Guardian Angel

By shrinkingman.Idea by Mike Ingerson.

Ten-year old Bobby Fox didn't have it easy. He was smaller than all his classmates--only four foot two inches tall. It was the start of fifth grade and he dreaded next year where he'd be in middle school, among much bigger kids. But already some of his fifth-grade classmates were anywhere from six inches to a foot taller than him, and bulkier.

He ate a healthy breakfast like Mom and Dad told him and got exercise. But every day it was the same: the smallest kid in the class. He wished he could get a growth spurt. It was a frequent dream he had: showing up in class six feet tall and glaring down at the boys and girls who used to tease him. He'd take Tommy Collins and lift him up off the ground then toss him off to the side!

One day he saw a TV commercial for waffles about a 12 year old who goes into the kitchen to find his 8 year old brother was now 8 feet tall. Cool!, he thought.
But it was not to be. On that early September morning, Bobby woke up and went over to the growth chart on his bedroom wall and saw he was 50 inches tall. Again. He sighed as he took a shower and then got dressed, ate breakfast, and walked to school. It was a gorgeous New England morning; sunny, blue skies. But Bobby sensed a shadow pass over him; a shadow resembling a boy. He dropped one of his books and bent down to pick it up. When he stood up again he saw a huge pair of sneaker-clad feet, each of them nearly 4 times as long as he was tall! He looked up and saw jeans extending up to the sky; a T-shirt above that, and a face that resembled that of a high-school or college-aged boy!

Bobby ran off and hid behind a house. Had he shrunk? Was he now about three inches tall? Not quite. Everything else was the same size--houses, trees, cars. But up there, towering above him was a 100-foot tall, 18-year old boy, who was looking down as if trying to find him. The boy was heavy-set and muscular, like a football player, and Bobby knew he was big enough to crush him easily between his fingers.

Somehow Bobby felt that this giant would not harm him, but he didn't want to take any chances. Then, suddenly he noticed that the giant was gone. Am I just imagining this?, he thought. Just a nightmare in the daytime...he already had to put up with giant bullies in his school, and THIS one was just an exaggerated version of that.

It was a typical day at school. Tommy tried to shove Bobby into a locker. In gym class, Bobby was the last one picked for a sports activity. And wherever he went, he could hear his classmates say "twerp!" and "shrimp" behind his back. He'd turn to face them and they'd say, "I didn't say nothin'!" And he'd turn back away from them only to hear, "shorty!"

He walked home and could swear he heard footsteps--loud ones. That's him again!, he thought. Gotta hide! But a second later he thought again: Wait a minute. Maybe this giant is a friendly one and he can help me. He can defend me--and he's 96 feet taller than I am! Suddenly some kids went by on their scooters and they razzed him as they flew past. After they left, Bobby turned around--and there was the giant.

He looked up and said, "you gotta help me--please." The giant looked sympathetic and extended his hand down; the hand was about ten feet long and as Bobby climbed aboard he had the sensation he was on a cozy mattress. The giant lifted Bobby up-- Bobby apparently wasn't afraid of heights!--and he got a closer look at the tiny boy. "I'm Bobby Fox," he said, holding out his hand and the giant touched the hand with the tip of a gargantuan finger from his other hand.

"Andy Threadgold," replied the giant. "Hey, I knew a Thaddeus Fox once."

"That's my dad's name!"

"Well, small world, little fox," smiled the giant. He continued, "I saw those kids--they're pretty mean to you."
"Yeah--hey, you could step on them like I could step on a bug--"
"Naw, I wouldn't go that far, but I could teach them a lesson." They both looked down and could see the boys on their scooters. Bobby remembered going to a 900-foot-tall hill in Vermont and looking down at the tiny cows, dogs, people, and cars below. It was almost the same sensation: Bobby's classmates looked like ants who happened to be riding itty-bitty scooters.

Strangely enough, the boys didn't seem to sense that a giant was coming toward them. In fact, Bobby noticed that the giant, Andy, wasn't casting a shadow on this sunny day. Andy explained that he could turn it on and off.
"Turn what on and off?"
"Well, casting a shadow...making noise...You see, I'm an angel."
A chill suddenly gripped Bobby. "Am I dead?"
"No, not at all. I just made myself visible to you. You're still alive, kiddo. Now watch this."

With that, Andy's shadow suddenly appeared down on the road below and Bobby looked down to see the giant's titanic feet descending on the pavement with a stomp!stomp! Andy made sure that he didn't accidentally step on any cars, but some tree branches bent back as he went by.

There was Tommy Collins below them, and some of the other bullies, looking up at the giant form of Andy above them. With his other hand, Andy went down to pick up Tommy. He held him gently between his thumb and forefinger and brought him up some 70 feet or so. A couple kids fled, and two of them just stood there yelling "bring 'im back!" Andy walked over to an oceanside park with a long, expansive lawn and the kids ran over there to catch up.

Tommy squirmed in between Andy's fingers and Andy looked down at the other two kids and said, "Hey, I was a baseball pitcher in high school. I bet I could throw him 600 feet!"

"No, please don't," said one of the kids.
Andy turned the hand around (the hand Tommy was in) so that Tommy tumbled down onto his palm. "You're not so big and strong anymore, eh, Tom!" He looked over at Bobby in his other hand. "Should I eat him? Step on him? Throw him?" Bobby was too dazed to answer.

Andy continued, "Sound familiar? That's the sort of stuff you do to kids like Bobby. You bully them because you're a bit bigger. But I'm a LOT bigger than you--wanna fight me? You tough guy--I'm sure you could knock me dead, huh!," laughed Andy. Tommy raised up both his hands, in a "don't hurt me!" position, and was on his knees, cowering. "I promise--I won't bully 'im anymore! Just don't hurt me!"

Giant Andy placed Bobby in his shirt pocket and let the hand with Tommy in it tilt, and Tommy fell out--but about 20 feet below, Andy caught him with his other hand. "Hey, this is fun!," thought Andy. Then he put Tommy down on the ground next to his two dumbstruck friends and then brought Bobby down next to them.

"Now, I'll be keeping an eye out--and if any of you kids touch Bobby--well, you'll find out, huh!" The kids agreed and ran off. Bobby looked up at Andy. "But you're doing the same thing he is-- you're bullying him."

"Well, not really. I'm punishing those who hurt others. He was hurting you for no reason. Hey, I'm just looking out for the little guy." Bobby told Andy he was glad to have a guardian angel. He knew Andy would be there when he needed him. And that night at home, Bobby told his parents that a very big kid named Andy Threadgold had protected him from harm.

Thad Fox had a dazed look on his face. "What's wrong?", asked Bobby's mom, Vicky Fox.

"Well, back in '80 when I was 18, I went to school with a kid named Andy Threadgold. Athletic guy but mild-mannered. Well, this kid got into his car one night and it slipped on some 'black ice'."

Bobby's jaw dropped. His father continued, "poor kid...dead at 18. And now you say you met someone named Andy Threadgold..."

"Maybe Andy had a nephew or something, with the same name," said Vicky.

"Was he a pitcher?", asked Bobby.

"Yeah,he was," replied his father. "Best pitcher Beverly High ever had."

And now he was an angel.
The next morning, Bobby was astonished to see that he had grown six inches taller overnight. . He went into school and everyone seemed to notice. Of course,the bullies now knew Bobby had a giant on his side and that alone made him seem bigger.

That night when Thad and Vicky each got home from work, they asked Bobby if they could meet Andy. Bobby took his parents to a local baseball field; it was dinnertime and very few people were around. Bobby asked Andy to come out, and he did show up. "My God, it IS Andy!," said Thad. Andy was sitting on the baseball infield and he took the Fox family onto one of his hands. "Hey, I remember you," said Andy. "You hung around with us jocks for awhile."

"Yeah," replied Andy. "Hey, I'm...I was sorry to hear when you had that accident."


"Everyone misses you."

"Well, I'm here now!" Andy gestured at the empty ballpark. "It's the Angels against the Giants! Or the Giant Angels!"

Everybody laughed and Thad and Vicky Fox thanked him for looking out for Bobby. "No problem...hey Bobby, if you were my size and I were your size, you'd look out for me, huh?"


Thad smiled; he didn't know what was shocking him more--seeing a departed classmate in the flesh again (kind of) or seeing that said classmate was 100 feet tall.

The very next day, a Saturday, Bobby was walking through a downtown area. One of his classmates, Paul, went up to him and mentioned that he had heard about Bobby's giant friend--and when Bobby mentioned that the giant was named Andy Threadgold, Paul said, "I had an uncle with that name--he died before I was a car crash." It turned out that Paul's mom was Andy's sister.

"You have done well, Andy," came the voice of the Almighty. Andy couldn't see him but he could feel God's presence. "And you will indeed have your second chance at life."

"But what about my brother, Lord?," asked Andy. "Tony got killed with me in that car crash. He deserves to have a second chance too, if you will only allow it. In fact I'll only take your second chance if he will get one too."

"You're making a great sacrifice; if I say no, you will miss a great opportunity. But I will not refuse you, as you have done good work. However be aware that when you and your brother return you will both be as giants. And of course your brother Tony must prove himself as you have done."

With that, Tony suddenly appeared to Andy, but he seemed much bigger--160 feet tall, while Andy was "only" 100 feet tall. They two giants hugged, Andy only as tall as the center of his brother's chest. The Almighty assigned Tony to be Bobby Fox's protector and told Andy to protect another boy in a different school. "You cannot help Tony; he must work on his own," came the voice of God to the both of them. "And if you want to help your brother--and yourself--you must take this assignment on." Both of them agreed to the tasks.

Tony appeared to Bobby at the oceanside park--at first he thought it was Andy but something was different. This giant was much bigger: his sneakered feet were over 20 feet long, not about 15 feet long. And the giant seemed to stretch even higher up in the sky. Bobby sensed that this was not Andy and he got scared. He started to run but suddenly felt himself being lifted up by the giant's thumb and forefinger. He was placed on the giant's hand, which seemed about 16 feet long. Bobby was incredibly tiny sitting there; he couldn't look but after a minute opened his eyes expecting to see Andy. The giant kind of looked like him but it was not Andy.

"Kid--Bobby--I'm here to protect you. I'm Andy's brother Tony."

"I...I don't believe you; you're an evil angel!"

"You've just met me, Bobby--why do you think that?"

Bobby gulped and said "you're so much bigger--and..."

"Hey, I can't help being this big. In fact when I was here on Earth I was actually a bit smaller than Andy!" Bobby sensed a bit of friendliness in Tony's voice;somehow he began to trust him.

"Well, if you protect me like you said, maybe I'll believe you...But where's Andy?"

"He's been sent to help out some other kid."

Bobby started to cry. "I thought he was my friend and he's...gone off..."

"Wasn't his decision, Bobby. Look, I'll help you just like he did."

That Monday at school, Bobby seemed a bit more confident. Not only had he grown half a foot taller, but the bullies knew he had a giant friend to help him if he got into trouble. But then again, could he be sure that Tony would be there when he called?

As it turned out, a new boy named Roger Hall had just transferred to his school. Roger noticed Bobby and as Roger left a class he could hear Roger say, "What a geek that kid is-- the one with the glasses." He heard Tommy reply "Uh, yeah, but he has a big friend to help him out."

"That sissy could have Mike Tyson as his friend--but he ain't gonna escape me! Won't make no diff'rence!"

So Bobby walked home with his friend Paul for awhile, but when Paul got to his house, that left Bobby alone again, to go the rest of the way. Bobby walked past the city library on to a town common with a gazebo, benches, and paths. Kids cruised down the paths on their razor scooters. Roger pushed a kid off his scooter and headed right for Bobby. Bobby started to run; just before Roger's commandeered scooter was about to hit him, a loud bang was heard.Bobby ran out of the way and Roger collided with a huge sneakered foot, belonging to a 160-foot tall 16 year old named Tony Threadgold! Tony had made himself visible to all (not just Bobby)--it was if the Statue of Liberty (well, a teenaged boy as TALL as that statue!) had suddenly appeared in their town, and come to life!

Tommy Collins was right behind Roger and he, too, collided with the titanic foot.Tony reached down and untied his shoelaces, then placed Roger on top of the sneaker and re-tied them so that the boy was attached to the top of his sneaker. He did the same with Tommy on his other sneaker.Neither boy could move, as their arms were immobilized. Bobby went over and stood in between Tony's colossal feet and looked over at each of the two boys.

"I'm sure you didn't mean to almost hit me with that thing," Bobby said to Roger and both boys nodded "no!". From far above, Tony's voice thundered down: "should I go for a walk now, Bobby?"

"Well, maybe--I DID hear Roger call me a geek..."

Tony had a better idea:"Let's give them a nice ride!" With that, Tony made sure nobody was on the town common; he lay down on his back and put his feet up in the air. The attached boys looked down in horror as they rose high in the air, as if on a Ferris wheel. By now, people began to witness the giant (who was in his visible mode) and a bunch of police cars showed up, though they were helpless to do anything. One of the policemen got a good look at the giant teen and swore that he looked just like Tony Threadgold, one of the two teens that had died in a car crash 20 years earlier.

Meanwhile, up high in the air, Roger realized that THIS was the "big friend" Bobby had which Tommy had warned him about.

Tony put his legs down, untied the boys from his sneakers, and they ran off. He lay on the town common and nearly missed flattening a nearby house when he tried to stand up again. But Tony wound up sitting cross-legged on the common, as the police moved in. Just as they police began to wonder if they'd need to call in a SWAT team, Tony disappeared. Just into thin air.Bobby told the kids that Tony was an angel who could appear or disappear at will--"sometimes he lets some people see him and some can't."

One officer told another that he could still see Tony-- he was now standing next to the gazebo. But the other officer couldn't see him.

"I went to school with the kid," said the first officer."He got killed in a car crash, him and his brother." The second officer accused the first one of being crazy but the first one noticed Tony was walking over toward the police car.And then Tony made himself visible to all again: "Well, Peter Giardella-- so you're a cop now!" He put his right hand down and the two officers warily stepped on it. Then Tony brought his hand up so they could see his face.

"It's true--Andy and I are angels now but who knows, we may be coming back to life..."

"I never thought I'd see you again--and especially not like this..."

Peter and the other officer asked Tony to be careful not to cause any problems, now that he was a giant. "We know you're a good kid," said Peter. "And we hope you do come back to life. After all, I guess anything can happen...But just be careful, OK?"

God called Tony and Andy together and told them they would get their wish: they would officially come to life again, but would still be giants, at least for now. "Soon you may be back to your previous size, but you still need to help others." They agreed. So they could no longer make themselves invisible to a few or all people; they couldn't suddenly appear they'd have to walk like other living beings to get somewhere. Obviously, the populace would be shocked to see such giant teens but they knew sooner or later they'd be back to normal size so they could live among the typical people. ("Even though it's fun to be a giant," said Andy, "you want to get back to normal size sooner or later. We're getting our second chance, Tony.")

So Tony continued his duty of helping Bobby Fox. One late October day, when it was abnormally warm, Bobby ran off to the oceanside park. Tony walked through the seaside neighborhoods, trying not to step on cars or dislodge power wires. But as he was about to enter the park, he tripped over a house and his body flew into the park with a loud THUMP! Tony's head hit the ground hard, and he was knocked unconscious.

Bobby saw him and ran over to the 150 foot tall giant. There he was, a mere 5 feet tall, next to a colossal boy who lay still on the lawn of the park. Bobby frantically tried to help Tony--even climbing on his face and trying anything to revive him! Bobby fell off the boy's head and started pulling a section of the giant's neck--suddenly he started breathing again, and he came around! Bobby was so relieved... and Tony thanked him for saving him--even though he had no idea what did it; what brought him around!

"Maybe it was faith--you really believed you could help me..." Andy showed up when he saw his brother lying on the ground but Tony said he was OK. Suddenly Andy and Tony each shrank down to 6 feet tall. They were both alive again, and both back to "normal" size. "You may not need us anymore," said Andy. "Maybe you can take care of yourself--and take care of some smaller kids."

As it turned out, Bobby would indeed do just that. A new family moved into their apartment house, and one member of this family was a 26-year-old man who stood only 3'6" tall. Bobby was a giant to him. "Hey, I know all about bein' little-- and helping people. So I'll hang around with you and help you out," said Bobby to the tiny man, Mike. Now Bobby would be the helpful giant. The Threadgold brothers, now back to life, pledged to help out, too.

2000 Bob Nelson