The Six Millimeter Manby Ace Corona
CHAPTER ONE: THE LAB ACCIDENT!
I was a student at Matheson university, studying to get a degree in nuclear physics. My name is Deuce O'Ryan, and I am 25 years old. I was good friends with a professor there, a certain professor Stiles, a theoretical physicist who was experimenting with a method of perfecting cold fusion.
Professor Stiles hired me to assist him in his laboratory after school, and he paid me pretty well. I didn't completely understand the professor's theory, because he kept the details a secret, but what I knew about it was that he had stumbled onto a unique theory that would allow the quarks and gluons of the protons and neutrons of a tritium/deuterium serum to be stripped of neutrino particles. Somehow, this miniaturization of the atoms composing tritium and deuterium would initiate cold fusion and form helium atoms.
The part of this whole theory I was unsure of was whether or not quarks and gluons are composed of neutrinos, and the professor had found a way to seperate the outer layers of the quarks and gluons of neutrinos, or if quarks and gluons were made of something else entirely, and the professor had found a way to convert this sub-quarkian matter into neutrino particles.
As far as how he did this was was the biggest secret of all. Professor Stiles simply said it was the application of quantum physics, and left it at that. I wasn't interested in stealing his theory and taking credit for it, I just wanted a piece of the action; I wanted to be able to tell my grandchildren some day that I was there in professor Stiles's lab when he initiated the first successful documented and verified cold fusion reaction. I couldn't blame him, though. There were alot of different people who could profit from stealing his theories. Any company that generates electricity for a profit could either prevent the public from having access to this new technology, or they could control the patent, so they could generate electricity for a fraction of what it costs now, while still charging consumers the same price as before.
I'll never forget the Friday afternoon when the experiment was an apparent success. All of the read-out monitors started beeping, and the digital power gauge L.E.D. display indicated that the micro-reactor was generating much more electricity than the power supply that pumped electricity into the reactor. We had broken past the break-even point, and the digital thermometers indicated no increase in temperature! The inside of the micro-fusion reactor was the same as the room temperature of the laboratory.
Before professor Stiles could grab a bottle of champagne he had stashed to celebrate, the door to the lab was kicked in by a group of gun-men with ski-masks on, and they held us up at gun-point!
They specifically asked the professor for all CD-ROMs and floppy disks with any and all information pertaining to the cold fusion experiment recorded on them. After professor Stiles hsnded them what they requested, one of the masked hoods used a machine gun and opened up on the cold fusion experiment I was standing right in front of!
Neither I nor the professor was injured in the attack, thank God, but I did find myself drenched in the mysterious tritium/deuterium solution. The crroks had told us to count to two-hundred before we were even to think about moving, so after they left, and after the professor reached what he assumed to be a reasonable interpretation of what counting to two-hundred should be, he left to call the cops at a payphone at the student study hall, because the bandits had clipped the phoneline to the lab just before the robbery.
I would've went with the professor, but I told him I'd better sit this one out, because I felt really dizzy. Must've been the tritium/deuterium solution that got all over me.
As I sat down in a chair, alone in the lab, the strangest sensation overtook me. I closed my eyes hoping that it would go away, but when I opened them, I could see a layer of what appeared to be steam rising from every part of my body. As I looked around the lab, the dizziness seemed to return in greater intensity, and I had a strange sensation similar to vertigo as the lab seemed to expand in all directions all around me.
I blinked my eyes to make this optical illusion go away, but that did no good, because the walls of the lab seemed even farther away each time I opened my eyes...because this wasn't an optical illusion!
The lab seemed to fill with the steam I mentioned before, and I decided to stand up to catch my breath and maybe open a window or two. It's a good thing I did, because as soon as I stood up, the chair I had been sitting in seemed to expand directly behind me until it was bigger than a one-story house from my perspective!
That was when it fianlly occured to me that I just might be shrinking, but even at that point I wasn't completely convinced yet, like a drowning man grasping at straws,, I tried to rationalize what was happening to me by assuming that I was suffering from previously unknown hallucinogenic side-effects of being drenched in the tritium/deuterium solution.
Apparently, the steam I saw was the subtracted mass of all the quarks and gluons making up the atoms of my body being simultaneously reduced in size and forced to occupy less space. The reaction the professor had discovered did in fact cause miniaturization to occur in quarks and gluons making up the protons and neutrons of the tritium/deuterium solution before fusion was intitiated, so that was in fact exactly what was happening to my body...
I was shrinking!
When I finally stopped shrinking, and the steam finally went away, I was reduced to the helpless size of six millimeters tall! I knew this because I had helped the work crew that installed the tile floor in the professor's lab one weekend last summer, and the distance between each two individual tiles was six millimeters, a measurement I had to make many times that weekend to ensure that the tiling was installed as neatly as possible. That was my exact height, the same distance between two of the floor tiles!
I knew I had to escape from the lab before the police arrived, so I could try to find a solution to my problem. It wouldn't do any good if I ended up asd a government experiment at Area 51 somewhere in Nevada, now would it?
Luckily, the professor had been in such a hurry before he left that he left the door to the lab ajar just a couple of inches, something I hadn't even noticed before, but at my diminished stature, it was now very obvious. At six millimeters tall, a door that is open a couple of inches would be a door with a width large enough for an elephant to go through, had the same distance been duplicated proportionately for a normal-sized man.
I ran outside into this brave new world of giants that was just waiting to be explored, where I would now try to live out a fugitive existence in an attempt to restore myself to my former ststure. My closest family members lived over 100 miles away, so I had to find another plan. Who could I trust? My studies didn't leave much time for any kind of a relationship, and all my spare time and vacations were spent working for professor Stiles in his lab, because I definitely didn't come from a rich family, and I needed all the money I could get.
There was one possibility, a seventeen-year-old chick named Jessica. She was in love with me. She was basically the only one I could trust besides the professor. The only problem was, she lived about ten miles away. So I made my decision, to set off on a quest to find Jessica, come Hell or high water, and damn the consequences!
Good or bad, I was willing to accept the risks, whatever they may be, as a six millimeter man!
CHAPTER TWO: THE JOURNEY BEGINS!
It was late afternoon the day of the lab accident that reduced me to six millimeters tall, so it was still daylight.
It was pretty easy making my way around campus without being spotted. I mainly stayed in the planters, walking among the plants and decorative tree bark.
I was on my own in a world of giants, so I had to be careful. Anyone was a potential predator, and I knew I could trust nobody at all, not even Jessica. But I knew that I had to trust someone, so if I was going to be foolish enough to make my condition known and introduce myself to someone, it was going to be Jessica. After all, she was in love with me, and although it was stupid to trust anyone, it seemed to me that there was the least amount of risk involved in trusting her than there would be in trusting anybody else.
The only problem was, Jessica lived in a small coastal California tourist town that was ten miles away, and getting there would be one hell of a journey. At six millimeters tall, one ordinary mile to me is equivalent to between thirty and thirty-one miles. If I averaged one mile a day, I should be able to get to Jessica in a week and a half.
It was getting to be late afternoon, and the sun would be setting before too long. so I would have to wait until morning to begin my journey. At my reduced size, my body temperature was reduced also, making me vulnerable to low temperatures. Even though it doesn't get too cold in the month of May on the central coast of California, I was going to need a warm place to crash for the night.
I knew of a place where there was a steam-grate that was connected to the utility room that supplied heat to the dormitories. It took close to an hour to get there without being spotted, and by the time I arrived the sun was going down. I built a little camp with some leaves I dragged over to the edge of the steam-grate, and I was concealed from view. I had shelter for the night.
It took a while to fall asleep that night, because I hadn't eaten anything since earlier that afternoon, and I was hungry. Sleep finally came, and I slept peacefully.
When morning arrived, I had almost forgotten that I was shrunk, but when I opened my eyes the reality of it was painfully evident. I peeked out of my camp that was constructed of leaves, and I could see a bright blue morning sky. It must've been early still, because I didn't see too many students walking around, which was good, because it would make it that much easier to get around without being spotted and captured by one of the giants.
Before I had fallen asleep the night before, I had developed somewhat of a plan. I knew of a place behind the engineering classrooms where there was a dumpster that was used to throw away useless electronic components. If I could find a broken piece of magnet from an old speaker, maybe I could tie it to a piece of string, and utilize it to ascend to the rear axle of a vehicle at a gas station. Then I wouldn't need to walk to Jessica's, I could hitch a ride!
Progress was slow, and it took up a good portion of the entire morning to get to the engineering classrooms. Avoiding being spotted was the main reason, because severaL times I had no choice but to dart across exposed areas where I had to make absolutely certain that there was nobody around to see me. The other reason was the distance. To a normal-sized student, the distance fromthe steam-grate to the dumpster would take about five or ten minutes, walking at a moderatepace. But when you're six millimeters tall, it takes alot longer.
When I arrived at the dumpster, it was just as I had hoped. In addition to several pieces of wire, nuts and bolts on the concrete beneath the mammoth dumpster, there was the frame of a discarded stereo speaker, and several chunks of the magnet that once made up the innards of the speaker. Some of the pieces of the magnet were larger than me, some were the size of grains of sand, and there was a plethora of sizes in between. I picked up a chunk that was to me about the size of a basketball.
It was kind of heavy, so I decided to look for some string to tie it down with, so I could wear it like a backpack. After looking around for a few minutes, I did eventually find a nice long coil of string among the discarded trash at the foot of the huge dumpster. I laid it out end to end, then I tied it around the chunk of magnet.
There was a flat side on the magnet that I tied several loops of string around, and before long, I had an improvised back-pack. When the time csme, I could simply untie the string from the magnet, unroll it, and with one end of the string still tied to the magnet, I could swing the chunk of magnet over my head and use the string as a lasso to hurl the magnet to the iron axle of a car at a nearby gas station.
I wished there had been some way to obtain some food, but wherever there was food, there would be people, and if I valued my freedom, I had to completely avoid any and all people for as long as possible. I knew that as soon as somebody spotted me, i'd be through. If someone did ever capture me, which would be extremely easy to do, I knew escape would be virtually impossible. Who in their right mind would ever allow a miniaturized man to ever have the opportunity to escape? Nobody that I had ever met, that's for sure.
And so, with an empty stomach and a plan of action, I set out for the nearest gas station, where I would try to hitch a ride with my magnet and my piece of string. The nearest gas station was about half a mile form the college campus, so I figured that I should be able to make it there just before nightfall.
I experienced the greatest amount of difficulty just getting off campus, because at that time of day it was especially crowded, and I couldn't take any chances. At one point, I was stuck hiding ina planter at the bottom of a huge bush for a good twenty minutes or more, because two female students were standing on a sidewalk I needed tocross. They were making what to me seemed to be insignificant conversation, but maybe I just felt that way because they were blocking my path. If I had been foolish enough to chance it and run across the concrete walk-way, the two women would've easily spotted me. While I waited, however, the view wasn't so bad. The brunette had some pretty incredible legs, and it was interesting to view a great pair of legs from this new perspective. Finally, they left, and I looked to my left and my right, and I ran across the sidewalk to the planter on the other side as fast as I could, and nobody saw me.
Once I was off campus, my progress was much swifter, and before long I was more than halfway to the nearby gas station that was located not too far from campus. It was amazing, I had never pondered the relatively close distance of the gas station when I was at my normal size, but with my reduced stature, I was angry at myself for having taken it for granted for so long.
It was only about half a mile from Matheson University, but the proportionate distance to me at my reduced size made it equivalent to a distance of about fifteen miles. I had walked the distance from the college town where I went to school to the beach town where Jessica lived many times when I was at my normal size, so I was conditioned to make this kind of a journey.
I ducked through back alleys and went through apartment complexes that would've been impossible for a normally-sized person, and I only had to cross a street once to get to the gas station. That was the greatest obstacle, because I had to wait for just the right opportunity to cross when there was no traffic and no pedestrians that could've seen me.
When I finally arrived at the gas station, it was late afternoon, with a couple of more hours of daylight left. I had gotten there sooner than I had anticipated, which was good. There was a drainage pipe I hid inside of, where I had a good view of the cars and trucks that came and went.
I made a point of reading the license plates, to see if the vehicle was local or from out of town. Sometimes, there were bumper stickers or some other signal that indicated the car was local, like a familiar radio station on a bumper sticker, or a tag that advertised a local car dealership where the vehicle had been purchased.
I couldn't get too picky, so when a woman stepped out of her car to go inside and pay, I ran out from inside of the drainage pipe where I had been hiding, and began to swing the chunk of magnet around on the string that I had prepared while I had been waiting for the right moment.
It took a couple of tries, but eventually the magnet connected to the differential in the center of the rear axle, and I started climbing up the string. Before I had even reached the axle, the woman had returned to her car, and closed the front door and started the ignition.
I climbed up as fast as I could, and soon I was standing on top of the differential, and I pulled up the length of string and coiled it up. As the vehicle started moving, I held onto the string like reins on a horse, and the magnet held firm to the iron differential casing.
Soon, we were on the freeway, just as I had hoped, but from my estimation, we were heading in the wrong direction, North, instead of South! Every bumper sticker and dealership tag had indicated this was a local car, but by a random stroke of fate, I had chosen a local car from the North county, under the mistaken assumption that the car dealership advertised on the woman's car was from the South part of the county, so therefore, the woman driving the car was from the South county, but I'd been wrong! And so North we went, the nearest town being thirty miles from Matheson university, and the next town was twenty miles still further!
CHAPTER THREE: 30 MILES OFF COURSE!
The entire trip lasted over half an hour, and just as I'd feared, we went up and over the Cuesta grade, which meant the vehicle I'd hitched a ride on was going a minimum of thirty miles in the opposite direction I needed to go to reach Jessica's house. The car finally pulled into a driveway and parked, and two doors popped open.
I heard a pair of voices, the woman who had driven the car, and a younger female voice, obviously the woman's daughter. When they had gone inside, I climbed down and pulled on the string, in an attempt to release the magnet, but it wouldn't budge. It would be very difficult to obtain another chunk of magnet, so I decided it was very important to retrieve the magnet, but eventually I just gave up entirely. I just didn't have enough strength in my miniaturized body to accomplish this task.
After struggling with the magnet for the better portion of a good solid hour, I began to smell the delicious aromas of food being prepared in the house of the people that owned the car I'd hitched a ride on. The sun was going down, and I hadn't eaten in over twenty-four hours, so I was pretty hungry to say the least.
The temptation proved to be overwhelming, and I finally decided to try to find some way into the house, to try to obtain food. The plan was to sneak in, grab some food, and sneak out again, and it didn't seem too difficult at the time. At the front of the house was an open window, and there was a large rose bush that would provide easy access to the three foot high window ledge.
I began my ascent, and before too long, I found myself standing on the window ledge. The smell of the food was intoxicating; I could distinguish pot roast and mashed potatoes through the open window. I stepped inside, and made my way across the window ledge to the curtains on one side. The fabric of the curtain had stitching that was just the right size for me to use as handles to climb down to the floor. I just hoped these people didn't have any pets, especially the hungry kind!
My hunger won out over my fears, however, and soon I was standing on the wooden floor of the living room of this strange house. The giant girl, about twelve or thirteen years old, was paying attention to the television, so she hadn't noticed me. She had long dark blonde hair, and blue eyes. Her mother was in the dining area at the other end of the room, setting the table. She spoke to her daughter:
"Amber, it's time for dinner. Could you shut the window, please?"
From my hiding place beneath the living room couch, I watched in horror as Amber walked over and slid the living room window closed. That was my only means of escape, so now I was trapped in the home of these giant strangers! I didn't know whether I should feel angry that the window had been shut, preventing my escape, or relief that I had managed to infiltrate the house to obtain food before my only means of entry had been closed off.
The girl that had been addressed as Amber by her mother walked over to the giant dinner table, and I watched the giant duo load down their plates with pot roast and mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and chocolate pudding. I couldn't figure out how I was going to manage to procure some of the prodigious pot roast, but I was so hungry that at one point I didn't even care if I was captured, just as long as I could get something to eat!
My dilemma was solved when the girl when the girl asked her mother if she could finish her dinner in her room, because she had alot of homework to do. Her mother granted her permission, and Amber picked up her plate and disappeared into the hallway to the left of the dining area. I heard her bedroom door close.
It wasn't difficult at all to make my way under and behind furniture as I made my way toward the hallway, and soon, I was at the corner that separated the dining area and the hallway. The only problem was, the giant woman was facing in my direction as she ate, and I would have to cross her field of vision momentarily in order to get across into the hallway.
I saw the woman turn her head as she heard something interesting on the television, and I took a chance. I ran around the door jamb seperating the dining area and the hallway, and I made it before the woman could spot me. Now all I had to do was climb under the girl's door.
Luckily for me, the door to the girl's room didn't have weather stripping, and there was atleast half an inch of clearance between the bottom of her bedroom door and the wood floor. I didn't even need to duck down as I walked under the door and into Amber's room. I guess that's one of the advantages of being six millimeters tall!
Once inside, I could see Amber facing away from me, typing away on a computer. To her left was a massive desk, and that is where I assumed her dinner was located. There was a digital clock radio located in one corner high atop the desk, and the electrical cord supplying power to the clock radio extended from the wall outlet down to the ground before it ascended to the top of the desk and connected to the rear of the clock radio. It would be easy to climb!
I began to make my way up, and soon I reached the top of Amber's desk. She was unaware of my presence, still typing on her computer. I hid behind the digital clock radio, and I could see the plate of delicious pot roast and the pile of mashed potatoes dripping with butter. Every few minutes, the girl would pause from her work, and reach over and grab her fork and scoop up a portion of either mashed potatoes or pot roast, and take a bite before resuming her work on the computer.
The lip of the plate was higher than my height, so I was faced with still another challenge to overcome. If I could get onto the plate, it would be easy to eat my fill unseen by the giant girl, then I could escape back the way I came. But how could I get up to the plate to begin with, without attracting the attention of the giantess?
The girl provided me with the most obvious solution entirely unwittingly, by placing her fork back on the plate after taking a bite, and leaving the handle of the massive fork extended down to the top of the desk. With Amber's attention diverted to the computer screen, I quickly made my way up the length of the fork handle, and jumped off onto the plate of food.
The plate of food was enormous, and I'll never forget the experience of seeing a plate of food for the first time from my new perspective of standing six millimeters tall. The plate seemed to me to be nearly the size of a coliseum. The large pieces of pot roast were of Olympian proportions compared to me, and I felt that I was standing on a plate of food meant for a gargantuan goddess, rather than an ordinary twelve-year-old girl.
I hid behind a piece of pot roast and waited for the giant girl to take another bite before I did anything, to avoid being seen by her if she glanced over to eat some more food while I was still out in the open. After she took another bite and resumed working on her computer, I began tearing off strips of meat from the pot roast, and savored every delicious morsel!
Before long, I had eaten my fill, so I waited for the girl to take another bite, so I could begin tearing off additional strips of meat to take with me when I resumed my journey. After she took another bite, I started collecting strips of meat, when suddenly, the giantess broke from her pattern, and reached over to scoop up some more food with her fork.
In my haste, I had failed to realize there was only one more piece of pot roast remaining on the girl's plate, and this was the piece I was holding onto as I tried to hide from the giantess. Sure enough, this was the exact piece she scooped up with her fork, and I was scooped up along with it!
Amber wasn't really paying attention to what was on her fork, her eyes were focused on the report for school that she was typing up on her computer. I knew I had only one chance to avoid being plunged into the depths of her colossal mouth, and my only option was to jump!
From the time her fork left her plate until the exact moment she plunged the bite of food into the cavernous depths of her mouth, less than a second went by. During that brief period of time, I let go of the piece of meat I'd been holding onto, and fell downwards, towards the edge of Amber's colossal desk! I avoided slamming into the side of the desk and plunged downwards still further...
The top drawer of Amber's desk was open just slightly, but since I was only six millimeters tall, there was plenty of clearance for my tiny body, and I fell into the drawer and landed on the firm yet soft surface of a large eraser.
From the light shining through the opening in the desk, I could see that I was in a desk drawer full of paper-clips, pencils, pens, erasers and a large pencil sharpener. The scale of ordinary objects is quite impressive when your stature has been reduced as significantly as mine. At six millimeters tall, the weight of an ordinary pencil was so immense, that it was impossible for me to even lift it. Using the pencils for a ramp to climb up and out of the drawer was definitely out of the question!
And so there I found myself, trapped in a girl's desk drawer, unable to escape. The only option seemed to be to give myself up, and get the girl's attention. Of course, this would mean being captured, and I knew that the girl would never allow me to regain my freedom once I was under her power, but what other choice did I have?
CHAPTER FOUR: AMBER'S PRISONER
The sides of the desk drawer that I was trapped in were only about six inches high, but at my miniscule stature, they stretched upwards to an unattainable height far above my head. Escape was impossible.
I tried everything, but the pens and pencils were too heavy for me to move, and I couldn't bend the paper clips to make a grapnel hook that I could throw to the top of the desk drawer, because I just didn't have the strength to bend the aluminum. I was trapped!
I realized my only choice was to make contact with the giantess that owned the desk I was inside of, despite the fact that I would surely end up as her prisoner. I decided the only way to make my presence known to her was to make as much noise as possible, until I attracted her attention.
I began piling the paper clips on top of each other, which wasn't an easy task, because to me they were very heavy. Eventually, I had enough piled up that I threw a staple at the pile to make some noise, but Amber didn't hear it, because the endless clacking on her computer keyboard drowned out the sound. I tried again.
After about the third or fourth time, I must've gotten her attention, because I heard her stop typing, and she said:
"What was that?"
At this point, I climbed to the top of the pile of paper clips and began kicking them one by one into a second pile of paper clips, making enough noise that the giantess decided to investigate the soure of the disturbance.
My entire universe seemed to shake all around me as Amber opened the top drawer of her desk, the drawer I was now imprisoned in. Her immense face filled the space above the drawer, and I got my first close look at this pre-teen colossus.
Her long hair was dark blonde with strands of lighter colored locks intermingled, and she had beautiful blue eyes. Her eyebrows were darker than her hair, yet they were detectably dark-blonde in color. She had a good complexion, with a scattering of cute freckles across her nose, but nowhere else. All in all, she was a cute kid.
At first, the titanic pre-teen failed to see me, and I was worried that she would close the desk drawer before I could make her aware of my presence. I jumped up and down and yelled at her, calling her name over and over again. Her gaze soon shifted, and my heart was momentarily paralyzed with fear as the blue eyes of this giantess locked onto me, and I became aware that she was observing me for the first time. The titanic pre-teen addressed me for the first time:
"What on Earth? Who are you? How did you get so tiny, little man?"
Amber opened the desk wider, and reached inside to pick me up. She placed her index finger in front of me, and said:
"Don't be afraid of me, tiny one. You an trust me. Climb onto my finger!"
It wasn't exactly easy, because to me the girth of her index finger was the same height as a one story house. I climbed up onto some of the paper clips, and onto Amber's immense index finger. The giantess lifted me upwards, and I felt slightly dizzy and a little terrified, but she stopped just above the top of her desk, and dumped me out into the palm of her other hand.
She began to lift me still further, until I was just below Amber's chin, so she could examine me more closely. She said:
"Wow! What happened to you, little guy?"
I decided to answer her, but I had to yell at the top of my lungs to be heard by the giant girl. Finally, when communication seemed too difficult, I explained that maybe I could write down what had happened to me, and she could read it with a magnifying glass.
She agreed that this was a good idea, and she placed her hand on the desk and commanded me to step down, so she could get a pancil and a piece of paper for me to write on. I obeyed her.
She pulled out a sheet of paper from another drawer of her gigantic desk, and pulled out a pencil. She broke off the tip of the pencil, and placed it in front of me. Of course, the pencil lead was almost as big as I was, so I had to break off a smaller chunk of it to write with.
I began writing furiously, explaining in great detail my entire story, how I was shrunk, and how I had arrived here up to this point. When I was done, the giantess left the room and returned moments later with a huge magnifying glass, so she could read my tiny writing. I had tried to write with very large letters, about one foot in length and six inches wide from my perspective, but to Amber, even this wasn't large enough to read without the assistance of a magnifying glass. Before she left, she said:
"I guess you're too tiny to escape from the top of my desk! I'll just leave you there until I get back. Don't go anywhere!"
When she returned, she read what I had written. When she was done, she remarked how amazing it was that all of these things had happened, and said she felt very fortunate that I had ended up with her, where I would be safe. She went on to explain that from now on, I had no choice but to remain with her as her prisoner, and that it was for the best, because I would not be safe out in the perilous world by myself at my tiny helpless size. I was too terrified of her superior size and strength to argue with the mighty maiden, so I kept my mouth shut!
At this point, she took out a ruler from the same desk drawer I had been trtapped in earlier, and measured my staturer. She said:
"Be sure to stand up straight, Deuce, so I can get an accurate measurement!"
She knew my name was Deuce, because I had written it down when I wrote about my adventure. When she placed the plastic ruler vertically next to me, the first thing she said was:
"Half a centimeter! No, wait--"
It took a second glance through the magnifying glass for her to confirm what I already knew:
"Exactly six millimeters tall, Deuce!" she said.
She returned the ruler to her desk drawer, and said:
"Oh, Deuce! We're going to have so much fun together! JUst wait and see! But I don't want my mom to find out about you, so I'm going to have to keep you hidden! I'll have to take you with me wherever I go!"
Once that was established, it first dawned on me that I might spend the rest of my days as Amber's prisoner, with no hope of ever knowing freedom again! Not that there was anything to complain about, as the days went by, she treated me quite well. She always made sure I always had plenty of food to eat, and plenty of water to slake my thirst. As far as Amber was concerned, I wass no different to her than a pet mouse or a hamster. It was true that I led a virtually idyllic existance, but I just couldn't get over the facty that I had never met Amber before I'd been shrunk, and if I could've had my choice, it would've been nice to have been captured by a girl that I had known before the lab accident, someone like Jessica.
The days turned into weeks, and I soon realized that my chances of escape were slim, if there was any chance at all. The only time there was any possiblity of a chance was when Amber would take me out into her front yard with her when she wanted to read a novel, and she kept me on a checkerboard, so she could moniter my every move, to prevent my escape. In addition to this, Amber took the additional precaution of tying a string around my waist, which she then tied to her wrist, to ensure that any escape attempt would be impossible without her immediate knowledge.
My captivity was a game to her, and she went to great lengths to make sure I could never have even the slightest chance of executing a successful escape attempt. When she went to sleep at night, Amber kept me contained within an inescapable jar that had tiny air-holes punched into the lid. Even had it been possible for me to scale the slick sides of my glass prison, it would've been quite impossible to unscrew the heavy lid, and the air-holes were too small for even me to climb through.
I remember the look on Amber's face the night she captured me, when she had first placed me in the jar. I'll never forget the look of satisfaction on her face as she held the tiny jar firmly in the grip of her left hand, with me contained inside, and she gazed at my helplessness with child-like glee. She had said:
"And that is that! You won't escape from me now, tiny one!"
I knew my only opportunity to escape would be on one of the trips out to the front yard, when she read her novels. I had at first hoped that she would let down her guard and eventually she would allow me to roam around on the checkerboard without being tethered to her wrist, but this was not the case.
In fact, the better she got to know me, the more elaborately she began to tie the knots of the string that I was tied up in. If I tried to untie even one single knot and my mistress became aware of it, she would put down her book and tie no less than half a dozen additional knots to replace the knot I had untied. As I said before, keeping me under her power was a game to her, a game I could never seem to win! Eventually, I began to accept that I would probably remain as Amber's captive for a very, very long time!
CHAPTER FIVE: THE CAR ACCIDENT
When Amber had started the seventh grade, she had taken an algebra class, instead of taking pre-algebra first. Because of this, she was unprepared for it, because she had been doing basic arithmetic in the sixth grade. She was doing well in most of her other classes, but she had been getting F's in algebra.
Her mother was a high school drop-out who was unfamiliar with anything above and beyond basic arithmetic, so she was unable to help her own daughter with her math homework. Now that I was there, that all changed.
It was difficult to communicate with Amber, because my voice was not loud enough for a normally sized person to hear me, unless I yelled at the top of my lungs. Therefore, I had to use a chunk of pencil lead to explain algebra to Amber, which was tedious. It wasn't long before I had explained the fundamentals of pre-algebra to Amber so that she could understand, and I was also able to help her comprehend the concepts of whatever homework her algebra teacher had assigned on a particular night.
After tutoring her the night before a surprise pop-quiz, Amber got an A minus on a quiz that had 10 problems. She only missed one out of ten, and that was because of a clerical error, not because she didn't understand how to do the problems.
After a few weeks of this, Amber informed me that her teacher had started asking her how she had improved her math skills so drastically. He never would have guessed that Amber had a full time tutor living at home; or that her tutor was a sophomore at Matheson university majoring in nuclear physics, and minoring in electrical engineering. He also never would have guessed that I had been reduced to six millimeters tall in a lab accident during a cold fusion experiment, and that I lived in a glass jar on a shelf in Amber's bedroom.
Amber's mother also noticed her improvement, and no explanation or alibi could quench her mother's curiosity. After being questioned unrelentingly by her mother about her improved grades, Amber finally decided to tell her mother the truth.
I was in the glass jar that Amber kept me in, relaxing in the small clay dwelling that Amber had sculpted for me out of clay. Amber picked up the jar, and informed me of her desicion to show me to her mother. Before I could protest, Amber carried the glass jar, with me inside, into the living room.
After being dumped out onto the coffee table and being introduced, Amber's mother was at first astonished, but after Amber explained my story, her mother remembered the newspaper articles and the television news broadcasts about Deuce O'Ryan, the missing college student; at that point it all made sense to her.
I had to communicate with Amber's mother in the same inefficient way I had communicated with Amber herself, with a chunk of pencil lead. After explaining that I needed some electronic components to assemble a microphone and an amplifier so they could hear me, her mother's first reaction was to deny my request, fearing I would build something that would enable me to escape. At that point, she still wasn't sure whether she was going to allow her daughter to keep me indefinitely and keep my captivity a secret, or if she was simply going to allow her daughter to keep me temporarily, until my relatives could be notified of my dilemma.
One thing I did discern about Amber's mother was that she was concerned, and wanted to make sure that no harm would come to me. After writing down on paper the fact that I was extremely vulnerable to cold weather because of my drastically reduced body temperature, the mother decided to immediately purchase a heat lamp that Amber could place above my jar at night, to keep me warm.
I was returned to my jar, and Amber and her mother piled into the car, to drive thirty miles into the main town to go to a well supplied pet store, to purchase a heat lamp. Once in the car, Amber kept my jar in her hand, but soon placed it in the cup holder above the ashtray below the dash board, so her hands would be free to look through her many C.D.'s, to figure out what she wanted to listen to.
The car got on the freeway, and we were on our way to the same college town where Matheson University was located. We went back down over the Cuesta grade, in the opposite direction that we had come when I had accidentally hitched a ride in their car, when I had mistakenly thought that that they were heading South, instead of North.
Amber put the C.D. that she wanted to listen to into the C.D. player, but still resumed looking through her collection when the accident happened. From my vantage point, I could not see what caused it, but I assume that someone tried to change lanes in front of our car, and Amber's mother was cut off. Luckily, both Amber and her mother had seatbelts on, but the window on the passenger side where Amber was sitting was rolled down, so when the car went off of the side of the road and flipped, My jar was thrown from the car.
Amazingly, the car flipped over completely, but Amber and her mother were unhurt. The car was totalled, and my jar was thrown violently from the vehicle, and rolled down the hill and hit a boulder that was wedged half-submerged in the ground, shattering the glass jar I was in.
I was a little shook up, but when I stood up, I knew that this might be my only chance to escape from Amber and her mother. There was a possibility that Amber's mother would have decided to return me to my relatives, but I couldn't count on that. So, after looking back to make sure that the two of them were safe and unhurt, I started off on my own.
We were almost all of the way into town when the accident happened, so it wouldn't have been too far for a normally sized man to reach town, but I was six millimeters tall, so the distance for me was significantly magnified. It was early afternoon, and it was less than one more mile into town, so I expected to get there some time not long after nightfall.
During the first hour of my journey, Amber tried to locate me, and I was worried that she would capture me, so I walked West instead of directly South, to throw her off of my trail, and I was successful. At times I could see her in the distance, calling out my name, but I was so small that from that distance I was undetectable to the human eye, so I wasn't spotted.
As early afternoon became late afternoon, Amber's voice could be heard farther and farther away in the distance, until finally I couldn't hear her at all. I lost alot of time on my detour, but if I had gone South, as Amber had assumed that I would, there would have been no way to elude her, and I would've surely been captured again.
After nightfall, I reached the top of a hill, and I could see the outskirts of town below. Although it was soon going to be the beginning of Summer, I had to make a camp to protect myself from the cold, because of my reduced body temperature.
That night, before I fell asleep in my hidden campsite, I pondered the events of the past month. The lab accident, getting captured by Amber, and my serendipitous escape. I wondered if I should continue on my quest to contact Jessica, or if I should try to get in touch with the professor.
I had studied enough about nuclear physics in college to know that not enough was known about the elusive neutrino particle; that is why the professor's theory was so revolutionary. He had actually found a way to manipulate these particles, and remove them from the quarks and gluon particles that made up the protons, neutrons, and electrons that are the three components of all atoms.
I also knew that because so little was known about neutrinos, there was little if any hope at all of replacing the neutrinos that had been subtracted from my body. This is the reason I had first decided to contact Jessica, because I didn't believe that the professor could do anything to help me, and I figured that if I had no choice but to accept my current situation, it would be better to establish contact with Jessica, a girl who was in love with me, than the professor.
I knew I could trust the professor, and that if he was to find me, he would return me to my mother or any relative of my choice, but was that what I really wanted? sure, I would be safe, but my mother was so over-protective of me, she would probably make sure that I would remain single until I was 80 years old.
After seeing the way Amber and her mother had decided that my freedom was an option, not a right that was carved into granite, I now realized that even Jessica could probably not be trusted, either. When human beings have unlimited power over other human beings, there is an instinctive human weakness to abuse that power, and I wasn't sure there were any normal-sized human beings on Earth that I could trust any more, even my own relatives.
Now that I was free, I wondered if my best option was to stay away from normal-sized people for the rest of my life. It would be a difficult existence, but it was probably the best plan. I decided to wait until morning to make my decision, so I went to sleep under the stars on that clear June night, free for the first time in over a month. Time would only tell what fate had in store for me, Deuce O'Ryan, the six millimeter man!
CHAPTER SIX: FREEDOM!
When I woke up the next morning, I felt better than I'd felt in a long time. For the first time in over a month, I was free. I didn't have any food, but I was free.
I broke off a piece of a blade of grass, and took a few bites. Actually, it wasn't bad. I hadn't eaten since yesterday, so I guess anything would've tasted good. I remembered the last time I'd gone a long time without eating, the day after the lab accident. My hunger had gotten the best of me that time, and I took foolish chances that had allowed me to get captured. I vowed to myself that I would never allow myself to make mistakes like that again, regardless of how hungry I got.
I decided to try to find a house on the outskirts of town that had a garden in the yard, so I wouldn't be forced to eat grass. I made my way towards town, and after a couple of hours, when I was not far from the nearest house, I saw an ant.
To me, it was as large as an average dog, because I was only six millimeters tall. Then, I saw another one. Just as I was walking down a slight incline, I saw a whole colony.
I can't remember ever being so terrified in my entire life. There were hundreds of them that I could see, and probably thousands more in the foliage and in other places where I could not see them. My fear subsided when I realized they had no interest in me.
There were more than just ants from one colony, as I had at first thought. There were several different varieties of ants, all from different colonies. One group were large black ants, and another group were the same size as the black ones, but were yellowish in color. Still another group were a combination of black and yellow, and there were two groups of smaller ants, each a different type.
What I marveled at as I stood there observing them, was the fact that they all seemed to interact peacefully with each other. There would be a group of ants from one colony, marching along in an ant trail, and when their trail intersected with the trail of ants of a different variety, for instance, black intersecting with yellow ants, they did not attack each other. Like cars at a stoplight, each ant took his turn, then an ant from the other colony would move forward.
Then I saw a different kind of insect that I could not identify, other than saying it was not an ant. Remember, I studied nuclear physics in college, not entomology. When it intersected an ant trail, a group of ants from that trail would team up and attack the intruder. When the beetle or whatever it was left the ant trail, the ants left it alone, and resumed their daily business.
Then, not long after that, the same insect again accidentally intruded on another ant trail, this time in a location where two trails from two different species of ants intersected one other. Both species attacked the intruder as a team, and after the insect fled, the ants returned to their trail, each variety of ant rejoining the trail of their individual species.
I found it amazing that several different colonies of ants could all interact peacefully, and I wondered if the human race would ever evolve to a similar level of understanding. Could people of different creeds and religions ever accept each other and live peacefully as equals, just as these ants were able to do? The human race could learn alot from the wisdom of the ant.
As I sat there watching the ants, I thought about my life. I had always been interested in science, and from a young age I had wanted to be an inventor, like Thomas Edison. I made a desicion to be a nuclear phycisist as a youngster, after being inspired by the Bruce Banner character from "The Incredible Hulk" comic books I had read. I wasn't sure if I wanted to be a nuclear phycisist because I wanted to have huge muscles like the Hulk character, or if my love of science and technology were the main inspiration.
I eventually put that goal on hold, when I reached junior high school, because I discovered body building, and I decided that lifting weights was a more efficient way of increasing my muscle mass than studying about gamma radiation. I continued body building on through my high school years, but I had never considered going into competition.
I did have friends who were interested in going into competition, and they were all interested in experimenting with steroids, to give them that extra "edge." In my junior year, I decided that supplying them and other body builders was a quick and easy way to make money, so I started making trips down to Mexico on the weekends, where steroids could be purchased legally.
This went on for a couple of years, and it was an easy way to pay the rent and any other bills that I had. I didn't feel that I was really doing anything wrong, because after all, it wasn't like I was pushing addictive street drugs on people or anything.
I finally decided to get an accomplice, so more steroids could be brought over to fill the demand brought on by an increased number of customers. A friend of mine agreed to do it, but he just didn't have what it took to be a smuggler, and I never should have trusted him to begin with.
The last time I ever tried to smuggle steroids across the Mexican border, we got caught. I had the 'roids stashed in a hidden pocket of my jacket, and I had sewn it up, so everything was concealed. An American border patrol guard asked a simple question, and my friend cracked up under the pressure. If he had kept his mouth shut, we would've never gotten caught.
My friend and I were taken to a jail in San Diego, and we were split up. I was only 19, and it was my first time in jail. I ended up with a sentence of six months, but ended up doing about four months, with time subtracted for good behavior. It was pretty simple; you don't fight or get into any trouble, and you only do two thirds of your time. You screw up, and time is added. You screw up too much, and you end up doing your full term.
While I was in there, I was in a cell with a guy that was an electrician. There was no television, so we talked about his job. I'd have to say, he was the main inspiration in my adult life that was a major factor in my decision to go to college. He taught me about Ohm's law, voltage drop formulas, and equations concerning transformer coils. He really rekindled my childhood desire to learn about science. When I told him that I had wanted to be a nuclear phycisist, he didn't laugh at me, he actually encuraged me. He told me to go for it.
There was a nuclear power plant in Devil's canyon less than ten miles from Matheson University, and if I had a degree in nuclear physics, there was a good chance I could get hired there. I could probably make pretty decent wages. The electrician told me that I'd better minor in electrical engineering, also, just in case they weren't hiring phycisists. I'll never forget what he told me. He said that as long as they had power flowing through powerlines, they would always need electricians to work on those powerlines. He said computer programmers could be layed off when a company downsized, and college graduates with degrees in business marketing or cinematography could be flipping burgers because the jobs they were qualified for just weren't in demand, and they couldn't find anything else. An electrician, however, would always find work; and any contractor would rather hire someone with a degree in electrical engineering than someone who had less impressive credentials.
So when I was released from jail, I took a Greyhound back home, and enrolled at my local junior college. It took three years to get my general education courses out of the way before I could transfer to the University, because I had alot of prerequisites to take.
During my years at junior college, my mother moved to Oxnard, and I was left alone in the town I had lived in since my first year of high school. I chose to remain, because I'd had enough moving around when I was growing up, and I decided that I was never going to move away again; atleast not to another part of the state. That was also when I first met professor Stiles.
I started doing work for him, because he taught classes during the day at Matheson, and worked on perfecting his cold fusion experiment until two or three in the morning, and he needed someone to run errands. Sometimes he remained working in his laboratory until the predawn hours, despite the fact that he had classes to teach the following day. I went to radio shack and other electronics supply stores to purchase materials he needed to conduct his experiment, and I swept and mopped his lab. He payed me pretty good money, so that I had enough money to pay my rent and bills.
When I was done with junior college, I was able to obtain a grant, and I enrolled at Matheson University. It's hard to believe that now, all these years later, professor Stiles finally succeeded in his cold fusion experiment, only to have his ideas stolen from him by those masked gunmen. At that point I made up my mind; I wanted revenge.
Revenge against the thieves that robbed professor Stiles of a lifetime of work. Revenge against the men who had afflicted me with a curse that made me a potential victim to normal-sized human-beings. Humans are by nature social animals, and if a human-being was cut off from others for too long, he could lose his mind. The bandits who robbed the lab that day took away my ability to interact normally with other human-beings, and my condition was terminal. There was no way to reverse the shrinking process that subtracted over ninety-nine point nine percent of the neutrinos from my body, reducing me to six millimeters tall. For that I wanted to track them down, and make sure they were convicted for their crime.
Professor Stiles was probably the person I could trust the most in my unusual condition, but I knew he would be working night and day to duplicate his cold fusion experiment. He just wouldn't have the time to help me track down the bandits. Jessica was the only other person I could trust, besides my family; I couldn't trust them, because I knew my overprotective mother would never allow me to leave the house if I was under her care, so that wasn't an option.
As I continued to observe the activity of the ants that were not much smaller than me, I remembered back to the time I'd first met Jessica. It was my last year at junior college, and I was at the top of my class in every math class I took there. I ended up with a 3 point zero GPA, however, because I wasn't as fortunate in some of my other required classes.
My grades were good enough to qualify for a grant, and one grant that I had applied for required me to tutor math for students K through 12th grade, and one of my students was Jessica. Ironically, Jessica was the daughter of the District Attorney of Matheson county. Fortunately, nobody knew of my criminal record, because I had done time in San Diego.
I wanted to make sure that she did good in math, so that if anyone ever found out about my criminal record, Jessica's improved grades would vouch for my integrity. Fate dealt me an unkind hand yet again, because Jessica was, without a doubt, my most difficult student. She was fourteen, yet she still had not learned her multiplication tables. This wasn't her fault, though. From K through the second grade, Jessica and her family lived in Southern California. In that school district, multiplication wasn't taught until the third grade, but Jessica's family moved to the central coast of California during the Summer between second and third grade. In the Mathson county school district, multiplication was taught in the second grade, and they moved on to division in the third grade.
By not knowing her multiplication tables, division was too far beyond her grasp, and her grades plummeted. She became discouraged, and her problems in math haunted her until her mother finally decided to hire a tutor, because as a District Attorney, she just didn't have the time she needed to tutor her daughter herself. That's when I came along.
It wasn't easy to teach her, but eventually I figured out games I'd created that helped her memorize her multiplication tables, as well as various pre-algebra formulas. By the time her grades went from F's to C's, and from C's to B's, she fell in love with me. I tried to discourage her, but if I had dropped any of the students I was tutoring, I was afraid I would be denied the grant that would allow me to transfer to Matheson University. I couldn't qualify for a loan, because I didn't have collateral. A grant was the only way I would be able to attend the University.
She was really the first female in recent memory who had claimed to be in love with me; two other girls had been in love with me during two seperate occasions in my childhood, but my mother chose to relocate to a different city, ending any possibility for pursuing those relationships. That is why, when I arrived in Matheson county during my teen years, I vowed never to leave the area. I planned on raising my children and grandchildren here on the central coast of California.
The last time I had seen Jessica had been about one week before the lab accident. As always, she proclaimed her never-ending love for me, and reminded me that her eighteenth birthday was in July, and that she expected a ring from me. An engagement ring.
I knew what I had to do. It was ten miles to Jessica's house, and I had to find her. She was the only one I could trust to help me track down the criminals that were responsible for my diminished stature. I stood up, and said goodbye to my ant friends, and started walking South...
If I could walk one mile a day, I knew I could reach the coast in about a week and a half. As I mentioned before, one mile to me is equivalent to between thirty and thirty-one miles. So I set out, as I had done the day I had first been miniaturized, before my unfortunate detour. With revenge on my mind, I had a new goal: to seek out Jessica, and enlist her help to formulate my plan of retribution on those responsible for transforming me into Deuce O'Ryan, the six millimeter man!
CHAPTER SEVEN: DEUCE THE SLEUTH
I continued on my journey for several hours. I was getting very hungry, and eating blades of grass just didn't cut it. I was hoping to find a garden in someone's yard, but I had even better luck than that.
As I came to the top of a hill, I looked down to see a strawberry field, seeming to stretch out in all directions. At six millimeters tall, to me, it seemed much bigger than it really was. To a normal-sized person, it was probably about one acre. Not very big for a strawberry farm, but much larger than an average garden.
I could actually smell the strawberries. I ran down the incline at top speed, racing towards the nearest plant. Once I got there, I had to climb up one of the mounds of dirt that had been formed in rows, where the strawberries had been planted. To me, it was like climbing up a small hill. To a normal-sized person, it would've been small enough to step over in a single stride.
A ripe strawberry was leaning against the mound of dirt that the strawberry plant was rooted in. I dug greedily into the juicy outer layer of the succulent fruit, and savored mouthful after delicious mouthful. I had strawberry juice dripping down my chin onto my clothes, but I didn't care, I just continued eating until I was satisfied.
When I was done eating, I sat down to relax. I had covered alot of ground since I'd left the place where I saw the ants, and I needed a break. As I sat there, it occurred to me that I was better off staying here for a few days, because I had a long journey ahead of me, and I didn't know how scarce food was going to be. I stood up to survey my surroundings.
There were strawberry plants as far as I could see, but in the distance, I could see a house. It was old, probably built in the 1940's or 1950's. It wasn't in really bad shape, but that old house had definitely seen better days. I walked a little bit further down the length of the elevated row I was standing on, to find a place to set up camp.
After arriving at a point not quite half-way between one end of the strawberry field and the other, I decided to set up camp in a spot where a large number of ripe strawberries clung to the dirt, where they would be easy for me to get to. I dug a cave into the side of the dirt mound, and concealed the entrance with bits of leaves from strawberry plants, and various weeds growing in the gully between the two raised lanes where the strawberry plants grew.
I knew that I could only stay a couple of days at best, because these strawberries looked very ripe, and harvest time was probably drawing near. But for those two days, I was going to eat like a king! I fell asleep easily, that night.
I woke up some time in the middle of the night, because I heard a car engine. At my diminished stature, I had very acute hearing, and ordinary sounds seemed to be greatly amplified. It was just like all of my other senses, The smell of the strawberries, for instance. I could smell them as though the entire universe consisted of one smell: strawberries. Or my sense of tase; I've failed to mention the fact that I can taste the difference in food, if even an insignificant amount of spice was added. During my time with Amber, it did no good for her to have me taste food that she was trying to prepare, because my taste buds were far more sensitive than the palate of normal-sized people.
I emerged from my shelter and stood up, to see where the sounds of the car engine were coming from. The car was definitely parked on the dirt road that I had crossed on the other side of the slight incline at the back end of the strawberry farm. When the sounds stopped, a group of shadowy figures emerged on the horizon, and I could see them climbing over the fence that I had simply walked under.
Each of them had bags with them, and they started picking strawberries. At first I was worried that they would find me, but they were concentrating on an area on the other end of the strawberry field, so I didn't have anything to worry about. They continued picking, and this went on for close to an hour. When their bags were full, they left the same way they had come, and disappeared over the fence. I heard the car engine start up again, and they were gone, so I went back to my hollowed out shelter and went back to sleep.
The next morning, after I woke up, I had a breakfast of strawberry chunks, and decided to explore the property. I walked down the length of the elevated row where my shelter was located, and made my way towards the house. It took longer than you might think.
Once I was in the front yard, it occurred to me that the owner might be a pet lover, and I worried about encountering a vicious dog or a hungry cat. I didn't see any dog bowls or plates of dry cat food, or any other evidence of a pet, but I remained alert, just in case.
The front door of the house opened, and I saw a very old woman step out. She slowly made her way to the side of the house, and gradually worked her way to the back. She spent a good deal of time examining the strawberry field, obviously aware of the events of the previous night. After spending close to a half an hour walking around the perimeter of her farm, she returned to her house and went back inside.
While exploring the front yard, at what I assumed to be about just before noon, a postal delivery truck pulled up in the driveway. A postal worker got out, and walked towards the front door with some letters and junk mail. The old woman opened the front door, and the mail man handed the mail to her.
The old woman addressed the postal worker, "They're back at it again, Pete! Those hooligans stole more of my strawberries last night!"
The postal worker had a look of concern on his face, and replied, "It's probably a bunch of teenagers, Mrs. Chaney!"
The old woman replied, "But if they keep it up, come harvest time, there won't even be enough strawberries left to pay the workers and break even! I use that money to buy Christmas presents for the grandchildren!"
"Have you tried reporting it to the police?" asked the postal worker.
"Oh, yes, that's the first thing I did when it started becoming a problem, but they only have just so many patrol cars on duty at that hour, and whoever it is that's been doing this, cleans me out and leaves before the police even know what's going on!" Replied the old woman.
The postal worker said, "It's too bad you can't hire someone to watch your property one of these nights, so you can catch those bastards red-handed!"
"Not on Social Security! I'm barely getting by as it is!" replied the old woman.
"Well, I have to get back to my rounds, good luck on catching those thieves, Mrs. Chaney!"
"You have yourself a nice day, too, Pete!" said the old woman, and she went back inside, and the postal worker left in his mail truck.
What they didn't know was that Mrs. Chaney did have someone to watch her property, and I figured that I owed her atleast that much, after enjoying her strawberries. I already had a plan in mind!
After nightfall, I made my way to the back of the property, and up the incline, and down the other side to the dirt road on the other side. I sat there and waited for the car to return. I waited for several hours, and then one or two hours more, but nobody arrived. If I could've had some coffee to keep me awake, that would've helped, but I didn't, so I started getting really sleepy. Eventually, I finally fell asleep.
I woke up to the sound of a car engine, just like the night before, but this time, it was much louder, because I was near the dirt road where it parked. An alarmingly large portion of the stars were blocked from my field of vision by the immense vehicle that seemed to be as large as a building. The two doors opened, and a group of teenagers emerged from the car, and slammed the doors shut. The sound was so loud to me, that I thought I was going to have permanent hearing loss.
When they had ascended the slight incline and had hopped over the fence, I emerged from my hiding place, and walked around to the back of the car. There was just what I was looking for, big as day. The license plate!
I didn't have anything to write with, so I had to memorize it. The numbers and letters didn't spell out anything in my mind right away, so if I had less time, I wouldn't have been able to remember the seven digit combination of letters and numbers. Eventually, as I studied the license plate, I began to work out a pattern in my mind. Two of the digits, for instance, were the same last two numbers of the year a relative of mine was born. The remaining number was a 7, which was easy to remember, because I had always thought of it as an unlucky number. The remaining letters had no particular significance at first, but then I worked out an acronym in my mind, so that each letter stood for a word in a sentence that was ridiculous enough that I knew I would never forget it. Once I had the license plate memorized, I high-tailed it back to the edge of the dirt road, where the grass was tall enough to camouflage me from the juvenile delinquents until they left.
Close to an hour later, they returned to their car, with plastic grocery bags stuffed full of Mrs. Chaney's strawberries. They had no idea that this would be the last time they would be able to steal strawberries from this farm for a long time!
After they drove away, I began to make my way towards the front of Mrs. Chaney's house. Up and over the incline, down the length of the rows of strawberry plants, and on to the front door. At six millimeters tall, I doubt if I could've traversed that distance in an hour if I'd been running as fast as I possibly could, so even travelling at a moderate pace took the better part of three hours, and by then it was almost daybreak.
This worked to my advantage, however, because I needed the light of the sun to see what I was doing anyway. First, I dug trenches many times wider than my body, and I dug them many times longer than they were wide. Eventually, I had the letters and numbers of the license plate spelled out in the dirt in front of Mrs. Chaney's porch. It's a good thing she didn't take care of her yard, because the fact that she had no grass growing in front of her porch really helped. If I had been forced to write the message in a planter on the side of her porch, it might have gone unnoticed.
After the trenches were dug, I began gathering pebbles to fill in the trenches. Of course, to me, the pebbles were like huge boulders, and progress was slow. The sun had been up for over an hour, and I was barely getting started. I had to scout and search far and wide to gather the amount of pebbles I needed. I had to cover an area about 20 yards long and 20 yards wide to get enough of them, and at six millimeters tall, that is quite a wide area to cover!
I decided to take a break after the numbers and letters of the license plate were spelled out before I continued. I still wasn't done yet, I still needed to come up with some kind of a message, so if Mrs. Chaney read it, she would know that these were the numbers and letters of the license plate of the kids who had been stealing her strawberries.
Before I had a chance, though, a paperboy rode by on his bicycle and threw Mrs. chaney's morning paper towards her porch and missed; it landed right on top of the trenches that I had dug and filled with pebbles! It was much too large and heavy for me to even think about moving it. I was just lucky it hadn't landed on top of me, or I would've been crushed beneath the tremendous weight, and all of my problems would've been over.
Mrs. chaney must've been an early riser, because I barely had time to get out of the way before she opened the door to retrieve her morning newspaper. When she picked up the paper, she saw the numbers and letters I had spelled out, but other than making an inquisitive remark about it, she completely ignored it. It wasn't until the postal worker returned that something was done.
When he arrived shortly before noon, as he apparently does every day, he saw the numbers and letters of the license plate I had spelled out in the dirt, and asked Mrs. Chaney about it.
She replied, "I don't know who wrote that. What do you think it means?"
The postal worker responded, "Mrs. Chaney, I think someone is trying to help you out, here! Maybe someone knows who's doing this, and they're just trying to let you know without letting their friends realize they're being ratted out! I suggest you call the police immediately!"
After the postal worker left, Mrs. Chaney did as he had instructed her, and not long after that, a patrol car arrived on the scene. Mrs. Chaney invited them in, and awhile after that, she took them on a tour of her farm, to show them the areas where strawberries had been pilferred.
The police left, and that seemed to be the end of it, until some reporters arrived from the local newspaper. They went inside, and came out with the old lady, and they took some pictures of her standing next to her strawberry field. I figured that I had done my part in all of this, and that it was time to move on, but I decided to stick around for one more day, to see the newspaper the next morning. Besides, I loved those strawberries, and I would've made any excuse to remain there another day.
Sure enough, the next day, when the paper boy threw the morning newspaper onto Mrs. Chaney's front yard, there it was on the front page. I could see a photograph of Mrs. Chaney, and the title of the article had to do with the arrest of a group of nineteen year old delinquents, for stealing strawberries. They probably didn't get very much jail time, but I knew that whenever they do finally get released, their probation officer will be a thorn in their side for a very, very long time.
Knowing that I had made a difference in someone's life gave me a feeling of accomplishment. It had never occurred to me before that a six millimeter man could make a difference in someone's life, but I proved myself wrong. So I set out before I lost too much daylight, to continue my journey towards the coast, to find Jessica. With a chunk of strawberry strapped to my back, I made my way South, As my quest continued!
CHAPTER EIGHT: MY JOURNEY CONTINUES...
I walked by night and hid during the day, to avoid being captured. I was making my way south, trying to avoid the center of town. Eventually I arrived at a creek at the north end of town, but it would do no good to try to float down the creek on a twig, because the creek cuts through the center of Matheson City, which would make me a sitting duck.
I made a shelter from twigs and leaves, and hid in some tall grass growing on the high bank of the creek. I had eaten sparingly from the chunk of strawberry I had brought with me, but it finally ran out. A noise woke me up in the afternoon, and I looked out from between the leaves of my shelter and saw a woman with a bicycle. A normal-sized woman, who to me, at six millimeters tall, was a towering colossus.
She was putting a patch repair kit back in the tool pouch beneath her bicycle seat. I noticed that when she zipped it back up, she had left it open enough so there was enough clearance for me to climb in and hitch a ride. That is, if I could manage to get there and climb in before she took off. She was standing there, taking a drink from her water bottle, so I made a run for it.
Her mountain bike was lying horizontally on the ground, so it was in the best position for me to climb up to the tool pouch. I ran beneath her well-muscled legs, but I knew I didn't have enough time to admire her statuesque beauty or her perfect tan if I wanted to make it to the tool pouch before she resumed her journey. I grabbed onto the zipper of the pouch just before she put her water bottle back and got on her bike. As I climbed up and into the tool pouch, we were already moving.
I fell to the bottom of the polyester tool pouch and banged my knee on a wrench, but the pain didn't even have time to register in my mind before I noticed something else: a protein bar. The last time I had eaten was when the last of the strawberry I had lugged with me on my hike was finished off some time yesterday, so I was ready to eat something real. The protein bar was a food supplement designed for athletes. I recognized the brand name from my days at the gym in my younger years. It had complex carbohydrates and protein, as well as complex-chain amino acids, which were just what I needed after eating nothing but strawberries for over a week. Not that strawberries were bad for you, but if someone tried to subsist on strawberries and never ate anything else, theoretically, they could starve to death; so I guess it's good that I had the will-power to leave that strawberry field while I had the chance. It had been very tempting to remain there.
Getting into the wrapper of the candy bar was difficult, until I figured out a way to use the wrench I had hurt my knee on as leverage to cut a corner of the wrapper. Some wrappers are difficult to open even at normal size, but at six millimeters tall, it would've been impossible without that wrench.
After eating the first nutritious meal I'd had in quite awhile, I started getting sleepy, so I curled up and fell asleep. I had gotten accustomed to sleeping during the day while I was out hiking, so to me, this was my normal sleeping period. I slept like a log, and I awoke to a jarring motion that sent me tumbling against the side of the tool pouch. Everything was tilted sideways, so I climbed to the opening of the pouch to take a look around.
I was amazed. During the time I'd been asleep, the bicyclist had pedalled over 7 miles, from the city of Matheson all the way to a small town on the coast adjacent to the tourist town where Jessica lived. I recognized some of the hillside and terrain. The bike was leaning on its side against a log, so I climbed out and leaped down onto the log. The woman was tying her shoelaces, so I climbed down on the other side of the log so I'd be out of her view when she stood up again.
After she got on her bike and pedalled up the hill into the distance, I walked around the log to the edge of the road, still hidden in the grass at the side of the road that leads towards Jessica's house, which was about a mile and a half away. As I watched the giantess pedal away on her bike, I wondered what the deal was with her. Over the years, I'd seen people like her many times before. These people who wear spandex painted-on shorts and ride bikes across the highways of America. Do these people have jobs? Does their whole life revolve around riding bicycles across the country? And if so, where exactly do they go? Do they just ride for the hell of it? How do they support their bicycling habit?
As I pondered my George Carlin style musings, I thought of the campground on the other side of the road. It was a place called Avalon hot springs. My mother and I had stayed a year before we moved to this area, when I was still a teenager. I was in such a hurry to jump down from the woman's bike before she took off that I hadn't grabbed any pieces of that protein bar she had in her tool pouch. It would take me at the very least an entire day, maybe a day and a half to reach Jessica's house, so I figured that it would be best to try to grab some food from some unsuspecting campers on the other side of the road before I continued on to the last leg of my journey.
I walked to the corner where Highway One and Avalon Creek road intersected. I probably waited about a half an hour before I decided that it was safe to cross. I ran as fast as I could, and it still took me nearly thirty seconds to get to the other side. I was lucky, too; just as I reached the other side, a long stream of traffic went by, and a few bicyclists.
The curb on my side of the road towered over my head, but it was so weather-beaten that the individual pebbles making up the side of the asphalt curb were exposed enough that I could use them to climb up on, like rungs on a ladder. I made my way up, and stood on the top of the curb. I still had a little higher to climb to reach the summit of this micro-mountain I was climbing. I made my way to the top, and stood at the summit. Strands of gold colored grass swayed in the breeze, blowing back and forth so high above me that they seemed like trees.
As I looked down to survey the campsite, I could see that the campground was filled to capacity. It was the middle of Summer, so that wasn't surprising. There were tents galore, and alot of motorhomes. No less than half a dozen people were barbecuing, and there was a volleyball game going on. The only bad news was that I saw a couple of dogs down there, so I knew raiding the camp was out of the question. Before I left, though, I stayed and watched the volleyball game. It was kind of nice to be able to watch a sporting event, even if they were just amateurs. When I was staying with Amber, I rarely had the opportunity to watch any kind of sports on TV, because she always watched those kids' shows and those stupid soap operas. Any time I asked her if I could watch a ballgame, she was usually on some kind of a power trip, and denied my request, for no other reason than because she enjoyed telling me 'no' whenever I asked her for a special privilege.
I had to cross the street again, and it took even longer to get across this time than it did before. I wasn't worried, though. There was no need to be in a hurry, because it had taken me over a month to get this far, and I was almost to Jessica's house, so minor setbacks like this weren't bothering me. After I had crossed Avalon Creek road, I made my way up the hill and onwards down the road that intersected it, southwest towards Jessica's house. I had made it a habit of sleeping during the day and walking at night to avoid capture, but I wouldn't need to hide during the day for most of the rest of my journey, because there weren't any houses for another three quarters of a mile. All I needed to do was to watch out for people in cars and an occasional bicyclist who might see me, and I'd be alright.
By nightfall, I was not quite halfway there. The entire town was built parallel to the 101 freeway, and that worked to my advantage. I was in the middle of town, but I didn't have to worry about being seen, because I had crossed the road after it had gotten dark, and I was walking on the other side of a chain link fence that was next to the freeway, on the opposite side of the street as the main street of the town I had to pass through. I continued on through the night, because I didn't think it would've made sense to stop and camp out this close to my destination.
By early dawn the next day, I had arrived in the beach town where Jessica lived. It was still early morning, so there wasn't much traffic on the street yet. That helped me cross several streets and the main road that cuts through the center of town. By the time the early morning rush was on and people were driving to work, I had made it to the front of the gated community where Jessica's upper-middle class well-to-do home was located. Jessica's mother was the District Attorney of Matheson county, so it shouldn't have been any surprise that they were this affluent, but it never ceased to amaze me that I knew people that were so upper-class.
And there it was. The familiar driveway with two cars parked there. A pink Volkswagen that had been Jessica's 16th birthday present, and the Mercedes owned by Jessica's mother. The two-story home was just as I remembered it. I walked up to the front door, wondering how I was going to get inside.
There was only one concrete step that I had to ascend to reach the front door, but to me it might as well have been a mile high. Fortunately, there was an agave plant in the planter next to Jessica's front door, and it was high enough to bring me up above the elevation of the 8 inch high concrete step. I began my climb, and after about 15 minutes, I was a couple of feet in the air. AS I looked down, I realized that the lowest leaf was too high above the step for me to jump down safely, but if I kept climbing, I could reach the living room window.
Just as I reached the living-room window, I saw a sight that made my skin crawl. It was a cat. It was a black cat that roamed freely through the neighborhood, but I knew if it spotted me, I was through. Felines, atleast in my opinion, are nature's most thorough and deadly predators.
I knew I had two choices: either stay and wait for it to leave, or pound on the window and hope someone inside was awake, and hope yet again that if they were awake, that they would open the window in time before the cat pounced on me. I chose to stay and wait.
CHAPTER NINE: ARRIVAL AT MY DESTINATION
I stood on the window ledge and tried to remain absolutely still. The cat hadn't seen me, and I wasn't sure if it could smell my scent or not. I knew dogs had an acute sense of smell, but I wasn't sure about cats. It just wandered around the front yard, smelling the grass. The cat seemed interested in a gopher hole in the center of the yard, and was circling the hole as it made its way around. The cat was obviously aware that a gopher made its home there.
The silence was shattered by the arrival of the paper boy, on his bicycle. When he threw the morning newspaper, it smacked the concrete not far from the cat, and scared it away. After the cat disappeared around the side of the house, and the paper boy was far enough down the street, I began pounding my fists on the window as hard as I could. One hundred men my size couldn't have knocked a hole in that window, because it was atleast twice as thick as I was tall. It was obvious that the sounds of my pounding weren't very loud to normal sized ears, but I had to try to make contact with Jessica or her mother before the cat returned.
I detected movement through the thick glass. A familiar figure went about her daily routine as she prepared to leave for work. It was Jessica's mother, known to the law-abiding citizens of Matheson county and feared by its criminals as District Attorney Susan Calypso.
As she tried to hold both her briefcase and her morning cup of coffee, a figure stirred on the couch. Covered in a blanket, Jessica had apparently fallen asleep on the living room couch watching television, which was a consistent habit for her on weekends and holidays. Mrs. Calypso had more than enough money to buy a TV and VCR for Jessica to keep in her bedroom, but Susan Calypso wouldn't allow it. Susan Calypso firmly believed that the bedroom was a place for studying.
When Mrs. Calypso opened the front door, it became apparent why my futile efforts at making contact by pounding on the window had zero effect. My tiny ear-drums were assaulted by the heavy-metal sounds of none other than Judas Priest, transmitted through the now open front door. The volume probably wasn't loud to the ears of a normal-sized person, but my six millimeter stature had endowed me with very acute hearing; the sound penetrated my ears at the deep end of the bass spectrum, minus about half of the higher-pitched sounds, but with the decibels amplified to a level equal to that of a jet engine starting up less than a foot from my ears. It had been years since I had seen a Judas Priest video on TV, and I found myself wondering if they were having one of those top-one-hundred-videos-of-all-time countdowns on one of the music video channels.
The front door opened. Jesssica's mother walked over to the driveway, and started up her Mercedes. The front door was still open, so I took a running start and leaped from the window sill to the leaf of the agave plant just below me. I made my way down the plant, sliding down and letting gravity do most of the work. Mrs. Calypso let her car idle as she returned to the house, and shut off the television. She probably wasn't as concerned about the wasted electricity used by a television that wasn't being watched so much as she was by the fact that that the lyrics of the song "Breaking the Law" were being amplified to the ears of neighbors who knew Susan as the District Attorney of Matheson county.
I jumped from the bottom leaf to the door jamb, and ran in just as Mrs. Calypso turned from the TV and started walking back to the door. I ran behind a house plant just as she closed the door behind her and left. She hadn't seen me. I had made it. After all of this time, I'd finally reached Jessica's house. Now, my only problem was finding a way to get her attention without getting accidentally stepped on.
Jessica was still asleep up on the couch, far above me. I knew it was best to avoid the areas of the carpet that were walked on the most, by sticking close to furniture and the edges of the walls, because there was no way of knowing if Jessica would suddenly wake up and lumber across the center of the carpet without seeing me, and I didn't want to be in her path if that happened. The world can be a dangerous place when you're six millimeters tall.
I saw the basket that contained Susan's yarn and sewing supplies near the living room closet. It had always been there, but I had never payed attention to it when I was normal-sized, but now I saw that it was the key to making contact with Jessica.
I began to climb the wicker basket. It was about eighteen inches high, which to me seemed like the size of a building. By the time I was halfway up, the height would've made me dizzy had I been at the same proportionate height at normal size, but I knew my decreased mass protected me from falling from altitudes that would kill a normal size person if they fell from an equivalent altitude.
There was a spindle of purple yarn, and I realized it would contrast with the off-white carpet. All I had to do was unwind enough yarn and spell out Jessica's name in cursive, and she would see it. Climbing the yarn was easier than climbing up the wicker basket, and soon I found the end of the strand of yarn.
I pulled it and unwound the strand of yarn, working my way around and around the top of the spindle of yarn. I lowered what I unwound to the carpet below, and after a few minutes I had what I needed, so I climbed back down.
I stretched out the length of yarn on the carpet, and began manipulating it until I spelled out the name "Jessica" in large enough cursive letters so large that a normal sized person would be able to easily see it. I sat down by the yarn, and waited for Jessica to wake up. It had taken me a half hour to climb the wicker basket and retrieve the yarn, so another hour or two wouldn't matter.
She finally woke up about an hour later, and walked over to the bathroom. She was still sleepy, so she didn't notice the yarn. When she came out of the bathroom, she walked straight towards the kitchen, then stopped when she spotted her name spelled out in yarn.
"Deuce?" She asked.
"Deuce!" she shouted, when she realized that it was really me.
She hopped down on her knees and kneeled down to get a better look at me, and I thought she was going to collide with me and smash me into oblivion, but she stopped just in front of me. She was titanic, noticably larger than Amber had been. Her blonde hair was longer than the last time I had seen her, but she was as cute as ever. Her first reaction was to place the palm of her hand in front of me. I jumped up into her hand.
Jessica lifted me up, and I felt the same momentary fear I had felt when I had first been captured by Amber, but my fears subsided as I realized that I was safe with Jessica, because I knew she was still in love with me. I could tell by the look in her eyes. She started to cry.
"Deuce," she asked, "what happened to you? Everyone thinks you're dead!"
I replied, but I had the same problem I had when I first tried to communicate with Amber. My voice was too faint; even though I could make myself understood by screaming out to her at the top of my lungs, after a few minutes my voice would be to hoarse to talk above a whisper. The only solution was to put together a microphone with an amplifier and a speaker.
"I need to build an amplifier!" I yelled. "Take me to professor Stiles, he'll have the equipment we need!"
After repeating this a couple of times, Jessica understood.
"I'll take you to the professor right after we eat breakfast, Deuce! He's just as worried about you as everyone else! Are you hungry?"
That was an understatement. I was famished. Jessica set me down on the dining room table, and cooked some oatmeal in the microwave. She scooped some up in a thimble from her mother's sewing kit, and placed it in front of me. She filled a bottle cap with water, and set in next to the oatmeal. I ate until I was stuffed, but the thimble was still half full. Just one of the economical things about being six millimeters tall.
As I ate, it ocurred to me that I was finally in the company of someone I completely trusted. I had at long last reached my goal, and I felt relieved. The world is a terrifying place when you're six millimeters tall, with cats, giant insects, and girls like Amber who thought of me as a convenient toy that could be kept in a jar, completely oblivious to the fact that I was a human being with the same rights and freedoms as her.
After breakfast, Jessica got ready, and carried me to her car and dropped me in the cup holder next to the driver's seat. She started up her Volkswagen, and drove to the university. She knew where the professor's lab was located, and because it was late August, classes hadn't started yet, so he was busy with his experiments, as usual.
Jessica kept me clenched in her fist, gently, to surprise the professor, as she walked up the path behind the physics building where his lab was located.
"Hi, professor Stiles!"
After a brief pause, I heard the unmistakable voice of the professor. "Jessica! How have you been?"
"You're never going to believe this, professor!" Said Jessica, dropping me on the table. "Look who showed up at my house today!"
I was on one of the tables in the profesor's familiar laboratory. He walked up, amazed.
"Unbelievable," said the professor, "but it verifies my theory!"
Before professor Stiles could go on, Jessica interrupted, "Deuce needs you to build him some kind of amplifier thingy, so I can hear him better." Jessica couldn't care less about the professor's theories, and would tell him to his face, if he ever asked.
The professor realized that communication with me was a priority, so after only a few moments of hesitation, he dug through his cabinets and storage lockers, seeking the necessary components to construct a device that would permit my miniscule voice to be heard by normal-sized people for the first time. I had the knowledge to build one, but Amber's mother had forbidden me, because she worried that I might construct something that would allow me to escape from her daughter.
In less than 15 minutes, the microphone, amplifier and speaker were hooked up to a 9-volt battery, and it was ready to be tested out. Professor stiles placed the microphone nearby. I yelled into it, and nothing happened. The professor made a minor adjustment, and when I yelled into the microphone, my voice was as loud as a normal-sized person's voice!
"Professor," said Jessica, "you did it!"
"Amazing..." said the professor, "young man, I would appreciate it if you would explain where you've been for the past month and a half! I'm sure it must be extraordinary!"
"Yeah Deuce," said Jessica, "I think you at least owe me an explanation...I've been worried sick about you!"
And so I began to tell them of my adventures. How I started to shrink right after the professor left to go call the police the night the lab was robbed, how I ended up in Santa Margarita and got captured by Amber, the car accident that enabled me to escape...about halfway through my story the professor went and brewed a cup of coffee, and I finished my story after he dropped a few drops in the thimble Jessica had brought with her. I continued my story, telling about the strawberry thieves I helped capture, and my trip along the El Camino Real to Jessica's house in the tool pouch under a bicyclist's seat. When my story was finished, every detail of it, both the professor and Jessica were astonished.
"It's amazing that you survived, Deuce!" said the professor, "You should've stayed with that girl, you probably would've been safer! But everything turned out all right in the end!"
"And Deuce," said Jessica, "I remember when those strawberry thieves got busted! The newspaper tried to make it look like something supernatural happened...but it was you all along!"
"Professor," I asked, "Do you think you'll be able to duplicate the cold fusion experiment that those thieves destroyed?"
The professor began to chuckle to himself and said, "They got what they deserved, Deuce...the cold fusion experiment turned out to be a dud!"
"What do you mean, professor?" I asked.
The professor replied, "There was no nuclear fusion taking place at any time during the reaction, however, I did stumble on the theory for miniaturization, as your reduced stature illustrates!"
The professor went on to explain, "The power gauge displayed an increase in kilowatts, but it was just the atoms in the air in the vicinity of the reactor being stripped of electrons as the tritium-deuterium solution gave off neutrino particles. What I thought was an increase in wattage was actually just a side effect of the miniaturization reaction that shrunk you, Deuce!"
"So what does that mean?" Jessica asked professor Stiles. "Can you make Deuce big again?"
"It means," replied the professor, "that I failed to solve the mystery of cold fusion, but in the process, I inadvertantly discovered how to miniaturize atoms! However, I regret to inform the two of you that Deuce can never be restored to his normal stature, atleast not with existing technology. Deuce my friend, I'm afraid you'll have to get accustomed to being the world's one and only six millimeter man!"
"Professor," I asked, "I just want one thing. Promise me that you'll testify in court when we bring those bozos who robbed the lab up on charges! I want revenge, against the bandits, and the jerk who hired them!"
"Without hesitation, Deuce my friend! It's the least I could do for you after all you've been through!"
After the professor promised to testify, Jessica took the amplifier equipment and put me back in my jar, and took me home. She was determined to help me track down whoever was responsible for robbing the lab. On her home computer, Jessica tried to figure out who might be the most likely suspect responsible for hiring the crooks who robbed professor Stiles' lab. I had spent the past month pondering this, so I immediately asked her to look up the shareholders of stock in the local electrical companies. After checking PG&E, SMUD, and Southern California Edison, one of the local companies had the name of a stockholder listed, and it was a name I recognized.
"That's him!" I yelled up to Jessica, pointing at the computer screen, and she recognized the name, too. "He lives around here," said Jessica, "that's Doctor Nebulous, the former Matheson University professor who got kicked out of Cal Poly for gambling! Do you think he's involved, Deuce?"
"One of his associates was at the lab a few weeks before it was robbed," I replied, "I think it's a safe bet that he's a suspect!"
And so now it was coming full circle. With Jessica's mom as district attorney for Matheson county, it wouldn't be too difficult for her to secure a subpeona for doctor Nebulous to have his day in court. After all my trials and tribulations, it looked like I might finally have my chance for revenge against the man responsible for turning me into Deuce O'Ryan, the world's first six millimeter man!
CHAPTER TEN: DOCTOR NEBULOUS GETS A SUBPOENA
"I just don't know," said Mrs. Calypso, "this Doctor Nebulous might be guilty, but we need more proof to subpoena him."
I was standing on the dining room table, and Jessica and her mom were sitting, discussing the situation over coffee. Jessica had placed my thimble full of coffee, and I had a stairs glued together with toothpicks to make my way up to drink from the thimble.
Later that day, Susan Calypso had a construction crew knock out a hole in a wall in Jessica's bedroom and had a fishtank put in. This was my new home, carefully concealed behind a curtain. From the top of the fishtank to the bottom of the wall there was enough space for Jessica to fit her arm to reach in and pick me up.
I thought I'd be safe there while Jessica was away for the day, and I was, until the arrival of the twins. Bethany and Brianna were Jessica's cousins, and they came to stay at the end of Summer vacation. They were 12, almost 13, and they had an insatiable curiosity.
I hadn't been introduced to them, because I was supposed to be a secret. I was in my aquarium in the wall one day when Jessica and her mom were gone for the day.
The curtain was brushed aside, and I found myself looking into the faces of Bethany and Brianna. I was alarmed, because I knew two unsupervised kids could get into alot of mischief.
"Bethany," Brianna said, "look! It's a little man!"
Brianna reached her hand in and grabbed me. It was futile to resist, so I didn't even try to run from her.
"Wow," Brianna said to me, "how did you get shrunk?"
My voice was too miniscule for her to hear me, so I pointed to the voice amplifier in my aquarium. She understood, and reached in and grabbed it. She turned it on, and I began my tale. It took about fifteen minutes to tell her everything, from the day the lab was robbed until I met up with Jessica.
Just then, Jessica and her mom arrived home. Brianna popped me into her mouth, and said, "I'm keeping him. Tell Jessica I swallowed him!"
Brianna still had the voice amplifier in her hand when Jessica showed up.
"We found Deuce," Bethany said, "and Brianna swallowed him!"
Brianna stuck out her tongue to prove this, with me safely tucked in her cheek.
"I don't believe you!" Jessica said, and stuck her finger in Brianna's mouth to retrieve me. She pulled me out, wet from Brianna's saliva.
"Don't ever do that again!" Jessica said, "you're forbidden to come in here any more!" Jessica turned the amplifier on and put the speaker up to my face.
"Deuce, are you okay?" she asked.
"Yeah," I said, "a little wet, but none the worse for wear!"
The next morning I was sitting on the dining room table eating breakfast with Jessica, the twins, and her mother when the subject of getting a pool built came up. Mrs. Calypso was under the impression that she was getting a good deal, because she had wanted a pool of certain dimensions, but decided on a pool with exactly half the dimensions of the original. The contractors were charging her one quarter of the original cost, and she thought she was making out like a bandit! How could I explain to her that she was getting ripped off?
When I tried to explain it to Jessica, she threw a cloth napkin over me to shut me up. She thought I was crazy!
"But I'm telling you, Jessica," I explained, "it will only cost them one eighth of the original cost, so they're charging your mother double!"
"How do you explain this idea of yours?" Jessica asked.
"It's called the square-cube law, or in some circles, the cube-square law!" I told her. "Pull a sugar cube out of that sugar bowl, and I'll show you!"
Jessica pulled out a sugar cube, and placed it on the dining room table. "Now how many sugar cubes," I explained, would it take to double the length, width, and height of that one sugar cube?"
"That's easy!" Jessica replied. "Two sugar cubes!" And as if in response, she lifted out another sugar cube and stacked it on top of the other one.
"Now get out six more sugar cubes!" I commanded the titanic teen.
Jessica got out six more, and I told her to arrange the eight cubes into a larger cube. "That giant cube," I went on, "is twice the length, twice the width, and twice the height of the first cube. Now do you understand the square-cube law? It is only taking the pool contractor one eighth of the work to build the smaller pool, but they're charging you one quarter of the price! They're charging you twice as much as they should!"
It was like a light went off in their heads. I had studied engineering in college, and the square-cube law (or the cube-square law, depending on who you were talking to), was something that was basic to any engineer, but it was uncommon knowledge to the average person.
Mrs. Calypso got out of her seat and began looking up numbers in the phone book. She got the number of the pool contractor, called them up, and found out who their boss was. When she got off the phone, she had amazing news.
"Their employer," Mrs. Calypso informed us, "is none other than Doctor Nebulous, that scientist you were after, Deuce!"
"Can you bring him up on charges?" I asked.
"No problem!" she replied. "It'll be done before the end of the business day! I have the paperwork with the estimates that prove he tried to swindle me!"
Jessica was puzzled. "Deuce," she said, "I understand that he's being brought up on charges for trying to swindle my mother, but how will that help you prove he was behind the robbery at professor Stiles's lab?"
It was a good question, and I didn't have a quick, easy answer. But as long as we could get Nebulous in a courtroom, it improved my chances of proving he was behind the robbery at the lab!
I spent most of my time in my chamber, with a heat lamp to provide warmth, because even at 70 degrees, I could freeze to death without artificial heating. I had talked to professor Stiles about it, and he promised to design a suit for me that would keep me heated to 98.7 degrees fahrenheit. He's pretty busy these days, so I'm not counting on it any time soon.
As the days went on, the twins returned home, and it came time for Nebulous to appear in court. During that time, something fortunate happened. Someone came forward and claimed to know that Nebulous was behind the robbery at the lab. He worked for the pool company Nebulous owned, and he got caught with a large amount of methamphetamine. In order to get a lighter sentence, he agreed to cooperate with Calypso and the police in prosecuting Doctor Nebulous.
The arraignment came and went, there was another court date set, and that came and went. Eventually, it came time to get down to the nitty gritty, and Nebulous began to testify on his behalf. Jessica's mother came back from work every day and kept me informed of the events. Eventually, I received a subpoena to appear in court.
Professor Stiles built an elaborate glass containment system with a built in heat lamp, and a voice amplifier. When my day in court came, there were reporters first from the local news, then from other areas of the state, and eventually, the whole country! I quickly became famous over night as the world's first six millimeter man.
Jessica was considered my guardian, and she was approached with offers from people who assumed I was a possession, and wanted to purchase me. Jessica just brushed them off. In court, Doctor Nebulous sat there with his teenage daughter Alyndria. She was a punk rocker, dressed in shredded fishnet stockings, a black leather miniskirt, Doc Marten boots, and a Sex Pistols T-shirt. She had part of her head shaved, and the other part kind of long. She was really pretty, and she had nice legs, but I could tell by the look on her face that she was just as evil as her father.
In court I described how the gunmen opened fire on the reactor, and explained that I found out that Nebulous was a major stockholder in a power company that would make money if they could acquire the patent to a new energy source.
All this looked bad for Nebulous, but things turned around for him several weeks into the trial when the key witness against him was found dead washed up on a local beach. No witnesses saw him enter the water, and it could not be proved that foul play was a possibility. Of course, I knew better. Nebulous had obviously arranged for this guy to be killed, to protect himself from the allegations.
In the end, the jury found him not guilty, and the trial was over. As Doctor Nebulous and his daughter prepared to leave the courtroom, his daughter Alyndria, the punk rocker chick, stopped by my glass cube and spoke with me,
"Better luck next time, little man!" she said.
I didn't know how to respond. She continued: "I wish I could keep you as a pet! That Jessica chick sure is lucky!"
When I got home with Jessica, a man was waiting for us. He was from a publishing company, and he wanted me to write about my ordeal and my experience as a six millimeter man.
"I'll pay you a seven figure sum, plus a percentage of the profits!" he said. The deal sounded good, so I agreed to it. Jessica helped me sign the contract, and I got to work writing my biography.
After he left, Jessica got the mail and found a letter for me. It was from the court, and I had a summons to appear regarding conservatorship. it turned out, my own mother had found out about me, and was suing to gain custody of me! So even though the trial of Doctor Nebulous was over, I still had to go to court again to fight for my freedom!
CHAPTER ELEVEN: MY MOM TRIES TO GET CUSTODY!
If my mother successfully gained custody of me by becoming my conservator, my sex life would be non-existent. I haven't mentioned what sex is like with Jessica, because minors reading my memoirs might be offended by the material. But it is sufficient to say, that both Jessica and I are consenting adults, and we do like to have a good time together.
If my mother gained custody of me, she would never allow that to happen. I just had to win this case! I had Susan Calypso, Jessica's mother, on my side. She would be fighting the case on my behalf.
Once again, my glass cube came into play. It was portable, with a power source for my heat lamp, and all the comforts of home. It even had a private bathroom that I could use unseen while in the courtroom. Jessica carried it to the car with me inside, and we went to the arraignment.
My mother was there, and all that happened was basically another court date was set. Several weeks later, at the preliminary hearing, I asked for a trial, stating I didn't want to be placed on conservatorship. Basically, conservatorship is for people who are mentally or physically incapable of taking care of themselves. Because I am only six millimeters tall, I fall under this category.
Some unknown lawyer was with my mother the first couple of times we were in court, but once the trial was underway, she strolled in with Violet Hayes, the best lawyer in the county! Hayes has a reputation for never losing a case, and even though she probably lost a case or two in her time, she's better known for her many victories.
Susan Calypso tried to re-assure me. "Violet may be the best lawyer in the county," she said, "but I'm the best prosecutor in the county, so we're evenly matched!"
Violet spoke for my mother. "Your honor, Deuce O'Ryan is unable to care for himself due to his miniaturized stature, so it is in the best interest of this court that he be placed on conservatorship, and that his mother be made his conservator."
Susan took her turn to defend me. "Your honor," Susan began, "Deuce O'Ryan is a person, with certain inalienable rights. It would be an affront to his dignity if he were forced to live under the conservatorship of his mother. Mr. O'Ryan has revealed to me that he has no interest in living under his mother's care, and wishes to remain with my daughter Jessica."
The argument went back and forth. I wasn't sure where I stood. Since this was a trial, it wasn't up to the judge. A jury of twelve people would decide my fate. Trials take a long time, and I won't bore you with the day to day trivial events leading up to the jury's decision; I'll just get right to the point.
When the jury foreman stood up and read the decision, I was dumbfounded. "We, the jury find for the plaintive, and have decided that Deuce O'Ryan is unfit to care for himself and must be placed under conservatorship..."
It made me angry. I was doing just fine living with Jessica and her mom. But there was more! The jury foreman continued: "But we also decree that Deuce is free to choose his own conservator, and does not need to be under the specific care of his mother, but he does need to choose someone."
At this point, Jessica stood up. "I'll volunteer to be his conservator! I'm eighteen, and I'm registered to vote!"
The judge asked me, "Mr. O'Ryan, how do you feel about accepting Jessica Calypso as your conservator?"
My voice amplifier was loud enough for the judge to hear me. "Yes, your honor!" I said. "I agree to accept Jessica Calypso as my conservator!"
My mother stood up and shouted, "He's been brainwashed by that evil girl and her mother! Your honor, you need to do what's right and turn him over to my custody!"
"This is a trial, Mrs. O'Ryan," the judge said, "and the jury has reached it's decision! I'm afraid there's nothing more I can do!"
I shouted in triumph, and Jessica and her mother high-fived each other. When we went home that day, we were in a mood to celebrate. There was a van parked in the driveway, and it turned out a reporter from MTV was there to interview us. They had been following the trial to its conclusion, and were interested in the results. But even though it was the best day in my life, events would soon turn it into one of the strangest days of my life...
CHAPTER 12: A STRANGE TURN OF EVENTS
When we got home, after the MTV interview was over, Jessica decided to go to a movie. The movie she wanted to see was playing in Atascadero, a town not far from where Amber lives. Since that was the only location where the movie was playing, she left me at home and went out for the night.
I stayed home in my chamber, under my heat lamp and dozed off. Several hours later, Jessica returned. She got the glass cube out of her closet, and put me in it. I couldn't figure out what was going on. She loaded the glass cube in the car, with me in it, and started driving.
When we arrived at our destination, Jessica opened the passenger front door of the car and picked up my cube. Then I saw something that amazed me. It was the front of Amber's house! Jessica carried the cube to the front door and rang the doorbell, and Amber's mother answered. Amber quickly joined her, and eagerly took the cube in her hands.
From my perspective, my cube was huge, but I could see how small it really was as Amber carried it with me inside. One of her hands were big enough to conceal half of one side of the cube. To her, it was like a small toy!
Jessica then told me the whole story. She had ran into Amber at the movie theater, and since Jessica was a celebrity because the world knew she was my guardian, Amber recognized Jessica immediately. Amber told Jessica her side of the story at the theater, and Jessica decided then and there to turn me over to Amber!
It seems that since the interviews and the courtroom dramas, Jessica had been getting death threats from people who wanted to own me. Millionaires were even offering her money for me! Jessica decided that I was better off with Amber, since she had taken care of me before, and missed me.
I decided it was for the best, because I wanted what was best for Jessica. She promised to come visit me from time to time, and she was as good as her word. Over the next several weeks, I got used to living as Amber's toy. Sometimes, when Amber was playing with me, she would tie me to a string and lower me into her mouth, pretending that she had decided to swallow me whole. Of course, as real as it seemed to me, and I fell for it every time, Amber never hurt me.
Alone in my cube as I write this at my toy desk, Amber is at school, she just started the seventh grade. Knowing there is no cure for my diminished stature, I have resigned myself to my fate; I shall spend the rest of my life as Amber's toy. But really, what could a six millimeter man ever expect to be?
© Copyright 2006 Ace Corona