Chapter Description: With a side of crazy.
Coming back to reality was an even more abrupt process than leaving it, and it was certainly no less alarming or confusing. One moment, I was out cold and totally unresponsive to the world - the next, I was lying on the ground in front Angelina, who had apparently had a positively enormous growth spurt in my absence. She was kneeling down by my feet, fussing with something around my ankles, but even from this angle (and through rapidly mounting befuddlement) I could make out that, somehow, she was suddenly a lot, lot, lot taller than I was. Her face looked a world away, above and before me.
The other alarming and confusing fact was the detail that I was wearing only a t-shirt over my top half and absolutely nothing over my bottom half.
‘Absolutely nothing’ as in…well, literally absolutely nothing. Angie had the world’s best view of the parts of me that mattered. I shrieked. Whether it was because of my partial nudity or the sight of the giantess in front of me, I couldn’t say. My hands flew to cover those parts that mattered as I ogled up at my freakishly oversized girlfriend.
From somewhere close behind, an elderly voice giggled. “They’re so cute when they’re this age,” it said lightly. It was a worn, somewhat frail voice and decisively female, but I didn’t turn to see who was observing me in all my half-naked glory – I was busy coming to terms with Angelina’s unnatural growth. So what if an old lady might have to put up with the sight of my junk? What in the hell was going on with my girlfriend down there? “Suddenly they’re concerned about their modesty when only yesterday they were running around naked through the sprinklers. Adorable!”
I could see Angelina smiling wanly over my head.
“Angie, what the ever living fuck – ”
Suddenly she was all eyes, and every last one of them was on my face. Each one was more displeased than the last. “Language,” she barked crudely, and before I could so much as flinch, she had pulled my legs up, as if to diaper me…
…and spanked my bare butt.
The lady behind was making a dramatic, disapproving tisking sound as I yelped and scrambled backwards on my elbows and the balls of my feet, more shocked than hurt. A moment later, I was on my feet. What was that for? It hadn’t actually stung anything besides maybe my ego, but…what was happening? “It’s also the age where they develop their potty mouth,” she was saying. Scolding. I couldn’t bring myself to look around, though; my attention was totally captivated by the giantess in front of me. Standing up, I was still, incredibly, only just level with her face kneeling. “Just like that. Spank it out of him, mummy. You’ve got to do it before he’s too old to – ”
“A little privacy, please?” Angelina’s voice was pleasant but strained.
She must have turned to leave (and indeed, I heard a door creak open and close a moment later to herald her exit), because the next thing I knew Angelina had returned her undivided attention to me. I stared back with enormous, questioning eyes, perfectly ready to have everything explained to me. Why was she so big? Why was I half naked? Why didn’t I already know the answers to these questions?
Apparently I wasn’t getting any answers just yet, though. “Step in,” she said sternly. She looked at me pointedly, and the threat was clear – do it and do it without a word.
Problem was…what was I doing, exactly?
I looked at her.
She looked back impatiently.
It took me a moment to realize she was holding out a pair of underpants for me to step into; they were waiting down around my ankles, stretched wide open so I could step into them without issue. She’d been about to slide them up my unconscious legs. They were the little kiddie type with cartoon characters frolicking over the crotch in overly-dramatic scenes of heroic bad-assery. This particular pair was blue with an Adventure Time motif and pretty much summed up just about everything in the world I wasn’t interested in.
Holy shit. I don’t think so.
“Angie, you can’t be serious.” I tore my shocked gaze away from the ridiculous underwear and met her gaze. “Jesus, talk to me. What’s going on?”
“Just put these on and then I’ll – ”
“TALK TO ME!”
“Step in, and I will,” she said flatly.
I might be half-naked in public, but there was still no way I was ‘stepping in’ to those. “I am not wearing – ”
“Do I need to spank you again?”
“What the fuck gave you the right to do it the first time!”
That was all the provocation she needed to decide that she did need to spank me again.
“STOP IT!” I whined as her hand crashed into the tender meat of my backside a second time. I sounded weak and pathetic even to my own ears, but I didn’t care. I was still tender from her first assault, and who actually wants to be spanked by their own girlfriend? “What is your problem? WHAT IS YOUR - ”
“What’s my problem? I dunno, Joel, what could possibly be my problem?”
There was sarcasm dripping from her voice in molten globules of scorn, but before I could question it she added, “So help me, Joel, step into the fucking underwear or I’ll make this so much worse for you.”
I opened my mouth to scream at her.
Her eyes blazed.
Probably not a good idea right now, buddy.
I stepped into the underwear.
“Good boy,” she grunted and promptly dragged the childish article of clothing up my legs. Not sure what else to do, I let her - at the very least, I wasn’t quite so naked anymore. I decided that now would probably be a good time to take stock of my environment, if only to take my mind off what was happening below my waist. I’d been too distracted with the situation so far to really pay any attention to where I was, and it most definitely wasn’t where I had been before I blacked out.
Apparently I had ended up in the women’s bathroom. I had never been in one before (as one may expect from someone of the male variety such as myself) and so this would normally have been quite a thrilling adventure. I don’t know what I was expecting, but the truth was quite mundane and boring - there was a line of cubicles along the wall to our left (along with Angelina’s backpack leaning against the frame of the one closest to us), sinks to our right, and that was it. Certainly not the fabled Golden Halls of Female Excretion that I had subconsciously imagined my whole life.
Right now, though, it wasn’t exciting. It was alarming. Of all the places to wake up…the women’s bathroom?
When you got down to it, though, there were more alarming things to consider right now. Most notably the whole “everything is enormous” detail.
Being a progressive thinker, the truth of the situation suddenly began to dawn on me.
“Yep,” Angelina growled, and I whipped my attention back to her. Something must have shown on my face, because suddenly she was grinning. There was no amusement in the expression. “I’m not huge, the bathroom isn’t huge, the world isn’t huge, you’re small. In fact, you’re tiny. Kinda seven-year-old tiny, you know?”
And with that, she grabbed me under the arms and hoisted me into the air as she stood up.
For the second time in a matter of minutes, I literally shrieked out loud. The floor fell away from me in a dizzying defiance of gravity, and I had the momentary, borderline-hysterical thought that this what astronauts must feel as they left the Earth. The linoleum tiles fell away from me faster and further than I would have thought possible. Fuck, I really was tiny if she was capable of lifting me so far…and she wasn’t exerting herself at all to do it!
The vertigo was just beginning to set in when I realized why she had got me airborne.
Like any respectable bathroom, there was a splashback mirror plastered on the wall behind an orderly row of sinks, and framed in that splashback mirror was a seven year old boy in nothing but his red Ben 10 t-shirt and his underwear. He had an untidy mop of hair on his head, piercing blue eyes, a cute button nose and was being elevated by an individual who couldn’t be anyone but his mother.
Except I knew better. I was the seven year old.
That most certainly was not my mother.
“You see, Joel,” Angelina was saying as she lowered me back to the floor. Too stunned to say anything, I let her, and collapsed onto my butt the moment my feet touched down. It seemed ridiculous, but…well, could a mirror lie? I was a kid! “There’s two reasons you’re sitting on the floor of the women’s bathroom without any hair on your balls. The first is the fact that you’re a self absorbed asshole who cares more about his precious Aussie Fucking Rules than he does his own girlfriend. You’re a shit of a person and I pity the next girl that’s dumb enough to fall in love with you.”
“I love you too, babe.”
A ridiculous comeback, but being told my girlfriend hated me on notice as short as this would surely excuse it.
She ignored me, although she suddenly looked relieved, as if her accusation had been something she’d been waiting to get off her chest a long, long time. “The second reason is that I’ve decided that I’m capable of helping out some friends, and I intend to do so. Do you remember Carly and Yvonne? I’ve mentioned them before.”
I scratched my head and looked up at her. The names rang bells, but I was damned if I knew why.
She laughed bitterly. “Of course you don’t. Why am I not surprised?”
I bore the admonishment silently. The full impact of what she was saying would settle in later, I was sure. Right now…did she say I had no hair on my balls?
“If you happened to pay even one iota of attention during one of the instances we talked about my nights out with the girls, you would know that Carly and Yvonne are my friends, they’re a couple, and they’ve been looking into having a kid recently. Surrogacy isn’t cheap, and…”
She looked down at me in my sadly reduced state, and she actually looked a little sad herself. Almost regretful. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite enlighten me as to where that ‘and’ had been heading.
The tinge of sadness vanished and suddenly she just looked irritated. Again. “And I decided you’re a shit of a person and could benefit from being re-raised with some morals,” she practically spat. “You know. The one’s concerning how to treat a woman. There’s that, and then there’s the fact they want a child. Do I need to spell it out for you, Joel? Holy shit.”
The penny dropped, and for the first time I felt some real alarm. Fear, even. The shock had numbed that to begin with, but now that the situation was becoming apparent, I could feel my heart rate starting to pick up. “You’re adopting me off?” I managed to get out. Was that even possible? Legal?
She looked down at me. It was enough to inform me that apparently yes, it was possible.
“You’re selling me off to two queers?”
“There’s no money involved,” she sighed. She rubbed her temples gingerly, as if she had headache brewing. “No selling. Free of charge. Everyone wins but you, and you don’t exactly deserve to win, do you? Also, don’t call them queers. I don’t think they’ll appreciate it.”
My fear was beginning to deepen further into the abyssal cavity of rage beneath it.
“I’LL CALL THEM WHATEVER THE FUCK I WANT TO CALL– ”
“Do I need to spank you again?”
That calmed me down in a hurry. No, she did not, and I was hardly in a position to physically resist if she made an effort to do it.
“How is this even possible?” I settled for. My voice sounded distant to my own ears. Underwater. Christ, how did I get into this? Yeah, maybe I could have paid more attention to my girlfriend…but did anyone deserve this? For God’s sake, I was looking at re-doing half of primary school! “And here? At the game, of all places?”
“I have my ways,” she answered cagily. I clenched my fists, ready with a sharp retort, but she either didn’t notice or didn’t care. “Shall we say I know a certain someone in the next town over who makes pills for these sorts of things. One may have found its way into your drink earlier. Maybe you remember that one.”
I did. The worst Coke of my life.
“And why here?”
She hesitated, as if considering an answer. “I liked the irony,” was what she came out with.
You like the irony?
For a moment, I was stunned. Irony? Of all the excuses she could have conjured to justify this public humiliation, she went with irony? The only ironic thing about this situation was the fact that for someone that had apparently been carrying a chip on her shoulders for God knows how long about her boyfriend, she was shaping up to be a pretty horrible girlfriend right about now.
It was at that moment I came to the conclusion that my girlfriend was clinically insane. Not the “dude, you should have seen Angelina chug those beers last night, she totally downed seven in like an hour and it was totally INSANE!” type of insane. More the “dude, Angelina totally cut of that guy’s legs then fed him his own eyeballs, isn’t that totally INSANE?!” type of insane.
To be blunt, I had been sticking my dick in crazy.
“I’m sorry,” she was saying. She was actually starting to cry a little, as if she had the right to be upset. I wasn’t listening, though; there was no time for it if I was going to get out of here without two brand new mums. I had just sighted her bag leaning against the cubicle beside us. It was unzipped…and was that a pair of kiddie pants I could see just inside? I thought it might be. “Do you think I wanted to turn my boyfriend into a kid? Do you think I don’t know this is ridiculous? That it’s over the top, even for someone that deserves it like you?”
“You have a funny way of showing it if you don’t,” I said nervously, returning my attention to her face. If she saw me looking…
She didn’t though. “I had no choice!” she exclaimed. “Joel, you’re a pig! I could have just left you, but then some other poor girl would come along and then she’d have to put up with – ”
That was my breaking point. I wasn’t going to sit here and spin it as if she had a moral obligation to turn me into a kid. “Angie,” I said sweetly enough.
She trailed off and looked down.
I flashed her the bird. Not once, but twice.
“Go fuck yourself,” I said cheerfully.
With that, I leapt to my feet before she could react and darted forward, snatching the pants (and yes, that’s what they were, thank God) from her open bag and threw myself towards the door. I didn’t spare her another glance, I couldn’t afford to. This relied entirely on the element of surprise, and if I was too slow…
Her fingers brushed against the back of my shirt, and I screamed as loud as my lungs allowed. It was enough to startle her, and it was enough for me to put some distance between us.
“JOEL – ”
That was all I heard of her despairing wail. The door slammed shut behind me, and then I was gone.
There were people milling about, but nowhere near as many as I might have hoped. I was still in the stadium, and judging by the density of the crowd (or lack thereof), it might be the middle of the fourth quarter. It was impossible to know anything except the fact that there weren’t enough people for me to disappear into, and that meant my flight wasn’t over quite yet. Even as I took off sprinting in a random direction as fast as my tiny legs could take me, I heard the bathroom door ricochet off the wall behind me with a terrific clatter as Angelina burst out. She saw me running immediately. It was hard to miss a half-naked kid running full-pelt in a confined area such as this, after all.
“STOP THAT BOY!” she shrieked as loudly as she could to everyone within earshot.
It was enough to earn me a few startled glances, and one elderly guy with a cane even made a half-hearted effort to grab me, but I easily danced out of the way and flew down the hallway. My bare feet padded along the concrete with a terribly audible thwap on every step and the prize I had managed to snag from my psychotic girlfriend’s bag trailed out behind me like a royal banner, but no one paid much attention to me. I was a sight, Angelina was making a scene, but when you got down to it people were here to have a good time. They weren’t interested in playing vigilante when they could be getting smashed on cheap beer.
My theory was proven only moments later. “Go, kid!” some faceless, drunken idiot cheered from somewhere behind me. It earned a mass chuckle from what was presumably a group of his drinking buddies. “Stick it to the man!”
I stuck it to the man. I ran.
“JOEL STONE, YOU MIND YOUR MOTHER AND COME BACK HERE THIS INSTANT!”
My girlfriend’s shrieks were beginning to trail off as the distance between us grew, and that fact alone put new spring in my step. I was going to lose her. It was going to be ok. Maybe it was because her heart wasn’t totally in her own scheme, maybe it was because it was easier for me to slip between people with my smaller stature, but it didn’t matter. She was falling behind. It brought me no relief, but I did allow myself momentary satisfaction. Good. If I was lucky, my bitch of a lover would give herself a heart attack while she came after me. God knew the world could do with a few less crazies.
The relief could wait until I had sorted this out. As Angie herself had said, I still had a distinct lack of hair where it mattered.
For a good twenty minutes, the only time I paused was to throw on ‘my’ pants (plain blue jeans, thank God). They were much less offensive than the childish shirt and underwear Angie had dressed me in, although they did have an elastic waistband rather than buttons and a fly, and they were of course sized for a little kid. Either way, it didn’t matter. Sooner or later, I would be stopped if I continued to run around half naked, and if I was stopped, I would end up back with Angelina. That couldn’t happen.
I stopped for the five seconds it took to slip into the jeans, then went back to my marathon.
I ran blindly for the best part of half an hour with nothing on my mind beside the fear of being caught. I might not look it, but I was twenty-seven years old. I had a career, I had friends, I had a future, I had a life. I did my time as a seven-year old (and as an eight year old, and as a nine year old, and as a ten year old…) years and years and years ago. I had no idea how I was going to fix this, but letting Angie hand me over to her lesbian friends to re-raise as an actual child wasn’t the answer. The thought of doing it all over again made me shudder and inspired me to flap the wings on my feet a little harder.
No. I couldn’t afford to get caught.
So I ran. I ran till I couldn’t run anymore, and then I ran some more. I ignored the curious stares, both amused and concerned alike, and left them with nothing but the metaphorical dust I kicked up behind me to examine. I ran till my face was blue rather than red, and it was only then that I collapsed at a table outside the resident McDonalds branch. I thought I’d run far enough and long enough that I could comfortably say I was safe for the time being, but even if I wasn’t, I couldn’t go any further. I’d be the one dying of a heart attack if I did so, seven year old cardio health or not.
If I’d had any money, I would have bought a drink, but of course that wasn’t possible. All I could do was slowly regain my breath and wonder just what the hell I’d got myself into. I was in a shit of situation, and if I didn’t find a way out it was going to get even shitter. The first thing to plant a branding iron into the front lobe of my brain wasn’t an escape route, though; it was my relationship. It was whether or not blame was due.
Do I deserve this?
That was something of a two pronged question. No one deserved to have their adulthood and maturity stripped away in the manner that I’d had…but was I a bad enough boyfriend to justify my girlfriend doing something about it?
I wheezed my gradually decrescendo-ing wheezing as I considered that question, and it was not without some amazement that I realized that yes, that was guilt I was feeling. Subtle, but certainly there. If I was being perfectly honest with myself, maybe I did deserve to a little reproach. You’d never hear me say “Well I guess I did deserve to have the hair on my balls magically Coke’d away,” but yeah, I supposed I could pay more attention to Angie. We didn’t spend all that much time together these days, and that was more or less due entirely to the amount of time I dedicated to the footie. Maybe she did have a point, hidden away down beneath the layers of Psycho Bitch. Maybe I did owe her more than I gave her, and maybe I could…
My first thought trailed off as a second one occurred to me. Did she really have the right to dictate what I could and couldn’t do?
My lungs were approaching the ‘fully recovered’ stage as I thought about that. So I liked the footie a hell of a lot. Well, so what? Footie was a part of my life long before she was, and it would be a part of my life long after she was gone (which would hopefully be very, very soon, considering the events of the last hour). Surely if I loved it as much as I did, it was her responsibility as a girlfriend to respect that. To understand that. We all have to make sacrifices in a relationship, it’s what makes long-term relationships work. Shouldn’t her sacrifice be accepting that there was as much room in ours for the footie as there was for her?
I gave her more than enough love around the footie, didn’t I? Surely it wasn’t my fault that she was jealous of a fucking game, of all things.
Are you sure about that? Why couldn’t you place her friends before, then?
I nuked that nagging little voice into geocentric orbit. Because she was a nagging bitch, that was why. She probably told me that story while I was watching the footie. She should know that’s the worst time possible to tell me about her life, and if she would pluck her head out of her ass far enough to see how much the footie meant to me, she would know.
I nodded wisely to myself. It was probably a ridiculous expression on a seven year old’s face, but I wasn’t a seven year old. I was not a bad boyfriend. She was psychotic and clingy. End of discussion.
If you say so, buddy. Now what are you going to do about it?
That made me hesitate for a moment, because that was a very good question. Angie apparently had access to some technological or magical fount that pretty much left the most advanced inventions of modern society behind in the dust. It was stupendous that I was even in the situation to begin with, because by all rights it should be physically impossible – I couldn’t even comprehend how it could be done, let alone figure out how the hell to reverse it.
That one stumped me for a few minutes.
I couldn’t exactly go back and get an antidote (if there was one) off Angie, but maybe I could hunt down the source. Maybe I could find where she got it from and talk to someone there that could fix this. She even gave me a hint, didn’t she? “Little pill from the next town over.”
Which could be just about fucking anywhere.
I almost groaned out loud. “Next town over” was one of maybe fifteen towns. We lived in the city, and that was just about as central as it got.
“Are you ok, kid?”
I was abruptly jerked from my musings by the middle-aged lady who had stopped as she passed by. She was wearing a blue and gold football jersey on her chest and had matching stripes painted onto her cheeks. Perfectly visible beneath those was cautious, curious concern. The suddenness of her appearance left me gaping for a moment. What in the hell did she want?
It took me a second to realize how dodgy I must look. Unattended kid not even in his teens, out of breath and stressed to the max. I must look like…well, like I had fled my parents in quite a hurry without permission.
Funny about that.
I’d been sitting here for much too long anyway. If I stayed in one spot, it was only a matter of time before Angie found me. Time to go. “I’m fine, ma’am,” I gave her what I hoped was my most winning smile. “My daddy went to the toilet and I’m just waiting for him here.”
The wannabe hero hesitated…then returned my smile. “No problem,” she said. It was followed by a relieved laugh. “I thought…well, never mind what I thought. Make sure you get back to him soon, ok? This isn’t a good place for a kid to wonder around by himself.”
She smiled at me uncertainly one more time, then took her leave.
I managed to maintain that smile, but inside my heart was galloping. I might know that I was an adult, and I might know that I was a fugitive inside my own body, but no one else knew that. I had to blend in if I didn’t want some do-gooder with a fetish for the spotlight to try and reunite me with my dear ‘mother’. What I was doing right now was not blending in.
Without further adieu, I got to my feet and promptly rejoined the crowds. An unattended child was going to look out of place no matter what, but an unattended child was harder to notice in a crowd. It would do for the time being, until I came up with something better to do.
I still hadn’t figured out how to go about solving this mess.
At that moment, though, a siren went off and rudely blared its way through the din already blanketing the crowded halls. For a second, my mind was blank as I tried to fit it into what I knew and failed.
I stopped. Hadn’t I decided before it must be the middle of the fourth quarter? The only siren left to go off was the very last one, signaling the end of the game.
If it was fourth quarter, though, why were there so many people about?
That got my attention. The hallways may have been deserted when I left Angelina, but they certainly weren’t now. Was it possible that it had only been the third quarter while we were talking, and I had somehow missed the fifteen minute break between that and the fourth? I supposed it might be, and judging by the way people were streaming back towards the stadium, I supposed it must be. I hadn’t really been paying too much attention to my environment; I’d been so absorbed in just getting away that I very easily could have missed a siren.
Apparently I had. The game wasn’t over.
My first reaction was sheer joy. The second reaction was to be cautious of the first one.
I’m not sure you can afford to go back and finish the game, buddy. There’re a few slightly more pressing matters to attend to first, don’t you think?
That was true, but…
Really, what were the odds of Angie finding me? This place was enormous. Finding one kid in a stadium that housed tens of thousands would be like finding a needle in a haystack. Surely I was safe. I’d put plenty of distance between us, hadn’t I? It wasn’t like I was still getting younger and there was any urgent need to find my miracle cure right now, and besides. I’d look more out of place where I was now than I would if I was in there watching the game.
I’d bought my ticket, hadn’t I? I deserved my money’s worth. There wasn’t much of it left, anyway. I wouldn’t be long.
With that, I sealed my fate. A genuine smile crossed my face as I followed the crowds back to the game. We had been up by a fair margin before Angie drugged me and worked her magic, but it was half a game later now and who knew what the score was. Surely we’d still be ahead, though. We’d been undefeated all season, and the first quarter I’d managed to enjoy had seemed to imply that that wasn’t going to change.
That was all I was thinking at the time.
From his table at McDonalds, Head of Security Dennis Reece watched me over the lid of his half-finished coffee.
To be continued and concluded in Part 3: The Price You Pay