Big Problems For a Four Inch Man

by Timothy Lacey

I was still alive? I could not believe it. When my lab exploded, I thought my number was up. Even my clothing was untouched. That is more than I could say for the four story building my lab was in. All I could see of the building was orange flames shooting from the entire struture.

My vision must have been affected, I first thought. Everything seemed out of proportion. A cold sickening feeling over took me. I found I was the one out of proportion. As strange as it was, I was only four inches tall!

Not far from me was a policeman. He was keeping people back from the fire scene. I started to shout up to him when a rumbling feeling started to commence under my feet. I could also hear the sound of heavy machinery behind me. I turned around and saw a huge tire heading straight for me. I jumped out of the way, then watched the monster sized car thunder pass me.

I was about to get up when a rushing stream of water from the firemen's hoses knocked me down. I was being carried away. Several times, I was pushed up against the station wagon-sized shoes of pedestrians. No one saw me. For one it was night out, and no one would expect to find a four inch person floating down the street.

A new fear entered my mind. The fear was being washed down the city's sewer. If that happened, I would be lost forever. Mustering all the strength I could, I took in a deep breath of air. I rolled and fought my way out of the flowing stream of water.

I found myself in a dark alley. With black walls that spread higher (to me) than any gorge. I walked to the base of one of these gigantic walls and sat down. I pulled part of a piece of paper and covered myself with it. The drama of the day brought sleep. Before I faded off, I thought that maybe when I wake up I will find it all has been one big dream.

The sounds of the city coming to life and the ray of light that hit my face brought me back to reality. A reality I could do without. Well---it was no dream. I was in the land of the giants-- a land that I was once part of. And the question that came to my mind, was, could I return to it?

Turning to my side, I found I was next to a tarp or sheet, something that was military green. I studied it for a minute. As my eyes traveled up, I saw the lip of a pocket. To me this pocket was the size of a room. I continued to look up. I felt a weird sensation go through me, when I saw staring down at me, from behind a collar, a pair of green eyes. These green eyes were beneath a wave of dirty blond hair.

My first thought was to get away. But when I felt and saw the fingers, the size of tree trunks encircling me, I knew there was no escape. The grip was tight but not painful. I wanted to speak. But to be frank, I was scared silly so I just babbled a few syllables.

I was brought to eye level to this giant. Even though I could not make out his entire features, I knew this was a teenage boy. His eyes had the look of wonder in them. No doubt a strange sight for him. And me too.

He must have felt me shaking in his grip, for in a low and gentle voice he said, "Don't worry. I am not going to squash you." That did make me feel a little better. But that was short lived. A moment later, something came and covered my head. Whatever it was, it felt warm. The grip of the teenager tightened. I felt a deep pain coming from my chest. I could hear the sound of voices. I heard the giant who held me say, "Easy, George. You can hold him; just take it easy."

The painful grip eased up. I found myself rolling out of the teenager's hand, into a different and smaller one. I looked up at the new face. From the shape of the green eyes and nose, I figured this must be the younger brother of the first teenager. In stuttered speech I said, "M-my,my name is David."

The younger teenager, whom I take it is called George,turned to the bigger one and remarked, "Cool, it can speak. Did you hear that Paul? It can talk."

The teenager called Paul, smiled down at the one called George and replied, "Yes bro, I heard it speak."

I was getting a little tired of being refered to as an it. "My name is David. I am thirty years old. Something went wrong. And I found myself shrunk."

They both looked at each other and smiled. The boy called George told me, "You speak and sound funny. Almost like a mouse." The kid must have seem my face drop, because he said, "I didn't mean to make fun of you."

The teenager named Paul asked, "What kind of accident?" His face became very serious. "It is nothing we can catch, is it?"

"No, I don't think so. But I need somewhere I can think this through," I told them.

George pulled on his brothers coat sleeve and said, "Paul, I am getting hungry."

"I'll take you where you want to go. But first, I think your size could help me and my brother get some food," said Paul.

I agreed. And what choice did I have? Paul took me from his brother and placed me in his coat pocket. It was dark at the bottom of the pocket. It had the smell of old apples and hamburgers. It was also strange for me to think, here I am, a thirty year old man, yet I am in a pocket of a young teenager being carried as most boys would carry a frog or a mouse. It was all so weird.

As he was walking, Paul explained to me what he wanted me to do when he gave me the signal, which was the tapping of the pocket I was in. Basically, I was to snatch apples or candy bars I could reach. I thought, and this thought made me laugh, in my shrunken wallet, I had almost a hundred dollars. What a meal the boys could have with that.

A short time later, I got the signal. I hoisted myself up on to the lip of the pocket and looked out from under the flap. I picked up the closest thing to me, which was a few candy bars. A little later he had me near plums. The hardest things for me to handle were the apples. I nearly threw my back out getting two of them.

After the apples, we were on our way again. When the pocket stopped swaying, I figured the boys found a place to eat. Light entered the pocket followed by Paul's giant hand. It was strange being enclosed in a giant hand. I think part of what made it a weird experience, was that I had no control. I was at the mercy of another person. I never had to depend, let alone be at the mercy of another person. It was whole different way of experiencing life for me.

I was placed on the ground before them. Paul took a small knife out of his pants pocket, and cut a small piece of apple for me. I took the piece from between his enormous fingers. The ends of his fingers were bigger than my head. The two young teenagers sat cross legged before me. I felt like I was before two huge Buddah statues. My neck was starting to cramp up from looking up at them. Paul picked me up and placed me on his knee. He then said, "At least you don't have to look up so far."

George had just finished a candy bar when he asked his brother, "Can we keep him? He may be able to help us in ways we haven't thought of."

Paul rubbed the bottom of his chin and considered me with his eyes for a moment. "He could be useful to us," he said. He bent forward and asked, "What are your plans? Was there people you hoped to contact?"

"There's people from work I could try to reach. I am new to this city. I really haven't made any close friends. I have been tied up in my work. I do have a colleague and good friend in the next state where I came from. He is also part of the project I was working on. I am sure he could help if I could reach him."

The two teenagers looked at each other deep in thought. Even though I really didn't know them, there was something likable about them. I took the risk and suggested, "How about we go back to my apartment. There is a code I can give you, which let you in the building. You can clean up. And we can take it from there. What do you say, guys?"

For a moment, Paul and George talked it over. They agreed. I told them where my apartment was. Paul put me back into his coat pocket and proceeded on his way. It was a chance I was taking. Several times during the trip to the apartment, I thought I made a mistake. Mistake or not,I set the gears in motion; let's see where they take us.

In the blackness of the pocket I suddenly heard the familiar sound of the inner door to my apartment building. A few seconds later the sound of the elevator.

I had also told Paul where to find a key to my apartment. Soon I was back in my home. I had Paul take me into the bedroom. There he took me out of his pocket and set me down on to my bed. "Nice place you got here," he said. George came over to the bed and in youthful enthusiasm, jumped on to the bed. I found myself spinning in the air. The next thing. I saw two huge hands coming towards me from both sides. I closed my eyes. I was afraid I was going to get smashed between the two hands. I felt sharp smack to the side of my face instead. Next I found myself rolling on to the blue blanket to my bed.

George leaned over to me and apologized. I told the two teenagers, "I have some sportswear that should fit you, Paul. And there are washers in the basement to clean George's clothes."

Paul put an arm down in front of me and lowered his chin on it. He asked, "How do you know we aren't going to rob you blind and hurt you?"

"I don't know that. And I am at your mercy. If I am wrong about you two---well, get it over with."

George came over to his brother and the two looked at me in silence. Paul made a fist with his hand and brought it over my head. I could feel beades of sweat starting to go down my back. Paul looked at his brother and said, "Let's get this over with." He raised his fist up. I just stood there looking up at him. I saw his fist came down. It opened up. And he gently pushed me on to my back.

George said smiling, "There---you are now officially our friend."

The three of us looked at each other. We all had the same question on all our minds-- where do we go from here. Paul said, "Do you think you should call the people you work for? I mean, wouldn't they try and help you."

I said, "Maybe I am paranoid. Maybe I have watched too much television. I have this feeling inside, the people I work for may be more interested in the shrunken man, instead of the individual."

George wrinkled his brow and said, "What does that mean."

Paul said, "It means David is going to bet all his cards on his friend who lives out of state. And if David wants, we will help him. Damn, it will be an adventure either way."

"Guys," I told them, "I welcome your help. But it also means letting me and others who I think can--- help you. That is the condition if you want to help me. You deserve more than the streets." I couldn't help wiping the tears from my eyes, it was rather emotional.

Paul said, "You got a deal. Except, please and try not to get emotional over it."

I laughed. They laughed. We all did. What a team, two young teenagers and a four inch man. More adventures I know will be coming.

Part 2

I told Paul and George to help themselves to anything in the kitchen. George picked me up and brought me over and placed me down on the kitchen table. I didn't have much of an appetite. But I was glad to see the two teenagers dig into the food. I think they both had eight bowls of cereal. When George was done, he gave out one loud belch. It sounded like a fog horn to me. Paul gave his brother a light slap to the back of the head and told him, "Hey, close your mouth next time."

After they were done eating, Paul went back to my bedroom and got some of my clothes. He then told told us he was going to take a shower. George took me over to the living room, placing me at one end of the sofa. He sat down on the other end and took off his beat up looking sneakers. He spun his legs around on to the sofa and stretched out. I found myself between his feet. The stench was overwelming. I let out a few gagging coughs. "What's the matter," asked George. I think he knew, for he had a sly smile on his face.

"Your feet. It smells like low-tide---phew."

"Well, it will open up your sinuses, he said with a grin.

"Forget the sinuses," I told him. "There's enough strength in that stink, to cause a melt down in a nuclear reactor!"

He didn't respond back. But I saw the look of mischief cross his face. He slowly and gently brought his feet up against me. He applied enough pressure, that I couldn't move out from between his feet. He rolled me between his feet, so I would have to get a face full of dirty sock. It wasn't fun for me. But he seemed to get a kick out of it. He rolled me around just a few times and then he let me go. He leaned forward and said, "Now you really can know what a dirty sock smells like."

I told him, "I think that is something I could have lived without experiencing first hand." I wasn't mad at him. Though I did hope the smell wouldn't linger on me.

Paul came out of the shower. He had a pair of my gym shorts on and a gray sweat shirt. I saw that cleaned up, his hair had a red tint to it. And with his face not so tense, he looked like a teenager around fourteen years old. With a disgruntled look on his face he said, "Man, it smells as if something had died." George lifted a leg up. "Oh, I should have guessed." Paul then told his brother to take a shower. He also told his brother he would go and wash their clothes. George got up and left for the bathroom.

I told Paul where to find change for the washing and drying machines. When he got the change, he went back to the bathroom. He came back over to me with his and his brother's dirty clothes under one arm. He looked down at me shyly and said, "I appreciate you letting us come into your home."

"I am glad too. Though I wish it wasn't due to a situation like this." Paul gave me a nod of the head. Before he left, I told him, "In case anyone asks you, say you are a cousin of mine from Ohio." He then went out the door. I wondered if that was such a good idea, since he and his brother have such a thick New Jersey accent.

George came out of the bathroom looking clean and relaxed. He had on a pair of gray sweat pants and a white tee-shirt. He came over to me and sat down. He asked if there wasn't anything he could do for me. I told him I was fine. A little later I asked him, "How did you and your brother end up on the streets?"

"I would rather not talk about it," he told me. I respected his wishes. We wound up watching television. Close to two hours later, Paul came back with their clothes cleaned and dried. He also had a newspaper with him.

"I found this paper down stairs. It mentions the fire at your lab," he told us.

"What does it say?" I asked Paul.

"First it says, that a David Spencer, that's you I guess,was the only fatality. Four other people were hurt and taken to the hospital and are expected to have a full recovery. So far, according to the paper, it says 'cause of the explosion a faulty seal'."

I scratched my head. "I can see why then there would be an explosion, but there was nothing I was working with to cause the shrinking of matter. My friend I mentioned earlier, Mike Merski-- maybe he could help me solve the problem."

George picked me up and said, "I hope he can help you. But until then, me and my brother will look out for you."

Paul's face went serious and he asked, "I wonder what this means about your apartment? The super of this place, I would think must know, or will."

"That's a good point. We will stay the night here,and hope there will be no problems. Tomorrow, if you two are for it,we can take a bus to Ohio and contact my friend Mike." They both told me they were still willing to travel.

The rest of the day we all stayed indoors. At night we hit the sack early. Paul and George used my bed. I slept on top of a small table using a sock as a sleeping bag.

We awoke as the first light of dawn broke. Paul fixed breakfast for me and his brother. George asked, "What are we going to do about money?" I told George where he could find three hundred dollars in cash that I had put away for an emergency. I also told them that in my bedroom closet, was a small backpack they could use to take any clothing they needed and any food they wanted to bring with them. Paul loaded the backpack with socks, a few tee shirts and food he wrapped up.

Paul made sure the apartment was secure. He put me in his coat pocket. I heard him close the door and we were off. I heard the sound of an elevator door shutting. I was about to make myself comfortable, when I let out a sneeze. I had developed a simple cold. I sneezed a few more times. I was shocked, when I heard a stranger's voice, a voice of a woman. She said, "Why, it sounds as if it came from your pocket."

I heard Paul say, "Oh that is my brother. He can throw his voice. Maybe you have heard of him. The great Larynx."

The woman said, "No, I never have."

"Oh, he is the best," said Paul. He then said, "Go on George, say something for the nice lady." I was listening to see what came next. Paul, in a louder voice, said, "Come on George, say something, as if it was coming from my pocket."

It then sank into my thick skull, Paul is talking to me. I yelled out, "Help, I am a prisoner in a pocket---help me." I heard the woman congratulate George for doing such a neat trick.

Wanting to have a little fun I said, "Thanks for the compliment, baby."

The woman responded, "Fresh young man."

I heard Paul and George laughing over it a little later. I sat at the bottom of the pocket listening to the two teenagers and the sounds of the street. I was fading off, when the pocket started shaking madly. I heard the voices of other teenagers. I couldn't make out any words. The pocket, after a few minutes, stopped swaying. After more silence, I heard a stranger's voice ask, "What are you hiding in your pocket?"

"There's nothing in my pocket Matt," I heard Paul saying. "Really, there is nothing inside," pleaded Paul.

The top of the pocket opened up. I heard a strange voice say, "What the..." A dirty hand came down at me. Roughly it gathered me up. The hand smelled of dirt and cigarettes. A large index finger with a half bitten off hang nail pushed my head from side to side. I looked up at the face. It was thin with sharp features. The blue eyes seemed void of any feeling. The face reminded me of those statues found on Easter Island, that stand as silent guards on its shore-line.

The teenager placed me on a small table in a room that was dimly lighted. The room had a dank and mouldy smell to it. I stood up. There was four of these teenagers. Two of them were keeping Paul and George back. The teenager who I guess, was the one named Matt, asked Paul, "Where did you find it?"

"I found him in an alley. He needed our help."

The teenager named Matt, in a mocking voice said, "Aren't you the good boy scout."

One of the other teenagers ran out of the room. George told Matt to let me and them go. Matt ignored George. The boy who ran out came back. He came back with a cat. My entire body felt like it wanted to go cold. "No, leave the little guy alone. Please," begged Paul.

"Please, please leave my little friend alone. Don't be a wimp. We are going to have fun with the little guy," said Matt in a loud, stupid sounding voice.

I looked at the cat. It was sickly looking. Half its fur was missing. One of its eyes were covered with a blue film. One of the other teenagers dropped a thin piece of metal before me. I picked it up. The cat hissed at me. I could smell its foul breath. Matt poked the cat with a pen. The cat moved toward me. The fight was on.

The cat and I circled each other. At one point, the cat moved its paw at me. I jumped back. Paul and George, meanwhile, were pleading to Matt and to his friends to stop this. I dodged a few more swipes of the cat's paw. One swipe hit me in the chest. It tore my shirt and scrapped my skin. It wasn't bad. But I knew my luck couldn't last. When the cat lunged at me again, I stuck the metal object I held into its leg. It screamed for a moment and then, to my relief, jumped off the table.

Matt wiped his nose off with his hand and told his friends to watch us. They circled around the table staring at me, as Matt and another kid left the room. Paul picked me up and told the other teenagers not to worry, he wouldn't try and leave. When they did back up, Paul whispered to me, "When I put you back on the table, act crazy when you see me nod my head." Paul placed me back on the table. I saw him whisper something to George.

Matt came back into the room. He brought with him, a beat up old shoe box. I figured it was for me. I looked up at Paul. I saw him nod his head. I started shaking, screaming and acting, well, crazy. Matt asked, "What's wrong with him."

Paul looked innocent and said, "I don't know."

"Where did you say you found him?" asked Matt looking a bit concerned.

George said, "We found him near the lab that blew up. He was working on some sort of bio-experiment." I thought to myself, "Good one George!"

Paul picked me up and started yelling, "Oh---my hand hurts. It's burning." He started moving around the room, with me yelling like a crazy person. George did his part, and acted real scared. When they neared the door, Paul screamed to George, "Run!" We made it for the door in a mad dash. Crazy as Paul's plan was, it worked!

Paul and George flew out the building and down the street. When Paul figured we were safe he stopped. "Paul," I said, "That was beautiful."

"Damn---that was a great escape," Paul said proudly.

Part 3

After our flight from those punks, the three of us rested for a while. Paul placed me on his knee. He was still beaming with pride over his successful escape plan. I asked him, "Did you know those kids?"

He replied, "We hung around with them for a while. But left them, when I found their leader, Matt, was kind of nuts."

George wanted to hold me. He reached over and picked me up. Paul suggested we should move on, in case those guys should spot us. George put me in his shirt pocket. We headed uptown where the bus terminal was. On the way, George spotted the entrance to the new city mall. It had recently opened and sections were still yet to be occupied. It was big. Of-course, everything seemed big to me.

We entered one of its many entrances. I stood up in George's pocket and looked out. There was the smell of construction in the air. It still was early so the mall was quiet except for a group of teenagers on skate boards. George wanted to go inside a sports shop that was on the other side. Paul told George he would meet him there. He spotted a vendor's cart selling muffins and he thought he would get a couple. Paul did a quick survey of their surroundings, and told George, "I guess it's ok." And he walked off.

George started walking across the center strip of the mall. He found the floor was rather slippery. He was in the middle when several teenagers flew by on their skate boards. One kid slipped, due to the condensation on the floor, and struck George in the side. George spun around. He was trying not to lose his balance. Tipping over, I fell out of his pocket. He tried to grab me as he was falling. I fell into his hand but when he hit the floor, I flew out of his hand and on to the floor. I found myself sliding for a few yards.

I started getting up, when I saw I was next to the kid who had bumped into George. He appeared stunned as he was getting up. He looked Paul's age. He had short black hair and wore a blue sweater and a pair of blue work out pants. Blue must be his color. I was hoping he would not spot me. As he stood up, to me, it appeared he stretched into the distance. It looked as if his shoulders and head narrowed. He bent his head down and started rubbing the back of it with his hand. He was looking right at me. I stood still. When I saw his face get the look of curiosity, I knew he spotted me. I started to run away. Turning to see what he was up to, I saw him take a box out of his pants pocket and started emptying something in his hands.

He threw the contents of what was in his hands at me and I found myself in a rain storm of falling red beads. It was those red hot candies. It did what the kid wanted it to do, I slipped back on to the floor. His hand came and pinned me down. The boy's huge fingers curled around me. I was brought up to his round inquisitive looking face. The only thing he said to me was, "I have to get myself a helmet."

I heard George calling to the boy. The kid got back on his skate board. I heard George say, "Not so fast." But the kid took off in a flash. I could hear George running behind him. I suddenly thought, what about those other teenagers on the skate boards. They never came back to check on their friend. Unless, this kid wasn't with them.

The kid started making a sharp turn, when (you guessed it) he slid and fell on to the floor. Once again, I was flying along the floor. When I stopped, all I could think of was, what is it about me, that attracts this floor to me!

But I had other pressing concerns. Before me was a horrifying sight. A herd of anxious senior citizens. It was senior's day at the mall. I had to move to my right, move to my left. I went forwards. I went backwards. I had to jump, spin. I felt like a drunken bull-fighter. I was determined not to meet death beneath a pair of perscription shoes.

After they had gone. I caught my breath. A pair of familiar sneakers came down in front of me. "George," I shouted up to him. He picked me up. I asked, "What about that kid?" George told me he had chased him away. He put me back into his shirt pocket. His pocket felt good and warm.

A few minutes later Paul appeared. When he asked George, "Is there anything else you want to see in the mall?"

We both said, "NO!"

We left the mall. On our way, Paul and George stopped off at a park. George took me out of his pocket and held me in his hand. From what I could see, there weren't too many people about. A few mothers with their babies. I saw a couple of drunks in the distance, staggering around like crippled flies. Paul took out of the backpack, a white bag. It had the muffins he had picked up at the mall. George broke a small piece off of his and gave it to me. He started to to say something to me then he stopped. After a moments lull, he said, "I feel bad about what happened,David."

I told George, "It wasn't your fault, forget it."

Paul stiffened up and asked, "Was there a problem?"

George continued, "Well---I should have been more careful. Also, I had been thinking, it would be great to keep you. I thought, if you couldn't get back to normal, then we could keep things as they are. Things in our life are always changing. It would be great if for once they didn't. But, at the mall I saw how helpless you are in a big world. I hope then, you can get back to normal."

"George," I said, "That is the nicest thing anybody has ever said to me. If I didn't have this problem, I would never have met you or your brother and..."

He cut me off and said, "Ok, ok. Lets not get slobbering over it."

Paul, getting a bit impatient, said, "What happened at the stupid mall!" George told his brother everything was ok. He didn't need to worry. Just then, two little girls appeared.

One with gold curls said to George, "You were talking to that toy."
George denied that he was.

"Yes you were," said the other little girl.

Paul told the little girl, "That is a trick my brother can do. He can throw his voice. Show them George."

George picked me up with two fingers and faced me toward him. He said, "Say something Mr. Little, to the little girls." George then put on a big grin. He turned me toward the girls.

"Hi. I am Mr. Little and I like to talk." I didn't know what else to say. But the two little girls liked it and giggled.

"I could see his mouth move," said the girl with the gold curls.

Paul explained to the girls, "When my brother gives the toy a slight squeeze, its mouth moves."

The other little girl brought her face close up to mine and squinted. "It looks so real. Too bad it has a goofy face." I was going to say something. But I didn't.

The sound of a mother's voice was heard, and the two little girls ran off. Paul said to George, "Mr. Little? Mr. Little? Couldn't you have come up with a better name."

"Thats the best I could think of."

"Also," added Paul, "The next time, don't grin like that. You looked like a demented ventriloquist."

"I did not."

"Yes you did." The two brothers started slapping each other. Shortly, they gave each other a few punches. I meanwhile, hung on tight to George's thumb. They really weren't fighting, just a little brotherly fun.

George put me back in his pocket and the two set off to get the bus tickets. A little later, I heard the sounds, voices of the bus terminal. It was in the same station as the railroad offices. When Paul was getting the tickets, it sounded like he was asking questions about the train schedule.

Paul told me for just "a little more," he could get tickets for the train, that included sleeping berths. He apologized for not asking me first. He thought talking to his brother's pocket would look strange.

I told him, "If your able to get a better deal, I am glad you went for it. Sleeping berths, are better than sleeping on a bus."

For most of the day, we hung around the station. The train wasn't scheduled to leave till early evening. Across from the station, George spotted a movie theater, and it was featuring a movie he thought would be fun to see. Paul inquired about the show times. He told me there was a late afternoon showing, which still gave them enough time, before they had to board the train. I said they could see it if they wanted. I don't know if my opinion really weighed all that much, but it was good of them to ask.

After we were seated, George and Paul started to rough-house again, until an adult told them to stop. The movie started with a loud rock song. I couldn't tell what the guy was saying. The movie itself was one of those action movies where the explosions and special-effects were the true stars. The plot was pretty stupid. At the end, the hero is on top of the Chicago Sears Tower, trying to disarm a nuclear war head and he has only twenty seconds to do it. His girl friend, meanwhile, asks if he still respects her. He tells her, he does and they kiss. This went on for a few minutes, when supposedly, they have only twenty seconds to defuse the bomb. Naturally, they had the time to kiss and save the city. But Paul and George enjoyed the movie and that's what really matters to me.

I was full of excitement and my head was spinning. It was time to board the train for Ohio. So far, everything was looking up. Would Mike, my friend in Ohio find the answers to my shrinking problem? Could we also help my two brave giant friends? All will be learned in the conclusion!

Part 4 (Conclusion)

An hour into our train trip, Paul and George went to the dining car. I was placed on the table and stayed out of sight, by staying behind the salt and pepper shakers. The two boys were having a hamburger dinner platter. They were getting a big thrill over having dinner on a train.

George didn't care much for the side order of salad that came with his dinner. But I love salad and found myself picking at it. The steward came by when I was tearing pieces of lettuce off. He was taking away empty or unused dishes. When I saw him, I jumped into the salad to hide. Before I knew it, the plate was moving. Paul and George must have seen me jump into the salad.

When the plate stopped moving, I peeked out from under a lettuce leaf. I was next to a pile of dirty dishes. I heard Paul's voice. They must have figured what had happened. As Paul was talking to the steward, I climbed out of the plate. The steward told Paul to beat it. I tried to get Paul's attention, by waving a thin strip of celery. I think he had seen me. I hid behind a cup, when the steward returned. He took off the shelf above me, a long silver can. With it, he sprayed on white whip cream on a tray full of jello. By the way he was holding it, it must spray with a potent force.

After he left, I thought Paul or George could sneak in. Outside however, eating on a side table, were a couple conductors having their meal. It would be up to me to get out. I could sneak my way through the kitchen. It was going across the dining car's floor undetected, which was the problem. I needed the element of surprise. My eyes went to the whipped cream can. Even if I could fire it myself, what is going to keep it from spinning around. I needed to control it. As I thought, I was trying to wipe off a sticky substance off my hands. Thats when the idea hit me. If I could spread a line of the sticky substance on the bottom of the can, maybe, just maybe, it would keep the can from going in every direction.

I pushed (with some effort) the can off the table. I also pushed off a small vegetable knife. I went to the plate that had the sticky substance and gathered up a ball of the stuff, also dropping it to the floor. Next, I slid down the leg to the metal table I was on. I knew, I probably was taking on more than I should. I just, I guess, wanted to have some control over my life---small or not.

Once on the floor, I smeared the sticky substance along the side of the can. I pointed the can in a ten degree angle. If all goes according to plan, I should find myself under one of the dinner tables. I climbed on the end of the can. With the knife, I started cutting the spray valve off. When the valve started hissing, I knew I was almost through. With one hard whack, the valve flew off from pressure. Dropping the knife, I hung on tight to to the lip of the can. The sticky substance, did what I had hoped, it kept the can traveling in a straight line. Zoom, I slid across the kitchen floor. Since I was riding backwards, I hoped I had angled the can correctly.

I was just going under a dinner table, when the force of pressure weakened. I jumped off and ran the rest of the way under the table. Everyone in the room were taken by surprise. I don't think I was seen. I kept myself hidden. I sneaked up to where Paul and George were sitting by staying close to the wall. When I spotted their sneakers, I ran for them. As I got in reach of them, they stood up and started down the aisle. I jumped on to Paul's sneaker.

I used a can of whipped cream as a rocket, now I am riding Paul's sneaker like a bucking bronco. I tried to grab hold of the cuff to his jeans. When he stopped, I moved my hand under the cuff of his pants and pulled on his white sock. I looked up to see if he had noticed. He did. He quickly picked me up and shoved me down the front pocket of his jeans. I was upside down at the bottom of his pocket, and a few loose coins banged into my head. When he started moving, I was pressed up against his leg. A few minutes later, light entered his pocket, followed by his giant fingers. I was pulled out of his pocket and placed on the mattress of a bed. He looked at me with a look of bewilderment, and said, "What was all that back there?"

I told Paul, "I figured I had to get out of there."

"Well, duh, I would have gotten you out of there. Kind of a big risk for a little guy to try," he said in a parental tone.

Part of me thought, did he see me as a child because I was so small. The other part of me, was flattered by his concern. George suddenly said, "I thought what you did was radical."

"Oh you do. That's because you're still a kid; now get up and pull in," said Paul. George got up on the berth. George moved himself up against the wall. Paul got up and would be sleeping at the front of the berth. I would be sleeping on a pillow between them. Paul turned off the small light and pulled the black curtain, which would give them privacy from the other passengers.

From the little light that trickled in, I could see Paul's eyes were still open. From living on the streets, Paul had to grow up fast, in order to take care of himself and his brother. I thought that was sad.

In the morning, I woke up to what I thought was a summer's gale. Instead, I found it was George's hot breath. Paul was up already. He poked George, who slowly stirred back to life. We had breakfast in the dinning car. This time, I was kept in Paul's shirt pocket. We could see through the windows, that we were on the out-skirts of Columbus, Ohio.

After the train pulled into the station, I had Paul call Mike's private number and leave him a special message. In the message, I had Paul include the words, "fish-fry". Paul had asked me what was the significance of these words and what would it mean to Mike. I told him that was an old code we use to use as friends back in high school, when we needed each others help.

We had to take a bus, which took us to the outer limits of the city. It was a pretty secluded area. Paul and George were impressed by the four story gray metal building. George said, "I feel like I am in one of those James Bonds films, where 007 has to enter a high guarded military complex."

By the way," said Paul. "You never told us what you were working on."

"A new form of hologram. It was going to be for the military. It featured a new form of laser. I also had the hope of creating a smaller one that survival groups could use for S.O.S. They both seemed impressed.

In the building, they were buzzed into the inner part of the complex. Paul told a very severe-looking woman that Mr. Merski was expecting him. When the woman went to check, Paul whispered to me, "Are you sure about this egg-head friend of yours. He won't become a 'Dr. Evil' or a 'Dr. Demento,' when he sees you. Will he?"

I told him and George that Mike was a straight shooter. I was hoping I could see their expressions when they see Mike, he is nothing like what they think. The boys were led down a long corridor. I was peeking just above the top of Paul's shirt pocket. Coming out of a brown door was a man built five by five. Mike was a quarter-back, in high school. He looked, with his big build and shaven head, he should be a Marine Sargent.

When Paul pulled me out of his shirt pocket and placed me down on his hand, I thought; big, always steadfast Mike, was going to faint. Over his shock, he hurried us into his office. One of the first suggestions he gave was to have the medical unit check me out. I was against it. I was afraid of being put in a cage.

When we were along, I asked Mike, "No matter what happens to me, please see what you can do for those two teenagers. They risked their life for me."

Mike told me he has an uncle who is a lawyer and who is sympathetic toward youth. "Hell," said Mike, "My uncle has five kids of his own."

For the next five days and it was in the evening, since Mike had his regular work to deal with, we worked and studied the problem. Mike entered all information into a theroretical computer, this was a brain-child of his. Meanwhile, Paul and George were in contact with Mike's uncle.

On the seventh day, ( yes,I know how that sounds) we were going to try something. Mike felt the energy out-put of the explosion, mixed with an unknown frequencey emitted by the new lazer beam, had to be what caused my "Big Problem." There were parts, that Mike was explaining that even I found went over my head.

At two in the afternoon--- we were ready. Paul and George wanted to be there. I wanted them too, but, also a little concerned. If something went wrong, well, I wouldn't want them to witness something awful. They opted to be there no-matter what.

I was placed on the floor of Mike's lab, where he had set up five lasers. I looked up at Paul and George and said, "Nothing can take away our friendship if it was real. Whatever comes next, you must move in a positive direction."

Both were silent for a moment. Paul then spoke, "We are more than just friends---bro."

George gave me the thumbs up and said, "That's right."

Mike turned on the machine. He then put on and gave goggles to Paul and George. The machine was fired. All I felt was a hot sensation and heard something that sounded like thunder. That was it.

When I saw I was still small, my heart dropped. Paul was starting to walk toward me, when I started to shake. Blood was coming out of my nose. I felt like I was on fire. My shaking turned into a violent trembling. I heard a couple of loud bangs, which I thought was going to rip my mind a part.

Silence. And the silence said something,it was absolute. For a moment I was afraid to open my eyes. I felt something wrap itself around my arm. It felt like hands. Opening my eyes, I saw Paul lifting me up off the floor. I was back. I said it out loud, "I am Back."

With a big smile on his face, Paul said, "Duh, no kidding."

At first, seeing Paul and George as normal size people, instead of giants, was just as strange, when I first saw them as giants in that alley. We all hugged and went forward.

Epilogue: I decided to stay in Ohio. I never told anyone else about what happened. Mike kept the silence also. I told the company back east, that it was debris from the blast that protected me. Paul and George did have to go back to New Jersey, to go through the proper legal steps. However, in three days they are flying back out to Ohio, where they will be living with a childless couple in their fifties, who has taken the boys on as their foster kids. Because of what happened, I can't help thinking, when I go into town or the city, if I see something running past my feet, is it a mouse, is it a cat, or could it be---you know what I mean!

THE END!