Incredible Shrinking Man

Based on the classic film scripted by Richard Matheson. This is just to whet your appetite; we suggest you read the book and/or see the movie, too!

Scott and Louise Carey took in the sun on a boat owned by Scott's brother. They remarked to each other how great their vacation was going. Scott asked Louise to get them a couple of beers below deck-- he'd buy them dinner if she did. She agreed and went down below.

Suddenly Scott noticed a strange mist come from out of nowhere. He tried to run but was still drenched by it. He thought nothing of it at the time.

A few weeks later, Scott noticed that his shirt seemed a bit too big.
"Well, you must be losing weight, honey, and it's very becoming."
"But the sleeves seem too long, too. Maybe I'll go to the tailor."
Scott weighed himself and found he had lost ten pounds. When he came back in and kissed his wife, he saw that she didn't have to stretch. "I must be losing height, too."

"Oh, don't be silly. People don't shrink."
Still, he resolved to see a doctor about it.

Dr. Bramson told him, "I'm still getting five-foot-eight, Mr. Carey."
"I can't understand it. I've been six feet tall since high school."
"Well, it could be because people actually lose height as the day goes on-- our spines settle down..."
"Four inches, doctor?"

A week later he came back to see Dr. Bramson. "Mr. Carey, it sounds unbelievable but your suspicions are right. You are getting smaller. The X-rays prove it. I don't profess to understand it..."
"But that's impossible," said Louise.
Dr. Bramson referred Scott to Dr. Silver, a specialist. Dr. Silver asked what Scott may have done; what could have made him start shrinking. Scott remembered walking near a pesticide truck that was spraying--and then he remember the strange mist on the ocean. That could have been the cause-- those two things in conjunction.

He underwent various tests and took various remedies, none of which worked.

As Scott got out of one such doctor's visit, he and Louise went out to their car. He was despondent over how things were going and he told Louise "things may change...I don't know why I'm getting smaller, or when it will stop but..."

"Not a thing will change between you and me. As long as you're wearing that wedding ring, you've got me."

The ring fell off Scott's shrunken finger when he went to start up the car and he looked over at Louise, dazed.

Charlie Carey paced up and down in Scott's living room. "I've tried to do all I can to help support you. I know this isn't easy for you guys."
"We appreciate it, Charlie. We know you've done all you could."
"There's one more thing...Some of the people at the plant have been talking. Word got out about you, I'm not sure how...and now I've gotten a call from a reporter. He wants to interview you, and there could be some money in it..."
"No, Charlie...," said Louise.
"Well, think about it," said Charlie. Scott just sat in his chair.

He was now three feet tall.

Louise was on the phone. "I need to cancel our phone. My name is Carey. C-A-R..."

Scott peered out the living room window, a tiny figure looking out at the various people who had assembled outside. A TV station's truck pulled up. A policeman stopped two running children (who were bigger than Scott was now). Scott heard a news item about himself on the radio. He walked over to it and shut it off. Louise announced that she'd cancelled their phone but it would take a while for them to get to it.

"Didn't you tell them who you were married to? Scott Carey, the Shrinking Freak? I'm a big man, I'm famous! Just like those reporters out there-- they want my story, too. But maybe I'll just save it for my book. I'll be one more story for the world to laugh at!"

"But people aren't laughing, honey, they care..."

"See how funny I am? The child that looks like a man." Scott stretched out his diminished arms and hands, looking more like a four year old boy. Louise averted her gaze. "Well why can't you look at me? LOOK AT ME!"

Louise began to sob, and Scott turned away. There were knocks at the door. "Why can't they leave us alone? Why can't they---," sobbed Louise.

Scott turned around. "Lou, honey, I'm sorry. I, I guess things are bad for you, too. I'm sorry I yelled at you." He walked over toward his wife, who now seemed twelve feet tall. She crouched down to hug him.

There was another doctor's visit, and Scott found his shrinking had stopped. He and Louise were both relieved and he asked Dr. Silver if they could make him grow again. The doctor replied that while at least they managed to get the shrinking to stop, getting him to grow again was a new challenge but they were working on it.

Scott Carey, all of three feet tall and twenty pounds, walked over to the examination table to get his clothes.

One night, Scott figured he'd go for a walk. He saw a carnival had set up nearby and heard a barker advertise a circus dwarf. Scott couldn't bear to hear it. He went inside a coffee shop.

"Mind if I join you?"

A lovely young lady had stopped by his table-- and she was just his size! Scott said yes.

"Hi there. I'm Clarice Bruce. Are you with the circus too?"

"No, I just live around here. Scott Carey."

"Well, I'm pleased to meet you--" She suddenly stopped. "Aren't you the guy who's shrinking?" She started to get up. "I'm sorry to disturb you--maybe you want to be alone..."

"No, that's OK. I'd like to talk."

"Miss Bruce, how do you manage to live in... in a world of giants?"

"It's been this way all my life. I was born a dwarf. I know it's different for you, though."

"It is different. The world seems so bizarre now...and even though the shrinking's stopped, I still don't feel right."

"But the world can be a beautiful place, even for people our size." They talked for awhile and Scott resolved to go back to talk to her for as long as the carnival was in town.

Two days later, he met Clarice in a park and told her he was feeling a lot better. Then Scott noticed something when Clarice stood up. They used to be the same size. Now she was taller. "It's starting again!," yelled Scott, running away.

Scott sat on his sofa, feeling like a prisoner in a cell. Footsteps descended the stairs--not the stairs of the dollhouse he now lived in, but those of the full-sized house. Scott ran up to the balcony of the dollhouse and saw his wife, who had bent down to talk to her three-inch tall husband.

"Do you have to make such a racket?," he asked.

"I'm sorry; I'll try to be careful."

"Are you going out?"

"Just to the store."

"Well, make sure the doors are locked!" He retreated into his dollhouse. Louise went to open the door but realized she'd forgotten something and retrieved it, then she left.

She didn't notice that a cat had just entered the house.

Scott heard a noise coming from outside the dollhouse. What could it be? He tried to ignore it but finally he got up to see what it was. It sounded like sniffing...

The giant cat looked inside the dollhouse and saw Scott, who didn't see the cat.
Scott went to open the door and saw a monstrous feline face! It meowed at him ferociously. He backed away slowly, and the cat moved to the side of the dollhouse--then it reached one huge paw in and it clawed Scott's back. He screamed in pain.

The cat tried moved the back of the dollhouse (which was against the wall) and tried to get at Scott from that direction. Scott ran out into the living room of the bigger house and he hid for a few seconds behind a chair's leg.

He made a break for it, dashing under a table--but the cat knocked him down. It leered at him, laying down on the floor-- a mouse sized man. As it let out some loud meows (its prey was cornered), Scott quickly gazed up at the end table he was beneath. Some forty feet up was a lamp which was already teetering on the edge. He grabbed the lamp's cord and brought it down. The cat scrambled away and Scott ran toward a door (the door which, as it turned out, led to the cellar.

But the cat went right after him; Scott tried to close the door but the cat kept clawing at it--and him! Mighty paws that could have shredded him in an instance kept getting closer. Then, Louise came back in with some groceries and the draft from the front door made the callar door suddenly swing--and Scott fell down what to him was hundreds of feet.

He landed in a box but fortunately there were some clothes to break his fall. Scott was unconscious for awhile, but eventually emerged from that state and groggily he made his way to the corner of the box, standing on a cork to help him reach a hole. From there, he jumped down to the floor. Scott went to the staircase, which rose before him like a series of cliffs.

"Louise! Louise! I'm in the cellar, look in the cellar!" He kept shouting up until he realized that a man his size (he was now an inch or two tall) could not be heard, especially at that distance.

Scott found a nail which he used to tear his overgrown clothing, enough so that they would fit him better. Next he found a matchbox for shelter. He gazed around the gigantic cellar and spotted what looked like leftover cake on a high shelf.

He needed climbing tools, so he bent over a needle he had found in a sewing box; this would serve as a grappling hook. Now he needed some thread to serve as rope--but how to sever it?

Scott grabbed a match that was about as long as he was tall and he scratched it on the floor. It roared to life with a mighty flame and he used it to sever the thread. Scott went over to a series of boxes, intending to climb them-- but he suddenly saw a huge spider emerge from them! He ran under an oil burner and waited until it went far enough away for him to feel safe.

The boxes were like mountains for Scott, but he climbed them. At one point he saw that he had to jump from one box to another, as there was a gap of a couple of inches--but to Scott, it might as well have been the Grand Canyon. There was a paintstick which could have served as a bridge, but it only went part way. It was stuck to the box top. Scott cursed himself--if only he were a little bigger, a little stronger.

Scott had only one chance--he had to jump from the paintstick to the other side. He cautiously moved across it, knowing his weight, while miniscule, could send it toppling down, and him with it. He was just about to reach the end when it started to teeter. Scott grabbed on to the paintstick for dear life! Any second now it could come down. NOW! Scott jumped off the stick and just barely caught the edge of the next box. Before he could fall, he got up just enough energy to crawl over the side.

Now Scott climbed up to the high shelf and found the cake. He ate some of it and started throwing the rest down to the floor. For a minute, he went up to a window and peeked through the flyscreen. Some birds were outside on the lawn. Outside. He would have loved to go out there and find some sort of way to get back in to the main floor of the house, but he couldn't. He tried to feed the birds some cake but they paid no attention. He angrily tossed the crumbs down and jumped up on the flyscreen, rattling it as if he were a prisoner in a cage.

Which he was. This was his cellar prison.

And prisoners didn't have to deal with gargantuan spiders, as he did. When he climbed back to the floor, the spider saw him and he fled into his matchbox home. He heard the spider climb over the box, scratching for him. Eventually it left and he let out a sigh of relief.

Scott did see another source of food. A mousetrap with a speck of cheese. It was ludicrous-- at one time, he had put a tiny speck of cheese in that trap. He would have never suspected at the time that he would be the size of a mouse--no, smaller-- and it would seem like a huge amount of food to him. Cautiously, Scott stepped on the mousetrap and tried to get the speck. A sudden noise jarred him--the trap was about to spring! He ran off. Then he tried it again, and the same thing happened.

He grabbed the nail and tried to knock the speck off the trap--and he did, but the trap snapped and the cheese was sent off into the distance where it... fell down a drain. Scott tried to get it but it was unreachable.

The next morning, Scott awoke in his matchbox home to the sound of a drip. For a moment, he thought he was normal sized and it was "raining outside", but then he remembered how small he was, and where he was. Scott got out of the box--suddenly a torrent of water shot out of the water heater above the matchbox! It took Scott with him--while it was only ankle deep to most of us, it was easily waist deep to him.

Louise Carey and her brother in law Charlie had started to make their way down the cellar stairs. They had given Scott up for dead (Louise had seen a speck of his clothing, saw the cat licking its paws, and put two and two together. She sobbed and mourned the apparent death of her beloved husband.)

Now, Louise was moving out. She and Charlie wanted to see if anything important was in the cellar. At one point, Scott was just below the lowest step, yelling up at them. The mammoth shoes of his wife loomed above him on that lowest step. "I smell gas, Charlie..."

"Oh, look--the water heater's burst," he replied. "I'll call the repairman but for now, let me shut off the water." His seventy-foot-long shoes soared right over Scott and came down in the water; the water buffetted Scott violently. He grabbed on to a pencil but soon became unconscious. drifting in the water. The massive heel of his brother's shoe hovered above him as Charlie cleared some debris from the drain. He never knew how close he came to killing his brother Scott.

Louise and Charlie left, and Scott's body settled on the drain.

He awoke in a cold, empty cellar. They were gone. There was no hope.

Then there was even less hope: he saw the spider again! Scott ran over the mousetrap on his way to the matchbox, where his climbing tools--and a needle he used as a weapon--were stashed. He thought for a moment and then made his way up to the high shelf where the cake was.

The spider was off in the distance. Scott had a plan: he tied some thread to a pair of scissors, hoping he could lassoo the spider and then toss the scissors over to drag the spider to its death. But the plan didn't work out, as the scissors DID drop, but not enough to drag down the spider.

Now the spider gained on him even more. He grabbed his needle-weapon and waited for the horrible insect to approach him. The spider reared above him like a charging horse and he tried to jab it with the needle. Then it knocked him down-- and the needle rolled off into the distance. The spider's slimy legs surrounded him as Scott reached for the needle-- he edged himself over a fraction of an inch. Still couldn't reach it. Then finally, just as the spider was about to consume him, he grabbed the needle and jabbed it into the spider's abdomen. The insect's blood came down the shaft of the needle and Scott felt it drip down on him. Finally, it was dead.

Exhausted, Scott crawled over to the side and fell asleep for a time. Then he awoke--he could see a beam of moonlight come through the window. Scott walked toward the window. He was now a fraction of an inch tall. Smaller than many insects. They couldn't make it through the flyscreen, but now, he could.

Scott walked into a new world, with towering blades of grass and flowers. Above him was a huge array of stars, and the moon.

He thought for a moment. He had been afraid of shrinking down to zero. But then it came to him: to God, there is no zero. And he felt himself shrinking... melting...becoming one with all Creation. He may have been the smallest of the smallest, but he knew one thing:

"I still exist!"