Galvanized by: Pent Ghelsburg
Disclaimer: The characters depicted in this work are purely fictional. Most are original and used only within the context of this story. One is the property of another person and I use them with permission and respect to the owner. Any resemblance to real life persons is purely coincidental. Furthermore, there is a prominent micro/macro theme as well as underaged content presented within this story. You have been warned.
The trials of making money as a teenager are often many. Some cope with the difficulties of dealing with part-time work in retail while others go about offering various services such as pool cleaning, snow shoveling, or leaf raking. It all depends on the person in question and the time of year. But perhaps the most frequent of those teenage boys and girls was the task of babysitting. For many, this was a tradition and some others it was a coming of age.
For Bruce, it was that time in his life where he wanted to do. At 16 years of age, the boy was near the cusp of graduation. He was ready to branch out and recently his parents had suggested that he take on more responsibilities. The family of bears was supportive of the teen but both the mother and father knew it was time for him to become more independent. While he was not yet ready for a full-time commitment, a part-time one seemed like a better option.
One night the two parents discussed how they might confront such an issue with their son. He was normally open to suggestions, so they figured dinner might be best to introduce the idea. Once a meal was ready the pair served up the table with a set of dishes and utensils.
“Bruce, it's time for dinner!” The father barked down the hall summoning his son.
Soon enough the teen made his way into the kitchen. Wearing a casual t-shirt with some beat up jean shorts. The boy was very much your typical adolescent.
“Need help?” Bruce asked in order to be polite.
“It's okay son. Just sit down and relax for tonight.” The mother requested her son's simple obedience.
As the drinks were served up, both parents sat adjacent to the teenager. The family began nibbling down and about halfway through the meal, the mother broke the silence.
“So your father and I were thinking you could use a job.” The mother began the conversation on her own accord.
“A job? What kind of job?” Bruce looked up from his meal over at his parents.
“How would you like to babysit for Darrel?” The mother continued before taking another bite.
“Oh, Darrel? You mean the neighbor's kid?” Bruce was familiar with the boy.
“Yeah. We figured it was an easy enough job to start with. If you do well enough, they will hire you again.” The father continued, allowing his wife to dine.
“I guess that sounds alright. When would I start?” The teen inquired curiously.
“Tomorrow night. We are going with his parents on a double date.” The father exclaimed his plans for the weekend.
“Alright, that sounds good. Count me in.” Bruce didn't mind much since he didn't have anything in mind anyway.
“Great. I'll let them know later. Don't let us down.” The father returned to feasting.
“I won't. I promise.” The teen wasn't keen on impressing his parents so that he could get a car soon.
The family finished the rest of their meal. Once complete, Bruce took it upon himself to clean off the table. The parents excused themselves and instead went about lazing about near the television. The teen meanwhile went on his way in washing the dishes by hand. By the time he was done the ordeal left his paws a soapy mess and even his pads were a bit pruned. But he was glad that he took the initiative in doing the chore without being told to.
Once he was done, he joined his parents in watching the television. Together they watched a recently released movie. The three of them picked out an action flick despite it not being the favored genre of the mother. Unfortunately for her, she was out-numbed two to one. Still, she was a good sport about it and even served them some popcorn during its showing. After the movie was over the teen yawned, showing he was ready for bed.
“Get some sleep, Bruce. You have a big day tomorrow.” The parents chimed in together in unison.
Like the cooperative boy he was, Bruce did as he was told. Besides his body was on a rather regimented schedule because of school. He retired to his room and swept himself off into bed. It didn't' take long before sleep took him. After several hours the boy roused to come around and gently rose to the rising sun. Bruce could smell the scent of breakfast being made and didn't deny his stomach when it grumbled.
Bruce appeared in the kitchen shortly after, still in his sleep clothes. He was a bit groggy but the scent of sausage and pancakes was unmistakable. While the father had already departed for a meeting, the mother was busy with finishing up breakfast. Soon she would depart as well but she wanted to see him off first.
“Eat up and we'll get you situated next store. Then I have to be off to meet with your father.” The mother instructed her son.
Nothing was said but the teen understood she meant business. He didn't go about in wasting any time and quickly devoured his meal.
Once his hunger was sated, Bruce went about and readying himself for the day. After dismissing himself he went back to his room to take a quick shower. He didn't spend much time inside, out of fear of making his mother late and risking her wrath. The teen was rather expedient in his daily routine, more so than usual. In little under a half an hour, he was ready to begin his day. One last thing was in order, he stashed some games into a bag not wanting to be under-prepared for his first job.
He was ready. Bruce's mother eventually poked her head to check on him. He didn't need to be told to hurry up as he knew full well what the gesture meant. The teen followed in close behind her and eventually they headed out the door. She locked it behind them, ready for her own day. The mother had errands to run before she met with her husband. But even still she felt obligated to formally introduce him to the neighbors.
In truth, Bruce had met them before but only on an informal basis. His mother stepped aside to let him knock on the door. Shortly after he did so he was greeted by the boy's parents. Like his own family, they were bears. This part of the country was dominated by the species so it wasn't really surprising. A younger bear cub was behind the two clinging to his own mother, clearly a little insecure around the strangers.
“Good morning. I presume your Bruce?” The father asked to initiate a conversation.
“Yes, sir. Nice to meet you.” The teenager extended his right paw out in a gesture of greeting.
The boy's father did the same and the two exchanged a firm handshake. Before long it was broken and the cub was pushed in front of his parents.
“This is Darrel.” The mother introduced the boy who sheepishly walked towards Bruce.
“Hiya little guy.” Bruce knelt down to be more of an eye level with the child.
“Hey, I'm not little!” Darrel crossed his arms defensively and huffed taking offense.
“Yeah, sorry. Your a big boy aren't you?” Bruce said playing along to please the boy, ruffling his head fur.
“That's right. I'm a big boy!” Darrel huffed up his chest in order to seem bigger than he actually was.
“Good. I'm glad you are two acquainted. Now we must be on our way. If you need anything here is our number. Call us if you need anything.”
The father handed Bruce a small slip of yellow paper with a phone number on it. No further instructions were provided. Soon enough the boy's parents had joined his mother in a vehicle. It seemed they had plans. The teen decided to not pursue the matter and let his curiosity die down. Besides with the boy scratching at his leg, it was hard to focus on his own inquisitive nature.
“So what would you like to do for fun, huh?” The teen turned his attention back down to the boy who seemed quite energetic.
“Uh, I dunno. How about we build something with legos?” The cub seemed quite excited about this idea, jumping up and down.
“Sure. We can do that.” Bruce led inside and shut the door behind him.
The home was very similar to his own. Though the decorations were different, the overall size of the place was very familiar to him. The teen set his things down by the door
However, one thing was different was that the living room was littered with toys. From a glance, Bruce assumed that the boy couldn't have been more than 8 or 9 at best. Wearing a rather simple graphic t-shirt with some canvas shorts. The most strange thing about him was his shoes. The straps were very clearly Velcro, which looking over Bruce thought was a bit strange for a boy that old. But he decided to pass it off as nothing to worry over. After going inside, the boy made himself more comfortable and kicked his shoes off into a corner.
Once they were in the middle of the front room, the teen could see that the floor was a veritable mess of colorful blocks. It didn't seem that the parents had bothered to clean up after the boy. No semblance of order was present and it wasn't entirely clear that Darrel had been building something at all. The boy was the first one to settle down and soon after Bruce joined him.
“Let's make a village of Lego buildings!” The boy didn't wait for confirmation and began building as soon as he finished his statement.
“Alright, that sounds good.” The teen assembled some blocks without a real sense of purpose, pretending to help.
Meanwhile, the cub never caught wind of the teen's ploy. In little under an hour, the two assembled what the teen considered to be a make-shift town.
The rainbow colored plastic had no sense of patterns and was a variety of tones. Any real engineer would have cringed at the appearance but for the two it would make do.
“Let's play cops and robbers. I'll be the police and you be the bandit!” The cub chirped off before scampering off into his room without announcement.
It wasn't long before the boy returned with a small toy gun in his paw. From afar the item was harmless at best, clear plastic. The strangest thing about it was that it put off a glow at the tip. Neon orange and pulsating. What Bruce didn't know is that it wasn't actually the boys, it was his parents.
“Hands up in the name of the law!” The boy shouted playfully pointing the gun at the teen who was still sitting.
Deciding to play along Bruce put both of his paws up into the air. As Darrel moved closer, the pulsation of the tip of the gun became more or more prominent. The glow was surreal and even hypnotic and the teen couldn't quite take his eyes off it, the longer he looked at it.
“BANG!” The cub pulled the trigger and a small ray of purple waves protracted from the tip.
Within a matter of moments, the refracting circles of energy were around the teen. As it hit him an intense feeling of cold and weakness came over him.
Bruce felt if something was off. The cub's glance took a much more playful look and before long the older bear began to notice his clothing was becoming rather loose. Another few moments past before the teen started to realize what was happening to him. Was the cub steadily creeping up his chest or was he getting smaller? His pants falling his form confirmed his suspicion.
“What did you do to me!?” Bruce began to panic, seemingly shriveling more and more away.
“Just having fun!” Darrel fought back a giggle before it erupted.
'Turn me back this instant, young man!” The teen tried to gain back control of the situation.
By this point, the younger bear was already up to his collarbone and steadily rising. The fear of being smaller would be soon realized if Bruce didn't act quickly.
“Nuh-uh!” The boy hid way the gun trying to run from the teen.
The older bear quickly reacted but not before he tripped over his own pant legs. His own shoes slipping from his paws leaving him barefooted and in a daze. As soon as he tried to collect himself, Bruce found himself digging through his own shirt in order to regain his composure. It was clearly apparent that none of his clothing fit him anymore.
As soon as he picked himself up. He found himself trying to catch up with the boy. But the longer and longer the ordeal went on, the more he found himself facing the realization that his situation was only worsening. Before long the teen realized he was eye level with the top of the couch. Mere moments later he watched as the seat cushions came very close to eclipsing him. It was a dizzying trip and resulted in him kneeling down to collect himself once again.
Darrel realized a few minutes later that he was no longer being followed, or that his plan had worked far better than he initially planned. Smirking he set the gun down and considered his next course of action. Of course, if the latter was correct then finding his victim would pose a challenge in itself. So he returned to the living room, assuming the teen couldn't have actually escaped from its confines.
Looking around, his original hypothesis proved correct. No trace of the older bear was around.
“Bruce?” The cub beckoned to the teen hoping for a response.
Though the teen was still out of it he wasn't about to reveal his location. Looking up, the boy was seemingly a giant to him now. Even the couch was an insurmountable cliff for him to climb and he considered his next course of action. He began to run about fearing for his own safety.
But this movement was damning. The cub's vision was far too keen to be tricked. Darrel spotted a little speck of movement and quickly kneeled down in order to inspect the cause. What he found only verified his original thought. It was Bruce. The older bear was but a small splotch of darkness amongst the tan backdrop of the couch and carpet.
“Haha! Look how small you are!” Darrel fought back a giggle before it erupted.
The volume and tenor of the cub's voice caused the teen's body to shake and tremble. But it was their mere size different that caused this. Bruce broke away and began to run fearing for his own safety. His first attempt was to hide away under the couch. But it was much too late for that, the cub had his keen sense of focus set on his new toy. Darrel peered downward and flattened himself before scooping his hand inward. Even jumping didn't save the teen from being captured.
“Got'cha!” The cub brought back his hand before peering into it.
“Let me go this instant young man.” Bruce again protested pretending he was still in control.
“Your in no position to order me around! I'm the bigger one now.” Darrel exclaimed back with a grin.
Bruce gulped inward and allowed his body to relax in the boys grip out of fear of being squeezed. Eventually, he was brought to the boys face, and their apparent size difference became much more blatantly obvious when the cub squeezed him and held the teen against the boy's face. Shortly after though he was brought over to a placemat that looked very similar to a roadmap. Around him were the very same lego buildings they'd constructed earlier.
“Let's play Godzilla! I'll be Gojira-san and you be the scared villager.” Darrel chirped happily slipping off his shoes.
The older bear watched as the boy stood back up preparing to stomp. Some of the lego buildings around him crumbling into little more than debris. It didn't take long for panic to strike. Bruce reacted quickly, not quite playing along but darting along the streets of the placemat. Not far behind the boy loomed, slowly stepping playfully toying with the diminished teen but clearly having no interest in smashing him.
“ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAR!!!” The boy made monster noises playfully.
Bruce scattered into the side of a building, hoping he'd lost the boy. In a mere matter of seconds, the blocks around him crumbled sending him tumbling. The boy loomed over him looking down with a jestful snarl. Lifting his bar paw over him he rose it over the teen and quickly trapped him under. Now the teen was very much subject to the odor of the boys barefoot. It was quite strong for a boy his age, the aroma wafted up the teen's nostrils making him curl his fingers over his nose.
“Let me up! No fair.” The teen protested fighting back the foul stench of the boy's paw.
“Say, uncle!” Darrel exclaimed defiantly.
“Uncle! Uncle!” Bruce yelled as loudly as he could.
Sure enough, he was released but not long before he was re-captured in the boy's hands. Brought back up to the eye-sight of the bear cub. Darrel sneered at him with a smile. The fun was just starting for the boy. But how would Bruce get himself out of this stinky situation? Only time would tell...