Under Her Bed


It’s like when I first noticed boys. One boy, in particular: my neighbor Tony. The oldest in a family of five children, he was beautiful. I was seven years old, and he was three years older. Naturally, I couldn’t say a single word to him, at any point in time. Weeks after I first noticed him, he moved away. That was the first time in my life I was grief stricken. But what I’m saying is, when you first notice boys, your universe turns upside down. Your brain feels entirely different. It’s like the square footage in the palace of your mind instantly doubles, or triples, to make space for boys, and the accompanying thoughts.

It felt like that when I first saw that little man under my bed. My mind flipped, and grew. It had to expand, to fit the reality of him in it. Funny how when I saw him standing there, in the penumbra under my bed, all I could think of was Tony. I never said a single word to Tony. Not even hi. This little man under my bed would not be another Tony. I would not freeze, I would not be a seven-year-old statue. I would speak. So I did.


The little man just stared at me, his eyes open as big as the smallest plates you can imagine. There was a flicker in them that made me wonder if he was simply waiting for me to imagine I was nuts, and run away to the nearest Thorazine provider. The flicker turned into alarm as I continued to stare at him, refusing to give my eyes a single blinking rest. They began to sting, and fill with moisture. I’d have to let them blink soon, and risk his taking that opportunity to escape… so, I insisted.

“How you doin’ down there?”


I had to blink. Blink. He was still there, but I caught the tail end of his body’s start.

“Lost something?”

Silence. I sighed, feeling the odd combination of amazement and impatience swirling in my head.

“Yeah… I lost a sock down there once. A knee-high sock, with colorful strip- look at you! You look guilty! Did you take my sock? No, no, don’t look so alarmed. I don’t care about the sock. I have another one just like it.”

A twitch at the corner of his mouth. I decided to avoid all references to home invasion and theft, and stick to light-hearted conversation, and perhaps another bad joke.

“So… my name. I’m Seline.”

His eyes told me he knew. He gave me an almost imperceptible nod.

“Should I guess your name?”

An almost imperceptible shrug. I smiled softly, and he almost smiled back.

“OK. Rumpelstiltskin?”

He wrinkled his nose at me.

“Ah, sorry. In my version of the story, he’s a hot little number. Never mind. Is your name… Peter?”

A head shake.


No, said his head.

“Do I have a limited amount of guesses?”

Yes, danced his head.

“Crap. OK, OK… let me think.”

I was beginning to feel quite apprehensive. How many guesses did I have left? Ten? Three? One? The answer came to me almost immediately.

“Your name is what I give you.”

Finally, a smile. It shone in the furniture darkness. I sighed, happily.

“When I name you, you’ll come out of there.”

A nod.

“And be mine.”

His whole body was a nod.

“OK. Your name is





8 thoughts on “Under Her Bed

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    1. Thank you, Pedro! Words come easily when presented with such a great image as this one. I’d conceived a longer story, with her planning to lure and trap him. Maybe in the future I will work on that version.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Such incredible detail. When Balore first made that illustration, I was stunned that I’d never thought of hiding a tiny man in shadows, under a bed where there are nothing but shadows. His simple picture showed me a new dimension to size relations. Just one easy, obvious detail I’d missed.

    I love the details you enhance in your own stories, the half-moment of noticing the man trying to flee. The attention to his microexpressions (yes, they’re all micro, you know what I mean). And that clever, clever revelation near the end, as hope pushes up out of the heart and into the mind, taking a chance on a definable reality. Making us reexamine the nature of the tiny man under the bed in the first place.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Balore’s new viewpoint when collaging is just like that. It leaves an impression unlike any before. I await eagerly to read his stories.

      Thank you. It rolled out of my mind easily as soon as I saw the collage. It was a button pressed, and a movie started playing in my head.

      But the Tony paragraphs are all true. Every time I saw him, I froze. Of course, at that age one cannot be expected to be the mistress of eloquence… but I could have, at least, said hello.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I can hear the voice of a shrunken man just fine, thank you very much. In truth, the fact that I can is a big part of my fantasies. But I thought the way this particular foundling communicates is too charming, too special to neglect mentioning.


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