THE BIG GAMEby Mike E.
Ever since I had been shrunk, I had been staying in the room of an 11-year old boy named Taren. I didn't clearly remember how I had gotten shrunk but I did remember waking up in Taren's hand as he was walking up the stairs and into his room.
Several weeks had passed and I had become close friends with Taren. He took good care of his 5" tall friend and I came to know that the boy had a good and generous heart. Taren had blond hair and stood about 5 foot 2 inches tall and weighed 75 pounds as he told me proudly. Of course, to me he was twelve times my height and a thousand times my weight. Taren seemed to know this and was very careful around me. Every time he picked me up he asked, "Are you OK? Was that too hard?" It never was and I had found out that his care was very much in his nature. He took just as good care of all of his things.
I discovered during my time with Taren that he was a young soccer player. Each Saturday and Sunday he got his uniform on and went to his games, leaving me in his room to await his return. He always came back with a big grin on his face. He told me about how the game went and how he had assisted on a goal or two. Apparently he was on a good team.
One Saturday morning Taren was getting his red and white uniform on. I was watching from the edge of his bed, looking up at him.
"Hey," he said, "would you like to come to my game? It would be cool!"
"How could I see it? I wouldn't be tall enough to see anything and somebody would notice if I were on top of their head!" I replied. I had found out that Taren had not told anyone about me, not even his parents.
"I know! I could tuck you in my shirt and you could be like in the game with me! You could see everything just like you were playing."
"I might fall out," I said, worried about that more than I wanted to admit.
"I can use a pin to hold you on to my shirt. We can put it through your waistband and my shirt collar to hold them together."
"Yeah, sounds like it would work," I said, encouraged and beginning to get excited about getting out to see the game with my friend.
Taren picked me up and carefully put a safety pin through my waistband. He then tucked me into his shirt and put the pin through that too so I was securely fastened. I was able to look right out with my head a little lower than his chin so I could see everything. This was going to be way cool!
Taren put his warmup jacket over me and zipped it up so I was covered for the trip over to the field. It was a little dark but light filtered through just enough so I could see. I could feel him walking down the stairs. I heard the screen door of his house squeak open and then slam behind. Soon, there was the noise and motion of the car as we rode over to the game.
At the field, Taren kept his jacket on while he warmed up with his team. I was bounced around a bit as he ran and jumped. I still hadn't seen anything. I could hear his shouts to his teammates right above my head and it was LOUD.
Before long, the game was ready to begin. Taren took his jacket off and sprinted onto the field in to his position before anyone could get any idea that my head was poking up from his shirt collar. I could look out in the same direction Taren was facing. This was going to be great fun!
The whistle blew and the game started. Taren was a midfielder and he maneuvered the ball upfield and passed it off to a teammate. I could see every move and watched the ball fly through the air just as if I were a player. This was awesome. I looked down from my perch at Taren's collar. It seemed like I was 50 feet above the ground! "Go, Taren!" I shouted. He couldn't hear me, of course, in the noise of the game.
We had been playing for about 10 minutes when a defender grabbed Taren's shirt to try to stop him. The whistle blew since that was a foul and Taren got the ball for a free kick. Taren's shirt had been pulled out of his shorts and was hanging loose. I didn't notice that the safety pin had also come open!
Taren took a few steps back and sprinted toward the ball. There was a tremendous jar as he kicked it hard. I found myself falling down his shirt and right out the bottom. I landed in the soft grass, unhurt. I looked up to see Taren sprinting away from me toward the goal. He hadn't noticed me falling out! I looked around. I realized I was a 5" tall man standing in knee-high grass RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF A GAME BEING PLAYED BY GIANTS! I looked to the sideline: it looked like it was a mile away. I looked to the other one. Another mile away. I was in the middle of the field. I had to get off that field! Ever tried sprinting a mile in tall grass?
I began to make my way toward the side of the field. I looked up to see the ball coming toward me and a thundering pack of enormous boys in hot pursuit. They didn't see me at all! The defenders were wearing green and black uniforms. Two of them passed me by but here came Taren, right toward me!
I sprinted to the side just in time to avoid Taren's huge foot slamming down just behind me. The parents on the sideline had no chance at all of ever seeing me and the boys just were not paying any attention. Taren sprinted by as he chased down the ball.
This was a going to be a disaster if I didn't either get his attention or get off the field. These boys were each a thousand times or more heavier than I and the chances of being squashed by one of them was very real and foremost in my mind. I was close to panic.
The ball went out of bounds and the play stopped for a moment. Here came Taren again, walking toward me. I waved my arms and tried to get his attention but he was busy looking at the ball over his shoulder and didn't see me. He walked right over me as I ran to get out of his way.
There must have been some kind of magnetic attraction between me and Taren because every time he went anywhere on the field he seemed to come right at me. He just did not see me there and I was lucky to avoid being stepped on.
The play came back my way. I started to run to my right. Just in time I saw Taren's huge foot coming down and stopped just in time. The ground shook under my feet as his foot landed right in front of me and he turned to run up field.
I was making some progress toward the side of the field now but not fast enough. Down the field the players came again.
I ran as hard as I could away from Taren's path but he ran right over me again, narrowly missing me. I could feel the wind of his passing and it nearly blew me over.
I had to find a way to get Taren's attention. I would never get to the edge of the field. My only chance was to have him see me and rescue me.
Taren walked back downfield again and again walked right over me without seeing me at all. I was waving and shouting to him but my tiny voice was lost in the noise of the game.
The game flowed up and down the field. Each time it came my way there was Taren, coming right at me. I had to be able to make him see me!
Taren walked back up the field again while the ball was out of play. He was looking at the goal and didn't see me again. I ran backwards to get out of his way but his huge foot knocked me over and came down right across my legs. I closed my eyes and held my breath, expecting this to be the end of me!
Taren's foot came down on my legs. Fortunately the cleats on his soccer shoes missed me and I was just under his instep. The pressure was huge but I was not going to be crushed by my friend! I sank into the soft ground under his foot.
Taren stopped and looked down. He saw me sticking out from under his foot. "Oh no!" he cried. He took his foot off me and quickly looked around. No one was paying any attention to him. He bent and picked me up quickly and ran over to the sidelines.
"Coach! I need out!" he shouted.
"Sub, ref!" called the coach.
Another player came in and Taren came off the field carrying me enclosed in his hand. His hand was sweaty from his hard play. He put me in his soccer bag in one of the end pockets. I couldn't see out but I was thankful to be safe in the bag. I listened to the shouts of the boys as they played and the cheers of the parents when they scored a goal.
"Go, Taren!" came a cheer from the crowd.
The game finally ended and I felt the bag being picked up and swaying as Taren carried it to the car. Soon we were on the way home.
Taren carried the bag up to his room and opened it. He gently took me out.
"Are you OK? Did I hurt you?" he asked, his young face wrinkled with worry.
"Yeah, just a little sore", I said. "I don't think we ought to try THAT again!"
"You said it!"
I was to have many more adventures with Taren as his tiny friend but none would ever be as scary as this one had been!