Mary led Tim out to the park by their house. She didn’t remember this in her current state, but it was a place she would often take “little” Timmy to play when she babysat him. Now she looked like a young mother - a gorgeous 25 year old and her little 3 year old son. The only clue that all was not as it seemed was the unguarded, childish giddiness she carried herself with, and the fact that her “son” seemed to be the sober voice of reason between the two.
Mary’s attention was drawn to the far end of the park where there were many pavilions. There were rows of chairs set up facing a stage. A crowd of people was gathered, and she could see a big sign hanging over the entrance to the largest pavilion.
Mary tried to sound out the words on the sign, “C-o-n-g-r, uh, a-t-u-l--”
Tim cut her off, “It says ‘Congwatuwations Cwass of 2019.’” He was impatient with how slow her phonetic reading was.
“Hey, no fair!” Mary said. “I totally could have read that all by myself. I’m a big girl!” She puffed out her chest and looked down at Tim.
“I’m suwe you couwd have,” Tim said. “Now can we pwease go somewhewe ewse?”
Mary smiled. “No way! Look at all the people there. I’m going to have so much fun with this toy you’re sharing with me.”
Mary walked quickly towards the crowd, arriving in time to see a girl confidently step in front of the podium. She had raven black hair, and looked about 18 or 19.
“It is such an honor to be the valedictorian of Sandalwood High,” the black-haired girl said. She looked at-ease and in her element - like she had spoken in front of crowds hundreds of times, and knew she was destined for greatness. “There’s so many people I want to thank for being where I am today, first-”
“This is so boring,” Mary muttered. “I bet I can make her more fun!”
She pointed the device at the girl and pressed down on the mental adjust button until it said “12.”
The girl had a blank look on her face for a few seconds, before she blinked rapidly and looked around. She looked confusedly around herself. What was all this?
“Uh, wh-where am I? Wh-what’s happening?” she asked into the mic. She took several nervous steps away from the podium.
The old, robed man standing to her right patted her on the shoulder, and gaver her a reassuring smile. He whispered, “You’ve got this Gloria - just read from your page if you’re too nervous.”
Gloria looked wide eyed around the crowd. She had never spoken in front an audience this big, and she didn’t even know what she was supposed to be talking about. Her heart started beating rapidly, and her stomach started doing sommersaults. This was like a nightmare! She hated the spotlight. Especially when it was a sudden surprise thrust upon her.
Gloria tried to clear her suddenly dry throat, and stepped up to the podium. She saw her mom and dad beaming at her from the crowd, but she also saw the hundreds of eyes seeming to bore into her. She looked down at the unfamiliar page, and started to nervously read.
“I-It is s-such an honor,” she said, taking a large breath, “to be valedictorian of Sandalwood High.” What the heck was she reading, she wondered? Was this some sort of prank? “There’s, um, so many people, uh, people that I want to thank. First, my parents-”
Gloria heard someone giggling loudly and looked to see a gorgeous woman laughing in the back of the crowd. Gloria froze up. Was the woman laughing at her? Gloria felt her cheeks burn. Her vision started to get blurry and she could feel her knees locking up. Her heart threatened to beat out of her chest. She realized something important.
She needed to get out of there.
“This is s-stupid!” Gloria shouted loudly. “I don’t even know why I’m here.”
Gloria ran off the stage and the crowd was silent for several moments, except for Mary trying to stifle her laughter.
Mary turned to Tim.
“Wasn’t that great?” she said. “That lady totally forgot what she was going to say!”
Tim couldn’t help but feel bad for Gloria, but he knew what would happen if he told Mary this, so he kept his mouth shut.
“Alwight, you’ve had youw fun,” Tim said. “Now go and tuwn hew back.”
But Mary wasn’t listening. She was straining to listen to a murmured conversation in front of her.
A blonde-haired girl with pink lipstick and a bedazzled graduation cap was talking to the red-haired girl beside her.
“Serves that nerd right!” the blonde girl said. “She was always so *mature* and *perfect*, it’s nice to see her taken down a peg.”
“Yeah,” the redhead said. “I used to get tutored by her, and she always used to talk down to me like I was a little kid.”
Mary grinned with sudden inspiration. The blonde girl hated Gloria for her maturity, and the redhead hated being treated like a little kid - what if...
She pointed the device at the blonde girl first.
The blonde girl shifted in her seat. The pants she was wearing under her graduation gown were starting to feel tight, and she found herself unconsciously adjusting her bra strap as her shirt seemed to tighten.
The redhead’s eyes widened in alarm. “Stacy, I somehow didn’t notice until now, but did your parents get you a boob job for graduation or something?”
Stacy looked down, and realized what her friend was talking about. She had suddenly filled out a ton in mere seconds. However, she wasn’t done changing yet. Her face lost the luster of youth, and was replaced with that of an older woman.
“And you’ll have to tell me your make up routine!” her friend said. “That make up makes you look so mature… Maybe a little too mature. Are those wrinkles under your eyes?”
“What are you talking about?” Stacy said, pulling out a compact mirror. “Oh, my god.”
Stacy was looking like she was just past her prime. She was still fairly attractive, but her breasts were sagging, her stomach was no longer flat and tight, and her face had the slightly worn out quality of a woman in her late thirties or early forties.
Stacy screamed when she saw a white hair appear.
Tim was apoplectic. “Mary! You can’t be this obvious. Someone is going to realize what’s going on.”
Mary didn’t like this development either. If Stacy started loudly freaking out now, her fun might be interrupted. She looked around for a button that she hadn’t used before, and found a bunch of promising buttons on the side of the device.
“G-l-o-ba-l a-w-a-r-e-n-e-s-s?” she sounded out.
She pointed the device at the girl and clicked it, and suddenly she wasn’t freaking out. Her friend seemed to calm down as well. The display now read: ‘Global Awareness (Stacy): Off’
Tim blinked and suddenly couldn’t remember what Mary was doing. He was sure that Mary had been doing something with the device, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Mary noted this fact with satisfaction, and picked up where she left off.
Stacy continued to age, her skin becoming even more wrinkly, her hair becoming whiter and whiter, her body losing its tone and tightness. When Mary was done, Stacy looked like she was in her 70s. Mary was happy with Stacy’s change, and switched her attention to the friend.
Mary pressed the global awareness button, and then pressed down on the mental and physical buttons until the display said “5.” Then she walked up to the 5 year old who was swamped by her graduation gown and tapped her on her shoulder.
“Hey, do you want to go and play on the playground?” Mary asked.
“Sure!” the little girl said. “I wanna make a great big castle!”
Mary was happy to have a kindred spirit, and the two girls raced to the sandbox, leaving Tim behind. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but something was strange about Mary’s new friend. But his thoughts quickly turned to Gloria, the valedictorian. She had seemed terrified when she had run off, and he was amazed that no one seemed to have run back to comfort her, not even her parents! No concerned boyfriend. No best friend to go and dry her tears. Not even a teacher or administrator.
Tim felt a sinking sensation, as he realized just how alone Gloria must really be. If that old woman, Stacy, was any indication, her classmates were all jealous of her success, and her parents were probably the types who only cared about excellence no matter the mental, physical or social toll it took on their daughter. What must her relationship with her parents have been that even they wouldn’t go and comfort her? There was no way to be sure, but he had sudden visions of an ambitious, but lonely girl with a single-minded focus on her studies. No time for companionship, or fun, or a normal life outside of academics.
Tim ran as fast as his three year old legs would let him towards the direction Gloria had run. Eventually, he found her crying and sitting on a swing.
Tim put a tiny hand on her knee.
“I’m weally sowwy,” he said.
Gloria jumped at the sudden voice, but her gaze softened a little when she saw the toddler. She sniffled, and tried to dry her tears with her gown.
“What are you sorry for, little one?” she said tenderly. “It’s not like you’re the one who transported me into a living nightmare where I embarrassed myself in front of all those people.”
Tim looked sheepish. “I mean, it wasn’t *me* exactly, but my babysittew has a powewful device and is going on a wampage and she wuined youw speech!”
Gloria smiled in spite of herself. The little kid had such an imagination, and he was clearly trying to comfort her. She decided to humor him.
“Well, your babysitter sounds like a mean and nasty monster! Why if she’d do something like that, then she probably wouldn’t stop at putting you to bed much earlier than you want to either.”
Tim frowned, “You, you don’t beweive me, do you? Ugh, look at youwself. How owd do you think you awe!?”
Gloria looked down, and gasped. She had been so caught up in her nightmare scenario that she hadn’t even noticed. In her head, she was 12 and a late bloomer with all of puberty still ahead of her. But…
She stood up and started twisting her head to try and get a better look at herself. She pulled off her graduation cap and gown, and looked at the dress clothes she had on underneath.
“I’m older!” she said, surprised. “I look so old and mature.”
“That’s what I’m twying to tell you!” he said. “My babysittew made you think you’we younger.”
“Wait, younger. Not older? So this body - this is the real me? This is what I’ll look like when I’m older?”
Gloria couldn’t help but grin. Maybe this cloud had a silver lining after all. If puberty was going to be this kind to her, then maybe it was worth being put into a horrible situation.
“I need youw help,” Tim said. “Mawy has the device and is going to mess with other people if we don’t stop her.”
“What can I possibly do?” Gloria asked.
“You’we big, wight?” Tim said. “I’m too wittle, but maybe you could get the device away from hew.”
Gloria looked at the ground. If what the kid was saying was true, then she owed this “Mary” a little payback. Maybe she could return to normal, and give her a taste of her own medicine.
Gloria hugged Tim. He never regretted being in the body of a three year old more than that moment. She was beautiful and vulnerable - he knew that if he had his usuall teenage hormones and the body parts to match, he would probably lost in this moment, but instead his body let him down. It was weird to intellectually know he should be very turned on right now, and to just feel… nothing.
“Thank you for telling me about this. I’ll help you, kid.” Gloria released him. “You aren’t a kid, though, are you? She made me think I’m younger, and she must have made you think you’re older.”
“Cwose,” Tim said, “but not quite. I used to be thiwteen, but she made me thwee.”
Gloria was surprised. This toddler was *older* than her. Then she reminded herself that, apparently, she wasn’t actually 12 - she was still older than him, she just didn’t remember what it was like to be an 18 year old.
“Alright, let’s go see what your babysitter is up to.”
* * *
Mary and her new friend (who she had learned was name Bethany) went to the sand box and played for a time. Bethany had removed her oversized clothes and was playing barefoot in nothing but her graduation gown, which the two girls had tied to fit around her. After they had made and destroyed several sandcastles and other shapes, Mary saw a man and a woman approaching the sandbox.
“There you are, Bethany!” the man said. “You know better than to wander off like this. You’re too young to be playing alone - now let’s go back to yout high school graduation.”
“But I want to play with Mary,” Bethany said.
The woman put her hands on her hips, “There will be time to play with Mary after everything is over.” The woman turned to Mary, “Thank you for taking care of her, by the way, miss. We were worried when we saw her chair empty.”
However, Mary was already pointing the device at Bethany’s parents.
* * *
“That’s hew ovew thewe,” Tim whispered. “I don’t think she sees us.”
“The woman playing with the three kids?” Gloria asked.
“That’s the one,” Tim said. “Wet’s get the device back."