Pocket Fox

By Shrinkingman/Anthrocoon. Orig. written as "Pocket Pal" and furry-ized.

One day I was typing on this very computer when I looked over to the right of it and saw a fox climbingup the mouse cable and onto the desk. This fox wasabout four and a half inches tall, clad in a T-shirtand shorts. The fox walked over and stood on the mouse pad.
"Hello there! I was wondering if I could stay inyour apartment for awhile."

I was dazed and tried to say something; the fox smiled and said, "Oh, I hope I didn't surprise you.There aren't many like me..."
I put my thumb and forefinger around him--yes, he was real and not afigment of my imagination. "Er, I guess so!", I said.
"I don't take up too much space...and I cando little things around your place."
"Well, at yoursize, I guess little things are all you CAN do!"

He laughed. "True! Not easy being this size, you know."He touched his T-shirt. "Tough finding clothes my size.And I'm a bit too small to drive a car. But I could ride around in your shirt pocket." He introduced himself as Mike Rowe Fox and said he was a Liliputian.
"I thought Liliputians werefictional"
"No, we exist, but there aren't too many of us leftand we're all spread apart. We live as best we can ina world of giants."
I took out a ruler and saw he was four and a half inches tall. "Thought Liliputians were six inches tall."
The tiny vulpine creature replied, "Maybe our height was misreported, or maybewe've been shrinking over the years."

"I actually wouldn't mind being your size. Would be fun to be so small..."
"Well, it is at times but it can also be dangerous. Anyway,you don't mind if I move in?"
"Not at all. Hmm,you could live in a mousehole but I don't really haveany mouseholes here" (I pictured the type of mouseholes seen in cartoons like Pixie and Dixie).But I told him I had a 4 piece sectional set; three of the pieces were put together like a sofa while the other piece was by itself. "You'd have plenty of roomthere."

And so I had a roommate. Being fascinated with little furries, I could only marvel at how smallMike was. He was nearly one-sixteenth my height andprobably only weighed a few ounces. His paws, tail,arms, and legs were incredibly tiny and he could hidejust about anyplace.

Mike slept on the cushy sectional and kepthis clothes nearby. A lamp cord gave him access to the floor. I put a string next to the sink so he could go up and take baths, although he needed me tocontrol the water flow as the faucets were a bit tough for him to turn. For fun one day, he was taking a bath/swim in the sink and I pushed the drainplug.The water started swirling down and he was in a bit ofa whirlpool! I caught him with my paw and lifted him up; then I apologized for pushing the plug. He said it was no problem--in some ways it was fun!

I tend to eat out often so Mike either ate what little I kept in my apartment or would join me as Iate out. Sometimes I'd order a sausage pizza, bring it home, and put a slice on a plate; he'd reach over and grab a piece of sausage and munch it. Once I made some microwave popcorn and he literally dived into the bowl and started tossing the popped kernels into the air. He'd shoot them up toward my mouth, as if he were shooting baskets.

I got used to having Mike around. I'd be at the computer and would see something I needed to jot down; I'd look down and see Mike, in my pocket,thrusting a pen longer than he was up at me.
And sometimes I'd lie on the sectional/sofa, watching TV,and he'd climb up on my T-shirt-covered chest, lie down, and watch along with me, his body rising andfalling with each breath I drew into my lungs.

Sometimes Mike would turn on my Walkman, find a goodtape or a certain station, and lie between theheadphones as if each earpiece were a speaker.

I tried to imagine what life was like being so small.To him, doorknobs would be about 50 feet off the groundso he could try to squeeze under doors (like the "little people" in "Land of the Giants" did). I would seem about 100 feet tall to him.The tiniest objects would be huge to him, and heavy.

One time we went to a park and I lay on the grass near some bushes. Mike wentwalking around and I got a kick out of seeing someone so tiny in such a setting. Some birds landed near him and they weren't afraid of him (or vice-versa), as hetossed some bits of bread toward them. I hoped a cat or dog wouldn't come by--and when a furry neared Iwould gently grab him and place him in my shirt pocket.

I hesitated introducing him to other people but he soon met a couple of them anyway: the Spawskids. They lived on the first floor of my apartmentbuilding, nine-year-old Tim and eleven-year-old Scott.Scott had one thing in common with me: a fascinationwith little furs. He saw the movie "the IncredibleShrinking Fox" on TV and I gave him an extra copy of the book thatI had.

Well, one day Mike was on my back porch (I was awayat the time) and Scott went up there because he liked the view from my porch. He looked down for a secondand saw Mike,who was sitting down. Mike stood upand looked up at the boy who seemed over 70 feet tallto him. At first Mike looked like a toy to him,but Scott knew Mike was alive when Mike started running away from him. Gently Scott put his righthand down on the porch's floor, palm facing toward Mike, and Mike almost ran right into it--he stoppedan inch or so away, looked up at the kid and held up his tiny paws as if to say "please don't hurt me!".But Scott gently put his thumb and forefinger around Mike, placed him in his other paw, and sat down on the porch, admiring the tiny fox. It was kinda like"The Indian in the Cupboard".

"Hi there, uh..."
"Scott Spaws."
Mike introduced himself and saidhe was living in my apartment. Scott nodded and gently put his thumb and forefinger around Mike's leftarm. "Wow, awesome how small you are!" Tim came upto the porch and Scott showed Mike to him. "A reallive toy--he can ride in our toy cars and ride in our pockets an' stuff!"

Mike told them that while he'dlove to play with them he was also a living furry, if only a small one, so they needed to be very gentle with him. Then Mike excused himself and squeezed under my backdoor. The kids banged on the door for him to come back.
"Uh, I'd let you in but I can't reach the doorknob!" said Mike. The kids laughed.

Mike told me this story when we went to a park named Centennial Grove on a warm late October Saturday."You met these cubs? I'm not sure that's such a goodidea. They might play with you a little TOO hard..."
"Yeah, kids can be that way. I'd love to play with them but I don't want to put myself in danger."

"Well, should I be keeping you a secret? The presswould love to reveal that there are little tiny furs like you...you'd be a celebrity. But that also couldput you in danger. So maybe we should keep peoplefrom finding out about you, and that includes thosekids."

I sat on a rock overlooking the lake next to the park.The sun shimmered on the water; a beaver fished nearby,and warm breezes blew at us, scattering leaves andalso blowing tiny Mike off. A breeze that would cause me little harm seemed like a hurricane to a guy whoweighed a few ounces.

"So you say the Liliputiansare scattered. Wouldn't you want to all stay togetherso you could be with people your size?" I imagined a village or a city built by furs 4 or 5 inches tall.

"We had to move when developers cleared off the island--animals your size who didn't even know weexisted. So we went our separate ways. Liliputiansare around but I just don't know where. But I actuallylike living in a world of giants."

I told him howI'd talked on Instant Message with a guy who was only3 and a half feet tall; an adult who also seemed to live in a world of giants. Kids towered over him,he couldn't reach lightswitches, and everything seemed built for giants. "Now, he has a tough enough time in the world--you're much smaller than him. I'm amazedyou're still here...the dangers you face..."

"I'm used to it," he replied.
"But wouldn't you want to be in a city with people your size, withbuildings scaled down to your size?"
"Naw, I like being with you giants."
"But won't the Liliputians die out? If you don't meetsomeone and have kids, and if other Liliputians separate and also don't reproduce...that will be theend of you. It's sad." Mike Rowe Fox looked pensive andsad when I brought that up.

"Well, maybe I could find someone my size...you have the Internet. Maybe you can post something. Who knows,there may be little foxes like me out there." He wasright. I could put a posting on the Net and maybe a giant--er, an average-sized fur like myself who happened to have a Liliputian living with them couldanswer. But the odds were too great. Would it beworth it?

As it turned out, I soon found another Liliputian--thanks to my 11-year-old neighbor.

Scott saw me going up the stairs, with Mike in myshirt pocket, and he said "Hey Bob, I have a pocket pal, too."

"Got a new toy, huh?,"
"Yeah, his name's Pratrod."
With that Scott Spawsreached into his pocket and showed me another living,tiny fox...a boy of about 11 or 12. The boy may have been Scott's age but was a mere three and a halfinches tall. Scott placed Pratrod on my hand and I took out Mike and put him next to the Liliputianboy. "hey, I know you!," said Mike. He looked up at me. "I know his parents-- I let Prat ride my horse."
Obviously a Liliputian horse. At their size,they could ride a mouse, not the type of horses around here. Prat explained that he and his family got separatedwhen Liliput was overtaken by the giant developers. He was hoping to find his mom and dad again but in the meantime found a kid his age...who, uh, was kinda bigger. Prat had made the mistake of hiding in a toolbox; he was knocked out when a giant picked up the toolbox and when he woke up he saw the giant had taken him back to his fellow giants. Given his journey amongst giant screwdrivers and pliers, it was amazing how well he survived. Prat fled before the giant had a chance to see him, and his journeys had brought himhere.

So Mike had a fellow Liliputian to be with.Together they would ride around in Scott's toy carsas he used the remote control to ferry them around his room. They'd ride in my pocket or in Scott's. Mike and Prat would race each other on my kitchen table--if they went too far and headed over the edge, Scottwould catch them in his cupped paw. They'd pose for pictures, reclining in my hand or standing between myfeetpaws, looking up at how huge I was, and I'dpost them on the Net. "Great special effects!,"furs said. If only they knew it was real!

"We need to repay you for all this," said Mike. "Letting us stay, feeding us, helping us..."

"Oh, no problem. You guys do help me out a bit around here. And having you two lil' guys around is greatentertainment. Plus I like helping little folks. You'ddo the same if you were in my position."

"Yeah." Helooked down and pretended to pick up someone who wasabout a quarter of an inch tall. "Hey lil' guy, you can stay with me..." I laughed.

My two Liliputians. We all seemed happy but I kept thinking about the Liliputian race dyingout. How many more of there were there, and where? I couldn't let it happen. I couldn't letthe Liliputians become extinct. They were people just like me, albeit on a much smallerscale. And their resourcefulness as they lived in a world of giants made me admire them.

And I also wondered if enough Liliputians could be found to not only continue their race,but also to start a city of tiny furs. They could live isolated from big animals like me,where they could be with their own kind, with houses, furniture, and other things scaled downfor them. Better yet, why not have them live amongst big furs like me? Their city could bepart of my apartment.

It would be like the Borrowers or the Littles. One family under my bookshelves. Another nearthe TV set. Maybe Liliputian farmers could exist in someone's back yard, next to a garden.They wouldn't need much land. But I was getting ahead of myself.

I told Mike my idea. "If we find more of you and you reproduce, you could spread all over theworld. People could take care of you the way I have."

"Hmm, so we could live with the big folks but still have our own cities or something. Or maybe find us another place where we could start up our own city." That was possible, too.I thought of a huge nature reservation near me, Castle Hill and Crane's beach. It was simplybeautiful. Of course more than a few "big furs" visit there but I could find a remote area of it for New Liliput. Well, just an idea anyway.

A week later, as I woke up one day, I heard voices and could sense somebody tugging at my fur. I opened my eyes and there on the bed were Mike and Prat, trying to get my attention. "We found her, she's here!" said Mike.

"And who is...?", I inquired.

"My mom! She's on the floor!," said Prat, excitedly.

I carefully reached down to the floor and there was a Liliputian vixen--Garna, the mother of Prat!I placed Garna, Prat, and Mike on my hand...Garna was a lovely little woman who seemed full of love and joy. Turns out that I had posted something on the Net talking about Mike and Prat and someone read it...he had Garna staying with him, dropped her off at my house,and she came in under the door.

Garna said she couldn't find her husband--he was missing and perhaps dead. Sad. But in the week or two after she came here, she took a liking to Mike. And vice versa. Hmm, could Mike become her mate? And a stepdad to Prat? Not to mention that here was ourchance to repopulate the Liliputian race. They couldmarry and have more kids.

Some time later I took the 3 of them (yes, Mike andGarna were now married) to that park I'd mentioned.Warm breezes came up the gently rising hill to thenature reserve. Trees, plants, animals, a beach,and more, all preserved. I'd worried about the possibility of feral animals attacking them but Mike said they were used to it. And so I put them there in theirnew home (they started building a house in the woodsof the nature preserve) and promised I'd come back tovisit them.

Sure, I'd miss having a Pocket Pal but I knew they'd be happy. Well, not too long after that Iborrowed my father's boat and headed out for a nicetrip by myself. I saw an island I didn't remember seeing before, and it wasn't on the map. Curious, Idropped anchor and waded ashore.

Everything seemed a lot bigger. The grass was up to my knees, an eight-foot squirrel scampered by, andgigantic pawprints were left in the dirt. Could this be Brobdingnag? A land of giants?

I saw a colossal house and walked in under the door.

A 70 foot tall giant was at a computer. I casuallyclimbed up the mouse cord and stood on the mouse pad,looked up at him, and said, "Hello there! I was wondering if I could stay inyour apartment for awhile."

2000 Bob Nelson