Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Second Childhood: Chapter 1 (Pages 1-5)

The Second Childhood: Chapter 1 (Non-holographic edition)
                Chapter 1
            January 1, 2005
                Marc woke up. “What’s this, a bunk? Hospitals don’t have bunks anymore.” He thought. “I thought I died in the ambulance, or something. I could hear the paramedics. Hey, wait. The EKG pulsed again, I remember that! Heh, well, I’m here now. I must’ve had a nightmare that turned into a real exciting dream but pulled through alright.” As he sat up to stretch his arms and yawn, he could hear himself in a new voice for the first time. “What? My voice! What kind of room is this?” He jumps out of bed.
                “This isn’t a hospital! What the hell IS this place? Pokémon and Gundam?” At first, Marc thought he may have been transported to a kids’ room of a bed-and-breakfast after getting patched up in the hospital, but remembered that he committed a DUI, and should’ve been carted to jail. Regardless, this would be a weird place for him to get transported to. “And what the HELL is wrong with my voice!?”
                He started to soak in the surroundings. It was 6:53 AM on his Pokémon-themed wall clock. He exclaimed to himself, “What kind of kiddie pajama is this?? He then recognized that the creature adorning his Pokémon-themed pajama is the “Skarmory.”
                Marc wondered aloud, “Oh, this must be Heaven then? I DID die! I’m living what I wanted to live for a little while now- a second childhood! No, wait. I said “Hell” and I can’t sin in Heaven, and I can’t hurt myself either.” Marc pinched himself as hard as he can. Then he scratched himself with vigor, twice. “OW!”
                An older boy from the top bunk got startled awake. “Tanaka, what imaginary friend are you talking to over there NOW, you little pipface?”
                “Don’t call me that. Who are you? Where… Oh, forget it, I’ll find out myself.” Tanaka quickly observed that two desks were labeled “Satoru” and “Tanaka.” He muttered, “Oh, I must be Tanaka. But what the hell is going on?” “Hey Satoru, what day is it?”
                “Oh yeah! It’s New Years. Your birthday! So you’re “The Birthday Pipface!” But since it’s your birthday, I’ll just call you Tanaka. Happy Birthday, Tanaka.”
                “Okay, whatever. Thanks.” Tanaka started to find a mirror. He looked in the open closet. There was nothing but clothes, shoes, toy boxes, and a step-up stool. Tanaka went up to the bedroom door. The doorknob met his eyes like it was another eye itself. “Whoa, TRIPPY!”
                “What’s wrong? Did you have a dream where you took LSD or something?” Satoru wondered.
                “I’ll tell you later.” Tanaka opened the next room. There was a little girl, not much older than Tanaka, sleeping in her kawaii-themed bunk-bed. The top was empty, and so was another bunk-bed nearby. Tanaka closed the door with a little creak. Next, he opened another bedroom. It had a toddler’s theme, and in that bed a littler boy slept. He closed it a bit harder than last time. Tanaka then heard a slight moan, indicating the little boy was disturbed by the noise. He opened the next bedroom, and two parents were slumbering in their elegant King-sized. He slammed it yet harder. Then Tanaka heard some yawning.
                “Ah, yes. The corner door! That’s GOTTA be the bathroom!” In Tanaka went, just to realize that he couldn’t see the mirror! “I’ve gotta get that stool!” He ran back to his bedroom. Satoru was picking out his clothes in the closet. “Hey Sat-man, I need to use the stool!”
                “You never called me that before, birthday boy. Why should I give it to you?”
                “I need to look at the mirror. And it’s my birthday, I should have special privileges today, should I not?”
                “PRIVILEGES? You haven’t used that word before! What’s wrong with you?!” 
“It’s a long story, Sat-man. I just need to see what I look like, okay?! Something EXTRA weird happened to me last night, and I wanna see my face, now!” 
“Well Tanaka, I just need to pick out my clothes and you can have it.” 
“Ah, forget it. I know what to do.” Tanaka ran back to the bathroom and pulled out the sink counter’s drawers in a stair-step fashion. Up he climbed onto the counter. Before he got to the mirror, he noticed a large, oval tub with jet-senders on its walls. “There’s a Jacuzzi in here? Whoa, feels like Heaven on Earth then!” Then Tanaka noticed a panel with several buttons to the side of the toilet. “What? A SPRAY-TOILET?! I’ve only seen them in Japanese pictures! Is this Japan or what?” 
Then he tiptoed carefully to the mirror, to the side of the countertop. For the first time, he saw a little boy, about Kindergarten age. “OH MY GOD! I’M SOMEONE ELSE! I’M SOMEONE’S KID NOW! HOW OLD AM I?” A man opened the door and walked in.
“Hey, birthday boy! What do you mean ‘someone’s kid?’ You’ll always be my little Tanaka-chan!  You just turned 5 years old today, so you’ll get a lot of presents, sweet samurai! And what are you so worked-up about? Did you have a nightmare?”
                Tanaka looked at the mirror once more in sheer surprise, then climbed back down the countertop. “Hey sir, or, um, Dad, I guess. Nice to meet you. Yeah, a really, REALLY big nightmare! I’ll tell you all about it later. I really need to collect my thoughts back in my room. Would you give me 15 minutes?”
                Dad replied, confusedly, “Fine, I guess. I don’t know what’s gotten into you today, Tanaka-chan.” Tanaka ran back to his room, jumped back on his bed, and started sniffling into his pillow. 
Satoru exclaimed, “Hey, I’m changing! Maybe you can learn to knock!” 
Partly muffled in the pillow, Tanaka responded, “I can’t believe it, Satoru, everything’s different!
“Well, what’s the matter, birthday boy?”
“I wasn’t Tanaka last night. Honest! But you’ll only think it was just a horrible nightmare. To put it that way, it was the worst I’ve ever had. You won’t want to understand, but I’ll tell all of it to you later. PLEASE, give me at least fifteen minutes to regain my bearings here.”
Satoru felt thrown-off. The fact that his little brother has suddenly started using mature vocabulary startled him and made him wonder what illness he must’ve gotten to cause that. “Okay, I’ll leave you alone, but it’s like you slept on a dictionary and it all got in your head through some weird osmosis. I’m going now.” 
Tanaka continued to sniffle into his pillow, pondering about his new body and life. “I really died, didn’t I, God? Or was that spiritual ride across the continent some kind of body transfer? If I’m in a kid’s body now, and my first body pulled through, then WHO HAS MY BODY?” Tanaka realized. “Oh, God, no! No way in Hell! NO WAY IN HELL! This can’t happen at all! Oh, maybe everyone I knew will understand. They should be mature enough.”
After having pondered about his new life, and the life that someone in his original body will have now, Tanaka got up and ran downstairs. He raced too fast down the three flights of stairs for his own good, so he tripped, and fell the rest of the way down on his tummy. Tanaka ended the fall intelligently, on his arms. He got mild scrapes at the end of the fall, and exclaimed, “Heh, that was rough!” Dad stood up from the dining room table and asked, “You ran down the stairs again, didn’t you, Tanaka-chan?”
“Yeah, I’ll be alright, Dad. No biggie at all!” This catches Dad by surprise. “Tanaka-chan, the last time you fell down those stairs, you landed on one knee and cried profusely. You made it sound like the most pain you’ve ever had up to that point in your short life. How’d you land better this time?”
“I bike a lot, and rollerbladed a lot when I was younger. I learned how to fall in better ways, Dad.” 
Dad felt thrown-off by what Tanaka just told him, and asked confusedly, “Rollerblades? You’ve NEVER worn them, and you’ve only been on your trike. Oh, speaking of the bike, I have a surprise, in the garage, later today.”
“Oh, lemme guess. It’s a bike!” 
“Well, Tanaka-chan, it could be a wagon, or a Big Wheels four-wheeling pedal car. You never know ‘till you see!” 
“Oh cool. Looking forward to it then. Anyway, Dad, I had the worst nightmare that felt so real, it’s like I lived someone else’s life, which I pretty much did. Sometimes, a nightmare is so vivid it changes the sufferer’s personality, doesn’t it?”
“When I studied some Psychology in college, Tanaka-chan, in my research of dreams, I have learned that a nightmare can change a person’s life! So that could be true.”
“Well, you’re looking at a case of that right now, Dad! What do you think we should do?”
“We can visit a psychologist and go over this with them, but not today. Today, we’re celebrating your birthday, Tanaka-chan.”
Tanaka thought of looking in the phone book and leaving one of them a message. “I think I should find them in the Yel— oh, forget it. Anyways Dad, Where do you put the mail? Is there any for me?”
“No, you don’t get any for you, but now that you’re so curious about random grown-up things, I put the mail on that small reading desk near the door.” 
Tanaka ran to look for the front door right away. He spotted a desk, and tried to lift its hatch, but it wouldn’t budge. “DAD! OVER HERE!”
“What do you wanna look in there for, Tanaka-chan?” 
“Listen, Dad, I wanna see what one bill of yours looks like. Just ONE bill. PLEASE? Just for 30 seconds, dad!” 
“Okay, Tanaka. Let me get my desk key.”
While Tanaka waited, he decided to peek out a window. There was a thick flurry of white wonder, caking the several neighboring McMansions and the street below, leading up to a cul-de-sac. Tanaka pondered, “This is the ideal Suburbia, ain’t it? It seems like a little bit of Heaven after all, but I still got hurt. I HAVE TO be somewhere else. Everyone speaks English, my new brother has an American accent, and this don’t look like Japan!”
Dad returned with a key, and picked Tanaka up. “Look here, Tanaka-chan. This is my heating bill. We need to cut down and bundle up this month, and chop up the forest behind our house for firewood more often.” The central heating bill read “$277.78.” 
“I wanna see it in my hand, please.”
“Fine, but don’t ruin it.” He looks for the address on the heating bill. It reads, 
“Oh, our family’s the Shimoyas! Where the hell is Colonie?” Tanaka muttered. 
“What did you just say?” Dad exclaimed. 
“I just said, “What the hell, I love Colonie!” Gotta love it, right?”
“Don’t say the H-word. Just because you’re five doesn’t mean you can start using swear words. That’s for when you’re 13!”
“Okay, Dad. You can let me down now. I need to find a restroom.” Tanaka took a minute to look for a restroom, opening and closing the doors on the first floor. Two of them were locked. Then his urge got more extreme. 
“My bladder’s more demanding than it used to be. Oh, wait. It’s small, like a 5-year-old’s.” Tanaka told himself. 
He started to jog, and more frantically as the bladder’s urge pounded on him harder and harder. “Where’s the restroom? Oh my God, where’s the restroom?” Then he saw another untried door. “I HOPE THIS IS IT!” He sprinted towards it. He finally found one, slammed the door hard behind him, slammed the seat up, and as he was getting ready, pulled down his PJs. Tanaka was shocked. “What the Hell…acious heck! Why am I wearing THIS?”
The stream started maybe half a second after getting ready; just in the nick of time. Tanaka finished in about half a minute. After flushing, he tried to reach the sink’s knobs, and couldn’t quite do so. He could hear someone else descending a flight of stairs nearby, the steps sounding heavy like an adult’s, but not as heavy as Dad’s. Tanaka lowered the toilet seat and climbed upon it, and this time, he reached the sink and washed his hands.
Tanaka talked to himself. “Something’s REALLY wrong here. This isn’t cool, even for a 5-year-old to have. When I was five, my bladder gave me more advance notice than this! And I never wore THAT back then. This is a punishment from God. It’s gotta be!”
The door opened behind him. In the mirror, Tanaka saw a young lady with a baby-bump appear.
“Good Morning, Tanaka-chan, and listen: I thought I’ve told you to lock the bathroom door behind you every time you go. Good thing I only caught you washing your hands. It’s embarrassing otherwise!”
“I’m sorry, who might you--, oh, you must be Kyo-Ni. Nice to meet you, ma’am. Or MOM, I guess! Sorry, I had a huge nightmare, and my bladder gave me an extremely short notice today. If I had taken the time to lock the door, the unthinkable would’ve happened. Do you think you can set up an appointment to have me see a urologist? This can’t be normal.”
Mom felt greatly surprised at her child’s entirely changed mannerisms. Shocked by his advanced vocabulary, she asked, “Tanaka-chan! Where do you get those words? Yes, my sweet little samurai has always had to run to the bathroom. What has gotten into you?”
“Listen Mom, I need you and Dad to have a 2-on-1 chat with me right now. Maybe in the living room, okay? I’ll explain what happened.”
“This should be good. I’ll get him.”
Tanaka then wanted to inquire about the baby bump. “Before you do, I’m curious. Are we having another sibling? If so, when?”

1 comment:

  1. The following has been transcribed from a classmate's paper-based critique given to ENG in a Creative Fiction-Writing class


    I liked that we got to read the next Chapter of your work. I liked the concept of your Story. I think you Should make the language of the boy a little different. I don't even think Tony would talk like that. Why wouldn't "his" parents be more concerned about how he's acting? Why doesn't Tanaka spill the beans? He mentions it over and over again. Maybe he shouldn't keey saying "I'll spill the beans at a later date." I wouldn't even mention telling people. He's only five and he's going to need help to figure out what's going on.
    He won't be able to get very far.
    I liked the description of his room.
    Good luck with your story.
    - Cecilia Stump