The Institute:Daddy Issues(5)By: Evangeline Anderson
“Hello.” He smiled at both of us but he didn’t seem encouraged by our response. I was scowling at him and Salt was giving him that patented blank Russian stare that most people find so unnerving.
“Dr. Stevens holds a PhD in Psychology with an emphasis in Alternate Sexuality,” the captain said, making the introductions. “He’ll be consulting with us on this case. And Dr. Stevens, this is Detective Salt and Detective Sugarbaker.”
Professor Stevens looked surprised. “Are those your names? Really? ‘Salt’ and ‘Sugar?’”
“Antoinette Josephine Sugarbaker, Detective First Class,” I said, emphasizing the last part of my name. With a mouthful like that, is it any wonder I go by Andi? My mom read way too many romance novels when she was pregnant with me.
“And I am Viktor Petrovich Saltanov, also detective,” Salt growled. “If you are here to explain our assignment, please get on with it.”
“Uh—okay.” The professor cleared his throat.
“Explain to them about Age Play,” the Captain said encouragingly. “Go on—just like you did for me, if you would, please Professor.”
“Of course.” The little man straightened his tie and assumed a lecturing air. I could almost see him standing in front of an auditorium full of bored students with a pointer in one hand and a sheaf of notes in the other. “Age Play,” he began, “Particularly Age Play involving a person assuming the role of a younger child is often widely misunderstood. Contrary to what some people believe, Age Players are not pedophiles.”
“How can they not be?” I objected, breaking into his lecture. “I mean, one of them is pretending to be a kid and the other one is having sex with that one. It’s disgusting.”
“Age Play is not always sexual,” the Professor answered smoothly. “Age Players assume the roles of children because they find comfort in it. When they go into Little-space, they get to express their most deeply buried feelings from childhood and relinquish responsibilities and indeed, control of their entire life to another person.”
“Number one,” I said, “What is ‘Little-space’? And number two, why would anyone want to give control of their entire life to someone else?”
Professor Stevens laughed politely. “Surely you’re joking my dear. Just imagine not having to worry about paying the bills, doing the laundry, cooking the meals—imagine someone else doing all that for you. Just like when you were a child—wouldn’t that be worth the loss of control?”
“I wouldn’t know,” I said bluntly. “My mom was an alcoholic so I pretty much did all those things for myself when I was a kid.”
“Andi is a very controlled person,” Salt put in, surprising me. “She is not anxious to allow anyone to help her—even when she needs the help.”
“Hey!” I frowned at my partner but he just gave me his best blank look as if to say, You know it’s true. After a minute, I dropped my eyes.
“I see,” the professor said. “Well, on to your second question, then. Little-space is the headspace or mind set an Age Player gets into when they regress. It’s almost an altered state of consciousness when they go into it deeply enough.”
“So—like some kind of drug?” I asked, frowning.
He nodded. “It can be, in a way. It changes your perception and your judgment. For Littles, or the players who become ‘younger,’ it’s often a more open, simple place for them to be in. Again, many find it soothing to become a child again and not have to think about adult problems.”