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And a Little Bit of This'd Get You Up,

And a Little Bit of That'd Get You Down

Part VII & Epilogue

by Sumner



As Gary watched in astonishment, Jenna kept growing younger and younger: her once-shapely physique melting away like an ice cube in a sauna, her shoulders shrinking in length, and her face fast losing its adult sophistication. The transformation took on a rapid pace as Jenna grew nearer to the stopping age of one year.

"Not this!" Jenna wailed, realizing her coach was quickly turning into a pumpkin. The loss of her boost to twenty-five was normally enough to jar her, but her descent all the way into childhood threw her into a fit of tears. And flow the tears did. Jenna's voluptuous breasts were long gone and her cheeks filled out with baby fat. She soon hit that stage where her teeth and ears were too large in comparison to the rest of her. As the lack of drugs took its toll, she ran her hands all over every inch of her body feversishly, wanting to know exactly what changes were taking place, shreiking every time she felt herself growing smaller. "My legs!" she yelped, seeing them shrink into the chunky legs of a growing child. Of course, she was growing the wrong direction.

"What's happ--" Gary was cut off in the middle of his question, when he saw that Jenna's face make that unmistakable shift, going from a "kid" to a "toddler." Her chipmunk cheeks and pug nose returned, making her appear just as she had in daycare fourteen years ago. She was now back to the age where being naked wasn't quite so taboo. Her cries -- now painfully high-pitched -- sounded like any run-of-the-mill infant's wails.

"Jenna! What is this??" Gary screamed, walking to the bed, all the while staring at the helpless baby writhing like a worm on his bed. It all started clicking: Jenna, the crush, the passionate winks she would throw his way during his lectures, and now this. Gary knew of the "Youthie" drug, having seen it advertised regularly, and occasionally overhearing student's talk about it. He knew it reduced age by five or so years with each tablet, but he was unaware of the side effects if left unbalanced. Jenna's little face was beet red with anger, embarrassment, and a flood of other emotions, all wrapped into the physique of a 12 month old baby.

Thankfully, he had not regressed any further; the effects Jenna suffered must have been triggered by some sort of time release, he thought. He felt his chin once again and marveled at how fine and delicate it was, like nothing had ever grown there. He ran his fingers along his sideburns, again noticing how silky he had become, how the hair just stopped all the sudden and there was nothing but the smooth, barren skin of a young boy.

Time to call the police, he thought.


Outside Shay's department store, Jason and Susan walked along the roadside, holding hands and looking tired. A 54 year old woman in a teen's clothing and a seven year old boy in almost neon-colored Frog Fighters regalia. How could all this have happened? Jason knew the incidence of Youthie abuse had risen in the last few months, and now it appeared he could add himself to the rising statistics.

The blare of a car horn prompted both of them to turn toward the street.

"Hey, you two need a lift somewhere?" a handsome black man spoke through the window.

"Actually," Susan immediately said, "yes, we do."

"Well, hop in. It's starting to rain out there."

The exhausted couple invited themselves into the man's Sedan, which smelled of pine airfreshner and cigarette smoke. As he pulled past Susan's abandoned car, the man asked, "And where might you be headed alone at night? And with a kid?"

"Oh, our car stalled back there and, well, it's just been one of those days," Susan tugged at skirt trying somehow to disguise the fact that she was dressed entirely inappropriately for a 54 year old woman. Though the clothes still fit, except for around the waist area, it was still painfully obvious that something was amiss there. The gentleman driving took her directions and and attempted some small talk on the way to Jason's house. She thought she caught a few quizzicle glances coming from his side of the car, but he never pried further than her and Jason's name and destination. The drive seemed unbelievably short -- then again, the debacle they'd gone through at the mall and Shay's seemed like years in comparison.

When they reached 4356 Silvertown Road, they thanked the good Samaritan and exited the car with both a feeling of vague triumph and a mild nausea when they considered what awaited them inside.

"Now or never, I suppose," Jason said.

"I hope everyone is OK."

"I just hope it doesn't look like a nursery," Jason gripped Susan's sweaty, wrinkled palm.

An adult-sized shadow moved in the window. Jason and Susan looked at one another in curiosity. As they approached the door, a female figure came bursting through it. In the dark, Jason couldn't quite make out her identity, but soon the voice gave her away.

"Jason, is that you??" Britney huffed, appearing quite panicked.

"Britney! You've got to help us," Jason ran toward her.

"What happened? Stephen and Shelly dropped me off early from the camping trip, and so I, like, figured I'd come over here. But when I knocked on the door, nobody answered, and I went in..." Britney was nearly out of breath, and Jason knew that wasn't a good sign.

"And... everyone's... like... turned into babies!"

"Damn," Jason said, smacking his fists together. "We were right. It works the same way on everybody."

"What? Youthies?"

"The entire family took them as part of a present from Mom, but the drinks and capsules got mixed up and most of them ended up too young, and they were left without reversal tablets for more than four hours," Jason explained.

"What happened with you?" Britney entreated.

"It's a long story..." Jason dropped his head.

Noticing a lull in the conversation, Susan spoke up. "Oh, I'm sorry. I'm Jason's girfriend," she clarified, shifting her weight back and forth from foot to foot nervously. "He's right. It's been a long night."

"Well, you two need to check out the house. It's totally insane," Britney said, walking them up to the front door. Once again, Jason was submerged in a wave of embarassment when he realized his head didn't even reach the height of Britney's generous chest. Granted the evening taken as a whole had done a lot to desensitize him; he'd never been so many different ages in one night.


The disaster was as Britney described. Everyone -- Roger, Nina, Katherine, Linda, Mark, and John -- were reduced to wordless babies, all crawling around like bugs in the living room. Little heaps of clothing rested all about the room, the only vestiges of that night's initial normalcy. The crowd, now interchangeable in their babyhood, couldn't even be told apart from one another, except for boys and girls. It was the first time in a while Jason had felt tall in comparison.

"Mom?? Dad??" he yelled, but the squirming children did nothing but gurgle, spit, and cry. "They seem to be acting like real little babies. What's wrong with them?"

"Maybe if left this way they start to regress mentally too," Susan added as one of the babies grabbed onto her leg and looked up, sunny and happy as ever.

"Britney, take my parents' truck," Jason ran to the kitchen and returned with keys in hand. "Go to the Heidegger Pharmacy on the other end of town. It's a long way, but I know they stay open 24 hours."

"All right. You Frog Fighters hang tight," Britney said. Jason scowled at her. Why did people insist on making these types of situations even more humiliating by addressing him like a real seven year old?


"So, you say you started regressing when, Mr. Donnovan?" Officer Hobarth asked, writing everything on a legal pad.

"Well, I don't know. We were... well, we were..."

"Making whoopee?" the officer said in the same deadpan voice.

"That's one way of phrasing it," Gary held his man-sized sweat pants up with his hands. His bony little legs felt even smaller inside the overly-abundant pantlegs. As the officer talked, his mind wandered: how would he explain this at work? would he lose his job?

That's it. I'm moving he thought.


"Where is she??" Jason asked, jingling some keys over his cousin.

"Well, Heidegger Pharmacy is like 45 minutes away," Susan replied, feeling close to sleep.

"You little rabble-rouser," Jason said, still trying to entertain one-year-old Mark who was lying on his back, giggling wildly. "You know, you started this whole thing, yes you did. You are a little pain in the ass, yes you are."

"Oh stop it, Jason. He's just a baby right now."

"Well, baby or not, he's still Mark... and I'm gonna kill him when he grows back up."

Another hour passed, then another. Soon, the four hour mark was drawing near once again and Jason was getting anxious. He'd stopped playing with the children, and gone off to get something to drink. Susan had fallen asleep, no doubt drained by the day's activities and her aged body. Jason wandered back into the living room and saw what almost approached a peaceful scene -- the first he'd seen in what seemed like forever. Half of the babies were asleep, the other half were playing quietly to one side of the room, and Susan looked calm and serene lying on her side on the couch. Jason sat down next to the playpen he'd occupid earlier that evening and sighed. He rested his head against the arm of a nearby chair and trailed off for a moment.

Then, the sound awoke him. The grandfather clock. It jarred him out of dreamland and it took a moment for him to regain his composure. Oh, what? where? But it soon dawned on him. The clock chime only twice. It was two o'clock in the morning. He inspected the room and found the same scene he'd fallen asleep to.

"Britney??" he called out and only succeeded in waking a couple of the babies. No answer. "Oh, my God."

"Wake up, Susan, wake up," Jason said, shaking his girlfriend's spindly shoulders. "It's been four hours!"

"What?... What... is it?" Susan slowly broke free of her coma. Jason stared intently into her eyes. Did she look younger? She did.

"The clock! Britney's not home yet with the tablets!" a six-year-old Jason bawled.

"Oh, no," Susan realized the gravity of what was being said. She wiped her eyes.

"Am I any younger? Tell me if I look different!" Jason said.

"Jas, oh no, Jason!" She watched her friend take the elevator back down once again. His tear ducts were were quickly filling, and tiny streams started to curve down his fattening cheeks. It took almost no time... five, four, three. The reaccurring nightmare. Soon, Jason joined Mark and the others on the floor, though he still had his adult mind. If I could just hold on...

Of course, the effect started on Susan as well, sending her cascading down through her forties, then thirties, back past her old age. She shrieked when she saw she was her old self again for a second, but it didn't last long enough. In a matter of minutes, Susan had the body of a ten year old, her cheeks puffy and crimson and her boobs nowhere to be found. It seemed the rest of the Schaffer party was doomed now as well.

Suddenly Britney rushed into the room, brandishing a bag full of Youthie boxes.

"Quick! I had to talk them into giving me this many. Hurry!"

Britney dug into the bag and pulled out a handful of reversal capsules and handed them to Susan, who swallowed one immediately. Her breathing slowed when she felt the regression stop and begin to reverse itself. "Just a minute, Jason. We'll have you back to normal in no time."

Susan, who's stabilized at fifteen or so, and Britney hurriedly mixed up reversal tablet drinks with glasses of water. Measuring out each one approximately, they fixed the drinks and returned to the living room. Jason was the only baby who crawled toward them and yanked at Britney's pantleg. She fed him the drink and the effects came fast.

And so it went with the others. One by one, the guests returned to their normal states, though most showed problems readjusting. It was disconcerting seeing so many grown people, in the nude, scratching their heads and wondering how old they were.

"God, I hope this didn't do any permanent damage," Jason said, coming downstairs and fastening his pants (thankfully, a men's size this time). Susan and Britney were working dilligently to get some clothing onto the confused relatives. Somehow, seeing his aunt and uncle and mom and dad half clothed didn't bother as much as it would have otherwise. He was just relieved to see everyone looking a little bit like themselves.

"An evening of delight," he whispered to himself.


Doctor reports several weeks after the incident showed the family to be back to normal, mentally and physically. The only side-effect was a kind of short-lived amnesia that prevented them from remembering anything about the episode in question. This led to many odd exchanges and attitudes afterward, not the least of which was a fair amount of skepticism.



"Happy Birthday!" Katherine shouted, spraying silly string into the air. "The big two-one!"

"Really, you guys didn't have to go to any trouble. I said I wanted something small."

"Well, I don't think we went overboard at all. Besides, what's a birthday without a cake and presents?"

"A small birthday," Jason replied with a smirk. "But I appreciated the thought."

Jason's mom had that radiant glow emanating from her face -- the same one she got whenever she had some surprise planned. Jason was just glad to see that cake, presents, and decorations were as far as the festivities would go this time. He never was one for ceremonies and rituals; to quote Rocky, for Jason it was "just Thursday." He liked to celebrate with friends afterward: go out, maybe a have a drink this time, fool around. The usual family birthday had grown stale the last few years.

All the same, he felt proud to finally be 21, the official societally-sanctioned year of maturity. All the legal vices were now open to him and what a sweet, sweet feeling it was. A unique kind of freedom, for sure.

The double-chocolate cake hit the spot and the Jason smiled upon opening several new CDs.

"Well, Jason, how did you like it? Good?" Katherine cut another slice from the cake.

"Oh, yeah. But no more, please. It won't fit..." Jason grabbed his stomach.

"How about a Coke?"

"Sure, Mom."

Jenna sat, bored and speechless, opposite Jason. Her birthday was only two months away, but it wasn't even 18. She'd have to wait another year for that honor.

"Well, this definitely turned out better than the last birthday event."

"Jason, dear, let's not get on that subject again," his mother said as she popped the top off his soda, "we've been over that too many times already." There was always an air of disbelief about Katherine when it came to the Youthie trouble they'd had half a year ago. It seemed the doctors had been correct -- because only Jason, Susan, and Britney had any recollections about that night. The rest had been wiped clean, due to everyone's prolonged stint as infants. The family often joked that Jason had made the whole thing up.

"We have one more present for you, Jasey," Katherine grinned.


"It's waiting in the living room if you want to see it." That glow was still on her face.

"All right," Jason said, getting up and walking toward the living room. His mother seemed more excited than ever, and he could swear he heard whispering coming from around the corner.

"What is this?" he laughed.

"You'll see," Katherine said, with John and Jenna following behind her.

When Jason rounded the corner, his jaw dropped.

In the living room, an entire party of people waited. Some adults, some children. He looked closer. He recognized most of the adults... some relatives and parents of friends. But the kids. He studied collection of six year olds sitting on the floor, playing to their hearts' content. Then he could feel his gut sink when he realized who they were. Among the chatter of the adults, he heard someone say, "And this new kind is even more fun, since they think they're children for a little while too."

"Oh, that's marvelous. Seth and Kristy look so cute together! You know, I went shopping with Kristy the other day for her wedding gown and did you know that place downtown..."

"Mom!!" Jason snapped, feeling the end of his sleeves slink over his hands.

"Oh, it's just for couple hours, honey."