18 year-old Vicky Valentine stood nervously at the edge of the stage waiting for her cue to come on stage. She had a full five minutes before was she due out, but this talent show was everything to her. The Grand prize was no less then a paid scholarship to any college in or out of state.
Naturally the entire school was in on it. There was nearly a kid from every class and grade competing in the show. This was the finals night when it just came down to the lucky few. Vicky thought herself to be very lucky to come so far. Her only talent was singing and having a weird gift for remembering lyrics.
The third and final night now proved to be too much for her voice. During her practice sessions, Vickyís voice had cracked more then once.
"Shame about your voice." A gentle mature voice just came behind her.
Vicky jumped and turned around quickly nearly losing her balance in the process.
"How did you know? You heard me practice?" Vicky asked so fast there was no pause for an answer.
What Vicky saw didn't frighten her or nor did it put her more on the edge. A rather cute teenage boy perhaps a little younger then she was standing there smiling in a warm way.
"Going to bomb tonight and the whole school is going to laugh at me." Vicky said and was nearly in tears now. Confessing this to a stranger eased her own worries a little.
"No your not. Youíre great in fact. I brought you this to help you win." The young teenage boy said holding out something like a cough drop and a sheet of lyrics to a song.
"Your sweet, but I already got my own song lyrics here." Vicky said now hearing her rival at school going out to the stage and starting her song.
Vicky's face went into fury of rage as she heard her song being played and her rival singing it now.
"That fat cow............she stole that from me." Vicky said only pausing to listen for a second.
"I know she did. She overheard you earlier and remembered it just an hour ago." Teenage boy said and giving the girl on stage the same look as Vicky did.
"Ok, kid. Letís see who you got." Vicky said tossing her lyrics to the floor and taking the pages from his hand.
"Frank Sinatra?" Vicky said looking slightly insulted.
"Yeah." The teenage boy said smiling again.
"His music is kinda old." Vicky said and tried handing back the papers.
"So are the judges." The boy said nodding toward the table in front of the stage. Vicky took extra pleasure in seeing that they were not enjoying her rival's song at all.
"Lucky I got a photographic memory. If this works, Iíll give you a kiss after I win." Vicky said reading over the lyrics.
"take this, It will keep your voice from breaking." The boy said giving her a wrapped cough dropped.
"What do I got to lose since my song was stolen from me. At this point Iíll do anything to win." Vicky said crunching hard on the cough drop and sucking the bits to nothing.
"Thanks for ........." Vicky said as she looked up to find the young boy gone.
Glancing around she couldn't figure out where he had gone.
"Next Student is Vicky Valentine." An older female voice rang out and Vicky knew it belong to an English teacher.
Vicky did one quick glance over the new lyrics then went out to the stage. The entire school plus friends and parents waited for her as she calmly walked out to the microphone. The English teacher, Miss Bella, handed her the wireless microphone and took her lyrics to give to the computer teacher. Within Seconds of seeing the song title, he had the music going.
The long silence in waiting for the music made Vicky feel like she had lost a foot in her height. She took little notice on how being in front of so many people could make someone feel so small.
Mercifully the old band music started and Vicky started to sing. Instantly her angelic voice filled the gym and people listened with smiles on their faces.
"YOU MAKE ME FEEL SO YOUNG." Vicky sang and saw smiles spread across all the judges faces. Her spirit soared and her doubts were gone now.
"YOU MAKE ME FEEL LIKE SPRING HAS SPRUNG, EVERY TIME I SEE YOU GRIN I'M SUCH A HAPPY INDIVIDUAL." Vicky went on and smiled with relief as she saw everyone in the gym was enjoying her act.
"THE MOMENT THAT YOU SPEAK, I WANT TO GO AND PLAY HIDE-AND-SEEK, I WANT TO GO AND BOUNCE THE MOON, JUST LIKE A TOY BALLOON." Vicky sang and thought there was something in her voice. The pitch was way off, but no one seemed to notice. In fact she felt even smaller and now gripped the microphone with both hands. The microphone had suddenly got very heavy.
Vicky sang on with now youthful energy she didn't know she had. Looking down from her flat chest to her parents, somewhere along the crowd of people watching her with amused smiles, she went on.
"YOU AND I, ARE JUST LIKE A COUPLE OF TOTS, RUNNING ACROSS THE MEADOW, PICKING UP LOTS OF FORGET-ME-NOTS" Vicky sang and felt even smaller and gripped the microphone with her boney little fingers and sang with the sweetness of a child now.
"YOU MAKE ME FEEL SO YOUNG, YOU MAKE ME FEEL THERE ARE SONGS TO BE SUNG, BELLS TO BE RUNG, AND A WONDERFUL FLING TO BE FLUNG." Vicky sang and knew she was having a very hard time pronouncing the words just right, but couldn't figure out why. Everything around her seemed to be ten times larger then normal and even the microphone looked bigger.
Glancing briefly down at her best Mary Jane dress her mom had just gotten her last night; Vicky finished the last of the lyrics with the last of her courage.
"AND EVEN WHEN I'M OLD AND GRAY, I'M GONNA FEEL THE WAY I DO TODAY, CAUSE YOU MAKE ME FEEL SO YOUNG." Vicky sang with a big finished from the music booming from the speakers.
Vicky stood in complete terror and fear that she had bombed, when a roar of applause and cheers came from the front row and traveled to the very back rows.
"Vicky Valentine from Miss Pearls's first grade class." The English teacher announced and even more cheers sounded.
`First grade?!' Vicky thought and saw as the English teacher walked back on stage holding a second microphone this one with a wire..
At first she thought the teacher was growing in size. When Miss Bella stood beside her, Vicky realized she was still the same in size and with a thrill of confusion and horror she realized it was her that had changed. Somehow she shrunk to look like a little girl.
"Is there anything you like to say?" Miss Bella asked as she bent down to be more level with her and taking the microphone in her hand and keeping it just level with her lips.
"No." Vicky said and ran off the stage in horror with tears in her eyes. Sudden childhood fears and confusion over took her and she did the naturally thing.
Her vision was so blurred she didn't notice that she ran straight into the arms of a young woman.
"Honey, why are you crying? Everyone just loved you. Just listen to that cheering." Vicky's Mom said wiping away tears from her little girl's face and brushing back her bangs.
Vicky gainning some control over her new child feelings, listened.
Claps and even more cheering could be heard. Her hasty retreat from the stage light only raised her standard as sweet talented young little girl.
Vicky smiled as she remembered what the first prize was. Who cared if no one noticed she had just lost twelve years in age and shrunk to just to be a few feet high.
"If you only get second place, Iíll buy you the largest bucket of ice cream they have in the store." Her dad said taking one her hands into his broad hand then gently stroking it before patting it.
"Thanks daddee." Vicky said giving her dad a tight hug around the neck. Vicky remember happy memories of her father how big and strong he was.
"Come on, Honey. A quick trip to the bathroom and weíll get those tears dried." Vicky's mom said taking her little girl by the hand and leading her toward the back part of the stage.
Vicky held on tightly as her mother, with some effort, lifted her up to sit on the edge of the sink.
"I'm so proud of you honey. When I heard that nasty older girl singing your song, I thought you were goner." Her mother voiced crying a little herself.
Vicky herself nearly went into tears as she remember her family never did have much money.
"Well, this boy kinda help me by giving me a new song." Vicky said nearly giggling herself into a fit at the sound of her voice. She did a quick glance toward the mirror to catch a look at herself. A cute girl about 6-or-7-years-old stared back with a curious smile.
"Youíll have to point him out sometime so we can thank him. Iím just so happy for you. You learned a new song in just a few minutes." Her mom said beaming with a warm smile at her.
Just then Vicky's old rival Christina, looking mean and in a sulking mood, came in.
"There we go. Mommy's made you all pretty to accept first prize." Vicky's mom said and pretended to put something on her face then hoisting her down to stand on her own two feet.
Vicky, feeling a little scared of her now much larger rival from her new point of view of the world, took her mom's hand without question and gave Christina a childish smile as she passed to exit the bathroom.
Vicky looked back to see her checking her make-up and fighting back what look like tears in her eyes. Judging from her face those were tears of anger.
`Even my arch rival hadn't noticed my little change.' Vicky thought with grin as she said this in a dramatic voice inside her head.
Vicky couldn't help but look up at everyone she knew. Everyone she knew or didn't know was now the size of giants to her and took little notice of her except for her parents who held each of her hands as they stood on each side of her.
Vicky thoughts were mixed on what had just happened and how she just gave a fantastic singing act while she must have been getting younger the whole time.
"3rd place is Jeremy Rhines with his magic act." Miss Bella said to light claps and cheers, mostly from the middle school kids. A boy about 13-years-old dress in a tux with a top hat and wand stepped out and took a trophy with a crisp hundred dollar bill taped to the inside of the cup part.
"2nd place is Christina with her unique vocal style." Miss Bella said and gave the high school student a fake smile before handing a slightly larger trophy and check for a $500.00 dollar shopping spree. Polite claps and the loudest cheers came from Christina's closest friends on the cheer-leading team.
"1st place is Vicky Valentine with her amazing performance on that old Frank Sinatra song." Miss Bella said with real pride as if she was related to her somehow or some way.
Only her mother came on stage with her and Vicky gave the crowd a cute wave to the crowd as she approached Miss Bella holding a trophy that was nearly as tall as Vicky at the moment.
Great waves of movement happened as people stood up to appalled and clap their hands numb and yelled with nothing but good things to say to her. Being too small to lift or even hold the trophy on her own Vicky took the check from Miss Bella for a prepaid scholarship to any college of her choice.
Vickyís mother picked her up to hold her against her hip and together they held the trophy between them.
Vicky grinned and then hid her sadness as she thought that sheíll have to live the next twelve years over again, unless the effects of whatever happened just wore off later. Something inside her told her that sheíll have twelve more years of school and a second chance to do some things over again.
Vicky visualized herself as being the best little girl in the world and bringing in nothing but straight A's on her school work. A devilish grinned crossed her face as she thought about it.
Afterwards once they were allowed to leave the stage and crowd was now leaving, Vicky was getting dressed in her coat with the help of her mother and her dad fishing for his car keys that were somewhere in his jacket. Vicky saw the boy again. He was even younger now, hardly any bigger then an 8 year-old in age and height. Vicky had to do a double take just make sure it was him.
A motherly looking woman, that had to be his mother, was just behind him.
"That's him mom-mee." Vicky said tugging on her mother's pants leg to get her full attention.
Following her daughter's gaze, she saw a cute little boy about eight coming toward them with single yellow rose in his hand and his mother right behind him.
"My son, Anthony, just wanted to say congratulations." The woman said giving her son a little nudge in the back.
"This is for you." Anthony said handing the rose to her sheepishly.
"Thanks." Vicky said and gave him a kiss on the cheek as he bent over to hand the rose to her.
"Awww." Vicky and Anthony's mother said in unison and much to the embarrassment of the children.
As Vicky's mother was discussing bringing Anthony over for a play date, Vicky watched as Anthony broke away from his motherís side to hand something to Christina. From what Vicky could see from his pockets he pulled some folded sheets of paper and same kinda cough drop she ate.
Once Anthony returned to his mother's side, Vicky walked over to him quietly and stood very close to Anthony to asked him a question.
"What did you give her?" Vicky asked and looking around so not to be over heard.
"Lyrics for the talent show next week and a little cough drop." Anthony said with a sly smile.
"What song?" Vicky asked and thought her sides would give out from holding back her laughter.
"Cry Baby by Janis Joplin." Anthony said grinning along with Vicky as she giggled a little.