Anthrocoon, the Giant Masked Banditby Shrinkingman
Anthrocoon put the finishing touches on his transport device. If it worked correctly, he'd be able to be instantly moved from one place to another...and the furs of his planet would buy the device for the same reason.
Want to go to the shopping mall instantly? Arrive at a lakeside vacation resort in a matter ofseconds? If this device worked, it would all come true, and he'd be a very rich raccoon.
Anthrocoon figured he might as well be theone to test it himself, so he set itup so that he could be transported a mile or soaway. But something went wrong.
The device was strapped around his waist like some sort of backpack, with handles he pulled toactivate it. After pulling the handles, he was indeed transported, but not to where he wanted togo.
Anthrocoon found himself in a meadow surrounded by hills. There were very small bushes which looked almost like trees, a narrow brook,and a small path--he could swear he saw a tinycar driving on the path! Anthrocoon walked over and got a closer look.
A little raccoon parked the car and got out. Theraccoon could have fit easily into one ofAnthrocoon's paws! He strode over toward thestream and began to walk on a beautiful, earlyfall day. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, butsuddenly a huge shadow fell across the tinyraccoon.
This miniscule masked bandit, Bob Cooney by name,noticed what had caused the shadow. He sawhuge paws (feet) on either side of him; legs stretchingup past the trees; a tremendous torso, anda head way up high, some 100 feet off theground. A raccoon like himself but very muchenlarged!
Bob stood there stunned, and he backed slowlyaway. "No, please...I won't harm you," came the voice from above. Anthrocoon placed his righthandpaw down on the ground and the wee furrybacked into it. Carefully, Anthrocoon sat onthe ground and lifted up the paw closer to hisface to get a better look.
Bob was still stunned but somehow the gentleappearance of the giant raccoon reassured him.The vast face loomed around him like a billboard,with grossly exaggerated ears, eyes, nose,and mouth. Anthrocoon introduced himself andBob did the same; then Anthrocoon asked where hewas.
"You're in Stowe, Furmont," Bob replied.
Now it was Anthrocoon's chance to get stunned."I'm from another planet and was trying a deviceto move myself," he explained. "But somehow it'moved' me to your planet."
"And everyone on your planet is huge?"
"And I must admit I've never met a giant!," laughed Bob. "Oddly enough, I get a kick out of huge and tiny furs. This is kinda weird; beingsmall enough to fit in someone's paw!"
Anthrocoon asked Bob if he could show his townto him. Bob agreed, and Anthrocoon walked down the path (road, actually) to downtown Stowe.He was careful to keep away from cars or peoplewalking or jogging. Naturally, more than a fewfurs did double takes, seeing the giant furry alien!
Down below him, Anthrocoon could see smallrestaurants, motels, and shops. A covered bridgethat he dared not walk on (for fear that histons of weight would collapse it!). Some kidswalked along, carrying schoolbooks (on theirway home), and they were amazed to see the giant masked bandit.
Stowe was a lovely town surrounded by mountains. It was a famed ski resort, though at this time ofyear the focus was on "fall foliage". It was a bustling community with busloads of senior citizens out to see the leaves; college studentshitting the shops and nightclubs; families offoxes, wolves, or raccoons who went apple picking or took the kids to soccer games. Anthrocoonsmiled; it was fun seeing the miniature town withits diminuitive citizens.
As Anthrocoon took Bob around, furs were shocked to see a raccoon so huge but he seemed friendly,so their fears were calmed. At one point,Anthrocoon sat down in the middle of a town parkand furs gathered around him. He explained hewas just visiting, as one of his inventions hadmalfunctioned. The furs brought him some foodand greeted him warmly. Animals enjoyed the view from the top of his head. Their kids peered out from his T-shirt pocket.
After a night sleeping in the park, Anthrocoondid some adjustments to his device and triedto get back to his home.
It didn't work.
"I'm sure you'll make it home," Bob assured him."In the meantime, you're welcome to stay herein Stowe!"
Anthrocoon dropped off Bob at his house andwalked down the streets as dusk fell. Lights began to turn on in the tiny little houses,as people settled in to watch movies or the baseball playoffs on their TVs. Wisps of smokecame from some houses, as woodstoves werefired up. Crisp, clean air mixed with the scent ofburning wood.
A chill descended on Anthrocoon. He was far toobig to fit into any of those houses. He rememberedtalking to a wolf who worked at a nearby airport;the wolf had offered to let him sleep in a vacanthangar, "in case it gets cold tonight". I just might take him up on his offer, he thought.
He walked through the village, with its dollhouse-sized dwellings, and felt a mixture of joy andsadness. Joy, in the way he had been welcomed hereby kind furs of all types. Sadness in that he felt so out of place in this tiny land. And hewondered if he'd ever make it home again.
So here he was, 100 feet tall on a planet of furs less than one sixteenth his height. He made his way through the doll-house sized town, hoping he didn't step on any cars as he made his way to the airport hangar. It was his second day on this planet of tiny furs, and he felt out of place andlonely. The sun set over the mountains to thewest, the last bit of sunlight ending as he gotto the hangar.
Yesterday he was in his own world, where furswere his size. Now he was too huge to fit ina house or to drive a car and he had to be carefulnot to step on the animal citizens. Sure, he was big and powerful now in relation to them buthe wished he could be the same size as they were--or back on his own planet where others werehis size.
He thanked the wolf for letting him sleep inthe abandoned hanger. "If you ever wind up onmy planet by mistake, you're welcome to stayat my house," said Anthrocoon with a smile.
The next morning Anthrocoon wandered around the town. Kids waved to him as they made their wayto school on a bright, warm autumn day. He casta long shadow on the roads as furs drove towork. At a farm stand, a rabbit filled a container with gallons of apple cider and invitedhim to drink from it. It was as big as a thimbleto him, but the giant raccoon drank from it.
He thanked the rabbit (that was good, crispcider!) and as he walked away he wondered ifhis huge size would mean he'd wipe out thefood supply. Of course, that would only happenif he stayed here in town. He knew this was a lovely town and he wished he could stay, but he did want to get back home to furs of his ownscale.
Bob Cooney saw him, parked his car, and got out.
"Hey, I was talking to a fox up in Furlington--he'd like to put you on TV. I guess he could come here but maybe the both of us can go there; it'sa nice town by Lake Champlain."
"Yeah, I guess so. How far is it?"
Furlington was Furmont's largest city-- but it had a mere 35,000 furs (Furmont being a fairlysparsely populated state). There were severallakefront parks, a bricked-in shopping marketplace, and the University of Furmont.They met the fox at a waterfront park nearthe departure point for a ferry.
The fox, whose name was Pawlet Verfox, got out of his car and walked uneasily toward Anthrocoon, who was sitting cross-legged on the grass. Evensitting down, he stretched a good 50 feet orso up into the sky. "Don't worry, Mr. Verfox;he won't harm you!", laughed Bob, who was nowdown on the ground. Pawlet stuck his rightarm up and Anthrocoon gingerly put the tips ofhis index and forefingers around the fox'shandpaw.
The report aired on a TV station in Furlington(later picked up by a network).
"This is Pawlet Verfox in Furlington. We are proud to have an alien animal--and a GIANT one--right here in town. His name is Anthrocoonand he came here by accident."
The camera panned up to the gargantuan faceof the colossal masked bandit. "You can callme A-coon for short, if you want. Hi everyone.I'm from a planet where everyone is my size andI wound up on your kind planet when I wastrying to find a way to teleport myself."
"You mean, like when they say 'Beam Me UpScotty' on 'Star Trek'?"
"Uh, I've never seen that...but yes, I wastrying to beam myself somewhere. But here Iam, and I gotta say, the furs of your planethave been very kind to me. Thanks to everyone!"
"Do you think you'll get back to your planet?"
"Maybe someday. I like staying here but I ama bit too big, I gotta admit."
Next, there were brief interviews with someother furs--including a couple of schoolkidswho were at the waterfront on a field tripthat day.
"He's awesome! We sat on his head and lookedaround--"
Back to Pawlet. "You were the first to see him?,"he asked of Bob Cooney.
"Yeah, he was over in this meadow in Stowe...I was kinda shocked but he's not a monster oranything. Well, everyone seems to love him.We hope he does get back to his home butin the meantime we're proud to have him inStowe." The camera panned over to Anthrocoon,who held a class full of giggling kids in hiscupped paws.
"How tall is he?," asked Pawlet.
The camera cut back to Pawlet. "So we have a giant amongstus here in Vermont. At least for now, we do...I'm Pawlet Verfox." As he said that,Anthrocoon crouched down to the ground and gently blewair in Pawlet's direction; Pawlet's fur flew all over theplace as if he were suddenly in a full-force gale wind!Pawlet looked back at the giant and they both laughed.
In the weeks that followed, the town of Stowe got used to theirgiant alien. He cast long shadows as he walked, a THUD! noiseas each paw made contact with the ground (even though he triedto walk softly). He stayed in the airport hangar for shelter,and once even got to show his appreciation for that in a veryspecial way:
As he headed toward the hangar he heard an airplane makesome weird noises--he looked up and saw it was going to crash!Anthrocoon ran into the direction it was heading and got under it,like a baseball outfield positioning himself to get a fly ball.He walked backward and stretched out his arms, then grabbed the plane, each arm cradling a wing. He kept walking backwards,then suddenly fell on his back--but his ample belly protected theplane and almost acted as a sort of shock absorber!
No one aboard the nine-seater was hurt. They got out and all ran over to the dazed raccoon's face. He was shaken up a bit but was generallyOK. "But are YOU guys OK?," he asked.
"You're a hero, big guy," said Bob Cooney later. "Maybe it was destinythat you got sent here...to help us!"
"Anyone would do the same...if they were 100 feet tall," smiledAnthrocoon. "But I do wish I could be back home."
"Well, isn't this home to you? At least 'till your machine gets fixed?"
"Yeah, but... But I DO want to get back. You don't know what it'slike, Bob; to be so big you can't relate to other furs. I towerover everyone, but I'd love to be the same size as everybody.I'm eating entire crops of food that oughta serve you guysinstead."
Bob nodded. "Yeah, I guess you do need to get back. You must have a family and all...maybe a girlfriend?"
"Family yes, but no girlfriend-- I got so engrossed in my work. Therewas just no time."
"Are you making progress on the machine?"
"But even if you do go back...you're welcome to visit us here.Maybe around Christmas."
"Well, a holiday here where we celebrate the birth of the Saviour...and get together with our families. We give presents, have a nicedinner, go for sleigh rides..." A cold wind came in from thenorth, scattering leaves. "In fact, the next thing we know it'llbe here."
"Well, I just may do that."
A day later, A-coon was convinced the device would work properly.He bid farewell to the town and fastened the backpack-like transporteraround his body, then pulled the handles. Mere seconds later, he found himself a couple blocks from his house, on HIS planet. Back wherethe furs were his size. Where he could actually get in a car. Wherea house was bigger than him, not the other way around.
A little while later, he came back to the planet of tiny furs; toStowe, where Bob Cooney invited him to share Christmas with hisfamily. The 100-foot tall raccoon crouched down on the groundand put his face up to the dining room window; food was passed outto him. (Fortunately he had a heavy coat on, knowing it would be cold.)
He looked inside and saw the various family members havingfun; it was almost like a Norman Raccwell painting. He almost felt he was one of them, even though he was fartoo big to fit in the house.
"I want to thank you for making me feel so welcomed," Anthrocoon said."In fact, I know just the thing to do....you're off from your joball week, right?"
"Yeah! That would be interesting!"
"We'll go back tonight, after your family get-together is done.You can stay as long as you want.OK?"
And sure enough, Bob got in Anthrocoon's pocket and they weresoon transported to the planet of giant furs. Anthrocoon's apartmentwas gargantuan--ceilings 110 feet up, titanic furniture...
The doorbell rang. "Oh, that's right--my brother and his familywere gonna stop by..." He answered the door; Bob observed two100 foot tall raccoons and a couple 80 foot tall cubs. He was introduced to the family-- and one young cub, Anthrocoon's nephewRascalcoon, was delighted to see the tiny furry standing onAnthrocoon's desk. Bob saw two giant paws reaching for him--butA-coon stopped his nephew in time.
"No...he's not a toy..."
"I want 'im for my dollhouse," said A-coon's niece, Sarahcoon.
"Well, he comes from a planet of tiny furs..."
Ricky chuckled; "still trying to sell that sci-fi novel, eh? Youand your imagination!"
Rascalcoon smiled down at Bob. "Hi. Hi lil' coony!"
"Uh, hi there, kiddo," said Bob nervously, just as Anthrocoonpicked him up in his curled handpaw to protect him.
"A planet of tiny furs?," asked Rascalcoon. "Cool! Hey, take methere--I'll be a giant! Fee, fi, fo, fum!" Rascalcoon stompedthe floor with his huge paws at the very thought.
"Please, everyone..." Anthrocoon looked at his family members."I'm not making up a story. Bob comes from a planet of tinyfurs, and I'm bringing him here for a visit. He may be tiny buthe's no toy, no doll...now, just imagine how overwhelming thismust be for him..."
In A-coon's paw, Bob gulped and then looked up at Anthrocoon,nodding. "It is."
"No problem," said Rickycoon's wife Audreycoon. "Sorry if wescared you, hon."
They went into Anthrocoon's kitchen where he doled out ice creamfor everyone; even Bob. Sarahcoon put a teaspoon of ice creamup to him and he ate it.
After the family left, Bob said, "Must be nice to be among fursyour own size again."
"It is. And I'm sure it's bizarre for you to be in my world of giants--but hey, you said you liked that kind of stuff..."
"But it is kinda dangerouns, A-coon." He was right. A six-foot-tallraccoon in this world of giants would be in danger of being steppedon by 100-foot-tall furs. A kid like A-coon's niece or nephew could"play" with him and not realize how fragile a tiny being could be.
Bob spent a full day with Anthrocoon, who watched over himcarefully for fear the tiny creature could get hurt. And thenA-coon made a return trip to Bob's planet, dropping him off inStowe.
They bid each other goodbye and Bob went to start his car. Theengine wouldn't turn over. Sighing, Bob got out of the car, intending to find a payphone so he could call the auto club.
"Oh, don't bother with that!," said Anthrocoon, noticing Bob'splight just as he was about to leave. Bob got back into the carand Anthrocoon lifted the car (and Bob) with ease, ferrying it several miles away to a repair shop; then he gave Bob a lift home (literally).
The giant raccoon headed back to his planet of tremendous animals.And Bob looked around his town, glad that he was back to his own little town.