Mason Downey had been suffering from migraines for over three months. He had been to several doctors and all they wanted to do was write him a prescription for headaches. He had an MRI and a CT done on his brain to see if anything was wrong. When he went for his next visit, the doctor told Mason and his wife Alicia he had some bad news. The test have showed that you have a small tumor in your brain. WHAT!!! Alicia said. Here, let me show you the films. The doctor put the x-rays on the board and began showing them what he was talking about.
After the doctor finished explaining it to them, Mason asked if it was operable. The doctor told him that where it was, he doubted if anyone would touch it. Alicia asked about laser-surgery. The doctor told them he only knew of one man who might be able to help them, but he wouldn?t promise them anything up front. This doctor does a lot of ?research? type work. He has helped others in the past with brain-tumors, brain-cysts, and some abnormal growths on certain parts of the body that were almost inoperable. Mason clenched Alicia?s hand and said: I?ve got to try. Even if he can?t help, at least I?ll know I tried. She squeezed his hand, pulled it up to her and kissed it saying: we?ll do everything we can together.
After getting home, Mason called the number the doctor had given him and after several rings a man answered with a harsh voice, and a slight accent.
Hi, is this Dr. Ludwig?
Yes it is. May I ask who is calling me?
My name is Mason Downey. Doctor Robert Fitz gave me your number. Said you might be able to help me.
Dr. Fitz. Hmmmmm. That is a name I have not heard since medical school. Okay. So what is your problem.
I have a brain tumor, and Dr. Fitz said it is inoperable. He said you were the only person who might be able to help me.
He did, did he? Hmmmmmm. Maybe I can, maybe I can-not. So, I give you directions to my lab, I look at your x-rays, and then we shall see. Okay!
Yes, Dr. Ludwig, I really appreciate this.
After giving Mason directions to the lab and telling him to get a copy of the x-rays from Dr. Fitz, Mason hangs up the phone and happily hugs his wife telling her that next Tuesday will be the beginning of his life. Either way. But that Dr. Ludwig sounded very hopeful in their conversation. Alicia hugs him tight against her, tears running down her cheeks, she kisses him and tells him everything will be just fine.
Tuesday couldn?t get here fast enough for Mason or Alicia. Monday, when she arrived home from work, Mason had gassed up his SUV, packed their bags and had a motel room waiting for them. But honey, she said, we?ll have plenty of time to get there tomorrow. Your appointment isn?t until 3:00. I know, but I don?t want to spend the morning driving for two and a half hours and then sit in a doctors office for another hour or longer filling out paperwork before seeing him for maybe 20 minutes and then having to drive back home again. Just think of it as a night out, just you and me, an ?adventure of sorts?. Alicia laughed at him at first, then thought about what he had said, and, as usual, he did make sense, even if it meant a long drive tonight plus a dreary motel room. Well, maybe the cable won?t be out when we get there, she laughed. Who said anything about watching TV? Mason smiled. We?ll see how you feel once you?ve driven all the way there. Let?s go, Mason said, we?re losing daylight. OK, OK?did you pack everything? She asked. Enough clothes for a week, your make-up bag, some munchies, blow-dryer, and your pillow and comforter. Alicia, grinning, looked at him and said: you?d make an excellent servant. HA HA HA Mason said. Get in the truck and let?s go.
After the long drive, the greasy little diner, and trying to sleep on a mattress that looked fifty years old, they were glad to see the sunrise. Alicia couldn?t pack fast enough, Mason was trying to load the SUV while fighting another migraine. You?ll have to drive baby, sorry. Another headache? Yes. They keep getting worse, too. Did you get that new prescription filled? UH-HUH, and they aren?t working either. Before leaving, Mason said: should we do the motel a favor and burn this mattress? Mason tried to joke while holding his head. Naw, the mattress gods wouldn?t accept it as a sacrifice. Mason laughed at her joke, still holding his aching head.
They drove around for a while and found Dr. Ludwigs address. It looked like something out of a horror picture. A three story house, unpainted, yard in need of a groundskeeper, a few broken windows on the third floor, but other than that, it was in a decent part of town. Two hours before your appointment. Want to get something to eat or go shopping? Eating sounds good. My migraine is almost gone so maybe I can enjoy my meal. Great. I?ll look for a place that doesn?t have many people in it so the noise won?t bother you too much, ok? Sounds good to me baby.
After finding a quiet café, having lunch and doing a little bit of shopping, they made their way back to Dr. Ludwigs office. They went up the walkway and rang the bell. A woman, in her early sixties answered. She smiled at them and asked if they were the Downeys?. Yes we are, I?m Mason and this is my wife Alicia. Nice to meet you both, now, come this way. As they walked down the long hallway Mason hummed the ?funeral march? in Alicias ear. She kept nudging him back with her elbow trying not to laugh out loud. At the end of the hallway, they entered the office and Mason gave the old woman all his information and handed her his x-rays. Take a seat please, Dr. Ludwig will be with you momentarily.
After 20 minutes of waiting, the woman opened the door and told them to go with her. They followed her to another room that was set up just like the ones at the doctors offices they had been to. Very nice, Alicia said. And very costly. Came a voice from behind. Mason recognized the voice right away. Alicia jumped back a moment, startled.
Hel-lo, I am Doc-tor Frances Von Ludwig. Please, sit. You must be Mason, correct?
Yes sir. And this is my wife Alicia.
Your wife? You pick her up at the playground? And he winked at Alicia.
Playground? She?s only two years younger then me.
AH! You don?t joke around much I see.
I?what?er?.oh, ok, I get it now. Masons face was as red as Alicia?s fingernails.
Alicia grinned at his embarrassment and thanked Dr. Ludwig for pulling one over on Mason. He is always pulling pranks on everyone and you have pulled a great one over on him.
They all laughed as they took their seats. Dr. Ludwig went over the x-rays with them and told them he had spoken with Dr. Fitz about Masons migraines. He also showed him on a model of the brain EXACTLY where the tumor was and why it was causing his migraines. Dr. Ludwig went on explaining that the spot it was rooted in was in the part of the brain where it tells your body how much to grow as a child through adulthood and a part that affects your vision.
Well, I?m 32 years old, so I?m not worried about stunting my growth, but you?re saying I may go blind?
Yes. There is a chance. The tumor is wedged between the tissue of your brain that borders the line between your growth and your vision. I cannot tell from your x-rays if it is seeded on the growth side or the vision side.
How can you tell? Alicia asked. More ex-rays?
NO?NO?NO! A waste of time for everyone.
Then what? Mason said.
I will have to operate. Look inside myself. See if there is anything that can be done. Hopefully, I can fix you. He looked at Alicia and winked, saying: maybe I stimulate his brain and make him wait on you hand and foot, yeah?
Everyone burst out laughing, even Mason. Alicia saw the look on his face and knew his migraine was back. She turned to the doctor and asked him if he would examine Mason while he was having a migraine. Dr. Ludwig checked Mason. He drew blood, he preformed test the other doctors never done, he had him do different exercises to see if it lessened or got worse, he even tried massaging his temples. Nothing helped.
Just as I suspected. It is wedged in too much. I call hospital and get you admitted tonight, and maybe, we do operation tomorrow afternoon or Thursday morning. Will that be ok?
Sure, just tell me where the hospital is and I?ll go now.
Let me call first and then go. Dr. Ludwig stayed on the phone about 30 minutes talking with the hospital before he returned. All set. They are waiting for you now. A colleague of mine is going to wait until tomorrow afternoon to do a surgery, so to assist me with yours in the morning.
WOW! Mason said. I feel like the President being treated like this. Don?t get used to it, honey. You?ll be in no shape to veto anything for a while when this is over. They laughed and made their way out the door and headed for the hospital.
Once at the hospital, Mason was greeted by a nurse and two interns. They sat him in a wheelchair and started taking his vitals while Alicia was getting him registered. When she turned around, they were gone. She asked the woman in registration where they went and she told her the room number. Alicia took the elevator to the 5th floor and asked the nurse where her husband was. The nurse had her follow her to Masons room. Once inside she saw Mason already in the bed in a hospital gown, IV in his arm, and wires running from him to several different machines and they were still attaching more to him. Masons face was almost blank. Alicia didn?t know whether he was scared or shocked. Finally, one more machine was pushed in and as the nurse looked over at Alicia, she smiled and told her they would have to shave his head for the operation then hook the electrodes up to his head and monitor the migraines until he was released.
Shave his head? All of it? Alicia asked.
Afraid so, hun. The nurse answered. Would you like to do it? Sometimes it helps if someone else cuts their hair and shaves them.
I suppose I can. Just take the clippers and cut it all off and shave it?
That?s right. If you have any problems just let me know. I?ll be at the nurses station.
Alicia cut his hair with the clippers. Afterward, she ran the wash tub full of hot water, dipped his washcloth in it, rung it out and laid it on top of his head. After a few minutes, she took it off, lathered him up and began shaving Masons head. She was scared she was going to cut him, but she was very gentle not even nicking him once. After she had finished and dried his head off Mason rubbed his hand over his now bald head and winked at her saying, missed a spot. Alicia smiled and told him the nurse had a strait-razor for missed spots. Mason rubbed his head again and said, nope, smooth as silk. He looked at himself in the mirror and laughed. He was laughing so loud the nurses came rushing in to see what all the noise was. What they saw was Mason rubbing his head, staring at himself in the mirror and laughing at himself. He looked at Alicia and said: this could be a good look for me, don?tcha think? Alicia dropped her head shaking it side to side telling him his head was shaped funny and his hair balanced it out. The nurses laughed at her and walked away, their laughter echoing throughout the hallway.
As the technicians applied the electrodes to Masons head, Alicia called Masons boss and told him where they were and that he was scheduled for surgery first thing in the morning. He thanked her for the call and told her he would be there tomorrow afternoon to check on him. Alicia called her boss and told her what was going on. She told Alicia not to worry, to take all the time she needed. Her job wasn?t going anywhere.
The next morning Mason was prepped and wheeled off to the OR. He could feel Alicias kiss and tears drying on his cheek as they pushed him down the corridor. Once inside the operating room Dr. Ludwig and another doctor, Dr. Angelo Hernandez spoke to him about ?the procedure?. They let him know they would be bringing him in and out of consciousness during the operation and asking him questions, checking his vision, and so forth. With all that said, Dr. Ludwig gave a nod and asked Mason to count backward from 100. At 98 Mason was silent, not another word for over a minute when Dr. Ludwig began operating. Once inside his head, Dr. Ludwig asked for the laser. He began burning the tumor away until he was almost against the brain itself. As he was cutting the tumor from the brain, the power flickered and the beam went from red to green, a yellow spark hit his brain cells, then back to red again in less than 2 seconds. Dr. Ludwig turned it off and restarted it again and everything was showing normal. Dr. Hernandez assisted Dr. Ludwig for the 6 hour, 27 minutes, and 11 seconds it took to get the tumor out of Masons brain. The two doctors discussed the laser changing colors during the operation and let it go as a lack of power. It was very strange, Dr. Hernandez said. Plus, I have never seen a patient ?jerk? the way he did when that spark hit his brain. Almost like it went completely through his nervous system.
Mason was taken to recovery and then to the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital. When he finally came to, the first thing he saw was his beautiful wife, Alicia. She was smiling, tears of joy running down her cheeks, eyes red and puffy from crying all day long, and worrying about him. He tried to speak but his mouth was so dry he could barely whisper to her, and it burnt his throat. Roxanne, her boss, handed her a cup of water with a straw and told her to give him some because patients have dry-mouth after surgery. Alicia gave him some water and Mason was soon able to speak, weakly, but understandable. He saw his boss, Clark standing next to his bed giving him a thumbs-up.
Mason asked about his drawings and Clark told him he was handling his designs and wouldn?t change anything without his approval first. Mason smiled. He knew he was the best Architect Clark had and it was very rare he had to change anything. He always listened to what people wanted and drew a mental picture and drew from it. Roxanne took Mason by the hand and told him she hoped he felt better soon and apologized for having to leave. Mason thanked her for showing up and being with Alicia through his ordeal. She smiled and said ?after putting up with you all the time, she needed some girl time?. Mason tried to laugh but the movement hurt his head. I gotta go too buddy. Still a long drive back and I need to get back to the office to make sure Jeffery hasn?t fired everyone. You know how he gets with those power-trips when I?m gone. PLEASE! Mason said, stop making me laugh?it hurtssssssss. They all laughed and Alicia thanked Clark for coming to the hospital.
Dr. Ludwig came in a few hours later to discuss the operation with them. Good news. I was able to completely remove the tumor. It was a nasty little devil. It was in a better spot then I could have hoped for. It was still seeded down a bit more then I would have liked it to be, but, I was able to get it without touching the side of the brain that affects your vision.
What about the other side of his brain? Asked Alicia. Did you have to take much of that out to get to the tumor?
Just a bit more then expected. Like I said, it was seeded deep into it. If he had been a child, I would not have performed the operation, for fear of causing the child to be very short for life.
But this won?t effect him in any way, right?
Right. He is grown man. Over 30. He not growing anymore. No need for concern. Only getting better now.
That?s good to hear, doc. Mason said. Still groggy from the operation. Maybe we can go fishing or something after all this is over with.
That is good. Maybe catch ?BIG ONE? to hang in my office on wall under diploma.
They laughed at this and Mason, poor Mason, as bad as he wanted to laugh, his head hurt even if he tried to move it.
I go now. I will check you in the morning. You get rest and in two, maybe three weeks, you get to go home if you are okay.
After Dr. Ludwig left, Alicia saw that Mason was fast asleep. She figured it would give her some time to call the family and their friends and let them know how everything went. And maybe, just maybe, her nerves would be settled down enough that she could eat. After spending a few hours away making phone calls, and forcing down some Chinese food her phone rings.
Hey, you haven?t left to clean out the bank accounts have you?
Yeah silly, I?m there now, the bank manager stayed open until 10:30 just so I could rob you blind.
Ha ha owwwwwww?my head. You coming back tonight?
Yes, I?m in the cafeteria downstairs eating some bad Chinese. Want some?
No thanks. I had some applesauce type stuff with little chunks of jello in it.
I?ll be up in a few minutes.
OK. Love you baby.
Love you too, byeeeeeeeeeee. She said in a sexy voice.
Shortly, she entered the room and there he laid, fast asleep. She looked up and saw the nurse changing his IV bag. He was complaining about the pain and the doctor said to increase his morphine drip. I believe he will be out of it for the rest of the night. Alicia smiled at the nurse and sat next to the bed as she finished and left the room. Mason opened his eyes and told Alicia he couldn?t sleep without seeing her beautiful face first. She leaned over and kissed his forehead and told him good night. Mason drifted off to sleep.
After a few weeks the swelling went down in Masons head and he was slowly getting back to his old self. He was sitting up and carrying on with everyone. Only thing, was that he kept getting a tingling sensation in his head where he had been operated on. When he mentioned it to the doctor, the doctor told him it was a natural feeling, sometimes it tingles, sometimes it itches, it was just his brain healing itself. Mason just shrugged it off and took the doctor at his word.
After five weeks of being in the hospital, Mason was getting ready to leave when he had a burning feeling in his head. It felt like his brain was on fire, burning him from within. For the several seconds it lasted, his body felt like an icey chill was running thru it as he trembled. Mason was sweating like he had been working out at the gym. He was completely drenched in sweat. He took in a deep breath noticing he was holding onto the headboard as his knees were buckling. Something just doesn?t feel right about this. After the feeling had passed and he had composed himself, Mason paged the nurse.
Mason told her what had just happened and how he felt when it was going on. The nurse wrote it down and told him she would call Dr. Ludwig immediately. The doctor arrived shortly afterwards and examined Mason. The only thing he could find was that he had lost eight pounds during his stay in the hospital, other then that, everything was normal. Dr. Ludwig told him he had never had a patient have those symptoms after an operation, but if he would like to stay a few extra days in case it happened again maybe they could see if it was coming from the operation. Mason agreed and told Alicia what was going on. He told her if she wanted to go home for a few days and relax, or maybe try working, he?d be fine. He knew she was worn out from all of this.
Alicia figured a few days away from the hospital might be what she needs. He will call when he has been released, plus, Roxanne needs me at work, so I won?t be going home and sitting around doing nothing all day. Alicia took the long drive home. She went to work and Roxanne invited her to stay at her place until Mason came home. Alicia accepted her offer, anything was better then staying in a large house all alone.
Finally, after three days, Mason called. He was ready to come home. Alicia was so excited she hugged Roxanne, thanked her for her hospitality, and went as fast as she could to the hospital. Once there, Mason was sitting on the bed, he had balloons, cards, flowers, and even some candy that he had been given since going into the hospital. He told Alicia he wanted to stop by the childrens ward and give them all the balloons and flowers and even the candy if their doctors would allow it. She thought that was a wonderful idea. Even after his brain surgery, he still thinks about everyone else, she smiled thinking to herself. At least he didn?t lose that emotion.
On the drive home, Mason told Alicia that he would have to buy some new clothes or gain back some of the weight he lost in the hospital. Why is that? She asked. Because, my clothes seem to be a little baggy, he replied. Baggy? They look fine. Plus, isn?t everyone wearing their clothes a little big these days? Maybe so, but still. I like my clothes to fit me. I?m a little too old to be walking down the streets holding my pants up. She burst out laughing. That would be a sight I?d love to see. Very funny, you know me better then that.
All got quiet. Alicia looked at Mason and saw him holding his head and shaking. She quickly pulled off into a parking lot, stopped the car and got out running over to Masons side, opening up the door and holding him tightly. After it passed, Mason looked at her and told her that it was the same feeling he had before in the hospital room. Once again the episode left Mason feeling like his head was on fire, drenched in sweat and slightly shaking, out of breath and trying to get his eyes to re-focus. After all was over with, he knew something wasn?t quite right about the situation but he couldn?t figure out what it was.
Once home, he was still weak feeling and Alicia helped him from the car and into the house. She led him to the sofa and he almost fell face first into it. MAN, AM I GLAD TO BE HOME!!! He said with a stupid grin on his face. I am too. You can?t be staying away from home anymore unless the bed is big enough for both of us. That?s fine by me, babe. Now, I?m ordering some supper. You want Chinese, pizza, or something from the Bistro? A chopped ham salad would be great, he said. OK. The Bistro it is then.
The next several days seemed fine. Alicia called frequently to check on him. He had called Clark earlier and asked him to bring some stuff over during lunch so he could work on it. Clark really didn?t think it was a good idea but he did so anyways. He figured there was only so much TV a man could watch before becoming bored with it. Mason was working on a mini-mall project when Alicia arrived home. He was concentrating so hard on his work that he didn?t hear her come in. She walked into his office and stood behind him several minutes before clearing her throat. Mason practically jumped from the chair almost tripping over it before regaining his balance. AND JUST WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING? She asked, arms crossed, eye brow raised. I?um?.was?.um? uh-huh. I see what you are doing. You aren?t relaxing. I can?t be relaxed if the bills aren?t getting paid. He finally stammered out. The bills are fine. We could both quit our jobs today and the bills would still be paid for the next 5 to 7 years. Maybe even longer. Mason, head dropped down replied: I know. But I?m bored. There?s nothing I can do around here. I can?t drive just yet, I can?t do any yard work for risk of infection, or go to the gym. I just sit around all day watching tv and working on my drawings. I?m sorry, babe but work and loving you is all I?m good for. Don?t try to sweet talk me, mister. I?m married to you, I know how you are. With that, she leaned in to kiss him and noticed something strange. She wasn?t raised as high as she usually did to reach him. She was barely off her heels. Mason noticed it too. He wasn?t wearing any shoes and she was in her flats, but even still, she is 5?7? and he is 5?10?. He looked at her and quickly opened the desk drawer and pulled out his tape measurer. He stood against the wall and had Alicia make a mark. He turned around and measured from the floor up the side of the wall where the mark was. 5?8.5?. This can?t be right, he said. She looked at the mark, comparing herself to him and saw they were almost eye level. Honey, do you suppose when Dr. Ludwig said he had to take out a small portion of your brain that affects your growth, it caused you to lose some of your height? It shouldn?t have. I mean, I?m no doctor but the only people I hear of that lose height are older people. You know, in their 60?s and such. Maybe we should call him tomorrow morning and schedule an appointment for this week instead of the one next week. I will, first thing in the morning.
The next morning after Mason told Dr. Ludwig about the loss of height and the attacks he was having, Dr. Ludwig asked him to come to his office as soon as he could. Alicia took the day off from work and drove him to the doctors office. Once there, Dr. Ludwig met them at the door and ushered them into the office and began examining Mason from head to toe. After the routine examination was done, he took some ex-rays of his head, back and hip area.
Everything seems normal. I can-not explain why you are having this ?burning sensation? or ?loss of height?. It has never happened before, at least not to my knowledge.
It has to be something, Alicia said. He?s almost the same height as I am.
I see that. I have compared everything from today to when you first came here and the height is the only difference I can see.
Isn?t there any other test that you can do, doc? Mason asked, worriedly.
An MRI is only other option. But it will be tomorrow before I can perform that test on you. Meet me at hospital tomorrow morning at seven o?clock and we will do test then.
They thanked the doctor and left. Alicia told Mason not to worry. It was just some weird side-effect and he would be back to normal soon. Mason looked at her, shook his head, and tried to laugh it off. OK. OK. I know, she said. No, you don?t know. You aren?t the one getting smaller, I am. And what if it doesn?t stop, you know, like in that movie. I?ll dwindle away to nothing. No one will ever be able to see me again. Don?t get over-dramatic. If there is a major problem, Dr. Ludwig will fix it. If not, I?ll carry you around in my purse, she laughed. Mason laughed with her. That would be a real laugh for you. Losing me in all that make-up and junk you have in there. HEY! I need everything I carry in there, EVEN YOU IF THAT?S WHAT IT COMES TOO!!!
After another restless night in a cheesy motel, they arrived at the hospital bright and early. Dr. Ludwig and two other men were in the corner talking when they noticed Mason and Alicia standing there and motioned them over. They said their good mornings and did the introductions before going to the MRI room. As Mason took his place on the table and he was put inside the machine they began. As they took each picture of his body from top to bottom, Dr. Ludwig noticed a tiny green speck on every nerve ending, in the muscle, and on the bones. It was then that it all came back to him. ?the day the laser malfunctioned and the beam changed colors and sparked into his brain?. I believe we have enough here, gentlemen, Dr. Ludwig said. The tech printed out the MRI and gave them to Dr. Ludwig. Meet me in my office in an hour and I will tell you what I find. Sure thing doc, Mason said. He and Alicia went for a bite to eat before returning to the doctors office.
Once there, Dr. Ludwig began explaining to them what had happened the day of the operation and showed them the tiny green specks on the MRI. Mason, it seems these specks have attached themselves to your bones, muscles and nerves. I need to take a sample of your blood to see if these specks are in there as well.
And if they are? Alicia asked.
Dr Ludwig rubbed his hand over his head. ?WHEW?! I really do not know what to tell you. You see, as a man of science, this is what is known as?UNEXPLAINABLE !!!
YEAH, Mason said. In the real world it?s called ?HOW THE HELL DO YOU FIX IT?!!!
Dr. Ludwig was at a loss for words. He hung his head down, placed his hand on Masons shoulder and promised him he would work on his problem until he could find a way to make him better.
But in the mean time? Alicia asked, fighting back her tears.
Just go about your every day lives, trust me, I will do all I can to find a cure for you Mason Downey. I will work on it until my dying breath. But the two of you must promise, not to let anyone else know of this unfortunate situation. There are some in the medical field who would use you to advance their own careers not to mention the Government. If you must tell anyone about this, make sure it is someone you would trust your life with. This must remain a secret. Trust me. If word leaks out you are shrinking, the two of you may never see each other again.
Alicia looked at Mason, tears streaming down her face, honey?what are we going to do?
Mason stood up and hugged her, assuring her that Dr. Ludwig would find a cure. And glancing over at the doctor, he could see by the look on his face that there would never be a cure.
The next several weeks went by fine. Mason didn?t have any episodes whatsoever. He was even going in to work half a day three times a week. When at home, every time he would sneeze, cough, or groan, Alicia would rush to his side thinking he was having another attack.
Mason and Alicia went to Dr. Ludwigs office for another follow-up exam. The doctor was pleased with the results.
So, maybe it was just a reaction to where I went into your brain. Maybe the tumor was stuck to your last growth spurt and when I oper-ated, I cut it out, and thus, your body rejected your current height.
Sounds like a good theory to me, doc. Mason said. Whatcha think, babe?
Works for me too, Alicia smiled. I kinda like Mason eye level with me. I don?t have to stretch to kiss him.
Very funny. But true. I don?t get a kink in my neck having to bend over to kiss you either.
O-kay, children. None of that in here. Hopefully the problem is resolved. If so, I will see you in three months for another check-up. But Mason, one thing before you leave.
Sure doc, what?s that?
If you have another episode, you must call me at once, UNDERSTAND!
I will, trust me!
And if he doesn?t, I will, Alicia added.
The drive home was peaceful. They made an adventure of it. Stopping in the towns looking around, buying things from the roadside vendors, and even spent the night in a cozy Bed and Breakfast about an hours drive from home. Mason had suggested the overnight stay, he told Alicia it would make ?the perfect end to a perfect day?. Oh, how romantic he could be, he always saw the beauty in everything.
After arriving home, Mason was unloading the suitcases when another spell hit him. He dropped to his knees holding his head as he waited for the burning to pass. As he stood up, he felt a hand on his shoulder. It was Roxanne. She looked at him puzzled for a second and asked if he was alright. He told her he was just a little weak from all the traveling and not to say anything to Alicia about it. She agreed, but still, something wasn?t right. He didn?t look the same as when he went into the hospital and she knew it. Mason could see her giving him a once over and quickly grabbed the suitcases and carried them inside. He called out to Alicia that Roxanne was there. She entered the room carrying a serving tray with coffee. Care to join us for a cup? She asked Roxanne. Sure. I was trying to help Mason with the luggage and stuff but you know how men are, she laughed. I know. He?s always been that way. Even now, he won?t slow down.
After Roxanne left, Alicia walked up behind Mason and put her arms around him and noticed she was taller then he was. MASON! What, he said pulling away from her. You?re?I?m?.when did you have another one of your headaches? When I was unloading the car, he replied. Roxanne?did she? Mason cut her off in mid sentence. I was on my knees. When I saw her looking at me after it happened, I grabbed the suitcases and rushed in before she noticed anything. I hope I did anyways. Yeah, me too. OK?up against the wall, mister. HUH? He asked. Time to measure you. Grrrrrrr. She took out the tape and measured him. 5? 5?. I?m?I?m two inches taller than you now. I know. Were you even going to tell me? No. It?s useless to go driving back and forth to the doctors office when he can?t do anything for me. BUT HE SAID HE WOULD! He said that to calm you down. Me and him both know there isn?t anything that can be done. OH MASON! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO? What we always do. Love each other and take every day as it comes.
After Mason went to sleep, Alicia called and left a message at Dr. Ludwigs office telling him about Mason having another spell. She told him not to return her phone call because Mason had given up on him finding a cure and wasn?t going to call him unless it was absolutely necessary. The next morning Dr. Ludwig heard her message, hung his head down, and silently wept as he knew there was nothing he could do to help him.
Twelve months had passed since Masons operation. Everything in his world had been turned upside-down. He no longer worked as an architect, he wasn?t able to do yard work, or even drive a car. He did, however, wake up every morning with a smile on his face knowing how lucky he was to have a wife who loved him more than anything else in the world. Even with his, what most people would consider to be a handicap, new-found-self, Mason kept a cheery attitude towards everything life had thrown at him. Being only four inches tall now, Alicia still treated him as she always had, her equal, as he had always treated her. Even though they both knew she could dominate him whenever she felt like it, she never did. She never baby-talked at him, never lost her temper with him, (even when she should?ve), they discussed everything like they always had, right down to the lie he asked her to tell about him leaving her after he was too small to be seen in public anymore. She hated that lie, but, she knew it was to not only protect him, but her as well.
Their life was still as it had always been. Very romantic. Almost fairytale-ish. She and Mason would play numerous games together. His favorite being hide-n-seek. Alicia was always scared she might hurt him trying to find him, but Mason never put himself in a position to be seriously hurt where he would need more medical attention then she could give him. The game was fun. She would count to fifty in one room as he hid in another room that they had agreed on. She would set the timer for 20 minutes and begin searching. If she found him before the timer went off he was to do anything she asked for 10 minutes. If not, it was reversed. Next to playing hide-n-seek with her, he enjoyed it on sunny days when she would take him in the back yard and drive him around in his remote-controlled jeep. Sitting behind the wheel felt good to Mason, even if he couldn?t steer it, he would still act like he was whenever she made it turn.
One day when they were in the backyard playing, Alicia had just drove the jeep up to her and was talking to Mason. He was standing up answering her when all of a sudden he dropped into the seat and tried to hide. Alicia looked at him strangely and said: Mason, what?s wrong honey? Mason peeped up over the steering wheel and pointed, dropping again in fear. Alicia turned around suddenly, dropping the remote, it hit face down and sent the jeep crashing backwards into a flower pot, ejecting Mason from the vehicle. Alicia was too fixated on seeing Roxanne standing there, and didn?t notice her tiny husband flying through the air. Roxanne pointed at Mason and Alicia turned, saw him, and jumped to her feet and caught him just in time before he landed in the rose bushes. After checking to see if he was ok, Mason told her Roxanne was behind her. Alicia had forgotten about her being there while rescuing her husband from death or serious injury. Alicia turned facing Roxanne, who in return looked at Mason, then Alicia, then at Mason again in his wifes? hands. Finally, Alicia broke the silence saying, ?Roxanne, I guess we need to talk, huh?? I?rang?bell?door?.open?was all she could say still staring at Mason.
They went inside and sat down at the kitchen table. Alicia put Mason on the table in front of her. Roxanne looked at Mason for a second and said: Mason, is that really you? Yes it is Roxanne. Mason walked towards her saying, it?s so nice to see you again. UH?nice to see you too?I?think? as she looked at the tiny man standing before her. She looked at Alicia and asked what had happened. Alicia told her the entire story, all the way up to where she had to lie to protect them both. Roxanne, totally astonished at everything she had heard and seen, swore to Mason and Alicia that she wouldn?t breath a word to anyone about this. She asked Alicia if she had ever brought him to work with her. Many times. Mostly he stays in my purse or on my desk out of sight, why? I could?ve sworn I saw him running to or from the break room on several occasions and thought he was a mouse or even a shadow. You probably did. I have a small bathroom set up in there for him. He usually goes with me to the bathroom, but, when I?m working on an account or on the phone with a client I can?t always get up and go when he needs to, so, I fixed him a spot behind the drink machine to do his business. But I never took him to work with me until he was eight inches high, he refused to go as long as he was able to manage at home, but now, he goes every day. WOW! I?m surprised someone hasn?t seen him by now. Me too. It?s funny how he can get in and out almost unnoticeable. Almost? Roxanne asked. A few of the girls saw him and thought he was a mouse. They often leave crumbs for him behind the microwave or next to the refridgerator. Roxanne looked at Mason and said: better be careful fella or you might end up caught by them. It?s perfectly ok. He usually goes in there between breaks. Plus, it isn?t like he?s in there all the time, is it honey? Nope?just when I know it?s safe.
So, Alicia, tell me? How were you able to entertain me and the clients here without anyone seeing Mason? Mason spoke up. That?s easy, she dropped me in her dresser drawer and closed it until everyone left. WHAT? Roxanne almost fell back from the chair. Alicia laughed at her and told her Mason usually stayed in the bedroom watching T.V. or either stayed in the garage until everyone left. But what about last week? The Peabody Peanut account? They were here. I was here. How big was he? Roxanne asked. He was here all night long with us. Same size as he is now, four inches. He made his way around everyone either under the sofa, behind the bookcase, or just hid next to a plant. WOW! How long has he been this size? He?s been this size for two months now and he doesn?t get any headaches or anything else associated with it so we think it?s finally over.
The next several weeks at work seemed interesting to say the least. Every time Alicia looked up from her desk she could see that Roxanne watching her, or either waiting for Mason to come out. She even noticed how Roxanne was starting to dress. Usually she wore a nice business suit with either slacks or a skirt that went just past her knees with her hair in a bun, and her pumps. Now, she was wearing a little more make-up then usual, low cut tops with short skirts or either a skimpy dress and strappy sandals and her hair down. Mason noticed it too and asked Alicia if she thought Roxanne was trying to ?lure him in?? She?d better not be. Not if she wants to live. Mason couldn?t believe his ears. He had never heard his wife talk this way about anyone before. He never knew her to be jealous. Maybe it was the fact if someone did get him, he wouldn?t be able to defend himself at his present height. Plus, the way Roxanne looked, WOW! Was all he could think.
The next day while Alicia was on the phone, Mason really needed to use the bathroom. He waited until Roxanne went back into her office and shut the door and he made his move. He ran as fast as he could to the break room. After finishing his business behind the drink machine, he slowly made his way out. He ran to the doorway and peeked around to see if anyone was around and seeing the coast was clear, he started making his way out. Just as he was making his way across the carpet, he felt a slight rumble, then heat. All of a sudden he was face down on the carpet with an enormous amount of pressure on his back. And just as quickly it was gone. He stood up, looked around and came face to foot with Roxanne. He looked up and saw her standing there, foot out of her shoe staring down at him smiling.
What do we have here? She said seductively. Looks like a tiny, little man. And an unsupervised one at that. The whole time smiling and shifting her weight from foot to foot. Here, it?s too dangerous for you out here in the open, let me help you before someone steps on you. And with that, she picked him up, holding him tightly in her grasp and slowly walked to Alicia?s desk and set him next to her phone and whispering to Alicia ?better keep an eye on him.? Alicia looked at Mason and saw he was ok and said ?thank you? to Roxanne as she turned around and walked off. When she finished her call, she asked Mason what happened. He told her that Roxanne picked him up off the floor and brought him to her desk and that was it.
Meanwhile: Roxanne was in her office feeling all tingly. The rush of him under her foot, holding him like that, the power of his life in her hands, the possibilities of what she could have him doing for her. She was so turned on by it all. She was suddenly brought back to reality when there was a knock at her door. Quickly she composed herself saying ?COME IN? Alicia walked into her office and asked her where she got Mason at. He was walking across the floor when I was on my way to Barbara?s desk and I saw him there and figured I?d help him out in case someone was coming. He still had a ways to go to get back to your desk. Well, thank you again, Alicia smiled, I?m sorry, I just worry about him all the time now. That?s understandable, he could get hurt easily now, especially if no one knows to look for him. We wouldn?t want little Mason getting stepped on now, would we? No, I wouldn?t, Alicia said half sarcastically as she left the office and returned back to her desk.
I don?t trust that woman, Alicia said whispering to Mason. I think she was just curious, Mason replied. Taking up for her now, Alicia responded raising an eyebrow. No babe, not at all. But you have to admit, if it was her with a tiny man, wouldn?t you be a bit curious? Well, maybe, I guess I might. Mason crossed his arms looking at her. OK, OK. I?d be curious too, satisfied? Yes ma?am. Now, stay out of trouble, I have tons of work to do. Mason went behind her monitor, where he spent a lot of time doing push-ups, sit-ups, and climbing up and down the cables running behind her desk. He was walking around under her desk when Alicia unknowingly slipped her feet from her shoes and began stretching. Mason couldn?t move fast enough to get out of the way when her foot hit him sending him tumbling to the ground. When he arose, he saw himself between her feet. She brought them together and began rubbing them and felt something. At first she thought it was a cable and then she didn?t see Mason on her desk. She looked and saw Mason down there, trapped, and figured she would continue acting like she didn?t know it was him. Her feet rubbed him for over twenty minutes before she slipped her feet back into her shoes and she left her desk. Mason was dazed, to say the least. He couldn?t understand why she didn?t realize it was him down there, or did she? When she returned, she saw him still sitting under there against the wall. She dropped a pencil and picked him up placing him on the monitor where she could see him better. Like that foot massage, Mason? YOU?YOU KNEW I WAS DOWN THERE? Of course. WHY THEN? You?re supposed to let me know when you leave my desk, remember? How was I to know you weren?t trying to sneak off to Roxanne?s office? VERY FUNNY, he shouted up at her. She leaned in and kissed him telling him she was sorry but she just couldn?t resist. SAVE THAT FOR WHEN WE?RE AT HOME. She gave him a kiss, made a funny face telling him he smelled and tasted like feet, slightly giggled and smiled at him telling him after all the foot massages he gave her she thought she?d give him one before going back to work.
Mason and Alicia lived a very fun filled life together. He would paint her toe-nails for her, massage her feet, drag her slippers to her and their love-life was the greatest. At least Alicia thought so. Roxanne was never able to get her hands on Mason unless Alicia was there watching. Eventually, Alicia started her own company and most of her clients followed her and in three years, she had one of the biggest Advertisement companies in the world. She even found a program for architecture and Mason was successful designing homes and buildings again on their computer.