The Truth is Stranger part 2
The first thing Alice saw was a small, brown haired child dressed only in an oversized blue robe. She looked over and saw another child dressed in Spiderman pajamas, wearing a space helmet. They both looked somewhat familiar. Confused, she asked "Who are you? Where are Allen and Dan? Are you their cousins or something?"
"No, I'm Dan and that's Allen." Dan said looking down.
Alice looked puzzled, then laughed. "No, really little boy. Stop playing tricks. Where are they?"
"It's really us Alice! Take a good look!" Dan shouted.
Alice took a closer look at Allen. He did resemble her boyfriend a bit. The same dark brown hair, the same brown eyes. Allen looked back at her. She seemed familiar to him. He knew her name was Alice before Dan said it. He didn't know how he knew her, but he did. Suddenly Alice took a few steps back. "Allen?! What happened to you?!"
"What are you talkin' about? You're weird lady." Allen answered. Horrified, Alice turned her attention to Dan.
"You're standing over there in Spiderman pajamas, wearing a space helmet, and you're telling her SHE'S the weird one?" Dan retorted.
"Shut up stupid!" shouted Allen. Dan just smiled and stuck his tongue out at Allen.
"What's going on here?! Why do you both look like little kids?!" Alice demanded. Dan suddenly came to his senses.
"It's a long story, better sit down." Dan explained how he and Allen came across the ray gun and how he accidentally shrank Allen who in turn shrank him just before she drove up. Although he could no longer remember all of it, he was able to piece things together enough for her. Dan showed Alice the plans and explained how they had tried to reverse the gun's effects but couldn't figure it out. Alice sure had no idea what it all meant and the whole situation gave her a headache. She went to the medicine cabinet only to discover just a minimum of aspirin and a few first aid remedies.
"Well, it looks like we need to make a trip to the store to get a few things." Alice stated. "Dan, you and Allen need to get dressed. You can't go to town looking like that." and with that Alice went down into the basement and returned minutes later with proper fitting outfits for both kids. She dressed Allen in an orange shirt with the faded yellow numbers, "55," on the front and back, jeans and Keds shoes. Dan was dressed in an old white T-shirt with blue sleeves, jeans, and gray He-Man velcro sneakers.
"Hey! How come he gets the He-Man shoes?!" Allen demanded. After all, they had plastic He-Man decals on them and you didn't have to bother to tie them.
"Because only the cool kids get to wear He-Man stuff!" Dan answered giving Allen another raspberry.
"Cut it out the both of you!" Alice yelled. "He's wearing them because they're the only shoes down there in his size." After explaining, Alice hurried the boys into the backseat of her car, buckled them in and headed to the store. Most of the drive consisted of Allen punching Dan in the arm each time he saw a VW Bug driving by.
"Punch bug!" Allen would exclaim before hitting Dan in the arm again.
"Ow! Alice! He hit me again!" Dan tattled.
"The next person to hit or bother another person while in this car doesn't get a treat from the store!" Alice stated attempting to calm the two boys down. It only lasted until they got inside the store. The minute Alice got a cart and headed down an isle, Allen poked Dan in the back then quickly hid his hands as if he was innocent.
"Stop it!" Dan yelled. Everyone in the immediate area could hear. This only made Allen want to pick on his little friend more. Soon they were running around the entire store playing tag.
"Tag! You're it shrimp!" Allen would exclaim. Dan would get angry and immediately turn around to chase Allen down another isle. This game continued around Alice the entire time. She just had a defeated look on her face as the other customers looked in her direction. The game was only interrupted by requests from the two boys.
"Oooh! Can we get some of this? Please, please, please! Pretty please! Can we, huh?" they would both chant grabbing various boxes of cereal, candy, and sodas.
"No! I don't have enough money to get EVERYTHING you guys ask for you know?!" Alice would finally answer. Defeated, the boys would continue their game. At one point, Dan got control of Alice's cart and ran around the store with it pretending he was driving a car. Allen would jump on the front and dare Dan to go faster. Of course, the inevitable happened, they soon slammed into a display of Barnum's Animal Crackers, knocking it over. Pretending that nothing happened, the two boys ran the cart back to Alice and left it with her, trying to dump the evidence.
Somehow, Alice managed to check out with just a few of the treats Allen and Dan had thrown into the cart. She thought that the boys would be tired after running around so much, but she thought wrong. The minute they got home, the two boys leaped out of the car and ran around to the back to play on the old tire swing that was still there after all these years.
"Race ya!" Dan said, who was actually ahead of Allen. Allen then picked up speed and overtook Dan who tried to trip him up. It wasn't the most comfortable swing, but it was loads of fun for them. Allen beat Dan to it and jumped on the tire swing.
"Beat ya! Now you gotta push me!" Allen gloated. Dan got around behind Allen and pushed as hard as he could then moved out of the way. Each time the swing came back, Dan would add more speed to it until Allen was getting some good distance between him and the ground. The cool breeze blew Allen's hair around and made it a mess. Dan was getting impatient.
"It's my turn! Lemme have a turn! Come on!" Dan pleaded.
"No way squirt! Not until I finish!" Allen was able to use his own momentum to continue swinging, then began to spin around. "Wheeee!" Allen exclaimed as he jumped off.
"Okay." Dan said as he was getting on the swing. "Now you push me!" Allen got around behind Dan and pushed with all his might. Each time Dan passed by he would add more power behind it and soon Dan was going really high. So high, in fact, that Dan was getting a bit scared. "Not so high!" he whined. Allen just ignored him and kept on pushing. Dan was getting nervous. He didn't like being up so high. "Stop it! I'm gonna fall! Whaaaaaaa!" Dan started to bawl.
"Oh stop it ya big baby!" Allen told Dan as he was letting him back down to a safer speed. As soon as he slowed down enough, Dan jumped off and ran inside wiping the tears from his eyes. He ran past Alice who had just finished putting the groceries away.
"Alice!" Dan sniffled. "Allen pushed me too hard on the swing!"
"Did not!" Allen replied coming in the back door.
"Did too!" Dan argued back.
"Did not! Did too! Did not! Did too!" the boys argued back and fourth until finally Alice stopped them.
"That's enough! You boys go wash up before dinner. We're having pizza." she said trying to please them.
"Pizza!" both boys said with excitement. They both ran to the bathroom and washed their hands in a hurry. During dinner, Dan managed to get a lot of the pizza on his shirt. He had always been a somewhat sloppy eater, but his diminished body didn't help things.
"Sheesh, you're a sloppy one Danny. Let's get you cleaned up." Alice took Dan into the bathroom. She ran a tub full of warm water and poured in some Mr. Bubble she had gotten at the store. She then took off Dan's shoes, socks, pants, and shirt when Dan suddenly remembered something.
"My toys! Let me get some of my toys to play with!" Dan pleaded. Alice sighed and let him go pick out some of his favorite toys to play with. She could hear Allen laughing at Dan who was dressed only in a pair of Transformers underoos, followed by a "Shut up!" from Dan. He then returned with toys in hand and immediately dumped them in the sudsy water. Alice took off Dan's last remaining article of clothing and he jumped in. She laughed a little bit at Dan who seemed to have no sense of modesty whatsoever. She washed his hair while he played with the suds, building them up with his hands into a mountain of sorts and then letting the GI Joes, he brought, climb it.
After playing for a while, the suds became thin and the water began to get cold. Dan got out and Alice dried him off and dressed him in the pajamas she had found in a box in the basement.
"Superman pajamas!" Dan exclaimed. They were indeed Superman pajamas. The "S" symbol on the front was a bit faded, but for the most part it had been well kept. The outfit even had a red cape that could be attached to the shoulders of the pajama's top by way of velcro strips. She put the cape on and fixed Dan's hair and sent him on out. "Ta da! I'm Superman!" Dan yelled while mock flying through the house. Allen saw and remembered that those used to be his pajamas and that he had loved to wear them all the time.
"How come he gets to wear my Superman PJs? He's getting all the good stuff!" Allen asked Alice as she ran fresh water for him.
"Well, they fit him. They would be too tight for you to wear. Besides," she said turning around, "I found you these." She pulled out a set of Batman pajamas in Allen's size. Allen grinned. He liked Batman more than Superman anyway. Allen insisted on undressing himself and got into the tub of sudsy water. He played with the same toys that Dan had brought in and then washed his own hair. He was a little jealous of all the attention that Alice seemed to be giving Dan, but he was a big boy. He didn't want to be treated like a baby.
Soon Allen was done and was dressed in his Batman outfit. He and Dan jumped about the house fighting off imaginary bad guys, and sometimes each other, while Alice made their beds. She had gotten a spare bed out of the closet and set it up in Allen's room for Dan to sleep on. Not that they would get much sleep mind you. As soon as Alice turned out the lights and shut the door, the two boys could be heard laughing. They couldn't sleep. They began jumping on the beds and resumed their game of tag. When they grew bored of this, they quietly switched on the TV in Allen's room and played more video games. This time Allen had the upper hand and was able to beat Dan with no problems. Eventually they got a bit too loud and Alice burst through the door.
"What do you two think you're doing?! Get back to bed now before I get really mad!" she yelled very quickly. It wasn't the fact that they weren't asleep, it was that they were keeping Alice from getting any rest. The two kids looked at her with a horrified expression on their faces, turned off the TV and jumped into bed. Alice groaned and walked back out.
"Boy that was scary." Allen said to Dan.
"Yeah really. Her face was all like this." Dan said as he mimicked Alice's face. They both laughed again, but quickly realized that it could bring Alice back, so they stopped and finally fell asleep.
The next morning, Dan really had to go. He woke up suddenly and quickly made his way to the bathroom only to find that Alice was in there. He pounded on the door. "Hey! Hurry up in there! I really gotta gooooo!" he said while bouncing up and down. Alice just told him to hold it in while she finished. Dan couldn't wait though. In his panic, he decided that it would be best if he tried to go in the back yard.
Allen woke up when he heard Dan yelling and got up to go see. He saw that the back door was open, so he walked out to see what Dan was up to. Dan had his back to Allen and was crying. "What's the matter? Why are you crying? Did Alice yell at you?" Allen asked. Dan slowly turned around to face Allen. He immediately saw what Dan was crying about. There was a dark spot on the front of his PJs and down his leg. "You peed yourself?! HAHA!"
"Shut up Allen! Just shut up!" Dan yelled through the tears.
"You're just a big baby aren't you? Alice having to give you a bath and dress you like that. Now you're out here with soaked pajamas crying your eyes out. Just like a 4-year-old!" Allen stated. He was making sure to rub it in really good.
"I'm not a baby! I just couldn't hold it that long! I really had to go!" Dan sobbed. Just then, Alice came to see what the yelling was about. She saw Dan's condition.
"Oh I'm so sorry Dan! Here, let's get you cleaned up." She took Dan inside and into the bathroom. She shut the door to make sure Allen wouldn't come in to make any comments. Alice washed Dan off with a wet cloth and dressed him in a pair of shorts and a Pacman shirt. Still sniffling, he walked out of the bathroom to face Allen.
"Did you change his diaper?" Allen said mockingly with a smirk on his face.
"Allen!!" Alice yelled. Dan broke into sobs again and ran into the next room. "He's just a little boy Allen! Not much younger than you! Little boys have accidents sometimes. It can't be helped. So quit making fun of him. It's hard enough having to look after you two without you fighting all the time."
Allen sighed. "Okay, okay. I won't make fun of him anymore." he said with his fingers crossed behind his back. Alice gave Allen some clothes to dress in while she went and got dressed herself. She had plans for today. After reading through some of the papers in the hidden closet downstairs, she had come across some interesting documents. She found out where Allen's father had worked and decided to go there and see if anything there had been developed that could restore the boys. Allen came out of his room dressed in a Thundercats T-shirt and black shorts. Dan had calmed down and after breakfast, they got in the car and headed for the lab.
It was sort of a long drive to the lab. Dan still had the Game Boy he had bought while in college and was playing it when Allen would snatch it away. "You're no good at this game. Lemme show you how." Dan was upset, but watched Allen play anyway. When they finally got to the lab, Alice walked in with the boys in tow and asked for the name she saw on the piece of paper.
"I need to speak with Dr. Lane please." The receptionist paged Dr. Lane, but he said he was too busy to deal with anyone right now. Then Alice shouted into the intercom, "It's about Allen and his father!" There was a long silence. The receptionist gave Alice a dirty look, then Dr. Lane responded by allowing them to see him.
"Here, have a seat. The boys should wait outside." Dr. Lane told Alice. She motioned for them to leave and they walked out and sat in the lobby.
Dr. Lane looked to be about Allen's age. Well, his old age of 23 anyway. He had many degrees on the wall and many awards for various inventions. "Dr. Lane..." Alice started.
"Please, call me Richard." insisted Dr. Lane.
"Richard, do you know anything about this?" Alice said as she held up the plans for him. He looked at the plans for some time.
"I thought we had this thing buried. Where did you get this?" Richard asked.
"It was hidden away at Allen's house. From what I was told, his father died in some kind of accident and his mom hid what was there at the house in a secret room." Alice explained.
"I see." he said calmly. "I trust the two boys sitting outside are Allen and his friend Dan." he said as he winked.
"What?! How did you know that the other kid is Dan?" she asked.
"It's a long story. You see, Allen's father is not dead. He never was." Richard stated. Alice was shocked.
"But Allen always thought his father was dead. What happened to him if he didn't die?" she asked.
"It was many years ago." Richard started. "He was working on ways to trick the mind into healing itself from any wound inflicted. You see the mind has vast, untapped potential power. We've only begun to scrape the surface. He worked night and day on a series of hypnotic devices that would attempt to rewire the brain, so to speak. He had almost perfected it when the accident happened. Another scientist was working in a lab across from his when there was a big explosion. Allen's father raced in and saved the scientist, but was badly burned. He had lost a lot of blood and would have died had he not done what he did."
Alice was hanging on every word. "And what did he do?" she asked.
"He decided to use the machine he created." the doctor answered. "It seemed to be working at first. His burned tissue healed and the blood he lost was being restored, but then the machine kept on going. Making him younger and younger. They tried to turn off the machine but it wouldn't respond. They finally had to smash it to get it to stop. By the time they did that, he was just a little 4-year-old. He could still remember what happened for a little while and tried to figure out what went wrong, but by the end of the day his mind was going. He told us to tell his wife that he was dead. He couldn't bring himself to face her as he was. He told us that he had a compact version of the machine hidden at his house in pieces. So he had us tell his wife to put it all away in a safe place in case Allen decided to take up where his father left off. She had another idea. She decided to steer Allen clear of following in his father's footsteps. She didn't want two tragities in the family. Of course, this is just what he had us tell his wife. What he really had planned was to grow up and continue his research. Of course, it didn't quite work out that way."
"So what happened to him? Where is he now?" Alice asked.
"He's right outside in the lobby, sitting next to his son." he stated with a smile on his face. "Yes, we were going to tell him all this as soon as he graduated."
Alice was shocked beyond belief. She simply couldn't believe what the doctor had just told her. She needed some solid proof. "You expect me to believe that?! What proof do you have?"
"I'm the scientist that he sacrificed himself for." he said very calmly.
"Whaaaaaaaaaaat?!" Alice exclaimed. "But you're...you're...so...."
"Young?" the doctor finished. "Yes, you see I've managed to rebuild his marvelous invention. Unfortunately, it is still irreversable. He was the only one brilliant enough to do so. I simply used some of his notes he left on his computer to rebuild. Even that took me a number of years. I, of course, tested it on myself. You can see the results." Alice was still in shock. To provide further proof, Richard showed her the videotape of the entire incident. He continued by showing her Dan's faked death certificate as well as the fake birth certificate. Dan was raised by a loving family who knew of the incident. It was his own idea to stay with them and be Allen's new friend rather than a brother. There was less mess that way. Allen was just a little too young to go to kindergarten that year, so he was still in preschool, which worked out well for them. It was remarkable. Dan really was Allen's father.
"I guess the truth is stranger than fiction." Alice said.
The doctor laughed, "It sure is!"
"So what can we do now?" Alice asked.
"There's not a whole lot we can do." he answered. "I'm afraid they are stuck like that. We could try to correct their minds, but why when they are going be forced to grow up again? It would be crewel." Both Alice and Richard walked out into the lobby to see the two boys wrestling one another. "Heh, I see they're getting along." he joked.
The next day, Richard came over to see Alice to see how she was doing. She was still trying to figure out a way to explain everything to the boys in a way they would understand. One night, Richard decided to take her out to dinner so they could discuss things. Alice was reluctant because of Allen, but since there was no hope for him she decided that it was for the best. They decided to leave the two boys at home. After all, it would only be about an hour. The restaurant was right down the street. She gave Allen the phone number and told him that since he was the oldest, he was in charge. Much to the dismay of Dan.
After the adults left, Allen started in with Dan. "Okay, Alice said I'm in charge. So what I say goes!" Allen stated. Dan gulped. They started by watching TV, but Allen wouldn't let Dan watch what he wanted to. Instead of Spongebob, he was forced to watch the Powerpuff Girls. Then Allen had another idea to irritate Dan. "Let's play GI Joes! I'll be Duke, and you can be the Cobra Commander."
"But I wanna be Duke!" Dan complained.
"No! You've got to do what I say cuz I'm older!" Allen commanded. Dan didn't like it, but played anyway. They both gathered up different GI Joe figures to play with. "Pow! Kablam! That guy is dead! Bam! Now he's dead." Allen said as he killed off Dan's troops.
"No way! Kaboom! I just killed three of your men!" Dan fought back.
"Afraid not! They've got bomb proof armor on!" Allen yelled.
"No fair! You're cheating!" said Dan.
"Stop whining squirt. You have to do what I say remember?" Allen reminded him. Dan just huffed and stomped off into another room. "Fine then! Go over there and cry about it you big baby!" Allen said mockingly.
"I have to do what you say because you're older right?" Dan asked.
"Yep! That's right squirt!" answered Allen, sitting on the floor. Dan had something behind his back.
"Well then." he said as he pulled out the ray gun. "If I'm older then we'll get to do what I say right?" He didn't give Allen a chance to argue when he pulled the trigger. Allen's attention snapped to the light and sound of the gun. Dan watched as Allen shrank. His bare feet began to draw up into the legs of his Spiderman pajamas and his hands became chubbier and even smaller than Dan's. His dark brown hair began to lighten a bit and get a little softer. His arms shrank out of the sleeves and into the pajamas. Just then, the door opened. It was Alice and Richard. Dan stopped the gun and looked at them, terrified at what they would say. Allen sat on the floor. Now just around 3 years old.
"Wha happen to me?" Allen squeaked in a very babyish voice. Before he could manage another word he began to cry uncontrollably. Alice and Richard turned their attention to Dan who was still holding the gun.
"Dan?!" Alice yelled. "I can't believe you did this! Come here now!" She was angry and Dan knew it. It was just a spur of the moment thing. He wasn't thinking clearly. He turned to run and Alice followed behind. Dan was almost to Allen's bedroom door when he tripped. The gun fell out of his hands and landed in front of him, jarring it enough to turn it on. Dan's focus was now on the gun's light and sound. He began to shrink right before Alice's eyes. His feet became tiny and drew up into his, now clean, but also now too big, Superman pajamas. His pudgy hands withdrew into his long sleeves and the outfit seemed to deflate. His hair became very short and feathery as his feet now almost left the inside of the bottom pajamas. Richard ran just inside the room where the gun lay and smashed it to pieces, stopping Dan's regression at just around 2 years old. He stood up and was now only clad in the top part of the PJs. The cape that he had was now dragging the floor.
"Gots widdower!" Dan spoke, just before his legs spazmed and he fell onto his behind. He immediately began to wail along with 3-year-old Allen in the other room. Alice picked him up and placed him next to Allen on the rug.
"I can't believe it. I should have just thrown that stupid gun out! It's all my fault!" Alice cried into Richard's shoulder.
"Now now, you didn't know this was going to happen. At least this way it'll be easier to explain to them." Richard said.
"Explain what?" Alice asked.
"That you are their mommy and I am their daddy." Richard smiled. Alice smiled back and looked down at the two toddlers who both just wet themselves, and the rug, and were still screaming.
"I'll go downstairs and get the left over diapers and baby things packed up in those boxes while you get them cleaned up." Alice suggested. Richard gathered up the two bawling infants and took them into the bathroom and ran a warm bath. Alice came up in a minute with cloth diapers, plastic pants, training pants, and a few baby clothes and toys. Richard then left to go get a few baby supplies while the stores were still open. She took Allen in her arms and bathed him off. He had stopped crying now. "You were going to be my husband at one time, but now look at you. You're a little toddler who needs a mommy and daddy to look after you. I know you were jealous of Dan being babied by me. I heard you talking to him. Now you're both babies and will get the same attention. Don't worry sweetheart. Mommy and daddy are right here and we'll make sure that you both grow up knowing both your parents."
Allen just looked at her confused. "I baby now, an you mommy?" he said pointing at her.
"That's right sweetheart! You're very smart." she praised.
Allen just giggled and Alice finished bathing him off, dressed him in a pair of thick training pants and a blue footed sleeper with Bugs Bunny on it. She then comforted Dan and gently bathed him off in the tub. "And you, little troublemaker." she remarked. "You've been given a second chance at life twice! A rare thing indeed. You've always wanted Allen to be your best friend again. Well, now he's your brother. Too bad you two won't be playing with those GI Joes for a while. They're not safe for babies."
"Sowy Awise." were the last words he would utter, still knowing what had happened. Then Dan squealed with delight as the warm water rinsed over his head. She dried him off and dressed him in a cloth diaper, plastic pants, and a smaller, yellow footed sleeper with a picture of Winnie the Pooh on it. Just then, Richard got back with baby food, formula, bottles, pacifiers, oil, powder, wipes, disposables, and a few other things they would need. Later, he went down into the basement and pulled up the foldaway crib to put in Allen's room. Together, they fed the boys and tucked them into bed.
"By tomorrow, they won't remember any of it." Richard said. He shut the door and turned on the night-light. The two boys lay there sleeping. The best they had gotten along since they had become kids. They both still remembered being big and playing with some kind of toys, but it was all very fuzzy. Soon they drifted off to sleep in a warm sea of fleece and blankets. What memories they had left, vanished in the night.
Richard helped Alice with the legal red tape. It was something he was used to. Alice called the college and where Allen worked and told them that they had both died in a terrible car accident while vacationing. They informed the family Dan stayed with of the situation. They were upset, but understood. Something few people could do. Soon Alice and Richard were married. They had the proper documents proving that both Allen and Dan were their children. Richard decided to sell his/Dan's invention and made enough money off it to live quite comfortably raising two boys. They looked down at their new sons. Two innocent little babies playing side by side. Who would have guessed they had so much history behind them. Not that it matters now. Nothing matters to babies.