by: OldStories | Complete Story | Last updated Oct 10, 2016
A college student gives his abusive father an unusual gift for Father's Day.
Chapter Description: By EgARednu Sphinx and Tabula Rasa
A college student gives his abusive father an unusual gift for Father’s Day.
As odd as at may sound, I first met Eli in college. He lived down the hall from me, and we became good friends. In part, we hit it off because we both had problems with our families. Eli’s father was one of those type A personalities who did a fine job of providing for his family, but a lousy job of caring for them. Eli wasn’t particularly close to his father, and his younger brother Shawn was barely on speaking terms with the man.
In the middle of the year, things blew up for him back home. Eli never gave me all the details, but it apparently involved Shawn’s grades, his father’s disapproval of Shawn’s friends, and various other disputes which had been burning for years. Eli actually went well out of his way to try to stay out at school over the summer so he wouldn’t have to go home, but his parents insisted his return.
He was dreading it so much that I took sympathy, and did something I probably shouldn’t have. I put together a nice shirt for Eli to give as a gift to his father, and linked it to a teddy bear which I gave to Eli. And then, I let things take their course. In retrospect, maybe I should have told Eli the details, but he knew that I’d enchanted them somehow, and I assumed he could work out the rest.
He arrived home after school ended, and spent the first few weeks hiding from the almost daily shouting matches between Shawn and his father, made all the worst by his mother being out of town. Finally, when father’s day came around, Eli presented the shirt. His father barely bothered to conceal his distaste. Of course, the small bear imprint near the collar probably made it look a little odd. Even so, he could have been a little kinder about his reaction.
Eli was not a small or weak young man, but whatever set his father off the next week, while his mother was out of town, it was enough to send Eli into his room and try to figure out what sort of enchantment was involved. He told me later that he probed the bear for quite a while, then snuck into his fathers closet to see if proximity caused any effect. Of course, nothing happened. Not because of his search at least.
Eli heard his father coming to the closet and so he did what any sensible person would do when dealing with an intoxicated father: he hid. What his dad was looking for he never has figured out, but as he huddled behind the shirts and pressed himself against the wall, he accidentally triggered the spell.
Initially Eli was too distracted to notice his father shrinking while his clothes went from being not quite enough to hide his gut to a massive pile around him. Of course, Eli didn’t notice because for him too the room seemed to enlarge rapidly. He lost his balance and came falling out of the closet. From within the pile of clothes his father bellowed--actually, tried to bellow as best as his high pitched voice allowed--"What were you doin’ in my c’oset?"
Eli stared at his shrunken father, and two competing sets of memory fought. He recognized his father, and guessed that the shrunked form was the consequence of my enchantment, but at the same time he had new memories of his little brother, Joey. For the moment, the latter won out.
"What are you doing in those huge clothes, Joey? Here, let me get you dressed."
"No! These are my clothes!"
Ignoring him, Eli quickly dressed his father...brother...whatever...in the clothes he found in the closet. For some reason those clothes, but not the ones his father had been wearing, had changed to fit his father’s new age. Eli noticed that the little teddy bear on the collar of his gift had become a huge one taking up the entire front of the shirt, and he selected that one to dress his unwilling father in.
Joey screamed and fought against the new clothes, and after a few minutes Shawn heard the commotion and walked in. "Eli, what’s going on here? Why is Joey...dad...what’s going on?"
Eli whispered a brief run down out of Joey’s hearing while tears continued to stream down Joey’s face. It was an odd story, but Shawn accepted it quickly. Magic’s funny like that. Shawn helped Eli hold Joey down and get the clothes on.
Only when they were done did Eli notice the other changes, to himself and his father’s room. The first thing he noticed was that his father’s room (their parents had seperate rooms after multiple fiascos) now looked like Joey’s room. That is, it looked like it belonged to, and was well used by, a five year old. Blocks and cars covered the floor. The bed, which had Barney sheets on it, was rumpled and looked like someone had maybe tried to make it, but either didn’t try very hard, or failed miserably.
"Joey! Don’t you ever clean up your room?" Eli sighed. "Well, it doesn’t matter now. Bed time for you, little guy."
"Joey, if you don’t get to bed, mom’s gonna give you a spankin’!"
"She can’t ’cuz I’m da daddy!"
"Take a good look at yourself kiddo. You don’t look like a daddy. Now into bed!" Eli picked up his now little brother and set him on the bed.
Joey looked furious about it, but was shocked by the fact that Eli had just lifted him up.
"I’m...da likkle brodder?"
"Yes! Now go to bed!"
Eli and Shawn left the room with Joey on the verge of tears. Eli tripped on a block as he walked out. He kicked it towards Joeys bed, muttering. Which led him to see the new high-top sneakers he was sporting. He hadn’t worn shoes like that since elementary school!
Eli ran towards the bathroom, baffling Shawn, but giving him a chance to size up what was going on. The face in the mirror belonged to a kid. Eli ran his fingers over his cheeks and felt no trace of stubble. Then there were his clothes! He had on baggy black basketball shorts, and a t-shirt emblazoned with a anthro raccoon playing basketball. Where had those come from, and how had he...
"We still up for that b-ball game, Eli?"
"Huh? Oh...yeah...sure, Shawn. Just, uh, getting used to being the little brother, I guess."
"Yeah, I remember being eleven, too. Don’t worry about it, sport. Com’on!"
It was only nine o’clock after they finished the game, not really late enough for either of them to go to bed, but neither could shake the sense that it was, in some fundemental way, Eli’s bedtime. Which led to a problem: unlike his father’s room, Eli’s was unchanged. Which meant that he had no clothes other than the ones he was wearing. After some discussion, they agreed to a quick drive over to K-Mart.
Eli initially planned to get plain pajamas, something he could have worn as an adult, but while there he noticed some pajamas with the same raccoon that was on his shirt. Temptation got the better of him and he got those instead. Shawn tucked him in, and he quickly fell asleep.
The next morning, Eli’s first thought was that he’d had a really strange dream. He ran to the bathroom, but didn’t see anything unusual. He was a college student, and, somewhat to his disappointment, the pajamas had been replaced with his usual boxer shorts.
When he returned to his room, however, he saw the raccoon pajamas lying in a pile on the floor. Which meant he had, apparently, really gotten them. And then he heard his father storming around and, apparently he found Shawn first.
"What the hell did you do, boy?"
"Nothing Dad, I swear!"
"Ya did too boy!"
The came a loud slap and a whimper of pain from Shawn. Eli was furious and was about to confront his dad when he saw the bear tucked in his bed. Perfect, he thought. If I can make it work again. He thought about what had happened last night. He had squeezed the bear...and then he understood. The bear was meant to be hugged!
He hugged the bear tight and listened in satisfaction as his father’s shouts became screams, then whines of a young child. Eli looked down at himself and noticed that this time he hadn’t been affected. Casting a longing glance at the pajamas on the floor, he ran downstairs to see his father just managing to struggle out of his clothes and looking even younger than last time. Then Eli noticed that his father wasn’t the only one.
Shawn was standing there looking surprised. "Shawn..." Shawn looked down and saw his new clothes, then ran to the bathroom to see what he looked like.
"I must be nine! I’ve even younger than you were. I’m barely older than the baby...I mean, dad!"
"I’m not a baby! I’m your father."
"Whatever, Joey. Shawn, we have to get him changed."
"You get his legs..."
"Okay! But I want Barney!"
"You want...you want Barney clothes?"
"Fine. I’ll see what we have."
Eli ran upstairs, then back down. "No clothes for him. None at all. They didn’t change with him."
"What do we do?"
"You watch him, I’ll drive to the store and get some. I’d better get some for you too." He checked Shawn’s size, guessed his father’s, grabbed his father’s credit card, and ran out.
Once again, Eli’s plan was to go for functional. Nothing embarrasing for either of them. Except, of course, the Barney clothes his father had insisted on. He bought several outfits, most with Barney. On a whim, he tossed in diapers and training pants too. Useful as a threat if nothing else, and his father had looked younger.
Then came things for Shawn. Initially he picked out some plain jean shorts, a few t-shirts with simple logos on them, some plain boxers, and checkered pajamas. Then he saw the Pokemon shorts, and swapped them for the jeans. Of course, he had to add matching t-shirts. And pajamas. And, naturally, Pokemon briefs and pajamas as well. Once he’d stocked a full Pokemon wardrobe for Shawn, he decided he’d better get some more things for himself. Just in case, of course.
It was obvious that raccoon was quite popular among kids his "other" age. He grabbed about four t-shirts and and a couple pairs of shorts. He went to find some boxers, but felt more inclined towards briefs with characters on them. He was worried that the largest sizes they had wouldn’t be large enough, but it was the best shot he had. And then he saw the posters...like any college student, Eli had posters, but these were much more interesting. Basketball, soccer. More brightly colored, and exciting, and, well, just cooler, than anything he had at home.
On his way out, he noticed a rack with a pile of stuffed dolls. A Barney was sitting on top, and Eli got it for Joey. Underneath it was a Tails doll. Without even thinking, Eli grabbed it, put it in his cart, and finally entered the check out line.
When all was said and done, it was a good thing he’d brought the credit card. He charged it all, filled the back seat with it, and drove home.
He arrived to see an exhausted Shawn chasing a dirty, naked Joey around the front yard. Shawn looked thrilled to see him, Joey didn’t even notice.
"What took you so long?"
"I got a lot of stuff. Just in case. We’ll give him a bath and then change him into his new p.j.s"
"Bath! No!" And Joey ran off.
"No, bad Joey! Don’t run in the street!"
Eli grabbed Joey, and dragged him into the house while Shawn ran the water. Then, while Shawn monitored the bath, Eli brought the stuff into the house, distributing it to their respective rooms. Joey cheered up as soon as he saw his Barney sleeper and doll, and Eli got Joey dressed and set him up watching television while Shawn showered off the sweat from his ordeal with Joey.
Once Shawn was done showering, he reached around, and realized he had, quite unintentionally, soaked his clothes while playing in the shower. He didn’t want to wear sopping wet clothes and he didn’t have anything else in the room. So he did the first thing that came to mind. He poked his head out the door, made sure Joey and Eli were watching the TV, and then ran down the hall to his room, clad only in his birthday suit.
He got to his room, shut the door, then turned and saw the treasures that Eli had brought home for him. His first reaction was that he wanted to wear it all, all at once. Even he realized how silly that was in a few minutes. So he sorted through the clothes until he found the Pokemon pajamas. A yellow shirt with Pikachu’s face, and shorts with a pikachu tail on the back.
Shawn joined Joey watching the Disney channel while Eli considered what to do. Eventually he decided to settle for ordering pizza, much to his brothers’ delight. Once it came, he joined his brothers at the T.V., and the three of the ate it while giggling at the antics of one animated character after another.
Eventually first Joey and then Shawn drifted to sleep. Eli considered getting up, but Joey was resting his head on his shoulder, which, if not a good reason not to get up, was a good enough excuse to fall asleep there.
Eli awakened with a start the next morning. He’d forgotten that his father would revert in the morning, and sure enough he and Shawn both had. As quietly as he could, he got up and crept upstairs, but not nearly enough. His father woke up, furious. Eli ran upstairs, hoping to get the bear, and his father followed after him, with Shawn close behind.
"Where the hell are you going, boy? You get back here!"
Eli made it to his room and grabbed the bear, only to have his father enter the room too.
"A teddy bear? Little Eli is running to his TEDDY?" his father bellowed. Before Eli had a chance to hug the bear, he grabbed it away. "You’re a little old for this, boy!" And to Eli’s horror, his father started to twist off the bear’s head.
Just as Shawn ran into the room Eli thought the head would rip off. Instead he felt suddenly dizzy, and almost fell down. When he recovered, his fathe...Joey was cradeling the bear, and the boxers Shawn had been wearing when he woke up had returned to the Pokemon pajamas he’d worn to bed the night before. And, best of all, Eli was back in his raccoon pajamas.
As usual, Joey’s clothes hadn’t changed, but it didn’t take much persuading to get him into his Barney clothes. They were, to Eli’s surprise, a bit loose, and Joey seemed even younger than the day before. No more than five, and possibly younger. But none of them could drive at this point, so they’d have to do.
Joey didn’t care anyway, and was quickly set up watching Nickelodeon Jr., leaving Shawn and Eli free. Eli set to work putting up his new posters, and Shawn quickly settled into a computer game. Eventually it was time for lunch, and while both of the older boys remembered how to make a real lunch, neither really wanted to. When Joey proposed McDonalds, they quickly put on the clothes Eli had bought (Joey took some persuading, but he was eventually convinced that his Barney shirt was just as good as his Barney sleeper) and walked to the nearest one.
All three ordered happy meals, and Eli once again offered his father’s credit card to pay for it.
"Is this card yours?"
"It’s my father’s."
"I’m sorry, then we can’t take this without your daddy’s signature."
Fortunately Eli had also brought some cash, and he paid with that. After lunch they started walking back home, sweating in the afternoon heat. Even the short walk back to their house left them drenched, and Joey began begging to run through every sprinkler they passed. Eli refused, not wanting to deal with the wet clothes, and Joey got sulkier and sulkier, and meanwhile Shawns started begging too.
Finally, next door to their house, Joey ran off into a sprinkler. Shawn ran after him to, Eli assumed, catch him. After a moment, it became clear that Shawn had just used it as an excuse to run into the sprinkler himself. He was half tempted to go after them, and have some fun himself, but he knew someone had to keep their head. So, after a few minutes, he coaxed the two little boys out with promises of ice cream, and got them inside.
Shawn was willing to change into a dry pickachu outfit, but Joey was convinced that nothing would substitute for his "fav’ite" Barney shirt, even if it was sopping wet. Eli finally got sick of arguing and decided to let him leave it on. He distributed the promised ice cream and left the two boys watching the Disney Robin Hood. He sat in his room and finished putting up his new posters.
He had the absolute coolest room of any eleven year old around, and he knew it. No other kid in the sixth grade had so much raccoon stuff, which is why he was so cool. There was the teddy bear which didn’t fit in, but it was special some other way, he knew.
Screams from the other room dragged him away, and he saw Joey and Shawn fighting. Well, he saw Shawn pinning Joey down and shouting, "Admit it! Admit I’m bigger!" Joey was just screaming his head off. Eli pulled Shawn away.
"Shawn, you know better than to fight with Joey. You could have hurt him."
"Yeah!" interjected Joey.
Shawn protested. "He bit me!"
"Joey, did you bite Shawn?" Eli rolled his eyes. This was a pain, and he wanted to get back to his posters. Joey just looked guilty.
"Fine, Shawn, you stay here. Joey, it’s bed time."
"Yes, it is. If you don’t want to go to bed early, behave yourself next time."
Eli picked Joey up as he started to cry, but ignored the ineffective kicks. Even without his cooperation, Eli was able to change Joey into pajamas and tuck him in. He shut the door and let Joey cry himself to sleep. Drained from the effort, he finished the evening watching television with Shawn, breaking only to order pizza.
The next morning, Eli was awakened by his father entering the room. He’d left the bear on the other end of the room, which meant he wouldn’t be able to get it in time. Bracing for a violent fight with his father, Eli was surprised to see that his father was holding the Barney pajamas, and wasn’t angry. In fact, he was making a beeline for the bear.
Two things occured to Eli. The first was that his father probably wanted to trigger the bear on purpose. The second was that, given how it seemed to work, if he wanted to get younger too he’d need to be near his father. He jumped towards his father just as the man hugged the bear, and immediately looked down. He was thrilled to see himself back in the raccoon pajamas.
He landed with a thump that obviously started Joey. The little boy jerked around, teddy bear in one arm and sleeper in the other. But he was focused on the adult boxers that were almost slipping to the floor. The wet boxers...
"Joey!" Eli found himself shouting.
Joey looked away from his brother. "I didda whoopsie."
Eli grabed the teddy bear away from Joey and pulled the poor little kid into the bathroom. "Yes, you did, Joey! Just be glad that Mom isn’t here!"
Eli pulled Joey into the tub and showered him off, none too gently. "OWIE! Dat hurts EWI!" Joey was nearly in hysterics. Shawn came running. He’d apparently thrown on a pair of sweats for modesty.
"What’s goin’ on, you two?"
"He-!" they both started, but Shawn cut them off. "Eli?"
"He wet his pants, in my room!", Joey blushed at this.
Shawn looked at them both. "OK, Eli, I’ll take over." Eli handed him the nozzle without complaint, and left.
Shawn hurried through cleaning Joey off. Once Joey was set up watching cartoons, Shawn reminded Eli that he was going out with friends, threw on some clothes, and ran out, leaving the kids alone.
After wiping up the mess Joey had made in his room, Eli looked around for something to do. Other than the posters he’d put up, his room was still more appropriate for a college student, particularly since it didn’t have any toys. Giving up, he joined Joey watching television.
A half hour or so of peaceful watching was broken when Joey kicked him. Of course, Eli kicked back, harder, Joey kicked him again, and soon the two engaged in a full-scale fight. Of course, Eli was much bigger, and Joey was quickly pinned, snapping his head around trying to bite Eli’s hand.
"No! You’re mean!"
"I’m not mean, you brat. You kicked me!"
"You kick me first!"
"What? No I didn’t."
"Uh-h...ow!" Joey’s was broken off by Eli twisting his arm. "Ow! Give up!"
"Fine. Brat." Eli stormed out, and a tearing Joey wiped his arm on his sleeve and sulked on the couch.
Meanwhile, Shawn was having a miserable time with his friends. Chiefly because their discussion centered on relationships and sports. The major problem was that Shawn couldn’t shake the feeling that kissing a girl was icky. Twice he almost made a reference to Pokemon, catching himself just in time. Finally, as the day dragged on, talk turned to whose house they could go to.
"Say, Shawn, isn’t your mom out of town?"
"So, can we hang out at your place?"
Shawn had a bad feeling about the idea, but couldn’t think of a good excuse. "Well..."
"C’mon Shawn. What’s with you today?"
When they got there, he instantly regretted it. Eli came bounding down, shouting "Shawn, I’m hungry," stopping right in front of Eli’s friends.
"I’m his brother!" Eli snapped.
His friends looked oddly at Shawn. "You don’t have a little brother."
"Eli...Eliot, you need to stop telling people that. He’s my cousin," lowering his voice, "he and his little brother are staying here because their parents are separating." Shawn caught Eli’s eyes, and Eli nodded.
"Ahhhh...sorry about that, squirt." One of Shawn’s friends ruffled Eli’s hair, casually, and Eli forced a smile. "I’m still hungry, Shawn. Can ya make me somethin’?"
Shawn’s friends were looking decidedly uncomfortable about playing babysitter. "Look, uh, Shawn, we’ll catch ya later. ’Kay?"
Shawn nodded distractedly. The TV set was on Pokemon, by some chance, and it really seemed more interesting than his friends.
He plopped down on the couch next to Joey, who had fallen asleep. Eli kept begging for lunch, but finally got so fed up waiting on Shawn that he went and made a Mac Pac for himself. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t really good, either. After he was done, and Shawn was on his second Pokemon episode, Eli sat down next to him. "you like that show a lot, don’t ya?"
Shawn nodded and grinned. "It’s so cool! I wish my friends understood that. They’d think I was dumb, if I told ’em, though."
"Yeah. I didn’t use to like cartoons, but now I do, even when I’m big."
"So, what can we do this afternoon? Would you like to go to the playground?"
Joey was gently woken up, and the three of them went to the playground. At first Shawn just supervised Eli and Joey, but soon he joined in enthusiastically. They didn’t leave until it started getting dark, and stopped for dinner on their way home.
Joey got slower and slower, and whinier and whinier until Shawn finally picked him up and carried him the rest of the way. By the time they got back, Joey was fast asleep, so they put him to bed.
"Shawn, we should talk about tomorrow?"
"About tomorrow? Why?"
"Well, we both want to be little, right?"
Shawn shuffled guiltily. "Yeah, I guess."
"So we have to be by Joey when the bear is hugged. We should both sleep in here, with the bear, and when Joey comes down and hugs it tomorrow like he did today, we’ll both get younger."
Shawn stared for a moment, and then nodded. The two changed for bed, Eli thrilled to be in his pajamas, Shawn less happy about his boxers, and fell asleep on the couch with the bear in the center.
Shawn was woken up by Joey coming into the room. To his surprise, it was Joey, not his father.
"Why you in here?"
"We were waiting for you." Shawn looked around. He and Eli were both older, and the bear looked like it hadn’t been moved. "You want your bear?"
Joey smiled and held out his arms for it, then hugged it. To Shawn’s frustration, it didn’t seem to have worked. "Hug it tighter, Joey." Joey complied, but still nothing happened.
Shawn wracked his brain, but the only thing he could think of was that for some reason it had gotten stuck for his father. He could guess why, too: his father had sprung it on purpose, trying to be younger. And that gave Shawn a plan to make it work for him. "Joey, could I hug your bear?"
Joey nodded enthusiastically, and handed it over. Excitedly, Shawn closed his eyes and hugged, then looked around. Still nothing. For a moment, he was terrified that there was no way for him to get younger again, and then he remembered that there was one other way to trigger it.
Shawn grabbed the bear’s head and started twisting. Joey shrieked, waking Eli.
"What’s going on?" Shawn just kept twisting, until it was about to break off, and there was a huge flash of light.
Shawn took stock of the situation. The bear was gone. No sign of it. Joey was bawling his head off, shouting about his teddy bear. Eli was in the raccoon pajamas he loved so much. Everything seemed to have worked out until he looked at his own clothes. He was the only person who hadn’t gotten what he wanted: in place of his Pokemon short set were Sesame Street pajamas.
"Ses’me Street? I don’ want dis!" he stomped his foot. "I’m sposed ta be bigger!"
The other boys looked at him in confusion. "what d’ya mean, Shawn?" Eli asked, honestly confused.
"I’m sposta be nine!"
"Yeah! I’m nine!"
"Uhhh...Shawn? You’re six."
Eli dragged Shawn downstairs and pointed out his drawings on the fridge, each one messily signed "Shawn, Age 6." Horrified, Shawn ran up to his room, barely noticing the Kermit the From bedsheets he lay down on to cry.
His two brothers left the room. Eli snuck back in a few minutes later and tucked his Tails plush in with Shawn.
Soon after, their mom returned home, bearing presents which snapped Shawn out of his sulk. He got a new first grade math game, which he ran to the computer to try, Joey got a new teddy bear, which he hasn’t let go of since, and Eli got a t-shirt with his favorite raccoon and a fake raccoon tail to wear for fun.
As for me, Eli has forgotten that he ever knew me, or that he was ever anything but a kid. Only Shawn remembers being older, and even him is forgetting. And, while this isn’t what I intended, they all seem pretty happy. Magic’s funny like that.
Teddy Bear, by EgARednu Sphinx and Tabula Rasa
by: OldStories | Complete Story | Last updated Oct 10, 2016