Our Giant Visitor

by Bob "Shrinkingman" Nelson

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The astronaut guided his spaceship toward the blue planet and set it into an orbit.As he got closer to it,he examined the different terrain and wondered where he should land.A lake came into view,followed by farmland and mountains. He saw a huge meadow and decided to land there.After taking soil,air,and temperature readings (automatically), he decided to leave the spacecraft.

Kroydin Leif (the astronaut) stepped out and looked around.There didn't seem to be any native creatures nearby.He sat down for a moment and yawned...that was a long stretch of piloting,without using the automatic pilot (Kroydin was alone,and used autopilot while sleeping).He figured he could rest his eyes just a second.Then he could explore this strange world,known to its natives as Earth.

Three kids from the town of Beverly,Vermont,saw what looked like a UFO fly over them on this quiet Friday morning in August. They rode their bikes toward where they thought it had landed.At one point, they left their bikes near a stretch of woods,and began running through the woods.Jake Winhall,who was eleven,like his two other friends,found another break in the forest,and that's when he saw the huge spaceship up close.It had to be nearly 100 feet tall!
Jake's pals Will Putney and Andrew Dundas soon joined him.They looked next to the ship and saw a gigantic creature, clad in a space uniform--he had to be about 70 feet tall!Covered in grey fur, with a ringed tail,and--far above--a face marked by a black mask.It was a giant...raccoon!

"Don't do it!," whispered Will and Andrew,as Jake moved closer to the giant.The alien's paws--er,feet--were almost twelve feet long. He looked more like an anthropomorphized cartoon character(an animal in human form) than a typical raccoon,in some ways. Jake looked up--and suddenly saw the giant open his eyes."Uhhh!," exclaimed the giant,upon noticing his tiny visitor."AAAAAHHH",screamed Jake as he ran away--but he landed on the raccoon's gigantic tail;the 4-and-a-half foot tall boy landed softly in the thick fur of the tail.

The giant spoke--"oh,sorry-- gee,are you alright?"
"Yeah,I'm...you spoke English!," said Jake,who suddenly didn't feel very afraid--this seemed like a gentle giant.
"Yes, well I've studied some different languages of your planet..." The giant noticed the two other boys cowering in the woods."Don't be afraid," said the giant, urging them to come closer.He extended his gigantic paw(hand) and they came up and touched the raccoon's huge fingers with their tiny hands.Jake walked over and did the same.The boys introduced themselves to Kroy.He did seem remarkably friendly,and somehow they figured he wouldn't eat them or anything.

Kroy explained that he was sent by his planet,Yenooc,to Earth as an ambassador of sorts.They wanted to befriend their fellow creatures of the galaxy.(Andrew suddenly remembered some old TV show he saw about some aliens who put out a book called "To Serve Man"--and it turned out to be a cookbook! He hoped Kroy's planet didn't have the same plans.)Kroy invited the boys to climb aboard one of his hands--er,paws--and he stood up.They looked around at the green landscape around them;there weren't many houses nearby;any people who happened to be around those houses would see a giant raccoon towering over the trees.Kroy and the kids decided to walk closer to town.The ground shook with each step he took,as his tons of weight came down.

Meanwhile,at a government facility in upstate New York,the spacecraft had been detected on radar,and was pinpointed across Lake Champlain from them,somewhere near Beverly,Vermont.A helicopter took off to get a closer look.When they got to the spacecraft no-one was there,but one government official saw the giant alien a mile or so away,near the downtown area.

Beverly was a medium-sized town just south of Burlington, surrounded on the east by the Green Mountains and on the west by a couple other towns bordering the lake.The downtown area had shops and restaurants;a foot- bridge crossed over Otter Creek,with a nice view of a waterfall.But the waterfall was only about 30 feet--tiny compared to Kroy.The giant raccoon walked toward the center of town,nearly causing some cars to crash as the drivers saw him.He also looked down cautiously,careful not to step on any cars or people,and not to knock down any electrical wires.

Kroy stood next to a church; the tall steeple barely reached the center of his chest.As he lowered the kids to the ground,police cars arrived,and the few people around town on that Friday morning (mostly tourists) either stared in wonder or fled in horror.

Kroyden Leif spoke:"People of...uh?"
"Beverly!",shouted the kids up to him.
"Thanks!People of Beverly,don't be alarmed.I am a visitor to your planet,and a friendly one.Don't be frightened at my size.I mean no harm."
The police officers stood there and looked around at each other,puzzled. What are we gonna do,arrest him?,one thought.Do we have handcuffs in his size?

The helicopter landed a half-mile away,and the government officials ran over toward the alien.One of them,Mike Hurley,started babbling excitedly when he saw the giant visitor."It's him--the one I saw!"
"What do you mean,Hurley?," asked another official.
"That broadcast we picked up...the one with some alien saying he'd be dropping by.You all thought it was a hoax,but it was real!" Hurley was clearly excited.Kroy extended his hand(paw?) down,and Hurley stepped on it;Kroy sat down cross-legged on the town common. Hurley got a close-up view of the giant raccoon's face.
"You saw my message?",asked Kroy.
"Sure did!They didn't believe me!" Hurley shouted down to the ground: "See? Aliens do exist!". Yeah,and they're bleepin' gigantic, thought Hurley's boss.

The townspeople of Beverly welcomed their new visitor,quickly losing their fear of the giant raccoon.They offered to feed him all sorts of food,although it was clear that it would take a lot to feed him.He did have a supply of food in his spaceship,but he knew it wouldn't last forever.Kroy made a mental note to try out the size-altering- device he'd been working on...it could enlarge the Earth food,or maybe he could shrink to Earthling size!
For drink,Kroy drank from a nearby lake(his tongue moving up and down,as an Earth raccoon would drink). The Earthlings could only marvel, at his size...how many thousands of gallons would he have to drink? How many herds of cattle would feed him for just ONE meal?

Kroy agreed with the US officials that he was to be careful as he walked around,so as not to harm people or property.Kroy agreed to meet with as many dignitaries of different countries as possible,and he would be Yenooc's ambassador to Earth--and an ambassador from Earth to Yenooc would be appointed(with Kroy agreeing to transport him/her to Yenooc).

Right away,news of Kroydin Leif's arrival spread among all forms of the media. He wound up on newspapers and magazines,and was quickly part of Leno and Letterman's comic monologues.TV interviews were set up.Ben and Jerry's started to develop an ice cream flavor in his honor, Raccoon Ripple. Soon,Kroy would be heading out all over the world.But he liked Beverly,Vermont so much that he wanted to make a home there,even if his "home" would be his spaceship(it was certainly big enough).

Most of all,Kroy developed a friendship with the kids who had "discovered" him.Kroy would visit Jake Winhall's house,which seemed like a dollhouse to him.Jake's dad seemed a little jealous that he was suddenly best-buddies with another "father-figure",one who was 12 times as tall and weighed many,many tons.And it was bizarre that suddenly this alien from another planet,who resembled the ring-tailed masked bandits here on Earth,was quickly being accepted,and not feared.To Kroy's credit,he was friendly as could be. But his size still caused problems.
Once in awhile,he'd knock down electrical wires.An unintentional flick of his tail knocked a radio station's tower off the top of a building.Sink holes suddenly showed up in the roads where he had walked.And there was the incident where he saw a house burning;by strange co-incidence,he really needed to pee bad,so he unzipped his fly and urinated on the burning structure.Nobody was in the house,and no firefighters had shown up yet.But when they did,they noticed that the flames were almost out--but there was an odd,pungent smell. Oops.

But Kroy used his size in a positive way when he could.A construction worker up some ten storeys suddenly fell off;Kroy was next to the building,heard the man's cry,and caught him in one of his paws just in time,saving his life. And there were more ordinary things as well;in summer,he'd be next to the lake,and kids would jump off his nose into the water.In fall,he'd serve as a leaf-blower by simply blowing them into a corner of a yard,and in the winter, he could "shovel" a driveway with his paws in about five seconds flat.

But certain people in the government,as well as some private citizens,were still not convinced that Kroy was on the level.Sure,butter us up with kindness-- then attack our planet!One brazen group of private citizens was so concerned about him posing a problem that they gathered next to the meadow where Kroy was taking a quick summer nap.They quietly tied him down with rope;Kroy awakened to see the group's leader on his chest.
"Got you now!," he shouted to the giant alien.
"You can't fool us!We're holding you down so you can't take us over.Just try to escape!"
Kroy casually broke free of the ropes binding him down,as the many tons of his weight had no problem in bursting them(to him,rope was like string!).The "leader" tumbled toward the ground,and was caught quickly by one of Kroy's paws.
"Ahh!Don't hurt me!," begged the tiny man.
Kroy smiled."You oughta pick on someone your own size!"

In January,Kroy finished the size-altering device he'd been working on,and he used it to enlarge the food that was sent to him.But he wanted to use it for another purpose--to shrink himself down to human size.So far,he had only used the device to enlarge things--he hadn't tried it to shrink anything just yet--and he wasn't too crazy about being the first living being to shrink with it.After all,what if something went wrong?

By early March,he finally decided to do it.He set it up on a shelf in the spaceship and pointed it at himself.Of course,when I want to get back to normal size,I'll have a tough time maneuvering it,he thought--since I'll be a lot smaller!Well,the device worked.He shrank down to a mere six feet tall, and his clothes shrank with him. He walked toward the Winhall house,noting that it would take quite a bit longer to reach it now.Jake took great delight in seeing that Kroy was now only a foot-and-a-half taller than him.Jake's dad,Warner,had a strange expression on his face,but he shook Kroy's paw.They went for a ride,and Kroy got a kick out of seeing all the places and people that had seemed so tiny before--now he was their size!Warner even let Kroy drive for awhile."Hey,if you know how to drive a spaceship,I'm sure you can drive a car!"
Even though Kroy was no longer a giant(at least for now), he was still out of the ordinary--a raccoon from another planet!Kroy still made the news,at his new size...of course,when he felt like going home,he knew he'd have to re-enlarge himself.After all,would he want to be one twelfth the size of a normal Yenoocian?(Sure,might be fun for awhile,but who knows?)

There was some concern at one point,though.Kroy,who'd been living in the Winhall's guest room,had taken ill...Jake was worried about him.A doctor was consulted,and he actually made a (rare) house call to see Kroy. Afterwards,the doctor came out of the guest room and told the family the news.

"He has a cold."
"Oh,is THAT all?," replied Warner. "I thought he was supposed to be deathly ill or something..."
"Actually,he is very sick.Remember,he's from another planet,so he's not used to the illnesses we have.He hasn't really built up an immunity.When he was taller,he couldn't really catch an Earth disease,but now he has a cold--he should deal with this cold like any human would,but if he doesn't improve soon,let me know.For that matter,I hope none of you catch any,what's the word,'Yenoocian' diseases from him!"

Fortunately,Kroy did make a full recovery, and he used his size-altering device to grow back to 70 feet tall.

In May, Jake went to visit Kroy. "I'd like to be a giant like you," said the boy.
"I can do that," replied Kroy, pointing to his size- changing device. "Gotta behave, though. Don't want you causing trouble..."
"Oh, I won't!," beamed Jake.
Kroy pointed the device at Jake, intending to grow the boy to 12 times his current size (and his clothes would grow with him).And it worked--the 11-year-old was now 55 feet tall!They decided to walk into town. A recreation path wound along a river, behind some shops and motels. Kroy and Jake walked together, each taking care not to step on any of the walkers, joggers, and bicylists. The locals were used to seeing Kroy's giant paws ambling down the path once in awhile. But they were surprised to see the giant boy following behind, leaving nine-foot-long sneaker prints on the trail.Both of them were taller than the tallest trees, casting huge shadows on this sunny May day.The boy's laughter echoed through the valley.

They reached the downtown,where Jake's friends were riding bikes. The boys, astonished to see their pal so huge,seemed hesitant, but Jake reassured them that they'd be all right.With that, Andrew and Will hitched a ride in Jake's shirt pocket, high above the Vermont town.After a few hours of fun, Kroy went to reduce Jake back to his normal size.

But the size altering device would not work.

"I'm stuck at this size?Neat!" Jake envisioned a future where HE would be the boss. No pushy teacher, bully, or parent would push him around!He could jump in the lake and drench half the downtown!Play with real cars as if they were toys.

Warner and Sharon Winhall were not too pleased to see how their son had grown to giant size. But Kroy explained that until he could fix the size altering device, they'd have to endure this. Jake did his best to behave, despite the urges to cause mischief.
Kroy did some tinkering with the device and thought he had it fixed. Just as well, as Jake was getting restless being so big. He missed his friends, and life on a smaller scale. Kroy managed to shrink Jake back, and Jake thanked him for doing so--and for the chance to be a giant.

Later, a second ship from Yenooc landed and took back the new volunteer to be ambassasador from Earth to Yenooc. The man went to his new post at his normal size of 6 feet tall, though Kroy made a second size altering machine, put it on the spaceship, and told the man that they could zap him to giant-raccoon size on Yenooc if he got tired of being so "small".

The time came that Kroy thought of going back to his home planet, but his love of the Earth made a goodbye very tough. He didn't really have any friends or relatives back on Yenooc. So he decided to do this: He reduced his spaceship to one twelfth its normal size and reduced the size altering device as well by "shooting" it at a mirror. He asked Jake to point it at him, and soon Kroy was a mere 6 feet tall again. Then Kroy met with his friends of Earth and gave them the news.
He was staying. For good. "I like it here! And who knows, we may have some Yenoocians--just a few--come here, we'll reduce 'em to 6 feet tall or so, and you can have a race of intelligent raccoons starting up here on Earth!"

After his friends threw him a party, Kroy went out into the Vermont night and looked up at the sky toward the star that Yenooc revolved around. My home up there, he thought--then suddenly looked down at the ground, the soil of planet Earth. No, he thought. THIS is my home.

1999 Bob Nelson