Big Baby!

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium

Submitted: November 26, 2017

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Submitted: November 26, 2017

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Big Baby!

 

Part 1.

 

Jessie, my big brother was one of those kids that just seem to know everything, at least as far as science was concerned. It almost seemed like he had been born with a science encyclopedia for a brain, or at least had digested one when he was very young.

 

It seemed odd, because everyone else in our family was so....average. My Dad had a ‘normal’ job, my Mom worked part time in a convenience store, and I, the middle sister, was just ticking along at school getting average grades or sometimes lower.

 

My Dad said perhaps he took after his uncle Sid. He always used to spend his spare time out in his shed, pottering around and coming up with ideas for inventions. The fact that none of them ever worked did not seem to put him off.

 

Well, then, you can’t compare me to him then, can you,” Jessie had been quite insulted. “My inventions always work.”

 

He had stormed back to his room leaving us all speechless. We’d never seen his inventions, had no clue of what they were let alone if they worked, and were quite taken aback by his outburst.

 

And then there was Joe, baby Joe, who was just starting to find his wobbly legs. As he said nothing other than ‘Da’, ‘Ma’ or ‘Ga’ yet, it was impossible to know if he had inherited the ‘genius gene’ or not.

 

Jessie’s room was strictly out of bounds. He even did his own tidying, sorted out his own laundry, just so that Mom did not need to go inside there. She looked on it as some kind of achievement, that he had grown to be so independent, but I knew it was something else entirely. He just did not want anyone to see inside his room.

 

There was rarely any banging or crashing coming from his room. Jessie did more intricate things, and was more likely to be working with a screwdriver or wire cutters, than a hammer or a saw. Several times I’d peeped inside when the door happened to be open, but he’d see me and quickly shut the door before I got much more than a quick glance.

 

These last few days though, he has been ultra-secretive. If he is out of his room he has his head in a book, the cover of which he keeps covered up and out of sight. Even when he’s spooning his cereal into his mouth his eyes are fixed firmly on the pages. He does not even look up when the phone rings and Mom goes to answer it. It won’t be for him, he’s not the sort to get kids calling for him.

 

It’s for Mom. They need her to work and Dad has already left. Cathy, the usual baby-sitter is away on holiday so what can she do?

 

Don’t worry, Mom,” I say. “We can take care of Joe for a couple of hours, can’t we Jessie!”

 

He grunts, his head still buried. Has he even heard the question? Well, I’ll be able to take care of him. I am twelve years old, after all. And what real mischief can a baby that can’t even walk properly yet, get up to.

 

It’ll be fine,” I assured her. And maybe out of desperation, she believed me.

 

Part 2.

 

I have to take responsibility for what happened next, I suppose. If I had stayed downstairs with Joe nothing would have gone wrong. But I wanted to do something up in my room, and I could keep an eye on him up there just as easily.

 

I placed him safely into his playpen while I dashed upstairs with a few of his toys. Just a few, to keep him occupied. Then I dashed back down the stairs just in time to stop him crying, and lifted him up in my arms. We ‘bumpty-bumped’ our way up the stairs and by the time we reached my room he was giggling and gurgling quite happily.

 

I put him down to play on my nice fluffy bedside rug, and he picked up two bricks and started smacking them together. It’s really quite amazing how much noise a couple of wooden blocks can make when they are smacked together, even in such tiny hands.

 

My door burst open and Jessie stuck his head inside. “Would you quieten it down a bit, I’m at a really crucial stage.” Then he realized it was now quiet again. “Thanks.”

 

Oh, it wasn’t me it was Joe, here,” I said, pointing to the rug. But Joe wasn’t ‘here’, and he wasn’t ‘there’ either. He seemed to have completely vanished. I looked at Jessie, Jessie looked at me, and after satisfying ourselves he was not hiding under my bed, we dashed out onto the landing, calling out, ‘Joe!’, ‘Joe!’ over and over again.

 

While Jessie had been standing there talking, Joe must have seized his chance and escaped through the open door. I headed straight for the stairs, dreading to find him lying in a broken heap at the bottom. He wasn’t there, and there was no sign that he had been.

 

Mom and Dad’s room was shut. I knew that even if he had inherited the ‘genius gene’ Joe would not be able to open a closed door and shut it again behind him. So where?

 

The bathroom! What if he had pulled himself up on to the edge of the bath, fallen in, or even worse, the toilet. I shook my head, trying to banish the thought of my baby brother’s legs poking out of the top of the toilet bowl while he frantically kicked, and drowned on the water.

 

The bathroom was empty. So where could he be? Jessie’s room was the only other possibility I could think of. Perhaps when he came to mine he’d not bothered shutting his door properly, thinking there was no possible need.

 

Joe! Get away from there! No, don’t touch that!” Jessie’s frantic shouting was all I needed to hear to know that that was just what must have happened.

 

I turned and headed towards Jessie’s now shut door. As I put my hand on the doorknob I heard a hissing sound, a pop, and then the loudest cry you could possibly imagine. I pushed the door open that bit further and came face to face with my two brothers.

 

Jessie was looking absolutely horrified as he stood next to Joe. And I imagine I looked pretty horrified too, for Joe was dwarfing him. Joe had been turned into a big baby. A very big baby, actually; one that would make many adult men appear short.

 

What on earth had happened?

 

Part 3.

 

Well, at least it worked,” said Jessie, pointing to the contraption on the desk.

 

But what is it? What have you done?” I could barely get the words out of my mouth.

 

It’s obvious, isn’t it? It’s an enlarger.” And Jessie turned to give me a pleading look. “And I didn’t do anything. It was Joe. He did it all by himself.”

 

But, but what are we going to do.....? How long will it last?” Joe’s bottom lip was still trembling but at least he had stopped shaking the house with his cries. He’d suddenly noticed all these different things that he’d never before been able to reach.

 

No, Joe! Don’t touch that! We’d better get him out of here before he does even more damage. And the honest answer to both of your questions, sis, is that I have not got a CLUE!”

 

For lots of fourteen year olds to lose control and shout probably wasn’t that unusual, but for Jessie....it was unheard of. He was the most ‘in control’ kid I’d ever come across. I think at that moment I suddenly realized how serious a problem we had.

 

Right, I’ll take him downstairs....Oh, no. How are we going to get him down there? I can’t carry him now, and I’m pretty sure you can’t either.”

 

Joe had had enough of balancing on his two legs and sat down, hard. He was not used to there being such a large gap between his bottom and the floor. Jessie quickly grabbed hold of his ‘invention’, just preventing it from being shaken from it’s place to break on the floor, and Joe began his wailing all over again.

 

We’ll have to get him up on his two feet and between us find a way of supporting him down the stairs.” Words of wisdom, maybe, but I hadn’t thought it through. We couldn’t all fit on the stairs side by side.

 

Turning it in to some kind of crazy game, we coaxed Joe into playing ‘Choo-Choo’ down the stairs. Jessie took the lead, struggling to maintain his balance and keep up making the engine sounds. Joe, hands on Jessie’s shoulders, was in the middle, lurching from side to side as he stepped unsteadily from one foot to the other. And I brought up the rear, my hands fixed firmly around Joe’s waist to stop him from pushing too hard against Jessie and making us all go tumbling down.

 

By the time we made it downstairs I was sweating with effort. I caught sight of the clock from the corner of my eye.

 

Jessie, look at the time! Mom’s going to be back here in just over an hour. What are we going to do?”

 

Joe picked up on the panic, I guess. Now the train game was over he was back to being tearful. “Get him a bottle or something, quick, sis. I can’t think if he’s wailing.”

 

I went to the fridge and removed a bottle. I looked at the size of it, and at the size of Joe, and took out another one to go with it. So it looked ridiculous, this man-sized baby drinking out of a regular sized bottle, but it did seem to pacify him, at least for a while.

 

You watch him,” Jessie instructed, “and I’ll go and work on that machine. I’ve had an idea that might just work.”

 

Part 4.

 

Having finished his two bottles, Joe curled up on the floor and began to doze. What a relief that was! A minute to myself, a chance to try and calm down, pull myself together. He’d be okay for a minute while I went in to the kitchen to get myself a drink. After all, he often slept for an hour or more after a feed.

 

I couldn’t calm down though, kept worrying how Jessie was getting on. I heard the back door and put my head in my hands. Mom must have got off early. How on earth was I going to explain Joe’s.....’growth spurt’?

 

I waited for her to come into the kitchen. She did not arrive. I got up to check up on Joe and he’d vanished. The garden door was wide open and he was crawling his way down the path. Harriet Jones, next door, was pegging out her washing; ‘Please don’t look,’ I muttered as I tried to make my way silently after my brother.

 

Bam!” Joe suddenly shouted.

 

Mrs Jones looked round just as I came to a skidding halt beside him. She’d not got her glasses on, at least.

 

What have you got there, Tessa! It looks like a giant baby!”

 

Oh, this! It’s just a toy I’m testing out for....for my cousin.”

 

I don’t know, they make things so realistic looking these days. It looked just like a real baby for a while. Only much larger, of course.” Mrs Jones smiled and turned back to the task in hand and I tried to coax Joe into following me back into the house without attracting any more attention.

 

Jessie was waiting inside, his contraption sitting there beside him. “Where’ve you been? Mom’ll be back any moment.”

 

Have you fixed it?” I was almost jumping up and down, I was so nervous.

 

We’ll soon find out.” Jessie pressed a button, there was an electrical hiss and...nothing happened. Joe still remained the world’s biggest baby. “Okay.....so if I put this here....and this here....” Again, the buzzing and then the pop and....Joe was back to being a baby.

 

I couldn’t believe it! We’d done it, and only just in time. Mom’s keys turned in the lock of the front door, Jessie ran up the stairs and I quickly picked up Joe, who had been on the verge of grizzling again.

 

Look, Joe,” I said, jiggling him up and down. “Look who’s home!”

 

Ma!” said Joe. “Bam, bam!”

 

So what’s my baby boy been up to then?” she said, taking him from me.

 

Oh, we’ve been having a BIG adventure, haven’t we, Joe!”

 

Well maybe I could save a bit on the baby-sitting from now on then,” Mom said.

 

I don’t know if she noticed me turning white but I certainly felt the blood draining from my face. “I’m not sure, you know, with school and all that!”

 

And Jessie. Did he stop coming up with his inventions? No, not at all. But he did go out and buy a big lock for his door.


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