I walk slowly across the apartment. My footsteps sound so heavy, it surprises me. It tells me I haven’t been paying attention to myself, like when I nearly broke my arm against the counter, swinging around too fast, expecting too much room. Sometimes this place feels very cramped, and yeah, I know it’s a one-bedroom with a galley kitchen. Not a great part of town, I couldn’t afford anything better, not if I wanted to eat well.
That’s another thing, all the options. All the self-driven behavior. No schedule, no timing, no watching to see what everyone else is doing. I saw a show once, a documentary, about soldiers that stay until retirement. They stay in the Army for 20 years, think they’re going to retire, but then they have a surprisingly high rate of suicide because of exactly this: no more schedule. They ate breakfast at the same time every day, they worked out every morning, they had their outfits picked and their schedules laid out for them, and then they were released into the public with no guidance, no support. It was too much for them. I get that. I’m not ex-military, but I used to have to watch people’s behavior and pay attention to times of day before I went out.
I had to fill my new fridge with food. The dumpster divers and freegans didn’t think anything of me, but everyone else looked at me like I was a freak. I had to walk around the building to the front and go in to stand in aisles and aisles of food. Surrounded by boxes that hardly meant anything to me. Kid’s faces, brand names, colors, cartoon characters… I had to practice my breathing exercises right there in the aisle, then walk over to the produce section where I was more at home. Fresh lettuce, what a treat! A non-poisonous potato!
When I noticed the woman in the leather jacket giving me the hairy eyeball, I looked down at what I was doing: tearing off little pinches of dino kale and stacking them up in my basket. I don’t know what threw me off worse, staring down at a woman who would’ve been gigantic any other day, or realizing that four pinches of kale wasn’t going to feed me for two days.
That’s when the vertigo kicked in. I gave her a weak smile and leaned against the organic lemons. Maybe my blood sugar was low. I was still adjusting to my new height, my new size. I couldn’t believe how much I needed to eat. I mean, yeah, now I could get fresh stuff, I could get first dibs on food, but I needed so fucking much of it!
I heard boots clomping on linoleum behind me, shrieked, and hid behind the kiwis. It was just some stupid teenager, listening to headphones, not picking up her feet as she walked. She wasn’t going to stomp me, I wasn’t in any danger. Old habits. The only thing that was familiar was how she didn’t even notice me. Is that a strange thing to take comfort in?
I don’t know how I got so large. I was foraging with my pack, we were hauling half a carrot back to the warren, pretty pleased with ourselves. We heard the rumbling of a garbage truck, a sound we all knew, except garbage picks up Tuesday morning and this was Friday afternoon. We looked up and a truck went by, but it had huge tanks and vents pointing diagonally to it in four directions, just spewing some white-yellow dust. Clumps shot out far, or clouds of it belched out and covered the ground nearby. Not knowing what it was, we abandoned the carrot and fled for the warren.
Well, I struggled with the carrot. The other guys ran back and got deep underground, so when they enlarged, their bodies were crushed. They just blew up in the tunnel, their bodies broke and collapsed, and when I dug them all out, they’d killed the rest of the warren that hadn’t grown up, hadn’t been exposed. Just smashed under large bodies. I held them in my hand, tiny little people, family, friends. Hardly recognizable, so frighteningly small.
My center of gravity was off and I lurched, banged my head against a tree. Didn’t pass out, just held my hands to my wound, and that’s how the cops found me two hours later. I didn’t know where to go: my pack was dead, my warren was destroyed. They collected me into their car and drove me to the facility, where doctors gave me a briefing and asked me some questions. They released me two days later, after a battery of physicals and blood draws, started me on my stipend and handed me employment literature. Part of their reassimilation project for us “Tinies.”
Fucking “Tinies.” I hate that word.
So now I’m working data entry for a bank with a bad reputation. You’ve read about them in the news, you know who I mean. I’m doing data entry for a branch that’s about to shutter, everyone’s grim and doesn’t care about their work. My agency’s trying to connect me with a publisher for my next gig but they’re an hour away and obviously I don’t drive. My stipend ends in four months and I have to be self-sufficient by then. I taught myself to cook, though the ratios are all different now, the cook times and temperatures, the seasoning. I need so much more heat just to cook a potato, and it takes forever! Why does anyone eat potatoes?
I think I’ll be okay on the job front. It’s not easy to make friends but I’ve done it, and I know they only like me because I’m exotic. We go out for drinks, and I only have one beer and only if I have a full stomach, because they also think it’s funny to humiliate me. I guess that’s how the giants play with each other. But I answer all their questions, and after they’ve had a few drinks I tell them they’ve asked me enough. One girl seemed interested in me, and she showed me a nice night out, like the giants do: we went to a great restaurant, her treat, and I covered the movie afterward. It was just… when we went back to her place… um… giants and “Tinies” don’t make love the same way. Or, that is, I’ve made love to two giantesses, in my checkered past, and the tricks I learned did not translate well. But that gave her something to gossip about at work the next day, so, good for her.
I like sleeping on the bed. Beds are nice. Once I found a pair of women’s panties on the side of the road. I let the rain wash them out and then I dragged them back to the warren, and that was pretty soft to sleep on but the bed’s nicer. I hate stretching out, though, it feels like I’m going to fall off or… explode, I guess. I’m still not used to how far my body goes. I reach for things and knock them over, my hand races right into them instead of stopping where I think it should. And it’s difficult adjusting to all the night sounds, hearing everything I’ve grown up with and no longer thinking of it as a threat.
So I guess I’ve got my little life here, in an apartment in a building like a honeycomb, but filled with people it’s not customary to talk to. I can’t believe how lonely it is in a building full of people. I don’t like watching TV. I have one, but there’s a show that makes fun of “Tinies” and they get the facts all wrong, or else it’s news and I do not understand how the giants treat each other like they do. All I can do is pick out a nice candy to savor, a new one, intact; read a book the way they were designed to be read, which is a special pleasure all by itself; and lie curled up in the center of my bed, hoping to dream of large women.
5 thoughts on “Everything’s Easier Now”
Well done! Delightful! Novel! I’m already racing ahead to some possibilities. If this Agent Enlarge project continues, there’s gonna be some former “giants” who miss their former “tinies,” and they’ll have to settle for role-playing in the bedroom…
So, our protagonist never made sexytimes with a tiny woman? Or was the warren another sausage fest?
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I’m really glad you enjoyed this! It’s an open-ended plot right now, just a half-idea I wanted to work out into a vignette. What could the city’s possible benefit be in “reclaiming” the diminutive population and adding it to their health care burden, their housing crisis? Is it just a religio-political agenda, have some lawmakers decided the Tinies are a perversion in the sight of God and need to be converted? And yeah, how is it a Tiny could be so sexually experienced but only with women so far out of his league? Maybe the future will reveal all these and more, or less.
Tinies are spies and terrorists and perverts…underneath your bed! We’re gonna put enlarging trucks on every corner, and Lilliput’s gonna pay for ’em!
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This is heartbreaking. It is also nauseating to imagine this near-extinction event was plotted carefully by someone, developed in a lab, and coldly executed. His all-encompassing suffering makes my heart pound. I can relate to some of it, of course. To go from one way of living to another, and by force, because of growth. It astounds me that I feel such empathy when the reverse (his size reduction) might have only caused glee. Ah, my mind.
White-yellow dust. Don’t tell me it wasn’t designed to kill the little people, as those that designed told no one about it, didn’t spread the news to the tinies that they would soon be the same size as the rest of the people on Earth. I wonder if it worked on all of them, or if there were any that are naturally immune. And I’m sure there were plenty that were not exposed. Would Big Tinies now gather to protect them?
And what if the white-yellow dust causes massive growth in a percentage of the normal-sized population? What if it alters people’s reproductive systems so that their children are size different? All these thoughts that come to mind. I’m so sorry he lost his family, his friends to that genocide.
Potatoes are great!
I want to know about his “checkered past”. How did he come to be with two giantesses? What became of them? Why didn’t he stay with one of them? I want to know more about him. I hope he gets his giant woman.
Another amazing entry.
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This started as an analogy, as I regard my new position in life but look back with some longing at the Tinies who still get to play around with giantesses. I’m in a good place, I’m empowered and have new capabilities, new potential, but these semiliterate and unimaginative sniffers putter around in their ruts, enjoying the one thing I’ve always wanted. So how would a former Tiny adjust to his new life? Can he move on, somehow? Will he always be crippled by what he lost, or will he get a great job and pay women to loom over him?
No, the city wasn’t trying to exterminate the Tinies. They’re “reclaiming” them for unclear reasons. It’s a miracle the powder worked in the first place, though it was applied sloppily (as we see). And there will be large Tinies who defend the remaining warrens, and other large Tinies who hunt them down and exploit them somehow. As for reproduction… I’m glad you’re reading me, because as many questions as I come up with on my own, you always outclass me with deeper, farther-reaching thinking.
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