Bottom of the Funnel, 02: Twitter 2018

January 18, 2018

Ceci brought in doughnuts today. She knows I can’t trot over and grab one, so she brought one to me. One doughnut-mini and one doughnut hole. No one can fault her for generosity but either of these will go stale before I can finish it.

She went to put one back and get a knife—she could’ve torn it in half but likes being tidy. The director walked by, and for no reason I ducked behind the doughnut hole. She popped her head in, saw it, grabbed it and me along with it. Carried me down the hall, coated in sugar.

It’s astonishing how thoughtless someone is when they’re hungry. Glad she didn’t have scalding coffee to dunk me in, but she did bite off half before noticing I was cowering on the other side. She blushed, made a joke about getting caught, and carefully dusted the sugar off me.

March 12, 2018

People complain about this ugly time of year, but this is when I get to enjoy some ice-climbing and kayaking. Ceci invites me across the street and oohs and aahs at my little stunts (plus she’s always there in case of accidents, cars, or oblivious pedestrians).

Ceci says she never understood boys’ interest in action figures until now. When we go for walks, she keeps her eyes peeled for interesting settings in which to pose me for photos. She comments that she’s amazed she never noticed so many interesting places in her own city before.

It’s funny: she stores me in her jacket and shirt pockets, and a couple times down her shirt, but it has never occurred to her to pose me on her body and photograph me there. Not even with her own phone! Of course, maybe she’s thought of it but ruled it out for whatever reason.

April 13, 2018

Ceci’s been on vacation for a week. I hardly know what to do with myself. The office, cavernous on a good day, seems expanded to the dimensions of the galaxy, as cold and quiet and empty. It’s easier to focus on work now, but who wants to be here?

Coworkers feel the loss. One guy comes in and asks me about our friendship. He gets dreamy-eyed when I describe crawling into her palm, curling up in her chest pocket, or lying in her lap while working on a tethered smartphone. He’s the only Normal guy to express envy of me.

Another project manager stopped in and tried to chat, but she labors under the misapprehension that I was “big” once and have been shrunken. She thrusts parts of her body at me and asks me if they look huge. If she pets my head one more time, I’m emailing HR.

August 12, 2018

Visiting some acquaintances in a warren by an apple orchard. Wow, they live rough. Spent like three hours harvesting apple seeds for their cyanide content. Strictly self-defense, they assure me, but I’ll be watching the obits just in case.

And apparently the thing to do out here is snort ground-up giantess toenails. “What you want,” they slurred, “is the ones with all the polish, the glitter. But watch out for the ones with nail fungus. That’s a bad trip.” They look like they speak from experience.

But it’s not all squalor and desperation out there. They captured a squirrel and doped it up on hard cider to where it’s not so rambunctious, and you can ride it. You can even steer it up a tree! Getting down is another matter, but for a while it was awesome.

August 31, 2018

Went to the State Fair yesterday. It’s a big deal out here, and I like to go at least once a year. Attendance goes up each year, so there’s no chance of me walking around on my own: I need to find a like-minded friend or coworker to tote me around.

I can’t stress “like-minded” enough. I went once with a work acquaintance, and it was miserable for both of us. He wanted to check out the F-150s and chainsaws, and he had zero curiosity about the food booths. He bummed a neglected tater tot for me to gnaw on.

This year, however, Ceci said she wanted to go so I offered to cover her admission and two food items. Obviously I don’t eat a whole meal, but I wanted to sample a bunch of different dishes, so it’s up to her to polish each one off, sharing it with her friend.

Oh yes, she brought a girlfriend along. She seemed nice, polite around me, though a little daring with her humor. She cracked Ceci up by getting a photo of me standing next to their food, then knocking me into it for the picture. Every. Single. Time.

But that’s fine with me. It’s playful, good-hearted fun. Karmen (Ceci’s friend) was gentle with me, and she spoke to me like a mature adult. For her entertainment I paddled around in her State Fair-exclusive craft beer: I know to wear a shirt and swim trunks to the Fair.

You should’ve seen Ceci’s eyes grow wide when Karmen opened up her mouth and made as if to pour me into her gullet. I dunno, I just had a good feeling about her, so I went with it, pretending to flail and swim away while blood orange IPA surged around me. Oh, how Ceci shrieked!

But at the last second, Karmen nudged me back into the cup with her tongue (tempting…) and we laughed and laughed. Ceci didn’t appreciate our mirth and nearly scalded me with a deep-fried Snickers. Karmen held onto me for the rest of the day, sticking me in her chest pocket.

Awfully forward of her, but… I didn’t mind. She had a really good spirit. She’d tear off brisket or corned beef for me. We saw a live band, and Karmen set me on her lap. She took a lot of selfies with me on her shoulder, emailed them to me.

Ceci’s kind of in a huff today, sarcastically asking me about the great time we had. She won’t share Karmen’s number with me, she’s stated repeatedly, but she already emailed me, so…

I’m dwelling about how her thigh shook beneath me, as she slapped it in time to the music.

September 11, 2018

Coworker broke his glasses, bright them in to me in case there was anything I can do. Problem was, the screw on the end piece wore down and tore. I don’t have the strength to twist the leftover screw out of it. Likely I’d shred my widdle fingies.

He tried to start in on me, “what good are you” and crap, insisting that my diminutive stature should at least be useful for tiny, detailed jobs like this. Before he could suggest I brush out the keys of his keyboard, Ceci walked up behind him like a veritable storm cloud.

I hadn’t really spoken with Ceci since that to-do at the State Fair, but she was the Goddess of Vengeance now. She drilled him on productivity, the limits of my job description, I’m not his personal servant, &c., &c. He slunk off with his tail between his legs.

September 13, 2018

I invited Ceci to my office for some tea (see: sugar crystals) and conversation. She was uncharacteristically formal, seating herself on the guest chair rather than plumping down on my seat and leaving me to scramble to safety. My heart twinged at the change. #SizeFantasy

After she stuck up for me the other day, I felt the door was open for us to start chatting. She wouldn’t look up from her mug, so I climbed out of my chair and trotted across my desk to stand beside her drink. She can never resist looking at me when I’m right there.

“I’m sorry if I made you jealous at the Fair.”

“Whatever. You don’t belong to me.”

“Was it weird for me to flirt with your friend?”

Ceci rolled her eyes. “Free country. None of my business.”

I placed my hand upon her ringfinger’s nail. She didn’t jerk it away.

“If you don’t want me to see her, I won’t.”

“Did you call her?”

“No. Waited to talk to you first.”

When she looms over me like this, an expression of confusion can be mistaken for contempt. It’s a trick of shadows and double-chins. You have to know how to read it in Normies.

“Are you interested in her?”

I told her I was but I know they’re friends and I don’t want it to get weird.

“Why would it get weird?” She moved her hand away.

I asked her to speak openly with me, but she got up, said she had work to do, and took my mug with her.

September 14, 2018

Ceci came into my office today wearing an all-business expression and a vintage dress that pushed up her cleavage. Wordlessly she plucked me up from my desk (usually forbidden), stuck me in her decolletage (absolutely forbidden), and marched out of the office.

When she extracted me, we were in a popular coffee shop three blocks away. She set me upon a stack of Life Savers and rested her chest upon her forearms and said we needed to talk. She wasn’t asking. Her eyes looked like she hadn’t slept well.

Long story short: she’s not looking for a relationship, but she loves flirting with me and doesn’t want anyone to take that away. She says I’m the loyal type. But she also wants me to be happy and apologized for her selfishness.

I was stunned at her candor, seated on her candy.

September 19, 2018

It’s been a couple days in the office since Ceci made that announcement. She’s putting on a brave face, and she’s staying professional in the office. I thought I’d be cute and hang out on her to-go tumbler, climbing her straw to talk to her, to make her laugh.

Instead, she tolerated it for a minute, then carefully brushed me onto a postcard and gently dumped me into my paperclips, as though she were sparing the life of an errant spider and depositing it elsewhere. Gentle, but impersonal and efficient. Unsmiling.

When I tried to ask her about her evening, she asked if I’d set up a date with Karmen yet. I guess I’ve been dragging my heels on that. She suggested I call her sooner rather than later and walked back to her office, without her characteristic hip sway.

September 24, 2018

I finally called Karmen last week. She sounded surprised to hear from me: “Why? You gave me your number.”

“Yeah, but a week? Seriously?”

I apologized profusely and said I’d treat her to a museum and dinner, and after giving me a little shit, she accepted. 

I cashed in a few chips at Software Dance and borrowed the company PRT, the Normie one, and borrowed the corporate BigSuit, the new Shane model fresh from Osaka. The better for walking around, you know, meeting Karmen at her eye level. Our first date and all.

I picked her up—for a change—and we zipped out to the FADI (Fairview Arts and Design Institute).

I like museums. They clear my head. I swear I can feel the morphic resonance off some objects and get a sense for other times and places. It’s a meditative experience for me.

We looked at a pair of ancient Chinese traveling cases for tiny people. The sign said until recently, these were believed to be symbolic.

“They don’t look very comfortable,” Karmen noted. “Can you climb in and report back to me?”

“What, so you can steal me?”

Her eyes twinkled.

Chinese culture had lived harmoniously with Tinies, centuries before the West acknowledged them. We studied a fortress run entirely by Tinies.

“I wonder what it would have been like, to be a queen of tiny, hard-bodied little soldiers, all loyal to me.” She smoothed her blouse.

“So, if you were an empress, say, in the Han Dynasty,” I ventured, “and I were your soldier?”

Karmen laughed and tapped my faceplate. “You don’t seem the soldierly type. You’re a court scribe, aren’t you? Perhaps a royal poet. Writing poems inside my…”

I blushed and turned away.

After viewing a photo exhibit, we went downstairs to split a latte. What I like about the Shane is that the right arm exposes an escalator to the table, unlike how the Amante lowers awkwardly to the table and you trundle out on a chain ladder. The Shane and Kitab are elegant.

I stepped upon Karmen’s saucer and told her I wouldn’t be climbing into this drink. She laughed and covered my face in frothy milk, then apologized. She seized me and lifted me, and my heart raced to picture her broad, soft tongue…

She wiped me down with a damp napkin.

September 25, 2018

It’s a matter of pride, some days, that I do things around the office like everyone else. Obviously I can’t refill the copier paper or start a pot of coffee, not without the Shane, but sometimes I try to pick my way across the industrial carpeting without help.

Ceci saw me struggling on my way to a meeting, as I stumbled over the knobby knit and weave. She lowered her folders to let me step aboard and carried me to the meeting. I complimented her blouse and asked about her weekend. She grunted.

“I took your advice and finally called Karmen,” I ventured.

“I heard.”

“Oh? What did she–”

She slid me off her folders and wished me a good meeting. She was wearing a short wool skirt I liked, now that we’re entering autumn, one that hugged her hips.

September 26, 2018

I live in a secure building, one of those places that stocks 50 Anthropole units into a studio apartment with a common area for Normies. Admittedly it’s one of the good places, we all get two floors and a “basement” for storage. Cameras, motion sensors, guard.

The guard keeps out solicitors, like fundraisers or religious types. Inevitably, the fundies that go door to door inform us that Anthropoles are an aberration and a sin but have no problem asking us for donations, as though our onus is to pay for the way their God made us.

If they’re not asking for donations, political canvassers are permitted in campaign season. There are plenty of Normies who swear up and down they’ll defend Anthropole rights, yet to date no Tiny has successfully gotten nominated to run for any state or city office.

September 27, 2018

Karmen surprised me with lunch! Usually I just chip away at my sports bar (three weeks of lunches until it spoils), but she stopped by and brought me some teriyaki jerky. She perched me on her lap as she sat at my workstation and questioned me about everything I do. 

I showed her where I look up word trends and trademark information, shouting directions up to her while she typed on the Normie laptop. We were laughing a little too loud, then I heard her stop.

“What are you doing here,” asked Ceci from the doorway, “and why are you sit−”

I heard Ceci’s heels thump away down the hall. Karmen gently swore, set me on my desk, and rubbed the tip of her nose against my cheek before chasing after her. I stood there, woozy from the head rush of the gesture and flushed with guilt over Ceci “catching” us.

October 1, 2018

Wanted to show Karmen a good time, so I took her this ramenya in my neighborhood. The Japanese were quick to pounce on Anthropoles as a neglected market,  they specialize in everything: clothing, robotics, and mini-cuisine. Beers are still huge, though.

She did not care for the Sapporo Black, frankly. She’s a cider girl, it turns out. So we wasted a beer, but we got nice and buzzed.

“What’s up with you and Ceci?” she charged. I gave her my terse history of frustration, how I thought we came to an understanding.

“Not to my satisfaction,,” I slurred. “So hard to get a straight answer out of her! Everything’s a freakin’ game to her. I’m just a punchline.”

“That can’t be true. She–”

“You don’t know! You’re not there, you don’t know what it’s like!” I became the mouse that roared.

Karmen, the big, cute woman looming over me, flinched. “I think you’re cut off, little man.” She smiled when she said it, but her tone was curt. I nodded readily and apologized for my boorish behavior.

“At least you can still pronounce that,” she purred, stroking my head.

“I was going to say,” she continued, but was promptly cut off by the arrival of our ramen burger. I couldn’t get an answer out of her as she picked at the parts she recognized, frowning. I switched to water and murdered a limp french fry, checking in with her state of mind.

“It’s… fine.” She wiped the brown sauce off the cheese and finished the meat. I picked at the rest, and she regarded me with an arched eyebrow. Was I blowing it? Was this a bad idea? Did she not like foreign food, or did I suddenly resemble a rat in her eyes?

“I was going to say,” she said abruptly, “you’re all she ever talks about.”

I didn’t know what to do with this information and told her so. “That is not how she represents herself at work.”

“Well, maybe she’s intimidated by you.”

I’m afraid I laughed in her house-sized face.

October 3, 2018

Long day of meetings today. Whatever else Ceci thinks of me, I appreciate that she schedules as many as possible of these in the same room, so I don’t have to scoot around in my little cart or ask coworkers to carry me around or check out the Shane yet again.

I can sit in one room all day for a string of meetings, but lunch is another matter. It’s amazing to me how my coworkers dislike having me out for lunch. I only ask for a shred of what they’re eating (for which I pay them a whole dollar), but they’re too precious about even this.

It’s not like I can’t hold my own in a conversation. I can only suppose they go out to lunch to talk about me behind my back (or over my head, hurr-hurr-hurr, heard them all). Am I so distasteful? Do I offend? So I store my protein nutrient bar in the fridge and chip away at it.

I texted Karmen about the Japanese restaurant. She said she hadn’t given it another thought, and sounded convincing. She wants to take me out to a performance art show at the FADI tomorrow. I’m trying to decide whether this is a test, like, what will I put up with for her?

This morning I hoisted myself up to my seat, wondering at my stubbornness at not requesting a microergonomic workstation like Lloyd and Shaun use. What am I trying to prove? Climbing up paperclip chains to my oversized chair, climbing up another chain to my gigantic desk.

Except today I hauled myself up to my seat cushion and spotted a stray hair, very long and brilliantly golden. One of Ceci’s. Could’ve been there for weeks, just never noticed it before. I recalled the times she came in and sat on or around me. I can’t get rid of this chair.

She stopped by to pick me up for my first meeting. She’s calming down, being friendly again. She asked why I was holding my chest strangely. She could’ve pinned me down and looked, but she didn’t, which was lucky: I’d rolled her strand of hair up and hidden it in my shirt.

October 4, 2018

Sick today. I felt it in my nose yesterday. Good thing Ceci’s been avoiding me lately or she’d catch cold too. Lying in my little Japanese model bed, watching YouTube on a propped-up smartphone, gnawing at a piece of rosemary chicken, driving in and out of sleep.

This is one of those times it sucks to be single. Illness, the helplessness piled upon vulnerability. Everything is oversized and too big for me already, and now my muscles ache and my tiny head burns. My little condo-tank could lock up and entomb me and no one would notice.

And all I can do is feel sorry for myself. Ceci and Karmen both have my number, but I haven’t heard from either of them. I guess Karmen doesn’t know I’m sick, but Ceci got my out-of-office email. Poor little unloved Tiny, rumpled and diseased and discarded like so much Kleenex.

The lariat of Ceci’s single strand of hair lies beside my bed. I touch it and feel a naughty energy. I have no such props from Karmen, not even risque photos. I just see her smiling in my memory, against these lewd thoughts of Ceci. I’m a creep, I should be single.

…I just dozed for almost an hour. Don’t remember my dream except Karmen was crying and Ceci was laughing and I was about to fall. From where, into what? I can’t recall. Takes all my strength to smash a single Chicken in a Biskit into pieces small enough for me to cromch

So stupid, having to go in on Normie groceries with my condo block, but processing and packaging for Anthropole-scaled servings would make the price untenable. I get it, but still.

I texted Karmen a pathetic selfie, let her know what’s up. Going to read myself to sleep.

October 5, 2018

Ceci and I are finding a new normal. I’m warily upbeat about it. She stopped by my office for a purely social call.

“Karmen said you were sick yesterday.”

“I emailed the office”

“I never read those emails. Everyone takes off before the weekend.”

“But my door was locked.”

She laughed, like I haven’t heard in quite a while, and just shrugged. Her shrugs go very far from left to right around me. She manages to shake her chest during them, and she wears the most ridiculous expression. In a way, it felt like coming home.

Ceci invited me to lunch, carrying me in a transport case to the building cafe. She caught me up on her past weekends, and I reveled in it.

I flagged her attention. “You’ve got some schmutz on your cheek.”

She leaned her face in close. “Can you get that for me?”

I held my breath. Ceci is dangerously lovely, and she knows it. I began to question how cool we were with the new arrangement.

“Come on, it’s just sour cream. Or guac. It’s not sexy!” She gestured for me to hurry up.

I guessed she was right, so I tore off some napkin.

Her huge eye rolled down to follow me until I got too close, and she looked cutely away. I had stepped within a grove of her warm, sweet-scented hair, and my pulse quickened.

“Did you get it?” she whispered.

“Hold on.” I took my time wiping it away. More than was necessary.

Ceci’s broad lips tucked to the side dubiously. “Don’t make a career of it!” I laughed and said I was almost done. I made one last swipe, and her lips slid over, parted, and seized my wrist. I tugged and tugged and she laughed at me through her nostrils. Flaring, deep nostrils.

When she released me, I tumbled back into her clean plate. She arched an eyebrow, said “oh-ho” and picked up a fork to brandish at me.

I stared at her, bewildered, until I felt the sting of tears starting. She asked me what’s wrong.

Out of me tumbled: “I want this so badly.”

Ceci sat up, losing her smile. “You’ve got someone who can do this for you.”

I nodded.

She looked away. “I’m sorry if I crossed a line.”

I said it takes two to tango.

The weight of her gaze fell upon me. “I’ve wanted this, too. I’ve missed this.”

I nodded. “But I can’t. But I want to. On and on. What do I do?”

Ceci swept away her crumbs and gathered her compostables. “For now? Keep being my friend.”

I climbed into her palm, she deposited me on her shoulder, and I held onto her ruby stud earring back to the office.

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