I was on Twitter, whining to Aborigen about not having any inspiration to write, when he said, “You want me to give you an idea? I can give you an idea and demand 1,500 by the end of the day, if that would help?” And I said “Alright, I’m game. I’ll write, even if it’s garbage.”
And so a story was born. I want to thank my dear friend Aborigen for nudging me powerfully in this direction, and I want to thank my dear toy Hopier, for being sick with a bad cold at the same time I am, and providing a great deal of inspiration for this short story.
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“My throat started hurting the moment I had that Twix bar.”
The little man didn’t bother to look up at his owner from his resting position. His eyes barely flickered in acknowledgement. All he muttered was an impolite, “Your voice sounds horrible.”
“There’s no need to be rude, Toy. I’m as sick as you are.”
“I know. I know. But I didn’t sleep well last night.”
Should she start up again? Should she remind him she had only slept two and a half hours? Why bother, she thought. When he gets this way he only listens to what he wants to listen. Ironic that it feels this way right now, when I’ve often thought he’s the only one that can truly hear me. She would have continued along this line of thinking, and it could have turned sourer or sweeter, but she never found out because from the hearth of her breasts came his voice again.
“I’ve had enough soup.”
She turned her head slowly in both directions as her answer, and dipping her fingertip into the still steaming surface of a fragrant bowl of chicken soup cooling on an adjacent end table, she pulled it out and gave it a slight shake until from it clung a single drop of thick broth.
“I’ll tell you when you’ve had enough soup.”
“Owner, do you want me to get diarrhea again? I don’t want any more food!” His voice had turned whiny, and she tried to sigh, but her own sinuses were beginning to clog up again. She needed another dose of medicine. Or she needed to use her little man. That always seemed to clear her head in every way possible; but one look at his crumpled, pathetic little shape filled her with pangs of guilt. To grab his body and place it anywhere on her would be… wonderful. But there was soup on her digit. She brought it to his little mouth, and held it an inch away from his face. He moved it from side to side, imitating her earlier negative emphatically.
“Open your mouth.”
“Open. Your. Mouth. Now.”
“I don’t want to hear it. The doctor ordered five drops of soup for your meals, and you have only swallowed four. Open your mouth or I will make you open it.”
He looked up at her with enough resentment to shock her. What a little shit he can be sometimes, the thought sparked in her mind, and she doused it with regret. But I love him, don’t I. I love him so much. In his usual style, he picked up on her thoughts, and seemed to be taken aback by his temporary, if silent belligerence. To her, it was enough of an apology, especially when followed by his stretching his neck and reaching up with his parted lips, like a baby bird. She barely touched them with the warm drop of soup, which immediately flooded his mouth. He grimaced. “Ouch.”
“Did that hurt to swallow, poor toy?”
“Well, it’s over now. Go to sleep. I’ll eat now.”
“Can’t you put me in the dollhouse?”
“What’s wrong? Aren’t you comfortable in the cradle of my breasts?”
He was thoughtful enough to appear to deliberate before he whimpered quietly, and added, “Owner, your body is very comfortable, but your heartbeat is very loud, and your lungs keep making this annoying raspy noise. I want it to be quiet. And the lamp light is bothering my eyes. How can I sleep while you eat? You make very loud slurping sounds, and I hate that.”
So much for consideration, she thought. She tried to take a deep breath to calm herself, and ended up sending herself into a coughing fit. She had the presence of mind to press her cupped palm between her breasts to catch his little body before her own sent him tumbling down her chest, and possibly her recliner, and on to the floor many dozens of his feet below. At least her seat had been adjusted back, and the incline of her chest had kept him in place.
When she lifted her hand away from her breast, she looked at him, sure he’d tear into her, and go on about her lack of consideration about his infinitesimal size, and so on. Much to her distress, his eyes were closed, and there seemed to be no life in him.
“Toy! Toy, answer me! Are you OK?!”
To her relief he opened his eyes and shook his head a fraction of an inch. She had been about to tell him he’d stay on her for as long as she needed the comfort of his presence, but this was too much. If he wanted to sleep away from her, then he would get his wish. She lowered her fingers on him again, this time with great tenderness, and flicked the recliner’s handle to the up position. Slowly, she got up and waited for her dizzy spell to pass before she walked to her bedroom, and stood over his tiny home within her home.
“My little darling, it’s time for bed.”
She ignored his mumbling “It’s about time,” and bent over to lift the dollhouse roof on its hinge. As she leaned over the small home, she separated her hand from her body, and released him from her chest into it with an imperceptible drop, which he nonetheless protested with an “ouch” that was far too dramatic. She brought her palm down into his bedroom, and parked it over his lovingly handmade bed.
“Roll over, Toy.”
His whiny voice had been turned to eleven when he emitted a high, yet soft cry, “But I want you to tuck me in…”
“Alright,” she said, feeling lightheaded and weak. Pushing the roof over to lean on her bedroom wall, she used her now free hand to pull his coverlet: a five-inch square of fabric that had been cut off a well-worn pair of her panties. She then tilted her palm and watched his body gently roll off it and into his bed. She watched him curl into a fetal position, dragging his tiny pillow under his even smaller head. Once he stopped moving, she draped his body with the blanket, and smiled.
Dropping carefully to her knees, she placed her head sideways on the top edge of his bedroom wall, returned her hand to his body, and began to caress it very softly with the slightest touch of her fingertips. Her heart filled with gratitude that his body didn’t feel like the tiniest furnace anymore. The custom made thermometer she had ordered after she shrank him worked perfectly, and the last time she had taken his temperature by placing it between his tiny butt cheeks, it had given a much lower reading.
Catching a sigh in her chest lest she start coughing again, she convoluted her breathing by deciding to sing him a lullaby. Her voice did not sound its usual sweet when she let it out.
“You are my toy
When you break and feel no joy
I will take care of you
You’re in my heart
We will never be apart
I am in charge of you
“Owner, stop! I’m trying to sleep!”
His voice, though small, startled her musical reverie so suddenly, she jerked her body next to the dollhouse, and bumped it.
“Stop shaking my house too! I’m so sick! Why are you so mean to me right now!?”
She felt despair enter her heart. All she wanted was to show him she cared.
“Toy, I love you, and I wanted to sing you a soothing song-“
“Owner, you sound like Foghorn Leghorn is gargling acid. Just let me sleep!”
“Alright, I’ll leave you alone,” she said, not being able to help herself from heaping a dollop of anger into her words. She brought the roof down, and not as gently as she could have, and straightened herself off the floor. A dizzy spell overcame her again, and she aimed her body away from the home that contained her favorite possession. Her anger dissolved, she turned and faced her bedroom. It was a disaster.
Walking slowly, she started picking up her strewn dirty clothes, though not many of them.
I’m glad I don’t have to pick up after you, she thought. No damp towels, no streaky underwear, no stinky socks, she added, throwing a couple of pairs of panties in the laundry basket. No sticky keyboard, no wiped browser history, no secret password on your phone… She began to smile. She eyed the small vial that contained his medicine, liquid she fed him every twelve hours from a needle dropper in near invisible measures, and she felt her head swim again. In tending to her tiny man’s needs, she had forgotten to take her own medicine. She finished piling laundry in the basket, and left it to be done later. It was time to rest. She went to the bathroom and pushed a time-released pill from its foil packet. After she swallowed it with a couple of swigs from a bottle of her favorite sparkling water, she decided to go to bed as well.
But not before she tended to some of her own needs.
In bed, she picked up her phone, and flipped through her collection of homemade videos. There was a fifteen-minute long one that would suit her just fine. Soon, the slight whimpers and manly screams that could be overheard from the speaker began to deliver their own medicine.