The small man sat in a kneaded eraser the shape of a bean chair, and watched his owner draw. The faint smell of turpentine lingered in the air, carrying on its back the scent of paper, pencils, and the rest of her art supplies that crowded surrounding shelves, and a large percentage of the table on which his little makeshift chair had been placed. He closed his eyes and let his mind drift to the sound of her pencil scratching the vast whiteness of her favorite sketch paper.
“Open your eyes, my love.”
“Are you drawing my face now?”
“No, but I want you to keep looking at me.”
He said nothing and did as he was told. She was in a very good mood today, and he didn’t want to spoil it. Not until he absolutely had to. And he had to. Forty-five minutes later, her rough draft was completed, and she smiled, looking at her handiwork. She lifted it off the table easel and showed it to him. There, all over the paper, was his body, drawn nude, because he was always nude. She had captured him as perfectly as she did when she sprayed him with a shrinking formula, and lifted his wriggling, terrified body off the floor. He drove the flashing memory to the back of his mind and drew his lips into a smile. It almost felt sincere.
It was time to try again. He cleared his throat.
“I was wondering… my giantess, may I ask you a question?”
She had started smiling back at him, but at his words, her lips pursed together, and a slightly exasperated gust of warm air left them and blew back his hair. She put the sketching pad down and gave him a slight nod. She knew what he was going to ask.
“Would you please tell me how you shrank me?”
Now it was her turn to close her eyes. She shook her head slightly, and opened her eyes again, focusing them on him. Eyes as large as moons, and I’m in them, my reflection trapped in two places at the same time, he thought, his heart skipping with fear. He swallowed hard and prayed she would not answer him as she did most of the time, by grabbing him and dropping him down her panties, never pulling him out until his work was done. But this time, she surprised him.
“Very well, though the truth will disappoint you, as I don’t quite have a grasp on what exactly happened.”
He found that hard to believe. No one goes around spraying people with a liquid that transforms them into a 2-inch tall vestige of themselves and doesn’t know exactly what they are doing, but he said nothing and listened on.
“As I might have mentioned before, I’ve always dreamt of someone like you. Someone so tiny, he could fit in the palm of my hand, or in my mouth, or anywhere else.” She smiled at him when she said those last three words, and he forced himself again to return that smile. She thought she was complimenting him. All those months he had exhausted himself screaming at her, begging her to change him back into a 6′ tall man, demanding to be returned to his wife or parents, until he realized it was never going to happen. All she ever did in response was muffle his screams with various parts of her body.
“One day, I decided to do something about it. It wasn’t a rational decision because there is nothing to be done about wanting to shrink a man. Don’t look at me like that. I know you sit there, shrunken, and the evidence of the very opposite of my words… but… the truth is, I have no idea how I did it. I don’t understand how it happened. All I ever did was mix up various ingredients, and go around spraying men’s faces.”
He knew she hated it when he interrupted her, but she said nothing as she stared at him, so he ventured a question.
“Men‘s faces? So you’ve done this before.”
“I’ve sprayed their faces, and I got yelled at, or pushed away, or slapped and punched by their wives or girlfriends. One time I was arrested and released after it was found that the spraying agent was innocuous. I made up some excuse about a social experiment, and I guess they don’t have time for my brand of insanity.”
“Insanity? That’s the first time- I mean, is that how you see this?”
“No, my little man. What I did was not insane. What I did was the most perfect thing that’s ever been done. How I did it was insane.”
“But- how? I don’t understand. You must have access to secret chemicals! Surely you work at some lab somewhere.”
“You know where I work.”
“Just because you take me there doesn’t mean I can hear anything. Every sound is dampened by walls of flesh too thick to-” He cut himself short when he saw that her facial expression had changed at the meaning of his words. She looked at him hungrily. Again. What else was new? Yet, instead of pinching his body to transport it to her walls of flesh, she sighed and spoke.
“Interesting. So you still don’t know what I do for a living.”
“I don’t work in a secret government lab; I’m not a mad scientist developing secret compounds that will change the world. I grabbed a glass from my kitchen cabinet, and I squatted on it until the first drop of blood fell out of me that month and I cried a single tear in it and I added a single drop of sweat from my workout and a drop of wine and a drop of beer and a drop of spit and a fart from my ass and all this during a full moon and while I was naked and I know it sounds so absolutely ridiculous and impossible but that is exactly what happened!”
She stopped talking and caught her breath. Her chest was heaving, and from her cheeks, two red blooms grew deeper in color. She watched him watch her, and his expression changed from impassive to impatient.
“That can’t be true. That’s impossible. Sweat and beer and blood? That combination doesn’t work to shrink anything! If that were the case, then every homeless person in the world would be tiny!”
“Don’t be silly. There was more to it than sweat and beer.”
He began to rock in place, back and forth. He tried to keep it together, but it was impossible. He felt his mind would break soon.
“What happened to the other men you’ve shrunk? How did you grow them back? Why hasn’t anyone noticed your doing this?”
“Hey, calm down. Do you think if this had worked before, you’d be here? It had never worked before! All I ever got was trouble for my efforts, until one day it worked. That’s all I can tell you. No… wait… there is something else.”
“How I felt when I saw you. I’d always been nervous before, with all those guys… but when I saw you, I felt this tremendous pull, and this calm. This absolute stillness of my mind, and my heart. And I walked up to you, and I sprayed you, and it worked. It worked.”
“Please grow me back.”
“You can’t do this to me! I have a life!”
“I hate you! You are a monster!”
“I’ll kill myself. I swear I will. Grow me back, or take me to my wife!”
“No. And that’s enough talking, my precious little man.”
“No, god, please! I’m sorry! No, no, nooo!”
“Yes,” she said, and she picked him up, and placed him deep within her, and she listened to his continuous screams with her skin, and she felt him with the beat of her heart, and she grabbed a pencil that was as deep a red as love, and she struck and caressed paper with it, to the rhythm of his struggles.