Here’s my third of ten fortune-cookie vignette installments, because I imagine I’ll be able to accumulate fifty different fortunes, and I figure I’ll want Chinese takeout again, at some point… though not in the foreseeable future. I’m doing a little better keeping each entry down to a minimum word count, or at least one to my liking; though I reserve the right to go nuts here and there if I feel the inspiration hit me.
The woman was a vegetarian, but that didn’t mean a thing nowadays. That didn’t mean she wouldn’t shriek at the sight of him and stomp on his body the way she did on insects she found in her house. He knew; he’d watched her do it on occasion. That she was a vegetarian was significant in another way; it meant that the dead roach he was now taking apart had probably fed on fruits and vegetables for the entirety of its life, imparting it with better flavor than he’d known before.
It’d been difficult to behead, but after a week, the headless body had stopped moving, and he’d tracked it to the darkness behind an inner kitchen wall. There, he’d waited until it didn’t run anymore, and started removing its legs. He’d save the tiny claws for later use, as they’d come in handy for climbing smooth surfaces. He might keep the face as a trophy, though there was no reason to place something so unseemly on his wall. His living quarters were so dark it made no difference anyway, so he would probably save the mandibles as cutting tools.
The body was a different matter. He was going to roast it, exoskeleton and all. Here, inside her walls, he was going to build a contained fire, and cook himself a bug. The exoskeleton would hold and spread the heat evenly. It would take a few hours to build up the right temperature, and even longer to cook up the soft innards kept in place by the hard brown surface. His mouth watered at the prospect.
The day after, she walked into the kitchen and wondered at the strong smell she caught in one whiff, gone the next. It had reminded her of greasy chicken and stale piss, both foreign elements in her house. A few feet away, in the darkness and no longer hungry, he slept dreamlessly.
No one wore shoes inside the residence, a large home that had been donated by a woman that had married a small man that measured in height the length of her longest toes. The marriage had never been legal, but that never stopped her from flaunting her union from its beginning until the very end when they were buried together. Childless, she had left her vast fortune to various groups dedicated to the rescue and protection of tiny people.
Barefoot, the volunteer made her way to the darkest room, where the door was always kept closed, and the walls and floor had been padded to keep all sounds and motion waves to a minimum. In that room, the hopeless cases lingered. In that room, a man only two inches tall sat in his habitat, silent from the moment he was rescued from a brothel, three minuscule ribs broken, ankles shattered, arms angled out of their sockets, and a mind in catatonic disarray.
Her delicate feet pressed on, slowly but without pause, guided by the faint light filtering through the heavy curtains, until she reached the terrarium and stood over him, avoiding eye contact as she’d done for the first three months, saying the same one word again. Hello. This time she had more to say.
“Hello, Marvin. Today we’re going to do something new. I’m not going to hurt you.” She said nothing more, avoiding possible trigger words as instructed, yet knowing what she was about to do would probably hurt more than help. She reached for him, her hand soft and warm as she lifted his stiff little body, and firmer around him when he spotted the bowl of soapy water and started screaming wordlessly. He fought as she lowered him in the warm liquid, and his arms and legs splashed water in every direction as she held him in place and stroked his skin from head to seed-sized toes. Filth moved off his skin in concentric clouds, leaving it pink and clean.
“I will never hurt you,” she repeated, bringing him to her chest and wrapping a dry washcloth around his flailing body.
The man looked away from the iPhone screen on which he sat, and stared at her jawline a few dozen feet above. Her fingers flew on the keyboard, blurs that weighed far more than he did, yet he coded at the same speed. Another way in which they were perfect together.
“One date,” he said, not for the first time.
“No, thank you.”
“C’mon, I’m fun.”
“I don’t doubt that, but I’m not interested.”
“How do you know? You’ve never tried dating someone my size.”
“I said no.” Her voice reached annoyance much faster now. He backed off, knowing he had reached the end of the line. Today. He brought his hands down on the screen, waking it up. Like hummingbirds, they moved on the smooth surface where words, numbers, and symbols meant something only to them.
“My cousin is in the movie.”
“Oh?” she said absentmindedly, her mind on her work. He wondered if she was glad he’d changed the subject. Or she thought he had.
“Yes. She told me she stood only a few feet away from Oliver Stone.”
“What’s her name?”
“Oh, she was just an extra… but when you look at the fleeing, panicked crowd and see a blue shirt, that’s her.”
He thought he heard a muffled giggle, and then realized it had been a gasp of surprise.
“So she’s not…”
“Tiny? No. She’s about your height. I’m the only man my size in the family.”
“Why? I’m not. I was born this way. This is all I know.”
“Don’t you want to be normal?”
“I’m normal. I wake up in the morning and have breakfast; I shower; I work; I date.” His arms never stopped moving, yet he smiled up at her, the upper row of tiny teeth in his mouth a flash of white that dazzled her more than the fact that he wasn’t looking at what he was doing.
“You’re going to mess up!” she cried out, the corners of her mouth moving up anyway.
“I know exactly what to do with my hands,” he claimed, and she was sure he meant more than work.
“I’m afraid,” said the giantess, her body sprawled on grass that had been freshly cut a week ago. Now it reeked of stale sweat and urine that would have filled pools. She no longer produced excrement, and the thought, rather than relief, caused the doctor intense emotional pain.
“It won’t be long now,” he said, wishing he could hold her hand, and pressing his palm on her sunken cheek instead. The cancer had eaten away at her for months now, encouraged rather than halted by every course of treatment. The largest mass pulsed inside her cranium, the size of a house and the shape of a monster.
“But it hurts so much,” she whimpered, her breath carrying death already. He wondered if he was inhaling cells gone wrong, and felt guilty. He wasn’t there to worry about himself. He was there for her.
“I can make it easier,” he whispered, looking at the soldiers patrolling her perimeter, making sure no one came to collect her meat before it was time. He looked down at her right eye, and up at her left one, and for a moment he wanted to laugh. They both crossed as they made way to his slight form, and he knew if he stepped away just a few feet, he would not be able to help but giggle at the silly expression on her face. He’d never do that to her. Instead, he looked at the expanse of her body, now nothing much more than bones and folds of skin that had once been rounded, luscious, the stuff of masturbatory dreams for the entire world.
“Do it,” she begged, blasting him with carrion air from her lungs. He stopped himself from looking around, knowing that if the soldiers spotted him glancing at them, they would get suspicious. They would not have time to stop him. Still, one of them turned to stare at the giantess, having heard her last words. The doctor reached into his pocket, grabbed the lethal ampule, and walked over to her parted lips.
“Hold it! Stop right there!” Called out the soldier, aiming his rifle at him, but it was too late. The doctor tossed the contained poison in the giant mouth, and as the soldier put a bullet in his chest, the giantess convulsed, the insignificant amount of liquid enough to kill a healthy woman her size in a matter of seconds.
The doctor collapsed next to her, and his mind settled last on a generous thought. Rest in peace, my giantess. No one will eat you now.
Everyone knew where she lived, but only church ladies and volunteers made their honest way to her cave, to help with cleaning, feeding, and providing her with clothes. People looking for anything else usually left bruised or some kind of broken. That had been the way of it from the moment she moved to the region, the only two-hundred-foot tall giantess in the state. Everything changed after the ad was published, and now a stream of people showed up every morning, looking for dubious, unpaid employment.
Carlos stood in the entrance, dwarfed by its dimensions, at once aware that a giantess the size of a building constantly entered and exited the vaulted chamber. Somewhere beyond the scope of his eyes, she existed. He cleared his throat and tried to sound as masculine as possible.
“Hello… O Giantess!” Fuck, I sound ridiculous. “I’m here about the ad.” Maybe it was the birds, the bugs, the wind singing among the trees, but he couldn’t tell if the breeze that sounded like a What?! and rushed past him into the morning light had been real, or a product of his nervousness.
“Dear giantess,” he thought to repeat himself, “I’m responding to your ad—” The world as he knew it ended there because the ground began to tremble. He’d seen her before, but only on his computer screen, the mound of lube in his palm slightly more important than the vision of her. Now he shriveled as the immensity of her filled out the screen of reality, and he realized the horrific delay in thinking that maybe he had made a Terrible Mistake.
There was no more cave; there was no more sky; there were no more trees or birds or bugs. Now there was only her face staring down at him, and her eyes fulminant with rage.
“Explain this ‘ad’ to me this instant, or I’ll eat you!”
What Carlos had always known as his knees bent like noodles with weakness, and wetness trickled down the fabric of his pants. He sat, and wept.
“For fuck’s sake, stop that! I’m not really going to eat you! But you people keep showing up, talking about an ad I never placed! I don’t even know how to do that. Explain yourself or I will tell your friends you peed yourself when you saw me, and your cock is the size of a grain of sand.”
Carlos’ jaw dropped, and the light of indignation sparked between his frontal lobe and his eyes. Never as bright as the question still burning in her eyes, so he produced a folded letter-sized printout; something she could never peruse.
“Read it out loud.”
“Yes, giantess.” Carlos cleared his throat as he unfolded the sheet of paper, and his voice adopted an affected seriousness as he went on.
“Help wanted: A beautiful person of any gender; trained in the art of pleasing a giantess. You will be used for every aspect of my needs. Training provided in-house. Nail filing, application of creams and makeup, removal of dead skin, cleansing and flossing of teeth, squeegeeing of asshole, stroking of clit, satisfying of vagina. Full health and dental plan, salary paid daily in the coin of constant, enormous—and here Carlos had the decency to seem embarrassed—sex. Ahem… Qualified applicants, please apply at the entrance of Giantess Cave.”
Her lower lip, red and full, dropped in astonishment. The curtains of her eyelids descended, wrinkling into their bases, the expression unmistakeable frustration. Carlos finally understood.
“You never wrote this ad then?”
“What did I just fucking say?”
“Oh, god… please don’t kill me.”
“Unbelievable. I’ve never killed anyone…”
“…that didn’t deserve it.”
“Oh,” he answered, his throat as dry as kindling. The giantess stared at him, her eyes roaming the short distance of him as carefully as a land surveyor detailing a treasure map. She noticed the thickness of his thighs past the wetness of his pants. His eyes were shaded by long eyelashes, his hair black curls like cornsilk. She made a hitherto unprecedented decision.
“You are hired.”