Chapter 1 -- Song of Mourning
"Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap," went her capped pen-back against the notebook.
Some 1970s music played over the speakers in the Tumbleweeds coffeeshop. It was nice, comforting, music -- even though the guy was apparently singing about how tonight there was going to be a jailbreak.
She looked over to the shelf to her right. There were some jars of homemade jellies and honeys and other stuff. She thought she might buy some to bring home to her wife. It always felt so cute to bring something home to her wife.
Her wife was a real snoozer these days. Nowadays, her wife loved to sleep in whenever she could. And it made her happy. There were times, only recently, when her wife hadn't been able to sleep at all -- ever. It had gotten so scary. At one point she thought she was actually going to lose her wife. But now she was much healthier and happier. And a real snoozer. Thank god.
It was Monday morning here in Marfa, Texas. Monday and Tuesday were the laziest days in the town. It used to be that nothing was open here on Mondays and Tuesdays, in this town in the middle of nowhere, just a little way north of Mexico and right on the edge of two times zones. Now there were places where the tourists could go -- where the locals would go, too -- places that were open all seven days of the week. But when she and her wife moved here about a year ago, it was still sleepy, little Marfa.
She looked down to her notebook page. "It all started with skateboards."
But had it really started with skateboards? The first time she'd met all her old friends, they'd been on skateboards. But where did it really start?
"It all started with bikinis. And a diaper."
That made her giggle a little bit. But that was how it had started. And that's the story most people would be concerned with, anyway.
Or would it? How long had it been since that book had come out? Three years!
She put down her pen. Four years since she left us. Three years since the book was published. It was a firestorm at that time -- one of the things that tipped her wife over the edge and put her in a really bad place for... well... eighteen months. And, sure, it was still traumatic for her. And it was still traumatic for her wife.
But was it traumatic for the rest of the world? No. Maybe for the big fans it had been traumatic. But it had probably been much more traumatic when the group had broken up altogether. Everything that had gone on after that, with the three girls, and one of them leaving... that was more like light entertainment for the world. And nowadays it was most likely long forgotten.
She put her pen down. So... why try to write about it?
This was her dilemma. She always wanted to write what she saw as the truth in the breakup. Partly to make herself feel better. But also partly to make her wife feel better. But wasn't this something that would only make her wife feel sad all over again?
She sighed. She felt guilty. What was her wife always telling her? "If you want to be a writer, write! I know you have plenty of fantastic, fun, magical stories in you. So don't be afraid! Just write them!"
But sometimes when she sat down, all she could think of was writing a story about the breakup. It had hurt her so much she couldn't see straight. Well... she was a total lezbo. So she really could never see straight. Thank god.
She looked up again. She thought to herself, Just do what your Big Sis Mommy Wifey tells you and try and write a magical story.
She tried her best to imagine a good, magical story. But instead all she did was -- potty in her diaper! She could feel the potty filling up her diaper and creating an uncomfortable bulge in her tight jeans.
Well, she thought, maybe I should go home and change. Or... she thought, maybe I should just potty some more and try to leak my diapers, so I make a wet mark on my light jeans! The thought sounded fun to her. But she supposed she'd better get back home to her Big Sis Mommy Wifey. Maybe Mommy would change her.
She went to the shelves and grabbed some honey. She could feel -- and hear! -- her bulging, wet diaper crinkling and sloshing as she walked. She wondered if the other customer and the barista could hear it as well. That would be fun.
She put the honey down on the counter. The barista, Kyle, said, "And the usual for the wifey, too?"
"Yes, please. How are the photos coming?"
"Oh, good." Kyle's eyes lit up as he made the four-shot cappuccino for her wife. "My girlfriend and I took a road trip a few days ago and did a great hike. I'm working on those images now. They're so beautiful.
"Here." Kyle handed her his phone. "Take a look. I mean, you probably need to see the prints. These are just on the phone, but..."
She giggled a little bit -- and pottied her diaper a little bit more. She was so flattered someone would be so excited to show her their work!
The photos were really beautiful. She said, "Oh. I think -- the last time we were talking, you were talking about that new filter, right?"
"Yeah," Kyle giggled.
"Yeah. I can definitely see how you've been playing with it. You're capturing some really nice shadows and colors here. Your older works were definitely very direct and emotional. But this is really taking a next step. It's exciting."
Kyle was grinning from ear to ear as handed her the drink. "Thank you so much. You have such a good eye. And you always know the right thing to say. Your instincts are always so... right on. You always have such helpful things to say. But you also say them, almost like..."
She could tell Kyle was hesitating. She completed his sentence, "... like a child?"
She giggled again. "Don't worry about it. I'm childlike, even though -- whew! -- time flies, and I also feel like I'm getting old quicker than I imagined. But... my naivete has always been my selling point... even though it's also always been my weakness."
Whatever she'd said had sort of stunned Kyle and put him into a little bit of a state of awe. She'd become such good friends with Kyle over the past few months that she'd forgotten he was also... a little bit of a fanboy for her. He was probably storing away another quote for his memories.
Kyle broke out of his daze and said, "Uh... well, anyway, you and the wifey are welcome over at my and Carrie's house anytime. I'd love to show you my prints."
"Okay! Maybe the four of us could do dinner this week!"
"Yeah! Carrie and I have this new vegan recipe we want to try, anyway. So the two of you can be our guinea pigs."
"Oh..." she said, sounding a little flustered. "Lucky us..."
She and Kyle laughed. She walked to the door and gave Kyle a cute, babyish wave, "Bye-bye, Kylie Why-oh-tee!"
As soon as Shanny got outside, she grabbed her phone. But she tried a couple of her apps and couldn't pull anything up. "Thank god," she said.
One really nice thing about Marfa was that cell phone service was terrible. In fact, it was nonexistent in most places. That was actually one big reason Shannon and her wife had moved here.
Shanny kept wanting to pull out her phone to read the latest news. Phones. The internet. Social media. The handheld devices were sort of a worldwide collective addiction nowadays -- even more so, now that all the craziness was going on with the presidential elections.
Shanny thought, President Westlake. It's possible. And who would've thought? People still don't think it's possible.
Ron Westlake. How crazy. The eccentric but (for Shan-Chan, anyway) kind-hearted man who had helped her old crew, Em = Cosplay Squared, get started up all those years ago. It was hard for Shanny to believe that it was now six years since she'd first gotten involved with the internet cosplay group. And Ron "the Ronald" Westlake had backed their efforts. And now, would he be president?
Shanny wanted to be happy about it. But she was kind of torn. Westlake was a good businessman. But his eccentricities had, on the campaign trail, turned into some really questionable attitudes and sentiments. Sometimes Shanny wondered what happened to the guy who'd accepted Shanny and her friends for who they were. What happened to the fatherly weirdo who would shout out, "You're outta here!" on his reality show?
Shan-Chan wanted to believe in her old friend. After all, after Em = Cosplay Squared had broken up in 2012, while so many of her old friends had stopped talking with her, Westlake would still call her and her two wives (at that time) on a regular basis, making sure in his own odd, gruff, exasperating way that the three of them were alright. And when it became clear, after the breakup of the three girls, that Shanny's wife was absolutely not alright, Westlake was one of the first people to offer Shanny his help.
But -- right around the time Shanny's wife started to turn the corner and get better again, right around the time Westlake's campaign really got going, Westlake stopped talking with Shanny. And that's when he started saying all his really weird stuff out on the campaign trail.
But if you read social media, everybody was terrible. It wasn't just Westlake. It was also the two other big presidential candidates: Guthrie and Collins. Shanny felt like she was more of a Guthrie girl, though she'd also like to see Collins in office, because then America would have its first woman president.
But she also wanted to believe in her old friend Westlake. And for a while, she'd feel like she could. But every time she got to check her social media and read the news, it would be like scratching a healing wound until it cracked open and bled again. She'd read something new the news was saying about Westlake and just feel horrible. Was it true? Was it false?
Shannon had to snap herself out of this weird reverie. Enjoy the peace and quiet!, she reminded herself. She walked a few blocks in silence, feeling the cool, dry desert morning air against her skin, and the soggy part of her diaper scrunching up in the crotch and bottom of her tight jeans.
She came up to the small, anonymous house she and her wife had gotten about a year ago. She'd left the front door unlocked when she'd left -- this was just one of those places where you could do that. So she sat the honey on the brick sill under the porch light and reached for the door knob.
That's when she heard --
A guitar playing!
And a voice singing!
Tears welled up in Shan-Chan's eyes. Her heart started pounding with happiness.
Her voice quivering and choking with tears, Shanny whispered, "Oh! My oh-nee-chan! My oh-nee-chan! Skullrose is writing a song again!"
As quickly but as quietly as she could, Shannon opened the door and scuttled into the house. She walked down the hallway. She stopped just outside the bedroom she and Skully had turned into a working space but hadn't used very much.
Skully was playing an acoustic guitar. It sounded like she was picking something out and strumming out whatever came to her mind, more than working out something that was somewhat formed already. But it was so uplifting to Shanny that Skully was working on anything at all! Skully sang:
"Some people say you can't change.
But life is change.
We're always changin'.
Some say you can't change another.
But brother, my lover
Changed me for the better."
Shannon felt such a strong love for her wife in that instant. She felt so lucky to be with Skullrose.
Skullrose stopped playing altogether. Then after a second or two, she started singing:
"Come on in here, Little Baby.
I smell the coffee.
And I bet your diaper
Is full of potty."
Ever since Shan-Chan first met her, Skullrose had the power to make Shanny feel so babyish. And she did it again, just like that!
Shanny giggled in a really girly way and clomped into the room, her soggy diaper crinkling and scrunching. She said in a babyish way, "That's not how the song went!"
Skullrose gave Shanny a dashing smile that made Shanny get a different kind of wet between her legs. She waved Shanny forward. Shanny walked on legs that were wobbly with erotic anticipation.
Skullrose said, "Don't you know I wrote the song, so I can make it go however I want?" She took the coffee from Shan-Chan and took a sip. She said, "And besides, I'm the Mommy. So what I say, goes. And what I sing, goes. Right, Baby?"
Skullrose started rubbing Shan-Chan's diapered crotch. Shan-Chan gasped a bit.
"Hush, Little Baby,
And lay down.
Mommy's gonna change
Your diaper now."
Shan-Chan did like her Big Sis Mommy Wife said and lay down on the floor. But she then said, "Mommy? Could we change in the nursery instead?"
Skullrose said, "Okay. We haven't really used that room together much, have we?"
Shan-Chan shook her head. "It's a good time to start!"
Skullrose laughed gently and said, "That's right, Baby. So let's go to the nursery."
Shan-Chan flipped around onto all fours and started crawling into the nursery. Skullrose bent down and patted Shanny's saggy bottom. "My goodness, Baby! How much did you potty?"
"Well, you are a good baby!"
Now Shan-Chan felt like such a baby. She didn't want to be wearing her adult clothes at all anymore.
Then Shanny remembered. She said, "Oh, honey!"
"No. The honey! I left the honey I bought at Tumbleweeds outside."
"Oh, well, I'll go get it, Baby. You just get into the nursery."
Shanny crawled into the nursery. It was so pink and babyish and girly. And Shanny had played here a lot by herself. And Skully had played here a couple of times with Shanny. But not as much as they could have. But now it seemed like Skully really was getting better! Maybe they'd be playing Mommy and Baby a lot more nowadays!
Shanny took off her tight jeans and her cute tank top. She didn't want that adult stuff on her body anymore. She wanted to be a baby! But she kept her bra on, because it made her feel like a sexy baby. Shanny crawled up onto the changing table and waited for her Big Sis Mommy.
Skully said, "My, look how full of potty that diaper is! It must really have expanded when you took off those tiny jeans!"
Shanny said, "Yeah! It was already bulging! But then it was like, Whoosh! And it got even bigger! All with my potty!"
Skully said, "Well, my Baby really knows how to potty in her diapers. She's so smart."
"Am I a smart potty baby, Mommy?"
"You sure are a smart potty baby, Baby. But now we're going to take off your dirty diaper and put you in a nice, fluffy, fresh one so you can start being a smart potty baby all over again!"
Skully untaped Shanny's diaper straps. Shanny gasped with arousal. It felt so good to have her Big Sis Mommy Skullrose caring for her.
Skullrose said, "Look at that pretty crotch of yours, Baby. I love your sexy body so much."
It made Shanny all warm and gooey inside to hear Skully say that. Then Skully gave Shanny a mischievous look. It made Shanny wet with anticipation. But it also gave her some nervous butterflies.
Skully said, "But I wonder." She picked up the jar of honey again. She unscrewed the lid. She dipped her finger into the honey and sucked her finger, slowly and erotically. It made Shanny want Skully to suck her.
Skully said, "Mm.... Honey tastes so good."
She dipped her finger into the honey again and this time stuck her finger into Shanny's mouth. Shanny sucked the honey off Skully's finger slowly and softly, but hungrily.
Skully said, "Oh, Baby. You're so good at sucking honey."
"I like to suck, Mommy!"
"Did you think it was yummy?"
"Yeah. Honey's yummy. I bet it makes anything yummy. In fact. I wonder what honey tastes like with potty?"
"Like lemon tea?"
Skully giggled. "Maybe so, Baby. But there's only one way to find out. I'm going to taste some of this honey with some of your potty."
Shanny was so happy! But she stayed in her babyish mindset and asked, "How?"
"Like this." Skully dipped three fingers deep into the honey and pulled them out. The honey was gooey and glistening.
Skully rubbed the honey up and down Shanny's crotch, and even went inside Shanny with the honey. It all felt so good to Shanny!
Skully said, "Bon Appetit!" and put her tongue to Shanny's crotch. She licked and licked all the honey and potty off of Shan-Chan's crotch. Shan-Chan moaned in happiness and squirmed and writhed her hips around. Then Skully found Shanny's little special spot and licked it back and forth quickly and started sucking on it. She licked and sucked Shanny until Shanny came, screaming in ecstasy.
Shanny propped up on her elbows. She looked at her Mommy's gooey, happy face. She said, "That felt like it was delicious, Mommy!"
Skully said, "It was, Baby. You have some of the best tasting potty ever."
Shanny said, "I wanna try tasting you!"
Skully said, "Okay. Well... Lay out some stuff on the floor. You can lick me right here in the nursery."
Shanny laid out a plastic bed cover on the floor while Skullrose stripped naked. Skully lay down. Shanny spread the honey over Skully and licked it off, then licked and licked Skully until she came.
Shanny asked her Big Sis Mommy Wifey, "Did that feel nice?"
"Yes, Baby. Was it delicious?"
"Yes, Mommy. But I don't know what was sweeter, the honey, or you!"
The girls cuddled on the floor for a bit, then got up and took a shower. Shanny decided she wanted to dress a bit more girly and babyish for the whole day, with a tiny, bright pink dress with a tiny skirt that got sinfully close to showing off her diaper to the world.
While Skullrose was putting Shan-Chan's hair in some cute, girly bows, Shan-Chan said, "Oh-nee-chan?"
"Were you happy that you were playing music today?"
"Yes, Baby. Once I... got... sick... I thought I'd never play music again. It just spontaneously came to me today. I woke up and felt like I could play again. It was like a ray of sunshine in my life."
"It was like a ray of sunshine in my life, too!"
Skullrose giggled and snuggled with Shan-Chan. "Mmm-hm-hm. You are like a ray of sunshine in my life, Baby."
Shannon threw her arms around Skullrose's neck and kissed Skullrose passionately.
Shannon was really feeling Babyish. So she and Skullrose snuggled on the couch and watched a Barbie DVD. But then they decided to celebrate the special day, the day that Skullrose started playing music again, and go to the Hotel St. George for a nice, fancy dinner.
Shannon loved going out in public when she felt so babyish. And she hadn't really had a chance to go out like this in a long time. So it felt even more special. But she didn't want to act too babyish. Just a little bit. She was happy being out with her hair in bows and wearing a short dress that almost, but not quite, showed off her diaper.
The restaurant was almost empty. It was mostly locals, and a few tourists.
Shannon said, "I'm not like Garfield. I love Mondays. Because they're the quietest days in town."
Skullrose pulled out a chair for Shannon. Shannon said her diaper-padded bottom in the chair and let Skully scooch her up to the table. It felt so cute.
Skullrose sat down. Shannon thought, Even the way my Big Sis Mommy sits in a chair is dashing! She's such a heartbreaker!
Skullrose said, "I like Mondays, too. I like Marfa. It's so cool to be part of this crazy, little town that, thanks to Donald Judd and the Chinati Foundation, becomes a huge global hub for art a few times a year and a constant art resort town on the weekends. But it sure is nice when Monday and Tuesday roll around and the town becomes just a sleepy, little town in the middle of nowhere again."
Shannon lifted her hand into the air. "All the rich people and movie stars take their private jets in..." She landed her hand on the tabletop. She lifted it up again. "... and they take their private jets out."
From a nearby table, a white-haired, white-mustached man wearing a black blazer and a cream-colored cowboy hat asked the girls, "Well, you gals are movie stars, ain't cha? But you don't take a private jet in and out."
Skullrose said, "Well, we aren't really movie stars. We're internet stars."
The man said, "Is there a difference nowadays?"
Skullrose said, "It's been a while since we've been stars. There was still a difference when we were really stars."
Shanny said, "Besides, Shep! You know we can't leave this place! We love it here!"
Shep laughed at Shanny's cuteness. "Yep. And we love having you girls here. And for such a town, there's always interesting stuff to do. So even cute girls like you can't be bored."
Shanny bluntly shouted, "We're never bored when we're together!"
Shep laughed loudly and said, "Well, yep, yep, I reckon that's true."
Shannon blushed with embarrassment, realizing what she'd said. Skullrose and Shep laughed.
Then Shannon's phone started ringing. "That's weird. My phone can't ever pick up anything here."
Shannon looked at her phone. She said, "Now, this is... really weird."
She answered the phone. "Hello... Kensuke?"
Skullrose's face grew solemn. "Kensuke?"
Shannon nodded. It was Kensuke, the leader of Shannon's and Skullrose's old internet show, Em = Cosplay Squared. But he hadn't spoken with Shannon or Skullrose in years. Why was he calling now?
Kensuke said, "I'm really sorry to bother you, Shan-Chan. Do you have a second?"
Shannon said, "I'm just waiting for dinner with Skullrose. But my phone might go out. We're in the middle of the desert."
Kensuke said, "Oh. I see. So... My call might be useless. That is... if you're kind of out of reach."
Shannon asked, "Do you... need something?" She couldn't imagine that Kensuke would need anything. His wealth had made it possible to run Em = Cosplay Squared until Westlake had started backing it. And after the cosplay group, Kensuke started a new media company that sold two years later for an ungodly amount of money. But maybe it was emotional trouble. God knows Kensuke was never good with emotions.
Kensuke said, "I guess... yes. I guess... I need something... because... Sasori needs something."
"Sasori?" Shannon asked. Hearing her old teammates name brought a mix of happiness and apprehension to her heart. Sasori was warm and human and good. But she was also really tough and kind of scary to Shan-Chan sometimes.
Shannon asked, "Did Sasori and Saj break up?"
Kensuke said, "No. I guess... That's the thing. It's Saj, really. But he still won't talk with me. Not after what I said about him and Westlake doing business together. But... Saj had a cousin, a little cousin, who'd just turned twenty-one... And..."
"You're not talking about Isaiah, are you?"
"Have you met?"
"No. But I've seen pictures. He's a cute boy! Saj loves him a lot."
"Well... yes. That's the thing. Is that... Isaiah was... he... he passed away."
"It's terrible. It really is. But... see... it's really traumatic for the family. For Saj and all of his family. You see, he... Isaiah... was shot, right on his twenty-first birthday..."
"Oh my god..."
"By a pol..."
Shannon couldn't let herself hear the rest. She just didn't want to admit it. You hear about this kind of thing happening all the time. But it's not supposed to happen to someone you know, is it? It's impossible. It can't happen to someone close to you, or close to someone in your life.
Shannon just didn't know what to say. Skullrose asked Shannon what was going on. Shannon couldn't speak. She just started crying. She handed Skullrose the phone. Shep pulled up a chair and embraced and comforted Shannon.
Skullrose said, "Well, yes. We'll be happy to be there to support Saj. He's basically a part of Em = Cosplay Squared. He basically saved us when Knifebones and her henchmen were trying to ruin us. And we all love him. Besides, he and Sasori are married nowadays. Of course. He's like family. St. Louis? Yes. We can make arrangements."
Shep said, "As quickly as you need, girls. As quickly as you need."
Skullrose smiled at Shep. She said to Kensuke, "Yes. It will be nice to see you again, too." She slightly chuckled and said, "Yes, under better conditions. I wish that, too. I will be nice to see everybody again. Everybody who can make it. It will be nice to support Saj. It's just... it's just..."
Shannon said, "It's just impossible to believe that people can be so cruel!" She started crying again.
Skullrose said, "We'll see you tomorrow, Kensuke." She hung up the phone.
To be continued...