Til Death Do Us Part?

By Louder

Joanne was sitting at the kitchen table engaging her best friend Linda
in small talk. The afternoon sun streamed in through the window.
Joanne was the elder of the two women by about 10 years. Joanne and
her husband Stan had moved into the neighborhood a number of years
back. Moving from the East coast to the West coast had cut Joanne off
from her friends there. She was very happy to find someone like Linda
to be her new neighbor. In the ten years that they had lived next door
to each other Joanne had grown quite fond of Linda. In the ensuing
years Joanne completely lost contact with her friends from back east.

Stan was employed by an up and coming pharmaceutical company. NuWorld
Pharmaceuticals had fast become a player in the lucrative
pharmaceutical business. It was their growth that had brought Stan and
Joanne to California and to the then new West coast division of the
company. Joanne and Stan were 29 when they arrived in California. Now,
approaching 40, Joanne felt a little out of place. She envied Linda
who was still 'only' 29! Linda's parents had died in an accident
leaving Linda with a considerable inheritance while she was still a
teenager. Even with their differences in age and circumstances, Joanne
felt a strong bond with Linda. With Linda being only a teenager when
they moved in, it was as if Linda was the younger sister that Joanne
had never had.

As the two women talked and laughed a car pulled up into the driveway.
It was Stan arriving earlier than usual.

"Jo....? Joanne? Are you here?"

"I'm in here! Linda and I are in the kitchen..... and YOU'RE early!
Nothing wrong is there? I hope you weren't expecting dinner this
early? " Joanne asked as Stan made his way into the kitchen.

"No, nothing wrong. G' afternoon Linda. Everything's fine.... but I
tell you what....I've got something I thought you might be interested
in. Heck, you might be interested in it too, Linda!"

Stan had their attention. Joanne turned to Linda and shrugged
quizzically in anticipation.

"NuWorld has really been busy on some stuff. As a matter of fact, if
you thought Viagra was something wait until you see this!" he said
pulling a vial out of his shirt pocket.

"Honey, you've got some problems but you've never been a candidate for
the next Viagara!" Joanne joked.

"It's not like 'that' at all! And it's not for ME! It's something for
YOU! Something that mankind has searched for centuries for. It's just
now been released for some in-house testing but it has passed all the
preliminary tests with flying colors! It basically tricks your body
into rejuvenating!"

"REJUVENATING!? Ok...sure.... We'll bite. What's the punchline?"
Joanne smirked

"No, really. It's for real....And I figured you'd want to test it.
There is only a limited amount of the formula available for testing.
It is pretty much a wonder drug. And it's completely safe! Linda,
there's plenty here if you're interested...."

"Are you serious?" Linda asked.

"Stan, Linda is hardly 'old'. For heaven's sake she's only 29! I'd
LOVE to be 29 again! ...Ok.... I'm still waiting on that punchline!"
Joanne added.

"I think I'll pass on your youth potion, Stan" Linda told him.

"Ok, your loss! What about you, Jo? Are you interested?"

"You're serious? That stuff really is supposed to work? It can't....
that's impossible...." Linda shook her head in disbelief.

"Nothing's impossible. Science is expanding the boundaries of medicine
all the time.Here try it...."

"Stan.... I'm not sure. This isn't a joke is it? How young? Maybe a
little younger.... I don't know about it. Everyone always says they
wanna be younger, but no one really expects it to happen! Maybe being
40 won't be so bad? I think I better pass. Why don't YOU use it if
it's for real?"

"Jo... I can't use it because employees aren't eligible for the
program. Family members are though. As far as how young?.... We're not
really sure if it reacts the same on every subject. Just don't use
much and see how young you get."

"No way am I using something like that without knowing EXACTLY what
it's going to do! I don't want to end up some kind of adult in the
body of a 10 year old!"

"Well, it's only temporary. It's not permanent. Give it a shot. It'll
be fun to have a young wife around for a few days. You'd enjoy
it...you know you would!" Stan explained

"Temporary? Now that makes it a bit more tempting.....hmmmmm"

"Try it Jo.... Maybe you can be my kid-sister for a day!" Linda laughed.

"Ohhhh...against my better judgement.....Ok....sure...I'll try it!"
Joanne said.

Stan handed her the vial "Just a small drink at first, if you want to
test it...."

Joanne took the vial and let a small amount drip on her tongue
"Mmmmm.... great taste... sorta sweet... I figured it would be bitter
for some reason. Oh well.... 'Here's to ya!'" she said as she
swallowed a bit more of the formula.

"Linda, you sure you don't want to join me?" she asked with a wink.

"I think I'll just watch you!" Linda told her.

"I don't 'feel' any different..... this IS a joke isn't it?"

"No...give it time. It took you 39 years to get like you are. Surely
you can wait a few minutes to lose a couple years!"

"Ok, I guess that makes sense. It's all so weird! You know if Viagra
made that other company's stock rise....then THIS will shoot NuWorld's
stock through the ROOF!"

End of Part one

Part 2

Joanne shivered as she felt a tingle . She wondered if it could
actually be working. She looked at her hands. 'Do they look
different?' she thought. Everything in the room seemed distant. Almost
as if she was looking at things through another's eyes. She felt
dizzy. Her head turned as she looked at Stan and Linda. They were both
watching attentively.

"Jo?.... Are you Ok?" Stan asked with a smile on his face.

"Uhhh Yeah.... I feel a little funny though..... Is it working?"

"I think it's started, Jo!"

Joanne smiled "Great!". Soon she felt another shiver. This one was
more intense. She looked at her hands again. This time she was sure
they looked different!

"Joanne! You look atleast 5 years younger!" Linda told her.

Joanne ran her hands down the sides of her blouse. She could tell that
it was a tad loose on her now. She wondered why she would wear
something that fit so poorly! She adjusted her shorts and smoothed out
her blouse. Before she could ask what was happening, the dizziness
seemed to reappear. Another chill passed through her and she visibly

"You two look the same age, Linda!" Stan said sounding a bit proud.

Joanne looked at Linda and wondered what Stan was talking about! 'Why
wouldn't I look the same age as that girl?' she thought to herself.
She wondered why they were staring at her. As she thought about what
was happening, her vision began to blur. The voices in the room
sounded distant again. The room seemed to spin. Another tingle ran
down her spine.

"Jo....Do you know what's happening? How old are you?" Stan asked.

She shook her head to try and clear the cobwebs. "Uhhhhh.... Thirty...
uhhh errrrr I mean ummm twenty ummmm.... twenty-four" she answered
sounding almost unsure of her own age. She could see Stan shaking his
head as if he was pleased with her answer. She knew something wasn't
right but she couldn't figure out what it was. She again looked down
at her clothing and tried to adjust the waist band of her shorts. Even
with the draw-string pulled tighter they still seemed too loose.

Linda watched in amazement.

Joanne's eyes darted around the room hoping for a clue as to what was
happening. She started feeling distant again. Stan and Linda watched
as she quickly wrapped her arms around her chest and let out a breath
of air as she felt another chill run down her spine. This time it was
she seemed to have passed out for a moment. As she opened her eyes she
could see Stan looking directly into them....as if he was trying to
see into her mind! She averted her eyes only to catch Linda also
examining her closely. 'What are these people doing?' she wondered
'Have they drugged me or something?' Although the two older people
looked familiar, she couldn't think of where she had met them. "What's
going on? Are you going to hurt me?" she asked.

Stan smiled a comforting smile and replied "No, you're OK. You'll be
alright. The confusion is normal at first.... Do you know how old you

"Sure.... I'm like nineteen...." she answered as she tied her
shirt-tails together revealing her flat stomach. She again tugged on
the draw-string of her shorts trying to make them fit properly. Her
thinner thighs and smaller waist were almost swallowed by the baggy
shorts. As she looked downward her long hair fell down across her
face. She stopped as another wave of confusion began to cloud her
mind. She could hear the man telling the woman something about 'mental
regression'. Before she could hear the rest of the conversation
another chill came over her.

In a few moments she again opened her eyes. She was sitting a bit
lower in the seat and struggled to straighten up. She pulled her hair
back out of her eyes and put it behind her ears. Her clothes were now
much too loose. The draw-string in her shorts was as tight as
possible, yet still not enough. Her shoes slipped on her feet as she
slid them along the floor trying to push herself up.

"Jo? You look so young..... " Linda said.

"I'm FOURTEEN! Like, I'm in high school, ya know! You make me sound
like a little kid or something!" Joanne protested. She wasn't sure
what was happening but she didn't like the older woman's tone of
voice! She started to get up out of the chair when another chill swept
through her body. Her whole body quivered this time. Once again her
eyes closed.

Stan and Linda watched as her legs slowly shortened and appeared to
draw up inside the large shorts. Her heels lifted out of her shoes and
then both feet slowly rose into the air. Her feet were no longer able
to reach the floor. The large blouse threatened to swallow her. When
she finally came to, her head barely stuck out of the collar of her

"Hey! I'm too big to play dress up! Where are MY clothes?" The little
girl yelled out.

"Shhhhhhh.... You've got to be good now, Jo!" Stan said trying to
comfort the girl.

"Look how cute she is!" Linda said as she brushed the girl's hair back
with her hand " She can't be more than 9 years old!" Linda took the
young girl's hand and noted how much smaller it was than her own hand.

Joanne started to protest but couldn't as she again felt even another
chill come over her. She squeezed tightly on Linda's hand as the
tingle ran down her spine. Linda could feel the child's hand shrinking
as she held it! She had to lean closer to hold Jo's hand as the
child's arms shrank.

When the small child opened her eyes this time she could see that the
table-top was barely below her eye-level. Her feet couldn't reach the
floor no matter how much she slid down in the seat. Her hands could
only just barely reach the table now! The older woman let go of her
hand and walked over to the man in the room. Jo picked up a spoon from
the table and began playing with it like an airplane. As she did she
could see the older woman touch the man's hand. Little Jo listened to
the big lady talk.

"Is it finished? She can't be any more than 4. Will she get even MORE

"It's pretty much finished...maybe a couple or so more years as it
winds down"

Little Jo wondered what the two grownups were talking about.

"Stan, one thing bothers me.... you told her it was 'temporary'?"

"Oh it's 'temporary' alright!.... In a year she'll get a year
older.... then in two years she'll be two years older... three years
and she'll be three years older.... and so on!" he answered as he
grabbed Linda and kissed her deeply.

"A cute little girl like that should bring us a pretty penny in the
black market adoption racket!" He said as he broke away from their
passionate kiss for a moment.

"I love you soooo much, Stan!"

"I love you too, Linda..... and 'now' we don't have to keep our a love
a secret anymore!"

Little Jo watched as the two big grownups embraced.....and then Little
Jo felt another chill....