I… don’t know where I’m going with this. I’m thinking about it now, and you are just sitting there, so you might as well listen.
* * *
Gabriel Maurice Sanchez, experiment No. 132, walked into his psychiatrist’s office and kept on walking. He only measured four inches in height, so it took him a while to reach the side of the comparatively gigantic seat. Once there, he stood still and waited. Doctor Pembrose, a noted mental health practitioner specializing in the treatment of shrunken people, raised his gaze from the iPad he was holding and welcomed him in.
“Gabe, how are you? Please, sit down.”
“Hi, Dr. Pembrose. I’m OK. Just let me…”
“Do forgive me,” said the doctor, lifting his enormous form from an ornate chair, and offering Gabe his palm. Gabe climbed in, visibly uncomfortable. “I’m sorry, Gabe. The new chair has not arrived yet. It’s currently airplane cargo, if these updates are to be believed. It’s too bad only the Japanese are true masters of miniature furniture.”
The doctor pressed the back of his hand gently on the cushion of his patients’ seat, and waited for Gabe to waddle off his palm and onto the velvety surface. He waited still, until Gabe reached the back, turned to face him, and slid down to sit, a ridiculously small shape drowning in the red fabric background. Once his patient seemed as comfortable as he was ever going to get, Dr. Pembrose returned to his seat, lifting the iPad and swiping the smooth screen with his finger, to access what he had highlighted from their previous session. He gave the device a quick nod, and looked at Gabe again, smiling negligibly.
“Tell me, how did the conversation with your wife go?”
Gabe’s cheeks turned red, and his eyes gave a new gleam, but no tears ran down his tiny cheeks. He swallowed and spoke quietly. The doctor didn’t have to strain to listen. He had installed a microphone in the seat, and it allowed him to listen to every word his patients spoke. They had enough to deal with, being so small. They didn’t need to contend with a giant tilting his head to pretend it might help him listen to them when he was only here to help.
“She didn’t want to listen. She says I’m her toy, and if she wants to fart on me, she will. She said she loves me, but she owns me….”
Gabe words trailed off, and he seemed trapped in thought until the doctor spoke again.
“Did you tell her you are not a toy, but a man? A real man that was shrunken violently, without permission?”
“I told her everything we discussed. I sat down with her… on her, last week after dinner, and I began to tell her how it makes me feel when she lets them rip, and she’s sitting on my body, and doesn’t even stop to go to the bathroom like I’ve asked her. I told her it makes my- you know. My… erection go away. I have to tell her because she doesn’t even notice, or doesn’t care to look. She just keeps sliding and rocking in place, until she’d done! Sometimes she farts on me more than once, especially after we’ve eaten Mexican food. That’s another thing, doc. I kept a record just like you said, and I knew I was right! I knew it! We’re now eating more Mexican food than ever. She’s even started preparing Indian food, which she never did before.”
“Please, go on.”
“I told her it’s disrespectful… no, I told her I feel like she doesn’t respect me. I feel hurt and mistreated. I don’t want to tell her I’m going to report her yet. I don’t think she’d like that.”
“Let’s stop there for just a moment, Gabe. Report your wife? For what reason?”
“Mistreatment of an illegally shrunken person. I’ve looked it up.”
“Have you found a particular passage that relates directly to what you are experiencing?”
“Well, no. There’s nothing about farting on a tiny person, but I’m sure if I find the right lawyer…”
“Gabe, I’m concerned about the notion of taking your wife to court. I have to tell you that I’ve seen similar cases in court before, and none result in satisfaction for the plaintiff. Not yet, in any case. But most importantly, what effect do you think that will have on your marriage?”
“It’ll make my wife stop farting on me! Seriously, doc, I’ll do anything at this point. Anything to get her to stop.”
“Yeah. I mean, I love her. I love her with all my heart. And I guess she loves me. She didn’t have to marry someone so small. She could have just… she was going out with my handler, you know… that’s how we met. I’ve told you this.”
“Go on, Gabe. I’m here to listen. Say whatever’s on your mind.”
“OK. Well… my handler was taking me to get groceries, and he saw her at the store, and he wasn’t going to say hi, on account of the rules, you know? “Never take your attention away from your charge,” and all that… but she saw him and she came over, and then she saw me. And I was the first one she’d see up close like that. He told her they couldn’t talk on account of me, and instead of giving me a venomous look like they all do, she smiled and winked at me. I couldn’t breathe. Somehow we kept bumping into her at the oddest times and places, and then… she got her Handler’s license. That’s when my handler proposed, and instead of saying yes, she broke it off. She never told him why, but he must have figured it out when we got married.
So, you see? She could have married someone she’d never have to watch over constantly and carefully; someone who can’t ever get a job doing what I used to do…. Do you know how long I’d last as an engineer? Probably less than a minute. So here I am, going to school again, being a burden and a worry to her, but still a man. A real man with all my real parts. Did I tell you she wants to start having children? What’s going to happen then? How can someone my size be a father? Farts will be the least of my worries! Diapers? Teething? Walking? Tantrums? Teen years! College!”
“Gabe, take a deep breath now. I want you to breathe deeply. Your cheeks seem a little blue. Let’s pause for a couple of minutes, shall we?”
“OK, OK!” Gabe did feel faint. His mind was swirling with heavy thoughts, one darker than the next. He let them all slow down, and focused on letting air in and out of his chest. He did that for a few minutes while Dr. Pembrose looked at him with a great deal of attention, making sure he wasn’t witnessing a medical emergency. There was such care in his eyes; it was obvious. Even if he couldn’t up and tell his wife to stop farting on his patient, he was truly there for him. It felt nice.
“Listen, doc… thanks. Thank you for listening, really. I’m not going to sue my wife. She says she owns me, maybe she does. I don’t know. I don’t think she means it in a negative way if that makes any sense. She might say I’m her property, but her life is centered around me. She might tell me I’m not a man, but she seeks me out all day long, so she can do to me things women do to men. She calls me all manner of unmanly names when she’s in the throes… but then she lifts me up and cleans me and kisses me and hugs me so sweetly.
I’m confused. I was so upset about it. I have been so angry about it since it started happening with real frequency, these last two months! And now it- I’m- I feel different. I don’t know how to explain it. I can’t say it doesn’t matter anymore because it does. I hate it. I guess… what I mean is, I have to make a choice here. My choice is to go down a path that will perhaps get her to stop farting on me, but then I risk losing her. I don’t want that. I hate the thought of that more than anything; more than the thought of her farts.”
The doctor sat quietly, listening, nodding imperceptibly, his face impassive. Gabe went on.
“Maybe if I learn how to cook. I’ve heard of kitchens that are set up to accommodate a tiny chef. Maybe I can change her diet so her farts aren’t as overwhelming. What do you think?”
“I’ve heard of those kitchens. I saw a show about them last week. The woman that had her home redesigned to fit her needs was doing a wonderful job with a frittata.”
Gabe sighed and smiled.
“I’ll have to look into that. The coping classes I’m taking are mostly just common sense stuff, and I’m ready to get on with my professional life. When I was normal sized I couldn’t even boil water, but I’ll give cooking a try. If I can control what goes in, then at least I have some say about what happens when it all comes out.”
“Let me know what happens when we see each other next week, will you?”