The Sad Belittlement of Marc
The loud sharp buzzing of Richard’s electric clock assaulted his ears. He rubbed his eyes. Turning toward the small gray box that was on a side table, Richard looked in. There making a slight circle was the white tube sock. He tapped what appeared to look like a bulge. As his fingers came gently down upon the stationary swell, the bulge caved in under his fingers. "Great!" said Richard whipping the covers from off of him. He look backed at the sock. Picking it up, Richard looked into the foot opening. It was empty. Throwing it to the ground, "You always have to be the jerk."
Climbing out of bed, Richard scanned the floor with his eyes. Getting on hands and knees, Richard looked under the bed. It was too dark under there to see anything. Moving his hand under there, he felt around. All he found was dust balls and a few stray candy wrappers. Richard stood up. From off his dresser, Richard took a pole that had the sticky end of tape attached to it and a small butterfly net.
Richard caught sight of a picture of himself with Marc. A weary smile crossed his face.
Ever since Richard was tripped by Marc in the coat room in kindergarten, they have been the best of pals. Richard grew to accept Marc’s rough ways. Though during the course of the friendship Marc’s coarse ways could strain the friendship.
Marc liked fierce competition. And at times he could without thought bowl over a friend. Marc could be abrasive. During games he could spew out the expletives like spit. His pals or pals from the field or track give him a rather annoyed look Not that Marc meant too, it was in his nature and he sometimes failed to think. Marc could never understand why pals of his would at times seem to enjoy his losing. Or seeing him get into trouble at school because of his flip ways with the teachers or other students.
Richard as a friend, tried to tell Marc to ease up. For a time Marc would listen. Short time later, Marc would be charging through everything again. Still, at least Richard found, when he needed a pal, Marc as awkward as he was, would be there. Richard wondered if his ways came from his family or lack of family. Marc lived with his father who was separated from his mother. At major holidays Marc would come to the door rather sheepishly. Richard would just welcome him in.
As they entered Middle school, Marc became more brash and stronger. Marc tended during school hours to gravitate toward the other jocks in the school. While Richard could hold his own too. He just didn’t get into this constant showing of superiority to others that Marc and the other jocks like to do.
Marc became even more and more competitive. He nearly lost several other longtime friendships from his rough and almost rude comments about their sports abilities.
By the ninth grade, Marc became really obnoxious. One Friday evening, Richard and Marc went to a carnival that was in town for the weekend. A couple of their buddies that included a longtime friend of theirs named Rob, came up. However, they gave Marc the cold shoulder. "Hey what’s the "blank wrong with those guys? And Rob?"
Richard put a hand on his pal’s broad shoulder, "You have to stop being a "Blank" idiot."
"You come off too rough. Man, your pushing people away from you. And I don‘t care of some the guys you hang out with at school. I don‘t want to hear years from now you wound up in jail or something." said Richard kindly but directly.
Marc replied, "Your sounding like my mother, if I had one." His face became soft, "But thanks for wanting to look after me." He suddenly reached out and grabbed Richard placing him in a headlock. Rubbing Richard’s head with his knuckles for a minute, he let him go and gave him a slap to the back.
Rubbing his head and half kidding, Richard told him, "You always have to be the jerk."
Walking through and past running kids and parents chasing after them, Richard and Marc came across and old woman dressed up in a gypsy type style garb with a crystal ball before her aged hands. "Oh that’s original---phew," remarked Marc arrogantly.
They were walking away, when the woman said, "You worry about your friend. Afraid he will end up with no one. Or worse." Richard’s eyes widened .
"Hey Marc, I’ll be right back."
"Its your money dude. Waste it if you want."
Marc went up to the old woman. "What are you talking about?"
"You were worry about your friend. Wish you could save him from himself."
"Wow, yeah. I guess."
The old woman took a tiny black pouch. She handed it to Richard. ‘Blow the contents of this bag on your friend. It will bring him down to size."
"I’m not going to blow on him."
The old woman smiled revealing false teeth the seemed to glow slightly. "If you really care about your pal and his future you will do this."
Thinking it over for a moment, Richard took the small black pouch. "What do I owe you?"
Stuffing the bag down the back pocket to his jeans, Richard met up with Marc. "Get any useful information?"
"I’ll have to wait and see."
The next several weeks both Richards and marc’s afternoons were tied up in basketball practice. After one practice down in the locker room, Marc flicked his towel at Rob’s butt as he walked by. Rob grabbed it and nearly pulled Marc off the bench with it. "Dude lighten up. I was only teasing."
"Yeah, your always teasing and I’m sick of it! Just like I’m sick of you!" Rob left a shaken and for the first time speechless Marc.
Pulling up his shorts, Richard moved over to Marc, "This is what I have been warning you about."
After Richard stood up and left, Marc looked over at Rob who was taking a longer section of his brown hair and putting it back into a phony tail. He thought maybe he should go and apologize. Instead, slammed his locker shut. And left.
Richard met up Rob and a few others at Bryan’s Best hamburger. "So man you really got postal on Richard."
"Yeah, I’m sick of his comments while I play and his bullying pranks. I can’t stand him anymore."
"Oh man, you have been friends with him a longtime."
Taking a bite out of his hamburger, Rob replied, "Not anymore."
At home, getting ready for bed, Richard saw that small pouch that the old bag said would bring Marc down to size. He put it back down and went to sleep.
In the morning, Richard decided he would take the black pouch with him. At school he met up with Rob and the others. Marc was with a couple of his dim-witted pals. Seeing Richard and the others Marc wanted to go over to them, instead, he turned away.
Before practice, Richard met up with Marc at the lockers before the others arrived. "Try to go easy today huh."
"Why should I bother with a bunch of jerks that don’t care."
"They care man. To have put up with you this long as they did they must have."
Richard could see Marc was in one of his stubborn moods. Thinking this was nuts but desperate to do anything to help his pal, Richard pulled out the black pouch from his pants pocket and pouring it out on his hand, blew it into Marc’s face. "What is wrong with you! You "blank" nuts! And what is it?"
"Yeah, maybe I’m nuts. I just don’t know how I can help you anymore?"
Richard left Marc and went to another group of lockers behind Marc’s.
Marc began to change out of his clothing. Dropping one of his socks, Marc felt a coldness go through him. "Richard’s been the best loyalist pal I have ever head. He’s kind of like a brother." Marc knocked his head against the locker door in anguish.
His next sensation was a physical one. Marc fell over. Standing up he felt a cold chill run over him. He became confused. His locker was missing. Turning quickly around, Marc spotted a blue coiled up object. Going up to the object that was just larger than him, Marc found it emitted a dank, sweaty smell. Going up to it, he touched the moist soft fabric. Marc shook his head and smiled slightly. "No that can’t be right." He stepped away from it. He bent his head back towering over him were the blue paint faded lockers. Lockers the size of buildings.
"Richard!," shouted Marc. Under the building size lockers, Marc could see two huge sneakers. Marc ran under the lockers and through the wet dust and past the dried up remains of a cockroach to the sneakers. Coming out from under the locker, Marc wiped the dust off of himself. Bending his back and head back as far as he could, he tried to look up at Richard. It was impossible. The furthest he could see was the dark burgundy colored basketball shorts that made graceful fluttering movements and sent a mild breeze down upon him. .
He started to holler when the gigantic sneakers began to turn. Running, Marc jumped and grabbed hold to a two foot wide white lace. As he was dragged and flung up and down in the air, he tried to make his way up the shoe lace. His hands and arms grew tired and Marc found himself hurled onto the floor.
Shaking his head clear, Marc saw and heard Richard thunder off. "Richard," lamented Marc. "Even if you are to blame for this I still like you. One pal who was always there." Marc banged his aching fists against the cold, gray cement.
Slowly getting back up, Marc wrapped his hands around himself. He was cold both in body and soul. Not far from him, Marc saw the discarded remains of a brown paper hand towel next to a silo size trash can. Running the sixty or so distance, Marc ran up to it. He tore a piece off. And punching a hole into the piece, Marc made himself a poncho.
The loud explosive sound of voices began. Marc had to cover his ears as a herd of quickly moving gigantic sneakers of all sizes, and colors came crashing down past him. The horrific rushing sneakers catapulted dust, and stray bits of debris into the air.
Marc saw movement in between the stampede of sneakers. It had a shiny black color to it. With rapt attention, Marc watched the struggling of life from another creature against such odds. As it drew closer, Marc could see it wiggling its antennae trying to find a safe passage through. With eyes of sadness for the creature who had no chance against such colossal forms, Marc saw the side of a sneaker come crashing down upon the bug.
When the sneakers had gone and the dust settled, Marc noticed a twitching. The bug was still alive. He walked over to it. "A cricket," said Marc out loud. It made a sad mournful tune on its wounded legs. The legs went still. And the mournful song went silent.
Marc’s mind went back to more practical thoughts how to get to Richard. The stairs up to the gym was out of the question. To high up. From not to far off stood his teammates who stood like the giants they were.
Fear crossed marc’s mind, "Man, what am I doing standing out in the open." It was then he heard a familiar voice greatly magnified, one nonetheless he knew. It was Rob. Running, Marc headed back to underneath the lockers. He headed to the area of Rob’s voice.
Marc wondered if Rob would want to help him. "Of course he would," said Marc to himself. Many of the sneakers were pounding off toward the stairs to the gym. Marc didn’t want to miss his opportunity of getting help.
A giant pair of sneakers were facing him. Gingerly, Marc emerged from beneath the locker. Bending his head and back again, Marc saw the thick pole size legs were in a sitting position. Pushing the limits of his back even further, Marc could see the giant face was indeed Rob‘s. And as added confirmation, the teen called over to someone.
Marc began jumping up and down waving his tired arms. He shouted a few times. Running out of energy he stopped. A loud ruffling sound of material began. As he was looking up, Marc felt something huge come from behind him and wrap him in darkness. His face was pressed up against a warm moist surface.
Richard was up in the gym, taking a few minutes of extra practice time. He was surprised Marc hadn’t shown up yet. Richard didn’t think he would have left because of what had happened between them. Slamming a ball down the hoop, Richard thought, "Why does he always have to be the jerk."
Rob looked on in disbelief and in a little amusement. There in his hand, no bigger than three inches was Marc. The tiny Marc sat up in his had and began to squeak. Rob smiled and said with a chuckle, "What?"
"I need help."
"Yeah, I guess you do," replied Rob sincerely to the comment.
Marc took Rob’s reply as being mocking. He slammed his fists down on the warm leathery surface, "Get me help. You #$%^.!" Marc didn’t really mean what he said. He was just so frustrated.
Rob could feel anger from Marc’s previous behavior swelling up inside of him. He tried to be a good friend to Marc who Rob felt never took him or his friendship seriously. Rob moved and pinned down Marc by the chest with his thumb. Marc couldn’t move. Looking up, he saw the frown on Rob’s face. "Part of me does pity how helpless you look pinned down by my thumb." Rob watched for a moment Marc’s struggling beneath his thumb. Releasing his thumb, Rob observed Marc rubbing his chest. "You ok?" asked Rob dryly.
"Hey Rob come on," said another giant teen. Rob quickly closed his hand. Standing up, Rob was going to put Marc in his duffle bag. However, he was pulled away. Going up the stairs with Marc trapped in his hand, Rob was thinking were to put him. As he entered the gym, Rob put Marc down his jersey. Marc found himself tumbling down the contours to Rob’s chest. He landed on the smooth inner surface to Rob’s jersey.
Seeing Rob, Richard went up to Rob, "Have you seen Marc."
"I don’t think he showed up," replied Rob feeling uneasy as he felt Marc squirming at the base of his shirt.
"That’s weird he was just down there getting ready with me." The coach blew his whistle.
From inside Rob’s jersey, Marc heard the deafening sounds of sneakers and shouting as he was tossed around inside the shirt.
When Rob was sitting down on the bench, Marc’s squirming made him nervous. He gave the tiny bulge a slight tap. The slight tap sent Marc rolling into Rob’s chest.
Inside the jersey was hot, the air stale and filled with Rob’s increasing scent. Marc was just settling down, when his world rocked around him once more. As he was making his moves, Rob’s jersey was starting to come out of the shorts.
Richard began to wonder about the black powder he blew into his pal’s face. "Man, I wonder if its acting like a drug on him. I hope he’s not freaked out somewhere."
Freaked is how Marc was feeling. He was shrunken and trapped inside a shirt. The jersey continued climb out of the waistband. Getting the ball, Rob jumped up to sink it. As he did, Marc was thrown against the material and rolling down it found he was falling out of it!
Marc fell from beneath Rob’s jersey. He screamed. Rob was in forward motion. As Marc past the long expanse to his friend’s basketball shorts, Marc was rammed into Rob’s leg. Sliding down the smooth shiny burgundy colored shorts, grasping for life, Marc was able to grab hold to a fold of the material.
His reprieve appeared only to be a short lived one, Marc felt himself slowly sliding down from the violent swaying of the shorts and the slippery nature of the material.. He knew such a fall would at the very least cost him a broken leg. And what about all the giant sneakers pounding and crashing about? How could he survive that?
As he slid closer to the bottom of the shorts, the swaying stopped for a moment. He began shouting up to Rob. The clamoring of voices drowned his pleas for life out.
Rob, sweating and not thinking about it, used the front tail of his jersey to wipe the sweat from off his face. It hit Rob. "Marc!" He quickly looked around. Feeling something bumping into his left leg, he looked down. Hanging by two hands to the seam of the leg opening was Marc.
He swiftly snatched Marc up in his hand. He became confused in what he should do. Rob put partway down his ankle sock---Marc. Pressed up against Rob’s sweaty calf, Marc tried to move. The taut cotton kept him tight.
Richard all the while worried about Marc. He had notice Rob putting something down his leg but didn’t think much of it.
When practice finally ended Rob was relieved. Marc was relieved when he heard the sounds of footsteps against stairs and a downward sensation.
Down at his locker, surrounded by the other team mates, Rob pulled off the sock that held Marc very carefully and kept his hand covering the wiggling bulge. When the sock was fully off, he moved it into the privacy of his locker and jiggled it causing Marc to fall to the bottom. Rob hung it on a hook. And shut the door. He felt genuinely sorry to be keeping Marc trapped in his sweaty sock. But he didn’t want anyone else to find out. Rob tried to keep the image of the squirming bulge at the base of his ankle sock from out of his mind as he showered.
In the hot sweaty darkness that smelt of feet, Marc cursed. He cursed Richard and he cursed Rob.
After drying off, Rob got dressed. As the area around him cleared, he took down the sock and placing his hand down it pulled out Marc. In the palm of Rob’s hand, Marc coughed a few times. After his mind cleared he squeaked, "I smell of dirty feet." He shook a fist up at Rob whose face filled his vision.
"I’m sorry. When I get you home. I’ll give you stuff to clean up with," whispered Rob.
"You stupid @#$%. I was trapped in your shirt, nearly fell to my death. Stuffed down your dirty sock. If I was bigger I would pound you. I would…"
Putting his index finger to Marc‘s face, Rob stopped him. "Look, you have every right to be mad. I said I was sorry. But I didn‘t shrink you. I don‘t know what happened. But to threaten a guy who could crush you between two fingers or flush you down the toilet, is stupid. To come to think of it, I think it would be the best thing if I just ended it."
"What?" piped Marc.
"I’m going to flush you down the toilet."
Marc’s head began to spin. Never had he known such fear and helplessness. He looked up at Rob’s serious face and his clear brown eyes. This was his friend. "I’m your friend. Please don’t Rob."
Rob almost wanted to laugh. Marc’s high pitch voice sounded funny and how feeble he looked crawling around his hand like a crab at the beach. Rob did realize the power he had over Marc now. He was about to tell Marc he was just trying to scare him, when Rob started to remember again, all of Marc’s so called joking around. Starting to close his fingers, Rob told him, "I’ll be quick. One quick squeeze and it will be over."
Marc covered his head and began to whimper as darkness fell over him. From his clenched fist, Rob heard the mosquito sounding cries. He opened his hand. "Cool it. I wouldn’t hurt you Marc. You’re a first class goof. But I won’t waste you." Rob gave Marc a gentle and assuring smile.
Looking up at the giant face, Marc shouted, "I’m sorry for riding you. I wish I could be pals with you again." Marc lowered his head.
"Its cool," responded Rob.
"Man glad to hear it," said a voice from behind Rob.
Richard?" squeaked Marc.
Rob asked, "How long were you there?"
"Just a couple of minutes." Looking down at Marc. "Dude, sorry about this. Remember that weird old bag we saw at the carnival a few days ago?" Marc nodded his tiny head. "She gave me a powder that she said would bring you down to size. I thought it would make you more docile or something. Not shrink you."
"We got to find her," squeaked Marc in his muted voice.
Looking thoughtfully down at Marc, Richard said, "You know Marc, there are people who would have made good on what Rob was only teasing you with. Considering your past behavior you got a good pal in Rob."
Marc began to turn red, "Don’t you think I know that you @#$%"
Richard moved his head in closer as did Rob. "What did you say?"
Looking up at the two towering, titanic teens faces, Marc said putting his two mildly trembling hands to his mouth, "I’m trying."
Rob and Marc were hungry after practice. Rob placed Marc in his shirt pocket. And the two plus tiny friend went to a new place called Mike’s Supper Duper Beef. Standing in line to order, Rob could feel Marc shifting position in his pocket. After ordering, they found a nice secluded booth. Rob placed Marc next to a super size french-fry box. Marc stared up at the box that was two times his length.
As they talked about how to tack down the gypsy woman, Rob and Richard reached over Marc as they grabbed with giant fingers equally giant fries. Marc began to reach up trying to tear off a piece. Rob seeing Marc’s dilemma, handed him a fry. The long fried potato was way too big for him to handle. Marc fell backwards into a tub of ketchup. Richard picked him up. "Can’t take you anywhere." He dunked a portion of his napkin into his water for Marc to clean up with. "Here I’ll place you in the pocket of my jacket so you can have privacy."
"Its dark in there," complained Marc.
"Make do," replied Richard lowering him into the pocket.
Rob shook his head, "Will he ever learn?"
After their late afternoon repast, Richard and Rob left. "I think I better get Marc home," said Richard.
"His father’s going to go postal," remarked Rob.
"No, I’m bringing home with me. He’ll be safer there. Want to come over for a while and have dinner if its ok with your folks."
Reaching into a side-cargo pocket, Rob pulled out a cell phone. Getting the ok, Rob went home with Richard.
In the darkness of the pocket, Marc thought about how this will all work out--- if it does. Marc found himself tossed about inside the jacket pocket . The inside lining was smooth and Marc couldn’t find any substantial seam to hang onto. A few stray coins occasionally banged into him. Part of the bottom surface of the pocket was littered with stray objects. Marc came across one large square cardboard feeling article. The bottom part felt rough like sandpaper. Coming from the square object was kind of a sulfur smell. "Matches!" said Marc out loud to himself, pleased in guessing what it was.
An idea came to Marc’s brain. "Hey, maybe I can use a match to take a quick look."
"Try not to beat yourself up too much Richard. You were trying to help the guy out. Kind a cool though isn’t it?"
"Yeah, for us."
As they were walking, Richard started to smell a chemical smell. It grew stronger. As a few thin wisps of smoke floated up to his nose, Richard looked down. Coming out from beneath the flap to his jacket pocket was smoke. Immediately opening the pocket flap, Richard saw Marc pressed up against the side of the pocket where before his miniaturized pal blazed a small fire. He grabbed Marc and pulled him out. "Here hold him," said Richard placing Marc in Rob’s hand. Richard quickly removed the jacket and threw it to the ground where he stamped out the fire. Sure the fire was out, Richard tossed the windbreaker into a trash can.
"What-the-#$%!-were-you-doing?" asked Richard in slow deliberate words; trying to contain his anger. The look of anger on Richards face and the eyes that flared with what Marc though was contempt frightened him. Frightened to the point he couldn’t speak.
Rob gave Marc a slight poke with a finger, "Richard asked you a question."
Moving his face right in on Marc so only his ten foot long lips were visible, Richard asked again, "What were you doing?"
The force of hot air that still smelt of hamburger and onions caused Marc to be pushed backwards. Sitting back up, and feeling a bit freaked from those huge lips and white teeth before him, Marc still found it hard to reply.
Cupping his other hand over Marc, Rob whispered into Richard’s ear. In the darkness of the hand, Marc could hear the giant whispering. It sounded to him like the rustling leaves in a tree during a strong wind.
When Rob moved this hand, they looked down at the tiny pal in the hand. Richard told Marc, "I know this must be really hard but try not to get depressed over it. We’ll find that old bag. No matter what, I’ll take care of you. I promise.’
"Yeah, me too," added Rob
Marc moved his eyes from side to side wondering how Richard went from angry to extremely gentle. He thought, "Do they think I started that fire to hurt myself?" Cupping his hands around his mouth, Marc shouted, "It was by accident. I found the matches and wanted a look around."
Richard turned to Rob, "He wanted a look around."
Rob picked Marc up out of his hand. Strange thought Rob, "Marc an unstoppable bully to many. A thick headed bull to others, now so tiny and so crushable like a bug." Rob could feel the tiny thumping of Marc’s heart against the finger that held him with ease against the other. "I wish you could have known how I really wanted to see you as a regular guy and not a mindless moron."
Part of Rob was feeling like breaking out into a laugh. This now shrunken jock whose very thin legs wiggled in the air and wearing part of a napkin was so pathetically funny. It was also, found Rob, very sad. He placed Marc gently into his shirt pocket and they went home with Richard
Arriving, Richard and Rob entered through the back door to the kitchen. Richard’s mother was preparing dinner. "Hey mom. That smells good. I’m hungry. Oh, can Rob join us for dinner? Its cool with his folks."
The two teens went up to Richard’s bedroom. Rob placed Marc on a folding table. "Hey Rob want to play a few video games?’
Marc on the folding table that before was always too small for his arms to rest on, was now half the size as of a basketball court. The brown vinyl surface shook as Richard and Rob’s huge form thundered and pounded past him.
Standing next to the table sideways was Rob. Marc had always been bigger and stronger than. Rob. Many times he would wrap his arms around Rob’s thinner frame and jokingly lift him up and chuckle as Rob made his futile attempts to break free. Now Rob was a living mountain. The side pocket to his trousers that faced Marc, looked like a slanted opening to a fabric cave. A cave if fallen into, Marc could not escape.
Marc kind of watched out for Rob in his own goofy way. Rob was into Gothic stuff and video games such as Dragons and Dungeons. And loved science-fiction. When the Star Wars pre-sequels were playing, Rob came to school a couple of times dressed as a Jedi Knight. Many of Marc’s fellow jock pals always talked about beating Rob up. Marc would find ways to change the topic. At night Marc would grow angry at Rob thinking, "Why do you have to dress or act weird? The guys are going to pound you."
He did think Rob wearing a pony tail and sometimes those strange clothing and black make up was strange and he liked to make fun of him for it. But, he still considered him a pal. Looking up as best he could at Rob, "I protected you even if you didn’t know it. When you said you were sick of me. I wanted to-I wanted to #$%& cry!"
Adjusting a game box, Rob heard a high squealing sound or high pitch buzzing. Looking down he saw the diminutive and fragile Marc saying something. Stooping down and placing his hands on his knees, "You saying something? Speak up." Marc backed away a little in fright from Rob’s imposing, enormous bulk that filled his vision and engulfed him in a shadow.
When Marc didn’t say anything Rob’s face went serious and went over to Richard. Watching Rob walking off making kettledrum sounding steps, Marc shouted, "I would take a fist for you man!"
Waiting for Richard and Rob to finish setting up the video game made Marc nervous. Seeing he wasn’t that far from an old leather chair that Richard had in his room thought, "I’m small but still the athlete." Going over to the far end of the table, Marc began to run. Faster and faster he ran. Marc leaped off the table. And landed on the worn, maroon colored seat. Getting up, this exercise of his athletic expertise cheered Marc up.
"I’m still having problems with this box," remarked Richard fidgeting with a screwdriver. Still adjusting the box, Richard began to sit down on the leather chair. A huge oval shaped shadow began to pass over Marc. "Yikes," he screamed running away from the descending garage size backside. Marc moved toward the back of the chair and narrowly missed the descent of the blue denim.
It was a humiliation for Marc to realize, he almost met death from the backside to a friend. Going up to the back, Marc had just grabbed hold to a huge belt loop, when Rob said with alarm in his voice, "Where’s Marc?"
"What?" And Richard stood up. Marc held on tight as he was hoisted high into the air. As Richard moved, Marc was being jostled about.
"Marc," said Rob looking under the table.
"Man, I hope he’s ok," said Richard. Marc couldn’t help and smile from the concern of his pals. But that quickly changed as Richard bent over looking for him. Marc thought his arm was going to pop from its socket.
Marc began shouting, "I’m here. I’m here!"
"You always have to be the jerk," said Richard looking under clothing and around cd stacks.
Hearing heavy movement behind him, Marc with difficulty twisted around. Seeing the colossal form of Rob on his hands and knees began screaming, "Rob and Richard."
Hearing the squeal, Rob smiled slightly and said, "Marc." Looking up, he saw with a little mistrust of his eyes at first, Marc‘s tiny form hanging off of Richard‘s belt loop. "You idiot," commented Rob as he reached for Marc..
Rob was about to grab Marc when Richard turned around, "You found him?"
"Yeah and almost, he’s on the back of your pants holding onto a belt loop.
A huge hand searched and then found Marc’s tiny form. In the safety of his hand now, Richard asked with a suppressed anger, "What is wrong with you? Haven’t enough happened to you today?"
Rubbing his right shoulder, Marc replied, "Yeah."
"Marc, I know or maybe I really can’t say I know what you are going through, but please be careful," said Richard.
Marc nodded his head. Looking up at Rob he shouted, "I would take a punch for you. I really would have."
"Did you say you would take lunch for me?" questioned Rob moving his head in closer..
Marc began to turn red, "No you fool. I said I would take a fist for you. Your my pal. I wouldn’t let anyone hurt you."
"Thanks Marc. I really needed to hear that from you."
"You too Richard."
"Thanks. There’s still time before dinner, lets play a game." And the two buddies sat down on the ground. And the smaller one in Richard’s hand.
Laying on the floor, Richard placed Marc on the control stick. As Richard was playing against Rob, he would let Marc, who used both hands press on the buttons. As Richard was playing Marc tried to get use to the enormous hands on either side of him.
Marc could feel Richard’s hot breath on him. He was tiny in a giant world. His head began to feel light. A feeling of wooziness came over him. The loud blasting sound of the game didn’t help either. He slumped over and put a very tiny hand to brace himself up against Richard’s SUV size hand. Feeling the tickling sensation against his skin, Richard looked down. "You ok" Marc remained hunched over. Using his thumb and forefinger, Richard carefully lifted up his fragile pal.
"Huh? Is Marc ok?" asked Rob
Richard took his pal over to his bed. He placed Marc down on his pillow. From downstairs came the call, "Boys supper."
"Yeah, ok we’ll be right down," replied Richard. "You feel like eating?" Marc shook his tiny head. "I guess we could leave you up here, while we eat. And I could bring something up for you to munch on later."
Rob tapped on Richard’s shoulder and motioned him with his head to move away from the bed. "I don’t know if it’s a good idea to leave Marc alone. Maybe we should keep him with us while we eat. Or place him in a drawer." They both turned and looked toward the bed.
Marc feeling a little better sat up.
Seeing Marc up, his giant pals came pounding back. Marc could feel their steps vibrate through his body even on the pillow. "Marc you can rest in my pocket while we eat," suggested Richard.
"No," squeaked Marc in his piping thin voice. "I’ll be ok."
"You sure?" Marc nodded his head.
"Richard supper is on the table," sounded his father’s insistent sounding voice.
"Ok," said Richard to Marc. "I trust you."
The two teens left the room. After Richard closed the door he told Rob, "I hate to force Marc to stay in my pocket or place him in a drawer. I took enough away from him."
As Richard’s mother placed thick pieces of meat on the boys plate she noticed their brooding demeanors. "You think you both have just come from a funeral the way you guys look."
Marc slowly stood up. He surveyed the vast room with his eyes. The room always seemed tiny to him. Now it was a domesticated cavern of immense size. Marc walked over the side of the small hill size pillow. Strength was returning to him. Grabbing hold to the loose white material, Marc climbed down the pillow. At the base, he stopped. "Blank, I just climbed down Richard’s pillow. I’m so tiny." Marc could feel tears filling his eyes. He shook his head. "No, I won’t cry."
Near the front of the bed was the huge yellow blanket. Its side ran down to the floor. "No, I better not, Richard will be angry." Marc sat down and dangled his legs over the bed’s cliff like side.
As he ate, Richard thought about poor Marc. And what he did to him. Lifting his heavy eyes up, Richard spotted hanging on a wall, a picture of himself with Marc. It was taken after winning last season’s basket ball game. Marc had a big grin as his huge hand draped over Richard’s shoulder.
As Richard’s father was returning to the table with coffee he said, "That’s a weird looking bug."
Rob all of a sudden stood up. "Don’t step on it!"
The father asked, "What’s wrong?"
"You didn’t step on it? Did you?"
"It was just a weird looking beetle. Guys," said the father sternly. "Your not drinking or taking anything are you?"
Rob for moment tried to think of something to say. "No, you see. I read a book about alien encounters. It had a chapter about how aliens could be smaller than us and look like bugs. It would be sad if an explorer came and ended up squashed beneath a shoe. Especially if it had a family waiting for it back on its home planet."
"Relax Rob. This wasn’t an alien. It was an earthly beetle. It had no spacesuit."
"That must have been one powerful book to have provoked such a response," commented the mother. Both teens took a good gulp of their milk.
Back upstairs, Marc began to think, "I know Richard is looking out for me. But I’m not his pet. I’ll do what I want to do." Marc began to climb down the blanket.
Reaching the bottom, Marc observed the landscape that lay before him. He slowly began to walk out among the giant objects. As he was walking, Marc spotted glinting across the wooden floor near the wall, the blue and red remote control dune buggy that as kids, Marc and Richard use to play with. Marc remembered how lucky he thought Richard was to have parents who buy him such a fun toy. Richard would always let him run the controls. And many a time, he would share with Richard, many of the hard times he had under his father. Marc headed for it.
Before the toy dune buggy was the floor vent. Marc was going to go around it. Feeling rather jovial at spotting the toy, Marc walked across the grating. He was nearing the end, when a piece of gray metal paint cracked beneath his feet. Marc lost his balance. Waving his arms around, trying to steady himself---Marc fell in!
Richard and Rob helped with clearing off the table. Richard after, gathered up bits of food for Marc.
Marc found himself on a dusty hard surface. He was entangled in cobwebs that he quickly tried to get off of him. "God, please no spiders," said Marc out loud. In the dusty darkness, Marc looked up. The vent was beyond his reach.
Richard and Rob went back upstairs. After closing the bedroom door they went over to the bed. "Hey, where’s Marc?" asked Rob.
"Always the jerk," said Richard looking under his covers. "Rob start looking for Marc around the room. Better get on hands and knees."
Marc had heard them enter and had started to yell. He could feel in his dark, musty prison, shaking under the giants movements. When it sounded like the vibrations were increasing, Marc screamed at the top of his lungs. Rob heard a squeak. "I think I hear him," said Rob.
"Where?" asked Richard.
The boys went silent. Marc kept screaming. "I think its coming from this old toy. As Rob neared the toy dune buggy, he heard Marc’s screaming. "Its coming from this vent." Rob put his face right down to it. "Marc are you their?"
Marc had to put his hands to his ears. Rob’s huge voice echoed around the metal sides. When it stopped, Marc began yelling again.
Richard took out of a desk drawer a flashlight. Kneeling next to Rob, he pointed the flashlight down. Wrapped in gray, silky strands of cobwebs was Marc. Keeping his temper down, Richard asked, "Are you ok?"
The screws look painted shut," remarked Rob.
"Maybe I can chip off the paint," replied Richard. Going over and into his closet to look for a few tools he had, Richard spotted a long thin wooden rod. It was from a flag he once had. Rummaging through a paper bag, Richard pulled out a roll of tape.
"Hang on Marc. We’ll get you out."
"Hurry, its creepy down here."
When Richard returned, he had the rod with him. "What are you going to do with that?" questioned Rob.
"Get our friend." Richard placed the rod down the vent. "Marc don’t move."
"Hey, what is this stuff?"
"Its tape and stand still." Slowly, Richard removed the pole. Rob chuckled when at its end he saw Marc attached to it. Carefully, Richard peeled Marc off from the tape.
Marc scratched his head and removed more cobwebs off of himself.