Baby Joan has been diapered, and only have a few moments left to live, but who really has the last laugh?
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. None of the characters, places, or anything else is meant to be represented by anything in reality. Duh! Fiction, get it? I the author reserve the rights, so please don't go posting this anyplace else without my permission. A very special thanks goes out to everyone out there in BCTS land who have encouraged and inspired me to write and keep writing.
He could still focus his eyes, but his ability to speak had disappeared as his brain continued to regressed to the point where his speech centers were only shadows of an adults. At times he wondered if this was some kind of punishment from on-high. What had he done to deserve this? His being trapped in this small helpless body and the many indignities that had been heaped upon him.
Despite the clear plastic of the incubator he could see his daughter and wife looking at him. He had to keep from despair knowing what they were seeing. The man he'd been, the father, the husband was gone replaced by a small helpless child.
Although he'd kept his sense of self far long than he thought possible, the end was coming soon. Hoping they would remember the sign gesture, with great concentration he lifted his so small hand, keeping his middle two fingers closed in the American sign language short hand for I love you.
“I forgive you.” He mouthed as best he could, before exhaustion overcame his small body and sleep claimed him one last time. A smile was on his lips remembering the present he'd left for his 'best' friend. There were things that could not be forgiven.
“I'm sorry Mrs. Sloan.” The Doctor shook his head in disbelief what he'd witness these last few months. “He'd just regressed to a state where his body could no long sustain life even with mechanical assistance. Unlike the others, he simply got too concentrated an exposure.”
The woman turned away and left while the daugher just stood there as if trying to comprehend what had happened to her father.
“Daddy's gone.” Maggie cried to her mother.
“He's been gone for some time.” The older woman took a drag of her cigarette.
“You don't get it do you?” The young woman stared at her mother who because of second hand exposure from her father looked ten years younger than she once had just a few months ago.
“The man who carried me around on his shoulders.” Tears fell from her eyes. “Who rescued me from ants, bees, and spiders, he's gone. We buried him in a child's casket today.
“He didn't run off with a younger woman.” Scorn colored her voiced. “Or divorce you for cheating on him. He's dead!”
“The second that spill happened at the plant, he was dead.” Her mother took another drag, blowing the smoke into the air.
“Is that why you treated him like a little child?” Maggie's anger at herself made her even more bitter. “Is that why you encouraged me to do so too?”
“His last days alive and what did we do?” Her face was a mask of sorrow. “We humiliated him, by pretending he was the baby he appeared.”
“Maybe.” Her breath caught. “I had my disagreements with him about things I've done. Maybe, I resented his grounding me so often, but I loved him too.
“And what did he do in his last moments?” Maggie broke down crying again. “He told us he loved us. The ones who mistreated him so badly in his last days alive, we broke him down in tears!” She held up her hand in the 'I love you' gesture she'd learned to talk to her deaf grandmother.
“Ridiculous.” The older woman snorted, flicking ash off her smoke. “He'd lost any sense he had long before then.”
“I hope you're so very happy with your share of the insurance money.” Wiping her tears away, she had only disgust for the woman in front of her. “You won't be seeing me again. Daddy changed the beneficiaries to both us to make certain I had funds for any college I desired. I'm out of here.”
The door shut behind her.
Angrily she snubbed out her smoke. How dare Maggie speak to her that way! She so wanted to yell and scream in her husband's face because all of this was his fault, but of course she couldn't.
The smoldering ashtray was a reminder that she'd started smoking again just because he hated it. She'd quit after he'd wouldn't stop nagging her about it. He'd lost both of his parents to cancer, he'd argued. He'd didn't want to lose her too.
All this was impossible! Men do not turn suddenly into women, and sure as hell not into baby girls. However, that is exactly what happened.
If not for Ron, she might've gone crazy. She was a grown woman damn it, and she had needs. He was there for her when that sniveling little girl her husband had turned into could not satisfy her any longer.
She hung her head at how petty and small that sounded now. No matter their fights, she and John had always made up. Sure he had his hang ups like with the smoking, but for the most part he had his reasons. He'd given her a beautiful very intelligent daughter whom she'd alienated by being such a bitch.
Shaking her head in angry denial, her tears ran down her cheeks anyways. Alone she cried for the man she'd loved and in the end had dreadfully wronged.
Ron sighed at all the dramatics, doors slamming, and women crying all over the joint.
Going to John's bar, he poured himself a drink. He had to admit, the Whiz Kid stocked the good stuff. Settling down in the overstuffed recliner, there was nothing like enjoying the fruit of others labor.
Ron had long admitted, John was smarter and worked harder than he ever did. Those long hours, however, was why his 'friend' and Jennifer's relationship was so rocky. On the other hand, while those smarts and hard work had pushed John high into the company, Ron had risen as well by playing the politics and good old boy network.
It was what he was good at. The big boss was a golfer? Ron took lessons and talked to the man's caddies. The VP loved to fish? Guess who picked up a new hobby. The company's Whiz Kid inventor was a little socially inept? Want to wonder who got a new best friend?
It came up aces that the Geek had a gorgeous wife and a hot teenaged daughter to boot. Maybe he hadn't been able to use this crisis to get into her panties, but Mama MILF was more than a good enough consolation prize.
When serendipity dropped into his lap, Ron was there to take the reins. That bursting catalyst vat wasn't the disaster that so many at the company believed. It was the goose that laid the golden egg. John had gotten drenched and a half dozen others had also been exposed if not near as badly.
When all of them not only survived, but started growing in reverse, getting younger, it'd baffled the hell out of everyone. It'd taken John the Whiz Kid to ID the bacteria that'd impossibly been growing in the bottom of the tank. He'd christened it Soma-Ras-Bacteria for the Elixir of Life from the myths of India.
The chemicals in the vat should've killed them all, but that rainbow colored bacteria did stuff unknown to medical science. It healed and rejuvenated them. However, John not only grew younger, but lost his dick too.
Ron had to give it to him. John had figured out a way to stop the others from regressing as far as he did even if they did still end up slots. Still, he knew he wouldn't want to be a teenaged girl no matter how much younger that would've made him or how potentially long he could live.
However, he did know an opportunity when he saw it. It'd been him who'd pushed for John to be put on 'medical leave.' How would it look to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Inspectors, OSHA, to have a kid who looked like she should be in junior high working with dangerous chemicals and compounds? After all they had been breathing down the company's neck ever since the accident.
It had worked. For John to come up with a cure was no part of Ron's plan. As a matter of fact, things had worked brilliantly. He'd comforted the grieving wife, who only needed some deft manipulation to see things his way. The hot daughter was still enough of a teen to be foolish and vengeful. It was child's play to egg them on to treat their former husband and father as a baby girl. That effectively ended any chance of the Whiz Kid pulling a miracle out of 'her' ass by continuing the research at home.
This was set not to just make millions, but billions! The Fountain of Youth was in the bottom of that vat and animal testing had proved the results were reproducible. There were some bugs to iron out like that turning into chick thing, but data was suggestive that depended on the type and amount of exposure to the substances the bacteria produced.
Ron never knew that baby 'Joan' had carefully raided the liquor cabinet after finding proof of his betrayal. Knowing Jennifer disliked brandy, there was a good chance that only Ron would touch the stuff. Very carefully she let her saliva run into the bottle so it wouldn't be easily spotted. Normally, the liquor would kill any bacteria which dared enter its environment, but not the stuff in this toddler's body. It was special and could survive in places no other could such as the bottom of a vat of caustic chemicals.
“Thanks John!” Ron lifted his glass in salute taking a swallow of the expensive, but contaminated brandy. The Soma-Ras-Bacteria grateful for a new home began to grow and multiply.
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