Nigel roused himself from the ground painfully. No sooner had he done so that Kuki caught sight of him and shrieked. "Aaah, I think I found him!"
The rest of the team joined her, only to reel back in dismay: Nigel's body was at least three times it's normal size.
"Poor Numbuh One." murmured Abby sadly.
"Ugh." Nigel groaned. "I, I'm an adult! The Delightful Children used an age changing ray on me." The others bowed their heads, their worst fear confirmed.
"So, what do we do now?" asked Hoagie, fiddling with his fingers.
"Yeah!" exclaimed Wally. "We need a plan ter get even with these treehouse-wrecking delightful dorks from down the lane!"
"That's-that's your problem now." he let out.
"Say what?!" shouted Abby.
"I can't be a Kids Next Door Operative anymore." Nigel explained mournfully. I'm not a kid anymore."
"But Numbuh One, you can't quit!" pleaded Kuki. "We need you to beat the Delightful Children!"
Nigel felt himself grow annoyed. Why was Kuki constantly clueless? Did she do it on purpose? "Don't you get it, Numbuh Three? I'm an adult! I can't be your leader anymore."
"So that's it?!" said Abby in disgust. "You're just going to walk away? What will your parents say when they see you like this?!"
"I don't know, Numbuh Five." he answered, unable to look her in the eyes. I guess we'll find out soon."
With that, Nigel limped into his house, leaving his stunned teammates to their own devices. No matter how much he wracked his brain, he could find no alibi. In all likeliness, if he told his parents the truth about his accident, he would eventually have to spill the beans about the Kids Next Door. True, when the Delightful Children had made him bald, he had found a believable excuse: a scientific experiment gone very wrong. But being transformed into an adult? That was something else entirely. How was he supposed to hide from his parents the fact that he had suddenly aged twenty years? It was hopeless. Unless he managed to steal the age cigar...But that meant sneaking into the Delightful Children's mansion at night, and if they woke up, or if he ran into Father, it was game over. He might as well forget it. Oh yes, this was definitely not good.
At 7 PM, as usual, Monty left work for home. He hummed contentedly during the twenty-minute ride. It was a glorious rainy day, the kind that reminded him of home. Home...one day, he would have to take Nigel to visit England. Sometimes, he had the impression that Nigel had forgotten his English origins. It was wonderful that he had made American friends, but this really shouldn't come at the expense of his national identity. Well, no matter, he could plan a father and son trip to England for their next vacation. All in good time.
Monty drove his car into the garage and got out. Humming, he went into the kitchen to fix himself a drink. "Oh Nigel? Are you home, old bean?"
"I'm here, dad" came a morose voice from the living room. Intrigued, Monty followed the voice to it's source and gasped.
"Nigel? Is that...you?"
"Yes, it's me," said his son resignedly. "Let's sit down. I can explain."
They sat down on the sofa. There, Monty shook his head convulsively. "What's going on? You look like you've aged twenty years!"
After making one last, fruitless attempt to find an alibi, Nigel opened his mouth. "The Wigglesteins, the children from Down the Lane...they did something to me today."
"The Wigglesteins, you say?"
"Yes, they live in a big mansion down on Avenue lane. You must have heard of them."
Monty looked at Nigel in confusion. "No, the name doesn't ring a bell. So these Wigglesteins turned you into an adult?"
"Yes. They attacked us at our Treehouse for absolutely no reason, and they used an age cigar to turn me...into an adult."
"Nigel, I don't know why these Wigglesteins would have attacked you. But we're going to make sure that these children are punished. I'm calling the police."
Nigel looked at Monty in amazement. It was the closest his father had ever come to sounding agressive. "Um, dad, are you sure about this?"
"I'm very sure." he replied, and indeed the determination in his voice was unmistakeable. "No one attacks my son and gets away with it."
As Monty picked up the phone, Nigel stopped him. "Oh and by the way, dad, if you're wondering what that big pile of wreckage is outside, it's my treehouse."
I apologize for any grammar mistakes. For some reason the website won't let me upload certain words.