Shutter Speed


It was a beautiful sunny morning in Danville when Isabella found Phineas, Ferb, and Perry the Platypus in their back yard, sitting under the tree.

"Hello Phineas, Hi Ferb. Whachya doin'?"

"I'm sitting under this tree," Phineas replied. "Ferb's sitting next to me."

Ferb, sitting next to Phineas under the tree, gave a confirming thumbs up.

Isabella frowned at the camera in her hands and said, "Well, I'm having trouble earning my Fireside Girls high-speed non-flash photography badge, and I was hoping you could help."

"Non-flash this time?" He came alongside. "What seems to be the problem?"

She reviewed the stored photos on the camera's back screen. "I took snapshots of a humming bird, but the wings are blurred."

"Can't you increase the shutter speed?"

Isabella flipped to the next picture. "I did, but when the shutter opens and closes too fast, then not enough light gets into the camera, and the picture's too dim."

Phineas widened his eyes and smiled. "Ferb, I know what we're going to do today! We'll invent a circuit that hyper-accelerates the molecules in Isabella's camera so that it's more sensitive to light at faster shutter speeds!"

"Couldn't you just build a bigger lens?" Isabella asked. "To collect more light?"

Their faces went blank. She blinked at them. They blinked at her. While they stood in silence, Buford arrived with Baljeet under arm.

"Aw, we're late!" Buford said. "They're already wondering where Perry is!"


Far underground, a giant egg plopped into the command chair in the secret lair of Perry the Platypus. A beak poked through the shell, and Perry emerged.

From the giant screen, Major Monogram said, "Thanks for going along with our new mission-themed entrance policy, Agent P. But you know, we need to cut costs, so how about next time we just brief you by e-mail."

"Or we could tweet him!" Carl said, popping into view.

"Carl, we're not tweeting! It sounds silly. Anyhoo, Agent P, Doofenshmirtz has developed a device that will reverse his age back to that of a child. One can only imagine the horrors that could be unleashed."

"Actually," Carl said, "I can't imagine any horrors from that at all."

Monogram scowled. "Have you read Doofenshmirtz's personal history file?"

"I try not to. There are too many disturbing parallels with my own life."

"When he was a teenager, he was a confirmed doorbell-ringer-and-run-awayer. Do you want Danville to go through a spree of that again?"

In the smallest, whiniest voice possible, Carl said, "No sir."

"Well, then, get off screen, and you can come back when you improve your horror-imagining skills."

Carl sulked from view. Monogram turned to Perry. "Agent P, we're not getting any younger, though Doofenshmirtz apparently is. Get out there and make him act his age!"

Perry saluted and climbed into another egg, which blasted off toward another fateful encounter with danger and Doofenshmirtz.


Bird- (ie, Ostrich-) like in grace, Candace clomped down the stairs with phone glued to ear.

"Yeah, Stac," she said, "I am practicing at kissing Jeremy - " she raised a volley ball with a photo of Jeremy taped to it " - but my training equipment is not state of the art."

"Maybe your brothers could build a kissing simulator," Stacy said.

"I'd rather be kissed by a prehistoric monster. And thanks to them, I have."

Crossing the living room, she saw Phineas, Ferb, and friends in the yard.

"Call you back!" Candace said. She snapped the phone shut and narrowed her eyes. "Tone. Lock. FIRE!"

"Hey, Candace!" Phineas greeted as she stormed into the yard. "You're just in time to help test our hyper-accelerator circuit."

She scanned the vicinity. "Where is it?"

He held forth Isabella's camera. "Right here."

"Gimme that!" She snatched the camera like a hawk grabbing a trout.

"Careful! The circuit's unstable!"

"It looks like an ordinary camera."

"On the outside, but the modified circuitry hyper-accelerates the shutter speed to allow high speed photography in low light."

"Couldn't you just build a bigger lens?"

Isabella looked skyward and whistled random notes.

Candace pried open the camera casing. "Aha, recently declassified microchips!" She saw Mom in the living room, facing away. "Mom, Mom! You gotta see this!"

Mom started to turn. Candace, losing patience, rushed inside.

"Candace!" Phineas cried. "Be careful, it's not sta - "

Candace tripped on the door frame and never heard the last syllable.


Perry broke down the laboratory door. Robot hands promptly deposited him onto a high chair atop a platform.

"Ah, Perry the Platypus!" Dr. Doofenshmirtz said. "Just in time for your second childhood. Behold, the Youthinator!"

With a flourish, Doofenshmirtz beckoned to a dial-covered box connected by cables to the giant metal plate over Perry's head.

"You see," Doofenshmirtz said, grinning maliciously, "I've had it with back stories. When the Youthinator reverts me, I will lose all memories of my first childhood. THEN THERE WILL BE ONLY FRONT STORIES!"

Perry struggled vainly against the robot grip.

"Hey, this is cool - watch!" Doofenshmirtz pressed an electronic control sewn to his lab coat, which grew and shrank on command. "My clothes adjust size automatically. You see, when I was a child, I was smaller than I am now, because - well, I don't need to explain that, do I?"

He twisted a dial and the machine hummed as he hopped onto the chair next to Perry. "Anyway, I'm going back to ten years old and you'll be my pet. And who will take care of us? Why, I have programmed Norm to be our father figure!"

Wearing a sweater and smoking a pipe, Norm said, "I'm not comfortable with this!"

Suddenly the Youthinator rattled and spat sparks.

"Not good," Doofenshmirtz observed. "It's as if an improbably coincidental burst of hyper-accelerated chronoparticle radiation has overloaded the circuitry. And no, I didn't bump the self-destruct!"

Their senses exploded with a violent flash.


"Uhhhh!" Candace groaned as she picked herself up. "I feel like I've been out for hours!"

She raised her eyes. Mom was standing in front of her. Suddenly wide awake, Candace jumped up and waved the camera.

"Mom, Mom! Look what Phineas and Ferb did! I know, these look like ordinary microchips, but we'll go to an online catalog and check the part numbers, and you'll see they've only been recently declassified for civilian R&D - Mom?"

Mom stared directly ahead. Candace waved her hand in front of her mother's face. There was no reaction. Candace gasped at the camera.

"Phineas said this thing hyper-accelerates stuff, but it completely stopped Mom! PHINEAS!"

She rushed back to the yard. Phineas was holding out his arms toward Candace, his eyes and mouth wide, as if he were shouting. But he was silent.

"Phineas, Ferb?" Her voice quivered. "Are you guys okay?"

Phineas didn't react, none of them did. They were as motionless as statues. Candace looked around and saw a bird, frozen in mid-flight. Then she noticed how quiet everything was.

"Oh no! Time's been frozen out here too! Without Phineas and Ferb to fix this thing, how can I bust them? And uh, start time again too?" Then she pounded her fist onto her palm. "Pull yourself together, Candace! Even my brothers can't build a gizmo that can freeze the entire planet. I'll just find help!"

She ran to the gate, and once outside the yard, broke the sound barrier.


The ten year old boy seated on the Youthinator fluttered open his eyes. "Where am I?" He looked around. "It's a laboratory. Did my parents volunteer me for scientific experimentation again?"

"Rrrrrrr!" came a noise next to him.

"A baby platypus!" Young Heinz Doofenshmirtz exclaimed. He scooped up Perry and squeezed with a bursting smile. "Oh, you're so cute!"

Baby Perry jumped on Heinz's head and pranced in circles. "Rrrrrr! Rrrrrr!"

"For a platypus, you sure are active!"

Clutching Perry to his chest, Heinz noticed the secret agent hat on the floor. "Is this yours?" He placed it on Perry's head, and Baby Perry was engulfed. "A little big."

He tossed the hat aside and carried Perry as he explored the lab. "Wow, a fatherlike robot!" Norm didn't respond, so Young Heinz wandered on, mouth open with wonder. "All these gadgets! You know, they look a lot like the -Inator I'm building. This is the coolest place ever!"

Then he looked down at his clothes. "Hey, I'm wearing a lab coat! I must be the apprentice of the scientist who has this laboratory. This is so cool!"

A deep frown suddenly occupied his face. "Wait a second! If being a lawn gnome has taught me anything, it is that cool things do not happen to Heinz Doofenshmirtz!"

"Rrrrr!" said Perry.

"Except you!" Young Heinz smiled and squeezed Baby Perry tight. "You're so cute! Yes you are!"

Raising eyebrows, he lightly patted his own scalp. "Did you leave something up there?"


In eerie stillness, people and cars were caught in mid-motion.

"Best eternity ever," Candace murmured.

Then she saw a car about to back onto a bicycle.

"Or not."

She pulled the bike onto the lawn and brushed her hands. "E-Z! Like I have superhero powers! Speaking of - "

A man was walking down the sidewalk, reading a newspaper with his foot poised over a skateboard. She nudged the skateboard away.

"UnFrozen Girl saves again!"

A block farther, a girl was rushing into the street after a bouncing ball. Candace set both child and ball onto the sidewalk.

"Not that I don't enjoy pushing people around, but - JEREMY!"

Jeremy was with his sister Suzie in front of their home, which happened to be across the street.

Candace laughed weakly. "Hi Jeremy, I must have subconsciously wandered - "

Jeremy was bent over in the act of turning on a sprinkler. He continued to look straight down as realization dawned on Candace.

"Oh no, he's stopped too! Oooh, I've got to stop all this stoppiness!"

Just then, against the background of stillness, she noticed a distant glint in downtown Danville. "Hey, someone's moving on that building! Maybe they can help!"

She dashed away - and slowly came back. She looked around warily - then bent alongside Jeremy.

"Mmm! Practice!"

After a long moment, she arose with a dreamy smile. It morphed into a mischievous grin, however, as her eyes rested upon Suzie.

"Splishy-splashy payback time!"


"-Ble!" Phineas cried.

As a fierce wind gusted, they all gasped at once at the doorway where, to their eyes, Candace had been an instant before and then popped out of existence.

"Poof, she's gone!" Buford exclaimed.

"Phineas," Isabella said, "where's Can - "

A sonic boom crashed from down the street.

"Candace is experiencing time at a vastly accelerated rate," Phineas said. "We'll have to hyper-accelerate too, to catch up with her."

"But if seconds for us are like hours for her," Baljeet said, "then by the time we finish building another - "

"Here's Ferb now," Phineas said.

Ferb returned to the yard, bearing an intricate device. Baljeet narrowed his eyes.

"Yes, of course. Rub in the fact that you are mechanically inclined. And how can you be coming back when you didn't have time to leave?"

Mom appeared in the doorway. "Hello boys, I thought I heard Candace."

"Candace has been accidentally hyper-accelerated," Phineas replied. "We're going to find her."

"Sounds like an adventure!" Mom smiled benignly. "Tell her I'm in the house."

"Will do. Everybody, get close!"

Mom turned as the children flickered into invisible blurs. Their sonic booms rattled the windows. Mom halted and frowned.

"Must be a military air show. Oh, and Phineas, could you - "

Seeing that the yard was empty, a look of puzzlement filled her face, and then she sighed.

"If you ask me, children are hyper-accelerated to begin with!"


Despite having all the time in the world, Candace ran. Only when she reached downtown did she growl in recognition.

"So we meet again, Building-That-Looks-Like-Ferb! How come whenever I need them, your elevators either aren't working or I'm too big to fit inside?"

Again she saw movement on the deck high above. A boy waved and shouted: "You don't have to come up - I'll come down."

"How thoughtful!" Candace said to herself. "A good little boy for a change!"

A moment later, the boy emerged. Candace immediately sensed that, aside from being frozen in time, today was not typical: the boy was wearing a lab coat, and carrying a baby platypus. Nonetheless, she smiled reassuringly.

"Hello, little boy. My name is Candace. What's yours?"

"I'm Heinz," he replied. He held out the baby platypus. "And this is my platypus. I haven't decided on his name yet."

"My family has a pet platypus, but he's full grown and doesn't do much. His name is -"

"Uh, not that I don't find that interesting, but could we put aside the small talk and discuss why all the cars and people aren't moving?"

In somewhat less reassuring tones, Candace said, "My evil brothers invented a machine that freezes people and things."

"How come you're not affected?"

"I was holding the machine."

"So you're responsible for this?"

"No, I told you, my brothers invented the machine."

"But you operated it."

Candace sighed. "Come on."

"Where are we going?"

"Somewhere ELSE for help."


Phineas and friends wandered down the street after Ferb, who was holding a beeping, blinking box.

"Ferb built a detector which can track the chronoparticles in Candace's wake," Phineas said. "It'll lead us right to her."

"Of course we will not ask when he had time to build such a device," Baljeet said.

Buford grabbed him by the collar. "Hey, go with the flow here. Do you see me questioning how it's possible to talk when we're moving faster than sound?"

"Phineas, this is amazing!" Isabella exclaimed. She was staring mere inches from a butterfly that was frozen in mid-flutter. "It's like a living photograph."

Buford jumped in front of an oncoming car and waved an imaginary cape. "Toro! Toro!"

Baljeet, shrugging, picked up a baseball, made a wind-up and threw. Then he rushed ahead of the ball and caught it. "Look at me, I can be my own team!"

"You know, Ferb," Phineas said, "with a hyper-accelerator, this could be the best day forever!"

Ferb rolled his eyes, then pointed. Directly ahead was Jeremy's home. Jeremy's cheek had multiple lipstick imprints, and Suzie was standing next to the sprinkler, about to be inundated by the growing spray pattern.

"Candace was here, all right. Ferb, how about you and I move Suzie so she doesn't get wet?"

They did so, but once they had gone on, Buford quietly moved her back.

As Isabella reflected upon Jeremy's cheek, she said, "Say, Phineas, could I use the hyper-accelerator after you're done?"


Candace and Young Heinz walked down the street amid a frozen throng.

Candace continued, "And then the Martians made me their queen - "

"Uh, maybe we should go back to that laboratory," Heinz said. "It might have something that can help."


"I don't know, but it had a lot of neat equipment. A robot, ray guns, even a computer!"

"So? I have a computer too."

"Ri-ight. You fought dinosaurs, you went to Mars, you own a computer."

"Everyone owns a computer, dweeb. What century are you from?" Candace did a double take. "Hey, you're growing older!"

Heinz checked his reflection in a window. "I look like a teenager now. Cool!"

"Must be a time-warpy-thing."

"I'm also starting to remember more. But more than memories. Back stories." His eyes became hollow. "Baking soda volcanoes." He groaned and clutched his head. "Kickball!"

"You're getting zits too."

His reflection gawked in horror. "Gross! My face is a strawberry patch!"

"It's called puberty. And before you ask, I already have a boyfriend."

"I wasn't going to ask! Besides, I already have a girlfriend. She's going to be a pop star."

Candace rolled her eyes. Then she looked ahead and exclaimed: "It's the museum! Scientists hang out at museums. Maybe there's an unfrozen not-too-dorky one who can fix this!"

She was holding out Isabella's camera. Still-young-but-growing-up-fast Heinz said, "What's that?"

"The machine my brothers built that freezes everything."

He hesitated, swiped the camera and ran.

"Hey!" Candace shouted. "That's evil!"

"Thanks for noticing!"


Deep within the museum, Young Adult Doofenshmirtz halted inside an exhibition room.

"Her Martian Highness won't find me here!" he said. He noticed the exhibit of a dinosaur posed in mid-attack. "Heh - and if she does, she can fight that guy!"

Leaping from his shoulder, Young Adult Perry growled, "Rrrrr!"

"Don't use that tone," Doofenshmirtz snapped. "With this, I can rule the world and you can rule the Tri-State Area."


"All right, you rule the world and I'll rule the Tri-State Area. Whatever."

He squinted into the camera. "Let me pry this module."

Abruptly, he looked up and smiled. "Oh! As I age, I also remember being older. I just remembered I got married!"

His smile faded into a dark frown. "Now I remember I got divorced."

Then he brightened again. "Alimony!"

With a massive convulsion, Doofenshmirtz's entire body suddenly morphed into middle-aged adulthood. Staring at his hands in shock, he exclaimed: "I remember everything! The Youthinator malfunctioned!"

He pointed at Perry. "And though you don't have a hat now, you were wearing one earlier, which means you are Perry the Platypus, my nem - "

Perry's tail smacked Doofenshmirtz in the face and Doofenshmirtz staggered. The camera fell and the hyper-accelerator module popped out and whined and glowed and shook menacingly.

Doofenshmirtz and Perry contemplated it quietly.

"Uh, what say we postpone this for now?"

They sprinted for opposing exits. Emanating glowing waves, the hyper-accelerator whined ever more shrilly, until a giant dinosaur foot crushed it.


As they reached the steps of the museum, Ferb halted, raising an eyebrow so that - briefly - both eyes were the same size.

Peering at the detector, Phineas announced: "The chronoparticle path has split in two directions. We'll follow the stronger signal."

They entered the dinosaur wing, and as they passed the exhibits of bones, Baljeet asked, "Where is this time machine you told me about - the one you used to hang out with dinosaurs and did not invite me?"

"You want to hang out with a dinosaur?" Buford asked. He raised his arms and scrunched his fingers into claws. "Rawrrr!"

"Not funny," Baljeet said. "Nor does it satisfy my scientific curiosity to observe actual living dinosaurs."

Another growl filled the hall, louder and deeper than before. Baljeet glared at Buford. Buford shrugged and shook his head. Then, as they were all looking at him, came another, even louder growl - from behind. They slowly turned.

Looming over them was a tyrannosaurus rex. The dinosaur flexed its claws and growled again, revealing rows of dagger-like teeth as saucer-sized nostrils sniffed and flared.

Baljeet croaked, "Curiosity satisfied."

"Isn't that the T-Rex who attacked us in 300 million BC?" Isabella asked. "What's he doing here?"

"Deciding who to eat first," Phineas said. "RUN!"

They scattered, but the dinosaur blocked their escape with the thrashing of its immense tail. Herding them into a corner, it opened its jaws ever wider as it closed upon its intended brunch.


Candace muttered through the halls: "I'd ask if this day will ever end, but I'm afraid of the answer."

Then she heard muffled shouts. "Phineas!"

A fierce growl met her at the corner. The dinosaur's tail swished inside the exhibition room entrance. She shuddered as she saw the bulk of the tyrannosaurus, but then she saw the children huddling within fang's reach. Eyebrows knotted with resolution.

"You picked the wrong eon to mess with my family, Mister Puny-Paws!"

Candace searched, grabbed a six-foot femur from a pedestal, and charged into the room. Phineas, Ferb, and their friends were trapped in a corner by the approaching monster. Candace smashed the bone onto the tip of its tail. The monster yelped, whirled, and glared.

"Yeah, that's right. Guys, I'll distract - go!"

"No, Candace!" Phineas shouted. "Ferb has set the hyper-accelerator for overload. Let the dinosaur turn toward us and Ferb can throw the module into its mouth."

"I'm not letting this thing attack you! Throw me the module and I'll put it in its mouth!"

"But the module could explode while you're holding it!"


The dinosaur snapped and Candace dodged, becoming cornered herself. Phineas nodded to Ferb, who pitched the module.

Candace swung the bone. She connected. The module line-drove between the dinosaur's jaws. The creature halted, flashed brightly - and instantly aged into a skeleton.

Candace huffed. "Yes, yes I am a little young to be fighting dinosaurs!"

They caught her before she staggered off her feet.


Outside the museum, Doofehshmirtz witnessed his whole body shake and glow. Suddenly the people and cars around him were visibly moving again and the street filled with bustling noise.

"The hyper-acceleration effect has worn off," he said. "Well, there goes my scheme to ring everybody in Danville's doorbells."

He encountered a now full-grown Perry the Platypus, also returned to normal speed. Doofenshmirtz slouched and sighed, his expression weary.

"Ah, Perry," Doofenshmirtz said, "Reliving a childhood is exhausting. It must have distorted my perception too, because I can barely recognize you without your hat. I hope that effect is temporary!"

Perry grinned.

"Your hat's at my place, isn't it? I'll leave it outside the door for tomorrow's break-in."

Perry gave a thumb's up.

"And don't worry, I'll disassemble the Youthinator. Truth is, I have no desire to go through puberty again after being around that bossy teenage girl. Can you imagine what it would be like to live with someone like that?"

Perry shifted his eyes.

"Uh, today has been kind of embarrassing for both of us. If you won't mention all the hugging, I won't mention that 'gift' you made on my head."

Perry nodded somberly.

"Well, I'd curse you, but today you were just kind of along for the ride. And what a long strange ride it has been." He threw up his hands as he walked away. "Man, I am so happy to be middle-aged!"

The wind gusted past Perry, and he followed the sonic booms toward home.


"WUH!" Mom exclaimed, clutching her chest.

She surveyed the living room, where the children were slumped across the floor and furniture like wet noodles.

"Goodness, you were just in the yard! How did you come in so fast?"

Candace bleated: "Hyper. Accelerrrrr."

"The speed you kids move at, I could almost believe in a magical gadget. So where is it?"

Phineas, sprawled with eyes drooping, murmured: "Dinosaur ate it."

"Of course. Well, it's only mid-morning and now you all look utterly exhausted."

Phineas collected his breath. "Hyper-acceleration takes it out of a person."

"I'll make snacks. NO refined sugar."

Mom having departed, Candace oozed onto the carpet.

"Dweebs, why didn't you tell me the effect wears off by itself?"

"I tried," Phineas said. "You were moving too fast."

"And why didn't you explain that it doesn't stop others, it speeds up the user?"

"The name 'hyper-accelerator' wasn't a clue?" Isabella asked.

Candace moaned. "I'm so tired, I'm now going to sleep for - "

"Hi, Candace."


Eyes wide and smile bright, Candace bounded to the glass door where Jeremy stood.

"I was taking Suzie to the park, but she's changing her clothes. Would you like to come instead?"


"You know, I was just thinking of you."

"How coincidental!"

As Candace left, Perry trotted in.

"Oh, there you are, Perry," Phineas said.

"Rrrrr!" said Perry, and snoozed.

"I wonder," Isabella said. "What would a hyper-accelerated platypus be like?"

"He would be much faster," Ferb replied, "at not doing much."