Tomorrow’s Agenda - Chapter 1
“What were the causes of the Second Depression?” The teacher asked, the cursor hovering on the board as she picked children to answer.
“The collapse of oil production?” Bryce offered.
“Yes, that was one cause.” Mrs. Ruthers acknowledged, pointing at Tracey.
“The disbanding of the European Union?”
“Yes, that was another one.” Mrs. Ruthers agreed, as the cursor wrote the points on the board as she pointed to Cynthia.
“The increase in United State unemployment?” she offered.
“That was an effect, not a cause.” Mrs. Ruthers replied without writing it on the board.
“Umm,” Dana piped up. “The declining world population?”
“Yes,” Mrs. Ruthers agreed reservedly, “that was an important one and, if you did your reading, the point we’re going over today. You should wait until you’re called on, Dana.”
Dana beamed at her correctness as she hid behind the blue-dyed hair that she used to cover her face. Giving the most important answer, even if Mrs. Ruthers had ignored her raising her hand, was good enough. She never got called on unless she wasn’t paying attention but, last night, she’d actually read the chapter to stave off utter boredom. As quietly as she could, she stretched her arms by interlacing her fingers, feeling her fingerless gloves between her palms.
Seventh-grade social studies wasn’t exactly rocket science but Dana was also pretty lazy. To bother to read the chapter was a rare event. She liked history when it mattered, just not the watered-down version the school textbooks presented. Cynthia glared at her from behind but Dana smiled obliviously to herself as the clock ticked by.
“Um, Mrs. Ruthers,” Katie said, raising her hand, “I think Laurel needs a change…”
All the heads in class turned, as discretely as they could, toward Laurel’s direction. The school’s newest member, enrolled for the 2092-2093 school year, stuck out like a sore thumb in a combined elementary-middle-high school with only one hundred and seventy-three students.
Today, Laurel was wearing a pink satin dress with white lace ruffled around it. The dress flowed outwards around her chair but, when she stood, barely covered the diaper the class had long since learned was an everyday part of her wardrobe.
Considering the juxtaposition between Laurel’s outlandish cutesy outfit and Dana’s retro-emo style, one might have assumed that the latter would hate the former. Contrarily, Dana was delighted to have someone else whose sense of style set them apart in this hick town. To her surprise, however, it hadn’t spread the teasing any. Dana was still the scapegoat of the school whereas Laurel was simply given a pass. It didn’t make Dana jealous, it just made her hate her classmates all the more. Even after two months of the school year, however, she hadn’t managed to say anything to the new girl.
“Nu-uh,” Laurel replied to Katie churlishly.
“You pooped, we can all smell it.” Katie said politely, albeit through gritted teeth.
“Laurel, come up here please.” Mrs. Ruthers replied, the tension thick in the classroom as Laurel waddled as daintily as she could to the front of the class. Mrs. Ruthers did a cursory check, pulling the back of the dress out of the way and checking down the back of the diaper before she pointed to the door. “Go have the nurse change you.”
“Yes, Mrs. Ruthers.” Laurel said cutely before waddling out of the room.
Not a word was said after she left. The class immediately returned to the lesson. The school had been well prepped on how to handle their first regressionist student; no one wanted to get sued after all. Dana just smiled further, happy to see Laurel hand it to the assholes that made up her town– even if she only had a vague idea of how Laurel had managed to do it.
“Can I go to the restroom?” Dana asked, shooting her hand up.
“Ms. Merkel, you can wait for lunch. It’s only ten minutes away.” Mrs. Ruthers replied haughtily. Dana’s bladder twinged weakly as Dana took in a breath. Ten minutes wasn’t a huge deal but it pissed her off that Mrs. Ruthers was making her wait. She should just piss herself right here… but she didn’t want to take the heat for that. She was still getting mocked for having wet herself during a bullying incident last year. Laurel was lucky she didn’t have to put up with Mrs. Ruther’s shit in this instance at least.
Released for lunch, Dana hustled towards the bathroom, now a little more desperate since Mrs. Ruthers had made her stay behind to talk to her about speaking out of turn in class. The bitch drew it out just to make me uncomfortable, Dana thought darkly.
Dana’s need was strong enough that she was completely blindsided when Cynthia shoved her up against the wall. The act itself was nothing out of the ordinary, but Dana hated how her bladder flinched at the surprise, she felt a small spurt of piss leak onto her panties– not enough to bleed through to her pants but still embarrassing.
“I wonder if I can make you piss your pants again, fucking smart ass,” Cynthia said menacingly as she stared up at Dana. Dana noticed the twins were flanking her on either side. Cynthia held an air of untouchable superiority as she smirked at the Dana, who was being held on her tiptoes.
Dana felt her bladder twinge again, a normal reaction for her to these stressful situations. Particularly one situation that Cynthia liked to remind her about at every opportunity. Having to call home for a change of pants had been utterly humiliating and Cynthia hadn’t even got detention.
Dana used her free hand to adjust her glasses, covertly setting them to record, and to brush her hair out of her eyes. She knew she wasn’t going to free herself by struggling anyway. She looked down at the dirt, and hoped Cynthia would get tired of bullying her before she got desperate or scared enough to start crying.
“She’d probably piss herself even if you didn’t make her,” Helen said from Cynthia’s right.
“Yeah, your cousin told us you wet the bed,” Heather snickered from Cynthia’s left. “You should just wear diapers…”
“What’s wrong with diapers?” A voice butted in. The girls looked to the right, only to see the Laurel standing there, tilting her head as if in thought. Helen started to say something but Cynthia immediately tapped her with her arm.
“Oh, I just remembered, we need to talk about our sleepover,” Cynthia suggested. The twins nodded in agreement as the three walked away as if their conversation had been nothing but casual.
Dana couldn’t help but suddenly think of Laurel as her savior. She’d never actually talked with the new girl. It was rare to get a new student in their rural town but, for whatever reason, Laurel and her family had moved to their town of 1,034 nestled in the Colorado mountains. The school only had one-hundred and seventy-three kids, from kindergarten to eighth grade, so a transfer stuck out like a sore thumb.
This sticking-out was especially so when the transfer was cute, and Laurel was. Her long, blonde hair and girly dresses was very different from the more rough-and-tumble way most of the kids up here dressed. After all, a dress with lacey stuff was bound to get ruined running down by the creek.
And, blending in was completely impossible for a transfer student that wore diapers. One would expect a kid to hide it but Laurel had announced at her introduction that she was a “regressionist” and what that meant.
Watching a fellow seventh-grader run around with a pacifier and stuffed animal was weird. Watching her run around, occasionally, in dresses so short they barely covered her diaper was even more shocking. I mean, who wouldn’t be aghast at an eleven-year-old raising her hand to tell the teacher she “made poopies.”
At least, that’s what Dana figured the majority of the class was thinking. But, even if they were thinking it, Dana was amazed that Laurel wasn’t bullied. If anything, the bullying had gotten worse on her after Laurel came. She had been sure Laurel would be the new target but Mrs. Ruthers had emphatically told the class that any sort of teasing of Laurel would be punished swiftly and harshly. So, instead, Laurel had just been quietly and politely ostracized by everyone and had turned their bullying back to Dana as a familiar target.
Despite all that, only one week into the new year and Laurel’s transfer-student debut, the enigmatic “regressionist” had deemed fit to interject herself into Dana’s unpleasant situation. Dana was grateful. She’d always found Laurel’s quirks ranging from interesting to enviable, unlike what she supposed most of her classmates felt about it.
“Thanks,” Dana mumbled, her shoulder still throbbing where Cynthia’s hand had been pressing her to the wall.
“Even if it’s true,” Laurel mentioned politely, “wetting the bed isn’t anything to be ashamed about.”
“I guess… my stupid cousin sucks,” Dana replied sadly.
“I noticed the kids kinda pick on you a bit,” Laurel said apologetically, “you wanna be friends? Maybe they’ll leave you alone if you’re with me, besides, I don’t have any friends yet.”
“Really?” Dana asked.
“Yeah, you seem nice.” Laurel replied decisively, offering her hand which Dana shook happily, for a moment, before quickly dropping it and making haste to the restroom. Luckily, Laurel understood the issue and simply waiting patiently outside for her.
Lunch had just started so the two wandered around the yard, talking about their favorite books— which had several in common, and they’re favorite T.V. shows. Dana felt relieved. She hadn’t had a fun lunch with someone else in a couple of years. Being the school’s most unpopular girl sucked. As the bell rang, Dana couldn’t feel anything but disappointed, especially since their desks were on opposite sides of the room.
“You wanna come over to my house after school?” Laurel asked, “we could do our homework together and play until dinner… or something.”
“Really! Yes,” Dana agreed readily. Her mom didn’t get home from the city until 6:00PM anyway. The rest of her afternoon was spent in intense anticipation, such that her volume of homework was larger than she would’ve liked.
Laurel’s car was waiting when classes got out. Dana’s dad worked so far out of town that the gas was too expensive to send the car to take her home; she was used to walking home. Laurel clicked the fob and the side door opened, Laurel and Dana climbing in. Laurel worked herself into an oversized version of a child seat, the clasps coming down firmly once she sat down.
“The car’s set not to go until I’m strapped in,” Laurel said, a bit sheepishly, as Dana sat across from her unrestrained. “It’s an old model but it still runs pretty good.”
“Do your parents let you have access?” Dana asked.
“Pre-programmed only,” Laurel replied, shrugging. “I can go to the mall on weekends or to the store but, you know, it’s kinda hard going too far from home anyway.”
“Why?” Dana asked, not comprehending.
“Well, I mean, who’s going to change my diapers?” Laurel posed, “I can wear a doubler and get a few hours but if I do poopies I pretty much have to go home. It’s not like back on the coast where big places were regressionist-friendly. There’s no changing stations even at the mall.”
“Wow, I never thought about that. That must be kinda hard?” Dana asked, amazed at how casually Laurel could talk about something so weird.
“It’s worth it,” Laurel replied, smoothing her dress, “before I got treatment I was anxious all the time. Now, like this, everyday is fun, even if people in the backwoods think it’s weird and I have to worry about having a minder around.”
Dana felt the sting of having her hometown referred to as the “backwoods.” Oddly, she often felt the same way about the hicks that mistreated her but, somehow, it stung when she felt Laurel probably included her in the idea of this “backwoods” place.
“Oh, I didn’t mean you!” Laurel said, waving her arms quickly. Dana had frowned without even realizing it. “I just, you know, everyone else ignores me; you’re different. I… I’m really lonely here.”
“Me too.” Dana said quietly, “no one is really my friend either…”
“I’m sorry,” Laurel said, “why don’t you have any… I mean… nevermind.”
“No, it’s okay,” Dana said, “my… um, my dad kinda fucked the town.”
“And he still wanted to live here?”
“No, he ditched out. My mom’s the one who won’t leave. Our family’s been here ten generations and all that shit.”
“I’m sorry if I shouldn’t have asked…”
“No, it’s okay,” Dana replied sourly, “I guess it’s better than having them hate me for me, right?”
“That’s true,” Laurel replied with a little laugh. The girls smiled to each other.
Laurel’s house was a brand-name building on the edge of town. It had all the modern amenities– live glass, smart lawn, and even mood-texturing on the walls. Dana looked around in awe at the sort of tech that was generally reserved for upscale urban dwellings. A few of the richer family’s houses, her grandpa’s included, had installed live glass in one wall but the rest was stuff she only heard about from ads on the net.Dana clicked the camera feature on her glasses and snapped a few pics. It was just so impressive that she wanted to remember it.
“Hi hon… oh, who’s this?” A man asked as he walked into the hall, wiping his hands with a cloth.
“My new friend, her name’s Dana.” Laurel said, grabbing Dana’s hand.
Dana blushed as the man looked her over. Suddenly, she wished she dressed more non-descript. Her all-black, skin tight attire and short blue-dyed hair probably didn’t give a good impression, especially with his daughter looking so naive and wholesome.
“Retro-emo, Chicago-style,” The man replied, appraisingly. “I like it. Good sense of style, kid.”
“T-Thanks?” Dana added, blushing now for a different reason. No one in this town even knew what style she was going for. Half of them thought she was trying to be a “Darker,” as if that had been in style within the last decade.
“Seriously, I’m glad you’re getting to know Laurel,” The man added, offering his hand “I’m Laurel’s dad, Mike, nice to meet you.”
“I’m Dana, nice to meet you Mike,” Dana said shaking it.
“Daddy, I’m totally wet.” Laurel interjected, grabbing her father’s hand. “I haven’t been changed since lunch.”
“Okay, okay,” He said patronizingly, “let’s get you changed and then maybe you can do your homework with your friend?”
“Okay.” Laurel agreed, running off down the hall.
“Give us just a sec,” Mike asked apologetically. “I don’t want her getting a rash.”
Laurel looked over to the wall as it formed a pleasing pattern, passing the time in her head as she waited for her friend to return.