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Borrower by Shrinkingman


Brent walked across the living room of his new house, heading toward the kitchen; the floor changed from hardwood to tile. The kitchen table loomed above him and he saw a way to reach the top--a phone cord that extended down to an outlet on the floor.

When he reached the tabletop, he went to a bowl containing a few grapes and pulled three of them off. Each of them was bigger than a watermelon. He carried them to the edge of the table and dropped them; they didn't get squashed...instead, they bounced a few times then rolled away slightly. Brent saw some cookie crumbs on the table and gobbled them up, then he made his way back down.

He considered this his house but really it belonged to a family who apparently was away for a few days. He had "moved in" the previous day, entering under the door. Brent had to leave his previous home for a very good reason.

The family there got a cat.

Which was not good news to a man who was four inches tall.

The previous night he had climbed up a small table in the living room and switched on the light (it was easy--a push button near the bottom). The TV remote's buttons were fairly easy to push though he had to place the 6 inch long remote at an angle (on top of a coaster) so that the signal could reach the movie-screen-sized TV. He reclined there on the table top.

And later, he had gone into one of the rooms and found a sock under the bed. Sleeping bag.

He was a borrower The "beans" (big people) wouldn't even notice what he took. As long as he was not "seen" he was OK, and even if he were, maybe they'd be kind people and could help him out. Maybe buy a dollhouse for him to live in, and they could feed him.

Though there was something to be said for just being what he was, a secretive figure hiding from the prying eyes of the big folks, living a solitary life in a huge world.

He had it all. The tiniest specks of food were a feast. There was more than enough room for him under the bed. He could slink into the living room for entertainment (TV) or even have some adventures outside.

Speaking of which, he noticed that the bedroom had shades on its windows, and the cord to each of them extended down to the floor. He could easily climb up to the windowsill--the window was open a few inches--and he went over to the screen window and looked outside. A nice breeze blew in to his "porch".

Borrowers are humans but much smaller--only about 4 inches tall at adulthood, and they've been around for centuries. They usually aren't seen because a) they're rare to begin with, b) they're so small, and c) they tend to hide.

Sometimes their agility, speed, and comparative muscle power can be surprising but being so small, they can only carry or lift so much. Brent's feet are just over half an inch long while his hands are two-fifths of an inch long. That's why a grape seems the size of a watermelon to him.

Brent wears clothes that are either swiped from dolls his size, or made especially by borrower-tailors. He even has little rubber sneaker-like shoes to go with his shorts and T-shirts that were fashioned out of scraps of cloth.

Borrowers live in little corners of houses--under beds, in closets, or even under floorboards. Many borrower families live together but Brent enjoyed being alone.

And borrowers make it a point to not be "seen" by the giant (to them) denizens of houses. It's just too much trouble. They don't want mischievous kids to torture them, or "giants" to throw them out of their house as if they were a common pest. Sure, they might meet up with a sympathetic "bean" who might take delight in helping them out, but how often does that happen? ---

Brent looked toward the rest of the bedroom from his perch on the windowsill. It was huge, but he was used to that. Just a fact of life that he lived in a world of giants, a world where the palm of someone's hand would seem as big as a queen sized mattress. Where the width of someone's hand or foot was as tall as he was--he could literally live in somebody's shoe.

He sat on the edge of the windowsill and swung his tiny legs and feet back and forth, some 40 or 45 feet above the floor.

The world was there for the taking, or "borrowing". He was used to scurrying around borrowing things, trying not be to be "seen", but wouldn't it be interesting if he could reveal himself to one or more of the giants here? Yes, there were risks, but there could be benefits.

He'd have someone to talk to. Someone who could care for him, and feed him. Sometimes he felt a little guilty about "borrowing" from the giants, but if he could "give back something", as in a little companionship, maybe he could feel better about it.

Brent descended down the shade cord and spotted a small bag of chocolate chip cookies. He saw some crumbs inside and crawled into the bag, retreiving them. Evidently the giant didn't need to eat those crumbs, and somehow a giant had tried to throw the bag into a nearby wastebasket, but missed. Those tiny crumbs wouldn't have filled much of a giant's stomach, but they were a lot bigger to Brent.

If he were a giant, he could carry a bag like this with one hand, but he was small enough to be able to sleep in it if he so desired.

A "giant" Brent could drive a car. He could live life without fear of cats attacking him , or being stepped on. But it was simply a fact of life that he was four inches tall, and his spot in life was being a mouse-sized man who "borrowed" from the giants.

But why couldn't he communicate with them; relate to them? He was very special. Not many people in this world were his size. He was sure they would get a kick out of him.

Loud noises. A door opened and he heard several giants enter the house. Sounded like a father, mother ("take your sneakers off, Connor, so you don't track anything in") , and son. Brent waited a few moments; after awhile, one of the giants entered the room (with Brent standing just under the bed).

He saw two grey-stockinged feet, each of them about twice as long as he was tall. The giant wore dark blue shorts and a red T-shirt. A youthful face was above it all. A 10 year old boy wearing glasses.

"Dad" went outside to cut the lawn. "Mom" said she was going to a friend's house for a little bit though she ordered some take-out pizza for the family, which she'd pick up on the way back. The boy went to a computer in the corner of his room and sat down.

Brent found a power cord and scaled the computer desk. The boy started typing, eyes on the screen, and the tiny man was not noticed, at first, but suddenly he somehow caught the boy's attention.

"Hi there, kid. I know, I'm kinda small...just sorta passing through, and..." He didn't know what to say. The boy looked puzzled but with his left hand he gently picked up the borrower, his fingers closing around Brent. The huge hand brought the tiny being closer to his face, and Brent could see himself reflected in the boy's glasses.

"God...this're so small. It's like Indian in the Cupboard or something."

Brent extended his left hand. The boy moved his right hand closer to Brent and touched the tiny hand with the tip of his right hand's index finger. It was amazing, the size difference between the kid's finger and Brent's entire hand.

To Brent, the boy was easily about 13 or 14 times as tall as he, and probably weighed about 2,000 times as much. This was a big risk, especially since the boy could easily crush him in that titanic hand, or throw him quite a distance away. But young Connor Whitley--he introduced himself--had no such thoughts. He gently put the thumb and forefinger of his right hand around Brent's left arm. This was no doll; it was a real-life human being of incredibly small proportions.

"I'm Brent and I'm a borrower. I usually don't use my last name but it's Underbed."


"Yes, I kind of borrow what you big folks use--well, I don't borrow much. Nothing you'd miss."

"So you're a thief. A robber."

"No, no...I--"

Brent burped.
"Uh, thanks for the cookies," the tiny man blurted out.

Connor laughed. "It's OK, lil' dude. I won't hurt ya. Why are you so small?"

"Just born that way. There are others my size but we're scattered all around."

"How'dya get in?"

"Under the door."

Connor nodded and chuckled, "OH-kay! So how long you been here?"

"Just as of yesterday. I slept in this room last night, in one of your socks, I guess."

Connor giggled. "Musta been smelly."

"A little. But it was comfy."

" must be hard being so small."

"It can be."

Connor nodded. "I kinda feel small sometimes, weak...--well, I am small--but not to you. I feel bigger now that I've met you."

Yes, Connor was no longer the littlest human in the house. Just before his dad came back in from mowing the lawn, Connor told Brent he'd take care of him, pal around with him. And he wouldn't tell anyone else about his new tiny friend.

"Nobody else?"

"Well, maybe one of my friends..."

Connor's dad came back in from mowing the lawn and his mom returned from her friend's house...and she brought the pizza, which she'd picked up afterwards. "I'll save you some of it," Connor told Brent, setting him down on top of the desk. He was kind of hidden behind the front of the monitor, which jutted out, and the keyboard.

"Who are you talking to?," Connor's dad asked.

"Oh, my tape recorder. I'm just trying out stuff. I might send a tape of me talking to a pen pal."

After dinner, Connor returned to his room eager to see his new friend. He shut the door and tried to talk softly.

"This is a wish come true for me. I love little people." He showed Brent the cover of a paperback book showing a three inch tall man next to an electrical outlet, battling a spider. "The Shrinking Man-- I love this. Got the movie too...and Indian in the Cupboard, George Shrinks, stuff like that. I'd like to be small like you but it's fun to be a giant, too."

Brent nodded. "Are you keeping me secret from your parents?"

"Yeah, probably for the best. Tell you what--I'll set you up to live here." He got a clean pair of socks out and placed them just under his bed. "You can sleep in one of these tonight. Clean!!" Then he ran into the kitchen and got a saucer out, placing some specks of cheese and sausage (from the pizza) on it. He found a "shot glass" and filled it with Pepsi, then brought it into his room.

"Enjoy! by the way, if you gotta pee or crap, what do you do?"

"Usually I go outside, but I've been known to take a pee inside the house. I'll run into the bathroom and pee up against the toilet. Once...well, once I was outside taking a pee and suddenly I saw a shadow pass over me and rain came down--but it wasn't rain. A dog was peeing down on me!"

"Oh no!"

"I ran away, though. He was huge. He didn't see me down there."

"So, you must climb up a lot of cords and stuff."

Brent: "Yeah, that's how I get up to that window, or onto a table..."

Connor:"Are you still gonna borrow stuff? I can get things for you."

"I might still borrow. But I'll do it when others aren't around, or are asleep."

Connor looked very serious for a moment. "I'm gonna be careful now and watch where I walk. I don't want to step on you. Wouldn't want to hurt ya."

"Oh, I know you wouldn't...I can be fast, though, when I see or hear someone coming."

Connor asked, "Are there more of you? It would be fun to have a whole family of you living here."

"Well, there aren't too many but maybe someday I can bring some of them here. I do have a brother, sister-in-law, and nephew--about your age--but they're pretty far away. They live in a house on Rantoul Street."

"That's not far! It's a half mile away, or a mile or something. I could walk it."

"Not too far for you, but it is for me. Outside of them, I don't know what other borrowers are around. We are very rare."

Connor nodded. "We went to Vermont for a couple days but it's back to school for me tomorrow, back to work for Mom and Dad. Might take you to school!"

"I don't know if that's a wise idea...who knows what other kids might do to me?"

Brent went over to the cord to climb down but Connor insisted on "giving him a ride". He climbed on the boy's hand and sat legs crossed, then got up when the hand reached the floor and walked over to the food on the saucer. Connor went into the bathroom and returned with a soup bowl filled with warm water and liquid soap. "You can take a bath in this. Maybe I can blow into it with a straw and it'll be like a Jacuzzi!"

"Naw, that's OK, but some privacy could be nice for that." Connor placed the bowl around the corner from his bed. After eating, Brent disrobed and took a nice warm bath; he dried himself off with the facecloth the boy had provided, then got dressed again. Later, Brent kicked off his makeshift sneakers and slid into the sock. It was soft and warm. Connor got into his own bed ("I'm too old to be tucked in now," Connor said) and turned off the light. Connor's mom poked her head in and asked if he was OK. She said good night to him. After she closed the door, Brent said, "Good night, little friend."

"Pleasant dreams, big guy."


Connor was out like a light within minutes; Brent took awhile longer to fall asleep. The sock he slept in was positioned just under Connor's bed. He could hear the mattress shift as the boy settled into sleep, above him. He thought about borrowing, if he wound up waking up in the middle of the night-- but then said to himself, why would I have to? This young boy is delighted to have me as a friend and he can get things for me. He supposed he could do some for the adventure of it, but he didn't want to take any unnecessary risks. So he just went to sleep.

Connor woke up before Brent did. He put on his glasses and looked down at the small figure sleeping in his sock. The palm-sized man was turned on his right side, with his right arm extended over the top of the sock. Connor saw the profile of his tiny face, that of a bearded man in his thirties.

Connor got out of bed and crouched over the sock/sleeping bag. Gently he placed his right hand next to it, then with his left, he nudged the sock onto his upturned right hand. Brent suddenly woke up in doing so; he looked up at the titanic boy's face looming above him. "It's OK," whispered Connor. He touched the top of Brent's head gently with the tip of one finger. Brent started to wriggle out of the sock and Connor smiled at the sight of a human being barely bigger than his palm, moving around on his hand. There actually were people small enough to crawl under doorways, and Connor had one right in his room. Right on his hand.

Now Connor cupped his two hands together and raised them, with the borrower inside, up to the nightstand. Brent sat down on top of a paperback book, looking so puny. Liliputian sized arms, legs, head, and torso. Miniscule feet wearing makeshift socks. Connor found Brent's teeny weeny sneakers next to where the sock had been. He placed them on a quarter and placed the coin up next to Brent; they tumbled off and he put them on.

"I know you mean well," said Brent. "But please remember I'm small and fragile, OK?"

"I was careful. Don't wanna hurt you."

"Yes, you were careful, but remember you're so much bigger than me and one day you might pick me up like that and do it a bit too hard, and it could hurt me. Connor, please remember I'm not a toy, or a pet...I'm a human being, just like you. A very small one, but I'm still human. So...please be careful."

"Sorry. I'll be careful, even more careful." Brent thanked him and Connor went downstairs for his breakfast.

"Dad, we're doing some kind of math where we compare things and figure stuff out. I was thinking of what they were teaching us. If you were four inches tall, how big would I seem?"

Walter Whitley looked a little puzzled, but answered. "Well, let's're about four-foot-six now, so that's 54 inches. If I were four inches tall--well, every four inches would seem like 6 feet to me. 4 goes into 54--well, it goes into 52 thirteen times. 6 Times 13...78...probably you'd seem over 80 feet tall to me."

"So how tall is that?"

"Well, some of the trees on our street are pretty tall, maybe six times my height. 36, 40, feet tall. You'd seem TWICE as tall as that!"

"I'd be huge," giggled Connor.


Connor waited for the bus and looked around at the tall trees. He imagined himself only four inches tall, just as in the example he had given his Dad. And he realized that, yes, he must seem even more huge to _Brent_ as Brent seemed tiny to _him_. There were several kids waiting for that schoolbus, but Connor was much different in one respect. He was the only one who had a 33 year old man sitting in his shirt pocket.


I'm a fool, thought Brent. Making friends with this kid--yes, he seemed nice, but there was such a risk. He allowed himself to be talked into being taken to school. No, it wouldn't be for show and tell, and no, he didn't plan to show his friends--just yet--but there were still risks. If Brent stood up in the shirt pocket, the lip of the pocket would have come up to his shoulders. Instead, he sat down cross legged and hidden. He looked up and saw bits of the sky and occasionally Connor's head, when the boy looked down at his chest. Connor rode in the bus and talked to his classmates. Brent wondered how some of these kids would treat him, if he suddenly were to climb out. Would they welcome him--or crush him? They'd think he were some kind of talking doll. Visions of being thrown out the window. Not good.

But why was he following along here? What was to be gained? Yes, he liked having a friend to talk with and the boy was very excited at meeting someone so small, but he couldn't help feeling his life was in danger. But life had become a bit boring to Brent and there was nothing wrong with adventures. But he only had one life and he didn't want it to end. "You'll have fun. You can peek out at all the kids and stuff. I'll feed you some stuff at lunch." That was what Connor had told him. "I'll put you in my backpack with my books. There's a zippered section up the top."

No way. He didn't want to be suffocated and he had a bit of claustrophobia. So it was pocket time.

During first period, Brent stuck his tiny head up and looked around. Brent occasionally looked down to see the borrower in his pocket, and when he noticed Brent was looking up, he smiled down and gently touched Brent on the top of his tiny head.

It was during the short break between classes that it happened.
Connor had to go to the bathroom and there was a rather chubby yet somehow muscular 11 year old who wanted to use the urinal first. He pushed Connor aside. "This is more like it. What the heck are you doing out there in class, always looking down in your pocket? You got a mouse in there or something?"


The boy zipped up his pants and kept talking as Connor used the urinal. "You're lying, you freak. Whadda you got in there, what?"

"NO-thing!" Connor was zipping up his pants when he suddenly felt the boy tug on his right arm. Brent could feel jostling going on, and Connor was whimpering as the boy punched him a couple times in the side-- punches that could have easily killed the borrower instantly. Suddenly Brent saw huge fingers appear at the top of the pocket. He was seized.

"NO!," yelled Connor.

Brent tried to squirm out of the bully's hand. The bully dropped him because Connor had started to pull one of the bully's arms; Brent bounced off the bully's stomach and then he fell down to the ground. Being so light, the fall wouldn't have normally hurt him, even from a distance of three feet or so. But as Brent landed, one foot was slightly twisted--he injured his ankle.

Brent cried out in pain. The bully's sneakered feet loomed next to him, each of which would have seemed over twelve feet long to an average sized man. "Got it!" The bully picked up Brent and placed him in his thick hand. The borrower grimaced in pain, much like a baseball player who had just sustained an injury would have. Brent's voice, which was in a slightly-higher, cartoon-character pitch, could be heard: "don't hurrrrrrt meeee..." The boy looked down at his cupped hand, down at the tiny man. The bully looked puzzled. Is this a toy, or...?

"He's mine!" Connor grabbed Brent back, trying hard to only use his thumb and forefinger and trying hard to lift gently. He placed him in his pocket and ran out toward the front door of the school. No sign of the bully, at least not yet.

"You better hide here till school's out," said Connor. "I'll pick you up, but we just need a safe place to--"

"I'm hurt. My leg, my ankle...It hurts...but hopefully the pain'll go away...You'd better keep me in your pocket instead..."

An anguished expression crossed the boy's face. "I'm SORRY...!" His eyes welled up with tears. "Wait. Wait, I got it." Connor ran to his locker, did the combo, and gently placed Brent inside.


(what Connor wrote while in writing class): MY BORROWER by Connor Whitley
I saw a little man on my computer desk yesterday. He was a little bigger than my palm. But he was not afraid of me. He is named Brent and he borrowes (SP) things from the people he lives with. I let him sleep in my sock and I gave him food.

One day I took Brent to school with me but a mean bully saw me with him and wanted to take him away. He fell on the floor and hurt his leg. Now he is hurting and I am sorry. I should have left him alone. But I hope he forgives me because I like haveing (SP) a little person around. i (I) can feed him and protect him from stuff. Sometimes I W(w)ish I could be small like him but I found out being very little is pretty nasty too.

Good work, Connor--you have a very active imagination! Keep it up.--Mrs. Daniels, Gr. 5 English


Brent was only in Connor's locker for a few minutes. It dawned on the boy that even though the locker had air holes, it might not really be enough for Brent. He took out the borrower and found a hiding place for him in the school library/study hall. There was a bookcase with some supplies on it--paper, pencils, rulers, and such, and Connor found a bottom shelf where Brent could be reasonably comfortable. Thankfully the ankle wasn't in as bad shape as they first thought, though Brent still found himself limping around a bit. Nobody went poking around in that area, and even if they did, Brent had a spot nearby where he could hide.

They ate lunch together--Brent got him, put him in his pocket, and they went outside to eat. There was a nice park next to the school and Connor went over there and found a spot where he couldn't easily be seen by the other kids. He sat down on the ground and talked to his tiny friend, apologizing again about what had happened.

"I promised I'd be careful but I didn't know that this would happen."

"Yes. I was foolish to go along with's too risky. But my leg, my ankle--they're not doing too bad. Still, we should head right back home after school."

"What am I gonna do? The bully might be on the bus."

"You could walk home instead--is it far?"

It was about a mile. He could handle it. He just hoped the bully didn't decide to walk home, too. "Oh, oh--I had this in my locker." Connor reached into his pants pocket and took out a tube that said MUSCLE PAIN RELAXER. Brent hadn't seen the tube, which had been somewhere under Brent's lunch bag. He took some of the creamy substance and put a bit of it on his finger. Brent took off his sock and sneaker and Connor dabbed it on. It felt better already.

"You know...when that bully hit you I wished I could be taller--as tall as your dad or mom--and been there to protect you."

"Yes, it's too bad that it isn't that way."

Connor did wind up walking home when the final bell rang at 2 pm, and there was no incident (and fortunately, the bully hadn't been seen the rest of the school day). For awhile that afternoon, Connor went outside to play with some of his friends. Brent sat in a corner of Connor's room and thought about everything.

He's ten years old. He doesn't understand many things about life yet...and he needs to learn responsibility, thought Brent. If I were 10 I'd probably be the same way. Yet he still thinks of me as a toy. He couldn't wait to take me to school just so he could look down at me and see me in his pocket. I'm a toy to him--and if I "break" he's just gonna get a new one, right?

No, he was NO toy.

That night they each had a dream. Connor's was more of a nightmare, and inspired by a scene in one of his favorite movies. He imagined he was a three-inch tall, ten year old boy in a dollhouse, lying on the dollhouse sofa. He wore a scaled down T-shirt, pants, and socks. Suddenly a cat came into the bigger house, outside. He heard it sniffing around and wondered what it was. Then he opened his dollhouse door and saw the leering, huge face of the cat! He tried to run upstairs but the cat started to pry the dollhouse from the back he ran out the front door, across the floor, on socked feet less than half an inch long. The carpeted floor of the "big" living room seemed to stretch forever.

Where could he hide? Where could--suddenly he was knocked to the ground by the giant cat's paw. He was hurt. Couldn't get up. Get up, run! Get up before-- But the cat clawed him, and blood seeped out from his tiny body. The claws had hit some major arteries. The life was seeping out of him. Then the cat took Connor's tiny body in his huge mouth and carried him, like a small bird a cat would have killed. The cat went outside through a cat door, as Connor's life ebbed away, and... He woke up, gasping.

Meanwhile, Brent's dream was a bit more sedate. He was out for a walk when suddenly he saw someone his size. It was a humanoid fox, all of four inches tall. Red and white fur, and clad in a T-shirt and shorts. "So, a tiny human! Someone just my size! Nice to meet you. I'm Mike Rowe Fox, from Liliput."

"Brent the Borrower," he said, shaking the fox's paw. "Nice to meet you as well." They talked briefly about their lives. Mike had been one of many Liliputian "furs" who were displaced when humans discovered the island and turned it into a resort for their own kind. So he journeyed across the seas--actually, hitching a ride in a toolbox of one of the workers--and found his way here.

Brent told of how he was befriended by a young boy who seemed friendly and innocent, but... "It was foolish of him to take me to school, and shame on me for going along with it." A four inch man and a four inch fox, small enough so that both of them could sit cross-legged on the hand of an average sized man. "You know, maybe someday the Borrowers and the tiny furs of Liliput can all meet and start a little city of our own. Things scaled to our size."

"Good idea, Brent! Maybe someday." That was when Brent's dream ended, for he was awakened by the gasp (and slightly-suppressed scream) of Connor, above him.


The next day was a Saturday. Brent woke up before Connor did, and lay in his sock-bed, thinking. The school incident was bad, and could have been a lot worse. The bully could have grabbed him and flushed him down a toilet, or stepped on him. Connor meant well. He wanted Brent to see a bit more of the Big world, and also liked being with him. But Connor still might not quite get the "not a toy" concept yet, and he really--despite his interest in "tiny people"--didn't quite grasp the huge size difference between the two.

Connor's new friend wasn't four feet tall, he was four INCHES tall. Brent was so small he could have washed his tiny hands in one of the tears that Connor cried after the whole bathroom incident. Connor probably weighed about 80 pounds or so, and got pushed around by school bullies. You think that's bad, Connor, try weighing an few ounces or so, thought Brent.

He thought about the possibility of "moving" to his brother's house. A mile--quite a distance away. It would take days for a borrower to walk that distance--provided, of course, that he didn't get lost along the way. And crossing streets, even narrow ones, would be impossible. Yes, a car's undercarraige would be far above him, but there was still the risk he could be flattened by a tire. Unless he could cross streets by dropping into a rainwater drain, then crossing under...

No, if he wanted to visit his brother Vardo, the most logical way to do so would be to hitch a ride with Connor. Ride in his pocket as the boy walked or biked to the house where Vardo and his wife and child lived. He could tell Connor that he'd get a chance to meet some more borrowers, including a boy his age, and could go inside under the door, then bring them out to meet Connor. He'd have to break the news to Connor that he actually would be staying at the new house, maybe for good.

Or he could just stay here, and hope for the best.

When Connor got up, he went down to have breakfast and brought up some small bits of waffles in syrup. Brent told him about his idea of visiting his brother a mile away. That was no problem, said the boy, and he put Brent in his pocket and started walking. Brent got the view as Connor walked, leaning out over the edge of the shirt pocket. The ground was some 55 feet below, with Connor's sneakers moving up and down over it. Adults and kids, dogs and cats, all could be seen from the pocket.

At one point, Connor whispered, "get down!" as an boy of Connor's height approached. "Hey, Cody...what's up?"

"Not too much. In for a little basketball, Connor?"

"Naw, I'm gonna walk a little bit. Maybe later."

"What's that in your pocket?" The boy spotted what looked like a man's arm, barely over an inch long, sticking out over the edge of the pocket. The arm retracted and Cody leaned over to see what was in the pocket. A gargantuan face loomed toward him; Brent burrowed deeper into the pocket and even covered his tiny head with his shirt.

"Just a little army guy doll...hey, gotta run--catch you later, Cody!" With that, Brent could feel the boy's feet accelerating. With each stride, the ride got bumpier. Finally they got to the address Brent had provided, and Connor set Brent down on the front stoop. He got down on the ground and wiggled under the door, which had a good inch or so of space at the bottom. Connor waited outside. Brent made his way through a front hall. He had been to this house months before. Vardo's family had no idea he was coming, and he hoped that at least one of them was home.

The borrower was crossing from one side of the hall to the other when suddenly he slipped on something and he went sprawling. Before he knew it, he was surrounded by two huge sneakers, each nearly three times as long as he was tall. Above them were white socks, pants, a red shirt, and an adult's face far above. The giant was easily 17 or 18 times as tall as Brent, and quite massive. He had stopped for a moment to read something. Brent got up and ran down the hall until he saw a heat ventilation grate flush with the floor; he dropped down into an area just underneath it. A second later, the gigantic sneakered feet walked right over the grate.

"Uncle Brent!" The borrower turned to see his relative; the son of his brother Vardo and sister-in- law Butterfly. He embraced the boy with a hug. It was Cronny Underbed, who was all of three inches tall and ten years of age. A moment later Cronny's mother showed up--a beautiful borrower who had been named after a beautiful insect not much smaller than a borrower. "I have someone you can meet who is just your age," Brent told Cronny. "But he's a "bean"."


Connor waited outside for Brent, who was visiting his three borrower relatives. He noticed two boys, about 11 and 14 years old, who carried what looked like a wooden dollhouse from a garage to the house's backyard; the house was placed on top of two sawhorses. "The paint'll dry faster out here in the sun," said the older of the two, a tall, thin lad.

"Hi," said Connor to the two of them, neither of whom he recognized. Maybe they went to a private school. They both said "Hi" back to him.

"That looks nice."

"Thanks--it's a project for my shop class," responded the older boy.

Connor said, "Some little people could live in there."

"Yeah," chuckled the younger one.

Connor: "I've got one of those."

"A dollhouse?," asked the older boy.

"No, a little guy. He's a borrower." The words escaped Connor's mouth before he could retract them. Shouldn't he keep Brent a secret?

"A borrower?," asked the older one. He looked at the younger one (Connor supposed they were brothers.) "So, how tall is this little guy you have?" The boys seemed to be playing along with Connor's "story".

"About four inches tall. His name is Brent and he borrows stuff from my house." The boys moved closer to Connor; they kept looking at each other as if to say, "Should we tell him the truth?"

"Yeah, we have three of 'em here. A mom and dad. And a boy your age, too. I didn't think anybody else around here had 'em."

"Yeah, he's inside your house now meeting your borrowers. Oh, I'm Connor, by the way, Connor Whitley."

"George Ames." The taller of the two; five foot ten, blond haired, with long legs and what seemed like size 14 feet.

His brother, who was barely taller than Connor, also introduced himself; a long haired boy. "And I'm Aaron." The boy looked up at his brother. "Should we be...?"

George nodded. "Yeah, it's OK. We can trust you, right, Connor?"

"Sure. I, uh, I know not everyone has 'em--borrowers. We gotta take care of them. They're not toys. I learned that --I _know_ that."

"This is for them. My parents don't know about them yet," said George. "We're waiting for a good time to tell them."


Inside, Brent met with his brother Vardo, sister-in-law Butterfly, and nephew Cronney. Brent told the story of how Connor took him to school and it proved a disaster. "At least I didn't get killed. But the boy took a risk with me, and I was wrong to agree to go with him." Vardo, like Brent, was bearded and clad in a plaid shirt that had been fashioned from some old pajamas. His wife Butterfly, as per her custom, was barefoot (she enjoyed going around shoeless; the soles of her feet were dark from dirt and dust). Cronney almost could be a three-inch-tall version of Connor.

Their "apartment", under the floorboards of the old house, was littered with borrowed materials. The door to Cronney's room was actually a discarded credit card. An old watch, which seemed almost three feet in diameter, served as a clock. Vardo and Butterfly's bed was a soft sponge the size of a queen sized mattress, with a facecloth for a sheet.

They heard voices from above, getting louder: "Is Dad gone?"

"I think so." (pause) "Yeah, his car's gone, it's safe." A nine-foot-long hand grasped a metal grating and lifted it up. The grating had holes which any borrower could drop through to get to the apartment; it was far too heavy for any of them to lift, but the giant human's hand easily took it off. "Guys, I have someone for you to meet--oh, hello." George noticed the new borrower. "Uh, Brent? Nice to meet you--We found your friend outside."

George put his hand down and Vardo and Butterfly climbed aboard; next, the hand did the same for Cronney and Brent. The borrowers were taken to George's room. George and Aaron sat on George's bed. Connor sat on a separate chair, and the borrowers were placed on a table nearby. "It's OK, now we all know about each other." George looked over at Brent. "Your friend Connor told us about you. Don't worry, you can trust us."

"We found them one day," explained Aaron. "Cronney was in my room. He wasn't really supposed to be out on his own but he just decided to visit me one day. He said hi to me."

Vardo looked over at his son. "It's a good thing these boys are nice. I TOLD you not to go out on your own because it's dangerous."

Connor invited Cronney to get aboard his hand, and he lifted the hand up so he could get a good look at the tiny borrower. Brent was small enough, as it is, but Cronney was really tiny--but then again he was a boy of about 10 or 11. "It must be really tough being your size, but at least these boys can help you," said Connor to Cronney and his parents. He looked around at the others. "My parents don't know about Brent, either."

Brent walked over the table toward Connor and looked like he was about to say something brutally honest. He did. "Connor, I like you, but...what happened at school kinda scared me. I love seeing the outside world, I _do_. But you can't put me in danger like that. To be honest, I was thinking of moving in with these guys--for my own safety."

Connor looked like he was going to cry. "I won't do it again...won't put you in danger. I promise..."

Brent nodded. "Thanks...yeah, I might stick around with you after all, as long as you're careful."

Aaron suddenly spoke up, bursting with energy and exuberance. "We can tell our parents about them and they can live up here with us. We'll put 'em in the dollhouse, feed them every day. We can make little ladders for them and stuff...They can ride in my toy cars."

Vardo and Butterfly looked at each other. The young boy they had just met, Connor, might not have been the most responsible kid around, and here's a kid just his age who probably wasn't much better. They did seem to trust George though, who seemed a bit more mature. Vardo spoke up. "If you boys think this can work out, then, great...But just remember, we aren't toys or pets. Just be careful with us. It was just our luck we were born this small...We're glad you want to help us, though."


Connor held his two hands down at chest level, palms facing upward. Vardo was sitting cross-legged on his left hand, and Brent did the same on his right hand. He looked down at them as the two tiny men talked. "So you actually came right out and introduced yourself?," Vardo asked Brent. "You know kids can be dangerous--" Vardo looked up at Connor. "No offense..."

"That's OK," Connor said.

"Yes," replied Brent to Vardo. "I know kids can be dangerous, but I figured adults might be worse. If I went up to his father or mother, they might have tried to sell me to a circus or a scientist or something."

"But some kids are really mean. We're pretty fortunate--all of these boys are nice kids."

Brent looked up at Connor. "You really got a kick out of me, huh...You like feeding me and getting me stuff. Tell you the truth, I'd do the same for you if I were your size and you were mine."

Connor nodded. "I like small people, and I felt sorry for you being so little. Guess I wanted to help."

"Well," said Brent to Connor, "as long as you don't get me into danger...You're a good kid, and I know kids make mistakes--so do grownups. Don't feel bad about what happened at your school. Just as long as that kind of thing doesn't happen again."

"You know what it is about kids?," said Butterfly, from down on the table. "Some of 'em would love to have a borrower for a friend, take care of 'em...but some kids are mean. They like having power. Abusing power...being mean to little folks like us. But you kids are good, and you wanna help us."

"It's the mean kids we worry about," said Vardo. "You can't blame us if we're a bit leery about making contact with you."

Suddenly they heard a door slam downstairs. The Ames boys looked at each other and said the same thing: "Mom!" Connor set his left hand down on the floor and Vardo got off; he then placed his right hand up near the shirt pocket and Brent climbed in. The Ames brothers made sure that Butterfly and Cronney got down on the floor. The three "other" borrowers went over to a dresser and got under it.

"If Mom asks, tell her that Connor is a kid from down the street who just got talking with us," said George to Aaron.

"Well, I'm just heading out anyway--we gotta keep in touch somehow. You use IM?," said Connor. The boys exchanged screen names. Connor smiled down at Brent. " are staying with me, right? You aren't moving in with..."

"No, 'just visiting'".

Brent and Connor waved down to the tiny relatives and they left. That night, the Ames brothers told their mom and dad about the little people they found. "Good story," said their dad. "Yeah, they can fit in that dollhouse you made."

"Dad, I have proof," said George. The family was seated at the dining room table, having cookies, coffee, and hot chocolate. "Mom, Dad... Meet Vardo...his wife Butterfly...and their son Cronney." The borrowers had been gathered under a heating grate just under the kitchen floor. George lifted the grate and they got onto his hands. Mr. and Mrs. Ames stared in disbelief. There was Vardo and Butterfly, no taller than their coffee cups, and Cronney, the size of an index finger.


Connor had another dream, or make it nightmare, that night. He was back in the school bathroom. Suddenly he felt he was in Brent's body. The urinals and sinks were far above him. "There you are!," he heard a boy say. And there was the bully, looming way over him but very, very magnified. His huge hand reached down and picked up the tiny Connor. Before he knew it, he was being carried over to one of the toilets. The bully held him upside down, his thumb and forefinger holding Connor's feet. The borrower-sized Connor screamed; he could see the expanse of water in the toilet below him. One of Connor's sneakers came off and it fell down into the water, making a tiny splash. In a split second, the boy let go and Connor followed. He floundered around in the water--no way to get out--and saw the bully's arm move over toward the handle.

Suddenly the toilet was a maelstrom of swirling water and Connor was caught up in it. He moved closer and closer to the bottom of the bowl, heading for the outlet pipe--

Connor woke up and found a different type of moisture around him. He had wet the bed. (Brent was sleeping elsewhere, on top of a bureau, so he was in no danger of any spillover...)


This was no Hollywood movie with special effects. It was real. Two four-inch tall adults and a three-inch tall child standing on a table, surrounded by cookies and cups of coffee and hot chocolate. Vardo, Butterfly, and Cronney were surrounded by mountainous people--two adults and two children. The difference in scale was amazing. To the borrowers, the "normal sized" people had huge faces, torsos, and hands. To the "normal sized" people, the borrowers had hands so small the fingers could barely be seen. The whole borrower family could fit on someone's hand. Or in one of the cups. Cronney looked positively mouse-sized. No, smaller. A mouse could probably outweigh him.

Heather Ames, George and Aaron's mom, remarked how amazing it was--people just like them, only incredibly small and fragile. "Life must be so dangerous for you. I feel bad about that."

"Don't be," replied Vardo. "We're used to it. Just the way we were born."

"How long have you been here?"

"We moved in about 2 years ago," replied Butterfly. "I know you moved in maybe a year ago...There was a month or so while the house was being sold where nobody lived here. We had to eat out a lot."

"Eating out" for a borrower didn't mean getting into a car and driving to a restaurant. It meant going into a neighboring house and borrowing from there. Or maybe a garden. Vardo got them cherry tomatoes and blueberries.

"So you 'borrow' from us...," said George and Aaron's dad, Albert.

"Yes," replied Vardo, looking kind of ashamed.

"That's OK," smiled Albert. "You're so small and what you take probably isn't all that much. Nothing we'd miss. At least I hope you don't take anything of value."

Now, what happened to that nice piece of jewelry I had?, said Heather to herself. She wondered if Butterfly had scoffed it.

Vardo walked a bit closer to Albert and looked up at his massive head, making eye contact. "We try not to. If you were our size, you'd probably have to do the same thing--I hope you don't mind."

"You won't have to borrow anymore. We'll give you stuff you need. Food, bits of clothing. It's not much to us, really."

Heather took a sip of coffee, and carefully placed the cup back down. "Mmm hmm. We'd be pleased to help out.

"The dollhouse will be great for them," said George. "We can electrify it..some wiring to a battery, little bulbs..."

"We thank you for that," said Butterfly.

"Take a look at this," said Aaron, showing them something in a corner of the kitchen. It was an empty soup can attached to a string, extending up to a kitchen counter. Borrower elevator.

"Oh, that was nice of you kids to make it for them," said Heather.

"Uh, we didn't make it. They did."

Yes, Vardo and Cronney had carried the can, got the string, punched a hole in the bottom of the can with a knife; guided the string through the hole, and climbed up the 54 feet height of the counter to install it. They already had had one string extending from the floor to the top of the counter, attached to the leg of a small microwave oven. This was all done when the "big people" were away or asleep.

"We had Vardo's brother visiting earlier today," said Butterfly. "His name is Brent and he lives about a mile away in the home of this nice boy named Connor. He might want to move in here though I get the feeling he might just stay where he is. Though I have a niece who may want to live here. She's about 14."

George's eyes widened. "14? So am I. That would be fun..."

Vardo smiled. "George, you know I married a very lovely woman. Well, Butterfly's niece Lilac is just as lovely. I think she'll get along with you just fine."

"Ooh, you can have a little girlfriend," cooed Aaron, and they all laughed. George did smile; the idea of a lovely girl in the palm of his hand. Someone he could take care of...

"Speaking of 'kids our age'," continued Aaron, "that's kinda how I met Cronney. I saw him in my room, climbing up a power cord."

Cronney stepped foreward, looking embarassed. "Yeah. I know I'm not supposed to be 'seen' but I knew you guys had a kid my age, and I just wanted someone to talk to. Pal around with."

"Just how many Borrowers are there?," asked Albert. "Three here, then the one a mile away, and this teenaged one you mentioned..."

"We are kind of rare," said Butterfly. "But in this area we know of a few--family members. Lilac lives a few miles away with my sister and brother-in-law. She's hinted about going out on her own, though. At least she did when we visited her last year."

George almost blurted out, What's her address? Sure, there was a slight difference in size between the two--66 inches, to be precise--but George somehow knew he'd love to meet this Lilac girl and they could be friends.

That night, George watched the baseball playoffs on the big screen TV in the family den. He lay on a sofa under a blanket, with all three borrowers down on the sofa near his face. Cronney kept climbing up onto his shoulder and sliding down the blanket-covered body, landing on George's upturned hand just below the sofa's seat. "One last time," he promised and slid down the man- mountain's shoulder. Suddenly a splash was heard. George looked down and saw that Cronney had missed the hand and fell down into his glass of Pepsi on the floor. Thankfully, the tiny borrower could swim--he splashed around, buffeted by ice cubes. But of course there was no way he could get out.
Vardo and Butterfly got out of the way and George reached down with his right hand and took Cronney out, holding him between his thumb and forefinger.

Meanwhile, a couple miles away, a four inch tall teenager named Lilac drifted off to sleep. She dreamt of being out for a walk on a nice lawn when suddenly two gigantic sneakers, each of them three times as long as she was tall, surrounded her. Above them were gigantic white socks, blue jeans, and a T-shirt, and above them all the face of a boy her age. A long, thin hand appeared and she climbed aboard. Second later she saw the boy's face, billboard-sized, if not much bigger. A tall, thin, blond ninth grader whom, she would learn later, was named after his mother's favorite Beatle. The giant smiled down at the Liliputian-sized barefoot girl.

Later when she woke up she thought of the dream and wondered if it was a premonition. And she wondered if this giant had dreamt of her, too.


As it turned out George did indeed dream of Lilac that night but it was not a pleasant dream. He pictured himself getting the address of the house where she lived and taking a bus there. When he got there he saw a seven year old boy playing in the front yard. The boy stood up and went over to George; he was rather puny. Four feet tall at best; thin, with a dark baseball cap and dark blue T-shirt. He looked up at George and simply said, "You're here for Lilac, right?"

How did he know?

"My four inch tall friend," he continued. "She's beautiful."

George was jealous--this little runt had Lilac as a "friend"--and the way he said the word made it sound like the boy had her as a girlfriend. The kid's seven, for crying out loud, not 14 like me, thought George.

"I'll let you meet her, but she's mine." With that, the boy led him into his house. Nobody else was home. In the boy's room was a dresser about as tall as he was; he reached up and took down a hamster cage from the dresser's top and placed it on the floor, then opened it and got something, or someone, out of it.

The beautiful Lilac was on his hand. How dare he keep her in a cage! She was a beautiful brunette dressed in red--and, like her aunt, barefoot. Before he could say anything, the boy placed her on a roller skate and strapped her in. The next thing George knew, he was looking up at the boy. Way up.

Suddenly 48 inches tall seemed more like 70 feet tall. George was borrower sized! Somehow the boy had shrunk him, clothes and all. But before he could do anything, the boy took the roller skate and rolled it vigorously down a long hall. George ran after the skate, what seemed like the length of a football field. But he heard loud thumps behind him. He turned his head and saw the looming boy right behind him. He tripped over a crayon and lay sprawling on the floor. A sneaker was heading right for him. Death under the shoe of a second grader! Tons of weight came down on him--but it was then that he woke up.

He went over the desk in his room and got a scrap of paper. In magic marker, he wrote something on it, then inserted the note into one of the holes that led down to the borrowers' apartment.

I NEED TO KNOW WHERE LILAC LIVES...PLEASE. thanks :)--G The next day, a Sunday, Connor found himself out for a walk. He didn't take Brent along, letting the tiny man sleep. The day before, Brent had told him that he did plan to stay at the Whitley home but he wouldn't mind it if he could visit his relatives at the Ames home once in awhile.

"Connor, I'm glad you're my friend. We both kinda screwed up when you took me to school. I should have insisted I stay home. And you had no way of knowing about that bully, but still you should have realized I could be in danger."

Connor nodded.

"But you're young, and people learn as they age." He sighed. "For awhile I liked being 'alone' but it got boring. I wanted someone to talk to, and you "beans" were the only ones around. Somehow I felt I could trust a kid more than an adult."

"Connor...there aren't many borrowers around. Someday I'd like to meet a woman, marry her, and have kids. Given how scarce we are, I'm not sure if that will happen."

"Maybe I can find one for you. I can use the internet. Could try to reach other people who have 'borrowers' and email them."

"Well, yes, if that works. Anyway...I remember when I was your age and I had fun with my dad. I'd like to be a dad someday but it might never happen. But maybe I can be like a dad to you. Yeah, I know, you already do have a dad, but I don't have a son."

"A giant son," chuckled Connor.

"Or at least I could be your little big brother."

Before they each went to bed, Brent went over to Connor and walked over his socked foot, going up to the ankle, and he hugged the boy's ankle (or at least tried his best to). Connor hugged Brent (trying not to hug too hard) with his thumb and forefinger.

It must be hard being a borrower--being so small, thought Connor. As he walked along he noticed a cat crouched near a driveway. It was trying to get at something in a bush. He'd seen this cat before-- it lived a few houses away from his own house--and had pet it a few times. Is there really something in that shrub, thought Connor, or is the cat just crazy? The cat moved around a few times, positioned in hunting mode.

Suddenly a chipmunk ran out of the bush across the driveway, heading toward some thicker shrubbery on the other side. With lightning speed, the cat dashed across, too.

The poor little creature!, thought Connor. He thought about picking up the cat and allowing the chipmunk to flee, but he kept watching. For a minute he thought the cat had caught it but then there was a noise which had to be the chipmunk going further into the brush. The cat scampered over and tried again, tail waving back and forth, but after a minute it gave up. No, he hadn't caught the rodent, but he looked up at Connor as if nothing had happened.

What if that was a borrower?, thought Connor. Good God, the dangers a small person like that could face.


"So you want Lilac's address," said Vardo to George. "Well, I know the street but not the number, as well as the name of the big person whose house it is. Betsy Lane."

"OK, so it's on Betsy Lane--"

"No, that's the name of the woman who lives there. It's on Endicott Street. Maybe you can look it up. When we visited, I took note of this woman's name. We hid ourselves from her, though...but I remembered her name just in case we forgot exactly what house it was."

"Thanks! Maybe it's on the bus line."

"We were there last year. It's not easy for people our size to know the names of these streets you have. The signs are up so high. But we knew of a stream behind your house, and it flows right to her neighborhood, so we got on a kind of a raft and took it to what we thought was her backyard, and we were right. Spent a day or two."

"How did you get back?"

"Lilac's father took a toy car and electrified it--he drove us back, then drove back to his house. Thankfully no kids saw us and picked us up."

"I've heard it's a few miles away," said George. "A long trip for tiny people and a tiny car."

"A few hours. Actually when he dropped us off he stayed the night here, then headed back."

"If I could drive I could get there pretty quickly, but I can't get my learner's permit till I'm 15 and 9 months. Or I could ask Dad to drive me...Naah, I'll go on my own."

As it turned out, Betsy Lane lived three and a half miles away, and right on the bus line. Vardo rode in George's pocket. George had looked up the actual address in the phone book. He got off the bus and went to the front door, then dropped off Vardo. But...

"The door's too narrow underneath--I can't get through."

"Let me try something."

He supposed he could just ring the bell and announce that he was there to meet a four inch tall woman inside, but no. Instead, he set Vardo down next to a window with a flyscreen. There was a slight tear in the screen, so Vardo went through, then climbed down a shade cord to the floor.

George waited outside. He noticed a car in the driveway, so apparently Betsy was indeed home. A few minutes later, imagine George's surprise when the door opened and a woman in her 60s called out to him. "Young man...George? I guess you wish to meet my good friend Lilac?"


"It's OK, I know all about the borrowers. Your friend--Vardo?--think that's his name. I saw your friend Vardo climbing down the cord of my shade..."

"It's OK, George," he heard Vardo say. He was sitting on the lady's hand. "I didn't know this, but she met my sister-in-law and her family and befriended them. It's cool."

George introduced himself and said that he and his younger brother had discovered a borrower husband, wife, and son, and the wife was the sister of one of _her_ borrowers. "And I wanted to meet that woman's lovely daughter."

Betsy Lane had recently retired from her post office job. She was a widow who was active in the Red Hat Society, a group of "active" women older than 50. Now she had some borrowers to keep her company. The tiny people all lived in a dollhouse placed in what used to be her daughter's room.

George sat in Betsy's living room. She said she had something interesting to show George--or more to the point, someONE...

Betsy cradled a creature in her cupped hands. She asked George to also cup his hands. The next thing he knew, a beautiful four-inch tall fourteen year old girl was on top of them. She wore a yellow dress and was barefoot, with lovely brunette hair.

She looked up and saw the massive face of a boy her age. Eyes, nose, lips, ears, all greatly magnified. Blond hair she could almost crawl through. He lifted his cupped hands up closer and saw her lean forward to place one tiny hand on his immense nose. George reciprocated by taking an index finger and gently touching her nose. She was so small he could barely see it. They introduced themselves to each other.

She was a cute girl just his age, but so tiny...the pancakes he'd eaten earlier probably weighed more than she did. I want to protect her from my big world, he thought. I want to just talk with her about what any kids our age would talk about. But anyone looking on would see that they each saw something very special in the other.

"So, when's the wedding?," laughed Betsy who knew love at first sight when she saw it.


Rainy Days and Mondays

On that Sunday night, Connor decided to tell his mom and dad about Brent. "You know how I like little people? I actually found one and he's small enough to fit on my hand."

His parents chuckled, as they read through the Sunday paper.

"No, really. Here he is." With that, Connor went into his room and re-emerged in the living room holding something, no, someONE in his cupped hands. He showed the tiny human to his mom and dad.

"His name is Brent and he's a borrower." It was amazing to Walter and Sarah Whitley--a man in his thirties, one-eighteenth the size of an average sized man. Dwarfed by a ten year old's hand. Looking slightly nervous (but Connor smiled down at him with an "It's OK" nod).

Connor explained that he was one of a rare group of people that size--that Brent had some relatives elsewhere; people who live in other people's houses, usually without the "big" people knowing, and "borrowing" things they need. Things that probably would not be missed.

"I like helping him out. He's littler than me, a lot littler, but I figure I can do stuff for him. He may not even have to borrow any more--I feed him and he keeps me company."

Connor's parents welcomed the tiniest member of their household. They still seemed a little bit shocked, but they told Connor to be careful with him.

"I have been...mostly." Connor sniffled a couple times.

As it turned out, the next morning, Connor's sniffles had developed into an outright cold. He had a fever and seemed a bit woozy. Sarah told him to stay home from school, and she'd check in on him every couple hours (she worked a real estate job nearby). "You'll be OK, right? We'll have some nice warm soup for lunch. And you have your little friend to keep you company."

"Thanks, Mom. Will he catch my cold?"

Brent answered that question. "I don't think so, kid; your germs are too big for my little lungs. But I still may keep my distance..."

Connor's mom got him some hand sanitizer and told him to use it--and have Brent dab his tiny hands with it, too. She went off to work.

It was raining outside--heavy rain. But they were warm in his bedroom. Connor wore a T-shirt, sweat pants, and socks. He rested in bed under a heavy blanket; a glass of water and some cough drops were within reach. Connor dozed off and cat-napped a few times.

Brent sat on the floor and looked down at his hand, imagining that he was an average sized man who had a son that was 3 or 4 inches tall--the opposite of reality. He imagined his little son (Connor) was lying on his hand, covered by a facecloth to keep warm--sneezing and coughing. He put his miniscule hand on the ground and pretended to tuck "little Connor" into a tiny bed.

He smiled. No, that clearly wasn't reality, but it would be cute to have a son that small to take care of. Brent looked up at the bed. In his reality, a 10 year old boy seemed as big to him as an 82 foot tall giant would seem to be to someone of average size...and he seemed to weigh many tons. The smallest "big" baby was bigger than him. A squirrel was bigger, let alone a cat or dog.

No power. That was what he dealt with. When Connor was punched by the bully, he could do nothing to help him--and, in fact, had to be careful the brute bully didn't crush him to death. Size was power, and Brent didn't have much in the way of height or weight. He had to depend on others, though often he could still help himself in this world of giants.

He heard the rain pouring down on the roof of the house. Glad to be inside. It was a torrential downpour with high winds. If he were outside, there would be flooding rain up to his waist and winds threatening to blow him away.

Awhile later, Mom came back and they all had cream of tomato soup. Brent's was placed in a shot glass. A couple of times he dove for cover when he could hear Connor start to sneeze.

--- So there were seven borrowers living within a few miles of each other. Brent, in the Whitley home. Vardo, Butterfly, and Cronney in the Ames home. And Lilac lived in the Lane home together with her parents, Marno and Violet. The borrowers had friends in the persons of Connor and his parents; George, Aaron, and their parents, and the retired postal worker, Betsy Lane.

They all got together whenever they could. Connor enjoyed playing with tiny Cronney. George and Lilac became good friends, despite the 66 inch height differential between them. Marno, Lilac's dad, showed off the electrified toy car he'd developed. Perfect for borrowers on the go.

George and Aaron's dollhouse not only was acceptable for George's shop class grade, but he put it to good use. Electrified; even running water. Lilac and her family continued to live in a dollhouse at Betsy Lane's house, and Connor's parents even got a dollhouse for Brent to use.

There were further adventures to be had, and perhaps they will be told here.

...Is there a borrower in YOUR house?

The END--for now!