Matt's Little Village

by shrinkingman


Matt wasn't sure if he believed in magic or not, so he was skeptical when one of his uncles gave him a birthday present that seemed a little too far-fetched to be real. Even though that uncle was known to occasionally "cause" good, or odd, things to happen.

"You can set it up in your room, Matt--the whole city. All the little people, their houses, cars. All yours."

"Toys. I'm 14 now...Maybe a bit old for that."

"You don't think I'm being serious. I am, though. A miniatures fan made the houses and I got the people. Maybe, oh, one-eighth of an inch tall, something like that. Entire families could fit on your fingertip."

"Hmm. So I'd be the big giant here--"

"Sure, maybe 3,400 feet tall or so to them. Actually they're kind of too small to deal with if you aren't careful. You might have to use tweezers to move the cars around. And to move people around, have them step on a dime or something and carefully lift it."

Matt and his uncle Paul set the miniature city on a big piece of plywood, securely fastened to two sawhorses. It was kind of like looking at the bird's eye views on Microsoft Live Local or Google Maps. There was a downtown area with some churches and businesses, with cars in parking lots. Not far away, residential neighborhoods dotted with lawns and cars in driveways. Matt switched a light on and sunshine rays lit up the town.

"What's the little bug running across that lawn?"

"That's probably a little kid. Oh, wait, try this..."

Paul took out a device that looked like the mini-FM transmitters people use to play their Ipods over their car stereos. He pushed a button and held it just over the "bug". Paul handed a small set of headphones to Matt, who put them on.

The boy looked up at them; he seemed shocked for a moment, then said, "Please don't hurt me...OK?"
It sounded like a 12 year old boy. Paul handed a small piece of plastic to Matt who held it over the boy, trying hard not to drop the other device.

"Be careful where you hold the can amplify the light. We don't want to burn anyone. You know, like when little kids try to burn up ants. Be careful with them, and don't go on a power trip. They're just like you and me, just smaller."

"Paul! Do you have a--"

"Dime? I must have ESP." He handed it to Paul who held it down to the "ground" of the model city.

"Don't be afraid. I won't hurt you." Matt said this quietly, as if sensing that even that would be deafening to the tiny creature. The boy stepped aboard the dime, which Matt put on his hand, lifting it up to his face.

If the boy stretched out, he could just about cover the L, I, B,and E of "LIBERTY" on the head side.

"Be careful, Matt. Don't sneeze or anything. Here, let me hold the sound booster and you hold on to the magnifier."

The boy was sobbing a bit, afraid.

"Hey. I'm Matt."

The boy somehow sensed Matt was friendly but was still scared. He was seeing a teenager whose face was hundreds of feet high, letting out huge amounts of air through his nose; possessing eyelashes the boy could swing on like a vine.

"Tell everyone that I won't harm them. I'm just like you, only much bigger."

"OK," gulped the boy who then asked to be set down again. Matt obliged him. As he did so, he could hear sirens.

Near one of the churches was a firehouse, and a ladder truck and an engine were emerging. Matt scanned the area and saw a house on fire a few blocks away. He ran into the bathroom and filled the cap of a toothpaste tube with water. Matt held it over the house and the inferno was quenched almost immediately. There were tiny people standing on the street--the house's residents, he assumed--taking cover as they, too, were hit by the flash flood. But they were OK. A tiny fire engine arrived, too late to be of much use now. Everyone gazed up at him, most of them in shock.

He could hear some of them speak, thanks to the sound magnifier: Nobody was injured. Yes, it WAS lucky that the giant up in the sky doused the fire the way he did. The tiny people thanked Matt by extending their arms up high, and they waved at him.

"This is awesome."

"Imagine how they feel. Seeing somebody so huge. Keep in mind, you're so big that you probably seem quite distorted to them--you have a humungous nose, eyes, ears...They probably have trouble picturing you as being a person. As it is, they can only see your head and upper torso, if that."

Matt was speechless for a moment, unable to find the words. "How, how did you get these people--REAL people--small..."

"I have ways. Now: It's up to you as to whether or not you want to tell people about this. I mean, they'll see the small town in your room but they won't really know about the people. Not unless they look close..."

"This is a blast, Uncle Paul! It'll be fun."

"Fun yes, but responsibility, too. You see that movie about the little kid with the toy indian--and he can bring it to life with the cupboard? He had to learn responsibility and so will you. Be cautious with these tiny people. Don't think you're some kind of God or anything. You can observe them, befriend them, but don't be mean or... mischievous."

Matt was now 14 years old. He was too young to drive; going places meant walking or bicycling, or asking mom or dad for a ride. Couldn't drink beer yet or stay up late. Had to obey his parents, do his schoolwork. He felt he had little power, but now he was a giant...His voice was still kind of high-pitched, but he knew it would boom like thunder to these tiny ones. As long as he was careful with them...

After Uncle Paul left, Matt reached into the fridge and got a slice of leftover birthday cake. He took a very small bit of frosting and cake and put them on the edge of a butter knife, then he went over to the village and carefully slid it off in a town common. Some of the tiny people reached into the mob of cake and frosting and ate it. Some of them looked high school or college age.

"Your birthday, dude?," one of them yelled up. Matt nodded and carefully placed the tip of his index finger near the entrance of the town common. The tiny college student held up his minuscule palm and placed it on the edge of Matt's fingernail.


Matt found it interesting that the college-aged "tiny" he was talking to wasn't really frightened by him. Maybe he had seen him put out the fire, and could sense that the giant boy was OK and wouldn't harm him.

Matt would soon start referring to the miniscule people as "tinies". Extremely short statured was an understatement. Eight of the tiny-adults laid back to back would be about an inch in length.

These people were beyond Liliputian. They were the size of a Liliputian's thumb. And he could only wonder how they felt having a 3,400 foot tall 14 year old looming over them.

He remembered Paul telling him not to go on a power trip and to avoid sneezing, among other things. The size difference was just too much. Smallest things he could do could result in big disasters. He had to watch it.

Still, it was tempting for him to try some things out. He gently blew down on the tiny town and trees started to bend, blown by the huge gusts of his breath. He took a business card and slid a dozen cars from a parking lot onto it. Then he brought the card to a different parking lot and gently slid them off.

Some tinies came out, looking for their cars. "Sorry," he told them, and gently brought the cars back to where they'd originally been. He remembered being told not to be mischievous.

Then he made it snow--kind of. Matt had a salt shaker and sprinkled some granules down on the town. To the tinies, they were the size of oranges. Some kids promply started a snowball--er, salt granule--fight.

"So where did all you people come from?," Matt asked a group of tinies.

"We live here, been here awhile." The man looked like a college professor (Matt held the visual magnifier over him to get a better look. He had placed the sound magnifier on the ground and could hear them just fine. There was no worry about any of the tinies moving it. It was much bigger than any of them.)

"You are aware that you're in a much bigger world...Everyone else is huge like me. But don't worry, I'll keep you safe."

"Yes, we're aware. Things are scaled to our size but out beyond our borders, it is scaled to your size. I only hope we can trust you. We can't help being this little but we do just fine in this small town. I saw you put out the fire--that's good, young man. But don't get any...ideas."

Matt chuckled. "Ideas? You think I could cause you harm. I'm not like that."

"You don't know your own strength--well, maybe you do... You can cause harm just by--"

Someone nearby sneezed.

Matt could sense the college professor shudder. "I can only fear what might occur if you did THAT."

Matt assured him he'd be careful. In the meantime, a middle-aged man walked over next to the sound magnifier and gazed up at the teenaged behemoth.

"Amazing. Incredibly huge. I welcome you, my giant friend. I've never seen anyone of such immense size. You must be thrilled to be so huge, compared to us."

"Well, it's interesting. My name is Matt Fox. You guys are-- well, you're one of my birthday, I don't mean to say you're my property, but this town was given..."
Matt's voice trailed off; he didn't know what to say. Did these people, this town, belong to him? Was he merely placed in charge of it?

The man introduced himself. "And I am Gliddo, and simply honored to be meeting a true giant."

"I've got a fan club. Cool."

"You might say that. I'm fascinated with giants, or, just people of unusual size. Maybe sometime you can take me into this, this huge world of yours."

Huge indeed. Matt figured everyone and everything in this tiny town was one 560th normal size. Normal things in HIS world would seem greatly magnified to the tinies.

"I have to thank my Uncle Paul. Especially because he gave me the magnifiers so I could see and hear you."

It was now after dark in the world Matt lived in. He was curious to see what would happen when he turned the light off. Well, as if controlled by an electric eye, the darkness meant that the streets of TinyTown (he didn't ask them what it was called, but that would do for now) would be lit by little streetlights and indoor lighting in houses would also get turned on. He could see the headlights and taillights of the miniature cars as they drove.

Matt did some homework on his computer, then a little reading. Finally he got into bed (after one more check on the tiny town). As he drifted off to sleep he could swear he heard the church bells in TinyTown ringing at 11 pm.


The next day was a Saturday. Matt got up and did some work on his computer; he noticed his uncle's instant message account was "on" and he talked to him by it.

"Hey Matt, if those people seem too small to you, I can grow them to maybe 1/6th of an inch --and grow the city too so they'd still be in scale."

"You can do that?"

"I have ways. So you'd be maybe 2,800 feet tall to them."

Matt did some quick math in his head. "I'm not 70 inches tall, I'm 5 foot 5--65 inches."

"Oh right, I'm going by my own height. OK, subtract about 200 feet. 2,600 feet tall. 40 feet or so to the inch."

"Where did they come from? Sorry if I'm being a bit too curious. You don't have a shrinking ray or anything...?"

"(LOL) Not really. It's part of a cloning experiment from years ago you might say. They breed with their own kind and live in a scaled down city. As for how I can make the city grow to be in their own scale--well, I can kind of 'think' it bigger, wish it."

"You have a power like that?"

"Yes, I and think you do, too. You might be able to grant them some wishes or something."

After signing off with his uncle, Matt went downstairs and had some breakfast. His dad, Tim Fox, told him "That was nice of your uncle to give you that tiny town. Knowing him, he probably put some real live people in it."

"Maybe," laughed Matt.

"Who knows! Son, I grew up with him and I know what he's capable of. I don't know if it's magic or science or what it is, but he has something that's kind of tough to explain. He called it positive thinking."

"Yeah, I don't know what he has," agreed Matt's mom, Lacey. "I remember back when--oh, you were about 5 or so, I mentioned to him that I was playing the lottery and he asked me if I ever won anything. I said, no. So he said, 'Hundred bucks. Be fun to win that much, huh?' And the next day when I checked my numbers, that's exactly what I had won."

"How did he know?"

"No idea. I asked him how he knew and he just said, 'I have ways'."

"So he predicted it--or did he cause it?"

"Who knows."

Later, Uncle Paul stopped over and handed a ruler to Matt--they measured a "volunteer". One sixth of an inch tall, so Paul must have worked his "magic"...


"No problem...again, you might be able to do stuff like that, too. I've sensed it before, but I know it takes awhile to get going. An ability to--cause little miracles."

"Maybe, but isn't that kind of scary? Power, I mean."

"What do you mean, Matt?"

"Well, it's can grow these little people--or predict Mom winning the lottery. She told me."


"Right, well--whatever power this is you've got--can't it cause trouble, too? You know, can't it cause things to go wrong, too?"

"Maybe. But again, just think positive."

When Paul left, Matt went over to his tiny city and spotted a radio station studio with a broadcasting antenna next to it (about four inches tall). Someone came out of the station and waved up to Matt.

"We'll have to interview you. People are so curious about you, young man."

"That's cool. Say, why are people here...not afraid of me? I'd be afraid if a big huge giant loomed over me..."

"We can sense you're decent. We've been told you're responsible and careful."

Matt sure hoped so. But he was human, and people can make mistakes or be clumsy. He hoped to heck that he wasn't going to get a twitch that would make him drop the visual magnifier--that could kill someone. He thought maybe there was a way he could set it down, like he could set down the audio magnifier, and lean it so that he could get a view of the tiny people without worrying about dropping it.

Matt was a bit uncertain about the whole "special powers" deal; Matt had found that his uncle could make small miracles happen, and maybe he had that power too. Paul had suggested that Matt try out his "powers" to make little miracles, or just twists of luck, occur to the tinies. But hadn't Paul said he shouldn't "think he was a God to them"? Weren't these powers kind of supernatural, and--

The phone rang, and guess who it was. Uncle Paul.

"I kind of sensed you had some questions--"

"Wow, I was just gonna email you! Yes...Uh, you were telling me I might have powers and I could use them to help them out--but you also said I shouldn't think I was a god to them...How do I..."

"Yes, you should help them. But I hope they don't start to worship you--I mean, the fact you're so huge to them makes me think they might, but when you start making small miracles happen...well, it wouldn't be right if you wound up being an idol to worship. You're a kid, and maybe you can cause some neat things to happen, but not a God. So maybe you can try to help, but don't...well, "power trip" like I said."

"It would kinda be like that Twilight Zone episode--you remember, Paul--the two astronauts who land on a planet of...tinies. They build a huge statue to one of them..."

"Yes, I know, and the statue gets pulled down eventually.'s OK if you do nice things--THINK nice things for them. But if they catch on that you did it, just be nonchalant and say, 'no problem'... I just don't want this to go to your head. "

After Paul hung up, Matt went over to the tiny village and started to think positive thoughts. Thoughts about how he loved and cared for the people and he knew they did the same for him; thoughts about families who cared for each other and helped one another, friends who were true-blue.

And over the next day or so:

--a little girl named Brinda got her birthday wish, a pony.

--a man's proposal to his girlfriend, after several unsuccessful tries, was finally accepted. She became his fiance and both were blissful.

--a middle-aged man got a call from his doctor: Good news. The cancer was gone.

--two cars almost collided but something prevented that from happening.

--a missing little boy was found safe and sound

--a man who stole money from a church gave it back after a change of heart revealed his guilty conscience

Matt could almost sense their thoughts back to him. *Did you cause this, giant?*

**Yes, but it was nothing, really. Brinda, take good care of that horse--he's sweet, like you. Mok and Undrea, you are the perfect couple, and it was a matter of time...Mr. Revin, take care of yourself and that cancer will stay away. For the drivers of the cars, you were the ones who turned the wheels just in time, not me. **

And so on. Matt sensed these wishes or prayers, and he answered them. A scary thought, to have power like that, yet somehow he felt positive and happy he could help.

Matt had one final "thought": *Gliddo, I may just take you up on your wish to see my "big" world. I know you'll be thrilled.*

Matt went off to bed, clad in a red T-shirt, gray sweat pants, and white socks. Looking much like any other 14 year old boy, but perhaps the only one to have his own miniature village with real live people.

Suddenly a bad thought crept in, as he tried to sleep:
What if I start thinking evil thoughts, or if I'm just in a bad mood? What would happen...might that kill someone in the village?

He shuddered. No...He couldn't let himself cause any harm. There was no way he could...

Matt got up for a moment and went onto a porch near his bedroom. He gazed up at the stars and thought, in the grand scheme of things, I'm just as puny as they are. But is there someone up there, someone who was thinking good, positive thoughts about him?

Please, help me be good and I'll pass it along to the tinies, he prayed. A smile crossed his lips and he headed back to bed.

The last thought he had before sleep overtook him was:

--In the grand scheme of things, I'm just as puny as they are...--

The next morning, a Sunday, dawned on Matt's room, with the sun's rays lighting on the tiny city as well. He was still sleeping, the blanket partially covering his body. Meanwhile, a hot air balloon about an inch high was ascending above the small village. It drifted toward Matt, dozing in bed.

The balloon soared above his sock-clad feet, sweatpants-covered legs, and red T-shirt. Its sole occupant, Gliddo, tried to tack it toward the nightstand but it wasn't easy--there weren't many air currents in the bedroom, and it was up to him to guide the powered rudder. For one moment it was headed straight toward Matt's cheek, but he veered it away...just as Matt stirred and began to wake up.

He saw the tiny balloon in the corner of his eye and woke up quickly, wondering what was going on. The balloon was starting to make its landing on the nightstand; Matt got the audio and visual magnifiers and got a good look, and also heard a greeting from the tiny pilot. It was Gliddo.

"So, I guess you wanted to see my big world on your own, eh? Well, I can help you, but be aware this world is dangerous for you..."

"Matt! You don't know what a thrill this is for me..."

Matt yawned a second, then nodded. "I'm sure I'd feel the same way if I were your size. You should have maybe asked me...I could have swatted away that balloon-- for a second I thought it was a bug!"

Matt took the balloon and placed it back in the tiny village, and Gliddo got aboard Matt's hand. Matt then got a paperclip and told Gliddo he could ride in his shirt pocket. He put the paper clip on the lip of the pocket and put Gliddo next to the edge of it; Gliddo shifted around so he could grab onto the plastic sides of the paper clip. He put his arms over the edge of the lip of the pocket. It held him secure.

"I guess if you fall off, you'll land in the bottom of the pocket...but at your size, it probably wouldn't hurt you--not as much as a fall of that distance would be to me." Matt knew his physics.

Below him in the tiny village, church bells sounded. Matt chuckled, "Looks like it's Sunday services at the First Church of Matt Fox. The hymn will be 'It Is No Secret What Matt Can Do'..."

"What do you mean, Matt?" Matt could hear because the audio amplifier was in the pocket, too.

"Well, it means that if I'm not careful, you tiny people might worship me like a god. Please don't. I'm no different than you--well, other than size-wise."

Sunday mornings meant Matt's family ate out for breakfast, and Gliddo tagged along via his pocket perch. They didn't notice he was wearing the earphones, or didn't care. "I have some other ways I can carry you folks," said Matt before they left. "Bottle caps...maybe with some tape across the top but some holes so you can breathe."

Matt's uncle Paul also joined them; Matt pointed to his pocket as if to say, I have a passenger today. Paul leaned over and could barely see the tiny man. He gave a thumb's up. Nothing was said to Matt's parents.

As usual, Matt had a sausage and cheese omelette with toast and cream cheese, and coffee. Matt worried that Gliddo might fall over the edge of the pocket's lip--where he could land in his plate and be in danger of being scooped up, mistaken for a small bit of sausage or something. Or the danger of him falling in his coffee--lukewarm, yes, but the peril of him being drunk along with the coffee still existed.

Later, as Matt went for a walk, still with Gliddo in his shirt pocket, he asked him about his uncle. "What do you guys think of him? He set everything do know about him, right, though?"

"Oh yeah, but he told us our village is yours--yours to take care of. We know he's around but you're the one we deal with. He's nice."

They were in a park, isolated from other people. Matt felt uncomfortable seemingly talking to himself. Gliddo loved the ride, seeing how huge the world was. Gargantuan birds, squirrels, dogs, cats,and people.


The people of the tiny village were panicking, and for good reason. A giant hand was reaching down and causing destruction: an 80-foot tall AA battery was rolled down a street and another demolished a building. A quarter was dropped on top of several cars, flattening them-- and injuring or killing the drivers.

"Get the police!," yelled one of the tinies; looking up in horror, he saw a 10 year old boy sneering and laughing.

"I'll get the police, you little twerp!" With that, the boy reached over to the police building and literally pulled it out of the ground with his hand. "See, I got the police!!" As officers ran for cover, the boy squashed police cars one by one.

Where's Matt! Save us!, the people cried.

The boy ran into the kitchen and poured some cola into a dixie cup. Only four ounces, but that would be more than enough. He poured it out over the little village, and soon there was Pepsi so deep in the streets that it was above rooftops. Screaming people started to float away in the current, and not everyone could swim!

Everyone looked up at the 10 year old and found to their astonishment that the giant tormentor WAS Matt! It was a 10 year old version of him.

But this was only in Matt's subconcious mind as he slept, tossing and turning and then awaking with a start. That's not me doing this!, he seemed to scream at the tiny people. I'll help!

With that, he woke up and found himself switching the light on above the tiny city--flooding it with "daylight" at 3:30 am-- and he looked down to see...nothing.

Nothing was amiss. It was a nightmare. Everyone was safe.

Matt abruptly shut off the light and wandered back to his bed. He started to cry, each teardrop large enough for a tiny to swim in.

6 The next day was only a half-day at Matt's school. He didn't take any of the tinies along, but maybe someday...In the meantime, he wanted to get home because something was being done in his honor.

"You don't have to do this...," Matt told the assembled tinies when he got back to his miniature city. "I don't want anyone to worship me or anything."

"We're just honoring you," said the middle school principal, "because you have helped cause good things--well, it seems that protect us. We just wanted to show our appreciation. My daughter Pallis thought up the idea."

Pallis was about Matt's age, and she had a crush on him. The handsome boy whose face filled the sky; whose nose seemed about 80 feet long. Like most tinies, she was hard for Matt to see even with the magnifier, but she looked like most any other girl that age would...but she was one-sixth of an inch tall. The fact that Matt was so huge to her didn't matter in her mind, though Matt knew that they were pretty much of two different worlds--so maybe they could just be friends, and leave it at that.

Both were kind of shy but Pallis and Matt sorta connected.

Kids ranging from 12 to 15 years old gathered on the lawn of the tiny middle school. The principal went to a podium and officially declared that it was now Matt Fox Middle School, and the bug-sized boys and girls cheered. Matt sat on a chair, his left leg resting on his right knee. Some of the tiny kids got onto Matt's left sneaker and ran along the edge, their miniscule bodies contrasting with the mostly white shoe. After a moment or so, Matt gathered the kids up into a bottlecap and raised them back to the mini city.

"Before you guys get back to class I need to say something." They listened intently. "I don't know why I was born this size and you were born that size, but that's just the way it is. I could have been one of you guys, and one of you could have been up here in the big world. I...just wanna let you guys know I'm really just a kid--giant, yeah--but really just ordinary."

"You're not ordinary to us," said Pallis. "We see you up there and...we know you love us, like we love you."

Some of the kids were saying, Awww!

"Thanks. I'm glad you named your school after me but I don't want people worshipping me an' stuff. Anyway, I feel bad you guys are so small...I mean, I like being here to hang around with you lil' guys, but the fact that you're so small..."

"It's OK," replied Pallis' dad, the principal. "We're happy here in our world, and you're off in yours." He looked around at the schoolkids. "You know what? Maybe we should just call off the rest of the day, in honor of Matt--"

And that's just what he did. Some of the kids skateboarded away from the school, and yelled up, "You rock, Matt!" Matt wondered if the principal's sudden decision was a result of some positive vibes he had sent out to the townspeople...another small miracle? Just an early release for the kids...Who knows...

Matt put Pallis in a bottlecap and went outside. He took the visual and audio magnifiers with him and sat down cross-legged in his back yard.

"You don't belong in that little world--you should be here in mine, MY size. Or I should be down there in yours, and be your size."

"It's OK. Like you said, that's just how things are. I'll find someone my size to be with, and so will you. And we can still be friends."

"I'll go to your wedding, when it does happen."

"Yeah! Maybe if I have a son I'll name him Mattfox!"

Matt chuckled. "Not again! I'm getting a big ego with all this stuff. Really, I'm just a, a teen."

A ten year old boy, the next door neighbor, walked into Matt's back yard and saw him talking to what appeared to be a bottlecap. "Who you talkin' to, Matt?"

"Nobody--just mind your own business."

Fear struck Pallis as she looked up and saw the giant Matt talking to a slightly smaller giant--maybe "only" 2,200 feet tall. She trusted him to keep her safe, though.

"Lemme look at that!" The young boy's fingers reached for the bottlecap and he grabbed it from the palm of Matt's hand; he placed it onto his own hand, and it tipped over, spilling out Pallis.

The boy looked down at her, puzzled. She began to ran over the hand, over its various ribbed skin and creases. "A bug? You're talking to a--"

The younger boy's thumb headed straight down toward the fleeing figure.


Pallis ran away from the thumb that descended on her; she headed toward the space between the pinky and ring finger of the 10 year old boy's hand. It was literally running uphill, some forty or fifty feet to her, and when she got to the space she had no choice but to jump down--hundreds of feet. The next thing she knew, she was in the boy's right sneaker.

She landed in a soft spot, next to the boy's thick sock on her left and a cushioned area to her right. Being so lightweight, she was not injured by the fall. A split second later, she started to climb up the sock. There was a jarring moment caused when Matt pushed up against the boy, far above. The boy, outweighed by the older Matt, fell on his rear end and his right foot kicked forward--and Pallis held on to the thick sock as tightly as she could. She could see a shoelace hole far above and she scampered up the sock toward it, then wiggled through.

She dropped down to a stitched area just below the hole, and ran on top of it with her bare feet (her sandals had fallen off when she fell a moment earlier), then skittered down the top of the sneaker and finally jumped off onto the grassy area below. There was the white plastic bottle cap nearby, on its side, and she ran into it a second or so before Matt picked it up by his fingers.

Matt glanced at the cap and saw a speck in it--he figured it was Pallis, so he hurriedly placed it in his shirt pocket, then quickly reached for the audio and visual magnifiers that had fallen to the ground in the tumult.

"What're you doing! Ow--that hurts!"

"Ben, I SAID this is none of your business." Matt started to run toward the house, as 10 year old Ben complained about having to get pushed down over a "stupid little bug".

"Are you OK?," said Matt to Pallis; he didn't hear a reply.
Then it occured to him that the audio magnifier got switched off when it fell. He carefully pressed the on button and could hear a faint, "Yes..."

"Oh honey, I'm sorry--he coulda killed you! I tried to hold on!" Matt's eyes got wet and he was filled with emotion, part frustration, part elation. When they got back inside, Pallis said, "Don't blame yourself--or that kid. He probably didn't mean any harm..."

"That's just the trouble...someone like that might not mean any harm, but he didn't know you're a _person_. He thought you were a little bug, and..." Matt couldn't bring himself to say that his tiny friend could have been squashed to death by a fifth grader. Yes, Pallis had survived a fall that would have killed anybody Matt's size had it been of the same scale, but would she have survived a gigantic thumb?

Part frustration, part elation. Matt was thrilled that Pallis was safe despite the ordeal, but he was frustrated because it could have proved deadly to her. Yes, it was neat that his town was full of people scaled down to it, and he did care for them--but this latest experience proved that life could be very dangerous for any of the tinies should they wish to explore the "outside world".

The size difference was just too much. Matt imagined being in a world where everyone and everything was 10 times normal size. That would be tough enough. But the tinies were in a world where people, animals, and things were over 400 times normal size. If a tiny left that relatively safe enclosure, they'd have to worry about being stepped on by a cat...Or a mouse...They were THAT small.
Bug sized, pretty much; only able to be seen (closely) or heard by Matt with those audio and visual magnifiers.

Pallis had been forgiving of Ben, the next door neighbor. "He probably didn't mean any harm," she had said. But if she hadn't started to run when she did, she would have been flattened by Ben's huge thumb, and not able to have that conversation with Matt because she would have been dead.

"Does he know about we tinies?"

"No--I just grabbed you and ran back in, so he probably thinks I'm a bug collector. In many ways he's not a bad kid-- but how do I explain you tinies to him? Should I let him play with the village? He could be a disaster! Kids can be that way."

"So you're a bit more mature at 14 than he is at 10. We can trust you but I don't know if we can trust him..."

"Exactly, Pallis. I had a dream about a 10 year old causing death and destruction in the village...not a good sign."


It was amazing to think people could be so tiny and that their own little city, scaled to their size, existed in Matt's room. Electrified houses and streetlights, powered by mini-generators. Cars, too; they ran on electricity, not gasoline.

The people wore clothes perfectly fit for them. For water, there was a water tower which Matt kept refilling--sometimes a couple of ounces would be enough for the whole town. As for food, there were some gardens to provide that, plus Matt would sneak some food in--the smallest speck would feed a neighborhood. The size difference was very pronounced: the tiniest speck of Matt's food would be a feast to the tinies, and if a whole bunch of tinies gathered food together to offer to Matt, an entire feast (to them) would seem like a tiny speck to Matt. A crumb.

The relationship Matt had with the tinies was special. He protected them, gave them food, and emitted positive thoughts that seemed to make good things happen. He also could sense they tried to also think (or pray?) for him. It was their way of expressing their thanks.

But it just gave him a warm feeling to know that the tinies depended on him, and he was like a giant friend who'd always be there. (And he knew that just as he was around to help them, someone else was probably helping him out, too...)

Ironically enough, as Matt was just about to go to sleep, he put on his clock radio and the oldies station was playing an old Four Tops song (an extended version, to be precise) from 40 years ago. He'd heard it before but tonight he listened intently to the lyrics and found they were so relevant to him.

And your world around is crumbling down, darlin'

Reach out, come on girl reach on out for me
Reach out, reach out for me
I'll be there with a love that will shelter you
I'll be there with a love that will see you through

Yes, he was there. They depended on him--and loved him as much as he loved them. He only hoped he could keep them safe and secure. But as he drifted off to sleep, and the song got near the end, he could picture it applying to the tinies--who could look over their shoulder and see a smiling 14 year old GIANT boy who was there to help...

I can tell the way you hang your head (hang your head)
You're not in love now, now you're afraid (you're afraid)
And through the tears you look around (look around)
But there's no peace of mind to be found (no peace of mind to be found)
I know what you're thinking,
You're alone now, no love of your own, but darlin'

Reach out come on girl reach out for me
Reach out reach out..........
Just look over your shoulder
I'll be there to give you all the love you need
And I'll be there you can always depend on me
I'll be there to always see you through
I'll be there to love and comfort you

(lyrics © 1966 Holland-Dozier-Holland)

Pallis and Matt were friends who enjoyed talking to each other, and there was a physical attraction as well. To Pallis, Matt was a handsome face looming above the sky of the tiny city. She sometimes got a close-up look at that face when he put her in a bottlecap and brought her up from the city. The 80 foot long sloping nose, forest or jungle of hair, titanic eyes, lips, and ears. His giant size magnified his handsomeness. Still she wished he could be her size so she could hug him, dance with him, and so on.

Matt could only get an idea of how nice Pallis looked because she was so small; the magnifier helped, but he sometimes wished she could be his size to see her better. Walk with her, dance, and so on.

The night after the incident with his next door neighbor, Ben, Matt had a dream that kind of started off as a comedy. He pictured Gliddo standing next to Ben and confronting him--a bug sized man surrounded by huge sneakers; above those were socks, bare legs, short pants, a T-shirt, and a youthful face far above. Gliddo knocked on one of Ben's sneakers and yelled up, "So! You think you can just kidnap Pallis? Think you're so big and tough? C'mon, put 'em up! I'll fight you anytime!"

Ben paid no attention, as he couldn't see Gliddo down there. Pallis arrived and dragged Gliddo off-- "It's no use, Gliddo--he doesn't see you and even if you fought you can't beat him! Now let's go before he steps on us..."

Then the dream shifted to the point where he felt himself awakening on a bed in a slightly strange room. There was a knock on a door and he got up to answer it, clad in his usual T-shirt, sweatpants, and socks. He opened the door and--there was Pallis. A lovely 14 or 15 year old girl with brown hair...just as tall as he was!

"Oh my--how did you...Pallis!" He hugged her but suddenly backed away when he heard her say that no, she hadn't grown...


The door was slightly ajar and a man cautiously entered. "Oh, you're awake, Matt... You remember me--Gliddo!" (Not only was Pallis the daughter of the mayor, but she was also the niece of Gliddo..)

Matt's jaw dropped in horror. "I --oh no, I've shrunk!" He ran to the window of the strange room and looked out. He was in the tiny city.

"It's OK, Matt. We found you in the park...passed out. I thought to myself, that looks like Matt only he's our size..."

In his bed, Matt tussled and turned. The dream continued.

"Gliddo, Pallis, I...well, I'm kinda glad to be your size, don't get me wrong, but...who's gonna protect us now? Who'll protect me, now that I'm--"

He suddenly stopped, as loud noises were heard. It sounded like a door being closed, then footsteps. Matt ran outside and saw the titanic figure of a 10 year old boy come into view, rising high above the treetops and buildings.

"You can't push me down now, Matt! I'm a giant!," giggled Ben Schlermerhorn, the next door neighbor. "Where are you!"

Matt started to run, which was a mistake, as Ben noticed the running figure and assumed who it was. "Ah!" Ben reached over to the water tower, took off the top, and poured out the contents; just over 2 ounces of water came down upon Matt. To the tinies, it was like a flash flood--the water quickly rose to almost roof level in the neighborhood. Matt, Gliddo, and Pallis all had to start swimming. They saw the gargantuan thumb and forefinger of Ben reach over and pull one house out and he tossed it away.

A loud bell was heard--the church bell, warning the residents to danger. It was soon silenced as Ben picked up the church and tossed it a few blocks away.

The water started to recede a bit, and some of the residents headed for a shelter. Where's Matt!, several of them yelled out.

"I'm up here!"

The tinies looked up and saw that Matt was on a rooftop, dripping wet...and to their horror, they noticed he was only about their size.

Who else could help? "Uncle Paul!" Paul didn't live at Matt's house but he was nearby and maybe he happened to be visiting. He thought he heard Paul's voice:

"Get away from there, what are you doing?" He looked up and saw Paul wrestling with Ben, trying to pull him away from the tiny city--

That was when Matt woke up and, as before, raced over to the tiny city only to find it was perfectly normal.

He was back in his room; it had been a nightmare. It was back to reality. He sat down on his bed for a moment, then jumped up slightly when he heard a knock on his door.

"Honey?" Lacey Fox appeared at the door.

"What is it, Mom?"

Lacey let out a distressed breath, composed herself, and then gave Matt the bad news.

"We just heard your Uncle Paul is in the hospital. They think he had a heart attack."

More details about why Paul was in the hospital came forward. Actually it wasn't a heart attack but a diabetic reaction. He was unconcious for awhile but came out of it, and would be in the hospital for a few days.

Matt wanted to visit him but was told he had to wait a day or so until Paul's condition improved a bit. He was worried about his uncle, though tried to think positive. At one point he went over to the tiny city and, in frustration, ripped out a billboard with his fingers and flung it down to the hardwood floor of his bedroom. Then he dug into some ground with his index and middle fingers; a deep gorge emerged. He was so upset he could have pounded the city with his fist but he knew that could probably flatten some buildings and kill people, so he stopped himself.

Matt hardly ever got mad but he was kind of mad at the world-- the fact that a nice guy like his uncle was suffering from poor health--and could have died. Of course he knew that his uncle was in poor health because he didn't take care of his body-- kept overeating, sometimes skipped his medication, didn't get exercise. Paul was usually pretty sharp, but not with his own health.

The tinies heard about Paul being in the hospital and they could see how upset Matt was. It'll be all right, they assured him; maybe this will get Paul to change his ways. If anything, the tinies would think positive, pray, whatever you called it.

At one point Matt discussed things with a minister. Neither Paul nor Matt were all that religious, though in the past they had attended church. Matt did remember Paul saying, though, that being good and doing good had its rewards. Maybe there WAS someone up there looking after us.

"I'm not sure I believe in God, especially now."

"A lot of people feel that way, Matt," said the tiny Parson, "but just think--who could have created this wonderful world-- somebody had to. It didn't just happen."

Matt remembered Paul and he talking about the idea of an afterlife. "Maybe THIS is heaven," Paul had said. "I don't know if we go anywhere after we die, but can it be much better than this? We should enjoy each other, whether or not it means we go to heaven or hell--not only is it nice to help people, but it makes you feel good. And you do get rewarded. I don't know if it's God or fate or whatever, but when you do good, good gets back to you."

"It is a pretty good world," Matt told the preacher. "And someone, maybe a God, must have created it. But look at you guys--being so tiny. If not for Paul and me, you'd have a pretty tough time living in a world of giants. Why did God make YOU so small? If He loved you, you'd be my size and wouldn't be in such danger."

"Nobody knows His ways, and we shouldn't question them. He had you and your uncle look out for us--did you ever consider that?"

"Good point, Reverend." Who knows, maybe he was appointed by this huge being up in Heaven to help these tinies, and in turn he would be helped. Same for Paul--though at the moment things were kind of grim.

"You know, we can all pray for Paul down here. That can help."

Maybe, thought Matt, but they were so small. How much good could they do, at their size?

Which gave Matt an idea. If he could think positive, pray, or whatever, could he increase the size of the tinies? At the very least they'd be in slightly less danger at a bigger size, and he could deal with them easier. Maybe no need for the magnifiers.

Or maybe he could think positive and help his uncle. He'd concentrate on that, first.

A day later, he did get to visit Uncle Paul in the hospital. Paul was in good spirits and feeling better. Matt mentioned how worried he was about him, and that he was "thinking positive".

"I appreciate that! Maybe you can help. I tell you, I can be stupid-- I shouldn't be in here. If I ate better, took care of my body...I want to live a long life but sometimes I overdo things, and that can be bad."

Paul revealed something to Matt, though. "They weighed me today and I lost a good 15 pounds. Now, being ill and having to eat hospital food will make you lose some weight, but 15 pounds in such a short time? And you know what, I actually think I look and feel younger."

"You do?"

"Yeah, I looked at myself in the mirror--looks like I've got more hair...I was really losing it before, but now it's come back...and I think I look like I'm a good 10 years younger."

"You do look a bit younger, maybe. Do you think we did that-- me and the tinies?"

"Maybe, or maybe someone up there." He pointed up.

"On the second floor?," Matt joked.

"Well, you know I've never been all that religious, but who knows. Maybe 'someone up there likes us'. I've said before that when we do good we get rewarded, and maybe when others think positive..."

"You mean pray for us...?"

"Could be...Maybe those tinies, and you, did that to me, or maybe the big guy in the sky did."

Who knows, maybe they were having a religious conversion of sorts. All Matt knew was he was glad his uncle was doing better.

The odd thing was the next day when Matt got up and he could swear he was about 5 inches taller, and he felt a beard growing under his chin. And people started telling him had voice had deepened--without going through the "cracking" voice stage of puberty. All of a sudden.


Maybe he and the tinies had made a difference in his uncle's health, and maybe the tinies and Paul made the sudden transformation in his own "age". Suddenly he had to get pants with a larger waistline and inseam; bigger shirts, and sneakers that were one or two sizes larger. 5 foot 10, practically overnight! And he looked older: more like a high school senior or even college freshman.

"That's the thing, kid," his uncle said to him, after they got him out of the hospital. "At your age, you love looking and being older. At mine, you want to look or be younger!"

"Yeah, being a kid can be cool but growing up isn't bad--I want to be able to drive, stay up late and party with my friends without my parents saying no. Of course even though I look older I'm still 14. I still won't be able to legally drive for another 2 years."

"It's almost like I gave some years to you."

"Are you serious?"

"Well, it is kind of odd how you look a bit older and I look a bit younger, all at once like this. Well, I don't know if I have the power to do that, but maybe...magic...prayer, whatever you call it."

"Who knows. I have something to show you in the tiny city...maybe I do have that 'power' you talked about..."

With that, they paid a visit to the tiny city and noticed two giants among the tinies. A middle aged man who walked up and down the wee streets, towering over everything, and that man's niece, now a giantess. Both of them nearly 25 times bigger than before. A staggering height of...four inches tall.

"Enjoying being a giant, Gliddo?," asked Matt.

"This is awesome! Seeing how tiny everyone is...the power and strength I have..."

"And yet you're still small in my world. You're about size of my palm. Pallis, too.

Yes, Pallis had also been "grown". Matt gently took the two Lilliputian sized tinies and placed them on his right hand. They smiled up at Matt and Paul.

"It's interesting to be this size," said Pallis, "though maybe we're a big too big for the tiny city now." Both Gliddo and Pallis could now be heard without the audio magnifier, but their voices seemed slightly higher pitched. Apparently the audio magnifier did magnify the tinies' voices, but it also normalized the pitch of them. Without the audio magnifier, the four-inch-fall Gliddo and Pallis could still be heard, but the pitch was a bit high. They almost sounded like cartoon mice. Still understandable, but at a high pitch, like that of a very young child.

"We have a dollhouse you can live in. It's scaled right down to your size."

And there it was--complete with electrical power. Small bulbs lit up each room. Doll sized furniture. An mp3 player and pods were there for entertainment.

So Pallis and Gliddo had gone from flea sized to pocket sized. Matt didn't need a magnifying glass to see Pallis anymore--and she was indeed lovely. Her uncle Gliddo almost seemed like Paul in miniature. (And Matt had remembered Paul telling him about a "cloning experiment"--talk about clones...)

"We could grow some of the other tinies, too, to your size. Who knows."

Paul thanked all of the tinies for their good, positive thoughts. "You might have been the reason why, I don't it's up to me to take better care of my body."

"No problem," said Gliddo. "We thank you guys for growing us. I feel like a giant!"

Paul laughed. "Well, in the tiny city you are, but not here. Life is still dangerous for you guys in our world."

Was it ever. He thought of the movie the Incredible Shrinking Man, where the title character got chased by a cat, almost drowned in a flood (when a water pipe burst), almost got decapitated by a mousetrap, and so on. Gliddo and Pallis were subject to the same type of dangers. Yes, they were 25 times bigger than before, but it was still a dangerous world.

Matt put Gliddo back in the tiny city for now, so he could have fun looming over buildings and doing favors for the tinies (who were palm-sized to him), and he put Pallis in his pocket. She stuck her arms out over the side of the shirt pocket and looked up at Matt, and rode along as he walked.

to be continued