The muted growl of the bus engine gave way to the cavernous echo of cars feeling their way around, in the drop-off park at the airport. Shaun smelled car exhaust and jet fuel through Janine’s travel blouse, and he knew he should have been alarmed at the toxic fumes, but these held a nostalgic twang for him. He loved travel, and airports were a kind of religious retreat unto themselves. He couldn’t help but smile to himself, as Janine’s torso shuddered and twisted with heaving the straps of her bags over her head.
“What’s that, sweetie?” he called out with extra sweetness.
His girlfriend grunted, somewhere overhead. “Just… wishing I had a boyfriend who could carry some of this load with me, that’s all.”
He stroked the inside curve of her boob tenderly, as he lay hammocked in her bra cup. “I’m sorry, sweetie, you’re the one who fell in love with me. It wasn’t like I kept my size a secret from you.”
“I know, I know.”
“And if my baggage is too heavy for you, feel free to dump it anywhere.” He watched the volume of her breast rock gently back and forth with her heavy footfalls. “There are two Dollar Trees in walking distance of our hotel, if we don’t feel like splurging for a new wardrobe at Toys ‘R’ Us.”
Sliding doors hissed open and shut around them, and the ambiance transitioned from confused, grudging traffic to tinny announcements and loud conversations in a myriad of accents and languages. “I’m just letting off steam, little man. I’ll be fine as soon as I check this stupid bag in and find our gate.” Janine’s voice drifted from side to side above his head: she was finding her way around.
Shaun really did wish he could help her at times like these. It hurt him that, while not exactly a burden, he was unable to help shoulder some of his girlfriend’s load. It was a difficult trick for him to learn to not become consumed in resentment at his helplessness, with the concomitant splash damage of snarking at her, but instead to remain forcibly cheery and upbeat. Because that was what she needed, at times like these, and it was an emotional burden he could carry.
“How many bags are you checking in today?” asked a tired woman with a thick Amharic accent.
“One bag. This is my carry-on.” Janine sounded cloying and soft when talking to Shaun, but in dealing with other professionals she took on a stern, confident tone that got things done. He’d asked her about it, and she seemed unaware of the tone-switch.
“Can I see your ID… Janine Galvan. How many are traveling with you today?”
“One Tiny, Shaun McCoy. No seat necessary.” Janine didn’t see anything wrong with the term, but Shaun hated that she couldn’t start using Anthropole when referring to him.
“I must advise you that if you are found occupying an unreserved seat for your Tiny, airline staff are authorized to charge you for the additional ticket at any point during the passage.”
Shaun bristled. “I understand,” said Janine curtly, and her massive body swayed with a sigh as she surrendered the checked baggage. The ticket clerk directed her to the full-body screening line and wished her a nice day.
“Can you believe this shit,” Janine whispered into her neckline. Shaun looked up to see her round chin bobbling in the glaring white light of the airline terminal.
“Well, you know how people like to spread out.” He personally had no desire to roll around unsecured on an additional seat, not when there were so many delicious opportunities for storage on his beautiful girlfriend. “Any time someone sets up a system for everyone’s benefit, there’s always a certain element waiting to exploit and abuse it, and then ruin it for everyone.” He noted how much more relaxed this woman’s tremendous upper body moved, without hauling around all the clothes she’d need for a week away. Sometimes he could imagine watching muscle groups tense or relax as she moved around, almost as if he could diagnose her physical carriage. He wondered about a supplementary role Tinies could play with, say, physical therapy…
The clatter of hard plastic trays brought him back to presence of mind. Janine’s breast flowed gently, but irresistibly, over his little body as she bent to unfasten her shoes and load them in the tray with her personal effects. “You ready for the scan, little man?” she chirped at him. Her hand dipped inside her shirt and he scrambled onto her fingers, clutching her until she rested him on the miniature walkway for his people. Far overhead, his girlfriend wrinkled her nose and blew him a kiss before lining up for the backscatter X-ray.
Unlike with the huge people all around him, there was no need for Tinies to remove belts or shoes or anything. Shaun glanced at the other travelers. Ahead was one slovenly man wearing a stained miniature ringer tee and a swatch of flowery fabric twisted around him like a sarong, but it was probably clipped from a napkin. Behind was a very dapper business-type. Everything about him reeked of money, from the exquisite job on his hairstyle to the impeccable bespoke gray wool three-piece suit. He seemed not to notice anything else around him; Shaun glanced up at his companion, a towering woman with small, angry breasts poking from within a form-fitting silk blouse. She also stared straight ahead with just the slightest frown, as though barely tolerating having to mingle with the common rabble en route to her destination.
Fun couple, Shaun thought, turning forward again. The chubby little guy ahead was getting the wand: a plump TSA officer was humming to herself, blue-latexed hands expertly hovering the scanning wand the ideal distance from the man. He flinched and dodged the wand, despite her frequent admonition to please hold still, honey. Across from her, on the other side of the Anthropole catwalk, was a very brittle older woman with short, stiff gray hair that reminded Shaun of the bristles of a broom. Her TSA uniform hung on spindly limbs, and her face seemed to rest in a threatening scowl. The scanner monitor reflected in her bifocals. She muttered something at the little man, lost in the background of announcements and nervous chatter.
“I said move along!” she snapped, when the schlub ahead of Shaun didn’t react fast enough. The back of her hand was all veins and tendons, and with this she swatted the diminutive traveler so he staggered forward and fell.
The plump agent tsk-tsked her coworker, then glanced at Shaun. Her eyes lit up and her full, violet lips curled up in half-smile as she nodded for him to approach. Shaun caught a disapproving glance from around the older woman’s cats-eye frames.
“And where you going today, honey?” said the rounder, younger agent. She had a Southern accent that glowed with amiability. Shaun could’ve listened to her all day. Her hand held the wand at the ready, inactive, as though she was genuinely interested in his answer.
“Flying down to St. Pete’s, Florida, for our anniversary.”
“FLAH-rida!” She was delighted. “I’m from Waycross, but I practically grew up in Jacksonville!” She mused how much she missed Flah-rida, clicking on the wand and beginning her perimeter sweep. Learning from the other guy, Shaun stood ramrod-still. The agent hummed to herself and took his readings… then cleared her throat, started a second sweep, and leaned in closer to the catwalk. In fact, she rested her large, round breasts upon the catwalk, not far from where Shaun stood.
Some workers were like this, Shaun knew. Maybe they got a thrill from the momentary captive audience, either sating their curiosity about Tinies or enjoying their small portion of power and dominance. He glanced up at Janine, who was waiting to enter the full-body scan: an elderly man was ahead of her and he had a lot of questions about the process.
The large, black monolith of plastic hovered around Shaun slower now, waving tentatively to his left, then swinging ponderously behind him. It sang shrilly when it got too close: the agent had swatted his tiny bottom with the tip of it, nudging him closer to her. Oh boy, here we go. Shaun’s heart began to pound: the agent’s shirt could barely contain all of her. The white plastic buttons clearly strained as the buttonholes were tugged aside, creating large (to him) gaps between the hems. Her eyes rolled innocently as she coughed gently again, and her enormous breasts heaved that much closer to him.
Now he could feel their heat, right through the dense lace material that suspended them, right through the starchy blue TSA uniform, and particularly through the opening of the stressed shirt. It was dark inside there, as the uniform material didn’t permit much light, but Shaun could see a deep purple bra cupping tremendous brown breasts, squeezed together by the agent’s plump upper arms into an enticing cleft. She held the wand delicately overhead, swiping it slowly behind the tiny man as though unable to attain a proper reading. It sang out again as she nudged him toward herself.
He wasn’t sure how to play this. He hadn’t been given clearance to move on, and he didn’t want to incur the wrath of the elderly agent, who apparently felt no compunction to adhere to Norm-Anthropole guidelines of professional, nonconsensual contact. Yet he didn’t want to be scooped into the uniform blouse of this playful, cute agent: glancing up at Janine, he saw she’d forgotten to remove her necklace and was in the middle of a tedious ion-detecting scan. He looked up at the agent, who now seemed to be breathing heavier, licking her upper lip and glancing at the readout monitor, as she arched her back, and…
“We don’t have all fucking day.” Shaun spun to see the withered old face looming just above him. Her yellowed incisors were cracked in places, and her lips were thin and lifeless. “You wanna move along for the other passengers, or should I tell your wife you’ve chosen another caretaker?”
Shaun’s cheeks flushed. He glanced back at the business-Tiny, who was the picture of impatience, tapping his loafer and glancing at his watch. He had no watch, of course, it was just a colloquial nonverbal for annoyance. Shaun called up to the older agent, “So am I clear? I haven’t been given the go-ahead.” He spread his thin little arms and legs wide, poking out of the stiff shirt and lounge pants he’d thrown on for travel: he had no jewelry, no pockets, and what one saw of him was pretty much what one got.
The older agent snarled. Snarled! “Look, you little shit.” Her breath was sour milk and cigarettes, and he could see a yellow film building up in the back of her throat. “I don’t like you little parasites swarming around our nice, clean facilities. I remember a time when you little perverts were too terrified to show your faces around decent, God-fearing Americans, and I−”
Along every scanning catwalk were two or three TSA alert buttons, glaring red and hair-triggered for Tinies to signal trouble or abuse. The old woman must’ve been expecting Shaun to use it, because she jerked its cord slightly when he lunged at the button. The large, molded plastic button zipped away before he could strike it. He glared up at her, then back to the plump and flirtatious agent, who watched the drama with huge eyes and an O-shaped mouth. “Do something!” he yelled at the younger agent, but she only stared at him as though she were watching a car accident on YouTube. He looked back at the expensive business-Tiny, all folded arms and rolling eyes. A shadow moved over Shaun’s little body, and he looked up to see a pale, waxy palm overhead, fingers splayed not to grab, but to swat…
“That’s enough, Ms. McCormick,” said a too-loud voice behind the old woman’s leering visage. It was enough to halt her, to make her hand retract. “And that’s the third time this month, so you’ve earned yourself a little vacation. Please step away.” As the older agent straightened up in her chair, Shaun could see a short, strong-looking young man behind her. Over his TSA blouse he wore a protective vest and a badge, and his hair was tightly trimmed above very serious eyes. Shaun’s gaze, like the cruel old woman’s, ran down to his left hand, clutching an outrageously authoritative-looking taser, all gleaming black acrylic, piercing red lights, and glaring warning tape.
That seems a bit excessive, Shaun thought, but this is her third time this month. He shuddered to think who else might have fallen beneath that astringent gaze, that corpse-like paw of crushing. She glared at him one more time before sliding her bony hips off the black vinyl swivel stool and sulking off into the distance.
The stern-looking agent watched her go, then nodded to Shaun. “I’m very sorry about that, sir. This was a total abnegation of the high standards to which the Transportation Security Administration typically holds itself. Should you wish to file a report,” he held up a white card, “you may do so at the URL or phone number listed here.” The agent placed the card in a small black dish, then set it near Shaun.
The little man looked up at the serious agent, then back at the rounder, more lascivious agent (who had to check the batteries on her wand and stretch out her neck), before climbing up into the dish. The serious agent carefully lifted this away and brought it to Janine in two strides, with another formal apology. Janine nodded frantically, scooped up her little guy in two hands, and took the card as an afterthought.
“Oh my God, are you okay?” Laden once more with wallet and jewelry and whatnot, Janine fussed over Shaun while meandering somewhere like the direction of their gate. “That horrible woman! Did she touch you? Do we have to file a report? Oh, I’ll kill her!” Her bright eyes swept throughout the terminal; Shaun admired her fine jaw and graceful neck.
“No, I’m fine. It was just another misomicrotic bigot.” He let out a large sigh against her travel blouse, feeling her familiar body heat restore the temperature he’d lost on the steel catwalk. “This one was a little more ballsy than others, but it looks like the TSA runs a tight ship.”
And as Janine hadn’t asked about the large-breasted agent, Shaun volunteered nothing, though he did think about her in quiet moments. He wouldn’t have given up Janine for anything, she was his entire world (on many levels), but it still felt nice to feel attractive to other people. In a lifetime of being too small to see and too quiet to hear, there was still an exciting little thrill to be had in feeling a woman’s eyes glance down at him, watching the corner of her mouth curl up, and noticing all the little microgestures in her carriage that signaled her energy changing, the new thoughts filling her head. As he rested in Janine’s bra, feeling her heartbeat against his shoulder, he cautiously permitted his imagination to roam: what would it have been like to raise his tiny foot over one sorely put-upon button, to crouch slightly as he tucked his body inside that warm, dark cavern, belonging to a complete and total stranger… to place his palm against that new skin, to relearn the scents and the pulse… to see the future of studying all about another giantess, stretching before him…
“That’s us,” Janine chirped, snatching up her bag and patting her boyfriend gently through her shirt. “Whatcha thinkin’ about, quiet guy?”
Jerking himself from the private fantasy left him a little queasy in his stomach as he called out his white lie: “Just excited to explore Florida with you, on our first-date anniversary!” He could hear in her heartbeat this was the right answer.
But in the back of his mind, full lips and ivory teeth called out “Flah-rida!”