Remember I said it was a disaster that proved the most useful?
I certainly didn’t think so at the time. I was standing, covered in some unholy goop, something I didn’t even want to think about because I had no idea what could be in it—though it might be part spandex, of all things, and that was bad enough. I did not want to know. He never, ever had to tell me. I just needed to go home and clean up.
I was thinking of a long, hot shower when I looked at my hand and sighed. I was a kid again. I wasn’t going anywhere, not for at least another twenty minutes. Larabee, on the other hand, might have needed medical attention.
Admittedly, I wasn’t all that inclined to help him. I was still mad at him for the ooze that covered me. And the spandex. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive him for the spandex…
“Larabee,” Clayton said, trying to shake the other man awake again. He couldn’t do much. The inventor was out cold, and it was going to be a very long twenty minutes. He didn’t want to sit here, covered in ooze, and he had to hope that whatever had knocked Larabee out was not going to cause any permanent damage—that he didn’t need to be taken to some emergency room or he’d die. It wasn’t that Clay really wanted him dead. He didn’t. He was still pissed about being covered in whatever this crap was and having a random shift right after that was never a good thing.
He wanted to go home and clean up. Nothing else. He didn’t care anymore. The idea of finding clothes that he could wear no matter what age or size he was—it had been a long shot to begin with, and he did at least try it. If nothing else, he had found someone who believed him about his powers, someone he could call next time he had a case of the chicken pox and couldn’t leave the house.
That was something, right?
“Larabee, wake up. Now,” Clayton said, hating the sound of his voice at the moment. It was almost… squeaky. He did not like being squeaky. “Come on. Wake up. You know you can’t—you’re… Um, the spandex is calling?”
“Calling?” Larabee opened his eyes with a frown. “Clay, did you really just say the spandex was calling me?”
“Try and deny that it was.”
Larabee grunted, shaking his head. “Sarcasm isn’t right when you’re five years old, you know. It’s… Somehow wrong.”
“I’m not five.”
“Technically, no, but you look and sound five,” Larabee reminded him, putting a hand to his head as he slowly sat up. “Oh, man, the lab is totaled. They’re going to fire me for this.”
“Nice knowing you, buddy.”
Larabee gave him a look as he got to his feet. “I could probably clean part of it up. This is such a mess. Did you slip and fall after you changed or what?”
Clayton sighed. “No. I changed after the room exploded, lucky me.”
“But… your clothes. You changed them, right? Because normally when you’re a kid like that, you’re flopping around in big sleeves and threatening to hurt me. I have to say, being small brings out a violent side in you. Perhaps it is a form of compensation—Ow! That actually hurt.”
Clayton folded his arms over his chest. “I can kick you again if you don’t shut up. You’d better clean up your mess while you still have a chance of convincing them not to fire you. Of course, this is your home lab, but still, they pay for the equipment, right? So they’re going to fine you and fire you.”
“Yeah, probably, but if I show them this, it will so be worth it,” Larabee said, grinning like the mad man he was. He pushed Clayton toward the refrigerator, and Clay shook his head. He refused to eat anything that had ever been stored in there, and the other man knew it. “Look.”
“It’s a refrigerator.”
“At your reflection.”
“Yay. I’m five years old. This no longer has any novelty for me. It stopped being fascinating after the first day or so. Really. I don’t need to see it again.”
“You’re missing the point. Check out your clothes.”
“They’re covered in ooze. Or goop. Whatever it is.”
“Look under that.”
Clay stared at the reflection for a moment, humoring the other man. He just needed to wait a few more minutes before he could shift back to his regular size, and then when he did—he’d split his pants. They… fit. His clothes fit him right now. He looked five, but his clothes—that was the same suit he’d been wearing when he got slimed, and now it… had shrunk with him? Was that even possible?
No, but then he shouldn’t be able to change his age, either.
“You going to try and change back again?”
Clay shook his head. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to. He found the child forms useful on rare occasions, but it was a lot better just to be himself. “Hasn’t been twenty minutes yet.”
“I know, but… you have to,” Larabee insisted. “You so have to try because if it does what I’m hoping, your clothes will still fit.”
“How is that possible?”
“I have no idea,” Larabee answered, which was pretty much what Clayton had been afraid of, “but it’s pretty damn awesome, right? Think about the possibilities! You can just make your whole wardrobe switch with you.”
“And smell? Because this stuff smells.”
“We can work on that. At least your clothes wouldn’t be too big or too small when you shifted and you wouldn’t have to hide in the bathroom waiting to have a body big enough for your clothes.”
“That would be nice,” Clayton agreed. He looked at his sleeves again. They were just the right size. Not spandex, and the right size. It was like a dream come true. Except for the one problem. It had a potential to outweigh the good. “But we’re going to have to do something about the smell.”