Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Swap Cards

Ah, Halloween. My very favorite day of the year. My name is Stefan and I am the assistant to the one and only and fabulous Madame Illusia. She really can transform Halloween into...well, really she just transforms period. I have a penchant myself and have since the 1870s, for exchange boys and men to live in each others shoes, in particular fathers and sons. I love to dabble in this regard. It's quite fun, and I love the transformations either just before, during or after Halloween the most. If we don't transform our audience members, we give voucher cards to...interested young men. Let's gaze into my crystal ball and see some of the results...


"I choose you, Bulbasaur! Pew pew!"

"Simon? Sweetheart? What are you doing?" I looked at my son, slightly horrified by how a costume that perfectly fit him this morning now barely covered his enormous adult body.

"We're going trick-or-treating! Trick-or-treating! Remember! I still have my costume but I'm big now!"

"Sweetie," I said, trying to remember the man who had shot up to be my age and my height within a few short minutes was actually just my little 9 year old Pokemon loving little son.
"The thing is, you became an adult and grown men don't go trick-or-treating."

"But I want to! Please daddy, please please please! I wanna go trick-or-treating!" It was so odd to hear a grown man talking like my 9 year old son, or whining like one.

"Look, now you told me you used magic to get big and if I didn't see it I wouldn't have believed it." I had seen it, too. One minute my little guy was watching some cartoon show and the next he was shooting up out his jammies and entering puberty before my very eyes. Within an hour he had a five-o-clock shadow! "But here's the thing, I don't know how you did it. If you tell me, we can make you into a little boy again and THEN I can take you trick-or-treating.

"Maybe...maybe because I have a cool costume I can say I'm doing it for another kid?"

"Sweetie, when was the last time you ever saw an adult trick-or-treating."

Simon looked glumly at the ground and pouted.

"They don't. Only kids get to." He hugged his Pokemon stuffed toy.

"Okay, so why don't you show me how you did it, and we'll figure out a way to get you trick-or-treating and be a kid again, okay?"

"Okay, but you have to take me trick-or-treating!" he shouted.

"I promise."

"Yay!" He ran out of the living room and stomped up the stairs not understanding his own strength and weight. He stomped back down and awkwardly walking on his new tall legs brought me an illustrated business card with the words "Your wish is my command". Huh. A hole had been burned in the center of it and on the back the words "Madame Illusia in highly stylized lettering covered the rest.

"The carnival!"

"Uh huh!"

"It's still in town. We'll go back there right now!"

"Can I wear my Pokemon costume, daddy?"

Sigh. "If it were any other night, pumpkin, I'd say no but you know what,  you'll blend in on the one night everyone is dressed in something ridiculous."

My son beamed as I opened the door and he managed to scoot outside, still taking little steps and not understanding that as a big adult he could take larger strides.

I drove us to the carnival as fast as I could. It was on the outskirts of town and it felt a bit eerie. When we got there I was exhausted. I leaned back in my seat. My son shuffled excitedly next to me, and I was surprised that he was looking down on me.

"Sweetheart, did you get bigger?"

"I don't know! Did I get bigger, Daddy?"

"Let's get out of the car..."

I did so and as I grappled with getting down I realized I never had a problem getting down out of my truck. My legs were...shorter. I marched around the front of my truck and sure enough I was now at eye level with my son's chest. My pants started to sag down and my shirt was too big. My arms were much thinner.

"No. No no no no no! What the hell!" I panicked and ran to the rearview mirror to check myself out. I looked no older than 15 or 16 years old.

"I'm a teenager! How! Oh my god!" My voice had changed, it was cracking through my excitement as if all the cool manliness I'd striven for when I was that age had just drained out of me. All the years of adopting a studly and cool image reduced in just mere moments of time. "What did you wish for? Exactly? Can you tell me, sweetie?"

"All I wished for was that I could be big," Simon said, unsure. He shuffled his feet.

"You can't hide anything from me, mister. Spill it." I suddenly realized a 15 year old chewing out a grown man looked odd, like...really odd. I thanked God no one was around in the dirt parking lot to hear us.

"I just wanted you to have fun! So I wished that I could be big for Halloween and that you could go trick-or-treating cause you said daddies can't go trick-or-treating up to get candy and stuff."

"We have to find that Madame Illusia now! Do you remember where the man was that gave you the card?"

"Uh huh! I think. Maybe.

We walked up to the ticket booth and I paid for us.

"Your dad letting you pay for you guys?"

"What?" I asked, my voice sounding like I'd just swallowed a balloon of helium. I caught my pants again. They were now bunching up at my feet! Hopefully people would think it was some kind of weird costume. My shirt billowed over me as well. How old was I, 12? 13? This was a nightmare! "Oh, uh..yeah." My son giggled.

"Alright, son. There you go."

Son? Did...he just call me son? We had to hurry!

"Excuse me! Can you tell me where Madame Illusia's tent is?"

"Uh..I don't know that attraction."

"She's a fortune teller."

"Fortune teller. Huh. No. Don't know. Sorry, kid. Say, what's your costume? You look like you're wearing your dad's clothes here." I looked up, way up at my son.

"We switched bodies!"

I was so exasperated.

"Daddy, you said not to say anything..." I led him away by the hand. The man behind us laughed.

"Hey, that's a great costume idea!"

We searched in vain and I was finding it difficult to keep up with my son with his now long legs.

"We need to find a bathroom!" I was scared and needed to see myself. We asked for help and were directed to the nearest one, it was the only permanent structure here. I gasped when I saw myself. I let go of my pants and stepped out of them. My shirt clutched the ground. I was an 8 year old boy. My eyes welled up with tears."My clothes don't fit. Help me!"

"Do you want my clothes, daddy?"

"Yes. We have to switch. I can't wear these..." He dutifully gave me his pokemon shirt, overalls, and shorts. I gave him my regular street clothes and he looked at himself in the mirror. We had switched ages.

"Wow...I look like...a grown up!" He touched his stubble in wonder and smiled.

We walked outside and I told him to button his shirt like a good boy, which would have sounded ridiculous to anyone overhearing us.

"Come on...we have to find that woman!"

"I'm way taller than you now, dad!"

"Yes. I know. I noticed."

We walked around for another hour. Night fell.

"Daddy, look at all the rides! It's so cool!"

"We went just yesterday. Don't you remember?" Again, this is a very odd conversation to have with me using the voice of a small child.

"I know but I'm tall now and I can see more!"

"Yeah well I'm not and I can't see anything! Try to remember where you were!"

"Daddy, I wanna go on that ride over there!"

"No. You're not old enough." Oh God.

"Yeah I am! I am! I'm tall now! Come on!" Sigh.

We discovered that I was no longer to ride the scary ride and my son was. He looked at me to pay for the ticket, and I reminded him with a nudge that the wallet was now in HIS pocket.

"OH right! I'm the adult so I'll pay for the ticket!"

"Uh huh," the bored ticket seller said, with a raised eyebrow. My son swung in his metallic chair as it pivoted and the ride started. He started whooping in delight and the ride was one of those spinning ones. When it was over he stepped out and was dizzy but he had the biggest smile plastered on his face!

We walked away and I was rather happy for him, I have to admit.

"Daddy, let's play some games!"

"We don't have time for that!"

"Uh huh! We have all night! Come on! Besides, I'm the grown up so I get to say we have fun tonight and you're the kid, so you need to have fun! Right?"

Sigh. Was I mad enough to entertain this? I looked up at my new adult son with his big goofy grin. I felt like crying and screaming. So I did what anyone having a nervous breakdown would do. I went along with it.

"One hour."

"Yay! Yay!" He jumped up and down in joy. "Can I say what games we play?"

"You're in charge of fun for the next hour!"


So I played the games and went along with it. Then we saw a jack o lantern carving contest and marveled at all the original designs and faces and pumpkin art. My son "oohed" "wowed" and said "aw cool" to everything. I smiled. What a goofball. He was still carrying around his Pokemon toy. I had taken the ball. I mean it was my costume now.

"Dad, look, popcorn!" My son paid for some without asking me for permission. He had gotten used to being the one that pays fairly quickly, I thought with some faint concern. This is what him being a teenager would be like, no doubt.

We ate what had to be some of the best smelling and best tasting popcorn, with real butter, in the world as we sat on a bench. He patted me on the back.

"Havin' fun, daddy?"

"Yeah. I actually am. Oddly."

I spied a beer seller across the midline.

"God, I wish I could have a beer right now."

"Why, daddy? It always smells so gross."

"Yeah well, it tastes like heaven."

"Really? Can I have some? I'm a big grown up now."

I thought about it. For a brief moment.

"No. It makes you sleepy. We need to be awake to find this woman."

"But what if we can't find her, daddy?"

"Then we are going to have a few more problems than exchanging outfits tonight. Like how to get home. Do you know how to drive?"

"No!" He laughed. "Pbth. I don't know how to drive, I'm only like 9. Oh. Waitaminute!"

Oh no.

"I can drive now! I can drive the car!"

"You are not driving anywhere. We're changing back. Keep looking."

We looked all night. I got really tired but my son still had energy. We sat down and he looked really bored and started to pout.

"I wanna go home, dad!"

"We can't." I said faintly. "We can't just...go back. We can't stay like this!" I was beginning to get terrified. I shivered.

"Are you cold, daddy?"

"A little," I said, sounding pouty.

"It's okay." He bent over and hugged me. I smelled his shirt and felt his big body lovingly caress me for comfort and his chest hair rubbed me in my face.

"Hey. Look." Suddenly, we were the only people in the park. Everyone else had disappeared. "Did they close, daddy?"

"Hey, that's where I saw the guy! The one who gave me the card! By the horses!"

"The carousel?" It was foggy all of a sudden. I shivered more. We got up and walked towards it.

"Mr. MacKenzie?" I jumped. A caramel skinned man in a red suit stood behind us.

"Hey! It's you!" Simon exclaimed. "Daddy, it's him!"

"Okay, I know this sounds insane but did you grant my son some kind of...wish?"

"You're a little young to be having children," he said with a grin. "Follow me, please. Your presence is requested. I've been watching you on my ball just now, it's a rather brief version but it was enough for me to gauge the situation."

He led us to a dark tent shrouded by fog.

The woman seemed like she could be in her 40s or 50s, I couldn't tell. Black hair, gypsy getup, hoop earrings, streaks of gray in her hair. Had a vaguely Eastern European/Italian accent.

"Ah yes, the new father and the new son! How are you liking seeing things from another viewpoint? Is very educational, I think."

"Well. Yes. It was but...we can't stay like this."

"They always are saying this!" she said loudly to her companion. "Always I cannot! I cannot do this! I cannot be a donkey person! I cannot be a horse or a dog because I have a job! I cannot exchange gender! I can't be my wife! I can't be my husband! I can't go to work at his job! Americans. Always the same."

"Okay, that's..all fascinating but he really can't go to my job. You see, he doesn't look like me so he can't really impersonate me, and number two, he is nine in the body of an adult man, so he doesn't even know how to do long division yet, much less keep food on the table, nor should he!" I said in my shrunken voice. I should be a child actor, I thought.

"You should be a child actor! You would be so adorable!"

"Hey. I didn't tell you that." I frowned.

"Daddy, can you and me both be grown ups? Then I could have fun with you all the time!"

"When I take from one, another must get. If not you, someone else. I give and I take." She shrugged.

"Okay well can you give me years so I can keep paying our rent?"

"If I tell you money is not the problem, would you want to remain a child? Think of all the pressure you are under. All the stress."

It was true. My ex wife demanded alimony even though I kept Simon. She was a basket case and I was lucky to have custody but she got on my nerves and so did my boss. All the time. My life would be nothing without my little guy.

"If I say I have the magic so your son can be a grown man with a grown man's mind, maturity, and knowledge, this I must take from you. Would you like it?"

"Yes! Daddy, yes! Then I can be the dad! It would be so great!"

" No, son. I'm responsible for you. I love you. That's why I can't do it."

"I am afraid it is the decision for the grown ups." The Madame said sadly.

"You mean my dad?" Simon said looking down at me.

"The grown up is you now. You decide." I looked panic stricken. "No! No! Please not that!"

My son looked guilty and looked back and forth between me and the Madame. It would have been comical were he not deciding whether or not to send me back to 4th grade.

"I'm sorry. I...can't do this. Go ahead and switch us back, please. I'm sorry for the wish I made, I just wanted you to have a good time and for us to have fun!" I looked up at my big son and went over to hug him.

"I know you did. But I brought you into this world, not the other way around."

"I just wish you could be happy always, Daddy."

I looked up at him. And smiled.

"So. Change us back?"

No one answered. Suddenly we heard the crowd again. The tent faded and we were outside the carousel. Everything was being shut down. All the carnival people were closing up the rides, attractions, and vendor stands.

"No. No! Where did she go?"

"I think...she granted my wish," my son said in amazement.

"What do you mean?"

"I wished for you to be happy. And..." He took out my wallet and he produced a driver's license...with his photo and name. Only his age was now 32.

"No, this isn't possible."

"Can you remember how to drive, dad?"

" hit the thing." I looked up at him in horror and he looked at me with comprehension and lightly rubbed my back.

"I'll take good care of you, dad." I walked in shock with him, and he took my hand.

" have a job."

"I have a job. At the lumber store. Remember?" I blinked. I did. I also remembered being big but that was a long time ago...

We got into the car and he effortlessly started the ignition. I thought the entire trip home was a dream, him smiling and watching the road as he drove. The next morning I woke up and he had made breakfast. He told me I could stay home the first day because it was Sunday, but he couldn't be late for work. He apologized and ran out the door. I walked through the house and noticed pictures of my son and wife together as husband and wife. Only in this dimension, he had only used her as a surrogate mother. Which seemed odd, but it worked for the sake of whatever magic had been used.

That night, he came home and seemed a lot more subdued. He told me he could do my job but he lamented he only made $14 an hour. He was really trying to get a job as a manager and I said I believed in him, and he said he knew and the only thing he needed to make him happy was me.

That's our story. I'm writing my book report for Tom Sawyer and my new dad is calling me by my first name instead of "Dad".

"You about ready to go to bed, Kevin."

"Yeah, dad."

It was still a little strange calling him dad.

"Son, I have some news for you. I'm...I met a nice lady at work. She works at the copy shop across the way. And she's very special. I'd like to invite her over for dinner tomorrow night. Do you think that would be okay?"

"Yeah," I said. "That's fine." He smiled and kissed me goodnight. "That's my boy," he said.

After tucking little Kevin, formerly "dad" in, Simon went downstairs and helped himself to a single beer and flipped on the TV to watch a little porn before bed. He wasn't wasting time with this body, and he felt at peace with everything. He grabbed the Pokemon stuffed toy he had been so excited about just a month before and gave it a squeeze. Now that he was a real man, he had enjoyed adult experiences, but he was going to be just as devoted to being a good dad and making sure his former dad got the best possible childhood. He now understood what an awesome responsibility that was, and was still not sorry he had made his wish. Inside, he had been thinking that night how desperately he wanted to stay. And it looks like Madame Illusia agrees with me, he thought.

And after using the dumbbells he had just bought, maybe he could go as Captain America or Superman next Halloween, he thought with a smile...


  1. I can't get enough of stories like this!

  2. Well that is ... Boring? Not enough suffering for my Taste.
    It's a okay story... Well I always love your story.

  3. This character progression was beautiful. I'm very impressed, good job!