On the way home, Miguel’s mood swung wildly, from shame to fear to anger. Hey, Rosa had talked him into doing this in the first place, right? And now, at 16 years his senior, she seemed like an old lady to him.
Maybe he’d be alright. Maybe Juanita wouldn’t tell her mother. Waking through the door shattered all hope he had had.
The living room was in shambles, lamps, ash trays and other small items were smashed against the wall. The large mirror in the hallway now lay on the floor.
Miguel trudged upstairs and caught Juanita through a crack in the door. She was packing. ‘Oh, oh,’ he thought.
Slowly, like a man walking too the gallows, Miguel entered thorough the doorway of their bedroom. Rosa sat on the bed. She looked as shattered as the mirror. That pathetic face. All of the anger deserted him now, and all that was left was a pain in his heart for what he had done to his wife.
“Rosa..” he started to say. Rosa held up her hand and stopped him. “I’m leaving you, Miguel”.
She stood up, grabbed the packed suitcase and started for the door. Desperately, Miguel blocked her path. “Rosa, please don’t leave. “I am sorry, and I love you. “Please say you’ll stay”.
She paused in front of him, and as he was beginning to think he was turning her, she slapped him hard across the face, pushed him aside and again headed for the door.
Just as she got to the exit, Miguel shouted. “Stop!”. The power of his command froze her in her tracks. She did not turn around.
“Rosa, please don’t go. “I deserved that slap. “Hell, I deserve a lot more than that. “But, if you leave me, I’ll die” “Please, stay, just a few days until you are sure about leaving”.
Rosa was not sure. She did not want to go. This was her home, and her and the children had no place to go, no relatives to stay with.
Slowly, she turned to face him. There was no spark in her eyes.
A relieved Miguel said: “Thank you Rosa. “I will make it up to you, I promise, I will do anything that you ask of me. Just give us another chance”.
The days went by, but the situation did not change. Rosa was like a block of ice, not showing any give in their present situation. His kids were not much better. Juanita still would not speak to him and Carlos, sensing that this was all Miguel’s fault, held it against him for disrupting the family.
Several weeks went by. Miguel was starting to give up hope that they would ever return to normal. But one day, Rosa approached him.
“Miguel, do you want me to stay with you?”
“Oh yes, Rosa, I love you. Yes”.
There was a hard look on her face. Miguel wondered what it was all about.
“Miguel, I have been in touch with the men at the clinic. “They have a new version of the drug that you have been taking and they are looking for more volunteers to try it on.
Miguel was shocked. “But Rosa, do you know what that would mean. I would get younger again, perhaps even lose my manhood. “I…….”
And then it struck him. That was exactly what Rosa wanted. To punish him in the worst possible way. By taking away his strength, his will, even his sexual function, Rosa would not longer fear that he would cheat on her again.
Miguel lowered his eyes to the floor. In a soft voice, he said “What you ask, Rosa, is a lot”
His wife’s face did not change. “There is nothing to think about, Miguel. “Either you do this…..do this for the family or I am divorcing you.”
What a predicament. Either he gives up his family, or takes the damn drug and give up his roll as parent and head of the household.
He stood there, silent for a long time, hoping for a way out of this mess. But there was no give in Rosa’s face.
What could he do? He loved her, not that damn girl at the store.
Finally, he gave up a big sigh…”Okay, Rosa. “You win. “I will take the drug”.
Rosa watched as the doctor readied the shot to be given to her husband. This time, Miguel noticed that the liquid in the syringe was red.
The doctor came over and injected him. This time, it hurt. “Ouch!” he said. “How many more of these will I need?”
“None” the doctor said. “This drug is much more powerful than the one you were given before. There might be a side effect or two.
“What?” asked Miguel, sarcastically “Will I get younger?”
The doctor chuckled, but stopped when he realized that he was the only one in the room laughing.
On the way home, Miguel began to feel dizzy. He skipped dinner and went straight to bed. There he stayed for two days, his body wracked with fever. Rosa’s mood had changed. She was warming up to him now, almost like the old Rosa.
On the third day, Miguel was able to get out of bed. The mirror confirmed that he was no longer 22. If anything, it looked like he was losing a year per day.
He looked only 19 years old now. A trip to the clinic confirmed that he, indeed, had lost three years of growth. The doctor told him that the drug appeared not to be slowing down, and he knew his days as an adult were numbered.
On the next day, Miguel was 17. Now twenty years younger then when his journey had started. His clothes stopped fitting. His underwear hung off of him like a sack. He was losing muscle mass at an alarming rate. The hair on his chest began to disappear, as did his now thin wispy mustache.
And the next day revealed a boy of 16. Now devoid of his mustache, his chest had shrunk and he looked thinner than he ever remembered being. The scale at the clinic revealed him to be 5’5”, a two inch loss in height, and 120 lbs, a full 30 pounds lighter than the man he once was. ‘Please stop’, he whispered secretly. But it didn’t stop.
The next day, he became a 5’4”, 116 Lb, 15 year old boy.
Rosa had instructed her children not to say anything to him, but that did not keep them from staring.
His diminished height was evident when he ran into Juanita in the doorway. She was as tall as him now. And what about tomorrow? She would be taller than him? He felt so helpless. That evil drug was deconstructing his body. Not only that, his mind felt different, like he was also losing his intelligence, having trouble thinking like an adult all of the time. And his voice, that stupid, honking goose, kind of voice that young boys had. He would just as soon not talk.
And so it continued. He dreaded going to bed that night, and when he awoke, he got still younger. 14 years of age. 5’2”, 100 lbs of nothing but skin and bone. He no longer resembled a man at all anymore, but now was a lanky boy
Miguel trudged to the shower. Rosa had left him a not saying that she wouldn’t be back until that afternoon. So, he was surprised to hear voices as he dried off and stepped from the shower stall. Someone grabbed him from behind. It was Juanita. “Hey, cut it out” he yelled and struggled to get away, but his 17 year old was nearly as strong as he, and he could not make any headway. Finally he stopped struggling and stood there, naked in his sister’s grasp. “Okay, Juanita, what the hell are you doing?” He heard footsteps coming from the hallway; and in the doorway stepped Guliana, his former lover.
Miguel felt humiliated. “Hey” he shouted and tried again to break free. Again he failed. He hated the thought of this beautiful girl seeing him in his present, shrunken condition.
Guliana walked over and stood in front of him. He had to look up to meet her eyes. And in those eyes was hatred. “Why hello JORGE” she said with contempt. “Why haven’t you called me. “Were you too busy Shrinking”? She looked down at his privates when she said that. ‘Ouch’ he thought. But that was all he thought at the time. He was a virgin at 14 and terribly shy around girls. And this is how he felt now; no longer in control, afraid of the unknown.
“What’s the matter, boy?” Guliana spit, “Don’t you want to make love to me like you did last week?” She moved closer to him. Her breasts hung huge in front of his face. Juanita had let go of him, but the two had him cornered. There was nowhere to run.
His former lover moved in even closer as he shrank away from her. “Guliana, stop” he muttered, trying to reason with her. But she was enjoying herself.
“Now, now, JORGE’, here I am, in front of you, just like the other day. Don’t you want to touch me”? She emphasized this by grabbing her breasts with both hands and pushing them together. “Don’t you want to touch them, little Miguel?”
Miguel was afraid. He was not used to this, not experienced anymore. All he wanted to do was get away.
“Don’t you want to touch my boobies, Miguel?” she repeated.
Miguel dropped his eyes and turned his head away. “N-No” was all he could say.
Apparently, Juanita had had enough. “Come on, Guliana, I think we’ve had our fun”.
Guliana looked at the boy’s face, then her eyes traveled down to his exposed groin. “I suppose you’re right” she sighed. “He can’t do much with that little boy’s dick that he has now”. Her gaze returned to his face. “See you, runt”. And she and Juanita turned and walked out the door.
Miguel spent the day in his room. His depression faded as the day wore on. And so did the memories. He could still remember what had happened, but was relating to it less and less as an adult. By night fall, all he could remember about the incident was that his stupid sister and her girlfriend had caught him coming out of the shower and they had seen him naked. “Stupid sister” he said aloud “When I am a man again, I will show them a thing or two”
The next day, Miguel awoke as a 13 year old. 5’0”, 95 lbs. He was a shell of his former self.