One Size Fits All (Part II)

Jan 8, 2003

By Eagle

This next chapter is mostly background, and turned out rather dark, I'm afraid. Those that depend on transformation descriptions will probably be disappointed. Anyway, the premise of One-Size-Fits-All should be a little more clear and provide opportunities for further writings.

Suggestions and comments are welcomed!

One Size Fits All (Part II)

The nondescript warehouse on Pritchard Street was mostly ignored by those that passed it. A few curious pedestrians, drawn by the natural curiosity that usually gets people into more trouble than they bargained far, would stop and attempt to gaze through the cracks formed by the boards nailed over the small window on the front door. Their curiosity was satisfied with a view of an empty room, an empty space visited only by the occasional rat that filled the walls of the surrounding buildings.

As they turned to leave, some of them (though they would never admit it to anyone else) were filled with emotions that can only come from the depths of childhood: memories of their mothers, smiling down at them as they snuggled in warm sheets, games of Candyland and Chutes and Ladders, and even the pain of a scraped knee or lost toy. If they stood there long enough outside of that door, some might have even felt the overwhelming desire to go inside. And if they were to look long enough through that dirty glass, they might have even seen what appeared to be a group of children lost in a game of hide and seek. Only a very small number actually turned the rusty knob, which was never locked, to go inside. The few that did never reported back to tell what they saw, but as the door closed, sounds of laughter would lead one to believe that they found exactly what they were looking for.

The county tax office officially attributed ownership of 411 Pritchard Street to an Ethan C. Moore, but Mr. Moore was not aware that he even owned property in the state. His ledger, filled with entries of real estate from around the world, was void of any mention of an old warehouse. Like most of the other buildings around it, 411 Pritchard Street was forgotten. The once thriving garment industry in the industrial section of the city was lost forever to the low-wage earners of China and Mexico, and the last remaining clothing factory had given its workers their final paycheck many years before.

It should come as no suprise, then, on the morning that Rupert Downing first saw the delivery truck depart from the loading dock of 411 Pritchard Street, seemingly without a driver at the wheel, that he would stop dead in his tracks. True, the jovial owner of Fred's Liquor Store had been especially generous to him the previous evening by tossing in an extra fifth with Rupert's typical daily purchase of three-dollar whiskey. (Rupert was a whiskey man, thank you very much, and thought that any beverage that looked like water probably offered the same rewards as a sip from the fountain in the lobby of the Salvation Army where Rupert currently kept residence.)

The effects of Rupert's current insobriety were slowing diminishing, so it was with relief that he surmised the driver of the delivery truck was not some ghostly phantom, but a particularly short young man sitting on the very edge of the seat in order to reach the pedals. Rupert was able to make his observation as the truck turned onto Smythe Street right in front of him, headed towards destinations unknown. For a moment, he and the driver made eye contact, and Rupert realized that he was looking at a kid, not much more than seven or eight. As the young driver smiled, Rupert even caught a glimpse of a gap in the front of the lad's mouth.

Rupert also immediately remembered, in vivid detail, the night that he lost his first tooth. He was only five at the time, and his father, not known in the neighborhood as a merciful man, had pulled out his loose tooth with the aid of some twine and a swinging door. No, Rupert would have traded his dad for Fred at the liquor store any day. But he also remembered the excitement of placing his tooth under his thin pillow at the urging of his mother, who, unlike Rupert's father, still believed in the magic of childhood.

Like images flickering on the screen of the local theater that Rupert sometimes snuck into, the memory of the next morning filled his head. Reaching under his pillow to see if his tooth was still there, Rupert felt instead the hard edge of coin. The dime, no doubt left there by the Tooth Fairy, was all his and was destined for the candy store down the street as soon as Rupert could get there. The joy of his discovery under the pillow was only slightly ebated by his other discovery under the sheets.

He was wet again. Cold, clammy wetness, which was concentrated in his groin and spread outward in a large circle, was the reward from Rupert's other nighttime visitor: the Pee-Pee Fairy. (At least that was his father's explanation, delivered with the sneer of a man long since removed from the innocence of youth.)

As the truck completed its turn and continued on its way, Rupert realized that he was crying. He also realized that warmth was spreading in his crotch, accompanied by a large wet spot that was growing down his pants leg. The young driver shot him a wave as he faded out of sight, and Rupert could barely make out the writing on the back door of the truck: One-Size-Fits-All, Incorporated.

The truck disappeard behind a curve, and Rupert glanced back at the empty factory as he shuffled down the street, trying to ignore the cold wetness that was quickly overtaking the warmth from his latest accident. He almost missed the flyer that was carried by him on the breeze of the departing delivery truck, but he reached out and snagged it just in time. Printed carefully in the scrawl of a child just learning to write was the advertisement: One-Size-Fits-All, coming to a store near you!

Rupert wished he could lay his hands on a pair of dry pants, Any-Size-At-All would do, thank you very much. He smiled at his own joke and continued down Pritchard Street, guided only by the desire to wrap his hand around another bottle of forgetfullness, as the latest delivery from One-Size-Fits-All, Incorporated continued towards the intersection between dreams and reality, a place that children know best, but that anyone can find if they want to.

To be continued...