Remember how I said that Larabee’s inventions were more trouble than they were worth? That I found that out the hard way? I did. It was… unpleasant, to say the least. That much I have already said. What I may have failed to mention was the uncanny talent I was developing for predicting the worst.
And that, I feared, would be even more of a problem than I already had.
Clayton glared at Larabee. “I am still five. I do not want to be five. This has lasted long enough. I know that you can fix this. You can. I am sure you can. I believe in you.”
“You’re about a minute from killing me, aren’t you?”
Clay smiled thinly. “You know me so well, don’t you?”
“At least you are only five. I’d actually be worried if you were your normal size.”
“If you don’t get me back to my normal size soon, it won’t matter if I’m only five,” Clayton warned, pointing a small, fat finger at Larabee. “I will make sure you pay for this. I am not doing school again. I am not starting over at five years old.”
“They would all think you’re a genius.”
Clay shook his head. He didn’t care about being thought a genius, not like Larabee clearly did. “Not the point, Larabee. I’ve done that. I don’t want to do it again. I need to move forward with my life, not back. I thought you wanted me to be a hero and all.”
“I do,” Larabee agreed, “but what I really think you need to do is find a positive way of looking at things. You could try and roll with the punches a bit more, you know. You might not have the greatest superhero ability in the universe, but you have one. You can do amazing things, and I think that you need to appreciate it a bit more. I also think that if you had to start all over at five, it wouldn’t be that bad, either. You’d be hailed as a genius, you could finish with school early, and you would have the chance to do it right the second time around.”
“The first time was hell. I don’t want to go back. It could be worse.”
“Bright side, Clayton, look on the bright side.”
“Why do I suddenly get the feeling that there will be a chorus jumping out and singing that Monty Python song?” Clayton asked, frowning. He looked around, but the chorus didn’t come. Still, he had a bad feeling anyway.
“Try this,” Larabee said, handing him a pill.
Clayton surfaced from a very dark and murky pool, exhausted, feeling like he had just barely saved himself from drowning. He opened his eyes and looked around.
“What? Where… I am… I’m me! It worked. Larabee actually did it. He fixed it. I’m me!”
Clayton looked at him. “What do you mean, mostly?”
Larabee grimaced, pointing to Clay’s shoulder. He looked behind him, staring in horror at the flesh writhing around his back. Then the tentacle smacked him in the face.