Borderline Expressby Tim Lacey
I felt sad. Because I said goodbye to a friend. Irwin couldn't take my emotional outbursts. I never thought of them as such. Maybe he's right...well, of course he's right. Irwin wouldn't lie. I hate to lose a friend.
I always knew I had a stomach full of moods. Yet, I never thought much about how they afected the way I acted. I wanted to act normal. Be positive. Look to the new day as a fresh start. And all that.
"Damn it," I said under my breath. I walked into Best Price Department store. The store was nice and bright. White floors and white walls. It was all so bright. I stopped. I saw my reflection in a mirror. Not just any mirror. You know? The kind that gives you three different views of yourself. The kind women will hope will make then look thinner. And guys, look firm and tough. They, I mean myself, looked sternly at me. All three of them, ah---me. I felt like saying, "What are you staring at?"
Turning away from the mirror, I spotted a young teen giving me a funny look. Can't someone just turn around and catch another person's eyes without them getting bent out of shape. Paranoid. That's what they are---paranoid. I spotted my three selves looking at me again.
I turned back toward the teen; he had walked away. But something fell out of his back pocket. It looked like a comic book. I walked over slowly. Why? So I wouldn't look like a nut. I picked up the worn comic book. Parts of the cover were smeared by sweaty fingers. The comic book was about giants and tiny people. The comic book was called: Borderline Express. Funny title for a comic about giants, huh? I said Huh? There I go again, getting weird.
I walked out of the store. I forgot what I had gone in there for! On the subway home, I thought I would read this comic book. Get my mind off of losing my friend and being out of work.
It then dawned on me. Yes, as I held the beat up comic book, I use to think a lot about giants and tiny people. As a small child. And even later, I loved to think about giants and tiny people interacting.
Yes, I thought about it. Loved the whole idea of tiny people and giants living together. I also found the subjectwas a way to keep my mind off of my parents, who used to fight almost every night. They fought real loudly. In my mind, I could escape to the land of giant people. I would find a giant friend, who would be nice to me. And we could do fun things.
I know once, after my mother had thrown hot water in my face, I went to Giant Land a lot. The giants there didn't hurt kids. Or me.
Anyway, I started reading the comic. The first picture was of a group of tiny people stepping out of a pink car and being greeted by smiling giants.
Halfway through the comic book, I fell to sleep.
A gentle hand shook my shoulder. An elderly man in a black top coat told me, "I think this is your stop. Borderland."
"Yes," said the man in the black over coat. "This is the Borderline Express."
I was confused. A cool breeze came through the opened doors of the subway car. It smelled fresh. I heard voices. Happy voices. I did it! I left the car.
It was kind of dark. I thought about returning to the subway, except it already had left. I walked on ahead. I seemed to be in a wheat field, though the wheat that rose above my head looked more like grass. It was very green. Bending my head back, I saw blue sky.
The sound of voices commenced. They were loud. Very loud. The ground beneath me shook. Something round and white passed over me. And for a moment, I was caught in its shadow. Two hands. Two giant hands grabbed it. "Giants?" I thought to myself.
I was once again lost in a shadow this time of a giant! From what I could see, the giant looked to be a youth. His blue ankle socks was some twenty feet long. His legs vanished into a pair of shiny sport shorts. Above those, were a white tee-shirt with a blue collar. And a wide face that was topped with wavy golden hair. I think he was dressed to play soccer. I made this assumption, from the knee guards he was wearing.
Two other giants joined him. I was in the middle. I was starting to get afraid; maybe I would get stepped on!
The golden hair teen looked my way. I froze. "Hey, looks like we a have a new visitor," he said, pointing to me. The two other boys got onto their knees. They were smiling. I couldn't believe there really could be such immense people like these three young teens.
The boy with the golden hair reached for me. His hand opened up as it neared me. I felt as if the entire heavens had opened up and was about to swallow me. The tree-trunk size fingers wrapped gently around me. I felt an upward motion. When the hand opened, I gazed up at the angelic looking face. Several of his golden bangs hung over the wall size forehead. "Little one. I'm Ter. What are you called?"
Sitting up in his hand I replied, "I'm Alex."
Ter extended a finger and lowered it before me. "Hi Alex."
I grabbed the end of his finger with my two hands and shook it slightly. His two other friends, introduced themselves. One was called Bob and the other one; David B. They seemed like good kids.
I still was wondering if this was a dream. It had to be. But why, then, did it seem so real?
Ter placed me on the collar of his sport shirt. It had a loop. Ter told me, "Slip under the loop. It will keep you in place. It is designed for you tiny people." I did as I was told. Ter went and continued his game of soccer. This was all so strange. But, God, it was also very peaceful!
When the game was over, Ter took me to the other end of this playing field. I saw other giants. I saw many. I also saw that many giants had tiny people on their shoulders. Ter took off his shoulder. I was placed on the ground, where a group of tiny people came up to me. Many of them were children. A woman who looked to be around my age said, "Welcome. I'm Melody."
"Ah, hi Melody." A boy with sandy hair and a girl with black braids, took my two hands and brought me over to a vender, on the multi-colored cart were the words, JOE'S AND IVOR'S ICE CREAM.
Though, the man had the name Grimm, on his blue and red shirt. The ice cream was good. It was Strawberry.
I was going to ask what I owed, but a gaint boy bent down to me and said, "It's on the house for a friend."
The man in the vending cart told me that giant's name was Smash. Another girl handed me something to wipe off the ice-cream from my face. "Are you going to stay?" she asked.
The giant boy Ter, who stood by and stood as tall, as a stories tall building, told the girl, "Carla, its up to him." Somehow this placed seemed so familar. Ofcourse it did. It was just like the town in the comic book. There was something else about this place. It was hard to pin point. In a strange way this felt like home. Or what a home should be like. And maybe, I wish, home could have been.
I sat down on a clean green wooden bench. Giant boys and girls held and talked to the tiny people. Others ran around, jumping off the giants hand. A few slid down their giants legs.
I closed my eyes. The rays of the sun felt good.
A loud screeching sound startled me. When I opened my eyes, I was on the subway. It was a dream after all? I still had the taste of the Strawberry ice cream in my mouth.
My stop was next. I got off. It had become dark and windy. Walking across the street, the comic book fell out of my coat pocket. The wind blew it across the street. I wanted it back. I ran as fast as I could. The coast appeared clear. Coming around a curve, was a SUV. It slammed into me. I felt and heard a snapping sound. I rolled on to the side of the gutter. Next to my left hand was the comic book. I tried to reach for it, despite the pain. The wind took it from my reach.
A small river of red flowed from my chest. It ran along the side of the curb, taking along with it, bits of paper and cigarette butts. People gathered around. I felt like a kid again. Alone and in pain.
A golden light appeared above the strangers, who gazed down at me. "Let's go," said the voice. Ter placed me down in the park, among the other kids. I looked up at my giant and waved with real excitement. I then ran off like a kid. For, I was a kid again!