I was checking my Twitter TL today when I spotted this tweet, by talented author Taedis. Naturally, I had to snag the image and make it better. It doesn’t quite reflect my thoughts; it simply tells a Size story in the way the original cannot.
In other news, my blog is moving up in the world, as now I get visitors that search for:
I’m certainly referring to the second search phrase since the first one has been a given since the beginning of this blog. Now, some of you may ask, “but Undersquid, that’s a terrible word. Whatever do you mean when you say your blog is moving up in the world?” To which I respond, “never mind, little ones. It will all become clear in subsequent blog entries”.
I don’t usually reuse collages for different posts, but I don’t see the blog police anywhere around here. This came to me while I was thinking of something completely different, and is soon to become a major motion story. As in, my fingers will be moving in a major way. During NaNoWriMo.
* * *
The man stood his ground, despite the fear tattooing his heart. His target stood dozens of feet above him, and there was no way he could reach it as she demanded. He wanted to be angry, to tell her exactly what he thought of her, but to do so would only seal his fate, not that it didn’t look sealed already. His fate was tightly packed, vacuum-wrapped in her whims, stamped and delivered into the future, but anger would probably make it worse.
“What are you waiting for? Touch it, or I’ll eat you.”
“Why do you do this?”
“Because it’s time, and I’m hungry.”
“So you are going to eat me anyway. Why do you ask me to do something impossible? You know there’s no way I’ll touch you there. I’m a gentleman.”
He couldn’t see her face from his disadvantage point, but she had cracked a smile.
“So it has nothing to do with your height?”
“Certainly not! I could have climbed your legs in an instant. I’m an amazing climber. I won climbing medals when I was big, before you did this to me.”
“So show me. You don’t have to touch it. Just show me how you can go up my leg, which from here looks like a tree trunk when compared to you.”
“I’d love to show you.”
“But I’m afraid I can’t.”
“And why is that?”
“Well, you shrank me as I was delivering your pizza, and then proceeded to fatten me up for a period of… I’m not sure how many weeks-”
“You see this belly here? This was not here before. This blubber makes it impossible for me to climb as I did before. I was a bundle of manly muscles before. Now look at this cellulite.”
“I don’t see any-”
“Is that why you gave me all that delicious food? To ready me for some sort of banquet?”
“Yes. Obviously. Well, since you can’t do what I’m asking you to do, I’m going to slash your throat now, and make sausage with your blood.”
“Ah, blood sausage. The breakfast of champions. That’s great, but I never said I can’t climb your leg. I only said I can’t climb it in an instant, the way I might have before you turned me into a butterball.”
“Then climb it already!” She had forgotten that brief smile and had replaced it with impatience. She was hungry, and it would take some time to hang his carcass properly so as to bleed it in a bucket and not spill a single drop. To waste one molecule of his delicious body would be a sin.
“Very well. It’s a shame about the spiders, really.”
“The spid- what? Did you see a spider? Wait, you said ‘spiders’. Where? Oh, you know I hate those things!”
“Yes, I saw a bunch of spiders, you know, the really venomous ones that can kill you with one bite, the widow ones.”
Her expression changed immediately to one of suspicion.
“Oh, did you. A bunch. A bunch of black widow spiders?”
He thought faster than he’d ever thought in his life.
“Oh. Black? You say they are black? No. I didn’t see a bunch of black ones.”
“Of course you didn’t. They are solitary.”
“Yeah, I just saw one in your bedroom, and the other one was way back, behind the washer in the laundry room.”
“Yeah, so just two. I’d get them for you, but I’ll be busy roasting in the oven.”
“Oh, you are lying. You’re only trying to extend your little life. It will do you no good. I’m going to kill you, and cook you up, and eat you!”
“Yes, I know. Good luck with the spiders. I hope you’re not allergic to the antivenom. Goodnight.”
“Shut up. I’m thinking.”
“I’ll shut up now.”
“Look, uh… ok. Show me the webs.”
“Gladly! Do you have a sledgehammer? Go get it.”
“What? Why do I need a sledgehammer?”
“Because the black widow spider’s web is inside the wall, silly. They don’t build them out in the open. You know that crack on the wall under your bed? That’s where it lives. I can fit my head through there… if you squeeze your phone through the crack, then maybe you can take a picture. But then you’ll have to get out from under your bed very quickly because you know how aggressive they can be, and when your phone’s flash enrages it, it will come after you, and what if you’re stuck under there-”
“Shut up! Shut up, I get it. Fine. Show me the other web. The one in the laundry room. And you better not come up with a clever little story for that one, because if you do I’ll gut you right here, and make kidney with your pies.”
“Shut up and show me.”
“Yes, of course.”
And tiny as he was, he led the way past the kitchen to the laundry room, where he hoped there was a spider web somewhere.
“I wanted to go to Comic con on Friday. It’s a two-hour drive, and I wanted to get there early.”
“We’ll see what I have planned for the weekend. I’d like to go to the Air Show instead.”
“I had already decided to go to Comic con.”
“I understand that. Now you are a married man, and you don’t get to simply up and leave when you want.”
“No, you are quite wrong. I’m a married man, and I don’t get to up and leave, as you put it, because I find myself reduced to the miserable height of two inches!”
“Don’t raise your voice. There’s no need to be angry.”
“No ne- No need to be- Fuck. Woman, grow me back. I want to be my old height again. This is not right. This is wrong. I didn’t ask for this.”
“Of course you didn’t ask for this. No one asks for this. It simply happens.”
“I can’t deal with this. This is a nightmare!”
“Now you are being hurtful. You love me. You asked me to marry you. I told you what would happen. I told you every day that this was going to happen.”
“I can’t believe you. I can’t- Fuck. I don’t even want to look at you right now. Do you think that because you told me, that makes it right? Do you think that I ever imagined you were serious? I thought it was one of your idiosyncrasies! One of your little jokes! ‘Yes, darling, as soon as we are married, you’ll magically shrink down to two inches in height, and it’s not reversible’. Nobody would believe such nonsense!”
“Look at yourself, little love. Is it really nonsense? Besides, there have been a few men that believed this would happen. Their names are inscribed in the Great Book of-“
“A few men? You mean there are others? How many times have you done this?”
“Don’t be silly. You know this is my first marriage- Sorry, my only marriage. I’m talking about other marriages. This has been happening since the beginning of time, my love. You are not the first, nor the last, and you are certainly not the only one.”
“What are you? You never told me you were an alien. You should have told me!”
“Alright, now you’re being ridiculous. There are no such things as ‘aliens’. I’ve always told you the truth. I’m from here. It’s just a different Here.”
“The truth. Here’s the truth: Grow me back, or I want a divorce. Stop laughing. Stop laughing!”
“Oh, sweetheart. I’m sorry! You’re just so funny sometimes. You make me so happy. And no, there’s no growing you back. Once our timelines are inextricably intertwined, you shrink and stay that way forever. I know I explained that to you several times.”
“I thought it was some fairy tale or joke.”
“Why would I joke about your existence? Also, there’s no divorce. We’ve been married for two weeks now; I’d think you’d be used to it by now.”
“When we left for our honeymoon, I spent the entire flight in your pocket.”
“Not the entire flight, honey.”
“You’re not seriously bringing that up again.”
“I know you had fun.”
“I was crying and… or shrieking the entire time!”
“That’s not all you did. I saw.”
“And then you almost drowned me.”
“I’ve apologized about that! How was I to know you didn’t do your breathing exercises as I ordered?”
“And that’s another thing. You keep ordering me about. I’m a man. I’m my own boss. I’m the head of this family, and I expect you to defer to my authority. Why are you- fuck, I wish you’d stop laughing at me.”
“I’m- Oh, god. I can’t breathe! Oh, that was so precious! And you are quite wrong, sweetie. You are my husband and my love, but you are also completely mine, as much as you were when you were a big guy. I’m the head of this family, and as always, what I say goes.”
“So that’s it, then. I’m now this bit of flesh that can’t do anything on his own. I’m a lump, without a job, college education gone to waste. I don’t know what you’re going to tell my parents. I don’t know what I’m gonna tell the guys next Sunday.”
“Nothing, of course. Your parents love you, and they’ll keep the secret, but everyone else has forgotten you ever existed.”
“You understand we can’t make it known that our husbands shrink. We can’t allow that fact to be widely known. It would be terrible for this here. It was catastrophic when it happened Here. We don’t want a repeat of that. It’s for your own safety.”
“How could you do that? How could you do this to me? I’ve given you no permission to destroy everything about my life like this!”
“Enough. I don’t need your permission. Now, August is in the know. He’s your best friend, and I know you love him. He’ll be here every night next week for training, and he can take you to the game if he learns to handle you properly.”
“To handle me?”
“Of course. You are my precious toy, and I don’t want anyone to break you.”
“Yes, my toy. C’mon, darling. Don’t look so forlorn. It may not feel that way yet, but this is how life is supposed to be. You are here to make me happy, and the happier I am, the better the world will be.”
“What about my happiness? What about my dreams? What about what I want?”
“Your wants and needs are secondary to mine. I adore you, and I’ll make sure your life is full and happy, but never as a counterweight to my own fulfillment and joy. You’ll complement me. You already do. I feel a tremendous amount of peace simply because you are here, with me, in my hand, talking to me.”
“You’re squeezing me a little hard right now.”
“S’ok…. What you said… about making sure my life is full… what does that mean?”
“It means you’re not just going to sit around and do nothing all day long, simply because you’re tiny. You’ll make friends, have duties, learn many new things, and eventually, depending on your skills, assume responsibilities.”
“You are artistically inclined. There ample room Here for a creative mind such as yours. The Great Book of Gifts needs to be archived, and the Husbands of the Heart are doing a wonderful job of it.”
“I don’t understand what that means.”
“You will. Now, enough talk. It’s time for your bath, and I think we have enough time for a quickie before your parents get here.”
“Do you know why I brought you to the beach in the middle of October?”
“Because I’d like to drown you.”
“But I’m not going to. Instead of picking up your little body and holding it underwater until it stops moving, I’m sitting here, erasing all thought from my mind, and trying to remember everything I like about you.”
“What did I do?!”
“Why are you so mad at me then? Talking about drowning me. That’s not nice.”
“Do you want to know what’s not nice? I could tell you everything you do that’s not nice. Instead, I’m going to sit here and think good thoughts. It’s either that or packing up your few belongings and kicking you to the curb.”
“I don’t even know what I did wrong!”
“I remember when I met you. I’d seen small men before. Even dated a few. Almost married one. When I saw you I forgot every other man I’d ever met, big or small.”
“You wanted me.”
“I did. More than anyone else on Earth. That’s why I took you the way I did. I knew you were in need, the way you were working that corner, eyeing every woman that drove by, ducking out of sight when you saw the drivers were men.”
“Then I saw you.”
“I stopped the car long enough to open the door and grab you. I didn’t even ask you how much for the night.”
“And I didn’t say.”
“And I never paid.”
“And I never left.”
“You never left.”
“Is that a good thing?”
“You can be so sweet at times. So tender. That’s when I delight in every word that comes out of your mouth. When I come home and you run to my side, stretching your little arms to be picked up when you can’t even reach my knee.”
“I like to see you when you come home. I like the way you pick me up and hold me close, and kiss my whole face at once.”
“I like that too. I like it when you ask me how my day was, and you get mad at the people that made me angry. I really like when you lift your hands to my lips and massage away their tightness, your tiny fingers smoothing over every pucker and wrinkle.”
“You don’t have any wrinkles.”
“Lines. I mean lines. And wrinkles? I’m starting to… just look at this eleven shape between my eyebrows.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t scowl at me so much.”
“Maybe you should stop making me.”
“Shh. I like your voice. I like the way it makes my heart beat faster even though I haven’t been running. I like the horrible sounds you make when you sing-”
“Hey! You said you like my voice!”
“I do. I love your voice, but you can’t sing for shit.”
“I’ll have you know I used to sing lead vocals in a very popular group back in the day.”
“You have an appalling singing voice, but I’d take your singing any day, over any other singing.”
“Even Luciano Pavarotti’s?”
“I like that you’ve stuck around this long. I like to wake up and see your little body next to mine, my panties your blanket tangled around your legs. I like to bring my face to your body and breathe in your scent… which is usually my scent, left to marinate overnight.”
“I’d really like a bath every night.”
“Not gonna happen.”
“I had to try. So, if you like me so much, what’s wrong?”
“I like the way you walk. Your little legs barely covering any ground at all, but your stride is so confident, you look like you’re stepping over mountains. You are a giant in the body of a toy-sized man.”
“That sounds weird… I don’t feel giant.”
”I like the way you make me forget my worries when we’re together.”
“I sound great! I don’t know what the problem is, then.”
“The problem is, this is not real.”
“What’s not real? What do you mean?”
“You. Me. None of this is real.”
“Stop. This is real.”
“It’s not. You’re not here. I’m not here. This is not a real place.”
“Stop saying that.”
“Every day is the same: I wake up first, and wake you up. We have breakfast. I go to work. Next thing you know, I’m back. Then we have a nice, relaxed evening, or we go out. We go on trips together. Our holidays are wonderful. But nothing is real.”
“Shut up! Shut up! Shut the fuck up!”
“Why is it that you never talk about yourself?”
“I don’t- I don’t like to talk about my personal details.”
“Really? Personal details? In this world, you belong to me, but you can’t tell me your phone number?”
“That’s priv- I mean… we have the same phone number. Oh, god. What’s happening?”
“Every night is the same: the sun sets, and I tell you the truth. You and I met online at a VR station. We were roleplaying this whole size world when you had a stroke, and collapsed on the floor. I wasn’t there to witness the event. To me, it only seemed as though you dropped the connection, and decided to ghost me. I didn’t hear about you again until your girlfriend contacted me-”
“Your girlfriend. The woman you love. The one holding your real hand right now, waiting for you to wake up from a deep coma. She’s been waiting for a year.”
“Please, stop. Shut up. No more.”
“Every night I tell you she found me. As it turned out, every time they tried to unhook you from our VR world, you died. I don’t know how she figured it out. Something about the VR unit being stuck to your port all the way to the hospital or something like that. The point is, she contacted the VR company, and got them to release my name. Got lawyers involved and everything. One day I’m bringing the laundry in from the line, and there’s a knock on the door. After she explained everything, she begged me to help. She had tried hooking up to your environment from her own account to no avail. It was only when I entered it using mine as I used to do that I saw you there. Waiting. Working that corner and looking in every direction like you were lost.”
“No. No no no no.”
“Yes. That’s why you fight my getting close to you. That’s why you don’t love me, and never will. You need to wake up and get back to reality. She needs you. She’s waiting for you.”
“Stop. Stop fucking with me. You’re lying. I can’t believe you can be this cruel.”
“I’m only here to help. At the expense of my own life, and my own heart. Wake up soon, because I don’t know how much more of this I can take.”
“I want to go home.”
“I know. And you will.”
“No! I want to go to our home. Our house. Where we live.”
“We don’t have a house. We don’t have anything. But shh. That’s enough for today. Come to me, sweetie. I’ll take you back inside that fake beach house, and hold you and love you one more night, and when you wake up you’ll remember everything about today, except this conversation. You’ll be happy. I might be a little happy too. Sometimes I am. Then, when the sun sets, I’ll try again.”
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?”
He sat in the hot car across the street from her house, watching her do yard work. Every once in a while he’d take a swig of vodka straight from the bottle—his lips numb as he licked them—and practiced what he would say. Every time, the words changed. He watched her as sweat dripped from his face, and soaked through his back into the fabric of his seat. He should have bought a waterproof cover. His bowels felt loose every time he saw her dig a hole, and plant a bulb. October. It was too hot for this time of year. The trees should have been nearing peak time, and instead they kept blooming, confused into Summer behavior. He was confused too. He had thought he wanted to kill her.
Instead, he watched her and felt his heartbeat step in time with her trowel, and her hands, and the way her hair broke free from her ponytail. Instead of looking at the gun he had brought, he looked at the way her jeans covered her rear, and remembered how it felt to be in one of those back pockets, sometimes for a whole afternoon. He should have hated her. He drank again, and coughed. An old man walking his dog was startled by the sound, and looked at his tinted window, and seeing nothing through it, stared at the entire car, making a point to glance at his license plate. Good luck; it was a rental. But he remembered how people were in this neighborhood. Everyone knew each other, though no one truly knew her, did they? Had they ever known she shrank men and kept them as sex toys for years, to then throw them away without explanation?
He cracked the passenger window again, rather than start the car and turn on the a/c. He’d done that for hours until she finally emerged from the house, gardening tools in that giant plastic bucket that was no longer giant; her head protected by the same pink hat that was one half inch (one foot and a half to him then) too small for her. It would be too small for him now, when before he had lain flat on the rim and sunbathed for minutes until she declared he’d had enough. Before, when he was her little sex toy. Before she returned him without a word.
He screwed the white cap back on the bottle, and willed his drunkenness away, knowing he would have to wait a while before he could walk a straight line up the steps to her front yard. How long, he didn’t know. He had not had a single drop of alcohol after she’d dropped off his unconscious body back where he had lived before she took him. Where he had lived before she shrank him. He had bought the bottle of clear liquid thinking it would help him hold the weapon, and face her. What a stupid fool he was. He peeled his eyes off her flexing curves and looked down at the gun. It wasn’t even loaded. He had never bought bullets. All that thinking about “killing her”. How idiotic. She was his owner. A man doesn’t kill his owner. A toy doesn’t kill its owner.
Hours passed. She moved from bulbs to broken branches and twigs, gathering them in the large green bin that was emptied every Wednesday morning. It was Tuesday. He thought back on their Tuesdays routine, always the same. That was the thing about living with her, being owned by her: the firm adherence to schedule, and her constant need for sex. Tuesday mornings saw him waking up to being grabbed by her giant hand, and rubbed between her legs until they both screamed. Or he did. He always ended up screaming. Every day for ten years, he screamed. She didn’t seem to mind; in fact she craved those sounds from his tiny throat, and she did whatever it took to produce them. Now he sat there and wondered where the PTSD was; where the tears were. The only tears had come when he woke up and realized he wasn’t with her anymore; when he woke up a six-foot-tall man, and looked at the stranger that had been his wife, and realized there would never be a giant hand grabbing him anymore.
He watched her grab a bottle of Gatorade and drink it in long swigs. She used to put vodka in those half-empty bottles some nights, and made him swim in the foul mixture until he was half dead and numb. That’s when she did her worst and put him in places no man should ever penetrate. Not with his entire body, anyway. That’s when he screamed the loudest and begged the hardest for her to return him to his old size. There hadn’t been a single day he didn’t ask her to take him back to his wife, his children, his life. She had always ignored his pleas. Why didn’t she know when they had become empty? Why hadn’t she known he didn’t mean them anymore? Why hadn’t she seen how much he loved his life with her? Why did she grow him back? He watched her finish her drink, and blinked away a few tears. They rolled down his cheeks as she hauled a bag of mulch and cut it open. He lowered the passenger window a bit more, and inhaled deeply until he caught the scent of bark, and let it inundate his lungs.
She always finished doing yard work when it began to get dark and mosquitoes were the hungriest. He watched her gather her tools, dry her forehead with a graceful swipe of her forearm, and go around the house, to the backdoor he remembered being hundreds of feet in length. Not anymore. He waited. He’d wait until he knew she was done with her shower, and had changed into something clean and comfortable. Tuesday night. What was it they used to do on Tuesday nights? They watched TV. And kissed. He wanted that again. He waited. He was going to beg her to shrink him again, and this time he wasn’t going to fuck it up.
She drove quietly for a while. She wasn’t a big talker unless they were in the bedroom. There she could talk forever, and he loved it. He was grateful for every dirty word that came out of her mouth, for every time she tied him down and sat on his face, and what she screamed at him while she made it seem the bed would come crashing down, and with it, the world.
“When I was little, my mom didn’t want me to like certain music groups, so every time they came on the radio, she’d turn the station.”
“Did it work?”
“No. Sometimes she couldn’t get to it in time because she was making meatballs or cleaning the toilet or whatever, and I’d be exposed to shit, as she called it.”
“Who was ‘shit’?”
“Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots-”
“I know. So I grew up listening to Duran Duran, U2, Hall & Oates, all those guys, and learning all the lyrics to their songs.”
“I’m not sure I want to meet your mom. She sounds mean.”
She gave him a quick glance, and in the gleam of her eyes that should have only reflected the diminishing light of day, he caught something alien. His teasing smile faltered, and he swallowed hard. His heart started pounding inexplicably, as though he’d been running.
“You’ll be fine. You’re with me. As long as you’re with me, you’ll be safe.”
He laughed at that, but nervously. His own laughter grated in his ears, and he grew annoyed with himself. He thought he’d be calm about meeting her parents, but perhaps he wasn’t. She seldom talked about them, and it wasn’t because of her taciturn nature. After dating a few months and now living together, he knew her well enough to love her, but to bring up her parents always seemed to make her withdraw to a nearly unresponsive state. He decided to risk a couple of questions, now that she was driving and couldn’t hide inside herself. He inhaled deeply, slowly, and let out the first question.
“Could you tell me something about your dad now? I mean, I’m about to meet him, and I know next to nothing about him.”
Another quick glance from eyes as dark as unexplored ocean depths, a glance that felt as heavy on him as their organ-crushing pounds per inch. He swallowed hard as she brought her gaze back to the road, and sighed.
“My dad. Well, you’re about to meet him, so you might as well know. My dad is… small.”
“Small? Like, short? So what? There’s no shame in being short.”
“No, I don’t mean ‘short’ in stature. I mean small. As in, only inches in height.”
He laughed again, this time naturally. He didn’t know why because what she’d said wasn’t funny at all. If it was a joke, it wasn’t a good one.
“I’m serious. Ah, never mind. You’re only going to believe me when you see him. In every other way he’s a normal father. He was always there for me when I got home from school, and he’d help me with my homework, and always took my side when I got in trouble with mamá.”
“That’s sweet. So you’re daddy’s little girl.”
“I’m his big girl, and I’ve never in my life called him ‘daddy’. It was always papi, and now papá.”
“But your mom never speaks Spanish.”
“Not to you, because you’ve only talked to her on the phone. In person, she’s all arroz-con-frejoles this, and en-mi-país that, and ese maldito hijo de puta con su cuenta de Twitter, que no tiene huevos para-”
“Whoa, hold on, I have no idea what you’re saying!”
“I’m telling you, that’s what it’ll probably be like tonight, and she won’t care that you don’t understand. In her mind, you already speak Spanish by osmosis. I told you, you’re gonna have to learn to speak it with some fluency.”
“Shit. Can’t I just pretend I understand her?”
“No. But don’t worry. You’ll learn.”
“I don’t know when I’ll have time to learn, with a full-time job, and you.”
To that, she said nothing and continued driving in silence until they arrived at their destination, just in time for dinner. The front door opened, and down the front steps came a middle-aged woman, clearly Hispanic, with the longest brown hair he had ever seen, only beginning to gray. He realized now why his girlfriend had such a curvaceous ass. She had clearly inherited it. Both women greeted each other with strong hugs and loving kisses. Then she turned her attention to him. He was startled by the darkness in her eyes, which he had seen in his girlfriend not long ago. Her bright smile distracted him.
“So, there you are, corazón. Come, give me a hug.”
Once inside, the couple sat down at the table, and her mother filled their plates with food but served nothing for herself or her husband, who was nowhere to be seen. He didn’t tuck in as his girlfriend did, surprised that she was not waiting for the man of the house. His girlfriend was munching heartily when her mother turned her smiling face his way and realized he was not eating.
“What’s the matter with your man, mijita? Doesn’t he like our food?”
“No, mamá. It’s not that. I’ve taught him to cook like us, and I fix it myself often. I think he’s waiting for papá.”
Her mother laughed.
“Don’t wait. My hombrecito is shy, and he won’t be joining us until later. He’s otherwise occupied.”
She groaned softly at her mother’s words and sliced off a large bite of the most fragrant meat he had ever smelled. He still didn’t imitate her, waiting for her mom to sit and join them.
“No, mijito. You go on and eat. I’m not hungry right now. I’ll have something later.” When she said those last words she smiled and winked at him so lasciviously, he felt his cheeks turn red, and he looked down at his meal. He tore into it without delay. He wasn’t a big eater, but his plate was clean before long. All throughout dinner the mother stared at him, and the daughter moved her calm gaze back and forth between her two companions.
The moment his place was empty, the mother stood up, pushing back the back of her chair with her large, round ass cheeks. She then turned to her native language.
“Vamos, mijita. Ayúdame con los trastes.”
“Mamá, in English, please,” she said, uselessly.
“Mueve el culo, que tenemos que hablar.”
Once in the kitchen, her mother peered out at him and saw him stand up and walk around, looking at pictures on the wall, and moving closer to one of them, tilting his head forward, as though he was having a hard time making out what he was seeing.
“No es ningún bruto. Ya encontró la foto de tu papi en el bolsillo de mi blusa.”
“Maybe, but he won’t be able to discern it’s a real man in that picture.”
“Estás segura? Tiene las piernas tan flacuchentas. Y la nariz tan grandota. Y los ojos tan endemoniadamente azules.”
“Mamá! You do realize you just described papi. His legs are also scrawny, his nose is huge, even on such a tiny face, and he is, as you’ve so often described, a blue-eyed devil.”
“Yes. I’m sure. I’ve never been so sure of anything. He’s the one. I knew he’s the one the moment I laid eyes on him. I want him. I want him so much.”
“Está bien. Lo preparamos, o le damos la sorpresa?”
“Just do it. There is no preparing him for this. There is no explanation that’ll make sense.”
“Yes. But I’ll follow you and watch from the doorway. I don’t want to get in the way.”
“Ay, mijita, no te preocupes. No va a pasar nada. Todo va a estar bien.”
“Yes, I know. I’m not worried. Go ahead, mamá.”
Her mother smiled and gathered the fabric of her skirts with both hands, and pulled it up to her waist. She then gently dug something out of her panties and handed it to her daughter, who grimaced with some disgust.
“Guárdalo bien. Y necesita un baño.”
Her daughter said nothing as she held her damp father in the palm of her hand, and watched her mother transform. She had witnessed the change a couple of times before, but it was always a tremendous shock. Still, she stared at her mother’s body which was now a mass of swirling tentacles, and walked out of the kitchen holding her head high, even as she watched him turn to them and scream at what he saw.
“Don’t worry, my darling. It won’t last forever,” she said to her shrieking boyfriend as his face disappeared inside her mother’s gaping, expanding maw, and his body was immobilized by tentacles that had been arms and legs and hair only a few minutes earlier.
“Don’t try to fight. It only hurts for a bit, my love. And when you emerge, you’ll look just like papá,” and she held her tiny father so as to show him, even though her boyfriend’s head and shoulders were now inside her mother, and he could no longer hear her. The little man stretched and yawned, blinking as though he had been asleep.
“Hi, honey. What did I miss?”
“Nothing. There’s nothing that concerns you now, but I’ll need your help when he emerges.”
“Why? Is he stupid? Is he weak of spirit? No one helped me when your mami did this to me, and here I am!”
“I know, papá… but I’m not sure he’s like you. I just need you, OK? I don’t want him to be alone in this.”
“Of course, baby girl. I’d do anything for you. Your mami is going to sleep for three days as she changes him. That’s three days I get to sleep, and eat what I want, and watch what I want on TV.”
She brought her father up to her lips, and kissed his pungent forehead, or tried to. Her lips encompassed over half his height, and only pushed him back into the scoop of her palm. He giggled and looked down at himself, blushing furiously.
“Get me some clothes, will ya?”
A few feet away, her mother finished swallowing her boyfriend’s body. All tentacles seemed to fall dormant, and the skin that held them together bulged here and there, its insides slowing down their struggles until they came to a stop.
Three days, she thought as she lowered her tiny father into a sinkful of warm, soapy water. Three days until I own you completely, my beautiful sex toy. Three days.
He sat on her chin, making a distinct effort not to laugh every time she tried to peer at him over the summit of her nose. Her eyes crossed before she closed one, then the other, trying to look around each of her nostrils to catch a blurry glimpse of his tiny shape. Why she chose to set him on her chin was beyond his ken, like so many things she did or said. He bit his lip and listened to saliva clicking in her mouth as the muscles that governed her lips began to shape words. She was about to say something. He dug into her soft flesh with his little hands. He knew his hold was meaningless if her words were strong enough to buck.
“I need a story.”
“A story?” he asked, feeling himself bob up and down helplessly as her jaw stretched. He could hear muscles longer than his body play with the opening of her mouth, even if he could not see them inside her head. He wondered why he had asked her that when he heard her so clearly, instead of making sure she said as little as possible. Instead of doing all he could to avoid being hurled into her heavily guarded mouth, even if by accident. She answered with a frustrated gust of warm wind hitting him square in the everywhere before she reiterated her demand.
“Yes. Tell me a story.”
“I-I don’t know any.”
“Yes, you do.”
“Can I move to your chest? Every time you say anything, I feel I’m going to fall off and tumble down either side of your head, and crack my skull so many feet down to the ground.
“Feet to me.”
“Yes, but inches. And you’re not going to fall. You’re going to sit there and tell me a story.”
He clutched handfuls of her skin as tightly as he could. His fingers, infinitesimal as they were, could not compete with whatever moisturizer from hell she applied to her face every morning. Even when he dug his heels into the border of her lower lip line and turned his feet into wedges between it and the protrusion of that massive swath of pink flesh, he felt as unsteady as a leaf in the wind- no, a leaf in the gutter, to be swallowed by darkness too profound to contemplate. Still, he thought, and thought, and came up with nothing. Rather than say as much, he recited his own life to her.
“Once upon a time there was a man. His name was-”
“What? I’m telling you my story.”
“I… I don’t know. I’m… I feel alarmed to know your name, after all this time.”
“How do you know it’s my name, and not just a made-up bunch of random words?”
“Because I know. I know things. Like how I knew I could shrink you even though such things are impossible.”
“I see. I guess you do know, because I was about to tell you what used to be my name. We both know that’s not my name now.”
She sighed so hard, she almost blew him off her. And she didn’t notice.
“His name was Orton Ransom McGillis- Hey! Watch it!”
It was clear she was trying to contain her mirth, and badly. She was biting her lower lip, and the skin on her chin felt dimpled and taut under him. She was gasping and about to throw him off.
“Stop! You’re gonna make me fall.”
She kept at it for a few seconds longer before her amusement was brought to check, but not before she sighed a bit too happily.
“Aren’t you happy your name is Toy now?”
“Yeah, sure. Ecstatic. Look, do I tell you a story, or can I get off now?”
“Not yet. Go on, tell me your story. I’m sorry.”
“OK, that’s better. So, his name was Orton, and he worked in the porn industry-”
“Just- let me finish.”
Again, contained laughter about 5.4 on the Richter scale. He waited it out, wishing for a dark corner in which to hide. Once it was over, he cleared his throat and went on.
“Poor, misunderstood Orton worked in the porn industry composing summaries for porn films. His carefully worded descriptions and delicately crafted keywords filled the world of Internet porn and the still existing DVD market. The money was adequate, but the hours were hell. One particularly grueling day, Orton made his way to his car. He was exhausted, and not paying attention to his surroundings. When he was unlocking his car, he caught movement on the side window’s reflection, and turned his head long enough to see a woman reach his side.
He turned to defend himself, but instead stood there as she smiled at him, and brought her face up to his, and kissed him fully on the lips. He was so startled by her behavior that the prick in his neck went almost unnoticed. What he did notice was that everything turned into darkness then, and when he came to, nothing looked familiar. He would not realize for a full minute that he had been taken from his life, his work, and everything he once knew, and transformed into a two-inch tall man-”
“Man. I’m a man, no matter what you say or how you treat me.”
“Shush. Don’t tempt me to prove your wrong. Finish your story.”
“So, this little man finally made sense of the roaring sound that assaulted his senses, and understood it to be the engine of a car. He finally made sense of the heat surrounding him, and understood it to be mountains of smooth human flesh. He finally made sense of the coarse texture on which he stood, and understood it to be the seat of a car. The driver’s seat.”
The wall of her lower lip stretched into a smirk, and Orton, now Toy, read her thoughts in it. He knew she was thinking of what she made him do as soon as he recovered consciousness. No explanation, not a single demonstration of care, or an attempt to assuage his fears. His panic. His horror. He graduated from man to sex toy that very moment. Magna cum loudly.
“After months of being treated like an object, Orton began to think of himself as one. He stopped begging to be regrown or returned to his life. He didn’t have to work anymore, except as a human dildo for the woman that shrank and took him. He had zero responsibilities, except to keep her satisfied. His family, his friends, everyone that had once known him were still grieving for him, looking for him, crying for him; but the woman, his owner, didn’t care. She wanted him so badly, none of that mattered.”
“Poor, unfortunate Orton.”
“I’m surprised to hear you say that. You’ve always said I’m the luckiest toy in the world.”
“I’m talking about Orton, not you. You are the luckiest toy in the world.”
“Anyway. Orton made peace with his fate, and realized his place was with this giant woman that loved him as the most precious thing in the world.”
“The universes. Reality. Realities. All dimensions.”
“Is that what I am to you? The most precious thing in all universes dimensions everything?”
“Yes. Everything, everywhere, and beyond, where there is nothing and nowhere. You are the most important nothing there too.”
“You made me small, but you can’t make me love you.”
“This is not turning out the way I thought it would.”
“What ever does?”
“My cakes. My bread. My tomatoes. My drinking.”
“You are small potatoes.”
“I’m small, but I’m not a potato.”
“You are a couch potato.”
“I’m a panty potato. The only times I ever spend on a couch is when you are on a couch, wearing me inside your panties.”
“Why won’t you love me?”
“Neediness is a turn-off.”
“I don’t need you. I just want you.”
“Then what do you care how I feel?”
“I don’t know. This is a new feeling. I’ve never cared about the faces you made, or the grimaces, or the screams. Now I find myself wondering what you’re thinking about, who you want to fuck, where you want to be.”
“What can I do better?”
“Nothing. My heart was already taken when you did this to me. I think of my wife every morning when I wake up, and when I go to sleep, and every moment in between, when you are using me.”
“She’s forgotten you.”
“Yes, she’s moved on. She has a new boyfriend now, and she’s stopped looking for you. Your daughter doesn’t even remember you.”
“This is why I don’t love you, and never will. You are cruel beyond measure. You stole my life from me. You made me into nothing but a sex toy. I had everything, and now I have nothing.”
“I had nothing, and now I have everything.”
“Is your life so centered around sex that this ‘everything’ has to be a tiny man you use to fulfill your sexual needs?”
“Yes. I go mad when I don’t use you. I’m distracted. I can’t work. I can’t function. You are my air, and I feel you in my heart.”
“That’s pathetic. You should be able to function without me.”
“I should, but I don’t. I’d fall apart.”
“Are you sure?”
“I don’t think so. I think you should try to be without me for a time, and see how you do.”
“I don’t want to do that.”
“Suit yourself. But I think it’s sad that you can’t live your life unless I’m around.”
“I can. I simply don’t want to.”
“There’s nothing simple about this.”
‘It is very simple. I want you. I always want you. I want you with me all the time. And there is nothing you can do about it. Nothing. Everything has gone wrong for you because of me. You have lost everything and everyone, but for the first time in my life, I can breathe, and my heart doesn’t hurt. When I look at you I feel… full. Complete.”
“I find you boring. I miss my wife and the way she moves around the kitchen when she cooks for me. I miss the way her voice lifts when she wants to go see a movie. I miss the way she walks past me and leaves a trail of her scent for me to follow. I miss the way she bossed me around about things I found absolutely annoying. I miss mowing my lawn. I miss everything about my life, and if you brought me back, I’d never think of you, except in my nightmares.”
“Fuck. That hurts.”
“Good. It’s true. All of it.”
“I don’t care. You fill my heart. You fill me with joy,”
“One day I’ll hate you.”
“Maybe, but until then, kiss me, little toy.”
“I don’t want to.”
“Fine. I’ll just make you kiss me.”
“It won’t be the same.”
“It is. You are mine. You will always be mine, no matter how you feel, or for whom you cum, or what’s left of your soul wants. You don’t know it, but every molecule of yours is mine, beyond love, beyond thoughts, beyond feelings. Love your wife. Think about your wife. I don’t care. Your body belongs to me, and when you open your eyes and mind, you are mine too. Every two inches of you. Kiss me.”
“No? But you are. Look at you, kissing me now. Look at your lips, puckering up over mine, touching and feeling and swelling.”
“I hate you.”
“You love me.”
“I don’t! Stop!”
“Kiss me again. And again, and again. Never stop.”
“I hate you.”
“You love me. You love this. You love being tiny. You love being a sex toy. You love being two inches tall.”
“I don’t love you. I will never love you!”
“Kiss me. I feel enough for the both of us.”
“I hate you, you fucking psycho.”
“I love you. You are mine, forever. Kiss me. Bend your body into my mouth. Sink your face into my lips, and press your hands on the pink wall of me.”
“I’m broken. Nothing I do has heart.”
“My heart is big enough for the both of us. My love gives you purpose. Hate me if you must. Be bored. Love your wife. Wish for her with all your might. You’ll never see her again. You’ll see me every day, feel me every morning, and make me feel everything I want to feel every time I want.”
“If you loved me, you’d take me back.”
“Why is that?”
“Because you’d want me to be happy.”
“Wrong, little one. I give your life more purpose than anything you’d find out there. Because of you I can breathe, eat, think, feel, live. You are everything. Out there you’d be an echelon in the tiny lives of little people that have moved on without you. Here with me you are an universe.”
“Fuck you. You are insane.”
“I’m as sane as you are. I only take what’s mine, and you are mine. It doesn’t matter how you feel or what you say. Kiss me again.”