Tracy and her mother go to Madame Zelda to understand each other better.
Staci was 17 and had her share of fights with her mother. Actually, a little more than normal. Her dad had left when she was only 8. Her mother, Marsha, felt that a lot of the bickering was his fault. Had Steve stayed with the family things would have been more like the storybook romance that she had always wanted. Or so she thought. Steve rarely made any appearances. Although he still lived in the same town, he kept his distance only showing up now and then to drop off a rare support check or late birthday card. Staci’s initial fear of losing her father had gradually turned into a hatred for him. While Marsha didn’t consider the relationship between her and her daughter to be beyond repair she did feel it was strained. Just the previous day they had argued over buying new clothing. Then her going to a party that evening. It finally ended the way their arguments always do.... with Marsha voicing her dislike of Jeff, Staci’s boyfriend.
That is why she thought Staci’s actions rather odd on this day. Instead of disappearing all afternoon or staying locked up in her room pouting, she wanted to do something ’nice’ for Marsha. Even odder still was where she had driven them. Staci, had driven her and her mother into a rather quaint neighborhood and was insisting that she follow her to one of the houses. It was an older looking house that looked like it could stand some cleaning. Cobwebs lined the corners of the porch. On approaching the door, Marsha could see there was no door bell....only a large brass knocker.
’So what is this place? Something from the Addam’s Family set?’ Marsha asked.
’No, mom! Just come on and you’ll see!’ Staci answered.
Staci grabbed the knocker and rapped it against the door a couple of times. The door slowly opened revealing an old woman hunched frame.
’Yes?’ she asked.
’I was told that maybe you could help me? I wanna do something nice for my mother here.’ Staci said as she motioned toward her mother.
’Maybe..... What is is that you seek?’ the old woman answered. Her eyes focused on Staci and Staci noticed how piercing the old woman’s stare was.
’Like, you know.... Your stuff.... The magic stuff...’
’Staci, what are you doing? It’s obvious you’re just wasting....’ Marsha tried saying before the old woman spoke again.
’No... I think I know what it is Staci seeks. Come in, won’t you?’
Marsha looked at Staci with a look of curiosity as she followed the woman inside. The inside of the house did nothing to dispell Marsha’s original thought about this house being from the set of the Addam’s Family. Candles lit the rooms. The curtains were all drawn. Only a cat....fittingly black...was the other occupant.
’I’m Madame Zelda....Here take a seat, Marsha....Staci....’
’So what is it that you do...that Staci has me here for?’
’Perhaps we should ask Staci....Staci?’ Zelda answered
’I just thought that with all the fighting and stuff we’ve been doing that maybe I’ve went overboard..... but you might’ve ummmm been too uhhhhh hard too...I mean maybe it’s both our faults kinda.... so I thought maybe we could trade for a few days... You be young again and ME be old...older’ Staci explained.
’Trade? Us trade ages? What are you talking about?’
’Ahhhh It sounds like you’ve thought this out! I think I have a spell that would be perfect!’ Zelda replied.
’SPELL!?!?’ Marsha yelped.
’MOM.... It’s not like it’s evil or anything! Just listen to my idea. We’ll trade places for a few days and then we can trade back!’
’I still don’t know what you mean! Are you taking drugs?’
’No....I’m not on drugs! I just thought this would be nice for YOU!’
As they argued Zelda had somehow managed to pick out a mysterious blue stone and also red stone. She handed the blue one to Marsha and the red one to Staci. They took them without thinking and continued bickering.
’Ahem....AHEM...EXCUSE ME!’ Zelda yelled grabbing their attention. ’Would you two please exchange your stones now?’
The two didn’t even realize they were holding the stones. They had been too pre-occupied arguing.
They looked at each other frustratingly, but did as asked.
’OK, Now I’ll take them’ Zelda said as she gathered the two stones up. She placed them in a small box and spoke a few undistinquishable words. ’There we go...that should do it! After the transformation is complete you can trade ages back anytime you want. You both just come here and we’ll reverse the process and reverse the spell!’
Staci looked at her mother but nothing looked different. Marsha saw her staring and began to think that her daughter had lost her mind! What did she expect to happen she wondered? And what kind of transformation..was she supposed to ~think~ differently or something?
’Now, Marsha, the spell should be starting to work now. As you get younger the changes in your body will be rather radical. And Staci, you too will feel radically different. As you get older you’ll feel possibly a bit more mellow. Obvisouly, a few pains are possible...weight gain.... tire easily.... BUT Marsha you’ll feel energy bursting out of your flesh! All your aches and pains will go away....well PHYSICAL aches and pains will go away. Being a teenager isn’t easy....’
’Are you BOTH crazy? What in hell are you talking about?’ Marsha was tiring of this fast!
’Your thought processes will become more immature....to match your body. You’ll still have your memories but they will be filtered through your new body. You’ll think like a teenager. Act like a teenager. BE a teenager! And Staci, yours will change also. Probably be more analytical, less impulsive.....’ Zelda kept talking, explaining the process.
Marsha tuned the old woman’s voice out. She only wanted to get out of here without offending someone who she felt was obviously senile. Marsha’s mind wandered. ’What is wrong with that girl? Bringing me here for some kind of hocus pocus! What a joke! I could be doing lots of other stuff. It’s such a great day just to be outdoors. I mean, like, for sure.... mumbo jumbo magic..Really!... That’s totally crazy! Totally!....Like I could ~trade~ ages...as IF...’
Meanwhile, Staci also had quit listening. She started thinking about her knee that was hurting. She didn’t remember it hurting earlier that morning. She started thinking about how silly she would look if Zelda didn’t really have ~powers~. She even felt a little guilty about the whole thing. Her optimism that this could ever work started fading fast. Her mood soured even more. She really just wanted to get back home and relax!
’....Ladies...Girls... Girls....LADIES!’ Zelda had to raise her voice to get their attention. They were both in deep thought!
’Huh? What?’ they answered.
’It’s finished....they’re still be some mental changes over time but ’The Trade’ has started’ Zelda exclaimed’
’Yeah, ~Right~! Like, you could even do that stuff! As if.... ’ her voice trailed off as she saw a stunned Staci staring at her. A stunned 39 year old Staci! Her clothing was tight on her and it was apparent she had put on a few pounds. Her hair looked dry and dull and even had touches of gray. Her shorts were straining to contain her expanded hips.
’If you’re....’ Marsha said searching for the proper words ’then I’m......’
’WOW!!!! WOW, WOW!!! No wonder I feel so good!’ Marsha said while catching her reflection in one of Zelda’s mirrors. A long forgotten face was staring back at her. Firm, and young. Slightly upturned nose. Long blonde hair. The picture of youth! Unlined hands. She tugged on the waist of her now large pants. ’YES! Better than any diet!...’ ’Ya know, I was always kind of jealous of you ’cuz you could wear those short shorts and and little skirts...and look soooo cute...and sexy ’she said as she pulled her pant legs up as high as she could to show off her youthful legs ’But I got ’em too... now!’ Her hands found their way to her breasts and she giggled ’A little smaller....but soooo perky!’ Teenaged Marsha then danced in a circle in her baggy clothing, shoes slipping as she spun around in them. ’This is, like, a little younger than I woulda probably picked. But, you know, It’s all good!’
’Mother! Settle down!’ Staci ordered sounding a bit annoyed at her mother’s newly found exhuberance.
’~Sorrrrreeee~ ~MOM!~’ Marsh answered sarcastically.
’So what does this cost, Madam Zelda?’ Staci asked.
’I’m just glad you’re pleased. Consider this a gift. Now remember, when you are ready to trade back, both of you just come and see me and we’ll reverse it.’ Zelda told them. ’And....Ahhhh Perhaps you two might want to trade clothes before leaving?’ she then offered.
’Yeah!’ Marsha exclaimed wanting to try on Staci’s now ill fitting shorts and cut off T-shirt.
Staci was actually happy to oblige. She felt more than a little ’strange’ in the clothes looking like she looked now. Her belly hung out over the top of the shorts and the button was threatening to pop at any moment. The sides had already split some. The two began changing into the other’s things.
’Oooooh, look at this’ Marsha said rubbing her exposed mid-section ’I don’t ever remember having a tummy so flat!’
Staci smiled a smile out of obligation and continued putting on her mother’s clothing. Even those clothes were slightly tight!
Finally, Staci had on the knit pants, blouse, and sneakers that were formerly her mother’s. Marsha now had on the cut off shorts, mid-riff exposing T-shirt, and sandals that had formerly been her daughter’s wardrobe!
’Good Luck’ Zelda told them as they left for the first day of their ’trade’.
’So where we goin’?’ Marsha asked.
’I think back home. This has been an eventful morning. I’m thinking a nap is in order’ Staci answered.
’A NAP???? Awww C’mon. How ’bout the mall? I wanna get some new clothes. I mean, I know it’s only, like, a week and stuff, and I could wear yours...but I wanna pick out my own stuff! I saw some girls the other day with these, like, cool outfits. They were sooooo cute! I never dreamed that ’I’ could ever, like,, wear ’em.... ya know? ’
Staci tried to ignore her.
’Awww C’mon..It’ll be fun...We can check out the guys!’ Marsha offered.
’Guys?’ Staci continued driving home. The mall would have to wait she thought.