Excerpts from John’s Diary
It’s official.. I’m shrinking..
My wife Sarah stayed silent and just listened to Doctor Patterson speak keeping her eyes on him the entire time as did I.. He showed us the charts, the blood tests, and the measurements..
It was undeniable now.. I’ve gone from six feet and two inches to five feet eleven. Nobody shrinks three inches in their early thirties unless they’ve had a back injury and vertebrae is removed in order to repair the spine..
But I had no such injuries.. I’d been poisoned from that fog that went over our boat while my wife was down below changing bikinis... I had accidently spilled my beer all over her favorite swim-wear earning a good cross rebuke before she stormed down into the galley in order to don a new less impressionable spare that she brought along just in case such things had ever occurred.
The fog made a metallic taste to my lips which I have since learned was from the radioactive fallout from the Japanese Fukishima nuclear power plant and it’s unfortunate meltdown after the tsunami that struck it that fateful morning..
To make matters somewhat comforting I was to learn later on that I wasn't the only one that this was happening to. But more on that later.
Our daughter Laura had been at summer camp so fortunately was spared my strange potentially chronicle condition.
It’s as if fate had singled me out for this humiliating death.
Laura looked down at me from her imposing by comparison height. Her arms were crossed in a defiant posture.. Over a foot and a half taller then me.. Like some world famous Amazon looking every bit as beefy as opposed to my now spindly arms and frame. Even a child at my size was fuller in figure with body fat and muscle. But this was no amazon. This was a nine year old girl.
She had told me that she was not going to clean up her room until she was finished playing her video game. Enraged by her defiance I walked over to her television set and pulled the plug out from the wall.
This was answered by a gasp on her part and then a fit of anger as she threw the gaming control to the floor.
Then was the rustling of bed springs as she bounded off of them intent on confronting her toddler sized step father.
It was once I felt the floor boards groan under her weight when her feet left the bed and the shadow of a much larger being encompassing my form that I realized what a mistake I had made.
My neck craned upwards as she walked right up to me invading my personal space. Then she bent over placing her hands upon her knees in order to come closer to my eye level. Her breath still smelling of the cereal that she had helped herself to not more than twenty minutes earlier.
She frowned at me in an irritated glare without the faintest hint of fear in her eyes..
“Why’d you do that!?” She bellowed. The acoustics of her face and blast of hot air almost knocking me against the wall which I stood only mere inches from to begin with.
“That wasn’t nice and Mom said that I don’t have to listen to you if you’re being mean!”
I was totally unaware that Sarah had given her such liberties on conditions should I overstep my bounds..
On how to assert authority and respect to a step daughter who was beginning to realize her independence, well, shall we say led to more than one argument between me and my wife of four years.
I knew where this rebellious streak was coming from.. Her biological father who still had visitation rights along with his hell on earth daughter from another marriage. A full year older than Laura due to his extramarital affair that led to their divorce some seven years ago.
Laura looked up to Jessica like a older sister and she was to be quite fair.. She was just a bitter girl who was a problem child which is exactly what me and Sarah were trying to avoid with Laura....
We all tried to be civil though and would even let Jessica sleep over and vice versa trying to keep the visitation rights thing as tolerable as possible.
And now I had to deal directly with Jessica and Frank’s poisonous influences.. I’d told Sarah this was going to happen but what could we actually do? Visitation rights were legal and binding.. So the bad influences continued in regardless of our lectures to Laura on the virtues of right and wrong in spite of what she’d been learning on the other side of town amongst the white trash losers that we were now inescapably tied to.
But now I had a rather large and pissed off amazon to deal with who was not above her present intimidation ploy. Would this be the moment that she cowered me to her will.. Would I become nothing more than her nanny or worse yet servant?
Not if I had anything to do with it. But how was I going to get out of this situation now? I had escalated this through my fury and now was being held to task.
So I put my arms on my hips and tried to stealthily step upon my tip toes in a vein attempt to seem more imposing.
“Laura! You know that when Mom is at work you have to listen to me.”
“Not if you act mean and you just did something mean, and mom said I don’t have to be a victim of your outbursts just because your frustrated!”
The giant girl leaned in even closer to study my reaction thinking that she’d scored a victorious win. Her scowl now more resembling a smirk.
I had to think fast now..
“I didn’t know that you’d had this conversation with her but I assure you, that if you don’t clean your room up I’ll see to it that your play station is parted from you for a least a month!”
Laura’s eyes widened. I had made an ominous threat. She bent back up to a standing position with her arms crossed still defiant.
“Now granted perhaps I shouldn’t have unplugged your television. But you have to remember that I’m still in charge here and that would never have happened if you just would have cleaned your room when I asked you to an hour ago.”
Laura turned quickly and stomped over to her bed... I could feel the reverberations through my feet once again.
She dropped down face first upon her belly and placed her chin upon her hands supported by her elbows bellow.
Speaking to the far wall she rang out another cross response.
“You wont be in charge of me for much longer.. Soon I’ll be in charge of you shorty!”
The words hit me like a spear through the heart.. Could this be possible? Had somebody told her that eventually this would be the family dynamic? I pondered this with a growing sense of paranoia.
Laura lazily kicked her massive feet up into the air as she pretended to be bored with me. Each appendage as long as my forearm to the tip of my fingers..
I used this as an opportunity to pick up her remote control and exit the room.
“Just get your room cleaned. Do that and I’ll let you play your games again.”
I didn’t hear an answer and didn’t wait for one either as I beat a hasty retreat back down the stairs... The activity of climbing and descending becoming more difficult with each passing day.
On the way down I had a lot of food for thought. And none of it encouraging.
That evening when Sarah got home I dutifully informed her of Laura’s outburst and claims.
Sarah was tired and didn’t really want to talk about it but relented with my continual badgering.
With a sigh she admitted that she did tell Laura that she didn’t have to follow a command from me if it was bore out of anger or ridiculous... To her defense.. As I had began dwindling down my fits and outbursts of anger were becoming more frequent..
But couldn’t anyone see that this was the spasms of a dying man? A man who was watching his world swallow him up before his very eyes? A slow burn to complete handicapped status? The frustration of not being able to drive a car to where I wanted to go anymore? To have to ask for help on so many things that I once took for granted? Having to use step stools and now ladders just to get myself a jar of peanut butter?
Everyone likes you until you become a burden on them I was finding out. And once that became more pronounced they would even begin taking away some of your rights as today was going to bring home to me.
“ John, I’ve been talking to my sister and mother trying to think of a way around the Laura problem... And their suggestion was that we got a sitter for Laura. I’m thinking that maybe they’re right especially when we have her openly defying you like she did today... We need someone that she’ll respect.”
Sarah grimaced knowing that she’d just spoke too candidly with me and quickly tried to correct the callous word.
“I mean, someone that can make her do her chores and can sooth talk her a little more diplomatically.. We both know that you just get frustrated and then lash out... But what are we going to do when she begins lashing back even more often?”
That last part of her paragraph made a lot of sense after my close brush with... Well I’m glad that I didn’t know what, but knew good and well that I had barely dodged a physical confrontation and one of which I’m not certain that I could have prevailed.
“Who did you have in mind?” I relented feeling my authority fall like grains of sand through my fingers..
Sarah looked off into the distance as if contemplating how to let this blow fall upon me. Then she just came out with it. She stroked her soft shoulder length blonde hair as her green eyes thoughtfully contemplated how best to break this news to me.
“Mom has offered to help and so has Karen.. They could alternate days and just do it while I’m at work. We’ve got a guest room that they could sleep in and they’re willing to help for free... And in lieu of our finances now that you are not working I think it’s our best option. ...
They’d even cook and clean while they’re here. They promised. And mom would be here three days while sis did two starting this Monday. I’d be here on the weekends of course.”
I was stunned again.. Her mother and sister looking after our daughter... Pushing me to the wayside in the process.. My role being partitioned in no more than two days time.
Sarah sat on the sofa near me and sadly yet sympathetically looked at me for my reaction...
It was true.. My authority was leaving with each inch that I lost and it was leaving quickly now that it had become obvious to Laura that she was much more physically stronger than me now. And we certainly could not afford a full time nanny.. Keeping this in the family seemed like the only option.. A trapping and suffocating option however.
Neither her mother nor her sister cared for me very much. With her mother who tended to just try and ignore me and Karen who went out of her way to annoy me... But what other options were there?
My female family members having decided the new role for me over a simple cup of tea a few days ago.. Secretly my blood was boiling.. This just wasn’t fair.
And it was the most logical thing to do which angered me even more.. How long could I defy this decision before I was simply ignored?.. Wouldn’t it be better if I had voluntarily relinquished this responsibility rather than having it stripped from me eventually anyhow?
I decided to do some damage control for what it was worth.
“If I agree to this Sarah, it is under the condition that their authority extends only to Laura and that they stay the fuck away from me!. Do you understand?”
My beautiful wife’s frown had inverted into a happy smile now that it seemed that I had began to see things her family’s way.. She even tried to console me bending over and wrapping her tree trunk arms around my now frail body. I was squeezed up into her embrace like one would do a child who needed consoling after a cut or a fall. Being pulled towards her with very little effort.
“Oh of course they wont lord over you.. And actually we’ve already discussed and agreed upon that boundary.” She said through a soothing voice as her massive fingers combed through my hair petting me like one would do a puppy.
This I secretly liked and hated at the same time.. Yes is was nice to be consoled by your wife.. But it was still humiliating to be embraced like a mother to child as she instinctually did.
Her nurturing feminine side only serving to emasculate me on a subtle level even more.. As I was stroked and squeezed I couldn’t help wonder if even this condition that I had made would eventually be overlooked as things change with time and circumstances... Unfortunately the future would bear out my fears I would be shown to eventually learn. But for now I was shaken from this pondering as I was lifted up by a joyous wife right into the air with my feet dangling helplessly.
“Why don’t we go upstairs to our room and relieve a little of that stress you’ve gotten into your system?”
She maneuvered my face to hers and gave me a enticing look of naughty things to come.. I could only nod my head in anticipation as I was effortlessly carried out of the living room and up the stairs to meet with my wife’s reward for correctly seeing things her way.
Modeled after the Incredible Shrinking Man story by Richard Matheson, I will attempt to take you through various tragic stages and circumstances impressed upon a man with a shrinking disease.
Excerpts from John’s Diary