Second Time

by

Máire Flynn

 

 

 

It’s not too difficult to explain how we coped with January 22nd with such relative ease.  One has to remember that humanity has endured famine, war, and genocide to name a few true horrors.  One cannot deny the chaos that followed the Event, but the psychological effect of what happened was far different from any natural catastrophe of such scale.  If anything, it was the seemingly supernatural qualities of the Event that saved us from a total breakdown in society.

 

–Getting it right the Second Time

  by Theresa Wineard

 

 

 

April Showers

 

April, 2005

 

Joseph could hear the shower running in the next room.  It was Molly, of course.  The kids took baths and were proud of it.  For any adult who was conscious of his or her age, a shower was a little way of showing it.  He smiled at the thought of her lathering her breasts, running her long slender hands over an equally slender body.  Her mouth opening with a sigh of pleasure as the hot water came pouring onto her.  Taking a shower with her had always been fun.  Even after having the kids, it was one of the few times they could find intimacy, saying nothing of spontaneity. 

He felt a little something stirring under the covers and smiled.  He did not get as randy as he used to, but there were still times.  It was doubtful that she would be in the mood this morning, but he climbed out of bed anyway and headed towards the bathroom.  He tried the doorknob, and was pleased to find it unlocked.  He eased the door open and quietly stepped in.  He pulled the curtain back with a snap and shouted, “Hey howya doin’!”   Molly shrieked and instinctively brought a hand down to her bare privates and rubbed the suds out of her eyes.  “Damnit!  You scared the hell out of me … I thought you were one of the kids!”

            “Sorry, I heard the shower running and thought I would join you.  We could save water that way.”  He undid the string and dropped his favorite pair of boxer shorts to the floor.  Molly glanced down and smirked.  “I’m glad your little winky supports water conservation.”  Most words like that from a wife would have caused some trouble, but it seemed to only drive Joseph nuts in a good way; and after all, it was true.  He looked down at his penis and blushed, which was still quite small, even if the Event had happened over two years ago.

            “Well, get in and shut the curtain – you’re getting the floor wet!”  Joseph stepped into the shower and put his arms around his wife.  He was aware of his penis pressing against her bare flesh and felt a twinge of guilt.  It took several months after the Event before he and his wife felt comfortable being naked around one-another.  Molly took his small genitals into her hand and kneaded them delicately.  “In twelve years, I’m gonna have to throw a welcome home party for Mr. Winky Senior.”  She pressed up against Joseph closer and kissed him.  Luckily they had gotten over it, for the most part.

Joseph looked down at Molly’s chest pressed against his.  “I’m thinking the same thing about my two buddies that are missing in action.”

Molly glanced down at her chest and blushed a little as well.  “Yeah, I miss em too … I guess every woman does nowadays … Except maybe Emma.”

“Emma?  I figured she would be missing them the most … they were magnificent!”  That won Joseph a punch to the shoulder from Molly.  “Ow!”

“Watch it buddy!”

            “Seriously though,” Joseph continued under his wife’s critical gaze, “she had the type of breasts any guy would kill for.”

            “Any guy?”

            “Well, not me.”

            “Right.  Sure.  The reason why she doesn’t miss the twins any is because they were causing her back problems.  That’s the price for double-E mammaries, hon.”

            “I never thought of that when I saw her… wow.”

            “Yeah I bet you were too busy thinking of other things, right?”  Joseph was in trouble, and his wife was in a better position to physically get her point across than she used to be.  Two years ago, she was a head shorter than him.  Now, she was somewhat taller and probably a little bit stronger.  But that was what happened when the entire adult population was given the bodies of small children.  He also never stopped to think that maybe women found it unfair to be on average shorter than most men during adulthood.

            “I lost a tooth today,” Joseph said to her, trying to change the subject.  “It’s the second in a year so far.”

            “Ooo, show me where you lost it!”  Molly said with genuine excitement.  Joseph opened his mouth and tongued the empty spot where a canine tooth had once resided.

“That’s great dear!  I’ve got one that feels a little loose.  At any rate, I’m glad we’re growing up, even if it takes forever.”  For many, it was a big deal to grow up again.  Many adults felt that they had been robbed of their lives and bodies, and that was essentially the truth as far as Joseph was concerned.  Every baby tooth, every inch marked on the wall by magic marker, every set of clothes that no longer fit like they did a year ago – it all meant they were on their way back to normal.

The two child-sized adults lathered up each other’s body and rinsed off without talking much more until Molly ventured, “Ya know, I’m thinking bath time should be more fun … the kids have all these really neat toys, and here we are, just standing around.”

“But honey, we’re adults!”  Inside Joseph, there was an adult speaking, but Molly still found his words a little hollow, considering that they were coming from a prepubescent boy.  “We can’t just go around behaving like kids again.”  Joseph reached for the huge faucet knob and turned the water off.  He stepped out of the shower and grabbed a towel, which wrapped around him like a toga, it was so big on him.

            “And why not?”  Molly asked defiantly.

            “Why not?  Because it is our adult discipline and our responsibility that sets us apart from all the kids running around out there.  Did you hear about that boy who pretended to be his father for a day before someone finally caught him?  It’s a good thing that his father was a cop and not an air-traffic controller.”

            “Yeah Joseph, but his Dad ran off with another woman.  That’s why.”

            “Exactly!  We have to be responsible; we can’t just be acting like children regardless of what we look like.  Or were you taking a nap during the president’s speech?

“I don’t care what the president says we are.  When he has to sit on a booster to address the nation, I don’t think of him as an adult, I think of him playing dress-up.  And that’s what this is all about now.  We may have responsibilities, just like always, but we’re playing dress-up.  It’s hard for me to take anyone seriously anymore.  I went to Victoria’s Secret to look at their new sizes … I even tried on a couple of things.  It really weirded me out, to be honest.”

            “That’s normal behavior, though!  I don’t even know if I would want to see you in lingerie… not yet at least.”  Though he did admit to himself that the image was probably adorable.

            “Yeah, but I think we’re in the minority … there were girls trying on stuff there that I wouldn’t be caught dead in.  They had schoolgirl outfits and costumes that had bunnies and kittens.  Have we all become a bunch of pedophiles?  I mean Jesus H. Christ, I was looking at crotchless underwear that could fit our daughter!”

            Honey, we’re not pedophiles… that’s why it’s required by law that everyone carries an ID card with the date of birth plainly written, so some guy doesn’t take a real six year-old home with him for a one night stand.”

            “I agree with the ID cards, and I guess I can agree with Victoria’s Secret as well … but look at what’s happened to us.  Have you ever stopped to wonder why the clock got turned back on us?”

            “They think it might be some sort of distortion of space-time.”  He didn’t even believe that, and was unsure of why he even bothered saying it.

            “Right.  Some freak distortion two years ago turned us all into four year-old toddlers, including our seven year-old daughter.  Don’t you find it odd that everyone who was a day over four was regressed?” 

            “Gee, no I don’t honey.  It was perfectly normal to me, how about you?”

            “Stop being a smart-ass to me, Joseph!” little Molly whined.  “I’m trying to make a point here.”

            “What is your point, angel dove?” 

There were times when Molly wanted to box her husband’s jaw a good one, and this was one of them, but she continued.  “What I mean is, here we are stuck with the bodies of children for several years to come, and maybe it wasn’t the curse that so many people think it was.

“I was at the Wal-Mart buying Michael a Transformer and Cynthia a Barbie, I realized how much I treat her like a six year-old, even though she’s nine.  She had three years added on to her childhood, and I don’t think it bothers her one bit.  My first thought was, ‘Must be nice.’  But then I realized that although she was given three years, you and I have practically been given a whole new lifetime!  How in the hell could this be a curse?  This is a blessing, don’t you see that?”

“A blessing?  Molly … you’re starting to sound like those neighbors of ours.  Did you know their whole family has naptime and bath time together?  That’s really messing up their kids, if you ask me.  What happens when they grow up and have children of their own?”

            “When they grow up they probably won’t teach their kids to be ashamed of their bodies.”

            “So you want to have bath time with our kids?”  Joseph asked, giving her a look of undisguised shock.

            “That’s not a bad idea Joseph.  I think I will start having bath time with my daughter at least; it’s nothing that I haven’t seen before.  Heck, maybe you should start bathing with our son Michael.  You mentioned saving water, so now’s your chance.”

            Trying to go on the offensive again, Joseph said, “So you decided all of this while shopping at Wal-Mart?”

“Uh-huh.” Molly said while standing on a stack of books and on her tiptoes, leaning over the sink with her mouth open, examining her loose tooth in the mirror.  Unwilling to try pulling it out too early she gave up and finished drying off, and put on her favorite bath towel that she had owned for years.  It wore more like a tent now, but she was determined to keep wearing it till it tattered or she grew back into it – whichever came first.  She crossed her arms, both hands obscured under loose fabric.

“I picked up that huge Barbie box and held it in my little hands and looked around, Joseph.  I saw two girls – I am certain that one of them was the mother.  She and her daughter were picking out dolls together, and I wish you could see how bonded they were.  I nearly started crying … because I know for a fact that they were going to go home and play dolls together.  I looked back at the box in my hands – my six year-old hands, and realized that in addition to being thirty-nine years old, I am also a little girl … and so is my daughter.

“Christmas morning, I want to tear open my presents with her … I want to play dolls with her … I want to play house with her, I want to play outside in the spring and get completely dirty because me and her wanted to make mud pies.  When me and her get around eleven or twelve years old, I want to be there with her when she starts menstruating, because I’ll be starting too.  I might start before her … she might before me, but we’re going to be on the same level.  Me and Cynthia are going to go bra shopping, and me and her are going to grow into women … together.  She’s going to discover boys, and both of our hormones are gonna start raging, so you better watch out.

            Joseph chuckled at her threat.  “Honey, you better watch out for me, that’s all I’ve gotta say.  I had my first wet dream at thirteen.  I don’t know what I’m gonna do with my hormones and a beautiful girl lying next to me.  No, wait … yes I do.”

            Molly giggled at that and blushed.  “Ya know, there is an advantage to us having diminished sex drives and underdeveloped bodies.  It means that we save ourselves for each other and in as little as seven or eight years we get to lose our second virginity with one another.”

            “I had never thought about any of this before,” Joseph said, feeling sort of ashamed.  “I only worried about all the obstacles that could spring up and screw up our lives.  Before January 22nd, I would look at my daughter and promise myself that I would beat the hell out of any punk that would ever hurt her…  But now, if that happens that she gets hurt by some prick, I’m not going to be a man on the outside … I’m going to be built like a teen.  I was always sorta skinny.  What if some two hundred pound Neanderthal ends up being the punk who hurts her?  Will I have the balls to fight him?  Hell yes.  Will I survive the fight?  That might be a different story.  I worry about these things, but you were already working on the solution.  You’re going to be her best friend, and if we can all be best friends, and not just family, we might avoid such a mess.

            “And Michael, I guess it’s a blessing after all that everyone got shrunk down.  Chiefly because he was too young to really understand what started happening that day, but also I’m in a position where I can be his best friend, his big brother, and his father.”

            Molly came up and embraced Joseph tightly and kissed him warmly.  The kiss lasted for a while before they reluctantly broke loose from each other.  Molly looked into his deep blue eyes and said, “One good thing about intercourse no longer being an option, you’ve gotten much better at using your tongue.”

            “Well, in that case, before the kids wake up,” Joseph began, “mind if we go into the bedroom so I can practice a little?”