me and knew me, but I don't know who she was!" I said animatedly.

Dad took the folder from me, "Uh, red hair and painted on eyebrows?" he asked.

"Yeah!? How'd you know?" I asked in complete astonishment.

Dad only chuckled again along with Mr. Kutter this time.

"Well, if you both will excuse me, I have a meeting in a few minutes." Mr. Kutter said looking at his watch.

"Right and I need to get out of here before they end up keeping me all day!" dad said shaking Mr. Kutter's hand.

Mr. Kutter shook my hand too; "You take care of yourself, okay?"

"Yes sir!" I answered.

Dad and I walked back to his office where he dropped the folder on his desk and grabbed our coats so we could make our escape. Unfortunately, it took another ten minutes just to get off the floor as people kept stopping us to say hello and ask dad questions about work related stuff.

As we were riding down in the elevator I felt the need to pee and before I could acknowledge it in my own mind I found myself already rewetting my diaper. I reached out and took dad's hand to get his attention. He looked down at me with a smile, "I think I'm going to need the insurance." I whispered as if we were not alone in the elevator.

Dad was really cool about it. He squeezed my hand reassuringly and asked, "Okay, can you wait a little longer?" I nodded that I could rather then risk replying audibly.

I actually thought we might get out of the building without getting stopped again, but just as dad was about to push open the big glass door someone, sounding urgent, called out from across the foyer, "Hey Leonard!"

Dad and I both turned to see who'd called out our last name. A slightly overweight man with jet back hair and a bushy mustache like you might see bikers wearing was half-walking and half-running to catch up to us from the other side of the foyer.

"Wait up!" He called as he slowed to a fast walk when he'd realized we'd seen him.

"Oh hi Jim!" Dad said extending his hand to the man that was breathing a little hard. I could tell that his little jog across the foyer was probably the most exercise he'd had in years.

"I'm glad I was able to catch you before you left!" Jim said not bothering to take dad's extended hand. The moment was kind of awkward for about three seconds until the man then said, "I just wanted to thank you and your fine son here!" He motioned to me with a swing of his left hand and I nearly had to step back to not have him hit me in the face but I don't think dad noticed.

Dad dropped his hand finally, "So what's so urgent?" dad asked and his concern was showing on his face.

"Well, it seems your son here has single handedly destroyed any chance my son has at getting a football scholarship this year!" the man said with his face begging to turn red with anger.

Instantly, dad and I both knew what he was talking about. With the gentle directing of dad's left hand he moved me so that he was now standing between the angry fat man and me.

"Jim, can we talk about this somewhere else?" dad said calmly.

The man, now nearly shouting, said, "What the fuck was your kid thinking?"

Dad took a step back into me and I had to step back myself so as not to be stepped on. In a whirlwind of blue uniforms two security guards came from out of nowhere and had stepped between dad and the big man dad had called Jim.

There was a bunch of shouting and cursing, which Jim was doing all of as dad and the two security guards were trying to calm the guy down. He kept saying stuff about me, and about how I destroyed any change the Panthers had at going to the championships this year. He also said something that I didn't understand until later when dad explained it to me. He said something about how I'd lied about their coach and that he'd never have been mixed up in anything illegal.

Later, dad explained that Jasper and Bull's father, who was also the high school football Coach had been arrested Sunday night at his home for trafficking in illegal sports enhancing drugs. However, dad told me that it wasn't my fault that he was arrested as the news had said that police had been investigating him for over a month in this matter.

After a while the two security guards had been joined by two others, a plump, squat woman that looked like she could kill a bear with a single punch and a totally bald man with big black 70's style eyeglasses. The four of them were able to get the big guy, Jim, calmed down and taken elsewhere. Two police officers showed up a short time later, I supposed security had called them and they wanted to know if dad wanted to press charges against Jim for assault. That was when I found out that Jim had taken a swing at dad, but dad had stepped back into me and Jim had missed him.

"No, I don't think so." Dad said, "He's just upset right now. I'm sure in a few days he'll calm down and regret all this."

I was both surprised to hear dad say that and a little proud at how cool he was despite everything. From the time we'd come out of the elevator until we finally got back into the car was just over a half-hour. Both dad and I had forgot about the condition of my diaper as we sat in the van and dad explained to me about Jasper's father, how he had been arrested and why Jim had reacted the way he had inside.

Honestly, the confrontation with Jim was probably a good thing, because he woke me up and made me aware that more then likely there were going to be people that were not going to understand what Bull, Tater, Runt and Two-Toes as well as there coach had done was so very bad. Sports fans can be nuts when it comes to there favorite teams.

I remember a couple years ago when dad, mom and I had gone to a professional football game. We ended up leaving the stadium before the first half was over. One of the referees had made some call that the fans didn't like and they got rude! They were cursing and carrying on, throwing stuff onto the field and just being plain stupid! So dad got us out of there really fast! On the news that night they'd said that the game had been ended when fans started fighting with one another in the stands.

Dad said one thing that I think scared me more then Jim had, "Simon, I think for a while, you'd better plan on staying close to home. I don't want you going anywhere without your mother or me with you. At least until this all blows over, okay?"

I told him I would, but inside I was thinking that once we got back home, I wasn't going to come out of my room ever again!

Dad started the car and the clock on the car radio came on telling us that it was after ten in the morning. "Well that's one good thing; we still have about forty-five minutes until your doctor's appointment." Dad had said.

"I didn't know I had to go to the doctor today!" I said with a hint of fear in my voice.

"It's okay! It's just a checkup to see how you are healing." Dad reassured me by petting my hair.

"They better not give me any more shots!" I threatened.

I expected dad to say that they wouldn't but he only smiled, put the car in gear and backed out of the parking space.

When we headed in the opposite direction of the hospital I got confused, "Aren't we going to the hospital?" I asked.

"Oh sorry, you're appointment is with your regular doctor!" dad said.

"Oh no!" I groaned.

"What?" dad asked.

"He always gives me shots or makes me take nasty medicine!" I complained.

"You know, I think there is some kind of law that says that medicine has to hurt, taste really bad or smell even worse." Dad joked.

"It's not funny!" I continued to complain. "I think he does it on purpose!"

Dad flipped on his turn signal and in a bad impression of an old guy, said said; "That's okay! It builds character!"


PART 2 -- Knighthood and the dawning of the armor!

So I decided to play along with him by saying; "But I got all the character I need!"

"You know in my day, medicine always tasted like FEET!" Dad continued his old man skit.

I laughed, "Feet?"

"Yes, feet! And we were thankful to have it! That's the problem with you young w-w-whippersnappers! You want everything to taste like candy. Well, feet can be good for you too!" Dad licked his lips as if salivating over a nice juicy burger. "Mmmm, I could go for a nice foot right about now!"

I sat in the passenger seat trying not to laugh, but only causing myself to giggle all that much more. "You know something Dad?"

"Huh? What? Who said that?" he said, still playing.

Talking really loud, as if I were talking to a nearly deaf man, I shouted, "I SAID YOU OLD PEOPLE SMELL LIKE MOLDY CHEESE!"

That did the trick; Dad started laughing so hard he was thumping the steering wheel with his hand to try to regain his composure.

"You're insane!" I said to him, while trying not to look at him.

When we pulled into the parking lot of the doctor's office, there were only two cars there. "Looks like we got here before the rush!" Dad said, but there was something about the way he said it, that made me think there was something else he wasn't telling me.

Reaching down to unbuckle myself, I again became aware of the condition of my diaper. "Um, Dad?"

"Yes you have to go in!" he said, before I could say anything else.

"No, not that! That's not what I was going to say." I said.

He looked at me as he asked with a half grin and one cocked eyebrow, "What, then?"

Trying to impersonate him doing the impersonation of the old man I said, "I think someone left a present in my pants for you!"

He gave the back of my head a playful whack with his hand; "I'll give you a present!" he said. Without missing a beat, I countered with; "CAN I HAVE A PONY?"

Dad only shook his head, as if disgusted with me, and I laughed knowing I bested him ... this one time at least! He climbed out of the car and just as I was closing my door, he came from around the backside of the car where he was shutting the trunk.

I saw that he had the brown paper grocery sack in his hand and started to ask, "Out here?" but I quickly thought about it before I said it and almost caused myself to laugh again.

"Of course not out here Simon, you ditz!" I thought to myself.

We walked in the front door of the doctor's office and sure enough the waiting room was empty. Dad went up to the nurse at the front desk and spoke with her before turning to me and saying; "Go with her!" as he handed her the bag.

I knew my emotions were right there on my face, but I still had to say it, "But Dad?" as my eyes bounced between him, the nurse, and the sack. I knew he meant for her to take me back and change my wet diaper. Even though I had Nurse Gabby and Nurse Bridget change my diapers in the hospital, I had absolutely no desire to have this strange lady, even if she was a nurse, see me naked, let alone in a diaper!

Dad smiled and said, "It's OK! She's a nurse and she's probably seen more ..." he stumbled for an appropriate word, "boys than you could count."

Just having him say those few words caused me to blush so red that I thought my face would explode.

Reaching out a hand to me she said, "Come on Simon! I promise I won't bite, unless you want me to!"

Reluctantly, I took her hand and she led me back to one of the examination rooms. I glanced back to Dad once more as we left the waiting room for reassurance, but he wasn't looking my way anymore. He was standing, looking out the large front wall of glass.


"Can you hop up here by yourself?" she asked, patting the examination table with her hand.

Without speaking and feeling about as bashful as a little lost lamb, I gently nodded my head but didn't move. Again she took my hand, pulled me two steps forward, and helped me up onto the table.

"There we go!" she said, as I sat my wet and squishing bottom down on what I was sure was a very cold table.

With no further directing from her, I leaned myself over onto my elbow and lowered myself down until I was lying on my back. I'd got good at doing this without hurting my ribs, and as soon as I was settled she reached out and started removing my pants. While she worked to get my belt unbuckled, and my pants unsnapped, I stared at the ceiling and counted the ceiling tiles over and over again.

Twelve full tiles and three partial tiles. Four down, three and a part of one across. Over and over I counted, and figured the patterns in my head.

When I felt her tugging at my pants I started to lift my backside instinctively, but she placed a hand on my belly to keep me from moving. "Did she think I was going to try to run off or something?" I thought.

Now she didn't look to be a very strong woman, but when she reached down with one hand and took hold of, not just one ankle but both of them and lifted them into the air until my backside was completely off the table, I nearly swallowed my tongue in amazement! With her one free hand she pulled my pants down to my knees, and then lowered my legs again, before working my pants on down to my ankles.

As she lifted the front of my shirt to get at my diaper she said; "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize you had sore ribs, did I hurt you at all?"

I couldn't have talked if I wanted too, so I just shook my head from side-to-side and let her get on with the task at hand.

"OK then, but if you feel any discomfort, you let me know, OK?" she said, and I nodded this time.

As she pulled at each tape, it was like someone was holding a microphone next to my diaper, amplifying the sound of the tapes. RIP -- RIP -- RIP -- RIP! Just then, the one thing I'd feared started to happen, and no matter how hard I tried to think of unpleasant things, it just didn't help. I felt the stirring in my boyhood region like never before, and when she pulled my diaper open and the cool air hit my very moist skin, little Simon popped out and stood there as if to say, "GOOD MORNING! IS EVERYONE UP?"

I could feel my face sizzling with the heat of my embarrassment. I closed my eyes as tight as I could, hoping that by doing so, she might vanish, but she didn't. I felt her take hold of my ankles again, lift my bottom into the air, and snatch the wet diaper out from under me. However, this time she kept me dangling there, and I could feel little Simon poking at my stomach as if saying, "Hey! You there! Boy! Why are you ignoring me? Come on let's get a GRIP here, what do you say?"

I actually heard a voice inside my head shout down at him, "Will you please just shut up and go back to sleep?"

Of course, that just started an argument, "Well, how dare you tell me to shut up! Do you know who you're fooling with? Oh wait! That's the problem, YOUR NOT FOOLING WITH ME AT ALL! PLEASE, PLEASE PLAY WITH!" little Simon screamed.

"Oh for the love of ... can't you just wait?" the voice in my head cried down to little Simon.

"Do I look like I can wait? You know, if you weren't going to play with me then you shouldn't have let her wake me up!" little Simon seethed.

"I didn't have anything to do with it! And anyway, if you'd stop peeing when I'm not ready, maybe I could get to a toilet and we'd not need someone to change me and end up seeing you!" the voice in my head barked.

"Oh, oh I see! This is all my fault! Oh, okay well then maybe I should just take care of things myself? Hummm?" Little Simon said.

"Oh no you don't!" The voice shouted back.

"Hey! What's going on? Who turned off the lights? Wait, stop I'm not finished yet!" Little Simon tried to scream out, and suddenly I realized that the nurse was tapping the last tape on a fresh diaper into place.

"There we go. How's that?" she asked.

"Better, thanks!" I heard my own voice answer.

From inside the diaper I heard, "Let me out of here at once!"

"Here let me help you back up," the nurse said as she helped me to sit up, and then to stand next to the examination table. She reached down and pulled my pants up. I didn't bother to tuck my shirt in `cause I knew the doctor was just going to make me take it off when he came in. No sooner had I thought it, there was a knock at the door, and in came the doctor.

"Well, hello Simon! Oh my, that eye sure has healed up nicely!" said the doctor.

"Good morning sir!" I answered back, trying to get my belt buckled quickly.

"Oh, you might as well wait on that, I'm going to need to check you out anyway." He said.

"Let's get you back up on the table." The nurse said, helping me a little.

He came over as she stepped back, "Let's take a look at them ribs, huh?" he said, and then started removing my shirt.

"Wow, that's a lot of tape!" he exclaimed.

"I kept coming unbound, so both Mom and Dad both kept adding more tape to keep me from unraveling." I said, and the doctor chuckled.

"What say we take this all off so that we can get a good look at ya?" he said, and I wasn't sure if he was asking me if it was okay with me or not.

"Is it going to hurt?" I asked, knowing that my fear was very apparent as my voice broke and cracked.

The doctor, sensing my reluctance took half a step back, put a finger under my chin and said; "I imagine you have just about had your fill of pain recently, huh?"

Nodding my head I said, "Yes sir!"

Still smiling he added, "I'll tell you what, after we get this tape off of you today, then I promise that I won't hurt you anymore, okay?"

I didn't answer him. I might only be 12-years-old, but I'm not stupid! I know in his backwards way, he'd just told me that it was going to hurt. Probably a lot too!

"You want your Dad to come in and be with you while we get you fixed up?" he asked. I only nodded that I did.

"Yeah, I think that's a good idea." He said toward the nurse who promptly left the room only to return a minute later with Dad in tow.

Upon seeing Dad come in, and without realizing I was saying it, I said, "Dad! He wants to take off the tape!" Even though I'd not wanted too, tears began to well up in my eyes.

The doctor, who had been reading over something from my medical folder, looked up at the nurse and asked for something that I didn't understand. She slipped back out again as Dad came over and held my hand for me.

"You going to be brave for me?" Dad asked.

I shook my head no, which made Dad chuckle.

"Least he's honest!" the doctor said with a smile and a shrug.

"Simon, would you like to know how I'm going to do it, or do you just want me to do it and get it over with?" The doctor asked, but I had been given plenty of time to get good and scared; so scared that talking was impossible.

I looked up at Dad longingly and he answered for me. "Why don't you tell us what you're going to do, that way there's no surprises."

"I think that's probably best." The doctor said, then went on to explain, "Probably the first bit will be the worst. I'll start right about here." He reached around behind me and touched the spot between my shoulder blades. "Just about where your angel wings would be attached, had you not lost them when you were two." He tried to lighten my mood and Dad added. "Yeah, and became a little devil!" They both chuckled. I didn't.

Realizing I was really wound up, the doctor pulled down on the knot of his tie, with the flip of two fingers, unbuttoned the top button of his shirt, and said; "See all that white hair on my chest?"

His action took me off guard. Probably exactly the reaction he'd hoped for, I'd imagine.

"Yeah." I answered softly.

He then picked up my left hand and set it on my chest just above the tape, "Feel that?"

I nodded but didn't have the slightest idea where he was going with this.

"If you had hair like me? Then it would really hurt to have that tape," he tapped my chest, "taken off. But since you don't have a layer of heavy fur, it shouldn't hurt much at all."

Okay, I admit, it was a really good try on his part to alleviate some of my fears, but I'd had too many scrapped knees, elbows, chins and various other parts of my extremities covered with a Band-Aid. I remembered all to well just how much it hurt to have the Band-Aid removed.

"Can't I just go home and soak in the bathtub till it comes off?" I whimpered.

"That might have worked had you only a single layer," he glanced at Dad, "but with all this tape, you'd surely shrivel up like a raisin before the tape would come off."

I snickered. I actually snickered at a thought that flashed in my head for only a millisecond. Dad squeezed my hand, "What?"

I snickered again before looking the doctor in the eye and softly saying, "I happen to like raisins, and don't call me Shirley."

Dad jovially thumped the back of my head again as he and the doctor laughed. A couple seconds later the nurse came in with her arms full of stuff and sat it all down on the little metal tray. I recognized the bottle of rubbing alcohol, medical scissors, and those medical things that look like a cross between skinny pliers and scissors.

"Are you able to lie on your tummy at all?" the doctor asked.

I shook my head wildly from side to side.

"Okay then, how about spinning around so that I can start on your back then?" he asked, and I complied with a little help from Dad. Since my pants were not fastened, as I spun on the table, I nearly came back out of them again. No one seemed to care too much, and since I was well past scared and approaching horrified, I didn't much care either.

"I'm going to start by trying to pour a little of this alcohol down inside the tape. It's probably going to feel cold, but it won't hurt at all." the doctor said. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the nurse pick up something silver.

"What's that?" I nearly screamed, and tried to turn to get away, but in my fearful haste all I managed to do was cause myself quite a bit of pain.

Dad moved around so that he was standing directly in front of me and was kind of squished between the exam table and the wall behind him. He pulled my head forward to rest it on his chest and held it there with one hand, while his other held my left bicep very tightly.

"You are going to be okay Son! I got ya!" Dad spoke softly and yet with confidence that seemed to flow through his chest and into my forehead.

The nurse held the silver object out so that I could see it, and I saw that it was them pliers-scissor things I'd seen earlier. "These are just so that we can clamp them on the tape to get a better grip." She said soft and pleasant.

"Okay, here comes the alcohol." The doctor said and he was right, it was cold and I could feel it trickling all the way down my spine and into the back of my diaper. It found its way down my butt rack and tickled more than a little.

"Whoa!" I exclaimed.

"Sorry!" the doctor said.

"I'm going to cut the tape down along your spine, if it hurts at all you tell me and I will stop. Okay?"

"Okay!" I moaned, as I pressed my face harder into Dad's chest.

I felt him begin cutting, but aside from just a tiny bit of pulling it didn't hurt at all. Yet!

"You doing okay, Simon?" the nurse asked.

"Yeah!" I grunted, fully expecting the pain to start at any second.

"Almost all the way down and that is it!" he said, dragging out the `and' as he made the last cut.

"I think we might get lucky, Simon!" the doctor said.

"Huh?" I grunted again.

"It looks like most of the inner layer is already loose from your skin back here." He said as I felt him pull.

"Oh yeah, I've nearly got your back completely open." He was saying, just as a section of the tape, just over my right buttocks gave me a twinge.

"Ooowww!" I screeched and grabbed hold of the sides of Dad's shirt for something to squeeze.

"Sorry, that was some of the newer tape. It was still holding well." The doctor said and then asked, "I need you to raise your right arm for me."

Dad took my arm and laid my hand on his shoulder, "You can hold on here." He said, allowing me to grasp his shirt just beside collar.

"This is stuck pretty well; I think I'll need to try rubbing him down with alcohol on some gauze as I pull." I heard the doctor say, but I think he was talking to the nurse and not me. I couldn't tell for sure because I again had my face buried in Dad's chest, waiting for the worst.

"Okay, here comes the cold alcohol again!" the doctor said.

It wasn't so bad this time, since I knew what to expect. Actually, him rubbing my side with the gauze the way he did tickled me more than anything else.

"That tickle?" he chuckled.

"Lit-TLE!" I started to say, just as it really tickled.

"Sorry! But tickling is better than pain, right?" he asked.

I shook my head in disagreement.

"Don't like the tickling either, huh? Well you're a hard one to please." He continued his attempts at humoring me.

"Okay, I'm going to try to pull a little; you tell me if it hurts!" I felt him apply gentle pressure, which hurt, but not too much.

"That hurt?" he asked.

I shook my head from side to side a little.

"Just let me know..." he started to say, but I suddenly jumped.

"THAT HURT!" I said, trying to pull away from Dad, but he held me even tighter.

"I'm sorry, Simon. The sides seem to be holding a lot better than the back did.

"Don't do no more!" I begged, only just realizing for myself that I was crying into Dad's shirt.

Ignoring my pleading, the doctor said, "Just a little more, I just about have all this side off."

Dad moved his hand that he'd been using to hold my head so that he was now covering my right ear. I couldn't hear what he said, but I did know he said something and suddenly the doctor just started pulling on the tape. I was screaming and clawing at Dad to try to get away, but he had such a firm grip on me that all I could do was scream and wiggle a little.

"AAAAAHHHHHHH! NOOOOOOO!!!! Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad!" I screamed and cried.

Talking over my crying, the doctor said, "All done now Simon! I'll let you rest a bit before we try the other side."

Dad loosened his grip on me, but only enough to allow me to relax. Not enough to let me attempt any escape.

"Dad, no more! Don't let him!" I sobbed into his shirt.

"Sshhh!" he hushed my crying, "I know it hurts, I know! But in a little while, you will be all done."

"No, please!" I cried and rubbed my eyes with his shirt.

"Can you call Doctor Zuligram and see if he can come down and fit Simon here for an upper torso plate guard?" I heard the doctor telling the nurse, but only about half, so I didn't fully understand it until later.

"I'll be right back," he said to Dad and me.

Dad continued to hush and calm me back down, until he was able to release me from his firm embrace. "You doing alright there, sport?" he asked, while wiping my face.

"I don't want to do anymore!" I sniffled.

"I know you don't, but you have to." He said softly.

I shook my head only a little, and wimpered very softly, "No" but he didn't bother to reply.

We didn't talk anymore for the rest of the time we were alone. After about ten minutes, though I really wasn't aware of the passage of time, the doctor came back in without the nurse.

"Ready to finish up?" he asked, clapping his hands together. For a second, I started to think that maybe he was going to try to do it alone, but then the nurse came in behind him.

I shook my head no, but at the same time Dad said, "Yes, I think we are." I looked up at him with contempt, but he just smiled.

I cannot put into words how relieved I was that the tape came off my left side with almost no pain at all. Now getting it off my front proved to be both easy and painful. Over my chest the tape wasn't hardly attached to me anymore, but on my belly it sure was. At least I was able to lay down for that part, and the doctor gave me a bubblegum flavored thing to bite down on for that part which actually helped to a small extent.

I was so relieved when the last of the tape came off and the doctor said he wasn't going to replace it. I don't think I could go through that again. He removed the bubblegum flavored bite block before giving me a nearly full checkup. He looked down my throat and in my ears and nose. Tapped on my knees with a little rubber hammer and everything thing else I'd expected him to do. I was, however, very relieved when he didn't ask to get into my diaper that his nurse had put on me when I'd arrived. He said he liked the way I was healing up and that he might let me go back to school next week, but I'd have to come see him again on Friday to get checked out yet again. If he still likes what he sees, he'll give me a note saying I was allowed to go back to school. He also said that I'm not allowed to do any sports or anything whatsoever that could potentially re-injure my ribs. He didn't go into details, so I guess that left room for interpretation.

Now for some reason, when he said that I could go back to school, instead of getting excited about the idea, as I thought I should have, I suddenly got worried! I mean not cause of my ribs, but because of ... well what if I need to go number two at school? How am I supposed to wipe when I can't even reach my own backside?

I continued thinking those things over as the doctor was talking with Dad about something that sounded technical. I'd not been paying much attention, so when this little short black man with salt and pepper hair and funny little goatee walked in, I was both surprise and embarrassed.

"Oh, there you are!" my doctor said shaking this new doctor's hand. "This here is Mr. Simon Leonard and his son, Little Simon Leonard Junior.

"I am so very pleased to meet you!" The short black man extended his hand to Dad, "I am Doctor David Zuligram." He took my hand after releasing dads, and shook it vigorously. I became aware of the fact that I was sitting there with no clothes on except the diaper, since my doctor had gone ahead and removed my pants to examine me. I remember thinking, as I sat there, embarrassed to have this strange man seeing me like this, that I would have rather he'd seen me nude, than wearing nothing but a diaper. But Doctor Zuligram didn't even seem to notice the fact that a 12-year-old boy was laying there wearing a diaper.

"Would you mind if I examined your son?" he asked Dad, and I couldn't figure what his accent was, but it was obvious that English wasn't his first language. His voice was kind of high, I mean higher than you'd expect for a grown man, and when he talked, his goatee would twitch and dance on his chin almost hypnotically.

My doctor spoke up and directed his comments more to Dad and less to me, "I would like to have Doctor Zuligram here fit Simon for an Upper-Torso Plate Guard; one that will fully support and protect his ribs while they continue to heal."

Dad had motioned for Doctor Zuligram to examine me, which he had started to do while my doctor was explaining the Chest Plate to Dad. One thing I liked about Doctor Zuligram, is that before he touched me, he rubbed his hands together vigorously for several seconds to warm them, and his touch was so gentle and soft, that it didn't hurt; not even a tiny bit.

"Can you lift your arms up for me?" he asked me, and Dad reached each of my arms and lifted them to about my shoulder height for me.

"Does it hurt you when you lift your arms up on your own?" he asked.

"Sometimes, if I raise them too high or too fast." I answered.

"Yes, I imagined so." Doctor Zuligram said, as he checked each side of my ribs before turning to my doctor.

"I believe he'd do very well with a plate, but I believe he should," and as he explained he turned back to me and pointed out, "have one that encases this region," his fingers brushed my left side, just behind my elbow, and it tickled so much that I jumped a little.

"Oh my! I am so very sorry! Did I hurt you?" Doctor Zuligram asked.

"No that tickled!" I said with a smile.

"Oh! I am so very sorry." He apologized with his own smile. He continued to explain; "I also think that young Mr. Simon here would do well with a second Plate that would cover this region." He ran his fingers around my back as if drawing an image for Dad and my doctor to see.

I really liked Doctor Zuligram. He took the time to explain everything about the plate; how he'd make it, and how it would fit on me. He said, "You should be able to do all the things you normally would do, within reason, and it will keep you from bending in such a way as to separate one of your ribs while it is trying to heal.

"How long will it take to make?" I asked.

"Oh not long, about twenty minutes." Doctor Zuligram answered.

Right then, the nurse came back into the room, which surprised me because I'd not even realized she'd left the room. Also, when she opened the door, I could hear someone crying softly from elsewhere in the office. She didn't get to come in very far; with three adults and me previously in the room it was already full. She only took a single step in and began talking to my doctor, who then excused himself and left just Dad and me with Doctor Zuligram. The nurse had said something about a Fractured Clav-something. I didn't know what that was, but after the nurse and my doctor left, I asked Doctor Zuligram what it was. He explained that `Clavicle' was the medical term for the collarbone, and he showed me where both of mine were located.

"I bet that hurts!" Dad said, and Doctor Zuligram smiled and said, "Sounded like it, did it not?

Right at that second, I figured out who Doctor Zuligram sounded like, and why his accent sounded both odd and familiar. He sounded exactly like the lobster-like alien, Doctor Zoidberg on the cartoon Futurama.

"Hey! You sound just like that Doctor Alien on Futurama!" I said.

"What? You mean the great Doctor Zoidberg?" Doctor Zuligram said, raising a single finger triumphantly into the air.

"You watch that, too?" I asked, quite surprised that he knew who I meant.

"Just between you and me? I think he's a better doctor than I am!" he said, and I laughed until it hit me what he just said.

"Hey!" I exclaimed, and both he and Dad laughed.

"What say we get you fitted, so I can go have my lunch?" he asked. Now that I had made the connection in my head between him and the alien, every word he said just made me want to laugh.

Doctor Zuligram left Dad and I alone for only a few minutes before another nurse came in, She asked a couple of questions about stuff I might be allergic to, and after Dad answered, she left again, only to return about five minutes later with Doctor Zuligram who was carrying a fair-sized, green and white box.

Doctor Zuligram looked at me, smiled, and said to the nurse, "Okay nurse, I'll need a chain saw and a Band-Aid."

Dad chuckled, but I laughed nervously. Not about the chain saw, but because I didn't know what was in the box.

"W-what's in the b-box?" I asked.

"What this? It's my lunch!" Doctor Zuligram said, clutching the box protectively. "No, actually this is going to be your new ..." he used a word that I neither understood nor can remember now. He must have realized that I didn't understand, because he then said, "Body armor?" as if he were asking me if I understood that.

I nodded that I did understood `body armor,' and he started to pull out a flesh colored piece of plastic, and then another that was smaller and shaped quite different. He held the larger part up under my chin and explained that he'd warm it up, and then form it to fit me perfectly. And he did just as he described, and after only a few minutes, he was done. It fit like a second skin, like `body armor' almost. The front piece went under my arms to totally encase my ribs, and went up over my shoulders. It was then attached with Velcro straps to the back piece, which enveloped my back as well.

Dad wrapped on the front over my chest with his knuckle, "It's kind of like a plastic version of what knights used to wear."

I ran my fingers over it, "Yeah, it does!" and I gave it a thump. "I didn't hardly feel that!" I announced.

"You look good enough to eat!" Doctor Zuligram joked, and sounded even more like Doctor Zoidberg.

"Did anybody else ever think you sound like that alien?" I asked feeling very pleased with my new body armor.

He smiled with a glance up to the nurse, "Maybe one or two I think?"

"I'm not saying anything!" the nurse threw her hands up in defense and gave me a wink.

After Doctor Zuligram explained to Dad and me how to care for, and live with, my new protective plate, he again shook our hands and left us. The nurse then helped me to get dressed, and I found getting off the table was a little difficult.

"I'm going to have to learn how to move around with this on." I told them both.

"In a day or two you will forget you even have it on." The nurse said, pulling my pants up over my diaper and fastening them for me.

My doctor came back in as she was helping me pull my shirt over my head.

"Oh yes, that looks very nice indeed!" He to gave my chest a thump with his knuckle!

"I think you will find that you will be a lot more comfortable wearing this instead of that tape! You can take it off to bathe, but I'd like you to wear it all the rest of the time, even when you sleep." He instructed.

It took about another ten minutes or so before we were done and ready to leave. The first nurse had returned with a handful of things for Dad, along with written instructions.

"See you on Friday?" I asked, seeing my doctor at the end of the hall.

"Yes! On Friday! Now go get some ice cream! Doctors orders!" he announced back, and I looked up at Dad.

"You heard him! I got to go have ICE CREAM!!!" I nearly shouted.

Dad laughed, and we both walked out of the doctor's office and headed for our car.


PART 3 -- Runt, Tobor, Pen and Paper

After we pulled out of the parking lot dad drove straight to Dairy Queen, which was less then a block from the doctor's office and where I made a serious pig of myself. I had a Foot long Coney Dog with all the fixings, a large root beer and ... by the way, whoever it was that said that food can't fix anything, never had a three topping banana split with extra cherries, nuts and whipped cream. Trust me, it made everything better!

Dad however, was absolutely flabbergasted that I was able to put all that food away. "Where are you putting all that stuff? He asked.

"Gee-whiz dad! I have had a very hard day and I needed to refuel!" I said with chocolate syrup dripping down my chin and onto the table.

After we ate, dad asked if I wanted to go to the hospital for a quick visit with my friends and of course, I jumped at that idea. Okay, that was a bit of an understatement. I'd just had the equivalent of about ten pounds of sugar! I didn't just jump; I sprang from my seat and began to bounce around madly, "Yes! Yes! Yes! Come on!"

Dad was smiling as he dropped his one hotdog rapper and half drank cup of coffee along with my empty cup, empty ice-cream bowl and wadded up Coney wrapper into the trash. I nearly ran out the door and to the car while dad gingerly strolled behind me while rubbing his tummy as if he'd just consumed a large horse.

He drove us to the hospital, walked me up to the room where I'd stayed just a few days ago and allowed me to visit for a while with my hospital-imprisoned friends.

As I walked into the room, and before I could say anything Bruce, Harry, Scotty, Kyle and Mark all spotted me and shouted my name all at once. "SIMON!"

"Hi guys!" I greeted back with a hearty bellow of my own. "Uh, where's Cole?" I asked.

"Ah they sent him home!" Harry said kneeling and bouncing excitedly on his bed.

Right then, in walked Nurse Gabby. Sounding slightly angrily she started to say, "What is all the ruckus in here?" but when she saw me the corners of her mouth curled up and she said, "Oh I see, I should have know it was you!" You know, the way she said it made it sound as if I was some sort of troublemaker -- so I took it as a complement and smiled back up at her!

She got a funny look in her eyes and then added, "Come here and give me a hug before I kick you out of here for disturbing these boys!" and then she smiled really wide.

She bent down and I wrapped my arms around her neck and hugged her tightly.

"What's this?" she asked feeling my new body armor beneath my shirt.

I lifted the front of my shirt up to my chin to showed her my new breastplate and not realizing until it was too late that my diaper was sticking out of my pants several inches all the way around. For maybe half a second I started to get embarrassed, but then I remembered that she and all the boys had not only seen me in diapers but the boys were all in diapers themselves and she'd not only seen me in diapers but had changed me and even seen me totally naked. The boys all bounded out of their beds on their own, even Mark surprised me by getting out of his bed and coming over to get a gander at me. It had been Cole, the one boy that was missing now who'd been in the room when I had. He'd had a nasty accident and nearly lost his arm, but the doctors were not only able to save his arm, but he also was able to use it too. Cole had told me only days before that Mark was not doing so well and that he didn't have much time left. To see Mark just then, I would never think he was even slightly sick, let alone on the edge of life and death!

"Wow! What is that?" Harry asked leaning on Scotty for a little support.

"It's to keep my ribs in place and protected while they heal." I said knocking on the front to show them how sturdy it was.

"Well I'll be!" Nurse Gabby said stroking the plastic in an almost passionate sort of manner. "I've never seen anything like it!" she added while spinning me around and lifting my shirt up in the back to get the full picture. "And it fits so very snugly! I imagine it would get hot in there?" she asked as she patted the plastic and Velcro on my shoulders.

"No, not yet anyway!" I said sneaking a glance across the room to where Cole's bed had been, there was now another much smaller boy lying there asleep, at least he looked smaller from the size of the lump he made from under the covers. I could only see the very top of the back of his head from where I was standing. My bed, or at least the one that had been mine was once again empty and that surprised me a little.

"I only just got it today! Do you know Doctor Zuligram?" I asked her.

"No, I've never heard of him." She said while lifting my shirt even higher to inspect the Velcro straps that held the front and back so snuggly together.

"That's really cool!" Mark said.

"Can I try it on?" Scotty asked.

"No you cannot try it on Scotty! Don't be silly!" Nurse Gabby said pulling my shirt back down.

"And how are you?" She finally said to my dad.

"Oh I'm doing great, all things considered!" dad said and had I not been listening to Scotty more then the two of them, I might have caught that dad was saying a lot more with those words then I realized.

We boys moved away from the two adults who continued to chat while we talked by ourselves. We had been yammering on for no more then two-minutes when the hospital loud speaker began to blare, "CODE BLUE ROOM 713! CODE BLUE ROOM 713!"

Nurse Gabby fled from the room in an instant. Dad looked over at me, pointed and said very sternly, "Stay in here and don't even think of leaving this room!"

I felt a little hurt by his tone and the way he said it, as if I was being punished or something. Dad too left the room and turned the same direction as Nurse Gabby had gone.

"What do you think that's all about?" I asked the guys.

"Someone's dieing!" Harry said.

"Yeah, that's what Code Blue means." Scotty added.

"No, not that!" I jokingly took a slow swing at Scotty's head with my fist and in turn, as if in slow motion, he reacted to the blow while adding his own sound effects.

"I was meaning my dad!" I said looking over my shoulder toward the door.

After a few seconds, we forgot about the sudden emergency and began chatting again. I found out that the reason Mark was feeling so well, was that the doctors had given him some new medication that had only just come out. It had totally turned his health around and in less than a day, he said he had felt no more pain and felt better then he could ever remember feeling.

"Man, that's like a miracle!" I said.

To which Mark laughed and said, "That is what everyone keeps saying."

"Yeah that one guy, he was funny!" Harry said.

"What guy?" I asked but I never did find out whom Harry meant because just then Scotty cut the loudest and juiciest sounding fart.

"Oh gawd Scotty!" I gagged as the scent hit me.

"Gee-whiz! What you been eating?" Mark said covering his face with a pillow.

Scotty smiled and said, "Greetings from the diaper gravy factory!"

That sent us all into fits of laughter and telling jokes that were too racy for boys of our ages to know, but we did anyway. Time went by fast and before I knew it, dad had returned looking odd - I mean he didn't look like his normal self. A few short minutes later, I discovered why.

"You about ready to go?" he asked while pulling a hanky from his pocket and dabbing at his upper lip.

"Can I stay just a little longer?" I whined.

"Normally I'd say yes, but I we have somewhere to be in just under a half-hour." Dad said looking at his watch and stuffing his hanky back into this pocket.

"Where?" I asked.

"Now if I told you that, it would not be a surprise!" dad said with an evil grin.

"Okay!" I lamented and turned back to the guys, "I will be back soon! I promised."

"See ya, Simon!" Scotty said.

"See ya, stinky!" I joked back and laughed.

The rest of the guys said their good-byes as well and as we left I glanced back one more time to see each of the boys sitting on Scotty's bed looking longingly at me. I suddenly felt as if I were abandoning them or something.

Dad and I walked back down the hall and as we neared the elevators I looked up at dad and asked, "What happened?"

"What do you mean?" dad asked and I wasn't sure if he was trying to avoid my question or was just not paying attention to me.

I stopped dead and he stopped too, turned and looked down at me with a very puzzled expression. I thumbed over my shoulder, "Back there, what was the emergency?"

Dad's face sort of dropped and he took a deep breath like he was going to say something but he didn't.

"You're not going to tell me are you?" I asked still looking up at him.

He still just looked at me as if he was trying to find something to say but couldn't come up with anything.

"Is Runt dead?" I asked right out of the blue.

I thought dad's eyes were going to fall out of his head and roll right back down the hallway. "No!" he said quickly. "Alright, I'll tell you but you have to promise not to get upset?"

"What?" I nearly shouted.

"It was Runt, but he was okay! He woke up from his comma and had pulled out the wires, tubes and needles they had him hooked up with." Dad said kneeling down so that he was at my eye level. He'd also taken hold of both of my arms and I felt like he was trying to keep me from running away. But honestly I didn't know why he thought I would get upset or go running. If anything I felt like shouting and cheering that Runt had woke up and was so strong that he could pull all those things off him!

"He's okay, he really is okay!" Dad said twice and I thought back to a movie I'd seen a while back where this guy told this other guy that if someone says something two times you could be sure he was lying. However, I was sure dad was not lying.

"The doctors and nurses are with him and are checking him out," dad said and added for the third time, "but he's okay!"

"Then that's good news, right?" I asked.

Dad thought a second before answering, "Yes, I think it is good news."

"You're not scared?" dad asked.

"Why would I be scared?" I asked back, but before dad could answer I figured it out and said, "Oh, you think I'm scared Runt will come after me?"

Dad smiled, "You don't have to worry about that!" he said.

"But dad? I'm not worried about that!" and adopting a bit of an accusatorial tone I said, "You sound like you are worried about it, but really I'm not!" As I said that last part I'd placed my hands on his arms.

He wrapped his arms around my head and hugged me, "You really are a good kid! You know that?"

"Yeah, `sept I'm not a kid!" I said back partly joking but more serious.

"Come on! Let's blow this two-bit popsicle stand!" dad said standing up and taking my hand in his.

Being the smart-mouth that I am, I couldn't just let things go, I had to add as we were walking for the elevators, "Popsicles? I want a Popsicle!"

"How about just a pop in the mouth?" dad asked.

"Only if it's grape flavored!" I continued.

He put my head in a loose headlock that I could have easily slipped out of if I'd wanted too, but I didn't. We got on the elevator and rode it all the way down like that and when the door opened again this fat lady was standing there nearly blocking the entire door. She looked just plan assaulted to see my dad holding my head in a vise-like headlock.

"Hiya Lady!" I said with a dismissive wave of my left hand as dad and I walked out of the elevator and all the way out of the hospital that same way. We both laughed all the way out to the car.

"You know, I think that lady thought we were nuts!" I said to dad as I was climbing into the front seat and pulling my door closed.

"I don't know about you, but I can say with complete confidence, that I am not nuts!" dad joked.

"I'm not so sure about that!" I countered.

Dad started the car, "So where we going now?" I asked hoping to catch him off guard and trick him into telling me.

"It's a surprise!" dad said again.

"Is it far?" I asked.

"That depends?" he said.

"On what?" I asked.

"On what you are comparing it too." He said.

"Okay, is it about as close as home is from here?" I asked as he pulled out of the parking space.

"Oh, about." He said as if he had to think about it.

"Is it closer?" I asked.

"No, it's just about as far as the house." He declared.

He turned the car in the opposite direction of home, which further added in confusing me about our possible destination.

"I got no idea!" I said.

"Good, then you will be that much more surprised." He said.

I sat quiet for several minutes while we drove on down the road. However, when he turned toward the Riverside Mall I nearly shouted, "Are we going to the Mall?"

He covered his right ear with his hand, "No we're not going to the Mall!" he chuckled.

"But it's close to the Mall?" I asked.

"It is," Was all he said.

When we reached the street the Mall was on, I knew he'd have to turn left to go to it and when he did turn left I shouted, "YOU LIED! WE ARE GOING TO THE MALL!"

He recovered his ear again, "Don't shout and I did not lie! We are not going to the Mall!" he said with an air of smugness.

And that is when I saw the sign ...


Riverside Arena

Open to the Public

March 2, 3 & 4

Electronics Show and Sale

And for about thirty seconds I got super excited and then I remembered, "But today is only the first day of March?" I said as I spin in my seat to face him, or as much as I could given that I had on a seatbelt.

"Yep, but someone happen to get special tickets to the Vendor's Show today." Dad said pointing up at the sign.

As he pulled into the parking lot for the arena I looked back up and saw that in smaller letters, just below where it said `Electronics Show and Sale' it also said ...


March 1 -- Vendors Day by Invitation Only


"We're going in? TODAY?" I shouted.

Dad grinned from ear-to-ear, "Yep!" he said and from the sun-visor in front of me he produced two VIP tickets to the Vendors Day Electronics Show and Sale.

"But don't we have to be?" I started to ask.

"A buddy of mine wasn't able to make it today and asked if I'd go for him to check everything out. He also thought you might like to go with me." Dad said handing the two tickets to me to look at.

I took the tickets and looked them over. All around the four edges were the names of what I guessed were computer companies that would be at the show.

I looked up at dad with a puzzled expression on my face and he looked over at me for only a second.

"What's that look about?" he asked.

"You aren't teasing me are you?" I asked.

He laughed, "Would I tease you about something like this?" he asked.

"YES!" I accused him.

He laughed harder, "No I'm not teasing you son!" And he pulled the car into a parking space not too far from the front doors to the Arena.

I continued to look at him unable to believe that this could be real. Dad put the car into park and looked at me, "Well, come on!"

"Oh my gawd!" I nearly had a fix right then and there, "You aren't kidding? We're really going in? OH MY GAWD!!!" I screamed with more excitement then I could possibly contain in my little body.

Dad laughed as he climbed from the car. I nearly exploded out of my side of the car and slammed the door behind me. I was both in shock and about to burst with excitement, "Oh my gawd! Oh my gawd! Oh my gawd!" I kept repeating and rubbing my hands together like a worried and expectant father.

Dad was getting quite a bit of enjoyment out of the way I was acting but I just couldn't help myself. We reached the front door and dad stopped, looked down at me and said, "Just kidding!" and turned back for the car.

"Oh you are so going to die!" I said very flatly and dad nearly fell over laughing. He turned back around and pulled open one of the doors and held it open for me to enter.

"You are so not funny!" I said trying not to laugh as we entered.

"Welcome to Vendor's Day!" a bubbly red-headed lady said to us. "What company are you with?" she asked.

"Volqure Enterprises." Dad said and I looked up at him about to ask who or what Volqure Enterprises was but I thought better of it.

The bubbly lady looked on a clipboard, ran her finger down a long list of names and then said, "Oh here you are!" and made a mark with a pen.

Dad nudged me, "Give her the tickets."

"Oh, sorry!" I said handing them to her.

She smiled at me and I could see her gum in her mouth that she'd been chewing while she talked, "Thank you so very much!" she bubbled. "And here are your passes!" she said handing both dad and I a clip on sort of ID. I pinned mine to my shirt and as I did the sharp pin poked my chest plate. I giggled.

"What you giggling at?" dad asked.

"It just saved me from getting stabbed!" I said knocking on my chest.

"Then it's worth every penny!" dad joked as he pinned his own badge in place on his shirt.

We walked on into the enormous arena that was literally packed with every sort of computer or electronics' company I could think of and maybe a few others that I couldn't. The place was swarming with activity but it wasn't crowded the way I'd expected it to be. I'd been to the computer show last year with dad but we went as regular people and the place had been insanely packed. Dad had to hold on to the back of my shirt most of the time we were at that show so that I didn't get lost in the sea of people. I know that wouldn't be a problem today.

Dad reached out and grabbed a small hold on the back of my hair to stop me from wandering off in a daze.

"Sorry." I said realizing I was falling into a hypnotic trance with all the lights, signs and electronic gadgetry.

"I don't want you to go wandering off okay?" dad said letting go of my hair.

"Yeah!" I said nearly bouncing with excitement.

"As long as you stay where I can see you, you can walk around and look at everything," he instructed, "but don't touch anything!"

I didn't wait for him to dismiss me. I sped away at a fast walk, still making sure I kept him within sight the whole time.

We'd wandered around for over an hour and only saw maybe about a third of the booths. And then we came to this one booth that had this huge blue and red banner with bright yellow letters stretched overhead. The banner read, "Tomorrow's Technology Today".

Dad had caught up to me a few minutes earlier and we entered the booth together. They had some of the coolest looking computers I'd ever seen in my life. One of them looked like something right out of a Star Trek movie. Just beside this one really humongous server computer there was this regular looking I-Mac computer, almost like the one I have at home in my room.

"Hey dad?" I nudged him with my elbow, "Look at this one!" I said pointing to the I-Mac. "It's almost like mine!" I said.

Though my I-Mac was nothing to be scoffed at, here amongst all these state of the art computers this I-Mac looked kind of shamefully plane and lacking.

"Huh, that looks like yours!" dad said while giving me a slight nudge in the butt with his knee, though I hardly felt it through my diaper but I did hear my diaper crinkle a bit. For maybe half a second I felt self conscious that the others might have heard it, too, but my fascination with all the computers and wondering why there was an I-Mac among them ran the though right out of my head before it could even coagulate and take root.

"Ah! But can yours do this?" a young salesman looking guy said pressing the spacebar.

The screan lit up with a single neon green colored line cutting horizontally across the middle of the screen.

"Simon!" the sales man said.

"Yeah?" I asked just as the computer said, "Yes boss?" in a very electronic sounding voice.

"Holy cow!" I shouted, "Did that computer just talk to you?"

"Meet Simon Says!" the salesman said pointing at the screen.

"It's named Simon too?" I asked. "That's my name!"

"It is?" the man asked. And then he looked at the computer, "Simon, say hello to Simon." And the horizontal neon green light bounced as the computer began to speak, "Hello Simon Boss!"

I smiled, open mouthed, up at dad who looked to be as impressed as I was. "That is so cool!"

"Simon Says is a completely voice operated and interactive personal assistance program." The salesman said placing his hand on the computer and stroking it as if it were alive.

"Simon Says is about the coolest thing I think I have ever seen!" I said taking a step closer to it.

"Thank you!" the computer said.

"Wow!" dad said.

"We're actually debuting its release to the public this week for the first time." The salesman said and then like clockwork he slid into his sales speech, which lasted about ten minutes. I caught only bits and pieces of what he was saying, but the one thing I did catch was when he said it was retailing for $199 dollars.

"Two-hundred-dollars for a computer game?" I heard dad say.

"Not a computer game dad!" I said before the salesman could counter dad's comment, "He's a voice operated and interactive personal assist!"

"Oh no!" dad said when I finished.

"What?" I said looking up at him.

"The last time you talked about something like that I ended up having to buy you two gerbils that you ended up letting loose in the house!" dad said with his hands on his hips just he way mom always does.

"Hey! That wasn't my fault! They escaped by themselves!" I said to the salesman as if I had to defend myself to him.

"You won't forget to feed me will you?" the computer spoke up.

"Oh that's too funny!" dad said with a laugh.

"What do you eat?" I asked Simon Says.

"Aside from the occasional planet, not too much!" the computer said in response.

"That is amazing!" I said again.

"Ask it anything you want!" the salesman said.

"Okay!" I said with an evil grin and dad said to the salesman, "Oh no, you've done it now!"

I took a deep breath and asked, "What is the meaning of life, the universe and everything?"

The horizontal neon green line stayed motionless for several seconds before the computer spoke up, "Forty-Two!"

"NO WAY!" I shouted.

"Was that wrong?" the sales guy asked.

"No! That was exactly the right answer!" I said.

"Of course!" the computer added.

"Dad you have got to buy me one of these!" I said pulling on his arms.

"No I don't!" he countered.

"PLEASE!" I begged.

"Yeah dad, please!" the computer begged, which made dad laugh.

"That's not fair!" dad complained with a big smile when the computer came to my aid.

The sales guy started laughing; I guessed from the idea that he felt he had the sale in the bag. But then I realized he was laughing too hard and then it hit me that I was being had. I looked up at dad who now had one hand over his mouth trying to stifle his laughter. He pulled his other hand free from my grip and pointed to a guy sitting at the far side of the booth with a microphone in his hand.

"Awe man!" I said and stomped my foot.

Everyone around us started laughing and after a minute or so I started laughing too. "That was just mean!" I said to the sales guy!

"Yeah, but it was funny and we got it all on camera!" he said pointing to a web camera sitting beside one of the other computers.

"I really thought Simon Says was real!" I grumbled and then dad said, "Simon, this is my friend Jerry Altero. His partner was the one that gave me the tickets!"

"Awe dad!" I gowned at realizing just how much I'd been fooled.

We hung out at Jerry's booth for quite a while. Jerry showed me some really cool things on some of the computers but nothing was a cool as Simon Says was. Just before we left Jerry's booth I felt the need to go pee but just as had happened earlier today, when I felt the need to go it was too late and I was already flooding my diaper. I knew if I told dad how much I had wet he'd want to leave the show to keep from risking me having a leak. So I kept it to myself for the time being and I found myself regretting drinking so much at lunch time.

Eventually we continued to peruse the other booths. Dad ended up buying several things for his home office and also bought me an accessory kit for my new electronic journal that Aunt Catharine had given me for my birthday. It had all kinds of cool stuff in it that would help me with my homework, writing reports and things like that.

By the time we left, we had been at the show for about three hours and I was starting to wear out pretty quickly. Actually, leaving was my idea. I'd taken hold of dad's hand and said, "Dad? I'm not feeling so good."

"Yeah, I imagine you are getting tired. We might have overdone it a little today." He said.

"Can we go home?" I asked.

"You want me to put you on my shoulders?" Dad asked and I wasn't sure if he was serious or teasing me again.

On the chance he was serious I said, "Um, I think I might be too big for that?"

"Humm, maybe so." He replied.

So we started to head for the front of the arena toward the doors we'd come in though. However, just as we were about to reach the doors we both heard someone calling our name. I turned in the direction I thought the voice had come from, it was hard to tell because it was pretty loud and the arena was so big. I was both shocked and happy to see Lowell sort of half walking and half jogging toward dad and me.

"Oh hello there Lowell!" dad said when he realized who it was. Dad had got to meet Lowell at my birthday party so it didn't surprise me that he remembered Lowell.

"Hi Mr. Leonard!" Lowell said as he reached us.

"Hey Lowell! What are you doing here?" I asked.

"I'm here with my uncle!" Lowell said pointing to a booth way down in the direction he came, but there were so many people and so many booths that I had no idea to who or where he was pointing too.

"Didn't you have school today?" dad asked.

"Nah, I got to come here instead today, but I have to go to school tomorrow." He sounded disappointed about that fact.

"You been here all day?" I asked.

"Yep, all day!" Lowell said pulling up his pants as they were sliding down his hips. As he yanked up on the waistband of his pants I got a fast glimpse of his Pull-Up when his shirt came up just a bit.

"Does your uncle have a booth here?" dad asked.

"Yes!" Lowell said and again he pointed down the same isle. "It's down there. See that big yellow sign that says Toshiba?"

"Oh yeah!" I said spotting the sign.

"That's us! We're selling Plasma Televisions." Lowell said, "I even sold one about an hour ago, all by myself!" he said proudly.

"Really?" dad said with a hint of surprise.

Lowell puffed out his chest, "Yep! I didn't have any help at all!"

"Oh hey! I got to show you something!" I suddenly said as I lifted my shirt, once again forgetting the fact that I was wearing a diaper. Sure enough my pants were hanging on my hips allowing several inches of my diaper to be exposed. Lowell didn't react at seeing my diaper at all but he did react at seeing my new chest guard.

"Whoa! What's that?" Lowell asked as he started to reach out to touch it but he stopped himself before he did touch me. I guess he was scared he might hurt me or something.

"It's to protect my broken ribs!" I said and then the two of us went on talking for several minutes.

I'd not realized it but dad had moved several feet away and was looking at a new cell phone. I only knew he'd gone when a security guard came up to the two of us and looking more then just a little mean and angry said, "No children are allowed to be in here without adult supervision."

I was just about to yell for dad when the big ape of a man broke into a big yellow-toothed grin and Lowell said to me, "Simon, this here is Bob! He's the muscle here this year!"

Bob stuck out his hand, which to me looked to be as big as my head.

"Glad to meet you Simon!" he said and shook my hand as if he were trying to pump water from a well.

Lowell reached over to me and pulled my other arm down and that was when I realized I was still holing up my shirt. I must have turned twenty shades of red in as many seconds. Bob only winked at me, leaned down and said, "Not to worry, I won't tell!" and then walked away.

"Holy Crap that was embarrassing!" I said dropping my face into my hands.

"Don't worry about it! Bob knows that I wear `em too!" Lowell said lifting up one side of his shirt enough to let me see the waistband of his Pull-Up again.

"It was still embarrassing!" I said as dad came walking back over to us with another bag hanging at his side.

"New phone?" I asked.

"Nope, two! One for your mom!" dad said.

"But mom can't even get the one she has now to work?" I said with a knowing smile.

"She will this one!" he said, but I knew she wouldn't. Mom's just not technical.

"Lowell, we're off to the house now!" dad said extending his hand and I suddenly had an idea.

"Um, you want to come home with us?" I asked before thinking.

"Huh?" Lowell said also before thinking.

"Yeah you can help me install the new accessory kit dad bought me!" I said and then dad chimed in. "I'm not so sure that's a good idea."

"Yeah, I'm not supposed to leave my Uncle! My mom gave me strict instructions!" he said, "But maybe after dinner, when I get home?" He added hopefully.

"That sounds a lot better!" dad said patting Lowell on the shoulder.

"Okay, cool! Um, call when you get home okay?" I said.

"Yeah okay! I better get back to our booth now! Bye!" Lowell said and took off running down the aisle.

I felt dad's hand on the back of my neck directing me toward the doors but we didn't get to take but a single step before we were again stopped. This absolutely awesome robot was standing directly in front of us blocking our way to the door.

"Hello I am Tobor." The robot said.

Now after the practical joke of Simon Says there was no way I was going to fall for it again. I started looking around for the person with the remote control and microphone and I noticed dad was doing the same thing.

All the way over to our left in the corner was a booth with a not so big sign that said, Tobor Robotics.

"Hello I am Tobor." The robot said again which got dad and me to look at it again.

It was maybe six inches shorter then me and though it looked like a robot, it also looked very much like a humanoid. Most of its external covering was white and looked to be plastic while its joints were all a flat black color. Where its eyes should be was a glowing oval shape that seemed to be changing colors slowly.

"What is your name?" the robot asked.

Dad and I both looked toward the booth for the person or persons operating the robot but the few people at the booth seemed to be busy talking with others and not paying attention to this robot.

"What is your name?" the robot asked again.

"I'm Simon." I said while still looking at the booth for any evidence of someone messing with dad and me.

"It is nice to meet you Simon. I am Tobor." The robot said and just as a child might do it looked up toward dad and said, "Hello, I am Tobor. Who are you?"

"I am Simon too." Dad answered it.

"It is nice to meet you Simon Two." The robot said which made me snicker.

"I am sorry, did I say something funny?" the robot asked looking at me.

That settled it for me, I was sure someone was operating this humanoid looking machine.

"Can we go over there before we go?" I asked dad while pointing to the booth.

"Sure, if you think you are up to it." Dad said but I had already started for the Tobor Robotics booth.

As we crossed the front of the arena dad and I both realized we were being followed. We stopped and looked at the robot that was walking ... yes I said WALKING, right behind us.

As if it sensed that we were again looking at it, it said, "Hello, I am Tobor."

"Yeah, you said that already!" I said with a bit of sarcasm in my voice. I was sure that someone was talking through the robot and he was beginning to bug me to no end.

"I am sorry." The robot said while raising its right arm and clamp style hand to where its mouth would be if it had a mouth. But instead of a mouth, it had only white plastic just like the rest of its body.

"Oh this is just too creepy!" dad said.

"It's not real dad! Someone's got to be controlling it." I said but no sooner had the words come out of my mouth then this attractive oriental lady walked up to us and almost sounding insulted she said, "Tobor is most certainly a fully independent interactive robotic life form!"

"Excuse me?" dad said with equal distain.

The oriental lady's face puckers as she says, "Tobor is as real and independent as you and I! The only difference between you and Tobor is that he feeds off electricity. Other then that, he does everything you do, he has feelings, sings, dances, and learns. The older he gets the more he learns."

"I am real." Tobor said giving my arm a nudge.

"Are you really real?" I asked Tobor.

"Are you?" Tobor asked.

"Actually no! I am just a wooden puppet that my dad here carved." I said to Tobor.

Tobor stood silent for a couple seconds and then a sound came out of him that I guess was laughter. "Eep, Eep, Eep, Eep, Eep! That is a good one!" Tobor said while holding the sides of its head.

I noticed that his eye, uh, panel thing had turned a very bright shade of blue when it laughed.

"Why did its eye thing turn colors?" I asked the lady and evidentially I asked the right question because she suddenly brightened up and started to tell us all about Tobor and how he worked.

"Tobor here shows his emotions by the color of his eyes." I noted that she said eyes despite the fact that I saw only the one oval in the middle of what I guessed was his face.

"Tobor can recognize up to 27 distinct voices and knows which to obey and which not too. Also, as I said before, Tobor can learn just as you and I learn." She stopped talking to us and began talking to the robot.

"Tobor, how old are you?" She asked.

"In human, dog, or robot years?" Tobor asked and I thought I detected a note of humor in the way Tobor asked it.

"You choose." She answered.

"In comparison of robot years to human, I am the equivalent age of eleven years, three months, twelve days, thirteen hours, twenty-seven minutes." Tobor said.

"Wow, you're nearly the same age as my son here." Dad said patting me on the head.

Tobor looked at me, then dad and then the lady before asking her, "Why did he do that?"

"Do what?" she asked.

Tobor took two steps toward me and just as dad had done Tobor patted the top of my head only harder.

"Ouch, hey take it easy!" I grumbled.

"Oh my, I am very sorry did I damage you?" Tobor asked.

"Nah, I'm okay." I said rubbing my head.

"Why do you think he did that, Tobor?" the lady asked.

Tobor did not answer right away and for a couple seconds there I thought maybe it had run out of power but just as I was about to say something else Tobor raised both its arms into the air and announced, "To keep him from growing taller?"

I thought dad was going to laugh himself to death over that one! Tobor was laughing along with all of us, "Eep, Eep, Eep, Eep, Eep!"

"As you can see, he's even able to master humor." She said though her laugher.

Dad and I spent another good 20 minutes talking with the lady and Tobor. We learned that Tobor was the latest in artificial intelligence and was a prototype. That meant that Tobor was the one and only of his kind. Also something that I thought was cool, Tobor is Robot spelled backwards and Tobor was the one that came up with that name all by itself.

While we continued to talk and hear about Tobor as well as interact with the robot something the lady had said earlier was replaying in my head. "The only difference between you and Tobor is that he feeds off electricity." And if that was true, did that mean that Tobor peed and pooped too? I know it was something only a twisted and demented person like myself would think about when faced with such an incredible piece of technology, but that is what I was thinking. Sadly thought, I didn't have the guts to ask her or Tobor, but I would have had a good time had I been able to talk and play alone with Tobor for a while

The funny thing about our encounter with Tobor was that as dad and I were finally leaving, I felt like I'd made a new friend with Tobor and was going to miss him. It was really weird since I knew he, err I mean it, was just a machine, I think ...


PART 4 -- It may not be first contact, but it is first discovery

As Dad and I were walking back out to the car I noticed how cool the air was getting. "It's kind of chilly this afternoon huh?" I said to Dad.

"Yeah, sure is! Hope it doesn't get too cold." He said back.

"Me either, I'm tired of the cold!" I said just as we reached our car.

The ride back to the house was uneventful aside from minor chitchat between the two of us. When we pulled into the driveway of our home there was a car, neither of us recognized, sitting in front of our house. We soon learned who it belonged too when the two of us walked in through the sliding backdoor.

"Oh! Hello Mrs. Winston!" I said, realizing that it was Mike and Taters' mom. Though she smiled when she saw us come in, it was plain to see that she'd been crying seconds before we came home.

"Is everything alright?" Dad asked. With a single quick look that she gave us both, I could tell that everything wasn't alright.

Mrs. Winston stood up and embraced me just the way Aunt Polly had embraced Tom Sawyer when she learned that Tom had not drowned in the river, but was still very much alive.

She started sobbing again, and I could feel her tears moistening the top of my head.

Without realizing she was suffocating me, she pressed my face into her ample bosoms and was cutting off my air supply. "Mrs. Winston, I can't breathe!" I cried, though I knew it was mostly muffled.

"Oh I am so very sorry my dear, sweet boy!" she said, only partially releasing me.

I probably played it up a little more than I had to when I gasped for air after being freed from her constricting arms. The thought also flashed through my head of how grateful I was for having my new rib protector; otherwise, she would have crushed me for sure!

"What's going on?" I asked, as she held my face in her two hands like she was inspecting a melon at the grocery story. It wouldn't have surprised me a single bit if she would have tried to thump my noggin to see if I was ripe! Thankfully she didn't!

Mom went on to explain that she'd been telling Mrs. Winston all the gruesome details that I'd shared with her only days before about Tater, Bull and everything that they'd done, and I do mean everything! I wanted to crawl under the house and die, but I couldn't; Mrs. Winston was still holding my face and wouldn't let me go.

When she looked away for a second toward Mom, I gave Dad a desperate pleading glance for him to rescue me from this emotional mess of a woman. Thankfully, he understood and finally liberated me.

"Why don't we let Simon go back to his room and we'll talk more." Dad said, as he pried me free from her trembling hands.

Dad handed me the bag of things we'd bought at the Computer show, even his things, and sent me to my room. I had never been happier to get sent to my room in my life! Aside from one quick trip to Mom and Dad's bedroom to drop Dad's new purchases on his bed, I did not come back out of my room until nearly time for bed! Heck, I didn't even go out for dinner or when Lowell called for me on the phone.

I closed my door and changed out of my diaper because I'd apparently wet it again on the way home. However, since I couldn't put a diaper on by myself, especially now that I had on my new chest armor, I just slipped on one of my Goodnights, climbed into the bottom of my closet, and closed myself into the dark.

I stayed there in the dark, mostly thinking, until I was sure Mrs. Winston had left. Then and only then, did I climb out again. I retrieved my electronic journal before returning to my closet-tomb, where I closed myself in again to record the events of my day.

While writing, I had just got up to the point where Dad and I had run into Lowell at the Computer Show when I realized that while I'd been talking to Lowell was when I'd wet myself, and not when we'd been on the way home as I'd guessed earlier. That really bothered me, maybe more than it should have.

When Mom had dinner ready for us, Dad came looking for me and found me sitting in here. Without opening my closet door, I told him I didn't want any dinner. I was surprised when he didn't press the issue and just left me alone. A short while later I heard Mom and Dad arguing again and it got pretty dang heated, but since I was closed-up in my closet, all I could hear were muffled yells and nothing clear.

At exactly 9:03 p.m. I slid open my closet door to see what time it was and decided to run the cable between my E-Journal and my computer so that I could check my email and write to Lowell to explain why I didn't want to talk to him when he called. I had a lot of email; more than I normally get in any given day. The first one I opened was from Mike and it had arrived before school this morning. It was short and to the point and nearly made me break down and cry.



I just wanted to tell you that no matter what; I will still be your FRIEND! I got to go to school now but I will try to call you after school or email you again.



I couldn't believe the email from Mike, and it really set me to thinking about why he sent it. Had he known something this morning, even before his Mom ever came over and before my Mom told her everything; even the super personal stuff? There is just no way of knowing. I mean without actually asking him, which is just what I was thinking of doing. However, first I checked to see if I had a second email from him, and sure enough I did, and it was a long one...


Hi again Simon,

Okay, first thing I have got to tell you is that you can't tell anyone that I'm emailing you because I'm not allowed and I will explain about that in just a second. First, I have to tell you that you won't believe what happened at school today! Everyone is so scared since those kids came up missing and Principle Freeman brought in Security Guards this afternoon and they are watching all the doors and walking the hallways. Also, and I think maybe I shouldn't tell you this, but if it were me I'd want to know. There are a few kids saying some not-so-nice stuff about you. Man, word got around really fast about my brother and his friends. I don't blame you at all for what you did! I really mean that! Neither does my Mom but we've been told that for right now, it is better that we don't talk with you. Some lawyer guy is the one that told my Mom that and she said that me and you can still be friends but not right now because Tate is coming back home tomorrow maybe. There was some kind of court thing today and they said that Mom has to, uh, I can't remember what it is called, but they said Mom has to give them money so Tate can come home. She is so way mad. Not at you but she is mad at my brother Tate! I know Tate is in major, big-time, super-sized, trouble because even Dad called home from all the way over in Kuwait this afternoon. I am so glad that I got to talk with him and I am not ashamed to say I cried because I miss him so much. Mom said that my little sister and me are going to be staying with my uncle for a while because of Tate and maybe my older sister when she comes back too. Mom is hollering for me so I have to go.

Your way good friend, Mike!


Just as I was getting ready to hit the reply button to send Mike an email back, I heard the doorbell ring and wondered out loud, "Who would be coming over this late?"

For maybe a full minute I actually thought about getting out of my closet to see who it was, but I realized that I didn't much care who it might be. I wasn't feeling all that social tonight. However, I did try to listen to see if I could hear anything but I couldn't, so I returned to my emails.



Thanks for your emails today. Did you know your Mom came over here at my house? At least she was here not too very long ago when Dad and I came home. Dad and I went to the computer show today. I'll tell you all about it later.

I can't believe Mr. Freeman brought in security guards. I only heard about the kids being taken this morning when I was at Dad's work, but I didn't know it was around here.

Dad and I went to the hospital today and while we were there, Runt woke up from his comma. I didn't get to see him but Dad said that he's doing good. Have you heard from Lowell or Jasper? I saw Lowell at the computer show today.

Thanks for being my friend and I am sorry that things are so rotten right now `cause of me!

Your friend too, Simon!


As soon as I pressed the send button on my screen a new email, this time from Lowell appeared, so I opened it next.


Hi Simon,

I tried to call but your Dad said you were not feeling good. I hope you are okay. Maybe you over-did it today at the show. I hope not. I was just calling to tell you that my Dad would not let me come over today. I sold another Plasma TV today after I saw you. That makes two all together. My Uncle said I am a natural salesman. I wish we had time to talk at the show. I been wanting to talk with you about some stuff but I guess it can wait. Write back as soon as you get this so I know you are okay. Have you got to ride your new skateboard yet? Lowell


I wrote Lowell back right away:



I got your email just now. I was writing to Mike when it popped up in my inbox. Sorry I didn't come to the phone when you called. I'm not sick, just got stuff on my mind. I know that's not an excuse but I just needed to be alone for a while to try to think about some stuff. I hope you are not mad at me. Have you heard about the three missing kids on the news? Mike said that they brought in security guards to our school today because of it. Did they do that at your school too? I think that I might not be able to ride my skateboard for a while until my ribs finish healing. What do you want to talk with me about?



After I wrote Lowell I looked through the remaining emails that I'd not yet opened and saw that I had one from Jasper that came in around 4 pm. I took a deep breath, felt my chest pressing against my new body armor as I did so and as I let out my breath I opened his email expecting the worst.


I don't know if you will read this or not but I just had to write you. I am sorry I got so mad at you. Bull came home this afternoon. I was here because my parents didn't want me to go to school today. Dad is home too; he came home really early this morning. Mom says I'm not to be friends with you anymore but Bull talked to me a little while ago and he explained a bunch of stuff that no one else would tell me about. He said that I shouldn't stop being your friend and that what happened had nothing to do with you. He wants to write to you too but he said he's not allowed too have any contact with you but if you say it is safe and you don't mind he said he can send you an email from my address. He wanted me to ask you first to be sure it is okay first, so is it okay? I'm sorry I didn't come to your birthday party, I was really mad at you because ... well that doesn't matter now. I know none of what happened was your fault and I hope you and I can still be friends and it is okay if you don't want Bull to write to you, I will understand.

Email me back, Jasper


As I read Jaspers email something inside of me was telling me that I needed to go and tell Mom and Dad what both Mike and Jasper wrote to me. Now maybe I'd of listened to that little voice inside of me had I not come home to find that Mom had told Mrs. Winston all about how Tater and I had had sex together. Maybe I would have felt different had she not betrayed my confidence. Well, right or wrong, that's how I felt at that moment and I still feel that way now. While I thought about it, I honestly started to get scared that she would make it so that I couldn't be friends with Jasper or Mike if she knew Tater and Bull both were either home, or coming home.

I still had a couple emails that I'd not opened. Two were from my best-friend BJ, but I was no longer in the mood for emails, so I decided to close down my email and Journal a little while longer. Just as I was about to close my email, a second email from Lowell popped up in my inbox.


I just got your email, are you still online right now? Can you email me right now? Can we talk with IM? -- Lowell.


Without thinking about it, I decided to go ahead and email Lowell back so that I could send him my Instant Message Screen Name. I told him to give me five minutes to log on with my computer and I explained that I was currently using my E-Journal.

I crawled from my closet floor and went to my desk where I logged onto the Internet and brought up my Instant Messenger. I already had a message from Lowell asking me to add him to my contact list, so I did and right away he started messaging me.


Lowell: "There you are! Hi Simon!"

Me: "Hi Lowell."

Lowell: "Thanks for coming online."

Me: "No problem! Glad you emailed me back so fast!"

Lowell: "Yeah me too!"

Me: "So what's so urgent?"

Lowell: "Oh boy! That's kind of hard to say!"

Me: "I don't understand."

Lowell: "Can I ask you a question first?"

Me: "Sure!"

Lowell: "Promise not to get mad or freak out?"

Me: "Ask me first and then I might promise."

Lowell: "All right. Here goes!"


There was a pause before Lowell's question appeared on my computer screen.


Lowell: "How do you feel about wearing diapers?"


It was my turn to pause, but for a little longer than he had. I honestly had not expected that question and was sure he was going to ask me about Tater or Bull, or something that had to do with them.


Lowell: "Are you still there?"

Me: "Yes."

Lowell: "If you don't want to answer it's okay."

Me: "You tell me first."

Lowell: "That's fair. I really like them!"


Again, I paused as feelings I'd never felt before were flooding my being and I struggled to make sense of them. When I didn't reply Lowell sent another message.


Lowell: "Do you remember that day when we met at Wal-Mart a couple weeks ago?"

Me: "Yeah sure!"

Lowell: "Well when me met next to the skateboards, that wasn't the first time I saw you!"

Me: "Huh?"

Lowell: "I saw you getting out of that clothes rack. I was watching you."

Me: "How?"

Lowell: "Don't worry, no one else saw you!"


I went silent once more.


Lowell: "You were spying on the diaper isle huh?"

Me: "How did you know?"

Lowell: "I guessed, because that would have been the only place you could see clearly from inside that clothes rack!"


Me: "So you were spying on me?"

Lowell: "No, not spying. I just happened to see you going into the rack and you got to admit that it was not normal!"


I didn't reply.


Lowell: "You do like diapers don't you?"


I stuck my tongue in my cheek, and with a nearly panicked state falling in on me, I replied with a single word.


Me: "Yes."

Lowell: "I KNEW IT! I followed you all over the store when you finally came out of hiding again just so that I could talk to you."

Me: "Why didn't you say something then that you saw me?"

Lowell: "I didn't know for sure, not until later when I finally got to meet you again."

Me: "Wow!"

Lowell: "You can say that again!"

Me: "Wow! Again!"

Lowell: "LOL"

Me: "I've never told anyone before!"

Lowell: "Don't worry, I'm not going to tell!"

Me: "Thanks!"


An awkward stillness hung as neither of us sent a message. I just didn't know what else to say and the longer we went without messaging, the worse the awkwardness got. Finally, Lowell sent a message through.


Lowell: "Have you ever heard of the term, Teenbaby?"

Me: "Yes."


There was a short pause before Lowell sent the message.


Lowell: "Are you uncomfortable talking about this?"

Me: "I little!"

Lowell: "Would you rather we didn't talk about it?"

Me: "No, it's cool."

Lowell: "Whew!"

Me: "What's that for?"

Lowell: "Just glad is all."

Me: "So why did you ask me if I knew what Teenbaby meant?"

Lowell: "Because I am one!"

Me: "Really?"

Lowell: "Yep!"

Me: "But you're not a teen yet."

Lowell: "That don't matter really! Okay, if you want to get technical I guess I'm a Pre-Teenbaby!"

Me: "But why?"

Lowell: "Because I am!"

Me: "Do your parents know?"

Lowell: "Yep!"


Lowell: "Yes really!"

Me: "And they are cool with it?"

Lowell: "It was my Mom that first told me that I wasn't the only boy my age that wears diapers. There are lots of kids that wear them!"

Me: "How do you know?"

Lowell: "I've met lots of them online in chat rooms and on websites and stuff like that."

Me: "No way!"

Lowell: "Yes way! I'm telling the truth! I have lots of Teenbaby friends online and even a couple Adult baby friends too."

Me: "I've never met a real Teenbaby or Adult Baby before. I guess I've been too scared to try to online. All I have ever done was read some stories I found online about Teen babies."

Lowell: "Do you like to read Teenbaby stories?"

Me: "Sometimes, but not the way-hokey ones!"

Lowell: "What's hokey mean?"

Me: "Fake."

Lowell: "Oh yeah! I know what you mean then. Can I ask you another question then?"


Knowing what Lowell was about to ask I decided to beat him to the punch.


Me: "I don't know if I am one or not!"

Lowell: "How'd you know I was going to ask that?"

Me: "I got Super Powers!"

Lowell: "LOL"

Me: "My turn to ask a question. Do you only wear diapers because you like them?"

Lowell: "Not only `cause I like them but `cause I need them too."

Me: "Just for night?"

Lowell: "All the time."
Me: "Before Peter beat me up, I only wore GoodNites to bed for wetting."

Lowell: "I wear GoodNites all the time and really only wear regular diapers on special occasions. I LUV GoodNites!"

Me: "So what's the deal with Jasper then?"


I thought that I might as well try to get some information about Jasper if I could, but I wasn't sure if Lowell would say or not, or even if he knew.


Lowell: "What do you mean?"

Me: "Is Jasper a Teenbaby?"

Lowell: "Yep! Diapers, bottles, the works!"

Me: "You're joking!"

Lowell: "If I'm lieing, I'm dieing!"

Me: "Where should I send the flowers?"
Lowell: "What are you talking about? What flowers?"

Me: "The flowers for your funeral!"

Lowell: "I didn't know you were a funny man!"

Me: "Evidently not!"


There was a brief pause, and then I sent another message to Lowell.


Me: "Are you really a Teenbaby?"

Lowell: "I wouldn't lie about that Simon!"

Me: "Promise?"

Lowell: "Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye!"

Me: "Funny! Seriously! You are not just messing with me are you?"

Lowell: "Want proof?"

Me: "Proof? How?"

Lowell: "Give me two minutes and then check your email again!"

Me: "What for?"

Lowell: "You will see! But you best keep it Super Top-Secret!"

Me: "I don't even know what IT is that I'm supposed to keep Top-Secret."

Lowell: "You will, just wait!"


I opened my email again and waited impatiently. It seemed to take ages before an email popped up from Lowell.


Lowell: "It's sent!"
Me: "Got it!"

Lowell: "Wow that was fast! Open it; there is a picture of me attached to it!"


I opened the email and clicked on the `Open Attachment' button on my screen. I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw the picture of Lowell sitting in a playpen surrounded by baby toys and wearing absolutely nothing but a diaper and sucking on a pacifier. It was perfectly obvious that it was him in the picture too! It was clear as could be!


Me: "WOW!"

Lowell: "LOL!"

Me: "Your parents let you send pictures like that?"

Lowell: "They don't know I got them! LOL!"

Me: "I'm looking at this and I still can't believe it!"

Lowell: "Well you can believe it, `cause that's me! And don't let your parents see that!"

Me: "No way! I'd never let that happen!"

Lowell: "You said you like to read Teenbaby stories right?"

Me: "Yeah sometimes!"

Lowell: I started writing my own a couple months ago.


Lowell: "Yeppers!"

Me: "Is it about you?"

Lowell: "No, it's not a real story. I just made it up!"

Me: "What's it about?"


As I sent that last message, my best friend-BJ's screen name, `Green_Lantern' popped up in my contact list alerting me that he was online. I'm sure it's plain to see that BJ's favorite super hero is the Green Lantern. A second later he sent a message to me.


Green_Lantern: "Hi Simon! What ya doing?"


At the same time, I got another message from Lowell.


Lowell: "It's about this boy that has a problem with wetting his pants all the time. And he is the son of a world famous Archeologist."


Me to BJ: "Hi Greeny."


Green_Lantern: "Why do you insist on calling me that? You know I hate it!"

Me to Lowell: "Hey Lowell, can you give me a second? I got another friend that just came online and he's sending me messages too. I'm getting confused. Let me see what he wants and then I'll get right back to you! I want to hear more about this story of yours!"

Lowell: "Sure! I need to change for bed anyway. I'll be right back, okay?"

Me to Lowell: "Okay!"

Me to BJ: Sorry BJ, I'll never do it again...... Greeny!"

Green_Lantern: "Just wait until I see you again! You think you're a mess now?"

Me to BJ: "Oh I'm so scared!"

Green_Lantern: "So you doing okay? How's the ribs?"

Me to BJ: I'm doing good! Can you come over tomorrow after school?"

Green_Lantern: "That's why I messaged you! I wanted to know if you wanted me to bring you your homework."
Me to BJ: "Heck no! Then I'd have to do it!"

Green Lantern: "Ha Ha Ha! Well I won't do it then. Just thought I would ask."

Me to BJ: "Thanks for thinking about me!"

Green_Lantern: "My Dad's picking me up from school tomorrow. I'll see if I can get him to let me stop by. If not, I'll send you an email!"

Me to BJ: "Thanks BJ."

Green_Lantern: "I got to go, I'm still doing my homework! I just wanted to see if you were online and check that you were still okay!"

Me to B J: "Okay! Have fun! Thanks for checking up on me!"

Green_Lantern: "Somebody's got too! Good night and hope to see you tomorrow!"

Me to BJ: "Good night Greeny!"

Green_Lantern: "Grrrrrrrr!"

BJ growled at me just before his screen name vanished off my contact list. I sent Lowell a message right away.

Me: "Sorry about that Lowell! That was my friend BJ and he was just checking up on me! I'm all yours again!"


There was not a reply from Lowell right away and I figured he was still changing into his pajamas or something similarly appropriate for him. Then I had a thought and wondered to myself if he wore pajamas to bed or if he went to bed wearing just his Goodnites like in his photo he'd sent me.


Lowell: "Hi Simon, I'm back too! Sorry that took so long, I also had to get my books and things ready for school tomorrow."

Me: "That's okay, I wasn't waiting long. Can I ask you something?"

Lowell: "Fire away!"

Me: "Do you wear Pajama's to bed or just a diaper?"

Lowell: "That depends."

Me: "On what?"

Lowell: "How about you come sleep over next weekend? Then you can see for yourself!"

Me: "Are you teasing?"

Lowell: "No Way!"


I didn't reply right away. I needed a second or two think. For some reason, even though I knew he wore diapers too, and that I had nothing to fear if I wet in my sleep while over at his house, I still got scared and all worked up over the idea.


Me: "Um, I don't know if my Mom and Dad will let me."

Lowell: "Come on! It will be fun!"


Still feeling somewhat panicy, I gave into his request and sent the following message.


Me: "Okay, I'll ask them, but don't be surprised if they say no!"

Lowell: "YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!"

Me: "Alright, enhance your calm!"

Lowell: "LOL! I like that! Enhance your calm!"

Me: "Hey, tell me more about your story!"

Lowell: "If you want, I can do better than tell you! If you really want, I'll let you read it!


I didn't know how to reply back to him and before I could think of anything he sent another message.


Lowell: "You will be only the third person I ever let read it too!"

Me: "Wow Lowell! I would love to read it! So do your parent's know about the story?"

Lowell: "Oh Yeah! They both read what I have written so far. I meant, only the third friend that I have let read it."


I was about to ask Lowell how he was going to send it to me when he sent me a message answering that very question.


Lowell: "I will send you the first chapter in an email. When you are done with it let me know and I will send you the next chapter."

Me: "That sounds like a plan!"

Lowell: "If you don't like it, you can tell me. I won't be offended! I know that not everyone is going to like it. My Mom and Dad both tell me that it is a really good story and my two friends that have let read it say the same thing but I'm not sure they mean it. They might be trying to keep from hurting my feelings."

Me: "You don't strike me as the kind of person that would think like that."

Lowell: "I just wish I could get someone that's not a friend to read it; someone that would tell me if it sucks rocks!"

Me: "Sounds like you are looking for a bad review."

Lowell: "No, I just want a real opinion."

Me: "Tell ya what, I will shoot it too you straight, as long as you promise not to be offended if I tell you that it is pure rubbish! But also, if I tell you that it's good, you have to believe me when I do say so!"

Lowell: "Deal!"

Me: "Uh, what's your story called anyway? Does it have a title?"

There was a short pause before I got Lowell's reply.

Lowell: "It's called, `Simon wets his bed!'"

Me: "WHAT?"

Lowell: "LOL! Enhance your calm! I'm only kidding!!!"

Me: "Enhance your own calm! Don't do that to me! You scared the Bajeebers out of me!"

Lowell: "Oh well, sorry about your Bajeebers!

Me: "Keep it up and you are going to have to tell all of your friends that you got your butt kicked by an invalid!"

Lowell: "Okay, Okay! Don't blow a gasket! It's not really called that! I just couldn't resist teasing you just a bit!"

Me: "Well never do that again! You nearly made me crap myself!"
Lowell: "LOL! Okay, the real title is called, `Hamunaptra' and is set in a time just after the war with the Nazis."

Me: "I've heard of that name before."

Lowell: "It used to be a real place. Have you ever seen the movie, `The Mummy' with Brendan Frasier?"

Me: "Oh Yeah! I love that movie! The `City of the Dead'!"

Lowell: "You got it!"

Me: "Wow! That sounds way interesting!"

Lowell: "I hope you think so after I email this first chapter to you!"

Me: "You sending it right now?"

Lowell: "I'm pasting it into an email and you should have it in less than a minute."

Me: "Woohoo!"

Lowell: "It is sent! See if you got it!"


I still had my email open, as well as his picture he'd sent me. I closed his picture and checked my email. Sure enough, there was a new email from Lowell with the Subject Line: Simon wets his bed! by BL.


Me: "You are not even funny!"

Lowell: "HA HA HA HA HA HA! You must have seen what I put in the subject."

Me: "Yes I did and you are going to die a very slow and painful death!"

Lowell: "I'll start getting my affairs in order then!"

Me: "You had better!"

Lowell: "LOL!"

Me: "Okay, I got it but I have a question already."

Lowell: "What's that?"

Me: "What does `BL' stand for? Is Lowell not your first name?"

Lowell: "Can't you guess?"

Me: "Um, no idea!"

Lowell: "Baby Lowell!"

Me: "Really?"

Lowell: "That is what everyone online knows me as."

Me: "I just thought of something funny!"

Lowell: "What?"

Me: "If I used that for me I'd be Baby Simon, and then my initials would be B.S."

Lowell: "LOL! You are right, that is funny! I can think of a few other things that it could stand for too."

Me: "I'm not sure I want to know!"

Lowell: "You are too funny Simon!"

Me: "Sorry, I don't mean to be!"

Lowell: "Okay, I'll let you read that first chapter. I need to finish my math homework anyway."

Me: "I'm going to start reading it right now!"

Lowell: "Be sure to let me know, honestly, what you think!"

Me: "I promise!"
Lowell: "Signing off from parts unknown! Over and Out!"

Me: "Thanks Lowell! I'm really glad we got to talk!"


However, my last message never went through. Lowell had dropped off-line right after sending me his last message.

I reached over and pressed the power button on my printer, and it started making its start-up noises. While waiting for the email with his story to print, I started reading the first few lines from my computer screen.

The title was massive and nearly filled my entire computer screen...




City of the Dead

By B.L.


~ Chapter One ~

what was lost shall be found


We had just landed in Jerusalem. My father and I have traveled most of this world together since I was five years old. Back then, I was more of a tagalong, but I'm twelve now and I carry my own; as much as I am allowed anyway. Father likes to flatter himself that he knows his way around most every city, town, or village on this planet, both past and present, but I know better. I have been with him on more than one occasion when we've spent literally days lost in some god-forsaken country, jungle or desert. We spent two and a half months traveling with a group of Antarctic nomads, because Dad thought they were guiding us to one of the lost pyramids, only to find out that they thought we were evil spirits sent to torment and test them. I still remind Father of that every time he gets one of his great inspirational breakthroughs and threatens to drag me off to somewhere cold.


As I finished reading the first paragraph of Lowell's story he'd sent to me via email, my printer spat out the last page of his email before slipping back into techno-slumber until such time that it is called into service again. I quickly shut everything down, stowed my E-Journal away in my desk, and headed for my closet with my handy little flashlight. However, when I stood up, I realized that sometime during my chat with Lowell online I'd absolutely flooded my Goodnites and I had not even had the slightest notion that I'd had to go or that I'd wet myself. I was so excited about reading Lowell's story that I didn't let it bother me. I just tossed the pages, along with my flashlight, into the bottom of my closet, closed the door after pulling out my bathrobe, and went in search of Mom to put me into a diaper for the night.


PART 5 -- Traveling to points unknown without actually going anywhere.

When I got to the kitchen, I wasn't surprised to see that Mrs. Winston had left. I'd heard her leave sometime before dinner, but I was surprised to find that Officer Tucker, Mary's father, was sitting at the kitchen table with both Dad and Mom. I guessed it had been him that I heard ringing the doorbell earlier. When I saw him sitting there, it was almost as if a wave of joy flooded over me as my entire mind was briefly filled with thoughts of his daughter Mary and before I realized it I was asking him about her.

"Hi! How's Mary?" I asked almost in a state of euphoria.

"Hello Simon." Officer Tucker said and then as if he were tripping over his own tongue he managed to add, "Uh, well, she's just fine!"

The way he said it, was just as if he had taken a needle and popped the balloon that was my temporary source of pleasure. In that instant, all three of them looked as grim as if someone had just expired. I entered further into the room, shuffling my bare feet on the cool kitchen floor and something in the way that they were staring at me told me that they already knew about Tater and Bull coming home and were about to try and break the news to me as well.

I thought about telling them I already knew that the guys were getting bought out of jail, but I decided I didn't want them to know that I had friends that were emailing me and keeping me informed about the current events. Therefore, I had to stand there while Officer Tucker told me the whole story. Actually, I found out a couple things I didn't know. So, I guess it was a good thing I kept my mouth shut, and listened to what they had to say. One thing was that the reason Mike and Tater's Mom had to pay money to get Tater out of Jail was because the Law says that to get someone out of jail you have to `Post a Bond' and Officer Tucker took the time to explain to me exactly what that meant. Something I thought was sort of funny, not laughing funny but peculiar funny, was that Officer Tucker and my parents kept using the guys real names. Inside my head, I was automatically translating their birth names to their more playful and less official sounding, nicknames. He, as well as Mom and Dad, wanted to be sure that I knew that they'd been told that the guys are not allowed to come near me, talk to me, or have any contact whatsoever with me. If they try to, I am supposed to let Dad and Mom know. If my prarents are not around, I'm to tell a teacher, Mrs. Freeman, a police officer, or any adult I can find. I didn't bother to tell them that Jasper had already tried to establish contact with me for his older brother Bull.

When they were somewhat satisfied that I was adequately warned, I gave Mom `The Look' and thankfully she picked up on my subtle way of asking her to come change me so that I could go to bed. With a smile, she excused herself and escorted me back to my room. She'd tried to put her arm around me as we walked through the living room, but I stepped up my pace to get ahead of her. Actually, to get out of her reach would be more honest. Without any direction, I pulled off my robe and hung it over my headboard, then pulled down my soaked GoodNite and assumed the position on my bed.

"Oh you were wearing a Goodnites this evening?" she asked, as if she couldn't see that I obviously had been.

I was still feeling furious with her for having told Mike's Mom about what Tater and I had done together, and she must have picked up on that because she tried to get me to understand that she... "Was trying to help Mrs. Winston understand just how bad the situation really was with Tater."

The more Mom talked, the hotter my temper got. After a few minutes of futile effort to get me to understand her point of view or to even acknowledge that she was talking, she let the matter drop for the moment and finished diapering me in silence.

Without asking me if I wanted cloth or a disposable diaper, she'd put me into a cloth diaper and plastic pants, which in fact, was precisely what I wanted her to do! I figured that if I'm going to read a Teenbaby story that was written by a Teenbaby, I might as well look the part myself!

Mom also took a moment or two to inspect my new armor and only asked one question, "Do you get hot wearing this?" The only answer I offered back was to shake my head from side to side.

She left me sitting on the side of my bed wearing nothing but the diaper that was so big, it covered several inches of the front and back of my plastic armor, and puffed out all the way around me. As soon as Mom had left, and I was sure she was far enough way, I went and closed my bedroom door, and settled myself into the bottom of my darkened closet, and started reading Lowell's story again; this time by flashlight.


We got off the plane in Jerusalem around dinnertime; I knew the time because my stomach told me so. Father, on more than one occasion, has said, "If you can't follow your heart, then listen to your guts!" Right then, my guts were telling me to feed them. Father did not start for the camp right away like any good storybook archaeologist would have done, and I would have been surprised if he had. My father, Doctor Julius Browning, did not normally do what was expected of him. He figured if he did the expected, then someone could get a step ahead of him, and that could be dangerous for his health. Instead, we made a beeline for a small hotel and the room we had left behind only a few days before.

As the car pulled up in front of the hotel I felt as if we had come home again, even though home was really only a small bag I carried with me. We almost never stay in one place for every long. Father's job means he needed to be in ten places at once, and able to go anywhere on a moments notice. However, we've stayed at this hotel every time we have come to Jerusalem, so it's the closest thing to a real home that either of us knows.

Upon entering the front door, we walked into the middle of a small bar fight, which was nothing new for us. A fight usually broke out at least once or twice a week, and from a distance, it was sometimes good entertainment. Hardly ever did anyone get seriously hurt, and whenever that happened, I never was lucky enough to be around to see it. Father and I moved quickly along the wall to reach the stairs. I was right on my father's heals, and we were just about to reach the top of the stairs, when a bottle smashed on the wall right between the two of us, only missing my nose by a fraction of an inch. Father spun around, grabbed me by the front of my shirt, and pulled me up and away from danger so fast that I nearly came out of my shoes. He released my shirt and I fell to my feet on the old wooden floor with a bit of a thud.

I was tucking my shirt back into my pants, which were showing some sign of a small, wet spot on the front, as we entered our room. Father looked over his shoulder at me, and then gazed around the room. He spied a pile of mail on the small desk, which I knew had been left by the hotel owner. She was always looking out for father and me. I think she fancies father a bit, but he's not looked at a woman the way he used to look at Mom, since Mom died. Next to the mail was a silver tray in need of polishing, as well as a couple of glasses and three dust covered bottles. Just by looking I could tell they were all nearly empty, and remembered that Father had left them there the last time we were passing through.

"I tell you son, a glass of Gin and Tonic and a large stack of mail from the states; what more can a man ask for in Jerusalem on a hot night like this?" he said, while looking back at me over his shoulder.

I kicked the door closed with the back of my shoe, and pulled my hand out of my pants after finishing putting myself back together. "Except maybe a nice bath," I added, looking down at the dust that I had accumulated between the plane and our hotel room.

Turning toward me, he put his hands on his hips, smirked, and said, "Yeah, you wouldn't win any prizes that's for sure."

He didn't say anything about the noticeable dark spot on the front of my pants either, but then he hardly ever did. I just waved him off with the flick of my wrist as I made my way over, and slouched into a nearby chair. I pulled a comic book from my backpack, and disappeared into it while Father started to get himself a drink. He picked up the bottle, and found that it was indeed nearly empty, maybe only half a glass at best. He was just about to pour it into the glass, when there was a knock at the door.

He sighed heavily. "But of course it was too good to last." he said, replacing the stopper in the bottle and walking over to answer the door while mumbling under his breath with each step, "Go away, go away, go away!"

From beyond the door we heard, "Hey, Doctor! Doctor Browning, wake up!"

Just as father was reaching for the doorknob, we again heard, "Come-on, its Lillian Hassley!" and then more knocking. Father opened the door and was greeted by a small lady with a big, toothy smile that stretched from ear to ear.

"Hiya Doc!" the lady said, with a welcoming chuckle. I noticed right away that she didn't talk or look like a lady by any definition of the word, except that she had long hair, big green eyes, and a face so painted that it should have been on a canvas and hanging in a museum somewhere.

Father smiled back, reached out, took the ladies hand, and began to shake it vigorously, "Lillian how... well how are you?" Father pulled Miss Hassley into the room smiling.

"Come on in! What are you doing here?" Father asked, just as he noticed a bottle in Miss Hassley's hands.

"What have you got there?" father asked.

"Well I sure get around don't I!" Miss Hassley chuckled again, as she lifted the bottle, "This is Gin, or at least it was a bottle Gin earlier this afternoon. I think there are a couple more drinks left in it! Say, how are you?" she asked while waving the bottle at father.

Smiling again, Father said, "Well I... I'm fine! Come here -- sit down! You are the last one in the world..."

Miss Hassley interrupted him, "Here take this before I drop it." She handed the bottle to my father who took it gratefully.

Father picked up two glasses from the desk and poured them both a drink. "Well, here's to destiny!" Miss Hassley said as she took a big, gulping swallow. I thought she might tip over as she tilted her head back. It was obvious she'd been working on that bottle all by herself.

As if trying to quench a daylong thirst, father downed his as well before saying excitedly, "By golly, I am glad to see you Lillian!"

"I am glad to see you too! I have been lurking around here for three days waiting for you to come back!" Lillian said, downing another swallow before holding her glass out for father to refill.

"Hey Doc, you look skinnier!" she said.

Father chuckled, "Well you go out and dig holes for six months, and you will take off some of that fat too!" I couldn't believe that father was talking in such a manor to a woman, even if she looked more manish than any woman I'd ever seen. Aside from one other woman that we'd met while on a dig in Russia last year, I'd never before seen another woman wearing pants.

"What? Me fat?" Lillian laughed as she threw her head back and tossed here hair. "Go on! You're kidding!"

"Well, get your shirt changed and let's go see the town. I got some news for you!" Lillian stood up and motioned to the door.

"Sit down!" Father said jokingly, but with a note of seriousness too. "Come on! What are you doing here?" Father prodded her.

"Well ... business, Doc!" she replied.

"What sort of business?" Father continued his questioning.

"Officially? Newspaper business! Ya-know, what's cooking in the Middle East? That sort of thing." Lillian downed the last of her drink, sighed a satisfying thirst quenching sound, and asked, "Say, how do we get more of this hooch?"

"We'll go down to the bar in a minute. They're colder down there!" Father downed the last of his drink too before continuing his probing. "Now go on, go on, tell me about it!" Father was pushing her pretty hard for details, and something in the way she was acting told me she was apprehensive about giving up any information just then.


Just as I was really getting into the story, there was a knock at my closet door that nearly scared me out of my skin. I opened the door only a couple inches to see that it was Dad.

"You doing alright in there champ?" Dad asked.

"Yeah!" I said, and when I did my voice cracked and squeaked so high, that it sounded like glass breaking.

With a small chuckle, Dad asked, "You feeling alright too?"

Again, I nodded and said, "Ahummm!"

"You need changed before I turn in?" he asked, and it sounded weird hearing those words come out of his mouth. It had been many years since he had to ask me that.

Without thinking, I gave the front of my diaper a squeeze and then shook my head at him.

"Okay! I was just wanting to check on you is all! And don't stay up too late, you might want to finish whatever you're doing and think about getting to bed." Dad said, while smiling. Although I could tell that his smile wasn't entirely genuine.

This time I didn't bother to say anything. I only nodded my head to let him know I had heard and understood him. As soon as I was sure he was gone again, I re-closed my closet door so that I was sealed in and continued reading by flashlight.


"Well my boss called me in, told me to grab some cash and head east."

Lillian looked over at me for the first time since she had arrived, and I tried to act as if I didn't know she was looking my way. I feigned that I was still engrossed in my comic book, but really I had been listening to every single word they were saying, and I couldn't tell you anything about my comic book.

"Hey there kiddo!" She said with a salesman type smile that showed all her teeth again.

Oh, how I hate when people call me kid, boy, sport, or any form of the three. However, I was polite, as I know I should be, and looking over the top of my comic book, I smiled back.

"Hello ma'am!"

She turned back to my father continuing where she had left off, "Well, he needed a hot story, and I remembered our good-old-days back in Germany. You and me, nearly getting killed by those blood thirsty Krauts and well..." She paused for effect while looking into the bottom of her empty glass, "I heard you were around here ... so ... here I am, here you are, so lets go see some of this town, huh?"

"Well I'll be!" Father leaned back in his chair, shook his head while staring into his own empty glass, and said, "When did you get into town?"

"Day before yesterday." Lillian replied.

"Oh boy," father muttered.

"Yeah, the bridge is still up, the restaurant down on Fourth Street has food that's almost edible, and the burlesque is hot." Lillian uncomfortably looked over at me again, realizing she should have left that last part out for my sake.

Father laughed harder than I'd heard him laugh in a very long time. "You've not been to Jerusalem before have you?"

"Me? Not me." she chuckled, "Why?"

"Well if you had you wouldn't care about seeing it again." Father reached over and set his empty glass on the desk.

"Yeah? But the huh... the women." Lillian smirked in a slightly lower tone, which I knew was for my benefit. However it was a wasted gesture seeing how I was sitting only a few feet away from the two of them.

Though I was not really thinking about it to much, I was starting to think that Lillian was one of those types of women that does not fancy men all that much. If you get my meaning. I know I am not supposed to know about such things but when you get around as much as Father and I do, some of the less savory parts of humanity are bound to be observed.

"You had a good look at any of them?" Father asked.

"Me? Yeah have I!" Lillian perked up and smiled wildly.

Father smiled at her, stood up from his chair, walked over to the other side of the room, and pulled a small book from his bag. "So old friend, why don't you tell me why you are really here?"

Lillian's face turned serious as she met my father's gaze and then she pointed at me with her eyes.

I looked up from my comic again, which I think the both of them knew I was not really reading. Two pair of eyes were focused down on me.


It came out sounding a bit more disrespectful than I meant for it to and had this strange woman not been there I probably would have felt the sting of the back of fathers hand upside my head or possibly even his belt across my backside for it.

Father spoke in such a way as to let me know that I was treading on dangerous ground and yet he said it in a manner that I am sure Miss Hasley didn't catch onto.

"Jonas, I would like you to go to the other room, take that bath and leave us to talk."

I knew better than to attempt any kind of opposition, so I gathered my things and left the room without making a single peep. However, I didn't go to the bathroom or to the bedroom. When I was sure I was out of their sight, which I knew because theh had started talking again, I stopped and hid behind the door to listen. Lillian began to tell my father why she had really been waiting for us to return.

Lillian stood up from her chair, put a hand to her mouth as if she were trying to keep her words from finding there way to the room I was supposed to be in, and spoke softly.

"We found it." She had said.

"You found what?" father asked.

There was a moment of silence that charged the air with lip biting anticipation for me.

Sounding quite maddened she repeated herself while pausing between each word, "Julius -- we -- found -- IT!" with a robust prominence to the word, `IT'.

I was so keyed up at this point that I had no perception that my bladder had let loose a steam that was running down my leg and soaking my pants while standing there fit to burst with the moment. This also wasn't something unusual for me since I had a problem with wetting my pants whenever I get too excited, scared, or worked up. I also have a problem with wetting every time I go to sleep. It doesn't matter if I am asleep for fifteen minutes or an entire night, I always wake up wet. So having it happen this time wasn't anything new, which is probably why I didn't notice it right away.

Again there was a lengthy silence only disturbed by what I guessed were the footsteps of my father pacing across the room.

"What are you saying?" father's voice was queer but sounded very urgent, "You-you've got to be joking with me! Tell me you're joking!"

"This is no joke, Julius," Lillian reassured.

I heard footsteps again and I could not help myself, but to wonder what it might be that they had found? What could it be? My heart was racing like a train.

"Where?" There was distress in my fathers' voice now and when Lillian didn't answer right away father nearly bit her head off. "Damn it woman! Where is it?"

Lillian answered in a prideful tone that sounded as if she were in orgasmic ecstasy, "My dear Doctor Browning, it is right where you said it would be all along."

"My god!" father exclaimed, "I... I can't believe it!"

Still unaware of the situation in my pants, or the puddle that was steadily growing around my feet I hung on every word while still safely tucked away in my hiding place. However, when I shuffled my feet only then did I realize what I had done.

I whimpered to myself, "Oh no, not again!

There was nothing I could do about it at that moment. If I moved I would surely be heard, so I held my place and continued to listen to the mystery unfolding in the other room.

"Well you can believe it!" Lillian persisted, "We've actually found your Lost City!"

All other emotions now fled from my fathers' voice, leaving only an almost childlike giddiness, something I had never heard come out of him before.

"And is it, I mean, is HE there?" Father had asked.

I shifted my position as much as I dared as my now urine soaked pants were starting to chill against my skin.

"That is why I have been waiting for you." Lillian said.

"We have found the city, but we need you! We need you to show us where to dig now!" she sounded almost as if she were pleading; "Only you can show us where to find the burial shrine."

I again heard footsteps, this time coming closer to the door I was hiding behind and then I heard my father, who'd apparently regained control of his emotions, speak in his normal tone, "Let's take this downstairs. I really need that cold drink now."

I stood motionless hoping against hope that my father would not come through the door where I was hiding. I strained to hear anything and was startled when my father called out, "Jonas, we are going down for a cold drink at the bar. When you're done with your bath get yourself to bed, we'll have an early day tomorrow."

I had never heard my father talk to me like that; his voice was cold and commanding like he was ordering some lowly peasant.

I listened as the door opened, two pairs of shoes stuffed away and then the door close again.

Still standing in the puddle I had made, I looked down and viewed the considerable flood and the gleam off my wet shoes where my urine had washed away the dust from our journey. I swallowed hard against my still vigorously thumping heart that was firmly lodged in my throat. With a breathful sigh I rushed to the bathroom, pulled off my pants and underwear, grabbed a towel and rushed back to clean up the mess on the floor. I then retrieved my soaked pants and underwear from the bathroom floor; tossed them, the towel, and myself into the tub to wash off the urine and the crud from the journey all while replaying every word in my head over and over again.

After I was satisfied that my fingers were well pruned, I climbed from the tub and hung my pants over a chair in the bedroom to dry along with the towel. I had to put on my wet underwear, as they were the only pair I had since my father and I had to travel so light.

I sat on the edge of the bed and the springs under the mattress gave out a groan. I thought about what my father and Miss Hassley were talking about. I replayed the conversation over and over again in my mind until I drifted off to sleep.

I slept soundly until a very loud knocking at the door awakened me with a jolt. I flew off the bed not even noticing that I had wet it while I had slept. With a degree of difficulty I managed to pull on my now dried pants that were a stiff and had taken the form of the chair they had been hanging on to dry.

The pounding on the door was louder and someone was yelling on the other side of it in such broken English that I could scarcely make heads or tails of it.

As I raced for the door, I realized that I shouldn't open it. If father knew that I'd almost opened it, he would have whipped me right to the edge of death! I can't remember the number of times he's told me never to open a door to anyone but him. I raced back to the other room, opened my father's bag, and pulled out a small revolver. My heart was pounding within my chest as I ran back to the door and with my short fingers; I was able to cock the gun.

"Who is it?" I shouted at the door.

The banging stopped and what was unmistakably an Englishman now shouted from the other side of the door, "Open this door at once!"

I am not a stupid kid and there was no way I was going to open it. I just stood there holding and pointing the gun at the door. The barrel was shaking and weaving in my trembling hands.

The voice came again, more forceful this time, "OPEN THIS DOOR!"

I mustered as much bravery as I could and shouted back, "NO! GO AWAY! I HAVE A GUN!"

There was silence, then the sound of someone running away down the hall. For a moment, I thought I had scared away whoever it had been, but then I heard someone rushing back toward the door. There was a tremendous thud against the outside of the door; a groan and the knob began to wiggle and there was the sound of a key in the lock.

"I SAID GO AWAY!" I shouted again and without meaning for it to, the gun I was holding fired a single bullet into the door.

With absolute fright I dropped the gun to the floor. It hit with a thudding crash as I fell against the wall behind me knocking an oil lamp from the table to my right, which fell to the floor as well. In an instant, everything became engulfed in flames.

Panic rushed through my entire body but I managed to get to my feet and ran for the bedroom to climb out the window. I threw open the curtains to find that the window was bricked up. I screamed at the bricks as I pounded them with my fists, "Oh damn, no!"

I grabbed my few belongings stuffed them into my backpack, raced out to the other room and grabbed father's bag as well before returning to the bedroom. With my lungs now burning from the black smoke that was beginning to fill our small hotel apartment, I tried to cram Father's bag down into my small backpack.

Suddenly remembering the gun, and fearing fathers wrath if I let anything happen to it, I ran back to get it but as I stepped through the doorway I found the front room was totally engulfed in flames. I could hear shouts on the other side of the wall, but I could not make them out. I tried to shout back, but I choked on the smoke.

My eyes felt as if someone was stabbing them with a hot poker and the black smoke burned in my throat and lungs making it impossible for me to see or breath. Panic filled, I managed to stagger back to the bedroom, closed the door, grabbed my pack, and crouched down under the bricked up window.

Even close to the floor, the air was boiling and hard to breath. Every breath caused me to cough. The room steadily grew darker as the thick black smoke billowed in around the edges of the door eventually choking me to unconsciousness.

With great effort, I somehow managed to open my eyes again. Above me I could see the blurry image of what I knew must be the brilliant shining of one of God's angel hovering over me. After several blinks my vision cleared enough that I realized it was not a heavenly angel, but a nurse dressed all in white, as they always are. She was pretty enough to pass for an angel though and she was just finishing pinning a thick cloth diaper onto me. I was so groggy it didn't really register with me right away. I guess I thought it was a big bandage or something at first.

My blurry eyes met hers; she smiled and spoke, "Welcome back young master Browning. You gave us all a very big scare." Her voice was twice as sweet as she looked, almost as sweet as sugarcane.

I squeezed my eyes shut and then reopened them to clear away some of the haze from my vision. "W...w...whh...where am I?" I managed to stammer though my throat felt like I had been eating broken glass, razorblades, hot coals and had washed them down with a nice tall glass of boiling acid.

She smiled, place a finger over her lips and said, "Don't try to speak. You are safe and that is all you need to know for now. Please try to rest."

She pulled a brown blanket up from the foot of the bed that smelled of lilacs and antiseptic. She pulled it all the way up to my chin, and then tucked it all in around me, much the way Mother used to do when I was very young. Despite how much it hurt to do so, I managed to squeak out another question, "W...w...where's my father?"

The smile as well as the slight rose color that had flowered her cheeks suddenly left her face and she quickly turned away without answering my question.

I watched as the nurse left the room. I blinked and refocused my eyes again to see that I was in what looked to be a crude hospital or clinic. The walls were dingy beige, but appeared to be as clean as scrubbing could make them. The ceiling was the underside of the roof slats that held the roof tiles in place. On the wall to my right hung a small crucifix with a strip of purple cloth draped behind it. For a reason that totally escapes me, the purple clothe seemed to be totally out of place in such a place, although I'd seen very similar presentations in thousands of other places.

I lay looking at the purple cloth, trying to focus on it though my eyes were not cooperating like they used to. I lay there until through the doorway, I could hear muffled chatter that broke my concentration. I rolled my head back over so I could see the doorway again, and then in walked Lillian Hassley, the short woman that had come to see my father.

She did not look as happy and jovial as she had when I had first met her. She now looked grim, her left arm was in a sling, and she had a sizeable bloodstained bandage on her forehead over her left eyebrow. Hanging at her side, gripped in her right hand, was a brown, leather bag. I recognized it right away as my backpack, though it looked to have suffered from the black smoke much like I had.

I opened my mouth but didn't say anything as I was abruptly hit with the recollection of what had happened. Miss Hassley stepped closer to me, placed the bag on the wooden chair beside my bed, and almost as if my body knew before my brain did, it began to shake uncontrollably. She gently placed her free hand on the blanket over my stomach just above the diaper the nurse had pinned me into only moments before.


She looked at me, then the ceiling, and then back to me before she spoke, "The nurse told me you were awake." Her voice cracked, and she tried to smile in a futile attempt to disguise her emotions.

I started to open my mouth again, but stopped at the look in her eyes. I couldn't stand it, and averted my gaze down at my pack on the chair. The smell of smoke was quite definite, even from a couple of feet away.

She cleared her throat quietly; "You would not let go of it when I found you. I tried to pull it out of your arms, but I could not get it away from you."

I looked back to her, but tried to avoid looking directly into her eyes. She pulled from the pocket of her jacket that was draped over her shoulders, a small, worn, leather book. Seeing that book, my father's book, I still somehow managed to deny the truth to myself.

"Jonas... I am afraid I have bad news. Last night the hotel you were staying in caught fire and burned down." She looked at the ceiling again, apparently trying to regain her composure.

Taking in a breath and letting it out she continued, though I noticed that the hard mannishness I'd seen in her before was very much gone now, "Thank the gods I was able to find you and get you out before the whole place came crashing down."

I swallowed hard then spoke in very hushed and broken words, "Where...father?"

Lillian looked at me as if she were loosing the fight with her own emotions.

"Oh Jonas!" She spoke as if I were a five year old, "Some very bad men came into the bar last night looking for your father."

She paused for a second and gave the book she was still holding a squeeze, "They said they wanted something of your father's. Your father and I managed to fight them off and he ran back to your room to get you while I went to get my car, but he ... he didn't make it."

She sighed heavily and her voice changed to a quivering anger, "One of the men must have surprised him in the hall and shot him before he could get into the room."

I managed to arrive and get you both out before the whole place totally went up in flames, but I'm sorry I was too late to do anything for Doctor ... I, uh, mean your Father." She corrected herself, then held the book forward and placed it on the chair next to my pack.

My ears were buzzing with the sound of millions of angry hornets and I felt like I had the mass of the Great Pyramid trying to burst out of my chest. I wanted to scream, I wanted to lash out ... I wanted my father.


As I finished reading the first chapter of Lowell's story, I found myself sitting there in the bottom of my closet weeping softly for Jonas and gravely feeling his anguish as he yearned for his father to still be alive. As I sat the printed pages on my very wet diapered lap, I turned off my flashlight and wept silently there in the darkness of my closet while marveling at how Lowell was able to so easily grab my emotion and draw me into some fictional characters life. I leaned my head back against the closet wall, closed my eyes and eventually cried myself to sleep.