So Missy and I set out with Beatrice for Ohio, in Missy's fried-out 50's Packard sedan. I'd never been in it. Beatrice grumbled at being put in the back seat, but I was the apple of Missy's eye, so I got shotgun, across the bench seat from Missy.
The wheel was huge and thin in cross section, and Missy actually wore leather gloves to drive it. A box mounted on a stalk next to the steering wheel had about six big round buttons on it, and when Missy had taken the parking brake out and started the car, she just pushed one with her finger and the car went into gear. I'd never seen anything like that on a new car.
She took us down the hill and into town, then through a weird trajectory out among the back streets until we came to a hole-in-the-wall Latin grocery store with a name like "Tienda San Lazaro el inmortal." She pulled a wad of cash out of her bra, counted it and nodded. She went in and a few minutes later came out laughing with a six pack of Modelo, assorted chips, something in a brown paper bag and two tall ridged steel cans that said "Jugo de Coco." I noticed Beatrice making a disgusted sound when she saw the cans.
She put most of it in the back seat next to Beatrice and pulled out a Modelo and opened it with a cast iron Coca-Cola bottle opener screwed to the car's dash. A little cup held crudely to the dash with a metal strap caught it. I craned my neck to see into it--it was full of beer tops. We weren't out of town before the beer was empty. She sent it sailing into a dumpster by a gas station as we pulled in.
"Alright, I intend to make this run in record time. Since you're the only one in this car who doesn't know how to control your fucking bladder, we're going to go in the bathroom and you're going to get diapered up so we don't have to stop six times a day."
Beatrice laughed quietly. I knew it was just a game and that we were going to take quite a leisurely trip down to the old contiguous, and Beatrice did too. Fuck, Missy was the one slamming back cheap beer. If we were gonna make it in record time, it would be because she would try to average 80 or 90, and somehow I didn't see that happening with a lawyer in the backseat.
We went in the outdoor bathroom of the station. It was dank and dark. Missy had an odd kind of leather valise that sometimes doubled as the closest thing she would carry to a purse. She made me stand with my legs apart while she diapered me up with a medium-sized adult diaper that she'd had in there. I was getting kinda used to wearing diapers at night after an enema or if she just wanted to punish me, and I'd worn pull-ups in public as a punishment several times now, but this would only be my second time in public with a real diaper on. It was not a small one by any stretch.
"Remember, I have an enema set, a paddle, vapor rub, buttplugs, handcuffs and clothespins, in case you're bad on this trip, and something else that will set you right immediately."
She pulled up my jeans. My face flushed. The diaper was clearly visible through my jeans, or at least, I felt like it was. I walked funny all the way back to where Beatrice had pulled the car to the pump and filled it up apparently with her own money. I noticed that there was a cork and corkscrew sitting on the trunk of the car. When she was done pumping, she put the nozzle back and stopped up the gas tank with the cork, corkscrew and all.
"Missy, it's been fifteen years and not only are you still driving this monstrosity, you still haven't gone to an auto parts store--"
"Bea, that's hardly fair. I go to the auto parts stores all the time. Do you think I don't take care of Patricia? These spark plugs are under a week old and I just put new oil in."
"I told you they carry replacement caps. That's the same corkscrew and probably the same cork as it was the day we made love in this car. That was in... oh, God, it was in '83! Baby, you're very funny, you know that?"
"I make ten dollars an hour. That gas cap would be an hour of my life and change, and I don't need it."
I would have said "you make ten dollars an hour?" thinking about how I had made 4 bucks an hour at the restaurant, but I was trying to be invisible, walking around with a diaper showing through my jeans. I was infinitely relieved once we were back in the car.
Next Missy stopped off at the mall, where she had to say a few words to the twenty-something-year-old new hire who would fill in for her while we were gone. She came back out to the car, which she had parked out the outer fringes of the parking lot on the west side of the mall, very strategically, I was to learn, and told me "come on, we need to get some things for the trip."
I turned red again.
We walked through the parking lot and I looked nervously at everyone we passed. They must have seen, or some of them must have seen, the bulge around my crotch and up on my butt.
Inside, I felt like my soul left my body from embarassment. We must have made a beeline for the photo shop, because that's the next place I remember being. Missy asked me which camera I wanted.
She had to repeat the question. It clicked inside my (somewhat dazed and distracted brain) that this was a woman with newly a lot of money, and that she liked me rather a lot, and that at any rate, we were on a road trip and at least one of us should take some pictures. I asked the old Indian man behind the counter what he recommended. He pulled out what was to become my most treasured posession: a Leica II camera. I didn't know at the time that it was the single most expensive thing in the shop, or that it had been made in the 30's in Germany back when photography was for rich men and professionals.
Missy haggled expertly, and got him to throw in a case, some rolls of Kodachrome, a light meter and a book on basic photography. I think she settled on two hundred dollars, all told.
Back in the car, I turned it over and over in my hands, collapsed and extended the lens a couple dozen times--it was a little thing, the Leica, with curved sides and elegant knobs of solid metal. I turned the big knob... it spun around a full turn or a little more before it locked. A ring of numbers around the dial spun around with it, and where it had said 35, it now rested at the hash mark next to 35. I pressed the button. The littler knob with different numbers on it spun around with a faint "zip."
Going down the road out of Anchorage, Beatrice motioned for me to join her in the back seat. I swung over the back of the front bench and landed awkwardly next to her.
"So you know," she whispered, smiling coyly. "that was a very nice gift Missy bought you. I used one when I worked for the college paper... not this one, a little more advanced. M4, I think, which is several models after this and very advanced. This is... it was professional grade for about thirty years, maybe sixty years ago. Time marched on, but... that's still one of the best-made cameras money can buy, and she practically stole it she haggled so hard. I'd thank her in a special way."
"Now let me teach you how to load it. The bottom comes off, you see..."
Over the next hour, I received more education in photography than I would later get in four years of college and many years as a professional. Erik Satie once said "with the first link, the chain is forged." I think he was talking about the rise of fascism, but it applies. If you want to learn a thing completely, you have to start the right way with the first principles, or nothing that follows will make sense. I learned about aperture, film speed, shutter speed, light value, focus and depth of field. By the end I felt like my head was bursting, and I felt no closer to comfortably using the little object in my hands, now full of what I later learned was normally quite expensive film--Kodachrome 64.
My first picture, painstakingly figured out with the little selenium light meter, was of the dashboard of the Packard, mundane to be sure, but with elegant, midcentury lines. In that slide, that I've had no less than six prints of made, Missy's big hand is resting on the pod with the pushbuttons for the shifter, the wheel is a little blurred as she's changing lanes with a sharp flick that betrays her closeted flair for the dramatic. The radio is just in frame--it worked, somehow, and I think at that moment "Sex and Candy" was coming over the air. A moment later and Missy said "god this song eats ass," before realizing that she was in no mood to mess with the temperamental old radio with its baffling controls--what exactly does a knob that says "more stations" do? And what's "Tone" mean? I never did figure out that radio.
Hours and hours went by. We weren't going to reach the border that day. Alaska goes by rather slow in a 56' luxury sedan with hardened vinyl bench seats and an engine that grumbles about crossing 50 miles per hour. And then remember that Missy obliged whenever I wanted to stop to take a photograph of a scenic overlook, and waited patiently in the car or sitting on the hood while I waved the light meter around and struggled to make sense of all the numbers, then peered through the focusing window and then the viewing window on the back of my ancient camera. I went through half a roll of Kodachrome that first day. God, I wish they still made the stuff. About half of my shots were overexposed, mere ghosts of indistinct and desaturated color on the clear cellophane, but there are some from that day that came out perfectly, living images floating in the cardboard slide holders like hallucinations, as if the film weren't there--trees and mountains, the familiar scenes of my early life. Kodachrome is gone now, with that decade and that century and that car, but Missy and I are somehow still around...
But Missy would not oblige when I asked to stop at a truck stop to pee. In fact, the two times I asked earned me near-identical lectures about trying to save time, in a voice that ran needles through my chest with its stern tones. She did look over at me, her curls dancing away from her face, and in her unmadeup face with handsome lines and water-blue eyes that seemed to caress my chest and hips, there was just a trace of playfulness that said "you're gonna have to piss yourself in front of us."
She did offer me one of the cans of coconut water, some time later, which was surely not a coincidence. I cracked it open, and took a sip. I nearly choked. The taste was not unpleasant, but it had chunks in it, little cubes of raw coconut flesh. I mentally readjusted, and after a minute, gave it another chance. It was actually very pleasant, chunks and all--there was a kind of natural feeling to drinking it, like it was something people were meant to drink. Missy finished hers long before I did.
I took to wiggling about an hour later, since I'd also had a soda earlier, water with lunch, and hadn't gone to the bathroom all day.
There was a long interval in which I resisted. I'd never peed in a diaper before, though I'd expelled a bit of leftover enema in one before. But I had to go. My bladder ached and tickled. I began blushing, hard.
Finally I had to shift in my seat, standing halfway up, and just push and let go. I think subconsciously my mind was racing, telling my preconscious mind that the punishment for wetting ones' pants was a vicious spanking (it had been, once, in childhood) and that nothing protected my jeans from the flow of urine, so I would shortly have committed a grave social crime--one of the gravest--that of wetting my pants in public, and that it would be obvious to all by a massive spreading hot, wet patch on the front and down the legs of my pants into the seat. Shame was coming, the idiot parts, the lizard parts of my brain shouted. But I pissed and the wrongness was a little thrilling, the expected shame a masochistic thrill.
The spreading heat and dampness I expected was there, but not the spreading stain. Instead there was only a slight swelling of my pants at the zipper, where the absorbent material was soaking up all the piss. I blushed even harder, if that were possible, but was relieved to see that no other signs showed on my pants. The relief was almost like the fainting after orgasm.
Missy looked over only once. She smiled coyly. I think she had every intention of changing me like a baby when we got to a motel.
But when we got to "Destin's Motor Inn," an hour from the Canadian border, around ten at night, things did not go smoothly, so plans changed.
It is a fact that nowadays three unrelated women could very well ask for a single bed at any motel in the US and probably not be refused. Around the tenth anniversary of that trip, Missy, Beatrice and I did just that at a hotel in Anchorage and spent a very lively night in one bed together. God, if only group marriage were legal, we'd marry her too. But I get ahead of myself. And perhaps the day is coming, too.
It was the 90's and that was not always guaranteed. Alaska may be the West Coast but it's not California or Oregon, and I'm not sure but I think there may have been some people out in those hills that... didn't like obvious dykes very much.
Bear in mind also that I looked sixteen then the way I look twenty-five now, and my hair, my ugly, stringy brown hair, was up in pigtails. I didn't look my youngest--Missy hadn't bought me braces yet, and those aged me down to about middle school, if you disregarded my height--but I did not look like an adult in any sense, despite being fully nineteen and until Missy, alone in this forsaken world.
The receptionist, in short, wasn't having any of it. It was a dim room, with a receptionist completely enclosed in a cut-through to another room. He was a man of the most rural type, a little native but pale and clearly from the deep poverty of generations, pitiable but somehow quite unlikable. His eyes scanned up and down without even pretense. A spectacle was in front of him.
Missy asked for a double room.
"I'm sorry, who is this young lady?" I hate the way he said "lady," more than if he had said "bitch" in the same tone. At least there would have been honesty to that.
"My daughter," Missy said, with an air of truth that con-men would and did in fact envy.
"I'm not--" I said. I immediately regretted it. I had misread the room.
"I'm gonna need to see some I.D. on both of you. Something feels hinky to me, ladies." This time, he was saying "bitches;" his mouth just formed the word "ladies" instead.
"She just found out she's adopted and she's resentful. Keeps saying I'm not her mother." Missy said, with no particular urgency. "How sharper than... a knife?"
"Yeah, bullshit. No minors check in this hotel without a blood relative. I.D. on both of you or you walk."
We both produced our driver's licenses--rather, she produced a driver's license and I produced an old expired hardship license that was my only picture I.D. It did not say I was a Buskins, or a Fink, for that matter, but it said I was nineteen, and with some muttered words he let us book a double room. He knew the room was to be used for immoral purposes, and granting him that sexual perversions and lesbianism are in some way immoral, (and I don't), he would have been right in as much.
As we walked in, Ms. Fink, esq. walked in to book a single.
In the room, Missy was furious. It was mock anger, but I knew the punishment that was coming was going to be hard.
"Disrobe," she said. I went in the bathroom and came out wearing only the diaper.
"When I say disrobe I mean completely," she said, and strode over to me and ripped off the diaper. She could tell I'd pissed in it, and her anger only grew. "You're getting a hard punishment, Janie."
She went out to the car and came back with the brown paper bag from the Latin Grocery in Anchorage. She pulled out a small brown root of some kind and went over to the trash can, where she pulled out her pocket knife and began shaving it down until she got it to a thin cylinder with a wide base. This she wet in the sink.
"In the bathroom, now."
She bent me over, kneeling on the linoleum, and administered a small bag enema with very hot water. The nozzle went in with a mean jab. As soon as it began to go in I almost shot it right back out, but I knew I was in for it already and I didn't want to make it worse, so somehow, I exerted control.
The aching was intense as the hot water flooded into me and made me feel full and heavy. I let out a low moan.
"Now on the pot. I want you to clean yourself off completely and come out here for your punishment in three minutes." She left the bathroom.
When I came out, she bent me over the bed and showed me the root. It smelled good, but very spicy. Then she crammed the thin part of it up my ass.
First nothing happened, then... it burned.
"Oh, mistress, it's too hot. Oh, oh, oh god."
"Shut up. I'm going to give you a good old-fashioned belting until you're worn slap out. Then you're getting diapered up and going right to bed." She went over and knocked on the wall that separated our room from Beatrice's.
The burning increased as time went on.
Beatrice walked in. Missy told her in a low voice to bolt and chain up the door, which she did at once.
"So what have we got? She's squirming, you didn't put toothpaste up her ass, did you?"
"No, worse. Ginger."
"Oof. I'd call that too far for a beginner. At least it wasn't Icy-Hot. Will she need to be held down for the spanking?"
"Belting. Most definitely."
Beatrice did me the singular honor of straddling my back where I was bent over the bed and leaning forward to grab both of my arms in firm grips. She's a tiny woman but she plays tennis avidly and it's all wire, her lean arms and tight legs like lightning bolts.
It hurt a little where she put weight on my back, but it was the least of my concern. When she jostled me, the burning between my cheeks doubled. I twitched a little, and that made it even worse. The way ginger works, I understood at once, is that you don't get desensitized to it--every fresh bit of juice that touches your insides burns with the same heat as the first insertion. I deliberately clenched and even as a masochist I wished I hadn't. The pain was almost unbearable.
"Ten licks, would you say, Beatrice?"
"She fucked up in front of that damn clerk."
"Lovely man. A little cleavage and he only charged me for a smoking room, then put me in non-smoking."
"Smoking is less here? That would have been nice to know," Missy said, just as I heard the clank of belt buckle that told me her belt was coming off.
"How badly did she fuck up?"
"He called us dykes and I.D.'d us. I like I.D.ing people, Bea, not getting I.D.'d. What am I, a sub?"
"You've been my sub, and you are a filthy dyke with hair in all the wrong places, Mels. But twenty licks, I'd say."
I was stock still and silent. I could not say anything that would decrease that figure, but I could sure increase it.
"Fifteen," Missy said, and I couldn't breath even a sigh of relief or she'd settle on Beatrice's figure, surely.
The first blow came like a ribbon of fire across my cheeks at the crease of my thighs. I gasped. It seemed to wick into my ass and burn inside--the ginger was still very active in there.
"Count, Ms. Morstan," Missy said, and I knew she was serious. I'd only heard that name from her a few times.
I clenched, waiting for the next one, and I realized the real cruelty of this punishment--you clench involuntarily to prepare for the blow, and so the ginger punishes you. The real ideal punishment is not just the pain of the blows, and it's not at all the pain of the ginger--it's the submission and learned helplessness and inner agony of not clenching when you know the blow is coming. I have seen something similar once in a film-- a pretentious French film about a juvenile delinquent, where the headmaster of the prison school make the director's little self-insert character choose which fist he gets decked across the face with, for some offense even more minor than embarassing your mistress in a rural motel.
I did not reach that agony of submission on this belting, or on the next one. It took a couple of runs with the ginger to really learn to bare my soul in that way--and that's really what it feels like. The body throws up what paltry, utterly useless defense it can, and to deny it that, to fight the nervous system itself, feels like exposing the very soul to the belt or cane. And indeed, I have taken the cane and ginger like a martyr, utterly beyond this world in the rolling orgasm of pain and perfect submission.
That night, the pain was physically worse but spiritually much lighter. It was merely to clench and get lit up by the ginger, then belted and lit up again, fifteen times. The belt has a bad reputation but it is nothing to a real paddle or the cane, and it was not by far the worst belting I'd ever had, either from Missy or from my late father, so I weathered it.
When it was done, Missy made me stand up in front of her and apologize. I did so without hesitation, my head bowed.
"Well, you've longued and worked the horse," Beatrice said. "Are you going to ride her now?" I didn't understand the metaphor back then, but she meant "you've broken her will. Claim the prize."
"No, I think she's a little too weak for that tonight," Missy said, putting a big, warm hand on my bare shoulder and yanking out the ginger plug with the other. "We'll just cuddle as soon as she's all diapered up."
"Ooh, diaper me too. I love being diapered," Beatrice said.
Missy smiled patiently. It didn't fit the scene, but she would always diaper her dear Beatrice if she asked. The only thing further I remember from that night is the image, as if seen from out-of-body, of the two of us with our legs in the air getting powdered up and diapered, then the feeling of my body between two other warm and soft ones.
The next day I would have to wear a diaper through a border crossing, and I think I knew that at the time. That may have been the last throb of anxiety before I lost consciousness, there with my lover and her ex.