Basketball Practice Got Cut Short

by teenytiny02

Ryan Tallmadge knew he was in deep trouble. Everyone who gets to basketball practice late gets into deep trouble.

Coach MacGregor, one of the best high school coaches in the state, had no tolerance for slackers. What made matters worse was the reason Ryan was late: he had to serve a detention! This could mean getting benched for an entire game!

It didn't matter that Ryan was the star player on the team—-an athletic 6'5" 225 pound guard. It wouldn't even matter that the senior captain was one of the best athletes that had ever passed through the halls of McKinley High School. Coach MacGregor didn't tolerate tardiness OR his players getting detentions, no matter how bogus the reason for the detention. Ryan would get chewed out in front of everyone. Plus, he knew that he wouldn't get to start against McKinley's arch-rival—Centerville. Ryan thought that his luck couldn't get any worse. Little did he know, however, that his luck was much better than it seemed.

With advanced planning, Ryan quickly changed from his street clothes to his practice clothes and his game-day court shoes between the final bell and the bell that signaled the start of detention, giving Ryan about five minutes. He jogged to the detention room, already dressed for practice so that he could sprint down to the practice gym as soon as detention was over.

The instant the teacher signaled for the students in detention to leave, Ryan darted out of the room and jogged with a graceful stride down the halls toward the practice gym, wearing his gray Nike sleeveless shirt, navy rayon basketball shorts, and his team-issued white and black Adidas high tops. The kid was like a gazelle, bounding quickly and light with long strides down the corridors, barely making a sound. Ryan was a very handsome young man, with dark brown hair combed up in that spiked-up bangs style that is fashionable nowadays. He had a medium-dark complexion (given to him from his mother, who is from Indonesia) which was very smooth and clear. Ryan had dark, full eyebrows and long, dark sideburns, and dark brown eyes. He was the picture of grace, especially as he drove for a loose ball or even fell as a result of being illegally tripped. Ryan was a natural-born athlete, excelling in basketball, football, baseball, and Tae-Kwon Do. Ryan was even in an underground wrestling associating that imitated WWF wrestling for local-access cable!

As Ryan jogged closer to the gym, he noticed how quiet the hallway was. Since he was nearly an hour late, he expected to hear the sounds of basketball practice—bouncing balls, squeaking sneakers, coaches barking and encouraging the players. But the gym seemed as quiet as a library. When Ryan entered the gym, he found it empty.

Puzzled, Ryan entered the locker room, which was also very quiet. Ryan stepped into the completely empty locker room and looked around. Lockers were left open and clothes were lying on the benches. It was as if the team simply vanished in the middle of dressing for practice. Ryan called out in a loud voice: "Anyone in here?" Only silence followed his rich baritone voice, which echoed against the concrete block and cement floor of the silent locker room.

`Why would practice be cancelled two days before the Centerville game?' thought Ryan. If practice was cancelled, why would clothes be lying around in the locker room?

Ryan took a few more slow steps, completely perplexed. Ryan's eye happened to notice movement along the concrete floor. Right in front of his feet he noticed a dozen or so tiny insects. They appeared to be the size of ants, but they appeared strange; they seemed to be moving in an upright position rather than moving longways upon their six legs. Ryan squatted down and peered closely at them, wondering what kind of insects infested the locker room. Ryan saw that he nearly squashed all of them under his size 14 Air Jordan XVIII high- tops. The dozen or so bugs were congregated close to one another about an inch away from the ball of his right sneaker. Ryan stood up and lifted his foot, decided to nip this infestation in the bud. But before he slammed his massive sneaker sole down on the bugs, he paused. Something appeared very strange about these bugs.

Ryan stepped back, away from the bugs, and looked around the locker room at the gym bags lying around on benches and the floor. He saw a bookbag that belonged to his best friend, Jim Tanner. Tanner built model ships, and Ryan figured that Tanner might have a magnifying glass in his bag. Sure enough, when Ryan searched the bookbag, he found the magnifying glass. Ryan grabbed it and approached the spot where he thought the strange bugs were gathered, being careful not to step on them. Finally, Ryan spotted the bugs, crouched down, and looked through the magnifying lens down at the bugs. What he thought he saw nearly caused him to drop the glass right down onto the strange bugs. Ryan rubbed his eyes, shook his head, and took another look. Ryan felt light-headed and dizzy. He couldn't believe what he saw….the `bugs' were his teammates!! The ENTIRE basketball team, managers, trainers, and even the grumpy coaches were shrunk!!

Ryan spotted one of his friends, called `Little John'. Little John was a six foot-nine, 280 pound center who was also a star football player. Ryan lowered his finger next to Little John. The tiny athlete ran away from the colossal finger, stopped, and cautiously approached. Ryan's fingertip was the size of a mobile home next to the (formerly) huge center. Ryan wanted a closer look at Little John, but saw that there was no way he could ever climb aboard his finger, it was far too large. Ironically, Little John—now barely the size of an ant—was the one of the few dudes who could beat Ryan in wrestling! Just then, an idea came to Ryan. He brought his finger to his mouth, licked his fingernail, and lowered it. "Little John!" Ryan called down quietly, "Run up and throw yourself against my fingernail!" Little John hesitated at first. It was a disgusting thought…after all, the finger was soaked with Ryan's spit! But after a few seconds, he ran up and right into Ryan's fingernail. Little John was stuck! Ryan's saliva worked as an adhesive. Very carefully, Ryan lifted his finger and brought it close to his face. The tiny center, lip quivering and in tears was petrified as he looked up into Ryan's huge, brown eyes, though the magnifying lens. Little John HATED heights!! Ryan looked at the dark spot on his nail. Ryan pulled out a ruler and measured Little John. The African-American center, who was formerly a 6'9" beast on the court, measured a helpless one quarter of an inch in length!

Ryan couched down on his hands and knees and placed Little John back on the floor with the other tiny teammates, all less than ¼ of an inch tall. Through the magnifying glass, he could see their faces: they were trying to communicate with their now colossal teammate. But their efforts were in vain. Ryan examined each speck through the lens: Jim, Blake, Steve, Antoine, Ty, Matt, "Bear", "Little John", all of the player from last year's state championship team were now so tiny and helpless. Among the specks were the assistant coaches and Coach MacGregor himself! And only two days before their arch- rival come to McKinley for the biggest basketball game of the year! Ryan sighed, and the air he exhaled from his nose blasted down against his tiny teammates. The gust blew his poor friends and coaches along the floor about an inch or so!! "Sorry, guys!" Ryan apologized, with his resonant baritone voice lowered to a growl. The tiny basketball team grabbed their ears and crouched; the power of Ryan's booming voice was too much for them. Ryan's voice alone was a force strong enough to crush each tiny player's bones!

Ryan got hold of Coach MacGregor using the same, disgusting, technique as he had with "Little John". Soon, Coach MacGregor was also lying on Ryan's fingernail. Coach was in awe of Ryan's finger and hand, which appeared to stretch for acres to the tiny, chubby middle-aged man. Coach stood up as Ryan spoke in the gentlest whisper: "Coach, what happened to all of you?" Ryan peered hard at the speck of humanity on his fingernail through the lens. He could see that coach was talking, but it was useless. "I don't know what to do, Coach." Ryan whispered softly. "I don't know what happened to all of you! Jesus, what are we going to do about Centerville? We've got to forfeit; that's obvious!" Ryan's head began to spin. He carefully sat down on the floor, legs spread out in front of him, surrounding his tiny teammates to two, massive mountain ranges. Just then, he passed out. Ryan was laid out along the floor; Coach was still on Ryan's nail, Ryan's hand was laying palm down on the floor. But old Coach MacGregor was thinking about his disrupted practice. "What a time for practice to be cut short!" coach growled. "AND WHY WERE YO LATE TO MY PRACTICE, TALLMADGE!!!" yelled Coach up to the fainting giant. Even at his minute size, he was chewing Ryan out for getting a detention and being late! Jeez, talk about a one-track mind!

Part 2

Ryan slowly regained consciousness, grabbing his head with his hand. Maybe it was all a dream, Ryan thought. Ryan sat up and looked at the floor between his legs. No such luck. He saw his tiny basketball team huddled up like a colony of ants, most of whom weren't even a quarter of an inch tall. Ryan shifted his feet so that he could stand back up. Naturally, these movements scared the hell out of the tiny basketballers. To them, the 6'5" Ryan towered around 2,079 feet; the distance from the floor to the top of his high-top Air Jordan XVIII basketball shoes was like a 14-story building!

Ryan carefully stepped over to the coach's office, which was left open. Ryan winced with each dull `bump' his sneaker soles made against the concrete floor with each step, praying no one else was on the floor. Where was Wally, the mentally handicapped team manager? `Bump', said his right foot, the rubber sole slapping against the floor. "Man!! Could that have been were Wally was?? Right where I just stepped?? Oh, man! Wally's kinda slow. Does he have the sense to get out of my way???" Ryan was becoming a basket- case with such thoughts. Ryan found one of Coach MacGregor's business cards and stepped gingerly along the floor to where the ant-sized basketball team was still gathered. Ryan laid one end of the card flat on the floor and held the other end with his thumb and forefinger, as flat as he could. Ryan knew that the freshman basketball team was playing a home game in the regular gym and would be coming in as soon as it was over, which could be at any time. The freshman used the lockers at the rear of the locker room and would walk right across the floor where the shrunken varsity team was helplessly standing. The heel of just one sneaker could wipe out the entire state championship team! Ryan had to act fast, and he did. He coaxed the tiny team onto the business card. Once everyone was aboard, he lifted the card very gently as he stood. Ryan was a very strong athlete, and he even amazed himself at his gentleness. Ryan lowered the card onto the palm of his left hand. The team climbed off the card and wandered around in awe and much trepidation. They were surrounded by soft, rolling mounds of flesh that looked like hills. There were creases in Ryan's palm that appeared like dried-up creek beds. The entire basketball team—all of whom were pretty large guys—including coaches and managers (yes, little Wally was in Ryan's palm, too. Wally was an obese, very short, mentally-handicapped, 38 year-old helper around the school and a manager for the basketball team. Wally was only about five feet tall before (though he was quite round, weighing nearly 200 pounds!). Now, he was minute, fragile 3/16th of an inch tall, much smaller than flies or most bugs! Little Wally was having a great time, though!) were resting in Ryan's massive palm. All of these tiny humans filled the area the size of a quarter. They were barely able to be seen without the magnifying glass. Ryan tried with all he had to hold back his emotions. Many of these guys he knew since pre- school. They were close friends, more than simply teammates on the state championship team. They were soul mates. Ryan began to feel guilty…he should be tiny and helpless on that business card, too. He shouldn't be the one who was still big and strong enough to live his dream and be a basketball star and the big man at the high school, especially considering the fact that he escaped this fate by being a pain in the ass in class. Ryan's eyes began to well up. "Don't worry, dudes." whispered Ryan, "I'll have your backs. I won't let you guys down again!" Just then, the door of the locker room flew open. Into the locker room filed the freshmen, loudly yawping and celebrating their win. It must have been terrible for the tiny varsity team, mere specks among so much loud clamor! Ryan tried to quiet the freshmen without trying to make a lot of noise, himself. The six foot, two and a half inch tall freshman star and occasional varsity player, Jeff Menendez, demanded to know what was up. Ryan handed Jeff the magnifying lens and held out his palm. Jeff turned white as a sheet. "Wh-wh-what happened to them, man?? How the hell did they get so—so--…" Jeff looked as though he was ready to pass out as well. The other freshmen looked into Ryan's palm and saw the tiny specks. The tiny varsity team looked up as the freshmen team gathered around Ryan's palm and began to feel terror. These lowly freshman towered around 2,000 FEET to the tiny athletes. The freshmen, whom the varsity team ragged on and hazed were now like 2,000 foot tall mega giants. Talk about having the tables turned! Little John looked up at Jeff Menendez from Ryan's palm. Little John didn't like Jeff. He thought Jeff was a punk who was too cocky. Little John gave Jeff a hard time and had only yesterday knocked Jeff to his ass to the floor during a combined practice. Jeff, who is 6'2 1/2" and about 180 pounds, went after the 6'9" 280 pound senior center. Jeff and Little John were pulled apart before things got out of hand. Today, there was Jeff, glaring down with a slight smirk at Little John. Little John saw a booger barely hanging outside Jeff's right nostril. Little John swallowed hard as he saw that the booger was a littler BIGGER than him!! Suddenly. Little John watched as Jeff brought his hand up to his face. With a quick motion of his thumb and forefinger, Jeff snatched it and flicked it to the floor, all while keeping his eyes fixed on Little John. Jeff mouthed the word "You're mine!" to Little John. Little John swallowed hard again. The freshman boy's coach had finally entered the locker room. Mr. Bowers was a student-teacher at the high school. He was about 21 and was considered a "hot item" by all the girls, who thought he resembled Colin Farrell. Mr. Bower's was about Ryan's size. He took the lens and peered down at the tiny team in Ryan's hand. Just then, Jeff's eyes widened as he turned pale again; as if he had suddenly remembered something awful. "My dad was supposed to be meeting with Coach MacGregor." Jeff began. "But he wasn't at our game. I'd called home earlier, but my mom said he never came home. I-I didn't see my dad in Ryan's hand. Do you think he's…he's…" Jeff broke off. Everyone stood in shocked silence. Jeff's dad, Juan Menendez, was the president of the athletic boosters and a top chemist at the pharmaceutical plant. What if he was shrunk, but not found by Ryan? Ryan sighed "Aw, man!!" He and the freshman basketball team had been trampling all around the locker room. The horror of this realization filled everyone with shocked silence. If Jeff's father was overlooked and…trampled, his last moments must have been filled with absolute terror. "Nobody move!" ordered Mr. Bowers. "I'll use the magnifying lens and search the floor!" "Uh, coach?" spoke up one of the freshman. "Man, I don't think we're gonna find him. There's no way he could still be alive—" "I told you to keep STILL!!" boomed Mr. Bowers, raising his voice and scaring the bejesus out of the tiny varsity team. A few of the freshmen actually lifted up their feet and began to examine the tread of their sneakers. Mr. Bowers spoke to an increasingly upset Jeff: "Listen, maybe your dad wasn't shrunk. He might be on his way home. Get your cell phone and keep calling home." Meanwhile, the tiny varsity team members in Ryan's palm were excited. Some were jumping up and down, trying to be noticed. But, as the search for Jeff's father went on, not even Ryan noticed them. Yet, the tiny basketballers seemed to know something. If only they were a little bigger…it is nearly impossible to get the giants' attention or to communicate once they do have the giants' attention. The frustration level of the poor team was overwhelming! If they could only be heard, they could tell everyone that Mr. Menendez wasn't shrunk. In actuality, Menendez was the one who SHRUNK the team!!! At the same moment in time, in his SUV parked behind an abandoned warehouse, Juan Menendez shook his head after being unconscious for some time. He has no memory of where he had been or of how he got to where he was. The last thing he remembered, after thinking for several minutes, was that he was at his lab at Pfieffer Pharmaceuticals and was about to test out….something he had been working on. "That's right!!" exclaimed Mr. Menendez suddenly. He was about to test a chemical mixture he believed could shrink cancerous tumors and obliterate cancerous cells in a matter of minutes. Mr. Menendez thought harder. He remembered that the test results showed that the formula could shrink both organic and non-organic matter 324 times smaller than life. Menendez shrunk a lawn tractor down to the size of a housefly. At a 1:324 scale, one inch would equal 27 feet. Menendez was getting ready to try to find a way to isolate the formula to focus on shrinking the cancer cells in lab rats…but then, something happened. He had hazy memories of a group of high school- aged boys…wearing Centerville jackets!?! One of them smashed a vial with a chemical that created a mist…The rest of Mr. Menendez's memory drew a blank. Mr. Menendez had a terrific headache. Why would Centerville boys confront him? He didn't know any student at Centerville. They were arch-rivals to McKinley and had a big basketball game coming up in two days. Mr. Menendez remembered that he wanted to meet with Coach MacGregor to discuss his son, Jeff, and about his lack of playing time on the varsity team, but his mind was still in a fog. Did he have the meeting? And how did he end up behind the wheel of his SUV behind an abandoned warehouse? Things were not adding up. Mr. Menendez turned and looked over at the passenger seat and saw an empty test-tube, labeled `Shrinking Compound'. "But why is it now empty?" puzzled Menendez out loud. Silence followed, interrupted only by the barking of a dog in a junkyard nearby. Part 3 What had happened to the McKinley varsity basketball team in the locker room? Everything happened so quickly. Little John remembered that Mr. Menendez came into Coach MacGregor's office from the hallway entrance as the team was changing for practice. The team members were worried about bigger matters; they knew that their captain, Ryan Tallmadge got in trouble for horsing around in English class and was assigned a detention. That meant being late for practice, which meant getting benched for the biggest game of the year! Little John remembered tying his sneaker as Menendez was coming out of Coach's office into the locker room. Mr. Menendez had a weird, spaced-out look on his face. He poured out a test-tube full of green liquid into a squirt gun and began to shoot the stuff at the team, catching even the coaches and the managers as they ran to try and stop him. Little John remembered nothing else; everything blacked out for several minutes. When he came to, he looked up and up and up…at the toe of his own shoe!! Panicked, he got up. The toe of the black `Lugz' boot alone towered 30 feet—at least!! Huge mountains of clothes and sky-scrapper high legs to benches towered overhead. The ceiling was like the sky… thousands of feet overhead. Little John realized that he was really, REALLY frickin' small! Soon, other teammates emerged and gather together near the middle of the floor. Just then, the locker room door flew open and in stomped three, colossal giants! The giants were wearing Centerville jackets!! A loud, clicking echoed across the locker room, a clicking produced by the heel of cowboy boots. A 40 foot high boot heel slammed down a centimeter from Little John; "CLOMP!!!" thundered the heel, knocking the center off his feet. The room echoed with the bumping of other shoe soles as the giants surrounded the tiny specks. One giant, wearing a pair of Air Jordan 11's nearly squashed Coach MacGregor!! Another giant, who wore a colossal pair of Doc Martens, nearly wiped out half the team!! It was horrible!! The giants were slamming their feet down, right next to the tiny boys. They were purposely trying to scare the crap out of them. The three Centerville varsity players laughed and chortled. The tiny McKinley guys were helpless. Little John looked on in horror as the giant wearing the cowboy boots seized Coach MacGregor with a pair or tweezers. The giant was named Matt Dickson, who was called `Country' for his love of country- western attire. Dickson examined Coach MacGregor, who was seized by his belt and was being dangled in front of the blonde haired, blue eyed teen. "Well, hell!" cooed Dickson to the tiny coach, "I think we just won the game, what do you think, coach?" Coach was completely humiliated in front of all. He shook a tiny fist at Dickson, which made Dickson bellow with laughter. The `giant' wearing the Air Jordans seized the shrunken team's post, nicknamed `Bear', who was being looked at by NBA scouts. Poor Bear lost all bowel control, wetting the front of his shorts. The African- American giant, who wore long dred-locks, laughed and mocked Bear: "Aww, look who peed his widdle pants! You ready to take me on, `Bug'?? You think you're going to the NBA now!?! I don't THINK so, little Bear, unless it's as a flea in LeBron's pubes!!" At this stupid joke, the Centerville boys broke out in a roar of laughter. The Air Jordans giant suddenly opened his mouth and dropped poor Bear inside!! The other tiny team members were horrified…they were helpless to come to the rescue of their coach or one of their star players!! The giant the crouched down and spit out Bear, in a pool of saliva. Dickson also crouched and dumped Coach MacGregor in the lake of spit, the giants booming with evil laughter. Bear didn't swim too well, so the tiny McKinley guys tried to rescue their friend and their coach before they drowned in the spittle. Wally, the mentally-handicapped manager, ran and hid behind a huge wad of neon-green gum that someone (probably Cole) spit out. To Wally, the discarded gum wad was enormous—it was the size of a tractor-trailer! But to the Centerville giants, it was nothing. The gum wad was practically in the middle of the floor! The colossal Air Jordan came within an eighth of an inch from stepping on the gum wad—and poor Wally. Tiny Wally was scared out of his wits; he was balled up into a ball that made him even tinier and he was sobbing. The tiny team saw Wally and began to panic, knowing that they couldn't do anything to save him. "Get away from there, Wally!" yelled Ryan through gritted teeth. "You're gonna get stepped on!!": Meanwhile, Mr. Menendez stood as if in a trance as the Centerville boys terrorized the tiny, helpless McKinley team. When it came time for them to leave, they dragged Menendez with them. By the time Ryan found them, they were completely terrified, especially as the soles of Ryan's basketball high-tops slapped heavily against the concrete. To these tiny basketball players, the tallest dude being a mere ¼ inch tall, the muscular, chiseled Ryan appeared as a colossal being from Greek mythology. To the tiny jocks, Ryan was like Zeus in sneakers! They tried to get Ryan's attention, and were relieved to see that he saw them!! Then, joy turned to horror. "Zeus" lifted his right foot!! He was going to use the toe of his Air Jordan to squish them, as if the Last Judgment has arrived. But then, he didn't, as you already know… Part 4 The task of looking for a tiny Mr. Menendez had ended. Jeff called home and said that his mom just received a call from Mr. Menendez, who sounded rather confused and strange. Ryan looked down at the McKinley High School varsity basketball team, who now could fit in the circumference of a dime, who were now in the palm of his hand. He saw that they were excited about something. Yeah, he thought, I bet you're all excited. Ryan pulled an empty `Altoids' container out from the pocket of his jean in his gymbag. Carefully and gently, he slid the team off his palm and into the small, metal container. He placed the container on the bench as he changed his clothes and put on his street clothes: a light-blue North Carolina Tar Heels hooded sweatshirt, blue carpenter jeans, and tan, Timberland work boots. When finished dressing, Ryan stood up and placed the Altoids container carefully inside his right Adidias high-top and stuffed in a sock. It was the only way Ryan could think of to keep his tiny friends from getting jostled around too much. He placed his gym clothes and sneakers inside the gym bag. Many of the freshmen had changed clothes, but were lingering around, as if in a fog. Ryan told them not to say anything about this to anyone yet. In the meantime, Ryan told them that they might have to fill in for the varsity team against Centerville. Ryan knew that he and Coach Bowers had a lot of work to do to get them ready to play. Putting on his Varsity team jacket and pulling his gray, knit hat over his ears, Ryan walked out of the locker room and out to his truck through the slushy parking lot on that cold, December evening. Ryan carried the gymbag very gingerly. Jeff Menendez went out with Ryan; he needed a ride home. Jeff put on his team jacket over his cotton, button down shirt, and put on a white, `Gamecocks" ball cap. Jeff also wore a pair of blue, carpenter jeans, and a pair of size 13, black `Lugz' boots. The two boys climbed into Ryan's truck. Ryan turned to Jeff: "Your dad, he's a chemist, right?" "Yeah," responded Jeff. "You think he could help us with this problem?" asked Ryan. Jeff chuckled: "Man, I don't know. I've—I've never seen anything like this. SHRINKING? That only happens in goofy movies. I don't know what he could do." "It has to be worth a shot." aid Ryan. Ryan started the truck and drove out of the parking lot, headed for the Menendez home. When Ryan and Jeff arrived at Jeff's house, Jeff leapt out of the truck and into the house. When he saw his dad, Juan Menendez, he threw he arms around him. Mr. Menendez, still in a fog over the events of that afternoon, was even more confused. Teenagers never acted like this! "Well, son…" stammered Mr. Menendez, as Rita Menendez looked on in surprise, as well, "What's all of this about?" "What?" asked Jeff, still hugging his father hard. "I'm just glad you're…you're here and are big enough to hug!!" "What??" said Mr. Menendez with a start. He looked at Ryan, who followed Jeff into the house, and asked Ryan: "What does THAT mean?" "I, ah, think we…the varsity team, needs your help…" began Ryan, holding his gym bag. "Can we go to your work room?" Part 5 Ryan, after taking off his jacket (but leaving on the knit hat), opened his gym bag and fished out his basketball sneaker. After pulling out the sock, he pulled out the Altoids can and opened it. Carefully, the tiny humans were transported to a microscope, through which they could be seen clearly. Juan Menendez was flabbergasted. Then, a cold chill traveled down his spine as Ryan told him how and where he found the shrunken varsity team, athletes less than ¼ of an inch tall. Mr. Menendez suddenly remember that he was there, in the locker room, with the Centerville boys, but he was under the influence of some kind of drug that they must have sprayed on him in the midst. However, he said nothing to the boys about this. "Dear God!" Mr. Menendez exclaimed. "I…I have been working on a project designed to shrink tumors. When I last tested it, the formula could shrink matter 324 times smaller than life size…" "Wait!" interrupted Ryan, "324 times smaller than life? Hell, that would make one foot to us seem nearly the length of a football field to them!" he said, pointing to the tiny players and coaches standing near the container. "And that Altoids box is probably the size of a basketball court to them!" said Jeff, taking off his jacket, but leaving on his ball cap. "Mr. Menendez, is there anything you can do? Were you able to…to reverse the shrinking in your tests?" Mr. Menendez looked down at the floor. "I never actually tried to. I… I don't know if the shrinkage can be reversed." Ryan and Jeff groaned. "Dad, these guys…many of them are getting sports scholarships. If you could find a way to shrink stuff, why can't you find a way to make stuff grow?" asked Jeff. "Yeah, Mr. Menendez", chimed Ryan. "Coach MacGregor is the best basketball coach in the state. He can't end his career like…like this! Where IS he? Oh, wait…I think I see him. Jeez! How's he gonna coach anybody? I can't even SEE him!" Jeff noticed that one of the teeny, tiny specks ran to the edge of the glass slide under the microscope. It was Coach MacGregor. Jeff held out his fingernail against the edge of the slide so that Coach could walk out onto Jeff's fingernail. Soon, against the wishes of Ryan and Mr. Menendez, Coach was standing square in the middle of Jeff's fingernail. "What're doing?" demanded Ryan. "He's gonna get blown off!" Coach MacGregor was desperately trying to communicate with Jeff, probably to tell Jeff of his father's involvement. "What is it, coach? What are you trying to tell me?" Jeff looked up to his father: "Is there a way to rig up something so we can HEAR them. It's good to be able to see them, but Coach as something to say…he's turning purple from yelling, and I can't hear a damn thing!"

Meanwhile, on the 14 year-old's fingernail, Coach MacGregor was yelling: "JEFF!! JEFF!! YOUR DAD DID THIS!!! DON'T TRUST HIM!!! SOMETHING'S UP AND ITS STINKS!! JEFF!! DEAR, GOD, JEFF!! PLEASE HEAR ME!!" Finally, Coach stopped: "MacGregor, you idiot. It's pointless", he panted, "Jeff can't hear me. NO ONE can hear me!! Coach sat down on the fingernail, which seemed to be about the same area as his first apartment in college. Some peeled skin poked up like little hills. MacGregor also noticed something else: "He could clean his nails once in a while!!" he said with a snort. Suddenly, a deafening roar, like that of ten locomotives, blasted Coach MacGregor. At that moment, a tremendous gale picked the tiny coach up off his rear. He was airborne!! Coach flew in the air for a second, approaching Ryan's face, until landing hard against something fleshy. Coach clung to this huge, massive, fleshy mass for dear life. He heard loud, booming voices; from Ryan and Jeff, too loud to be understood by Coach. All the poor, tiny man could do was to hold on for dear life! "HEEELLP!!!" cried the terrified, tiny man. Tears were streaming down his face. What a terrifying situation! What a humiliating situation, too: a state-championship coach reduced to a piece of lint that gets blown around by even the smallest gust. "Just don't look down!" he whimpered to himself, trying not to think of the two-thousand foot drop to the floor, among two colossal pairs of big, heavy boots. As Jeff peered at the speck of his coach on his fingernail, he began to feel a tickle in his nose. Before he could react to stifle it, Jeff let out a huge, blast of a sneeze. He sneezed right one his finger, which he held up in front of his face, with Ryan looking on. A spray hit both Jeff's finger and Ryan's face, and Ryan was pissed. "What's wrong with you, fool??" bellowed Ryan. "Aww, man!! He's gone!! Coach ain't on your finger! You blew him off—", Ryan's voice trailed off in a whimper. Jeff looked at Ryan's now-moist, very gorgeous face. There was only one imperfection: a little, pale speck, probably about the size of a grain of rice, clinging to the tip of Ryan's nose. Jeff grabbed the magnifying glass and looked closer. Sure enough, the speck was Coach MacGregor, clinging with all fours to the fleshy tip of Ryan's nose. Jeff chuckled. "I think I've found him." said Jeff, very relieved. Ryan raised his finger to his nose, right under the old coach. Coach let go and landed on Ryan's nail. Ryan quickly returned coach to the glass slide under the microscope and peered at his tiny team. Coach look like he'd been caught in a hurricane; his toupee was blown off! Ryan, now amused, chuckled with Jeff: "Sorry `bout that, sir. No one's gonna be handling any of you. You're all too small. It's too dangerous." The team would be staying with Menendez. Ryan called his parents and asked if he could spend the night over at the Menendez's house. He did not trust Jeff, especially knowing that Jeff and Little John were beefin'. An immature, 6'2" freshman alone with a ¼" senior that don't get along? Not a good combination! Ryan also called Mrs. MacGregor. Ryan knew that she wouldn't believe him if he told her what had happened to her husband and his basketball team (who would?) So he carefully took Coach MacGregor, placed him in the Altoids container, and held it level in his hand. Ryan would drive over to the MacGregor's home to break the terrible news in person. As Ryan drove, he wondered what would happen if his friends and his coaches would stay so tiny forever. What sort of lives could they lead? Would the varsity team be restored to their normal size before the Centerville game, or would they be crushed (LITERALLY!) by Centerville in a couple of days? Part 6 Ryan drove to the MacGregor house. Holding the Altoid's can containing Coach MacGregor in a gloved hand, he rang the bell. Mrs. MacGregor was an attractive, older woman who was a very gracious hostess. She had made hot chocolate and even took his coat. Soon, he sat at the MacGregor's dining room table, holding onto the Altoids can. Mrs. MacGregor saw this and thought this odd, but didn't say anything about it. "Well, Ryan." Began Mrs. MacGregor, "You said something was going on. Something involving my husband. By the way, I have no idea where he is." Ryan opened the metal container, handed Mrs. MacGregor the magnifying glass, and winced as she let out a cry. Soon, Coach was on his wife's fingernail. The manicured nail and polish was very slick, and Coach didn't want to risk standing. So he laid spread eagle against her pretty nail. The sheer scale of her finger was making him wig out! "Oh, DEAR!!!" wailed Mrs. MacGregor. "Charlie? Charlie? Are you OK? My God, Ryan!! How did this HAPPEN???" Ryan explained that he didn't know for sure, but that Mr. Menendez might know what to do. He couldn't bear to tell her the truth, that Menendez had no idea what to do and acted weird…like he was hiding something. Just then, the sound of a motorcycle purred out in the driveway. Jon MacGregor, the MacGregor's only son, had arrived. He graduated from McKinley in 1990 and now owner an excavating company in his home town. He lived only 15 minutes away and made frequent visits to his parents' house. The ruggedly handsome, 6'6" athlete had been the star quarterback for the football team and had led the basketball team to the state championship, along with Ryan, last year. Within a minute, the door out back opened. The heels of Jon's black motorcycle boots bumped heavily against the linoleum floor in the kitchen. Jon entered the dining room, happy to see Ryan's truck out front. Jon used to baby-sit Ryan when Ryan was a kid; Jon had taught Ryan much about football and basketball. The 32 year-old Jon MacGregor bore a strong resemblance to Vin Diesel, with his shaved head, black leather jacket, large shoulders, and strong jaw. However, his smile faded when he saw his weeping mother. "What's going on?" asked Jon. He looked at his mother's extended finger. "I don't get it. What's the problem?" he asked, squinting at the speck on his mom's nail. Once she handed Jon the magnifying glass, he saw his father; his tiny, tiny father, not even one quarter of an inch tall. Jon grew pale as he watched his dad struggle to keep from sliding off Mrs. MacGregor's fingernail. Jon started to sit at the table, eyes fixed upon the speck. He almost missed the chair as he lowered himself; Ryan reached over and pulled the chair under Jon's 240 pound frame as it seemed to go limp. Meanwhile, the tiny coach sat at the very tip of his wife's fingernail, legs hanging over the edge, waving to his son. After Ryan explained the situation, Mrs. MacGregor slowly moved her finger to Jon. "Hold out your hand, Jon." She said, her eyes red from tears. Jon opened his hand as Coach leapt off the nail and into Jon's fleshy palm. Jon watched his father, barely the size of an ant, climb around on Jon's palm. "Dad? Hey dad? Are you alright?" said Jon in a deep, husky voice much too loud for such a tiny man. "Not so loud!!" wailed Mrs. MacGregor. "You're hurting him!" "How did something like this HAPPEN?? I mean, come on!! How can this be real!?!" yelled Jon, as Coach crouched in pain in his son's palm. Meanwhile, Coach MacGregor never felt so puny in all his life. As he stood in his son's massive palm, a sense of overwhelming humiliation filled him. He remembered when he was the man of the house! It was one thing when Jon outgrew him by five inches. But this was too much. His wife and son might as well have been on another planet; at his tiny size, they were totally inaccessible to him. They towered like skyscrapers over him….from their waists up! Humiliation welled up as MacGregor realized that his son—his `little boy' who used to be so small and who looked up to his father—now towered at a height approximate to over 2,100 feet! The giant's day-old beard stubble was knee-high to the tiny man. What if the shrinking couldn't be reversed? What kind of husband could he be? What kind of father could he be, a man no bigger than a grain of rice? Moreover, how could Coach MacGregor continue to coach and teach at the high school? His career was over. A coach less than ¼ of an inch tall among high school jocks? He'd get trampled! He'd be squashed!! "I have an idea, Mom." said Jon. Jon told his mother to get a pair of tweezers. He used them to pick his father up by his belt-loop (Not again!?! cried Coach) and held him up to his face. "Aieeeee!" screamed Coach, who was dangling by his belt, flaying his arms and legs. Mrs. MacGregor clasped her hands. "Oh Jon! Be careful with him! He's so small and fragile!" Jon shot a look at his mother. He replied, sarcastically: "Really, mom? Gee, Ryan and I were going to take him outside and play football with him! Us two versus him! Full contact, of course!" The humiliated coach, dangling helplessly, swallowed hard: "F-f-f-f- footb-b-all?? Y-you'd better be kidding. I hope—". "Please don't talk to me that way!" snapped Mrs. MacGregor. "I'm sorry, Jon. I know you'll be careful. He's your father!" She brought her face close to the tiny coach as Jon held him out in front of him and sobbed: "Oh, my brave, little snuggle-bunny!" Both Jon and Ryan snorted, trying to stifle a laugh. "Snuggle bunny?" said Jon and Ryan in unison. Jon regained his composure and brought the tiny man close to his face: "Now `snuggle bunny', listen up. There's no way for you to communicate with us, so I'm gonna put you in my ear. Run as far as you can into my ear, as close to my eardrum as possible, and say something." Coach MacGregor didn't like this idea, but he was in no position to voice his opinion or to stop Jon. Jon raised the tweezers to his left ear and loosened the grip. Coach plopped right on the entrance to his son's ear hole. As Coach made his way into the cavern, his feet were getting mired in the thin layer of wax build-up. One of his tiny loafer got stuck and came right off his foot. "Hey dad!" whispered Jon. "Quit dancing around in there and crawl inside. And start saying something!" "God, his footsteps are driving me nuts!" said Jon to Ryan. "It tickles like crazy!" "CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW??" Coach MacGregor kept yelling. Finally, Jon spoke up: "I hear ya, pop!! We're in business! I can hear you, dad! Now tell me, what the @#@$! happened to you??" "WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE, JON!! YOU KNOW BETTER THAN TO SWEAR IN MY HOUSE!!" roared the tiny Coach at Jon's eardrum. "All right! All right! Sorry, dad. OK, so tell us…what HAPPENED???" Coach told Jon everything that happened in the locker room, about the Centerville boys, and about Menendez. After Coach told Jon what happened, Jon relayed this to Ryan: "Oh man! Menendez did this? And I left my boys at his house!" Jon and Mrs. MacGregor decided to keep Coach MacGregor with them. Jon, using much precision, carefully scooped his tiny father out of his ear with a Q-tip. The tiny man, smeared with ear wax, clung onto the massive cotton tip with all of his strength; the humiliating experience was complete. Meanwhile, Ryan threw on his jacket and sprinted out of the house, heading for Menendez's place. What have they all gotten into, Ryan wondered. Meanwhile, at the Menendez house, Mr. Menendez was working feverishly on an antidote for his shrinking formula. He did not know how he would live with himself if the shrunken team were to stay at such a tiny size. Menendez put two and two together and realized that he had been drugged with some sort of vapor and forced to use his shrinking formula on the team. Menendez broke the news to Jeff, who was angry at both the Centerville boys and at his father, for making such a formula. Suddenly, from his work room, Jeff and Mr. Menendez heard Ryan burst into the house. "Menendez! Where are you??" boomed Ryan. "I think Ryan just found out what you did, pop!" said Jeff. Part 7 Mr. Menendez told the story to a very angry and very large, strong young man, who looked like he would slug him. Probably only one punch would knock the 5'10" 170 pound Juan Menendez out cold. Ryan's anger cooled somewhat when he heard the whole story, that Mr. Menendez didn't act maliciously. But he couldn't understand how the chemist could create such a dangerous formula and how the pharmaceutical plant could have such lax security. As Ryan slept on the couch in the family room and Jeff in his bedroom, Juan Menendez was up the entire night, mixing chemicals. He had finally finished a blue concoction. At about 5 o'clock the next morning, Menendez took an ant and dabbed a drop on the ant. In a blast and a puff of bluish smoke, a six foot-long ant stood before Menendez…SUCCESS! Mr. Menendez quickly shot some of the green, shrinking potion at the ant, which returned it to ant-size. Menendez woke up Ryan and Jeff and had them come into the lab. The three guys returned to the work room. Ryan, who was still shirtless, opened the lid to the Altoids container, waking up the tiny, slumbering jocks and coaches. Once the tiny team members got dressed and laced up their tiny sneakers, Mr. Menendez carefully removed the tiny boys from the container and back onto the glass slide. He placed it under the microscope and spoke to the tiny boys: "I think I reached a breakthrough to return you all to your normal sizes! I will need one volunteer, as I can only enlarge one of you at a time. But I must warn you: I do not know the effect this will have on humans." `Bear' stepped forward. Bear, the formerly 6'6", 255 pound post who had short-cropped blonde hair, dark eyebrows, green eyes, and a light brown goatee, walked out to the edge of the glass slide, as Menendez lowered his fingernail level with the slide. Bear walked out onto Menendez's fingernail, feeling very nervous about being on such a colossal finger. Menendez carefully placed Bear on a spot on the floor marked with a red dot, about the diameter of a penny. Bear was wearing a white sleeveless T-shirt, green shorts, and white Nike high tops; but all that could be seen of the tiny post was a speck of green, from his shorts. Without wasting a moment, Menendez sprayed the blue liquid onto Bear… …After a burst of blue smoke, Bear stood before them all—back to his 6'6, 255 pound self! "WOO-HOO!!" hooted Bear, as he ran to Ryan. Ryan and Bear smacked `high fives' hard and hugged. Bear picked Ryan up as he hugged him hard. Tears flowed from his ruggedly handsome face…it was a touching moment. Bear walked over to the microscope and looked down at them. The tiny boys hopped around for joy…the shrinking can be reversed!! The tiny team members slapped high fives, hooted, and hollered. "Guys, look! It can be reversed! We're saved!!" wept Bear for joy. Jeff went out to the kitchen and returned with boxes of `Honey Buns', `Ho-Ho's', and Twinkies, along with a bunch of bananas and a bowl of oranges. The tiny team hadn't really eaten anything since before practice. These treats would tide them over until breakfast could be made. Bear scarfed down a banana and ate a Twinkie in one bite, all within ninety seconds of being enlarged! The next player to be restored was Ryan's best friend, Jim Tanner. Then Blake. Then Coach Perkins. Then Coach Green. Then the athletic trainer. Then Cole. The restored McKinley High School Varsity team was filling the work room, all hugging and smacking high-fives; Menendez tried to remind the enlarged guys to keep the thunderous noise down for the guys who were still tiny. At last, only one player was left to be restored, Little John. Only Little John and Wally, the mentally-handicapped man, were still tiny. Wally—by far the tiniest at a mere 3/16th of an inch—refused to go; he kept grabbing guys and pushing them to the edge of the glass slide so that they could be enlarged. "Little John! Little John!" the guys chanted, looking down at the two remaining tiny specks. Just then, Jeff stepped up and looked down at Little John through the microscope. "Yo, Little John. I'm sorry I was such a jerk . I'm— I'm glad you're going to be all right!" Jeff began, "I..I want to tell you now, before you grow back, so you know that I mean it. That I wouldn't be just saying it `cause you're big. I want to show you while you're…well…puny and all, that I respect you." Jeff placed his finger gently on the glass slide next to the quarter inch tall Little John. "Are we cool?" asked Jeff. Little John nodded his head as he looked at Jeff's eye through his end of the microscope. He walked out to the 14 year-old freshman's fingertip and patted it, while Ryan patted Jeff on his shoulder in approval. In the meantime, the tiny, `roly-poly' Wally ran over and patted Jeff's fingertip, too. Jeff smiled down at Wally. "How's it goin', little guy?" whispered Jeff. This time, Little John grabbed Wally and began to push him out to the edge of the microscope slide. But Wally resisted: "You go, Little John. They need you. I can stay a bug. No one needs me." However, the guys looked on and began to pump their fists as they chanted "WALLY! WALLY! WALLY! WALLY!" "WE MISS YOU, WALLY!!" called out Blake. "COME BACK TO US, WALLY!" called out Ryan. Little Wally crouched and held his ears; they guys were getting pretty loud. Just then, Bear broke his THIRD (!) Twinkie in half and popped one half into his mouth as he stepped forward. The soles of his huge, size 16 Nike high tops bumped heavily as he walked toward the microscope. Ryan looked at Bear and noticed that Bear looked more like 6'8" and 280 pounds, rather than his normal 6'6" and 255 pounds somehow, but Ryan just shrugged quietly to himself. Meanwhile, Bear lowered his face—dark with dense stubble--very close to the two tiny teens on the glass slide. The tip of Bear's nose was about an inch from the 3/16ths of an inch Wally on the slide. Bear swallowed the chewed-up Twinkie, licked the crumbs off his lips, and whispered very quietly and gently to the tiniest of the tiny specks: "Come on, Wally. Don't be afraid. It's still me! I've always had your back! Go next, please?" Wally could see a few remains of the Twinkie half and could smell Twinkie on the giant's breath. Wally loved Twinkies, and Bear knew this! Wally would walk on hot coals for a Twinkie. The big, blocky basketball jock was extremely gentle, lowering his face very close to the two tiny teens. Bear was smiling warmly. Then, me made a funny face, a face that always made Wally laugh…a face that impersonated a blowfish; crossed eyes, pursed lips, and puffed-up cheeks!! Bear was always fond of little Wally. For those who knew Bear and Wally, this was another very gentle, touching moment. Bear then held up the remaining half of the Twinkie: "You want this, little man? Aw, I'm sorry. You're wa-a-ay too tiny. You gotta be a least—a quarter inch tall to get the Twinkie! [Tsk, tsk] Too bad, little man! Well, since you're just a teeny, weeny little dude, I guess it's mine—" Bear opened in mouth and moved the Twinkie half toward the huge, cavernous cave. With that, Wally began hopping around and shaking his nearly microscopic fists: "NO! NO, Bear! You HAD your Twinkie. Gimme it!!" Wally quickly hopped off of the glass slide on the microscope. Fortunately, Bear quickly moved his huge palm to catch the tiny, mentally handicapped man. Wally into Bear's waiting palm, which was huge and beefy. With the Twinkie half in his one hand and tiny Wally in his other, Bear smirked and said "Hey, check it!" He held his palm right over the remaining half of the Twinkie, and Wally jumped right onto it! The 3/16th of an inch tall mentally handicapped man was barely the size of a sesame seed on a half of a Twinkie that, to him, was larger than a submarine! Wally was beaming as he scurried across the length of the Twinkie half that was being held between Bear's thumb and fingers. Wally climbed down onto the part that was broken and plopped into the white, creamy filing burrow his way into the massive Twinkie. It was as if Wally died and went to heaven!! Everyone rolled with laughter. Wally soon disappeared inside of the Twinkie! Seeing this, Bear called out between chortles: "Wally! Dude! Where'ya going?" Bear gently squeezed the Twinkie, causing the white filling to slowly bubble out. Bear squinted and made out Wally's tiny head, poking out in the middle of a white, creamy- filling gob. He scooped the gob up with his forefinger and had it and Wally balanced on the tip of his forefinger. Wally, a white little speck due to his adventures in the Twinkie, was placed on the penny-sized spot on the floor, and was restored to normal size! Bear hugged Wally, patted him on the head, and handed over the remaining Twinkie half, which Wally happily popped into his mouth! Little John was the last one left on the slide, the tiniest varsity player for McKinley High. The guys started calling him `Micro John' in jest. As he walked to the edge of the glass slide, a spider suddenly landed on the slide from a thin strand of web that went up to the ceiling! It was going for Little John! Little John ran away from the edge of the slide, with the spider in pursuit. Jeff lowered his face to the slide and blew. The spider was blown off the slide and onto the workbench, were it was quickly squashed by Bear's fist. But Little John was blown off the slide, too! Menendez saw that a beaker full of the green shrinking liquid was sitting at about the spot Little John would have landed. A sick feeling filled all of those crowded into the work room. If Little John landed in the beaker, which seemed likely, Little John was gone. Menendez, choked up, explained that the formerly 6'9" center was now shrinking to atomic size…and beyond. Little John would shrink to the point where an ATOM was as large as the Milky Way galaxy! That means… no air…no oxygen…no nothing…. "Damn…" mumbled Ryan, as he glared at the beaker, tears streaming down his cheeks. "WAIT!! LOOK!!" Jeff was pointing at Ryan's bellybutton. The guys came in for a closer look. Clinging to Ryan's thin patch of hair around his belly button, was a speck the size of a piece of lint… about a quarter-inch long. It was Little John!! Jeff blew him harder than was thought; Little John was blown onto Ryan. Thank God Ryan was shirtless; it was easy for Little John to grab hold of the rope- like hair! Eventually, Little John ended up in Ryan's palm. He carried the tiny center to the red spot on the floor. In a poof of blue smoke, Little John was back!! Little John embraced Ryan hard, dwarfing Ryan after only seconds ago being caught up in Ryan's body hair! Now could Little John and his buddies laugh about this; but hanging from Ryan's belly button, Little John didn't see any humor in it! Little John and Jeff hugged: "Thanks, man. You…you saved my life!" said Little John to the freshman. The varsity team was stoked. And they were hungry! Though it wasn't quite six o'clock in the morning, everyone was wide awake. And they had a mission: to get Coach MacGregor and enlarge him. But first, BREAKAST! Bear led the way, out of the workroom and to the kitchen. Suddenly, BAM!! Bear whacked his forehead on the top of the door frame. "Damn!" yelled Bear, rubbing his head. "Why do you have such a low door frame??" Menendez said nothing. He only stared, first at Bear, then at the other guys. Menendez whispered: "That's a seven-foot high door frame." Ryan noticed that guys who he thought he was taller than were now taller and bigger than him. Little Wally, who was only five foot tall or so, was now nearly six feet tall. "Oh SH**T!!" exclaimed Ryan, Jeff, Menendez, and the entire team, in unison! Meanwhile, Jon MacGregor woke up at about 6:15 in the MacGregor house. Jon decided to spend the night at his parent's house, to console his mother and to look after his very tiny father. Jon was able to use a Q-tip to remove his tiny father from his ear. He placed the minute Coach MacGregor on a cotton ball on the ledge of the sink in his bathroom. Jon showered, dressed, and gathered his dirty clothes and threw them in his backpack . He sat at the edge of the bed to slide his size 14 feet into his motorcycle boots. Jon walked into the bathroom and squeezed some toothpaste onto his toothbrush, not even thinking of his ¼ inch tall father. As he brushed, the cap of the toothpaste tube fell to the floor. As Jon bent down to pick it up, he thought he saw an ant scurry toward the cap as he reached for it. but didn't think anything of it. Jon brushed his teeth, slapped on some cologne, and walked over to the tub to replace the towel he had used. He took a Kleenex and blew his nose a few times, then stepped out of the bathroom, tossing the used Kleenex towards the waste basket. The wad bounced off the edge of the basket and landed on the floor as Jon walked out, the `clump, clomp' of his boots echoing loudly. It was only when Jon was halfway down the steps to the kitchen that he remembered about his dad. He had placed his tiny dad on a tiny wad of cotton on the bathroom sink! However, he didn't remember seeing it around! Jon raced back to the bathroom, nearly in a panic. Overnight, Coach MacGregor rested as comfortably as he could in the cotton wad on the sink. However, when Jon first awoke, his movements caused the cotton wad to be blown off onto the floor, next to the sink. Coach used all his might to hang on as the cotton ball glided gently to the floor, thankfully out of the way of Jon's bare feet, which slapped across the floor. After Jon was done drying off, Coach decided to venture out, hoping to find a way to be seen. At Coach's tiny size, it took awhile to cover only a couple of inches. Coach MacGregor was in the middle of the bathroom floor when he felt the low, ominous tremors…before he could shout "Oh no!!", Jon's enormous boot sole thundered down onto the floor with a blast: "CLOMP!!!!" Then Jon's left foot smashed down a centimeter in front of the terrified father, who was waving his hands and hopping around; anything to be noticed; "CLOMP!!!" thundered the left boot, which picked Coach off his feet and sent him airborne. He landed on his rear and slid on his shorts as a five-story high motorcycle boot heel clomped heavily in his path! Coach smacked into the heel, knocking him out cold!

When Coach came to, everything was dark. He looked up into the darkness and about three stories overhead, made out an orange "Harley-Davidson"… OH NO!! He was RIGHT UNDER the arch of Jon's boot!! MacGregor was paralyzed with panic. Thank God Jon wore biker boots…had he been wearing sneakers or a flat-soled shoe, he would have been squashed!!

Jon shifted his foot slightly, the enormous boot heel scrapped against the linoleum, causing Coach to grind his teeth. Light flooded in…Coach was no longer right under Jon's boot but was lying an inch from the ball of the foot. Suddenly, `THUD!!' The cap from the toothpaste tube landed on the hard floor with a crash. As Jon's gigantic hand reached down to grab the cap, MacGregor ran toward the hand, figuring that he would be spotted. MacGregor saw Jon look right at him, but simply did not recognize him; he was too small!! MacGregor was frustrated and scared. How could anyone find him at this size. He was 324 times smaller than life…where regular-sized people look RIGHT AT HIM and still do not see him! Coach MacGregor was knocked off his feet again when Jon stepped around in the bathroom in those heavy, thundering boots. Jon's right foot crashed down, nearly on top of his poor, tiny father, causing a gust of wind that blew MacGregor around on the floor. Within a split second, the heel from Jon's left boot slammed loudly and hard within a half inch from the battered little speck of a man. Coach was blown across the floor and into a colossal, WET wad of Kleenex! The thundering of Jon's boots stayed in MacGregor's head even after Jon left. The old coach was lying on the floor, bawling his eyes out. How far he had fallen!! He was simply another bug to be crushed on the floor that the man who ruled his house. After a few minutes of searching the bathroom floor with the magnifying glass, Jon found his petrified father next to the wad of Kleenex. He used the tweezers to pick up his tiny dad by the waistband of his undershorts, apologizing profusely. Jon brought his father down to the kitchen and fried up some eggs, MacGregor watching from the top of the kitchen table. As he cooked breakfast, Jon told his dad about all the events of his life—how his business was going, how his friends were, girls, and so forth. Jon scooped the eggs onto the plate and placed it on the table, where it towered over the minute man. The blast of the plate landing on the table nearly knocked the less than a quarter-inch tall man over. Jon again apologized, but was growing frustrated over how frail his father was at this size: "Damn, I can hardly do anything around him." Thought Jon to himself. Jon picked up his dad again with the tweezers and placed him on one of the slices of toast. Coach was filled up by just a few crumbs He even impressed Jon by diving off the edge of the toast into the yellow pool of egg yoke. The yoke was thick, but the little man had a blast doing the breaststroke in his son's breakfast as Jon looked on, chuckling merrily and calling out "You da man, atom man!". Jon gently fished his dad out of the egg yoke with his fork. The coach was totally in awe of the enormity of his son, the spitting image of Vin Diesel with that "chrome-dome", which Jon wore because, like his father, his hair was thinning. Coach MacGregor began to feel insignificant, powerless—which he was. But MacGregor found himself feeling comforted by Jon's thundering yet gentle baritone voice, which seemed to rumble across the valley, sort of speak. After breakfast, Coach MacGregor cleaned off in a few drops of water in a bottle cap as Jon put on his black leather gloves and jacket. Earlier in the morning, Jon had called over at the Menendez house, where he happily learned that the shrinking could indeed be reversed and that the entire basketball squad was back to their regular, basketball-playing size. MacGregor was overjoyed. Even if he would stay tiny, at least his boys would have a chance to defend their title!! Coach was placed into a small pill bottle, which was cushioned with another cotton ball. Jon held the closed bottle in his gloved hand for a moment, then slid it into the pocket of his leather jacket. They were off to the Menendez house.

Part 8

Jon roared his bike into the Menendez driveway, parked the bike, and began to proceed up the walkway. Suddenly, Ryan, who was dressed by this time, went out the door and stopped Jon: "Uh, we are meeting out back." Jon wanted to know why, considering the cold winter morning, that they were waiting out in the backyard, of all places!! When Jon reached the back yard, he stopped in shock. The varsity team wasn't TINY anymore…that much was true. But now, Jon was looking at a group of dudes who were sitting on the ground…who were ENORMOUS!!! Bear stood up and dwarfed the Menendez house…he had to be at least 20 feet tall!! One of Bear's Jordan sneakers was large enough to be used as a bed for a small child!! `AAAHHH" screamed Jon, who alarmed his tiny father, Coach MacGregor, still inside the pill bottle. Of course, Coach had a worse reaction when seeing his enlarged team. Each guy was around 15 to 20 feet tall!!! To him, they towered well over a mile in height. When Bear and the other enlarged team members tried to say hello to their tiny coach, they couldn't even see him… to these 20 foot tall guys, Coach MacGregor seemed barely 1/16th of an inch tall. "What're we gonna do NOW!!" boomed a 22 foot tall Little Jon, `We STILL will have to forfeit our game to Centerville!!" The guys were upset at Mr. Menendez and upset at the Centerville players who were responsible for this. They were threatening to go to Centerville and level the place, with their new-found size and strength. Bear wanted to smash Menendez's house to splinters and had to be restrained once already! "Well, so much for basketball practice today!" though Ryan, looking up at his now giant friends. Part 9 Well, eventually, Menendez was able to straighten out the problem. The team was able to be returned to their normal sizes. However, Menendez needed more time to work on an enlarging formula that could be used to enlarge Coach MacGregor, but wouldn't make him grow and grow infinitely. Poor Coach MacGregor would have to stay tiny and, thus, miss the game. It would be far too dangerous for a man 324 times smaller than life to be out on a basketball court with so many colossal athletes and fans. As game time approached, tiny Coach MacGregor tried to not think about the game. He knew that the assistant coaches had everything under control. But he also realized that there may not be a bigger game against a bigger rival than Centerville. During Coach's `tiny' spell, Mr. Menendez constructed a hover craft from lawn mower engines, an old motorcycle side car, and steel propellers. Menendez shrunk the hover craft for the Coach to get around easier. The flying contraption was about the size of a honeybee and enabled MacGregor to get around his house easier and safer than being on the floors. Coach had an idea. He boarded his hovercraft and flew in the direction of his son, Jon, who was going to the game. Without detection, he flow it into a large cavern in Jon's leather jacket…the pocket was like a huge, soft, and warm cave. Even as Jon rode to the game on his motorcycle, Coach and the hovercraft were secure deep in the jacket pocket. Coach heard and felt the thundering roar of the crowd at McKinley High School. As soon as he felt Jon stop moving, he boarded the hover craft, started back up, and took of. Coach zoomed out of Jon's pocket. He kept low, hoping not to get spotted by Jon, who would be pissed to know that his very tiny dad was taking such a foolish risk on his life by being in this gymnasium. He flew about an inch over the toe of Jon's right boot, as Jon tossed some popcorn into his mouth. A kernel of popcorn plummeted from Jon's hand and smacked right onto the hovercraft. The craft was forced onto the tow of Jon's boot, just as Jon moved his foot. Coach was able to get the craft under control and flying as it was getting knocked off the toe of the motorcycle boot. Coach piloted the craft through a crack in the bleacher and dove under the bleachers. Coach MacGregor flew up between two huge Nike joggers and over a pair of knees. He was in the student section. Coach flew over the head of a kid in front of the knees he flew over and landed on the bill of a Nike ballcap. The game was under way and Centerville had a 12-9 lead. Just then, Coach saw Ryan break with a rebound, driving it down the court and going in for a lay-up. This caused the owner of the ballcap to get excited, knocking the tiny coach and hovercraft loose. Coach tried with all his strength to hold on and to gain control of the craft. He flew right in front of the nose of a handsome African American teen, who furrowed his brow and swatted at the tiny man as if he were a fly. Fortunately, the teen missed, and Coach flew off, over the bench of the McKinley team. Jeff Menendez was sitting the bench, so Coach flew over to him. He flew the craft right by Jeff's ear and yelled. But at his tiny size, and with the noise of the gym, there was no way he could be heard. A time out was called, and Jeff got up near the huddle. Coach kept up, buzzing around the freshman's ears. Jeff noticed some tiny thing buzzing around him, but thought it to be nothing more than a large housefly. When coach flew an inch from Jeff's nose, Jeff furrowed his brow and swung his large, mighty hand: WHACK!!! Coach was knocked clean off the hovercraft, which was destroyed on impact. Thank goodness, Coach avoided most of the direct blow, but was knock off the craft really hard. He hurdled across the air, right into the huddle. He saw that he was being thrown toward a head full of short, dark brown hair with the bangs spiked up as kids where them nowadays….wait a minute…that's RYAN'S head!! Whoosh! Thud! Went the coach as he brush across the forests of hair and landed right on Ryan's scalp. Coach laid there completely still. He worried that if he moved around too much, Ryan would scratch the less than ¼ inch tall man out of his scalp, crushing him under hard, strong nails. The scalp was wet with sweat and smelled of sweat and a sweet shampoo scent. Coach held on for dear life as play resumed. Coach felt even smaller than his actual size, he felt like nothing more than just a piece of vermin on the head of a colossal high school athlete in a competitive, strong game of champions. From the tiny coach's perspective, it felt like he was living a mythological tale… caught as a tiny, mortal, helpless spectator in the midst of immortal gods, god-like beings and colossal giants capable of crushing cities in the palms of their hands. Coach held on to the thick strands of hair, drenched by massive beads of sweat. Over the course of the half and overtime, Coach MacGregor made it to the spiked-up bangs, which towered 50-60 feet to the ¼ inch-tall coach. By the start of the second half, Coach made it out to the edge of this dark-brown "forest". Light broke through as Coach reached the edge. Ryan's fleshy forehead gave way to a frightening drop of nearly 2,080 feet!! Coach wrapped his arms and legs around the gelled-up, gooey spiky bangs as colossal Ryan ran the court, his thundering footfall, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, SQUEAK!! SQUEA-AK!! BOOM SQUEAK!! BOOM BOOM!! jostled the teeny tiny man up and down, up and down. Coach had a great view of the action, that was for sure! Suddenly, disaster!! Coach saw one of the Centerville guys stick his foot out, tripping Ryan. The fall knocked Coach's legs free of the strands of hair. Coach tried with all his might to hold on, but his arms were getting weak from hanging so long. In only a second, Coach lost his grip, right as Ryan fell face-down on the floor. Ryan got up with the help of Little John, but Coach, who only fell about an inch into a pool left by sweat on the floor, was now in a mess of trouble!! Coach frantically swam out of the sweat-drop pool and onto dry hardwood just as a colossal towel steered by a colossal sneaker mopped up the sweat. Coach barely missed getting swept up and squashed, but he swallowed hard as he heard the official re-start play. The tiny man was on the court just under the basket of the biggest basketball game in the state!! `Oohhh God!!" shrieked Coach. The teams were moving toward the goal, away from Coach, but the thunder of the boys could be felt hard by the tiny man. Suddenly, as is the case with such as fast-paced game as basketball, Ryan grabbed a rebound and was running and full force up the court…right for Coach MacGregor!!! Coach was knocked over by the force of Ryan's left foot, slamming down about 15 inches away. Coach looked up as Ryan's Air Jordan sneaker sole hovered overhead…time slowed to nearly a standstill for the tiny coach…less than ¼ of an inch tall, about to be flattened by his star player. The sneaker sole descended quickly…all went black…. Coach MacGregor opened his eyes. He was still on the hardwood court, still in the gymnasium, STILL ALIVE!!!! "But how??" wondered Coach. Then he paused. Coach screwed up a relieved smile…the tread of Ryan's sneaker!!!! Coach was small enough to, when lying flat, fit between the tread in a sneaker sole without getting injured if the giant steps just right. Ryan stepped just right to step on but not squash his very tiny coach!! Just then, BOOM!!! The heel of a New Balance sneaker slammed down less than a quarter inch from the tiny man. Then BUMPP!!! The ball of a colossal Nike sneaker thundered down with the magnitude of a 10.0 earthquake and inch from the tiny, middle-aged coach. The ball, which to coach appeared larger than Epcott Center in Florida, dribbled "THUD!! THUD!! THUD!!" inches away from Coach, until the giant passed the ball across the court. Coach was right in the middle of the action, as arena sized sneakers and a 30-story tall basketball boomed and thundered and squeaked around him and as the colossal, booming bass of the `mega-giants' blasted as giant teen players, ranging from 1,800 to 2,100 feet in height, barked out directions to teammates. Once again, however, Coach barely avoided getting squashed! A white, New Balance high top, worn by a Centerville player, slammed down right on top of the old coach; once again, the poor man was spared, as he laid flat out, fitting between the tread in the heel of the sole once again! But this time, there was something sticky… either remains of gum or God knows what…which held MacGregor between the tread! Coach was stuck between the tread on the sole of a Centerville player's sneaker!! Coach passed out from fright and severe vertigo as the giant ran, dribbling the ball. Everything kept going light, then dark, light, then dark, as the giant's foot made contact with the hardwood floor. This scared the hell out of Coach, who knew that he was still in danger and that luck would not see him through the whole night!! After a minute, the giant was fouled and walked to the foul line. In the process, Coach became unstuck from the sole and laid on the floor, right between two size 16 New Balance high tops, as the giant made his free throws. The gym was getting hot. Industrial-sized fans were brought in and were turned on during a time-out. McKinley was ahead 57-55 with three minutes left. The fans created a gust that sent Coach MacGregor across the court and toward the benches. The speck-sized man, feeling pretty humiliated by having his pants fall off in the process, rested between the toes to a pair of the McKinley team- issued Nike high-tops. He heard the voice of this giant blast was Bear!! Coach ran over to the right sneaker….the lace was coming undone!! Coach scurried up the lace. He had climbed about an inch when a whistle blew. Oh no, Bear was being substituted in!! "AAAHHH!!" groaned Coach, as he was violently jarred on the loose shoe lace, trying to hang on for dear life. Just then, the official noticed that Bear's lace was coming undone. He knelt to tie it…and made a surprising discovery!!!  Another time-out was called by Bear as he hustled over to the bench and showed his tiny find to his teammates. They were completely shocked to see the tiny Coach, laying `spread eagle' on the ball of Bear's hand. Coach stood up and began to yell. He wasn't mad at them… he wanted them to keep their heads in the game. And the team members knew this, even though they couldn't hear him. As he yelled, hopping in the giant jock's palm, the team members felt a rush. Wow! NOTHING could keep our coach away from this game. Not even the fact that he was 324 times smaller than life! Not the fact that he risked his life being out here being barely the size of a grain of rice!! Not the fact that he was nearly stepped on a squashed numerous times. HE could still be here and be in the game, they thought, by God, WE can be, too!! Coach was passed into Jeff's palm as Bear and the rest of the team rushed out to finish the last few seconds of a game that was now tied 68-68. In an extraordinary display of teamwork, the ball was stripped from Centerville and driven down the court by Little John. Seeing that he couldn't make a clean shot, he passed to Blake, who passed to Ryan, who made the last second jump shot!!! McKinley won!! The roar of Jeff and the other on the bench nearly deafened Coach, but he didn't care. After much celebrating on the court and in the locker room, the team showered and prepared to head home. After dressing, Ryan looked for Coach MacGregor, but no one had seen him for a few minutes. Ryan looked all around on the benches and on the floor, but he didn't see any tiny creatures running around. Finally he looked over at his basketball shoes, which rested in the locker below Ryan's game uniform. Some movement caught his eye. Sure enough, tiny Coach MacGregor was on sitting on the mid-high ankle collar of the sneaker, obviously the victim yet again of another wind gust. But MacGregor was safe, sitting on the shoe and waving to Ryan. Ryan gently picked up the shoe and chuckled. "Damn, to you, my shoe's big enough for you to play football in! You have a big pair of shoes to fill when I graduate, don't you, coach?" EPILOGUE Ryan brought Coach MacGregor back to his house, where a frantic Mrs. MacGregor and Jon MacGregor were searching for the tiny man. A few days later, Coach was returned to his normal size, but not without leading a practice at his tiny size. Even while being less than ¼ of an inch tall, he could still make them run. With the help of a special sound system, he could finally be heard and even yell climb into Ryan's palm and chew him out, telling him to move his ass or he'll sit the bench. When Coach was restored (much to the chagrin of the team, considering the hard practice they had endured) Menendez destroyed the shrinking formula and his notes that led to the creation of the formula….at least, they all HOPED they were forever destroyed. But…you never really know!  THE END