I accepted a job as an ambassador to the planet Varditor, which also entailed serving as a teacher and cultural liason. Was told it was very similar to Earth, and inhabited by humans-- though word had it they were pretty tall. 9 or 10 feet? Maybe more? I soon found out it was more like 12 feet! Yes, twice as tall as Earthlings and everything there would be 8 times as heavy, etc.
It kind of intrigued me because I had a fantasy about living in a world of giants--seeming 3 feet tall by comparison. There was no way to shrink me, but taking this job would put me in a situation where I would indeed be in a slightly outscaled world. (As I soon found out, "slightly" was an understatement. People and things double the "normal" size would seem even more huge to me than I'd thought.)
As part of the deal, Varditor would send an ambassador here, too, and I wondered what kind of problem he or she would have, being 12 feet tall or so. In my job, I'd kind of keep the peace between the worlds (at least I'd show up at United Planets meetings) and teach the Varditorians about Earth (customs, music, history, and so on). The Varditorian ambassador to Earth would do the same.
The government of this planet of giants provided a home for me, too. I would stay with a government worker named Tarkit (an official with their postal service) and would live rent-free (and of course I got a salary of their currency, for spending money and such).
Getting off the space ship was an interestinge experience. I had already mentally prepared myself for the simple fact that I'd be waist high to just about everyone. Still it was a bit of a shock to meet Tarkit and see an actual human being who was 12 feet tall and weighed maybe 2,100 pounds. I stared up at him and extended my puny hand up to him. Far above me was the face of a puzzled man. "Hello--I'm Rob Dorr, from Earth. Uh, this is how we greet one another on Earth--by putting one's hand in the other's." Of course, what I really said was "Urko--sen Rob Dorr, ka Earth. Uh, pollo dis en qa Earth-- gar gel en reso qa na reso."
I had been reading a book on Conversational Varditori while on the ship and think I did pretty well (and while I was shocked to see how big the typical Varditorian was, I tried not to show it!) "Uk...hello. Tarkit am I-- Varditor is your welcome!" (OK, so he got a little mixed up; I assume he meant "Varditor welcomes you!")
"Thank you-- ikli ikli! Jupo an jupo lan recca..." (Which meant, "We can help to learn each other's language!"
We went to a waiting car. Naturally, the door latch was at eye level to me and I found I had trouble pulling it. An aide helped me out, and I got in and sat on the gargantuan back seat. The aide smiled at me and then looked at Tarkit as if to say, "Poor little fella."
Yes, it isn't easy being 5 foot 10, folks! At least in a world that's double "normal" size!
I heard Tarkit telling his aide something along the lines of, "I had heard he was a little person but this little? We'll have to get a baby seat for my car."
So off we went to my new home, where we met his wife Kimma and their children. Kimma was a lovely giantess who bowed gracefully as I shook her hand (Tarkit had whispered to her, "Grab his hand...it's how they say hello on Earth.")
The first of their children that I met was a boy of about 8 who was probably 8 feet tall and maybe 600 pounds. The tip of my head was level with his armpits. He was a gangly, giggly youth with close- cropped hair; clad in a T-shirt and shorts, and sneakers that would probably be too big for even the tallest basketball star on Earth. Back home, he would have been almost 2 feet shorter than me, and would have weighed 75 pounds or so, but things were different here. "Urko, redda jon!" ("Hello, little guy!") He tried shaking my hand and almost broke it, not realizing he had to treat little ol' me tenderly!
He asked me if he could pick me up (then asked his mom and dad, and they both said, "Sure, since he said it was all right..."). The boy, whose name was Groddo, giggled and lifted me up. I weigh about 250 pounds, about 40 per cent of his weight, but he did manage to lift me up off the ground a foot or so! I was sure an adult would have an easier time lifting me. It was odd, but an 8 year old could just about lift me.
Next up was the 13 year old daughter, Blum, a lovely young blonde. She looked like the typical middle school teen girl, only she was a mere 11 and a half feet tall, and weighed about 800 pounds. Oh, you look so cuuuute, she purred down at me. Welcome!
Lookit, he's even smaller than me!, laughed Groddo. He's a dwarf!
"Actually, most grownups on Earth are his size," said Tarkit.
I would meet the other child, a 12 year old boy named Vrok, a bit later. He was at a sports practice when I first came to the Gillak (that's their last name) house. As it turns out, they'd arranged for me to room with the boys. Groddo and Vrok had bunk beds (the younger lad on the top bunk) while I was in a toddler-sized bed on the other wall. Oh, by the way, I let Vrok lift me up and he had no problem. He's about 10 and a half feet tall and weighs about 900.
-- So I adapted to my new world, a world where I relied on step stools to reach things (though usually the kids, or Tarkit or Kimma, were more than happy to reach things for me). Where stairs were tough for my puny legs to climb, and the giant Varditorians easily outpaced me when walking due to their size advantage. It's almost like I had to jog just to keep up with the giants' normal walk.
I wound up teaching students of various ages, telling them all about Earth, in the best Varditori I could manage. Often I had to climb on a chair and stand on the seat so they could see me better. It could be giggly 8 year olds like Groddo's class (they agreed with him-- they'd LOVE to go to Earth, where they'd tower over everybody). Or it could be college students who learned about Earth pop music from me. Or I'd talk about some hugely popular novels and the films inspired by them like the Lord of the Rings trilogy. (Hmm, in THIS world, I guess I'm a hobbit!, I thought. No hairy feet though.)
At a high school gym class, I taught them about Earth sports like basketball. I'd brought a ball with me and asked one of the gym students to fasten the basket to the wall, about "10 feet up". That would about shoulder high to them. "Oh, this game's easy," one of them said.
"Well, to you it would be, but Earth basketball players are a lot shorter than you, so it's tougher. They're about as tall as-- well, maybe a 5 or 6 year old here..." Everyone laughed. Of course if someone could make a bigger basketball and a hoop that could be placed 20 feet high, then it would equal to the game on Earth.
---- I must admit I did like the idea of being small in some ways but it could be a pain, too. When I spoke at a science museum, I had to dodge a bunch of 8 or 10 feet tall kids who, as kids are know to do, were running around, full of energy. One kid almost clobbered me! At one point during the talk, one kid noticed I had a clipboard with notes and he grabbed it and playfully held it up just above his head. I jumped up and down to try to grab it back but hey, I'm only 5'10", so how do I deal with a boisterous nine-foot-tall nine-year-old? --
A few more observations:
--The amount of food I eat in a typical meal, which might seem quite a bit to you, seemed so small a portion to the giants. "No, no, I'm full--thank you," I kept telling Kimma, who couldn't let go of the fact that while I was an adult, I was a toddler-sized one (on this world) and thus didn't eat as big a portion as even one of her kids.
--I'd love to either have a Varditorian visit Earth, or even just show off their clothes. Tarkit has an 86 inch waistline and a 60 inch inseam, and his shoes are about 2 feet long.
--I miss being able to drive a car, and being able to see out the window. In my baby--uh, child seat, I can see a little but it isn't the same.
--Here, I can curl up on an adult's lap--or a child's...and when playing hide and go seek with Groddo, I can easily fit under his dad's desk or in the smallest of cubbyholes
--I have gotten some stares when people see I am a toddler sized adult. They think I'm a dwarf from their own planet. But soon I will be well known, as I'll do some TV interviews. But any fame I get, as the visiting Earthling, will be offset by the idea that some pervert or jerk will mug me, or kidnap me, or who knows what.
That said, it looks like I won't be walking alone often, if at all.
Well, I need to wind this up for now, but I'll leave you with this: In some ways this is fun, being in a world of giants. In some ways it's a pain. For the most part I get treated well, but who knows.
Now I know what life's like for him.
Ikli ikli, moss. Sen Rob Dorr, hu a redda jon ka Earth, sika noko yed en Varditor! *
**--Thank you, everybody. This is Rob Door, just a little guy from Earth, saying goodbye for now from Varditor!
Rob Dorr again, reporting from planet Varditor, where my 5'10" height means I'm only waist high to the natives. I'm an ambassador and teacher who lives with a typical family--Tarkit, Kimma, and their daughter Blum and sons Groddo and Vrok.
Today I was due to attend Vrok's class and talk about Earth. The two boys and I got up and got ready for the day. Groddo offered to help me get into the tub but I said no big deal. It was only 2 feet high so I was able to get in OK, and I reached for the controls for the shower--about four and a half feet up. No prob there. After showering and toweling off, I threw on my robe and headed back into the boys' room to dress. Groddo jokingly handed me one of his sneakers to try and put on. Last time I checked my feet weren't 16 inches long and 6 inches wide. We had breakfast and as usual I wound up in the chair with the, uh, baby seat. Well, I had to. Otherwise, would have had a tough time seeing over the table.
We had something that was a cross between oatmeal and cereal, and I drank viklo, a nice hot drink. I had to hold the large cup in both hands to drink, and had a tough time with a dispenser of the sugar-like substance grioo. I felt like such a toddler, using two hands for tasks that only required one before, and worrying that I'd drop my gargantuan cup if I weren't careful.
Vrok and Groddo were in the same school though Vrok's classes, for the slightly older children, were in a different wing of the building than Groddo's. The kids giggled, of course, to see a dwarf like me--for that was pretty much what I was, just barely under 6 feet tall. I was about as tall as their navels.
They clustered around me to say hello. I craned my neck up to look at their 11 and 12 year old faces--and torsos, arms, and legs that seemed far too thick and long. They compared hands and feet with me. Of course the teacher was even more grossly exaggerated.
By now I was getting used to seeing the 12-foot-tall adult denizens of this planet. As I walked along the streets they sometimes would notice and often would not, and those who did looked curiously at me. Hmm, he's not a toddler--he looks like an adult. Just a dwarf, they thought, and they quickly looked away with a slight look of embarrassment for having stared at me.
"It's OK, ma'am," I had told one such woman. "I'm from a planet where everyone is my size and I know we'd probably stare at a dwarf too..."
"Oh, I'm sorry...I didn't mean to..."
"Sevva oy (that's OK). I guess being different can lead to people staring. I'm an ordinary man but short of stature." Of course by then, her 7 foot tall five-year-old son had noticed me and came right up to me.
"Urko, redda jon! Yilli, ponno! Sen qursa glonek!" ("Hello, little guy! Look, ma! I'm bigger than a grownup!")
One interesting time I met a Varditorian dwarf. He was only 6 foot 3 and was "proportional". He laughed politely and said, "Well, I guess I'm not the shortest guy in town anymore!"
I also laughed and told him I was the ambassador from Earth, where most people don't get any taller than me. "Whoa, it would be nice to move there! I wouldn't have to keep looking up!," he said.
"This is good--you can finally talk to an adult who's your size."
"Yeah--though there have actually been other times. I attended the Little People of Varditor convention and that was a blast." (Yes, the LPV, where all the members are under 9 foot 6.)
Anyway, back to Vrok's class. I got up to speak and quickly found I tired of looking up at them in their desks; I glanced back at the teacher's desk and thought of standing on that. "I'll help you, Rob," said Vrok. He got up and looked down at me. "May I?"
"Yes, you may." With that the boy reached under my arms and lifted me up to the top of the teacher's desk (which was throat-high to me).
I sat on it, legs dangling over the side of it. I still had to look up a bit to see the seated children, but it was a bit more comfy being higher up.
I talked of the similarities and differences of our two worlds. Really, the size difference was most of the "differences". Animals were slightly different here. Both planets had dogs, but only Varditor had a domestic animal called the maprey, which was a cross between a fox and a raccoon. (Mapreys were about 5 feet tall when standing on their hind legs and weighed maybe 150 pounds.) Varditor had TV, computers, cell phones, and the like, and most Varditorians had clothes similar to what was on Earth. While Varditor tended to have fewer religions, nations, and ethnic groups, I told them Earth had many. When asked what kids on my world did, I replied that they did much the same things...school, athletic activities, hanging out at malls, and so on.
"The important thing," I concluded, "is that while people on both our worlds may not tolerate different types of people, it IS important that you do. The size of a person, or their ethnic background or faith, should not matter. I'm just like you, really, only in a more compact package." I slid off the teacher's desk and jumped down to the floor. "Oh, and by the way, on Earth a 12 year old kid wouldn't be able to lift a grownup the way Vrok did."
They laughed. "How tall are kids our age on Earth?"
I held my hand up to my shoulder. "Whoa, that's tiny!," several said in unison.
"And if kids from my planet visited yours, how would you treat them?"
"I'd help 'em out, help 'em reach stuff," one boy replied.
"Teach 'em how to play velnada," said another, referring to a sport popular with youth.
"Hang out with 'em and just chat about stuff," one girl added.
"Wrestle 'em!," one boy laughed, and the class giggled.
"Well, you guys would have a bit of an advantage, of course."
"Hey, I could wrestle one of your grownup wrestlers," the boy replied. "How big are they?"
"Hmm, maybe 6 and a half feet tall, 300 pounds? Of course there are big huge sumo wrestlers who could be up to 500 pounds." Which, of course, was less than what 8-year-old Groddo weighed.
One of the 12 year olds walked up to me and smiled gently. "I feel bad that you're so little...I hope people aren't mean to you."
"Well, they haven't been so far, but I kind of worry someone might beat me up."
"I could be your bodyguard," he smiled. Yes, an 11 year old bodyguard... "You know I like talking to little people when I'm on the computer."
"Well, I've done the same back on Earth." I mentioned the dwarf I talked to who was just shy of 3 feet tall--knee high to these kids, really. The bell rang and the kids filed out of the class, looking down at me and smiling. A few of them gently shook my hand with their huge paws. "Yit gaza, redda jon." ("Be strong, little guy.")
------- Being short-statured, at least on this world, meant having to depend on people like the Gillak family--driving me places, for example. I often walked with one of them, for safety, but there were times I just wanted to go out on my own. One night I decided to go to a nightclub to catch some music; Tarkit offered to drive me but I said, "No, that's OK--it's just a few blocks from here and I think I can handle it. I'll call if there's trouble."
So I walked four blocks or so (which of course seemed a longer distance with my small feet and short legs) and got in to the club, scampering up to a bar stool where I could hear and see the band.
Well, hear them at least. The club filled with a hundred patrons or so and often my view to the stage was blocked, especially when one of the gargantuan club-goers went over to the bar to order a porzo (kind of like beer) from the bartender. Of course, some did notice me down there on the stool and there were comments like, "Hey, little boy, are you old enough to be in here? (laugh)". They could tell I was a "dwarf" (well, an average sized Earthling). A few times moisture came down from up above-- the Varditorians were getting their porzo in plastic cups and some of it was spilling down onto me!
They didn't even notice.
I tried not to have too much porzo. After all with this tiny body it wouldn't take much to get me drunk. I watched the band for a couple sets then decided to head back. Again, it was a few blocks away so I figured I'd hoof it. I heard some footsteps behind me and before I could react I was tackled from behind like some football player, and I soon found myself stretched on the ground with a Varditorian holding me down. He had to be at least 8 times my weight, so I couldn't escape.
I could smell the booze on his breath and heard him slur his words.
"Heyyy yurrr the guyy from Ear, uh, uh, the planet of shrimps. Yewwww don't belong here!" There was malice in his voice and I could sense what was going to happen next. Sure enough, he was trying to pull my wallet out of my pants and I tried to fight back but he soon had it, the Varditorian-sized wallet (which barely fit in my tiny pocket) with its currency inside. I tried to get up to get it back from the mugger but he slammed me down to the pavement with a long and thick arm. He ran off, but I didn't try to pursue. After all, my body was aching from the attack--I just lay there on the ground, whimpering and wishing I could have been 6 feet tall and 1,800 pounds heavier so I could have pushed back at him.
I reached for my cellphone and-- d**n. He took that too.
With that, the toddler-sized ambassador to Earth, yours truly, limped back to the Gillak house.
I limped back to the Gillak house and used my key to get in. Tarkit was still up, watching TV (it was about 12:30 am), awaiting me--and I told him what had happened.
"Oh, no--are you all right? Maybe we should go to the hospital."
"That's OK, I'm just kinda achy. Nothing's broken."
"Well, we should go to the police station at least." I agreed and as we drove off I mentioned I only had 50 cengi ($20) in the wallet, plus the cellphone. Which may not have been all that much but I was STILL robbed, and assaulted at that. Oddly enough when we got there and I told my story, the officer mentioned someone had just been brought in on a drunk and disorderly charge. He'd bumped, in his drunkenness, into a police officer on the street and got belligerant, so he was brought in for protective custody AND assault on an officer.
It was him. We were told of a court date later that week. Tarkit took a chance to berate the man for attacking a defenseless visitor from another planet who had done nothing wrong. "If the situation were reversed--if he were the giant and you the dwarf, he wouldn't have done that to you. A fine example you set of Varditorians to our Earthling visitor!"
It was about 1:30 am when we got back. I quietly took off my shoes and pants and slid into bed. Thought both boys were asleep but I heard Groddo say, "Are you all right, redda jon? We heard what you said to Dad."
"Yeah, I'm aching a bit but I'm OK."
"We could have gone with you to protect you," chimed in Vrok. Well, yes they could have but they were probably too small to defend me against an adult. Had this been Earth, and had an Earthling mugged me, they would have been a great help, though.
--- Fortunately the mugging was the worst thing that happened to me on Varditor. Otherwise it was a fun experience, and I enjoyed being the newest and smallest member of the Gillak family. But a few months later I had to go back to Earth, and fond farewells were given. I told them I'd love it if they could visit Earth someday, though I wondered if they'd be able to fit in my house!
I got back to Earth and needed to adjust to being "regular sized" again. Traces of the Varditori language had crept into my speech; when I saw my nephew I said, "Urko, redda jon!" ("hello, little guy!") and he was puzzled till I explained what it meant.
My first night back I had a dream that I was walking on a street here on Earth and saw a couple teens (13 or 14 years old) beating up a 3'6" dwarf. I thrust myself into the fray and punched the teens, who ran away; then I picked up the small man and asked if he were OK. He said, "yes, but I'm a little achy..." He thanked me profusely and I said, "That's OK. I know what it feels like for you because I was in the same situation myself."
Back when I was a redda jon on the planet Varditor.