Growing Down

LeoLeo

Est. Contributor
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Role
  1. Diaper Lover
  2. Babyfur
  3. Diaperfur
Growing Down

Chapter 1

Daniel McCurdy wandered anxiously around the store during his break. When an elderly customer -- that he recognized -- wandered through his department looking for assistance, Daniel hastily retreated to the nearby service counter and pretended to be preoccupied. But once Daniel inadvertently locked eyes with him, the elderly gentleman slowly approached the counter with a toothy grin.

"I got another problem with my computer today," he said. "My wife is bringing it in so you can look at it. You're so good with these things!"

Daniel flashed his forced retail smile. "What seems to be the trouble today, Mack?"

"This morning, I received one of those 'popped up' things --"

"Pop-up ads," Daniel corrected.

"One of those, yeah. And the ad told me to download a program because I had viruses --"

"Which I removed on Tuesday."

"And if I didn't download it, my computer would be in bad shape."

"So you downloaded the program?"

"I downloaded the program."

"And now you have more viruses?"

"That's the gist of it," Mack said with a sigh. "I know you've been busy, but this shouldn't take long to fix. You have a couple of minutes to spare, don't you? I can wait."

Daniel bit his lip and shifted his eyes. His smile began to disappear. "Unfortunately I have a couple of other jobs in the queue, and I won't be able to look at your computer until tomorrow."

Mack slowly shook his head and exhaled exasperation. "Well, see, my grandson is here in town, and I wanted to show him some photos of his late father, which I had scanned onto the computer." He shrugged and threw his arms aside in surrender. "I'm disappointed."

"Sorry about that," Daniel said.

"And I'm sorry that you don't want to help us," Mack snapped.

Daniel snorted at the accusation. "It's not that I don't want to. It's just that we're unable to at the moment."

"No, no," Mack said, waving his hand dismissively. "I understand. I get it. We live up north and drove about an hour to come here. My wife and I thought you did a great job last time. We thought, 'Daniel can take care of this,' and we drove on down only to be turned away."

Daniel furrowed his eyebrows and clenched his jaw. "No, that's not -- so in the future, please give us a call to see if we're able to look at your computer."

Mack snapped, "I didn't ask for your suggestions. This is the present, not the future. I'm disappointed. I'd like to speak to the store manager."

Daniel briefly looked at a nearby wall clock. Almost five. He sighed in relief and spoke into his Bluetooth headset. "John, I have a customer that wants to speak with you at the TechStop Station."

Through his earpiece, the manager responded, "On my way."

"Our manager will be right with you," Daniel said. "His name is John, and he will be assisting you."

Daniel turned his back and headed to a nearby workstation to clock out of is shift. Mack looked over the counter and snarled. "Where do you think you're going?" he angrily asked Daniel.

"Home."

When he arrived home, Daniel tossed his car keys on the kitchen counter and stormed to his room. Daniel's roommate Woody was watching television and briefly peeked over the couch to see him zipping through. Woody raised his arm and attempted to wave, but he was too slow. Daniel was already gone. Woody heard Daniel's bedroom door slam and winced.

Suddenly, the door creaked open. Daniel bellowed, "Are you ready for drinks? I am."

Woody put on his jacket, which was laying on the coffee table in front of him. "Of course. Thought you'd never ask," Woody said, chuckling softly.

Around six in the evening, Daniel and Woody arrived at their favorite bar. Both of them waved at familiar patrons and the bartender before sitting down at their favorite booth. A waitress walked over and handed them drink menus. She asked them if they were interested in a food menu. Daniel nodded, smiled warmly at the waitress and thanked her.

"I noticed when you were talking to her, you were clenching your fist like this," Woody said, mimicking Daniel's open palm and fist clench.

Daniel laughed and nodded. "Well, you know. Retail."

Woody chuckled nervously. "Yeah, it's rough."

Daniel cleared his throat and played with a fork. "I mean, I'm busting my balls on these seven hour, eight hour shifts on slightly-higher-than-minimum wage. I feel like I'm not going anywhere. When I try to help, people don't appreciate it. When I finish a task, I don't feel accomplished. I feel robotic and jaded."

Woody stared into Daniel's eyes and patted his roommate on the shoulder. "You're a hard worker, man," he said in a lowered voice. "Look, you're turning lemons into lemonade. We're in a depressed job market. If there were more career opportunities for software engineers, you would take advantage of that. In my opinion, the best time to look for a job is when you're already employed. The money doesn't stop coming in. You keep collecting those paychecks."

"At the cost of my sanity," Daniel added.

"What's the 'sanity' you speak of?" Woody joked. "I think we're all crazy. Speaking of which, take a look at this guy, on your four o'clock. He just walked in wearing shortalls and a bib front. He's dressed like an adult toddler. Weird, but there you go."

Daniel noticed the man and studied him carefully. He was wearing jean shortalls with embroidered designs of construction trucks and the words "play zone." Grinning, the man walked with a subtle skip to his step. The server escorted him to a nearby table and seated him. The man's cell phone rang from one of his pockets. He reached for his phone and answered, "Hi mommy!"

Woody's facial expression soured. "Did he say 'mommy'?"

"I think he did."

"You think he's wearing a diaper too?" Woody asked.

"I don't know."

The conversation pivoted back to career prospects. Occasionally Daniel would tilt his head a bit and look at the grown man in shortalls. When Woody excused himself to use the restroom, Daniel slowly left his seat and walked over to where the man was sitting. His heart was beating fast.

"What am I going to say to him?" Daniel wondered.
 

LeoLeo

Est. Contributor
Messages
23
Role
  1. Diaper Lover
  2. Babyfur
  3. Diaperfur
Chapter 2

Daniel slowly walked over to where the man in shortalls was seated. He was intrigued, but he couldn't articulate why. Open questions swirled around in his mind. How come this adult is dressed like a toddler? How come he is acting infantile? How could he get away with it?

"That's an interesting outfit," Daniel remarked as he passed by the table.

The man looked up and smiled. "Thanks," he said.

Daniel put his hands in his pocket and cleared his throat. "Haven't seen you around here before. Are you from the area?" he asked.

"Yeah, I'm a local, but I don't hang out at bars obviously," the man replied, pinching the top of his shortalls. He drummed his fingers on the table for a moment and paused. Suddenly he extended his hand. "I'm Roger, what's your name?"

Daniel reached out and shook hands. "I'm Daniel. Nice to meet you."

Roger whispered to Daniel, "Can I call you Danny?"

"Sure, I mean -- that's what my parents called me when I was..."

"My age," Roger said, grinning.

Daniel's face turned red. "Yes, you can call me Danny."

When Roger was about to speak, Daniel saw Woody exiting the restroom. Daniel quickly rushed to his booth and sat down. By the time Woody returned, Roger was enjoying a glass of beer. Woody sat down and briefly adjusted his jacket.

Continuing the conversation he had with Daniel earlier, Woody said, "Daniel, you'll be alright. Retail does suck, but on the bright side, you're being productive. You're also chip for my portion of the rent while I'm between jobs, so cheers to that."

Daniel clinked glasses with Woody. "Cheers." He briefly looked over his shoulder to see Roger.

"Is he still over there?" Woody asked.

"It's not that, it's -- I was looking for the server to take our food order. You hungry?"

"Starving. Haven't eaten since breakfast."

After he finished eating a cheeseburger and fries, Daniel excused himself to use the restroom. There, he stood in front of the sink and stared at the mirror. Under the ceiling light, he noticed a barely visible wrinkle that was stretched across his forehead. He looked at his hands, which had dry, crackled palms and veins protruding from his knuckles. He looked at his receding hairline; his glossy, short brown hair started losing its luster. He splashed his face with cold water. After drying his face, Daniel reached into his pocket, pulled out a pen and a small piece of paper. He wrote down his phone number. When he left the restroom, he stealthily slipped his note to Roger as he walked past his table. He returned to his booth, paid the check and left, feeling confused and curious at the same time.

Later that night, Daniel sat up in bed and was browsing the Internet on his phone when he received a text from Roger. Roger squinted as he looked at the small screen and read Roger's message. He jerked his head back and mouthed the words "adult baby." He shook his head, turned off his phone, laid on his side and pulled his blanket over his shoulders. Sleep didn't come to him at first. He couldn't stop thinking about the "adult baby" concept. What did "adult baby" mean to him? Why was he intrigued by it? He looked up at the ceiling for a moment and closed his eyes.

As he tried drifting into sleep, his mind fluttered with loosely constructed thoughts. One thought featured him in a onesie as he sat in a high chair, waiting patiently for a motherly figure to feed him. Another thought featured him playing on the floor with an assortment of toys while his favorite, old cartoons played on TV nearby. He imagined going to the grocery store with a caretaker and stopping by the baby diaper aisle. In this scenario, the caretaker playfully swatted his crinkly behind and told him, "We're going to need to buy thicker diapers for you, Mister Leaky Pants." He could imagine his face turning bright red. These thoughts evoked a sly grin from Daniel as he laid in bed, his eyes now open; his heart beating in anticipation for something that continued to feel unnatural and unnecessary.

He reached for his phone to turn it on. He started browsing the Internet for anything he can learn about being an adult baby. He came across a variety of websites that showed men and woman dressed like infants and toddlers. Some wore colorful clothing to express their "little" side, including onesies, sissy clothes and footed pajamas. Many of them wore diapers, and many in the community readily appreciated that aspect. In fact, people were proud to wear diapers and even talked about the brands they liked to wear. He also browsed through message boards and read posts from people who talked about their experiences as "AB/DLs" (Adult Baby/Diaper Lovers). He read a post from a user who talked about a candid conversation she had with her therapist about wearing diapers, and how the therapist encouraged her to explore that interest.

In another post he read, a user credited his interest in AB/DL for successfully coping with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. The post reminded him of his childhood during a personally tumultuous period. When he was eight, Daniel lost his father to a brain aneurysm. At the time, Daniel tried to process his grief by vowing that he didn't want to grow up -- having associated death with getting older. In a morbid moment of clarity, his mother told him, "You will face these challenges in adulthood, but the best way to handle sadness like this is to keep moving forward." Though he ultimately heeded his mother's advice, Daniel refused to surrender his stuffed animals and childhood toys. He always wanted to remember what life was like during better times.

But there were difficult times. When he was bullied during junior high, Daniel occasionally wet the bed. Now raising two boys by herself, Daniel's mother cursed to herself as she took his soaked sheets to a nearby laundromat. She understood what Daniel was going through and was always compassionate toward him, but she would show her frustration once in a while. She once told Daniel that he should "probably be in diapers," and she told him in front of other people at the laundromat. Once she noticed that others heard her quip, she apologized to Daniel, who was thoroughly embarrassed by the ordeal. He realized that he resisted an opportunity to once again be that kid who never grew up -- who once enjoyed a simple life with simple needs. It's not like Daniel didn't want to revisit that side of him. He thought it was impossible to do so. Now it was possible.

As his memories faded into the night, Daniel went back to his text message conversation with Roger and asked to meet him for coffee. Roger replied, "Sure. How about my place?"
 
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