|The Transformation Story Archive||Strange Things and other Changes|
Time for a Change
Saturday night and I'm stuck babysitting some stupid 2 year-old. Mom didn't even ask. She just volunteered me so that new couple could play cards with them. Like, I'm almost 16! Don't I got some say?
I guess it beats restriction. Mom and dad are still mad at me about school. That bastard principal just had to check out my doctor's note. So I skipped a few days. Now they will call if I'm even a little late. It really sucks.
Seems like all I do is make mom and dad mad. I don't mean to, but I get into fights, and I hate school, and they don't like my friends. All I ever hear is how wonderful I was as a baby, and they just don't know how to handle a teenager.
That's probably why they like the Lloyds. They're about my parent's age, but Wesley, the kid, is still in diapers. He isn't so bad, really. Been pretty quiet, except for needing to have his diaper changed. I hate diapers.
Why couldn't they have just played cards over here? Or at least let me watch him at our house? I could have played on my computer, or worked on a model or something.
There's some cool stuff here, though. A killer stereo, and a whole room of new computers. I heard my parents talking about the Lloyds being some sort of special scientists one night when they thought I was in my room. Mom seemed real interested, which was weird, 'cause she can't even program the VCR. And there's a whole gym setup, too. They're health nuts. Mrs. Lloyd just about begged me to try some new protien drink before they left. It was sorta thick, and tasted like warm egg nog. I'd rather drink a Coke.
There's a photo album under the coffee table. Nothing on TV yet, so I pull it out. Pretty much the same as my parent's pictures. Wedding and baby pictures. Some of them are of Wesley. Or are they? The next page has pictures of a 3 year-old. I flip back further. The Lloyds must have had another kid! There are pictures all the way up to what looks like a junior high class photo from 5 years ago. It has the date written on it. After that, there are just a bunch of Wesley. I wonder what happened to the other kid? Maybe he died. Gross.
Gotta take a dump again. Geez. This is third time since I got here. Maybe that stupid health drink gave me the runs. Sorta weird lookin' at myself on the john. They got mirror tiles all over the walls.
Man, what a stink. I never crapped so much in my life! And I'm sweating a lot. Must be that lousy flu bug goin' around school. I get up to flush, only to spin and fall to my knees as I puke. My insides suddenly feel like they are on fire. Worse, I start to shit again, this time dumping all over my pants.
"Bryan?" It's mom! "Don't worry, son. You'll feel better in just a few minutes." She's just outside the bathroom door. How did she know I was sick? Then I don't care, 'cause I start spewing from both ends again.
I'm crying now, scared. Pushing myself up, I stagger for the door. My pants fall off, but they're all dirty anyway. As I fumble with the lock, I catch my image in the tiles and freeze.
The kid reflected back at me looks like he should be in elementary school! For the first time, I notice that the door handle is higher than it should be. And then I look down at myself.
My shirt hangs on me like a tent, but I can see the skinny legs poking out underneath. Then I grab for the wall as I puke again. The tile seems to pull up at my hands, and I gasp as my reflection gets younger. And younger.
"Momma!" My voice is high and shrill, and even in my panic I can't help noticing that my front teeth are gone. I have to reach higher for the lock, but this time I manage to get the door open.
My parents are both there in the hall, with the Lloyds behind them. Mom's eyes get big when she sees me, but then she grins! "Oh, Betty! It's really working!" Mrs. Lloyd nods and crouches down to look at me.
"Perfect." She pulls off my shirt and socks, leaving me naked. "He's responding to the treatment faster than Wesley did, though. I think he might regress a little further."
Wesley? The photo album! The older kid wasn't a missing brother. It was the same kid. Which means that...
I stumble back, trying to get away, only to fall to my hands and knees as my body empties itself. Between spasms, I stare up at my parents and croak "Why?"
Mom crouches down next to me and strokes my head as I puke again. "You'll be happier, Bryan. No more school, no more fights. You're gonna be our sweet baby again, and this time we can keep you that way."
I shudder as I shrink again, and look up to see a sobbing little first-grader in the mirror tile. I'm really confused now. It's hard to remember what I should look like. Another spasm takes me back to kindergarten. I stop crying and stare at the funny reflection, reaching out with my pudgy little hand to touch the glass.
Wesley toddles over to the door, watching as my body gets more like his. His baby face wrinkles in a frown, and for a moment, I can see sorrow and pity in his eyes. He knows! Then the look is gone, and he grins at the little boy who just messed himself again.
Momma picks me up and wipes my face. "Such a beautiful boy you are." She croones baby talk at me, and I gurgle and drool. Huh? I blink in confusion as she lays me on the counter and wipes me off. Then she puts a diaper on me, and carries me over to a playpen where Wesley is already sitting.
The grownups are talking now, but I can't understand what they are saying. Wesley looks down at me with that sad smile again. He's a lot bigger than me now. A whole year older. If I don't think about it, being a baby almost feels normal. Almost. I sniffle and suck my fingers. I hate diapers. And I'm gonna be wearing them for a long, long time.
Time for a Change copyright 1996 by Bob Stein.
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