Smallings 2By Big Thinker
"If you're just now joining us, we're talking today with renowned expert in smalling psychology, Doctor Sean Rockston," said Elise Garvin. "Doctor Rockston, please tell us about this new project you're involved in currently."
"Well," said Sean. "The concept is very similiar to that of a theraputic foster home. It's designed to help smallings with issues going out into the real world in a less threatening enviroment."
"As opposed to the traditional approach of simply thrusting them out into the world after adoption?" said Elise.
"It's very innovative," she said. "Your brain child I assume?"
"Well, it was inspired by a patient of mine, but yes," replied Sean.
"Have you recieved much criticism?"
"Well, of course, whenever you go against convention you're going to. But I have the full support of the Smalling Studies Institute," said Sean.
"We'll talk more about that subject later," said Elise. "But now I'm told it's time to bring out our other guest, the Reverend Albert Price. Reverend Price is leader of a leading anti-smalling movement-"
"Excuse me?" Sean interjected. "You're bring him out? I was told we would not be discussing subjects like that."
"Well, surely you don't want to do that," said Elise.
"Lady, as tempted as I am to stay and kick Reverend Price's butt on national TV, I'm outta here."
The television screen went blank.
"Why are you watching that tape again?" asked Sean, holding the remote.
"Because it's cool," I said.
"Yeah, Sean, you totally rocked!" exclaimed Molly.
"It was cool," said Nick. "At least let us watch to the part where the cameras followed you to the parking lot, and you called Price a fat piece of-"
"I remember what I called him," Sean interupted. "And I meant it, but that doesn't mean you should keep reliving me making a jackass of myself on national TV."
It had been over a month sense Sean had done the interview, and the tabloids and crap still hadn't left him alone, so he was a little sensitive about it.
My name is Oliver, and before you jump to conclusions, I'm not a smalling. I'm just a normal thirteen-year-old boy. Except about a month ago my parents came to me and my sister with a big surprise. They told us we'd be moving into a new house and be living with nine smallings, and shrink. That's what Sean and Elise were talking about, before she tried to bring out that sleeze-ball televangelist. He lead this group that was kind of like a Ku Klux Klan against smallings.
If you don't already know, smallings are clones, genetically engineered to be five inches tall at adulthood. They usually live in group homes until the age of twelve when they are adopted. The nine that live with us are the first to live outside the group homes prior to adoption. I think Sean's idea was to let them see what it's like to have a real family.
Nick is a smalling. Him and me have become buds, even though he's two years younger than me (and about twenty times less my size). I even share my room with him.
Molly's my sister. She wasn't to cool about this whole thing, at first. Then she got a good look at Sean and her mind changed. Like she'd ever have a chance; Sean's three years older, and has an I.Q. of like one-eighty.
I guess that's why he was able to get a Masters Degree at the age of fourteen.
Me, Molly, and Nick had been sitting in the living room watching television when Sean came in. The rest of the smallings were upstairs doing stuff, and we were all alone.
"Your mom told me to cook dinner," Sean said.
"She's busy at work," he replied.
My mom's a genetic engineer. She's one of the people who configures the smallings DNA so they'll be small.
"I've also got a big announcement to make, so go upstairs and bring down the other smallings," he said.
"Okay." I got up and started to pick Nick up.
"Leave him," said Sean. "I need to talk to him first." He looked really serious.
"Fine," I said. I'd never seen Sean look like that before. Me and Molly went upstairs to get the others.
"What's up with Sean?" Molly asked.
"Sean wants everybody downstairs," said Molly.
"What for?" demanded Rana.
"He didn't say," I said. Molly loaded all the smallings on to a tray and carried them back down stairs.
Sean had put Nick back down on the coffee table, and Molly sat the tray down beside him. All nine smallings were there, looking up at Sean's worried expression. Rana and Cooper were age twelve. Rikey, Mikey, and Nikey, triplets,were age nine. And Johnny and Tyler age ten. There was also Joey age eight. He had been a friend of Sean and Nick's before this whole thing had even begun.
"What do you want?" Rana demanded of Sean. Being the only female smalling in the house, Rana had a bad attitude about everything.
"I have something to say that will concern you all of you," he said.
"Out with it," Rana said.
"There have been some complaints made about me," he said. "Mainly by Doctor Rayburn."
"What kind of complaints?" asked Cooper. Cooper was the complete opposite of Rana. A real sweet natured sensitive type.
"He called my behavior on the Elise Garvin Show unprofessional," replied Sean. "He's questioning whether someone like me is fit to run a project like this."
"Of course he is, he hates this project!" screamed Nick.
"Calm down, Nick," Sean said.
"Sean, what does how you acted on the show have to do with anything?" asked Cooper.
"Supposedly it brings up questions about my character."
"That's ridiculous," said Molly. "You're the nicest guy who ever lived. Those jerks deserved what you said to them."
"Still, Rayburn had filed a formal complaint to the board, and I'm coming up for review," he said. "If they agree with Rayburn, I could be removed from this project, or worse. Dismissed from the Smalling Studies Institute all together."
"They can't do that," said Rana.
"I'm afraid they can," said Sean.
"Isn't there anything you can do?"
"Look, if I'm lucky nothing will come of this. But if I'm not... I just wanted all of you to know ahead of time."
"Sean, you can't leave us," said one of the triplets.
"I don't want to, Rikey," he said. "You know much you guys mean to me."
"What would happen if you were off the project?" asked Rana.
Sean gave a deep sigh.
"Doctor Chanchez has been rehired by the institute. Rayburn is pushing for him to take my place."
"No freaking way!," said Rana. "That man shoved pills down my throat for three years. I rather go back to the group home than have to live with him."
"The same goes for me," said Nick, a little calmer.
Sean sighed again. "I'm gonna go make dinner," he said, and exited.
"I can't believe this," said Rana.
"Rayburn is doing this on purpose to just hurt us," said Nick.
"I'm sure that's not it," said Cooper.
"You don't know him," said Nick. "He hates this whole project, and he hates Sean."
"But do you really think he'd go this far?" asked Molly. "I mean, does he hate Sean enough to get him fired?"
"Yes," replied Nick and Rana simutaneously.
"Sean can't go," said Joey, speaking for the first time. Joey was the little brother of the group. "I'd miss him too much."
"We all would," said Cooper.
"You guys don't have anything to worry about," I said. "Even if Sean goes we'll still take care of you."
"Look, Ollie," said Nick. "You and your parents are great, but..."
"Not just from you, but from all big people."
"He understands us," said Cooper. "Better than we do ourselves."
"You're great, and you may even be like family," said Nick. "But Sean's the one we need."
"He's like your dad," said Molly. They all laughed.
"That's a joke," said Nick. "But he is like a big brother, with a ph.D."
"What is it about you that he understands, that no one else can?" asked Molly.
"He understands what life's like, when you're a smalling."
"Oliver?" he said. "Do I have something written on my face? Or are you just looking at me that way cause I'm pretty?"
"Sorry," I said.
"So, when is this meeting with the board?" asked Molly.
"Next week," he replied, and then looked back down, intently studying his food. You didn't need a P.H.D. to figure out he felt guilty.
"You know, my dad always said that my mouth would get me in trouble one day." Then there was more silence.
"Hey, I've got an idea," I said, not able to take it anymore. "How's about we see if we can go to Big and Small Horizons this weekend."
"That sounds like fun," said Molly. "Mom just got our season passes renewed."
Sean looked right at me with those "I'm a shrink and I know what you're trying to do eyes" , and smiled.
"Yeah," he said. "I feel like going myself."
"Great!" I said.
Nick looked up at me from where he and the others sat in the center of the table. His face was too small and too far away to tell, but I think he looked annoyed.
"What's the matter Nick?" asked Sean. "You love it at the Horizons."
"I don't know," Nick said. "I guess I'm just upset."
"I've got work to do," he said, and left the table.
That was odd. Normally if someone was upset Sean naturally tried to talk to them about it, especially about something this serious. But I guess when you spend your life helping other people with their problems, it becomes hard to deal with ones that affect you, too.
"Oliver," said Nick. "Take me upstairs so I can do my homework."
I did as he said and took him upstairs to our room. I then pulled out a book of my own and started to do my geometry.
"I hate this," he said. "I never had to do homework at the institute."
"Yeah, well now you go to a regular school," I said.
"That's the thing I hate most about living out here," he said. "My teacher's an idiot who tosses smallings around like hacky-sacks, and not to mention all those giant punks who are always coming into our room and acting like jerks."
"What was school like at the institute?" I asked.
"It was great. Each class had about three-hundred students, so you never got noticed, and we didn't have to deal with big kids treating us like gerbils."
"I thought normal sized kids were suppose to stay out of the smalling rooms."
"They are, but like I said, my teacher's an idiot. I wish I could still attend classes at the institute." Public schools only offer schooling for smallings over the age twelve, the minimum adoption age. Sense Rana and Nick are over the age of twelve they have to attend public school, but sense the others aren't they still go to school at the institute.
"Time to hit the hay," said Sean, peeking his head in the door.
"Okay," I said.
"Goodnight Oliver," he said. "Goodnight Nick."
"Hey, Mom," I said.
"I had to pull an all nighter at work, so they sent me into rest today," she said. "Doctor Rockston is fixing breakfast, and is gonna take you to school."
"Alright," I said.
"Be good today."
She left and I got up to get ready. When I was done me and Nick headed down for breakfast, where Molly and the other smallings were.
Sean was in the kitchen, doing the dishes.
"How's he?" I asked Molly.
"He's still not saying much."
"He's never acted like this before," said Cooper.
"Guilt changes you," I said.
"It's more than guilt, he's scared."
"Get ready, we're leaving in five minutes," called Sean.
Five minutes later we piled into Sean's SUV and headed for school. Sean dropped us off without even saying goodbye. Rana's classes were on the opposite direction from Nick's, so Molly took her and I took Nick. I realized we had a couple of minutes until the bell so I stopped in the hall to talk to a couple of my friends.
"Hey, Ollie," said DJ. "Hey small fry," he said, reaching out to tossle Nick's hair with his finger.
"Don't touch me," said Nick.
"What's his problem?" asked Rob, my other friend.
"Nothing, I'm just ill mannered," said Nick. "And in the the future if you want to know what my problem is, please direct the question to me."
"Jeesh, someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning."
"Ah, the little dude's cranky. How cute," said DJ.
"I'm not cute, I'm just little," said Nick, taking offense.
"Whatever you say, champ," said DJ.
"Yo, it's almost time for the bell to ring," I said, cutting Nick off before he could make another remark. "I'd better get Nick to class."
"See'ya Ollie; bye, tiny dude."
"What was up with that?" I asked once we were out of hearing distance.
"What was what?"
"You were really rude to them. They were just being friendly," I said.
"They were condescending."
"So, it's not like you've never met people like that before," he said. "You're just in a bad mood because of what's going on."
"I'm not in a bad mood. I'm just getting sick of people treating me like that because I'm small."
"Treating you like what?"
"Like a little kid. It's one thing when adults do it, but those were kids," he said. "I am almost as old and just as smart as them, yet they treat like an idiot."
"How were they treating you like an idiot?"
"You wouldn't understand," he said.
"Why not? Because I'm not a teenage shrink?" I said, sarcastically.
"Because you treat me the same way."
"No I don't," I said. I was confused. Me and Nick had a great relationship, how could he think I treated him like that?
"Yes, you do."
"But... I thought you and me were like brothers?" I said.
"Yeah, but I'm the little brother, and maybe I don't wanna be."
"What are you talking about?"
"See, I told you you wouldn't understand what's it's like to be one of us," he said.
"Maybe I would if you would just come out and say it."
"I live in a world that frightens me, but as bad as all the dangers are, they can be overcome," he said. "What can't be overcome, is prejudice."
"You mean like Reverend Price?"
"No, Price is an idiot and everyone knows it. I'm talking about everyone else's prejudice. Normal people. They think of smallings as fragile and weak, small and needy. The world will never respect me because of my size, because of what I am, and I hate that."
I was speechless.
"I didn't ask to have my DNA reconfigured in a lab to make me four inches tall, but I am what I am. I may be small, but I'm still a human being, and wish that the world would respect me like one."
"Whoa," was all I could say.
My head was spinning thinking about all Nick had revealed to me earlier on in the day. I had never thought about any of it before.
Once home I went to the phone and checked the messages on the the machine.
"Hello, Doctor Rockston. This is Sandra Cooper of the Elise Garvin Show. We were wondering if you'd be interested in another appearance on our show-" I turned the machine off before it had finished.
"Better erease it," said Molly. "Don't want Sean to hear it and have a brain aneurism."
"Good point," so I erased.
"Take me up to my room," Rana ordered Molly.
Nick hadn't said anything to me sense that morning, so I asked him how he was doing.
"I'm fine," was all he would say.
"Look, I'm sorry if I haven't treated you like you deserve to be treated like."
"It's not you I'm mad at," he said. "It's the entire world."
"If you could have picked, would you want to be normal?" I asked.
"I am normal," said Nick. "Normal for a smalling, anyway. That's the problem. I just want to be alone right now."
I took him up to our room and left him there alone.
"What's up with him?" Molly asked.
"I guess his life just sucks," I said.
"Everyone's life sucks sometime. It must be a lot worse when you are four inches tall."
"We have to try and get Sean to talk to him," I said. "He's the only one who ever gets through."
Sean walked in half an hour later and I told him about what was up.
"I'll talk to him later," he said.
"No. I know its hard for you to face him right now, but he needs you."
"You're right," he said. "I'm sorry if I've been out of it lately." He headed upstairs.
TO BE CONTINUED...
"You know, I was really hoping to never see you again," Sean said to the man.
"Flattery will get you nowhere," said the man.
"What do you want, Doctor Chanchez?" Sean asked.
"Just coming to survey the project," he replied.
"Yes. Chances are I'll be taking over soon," Chanchez said.
"Don't you have some prescriptions to go write," Sean said.
"Aren't you the funny one. You'd think by now you'd have learned not to let that mouth of yours get carried away."
Sean looked away. Unfortunately Molly picked that time to come down stairs carrying Rana.
"What's he doing here?" Rana demanded.
"Why, Rana, how nice to see you again," said Chanchez.
"What's he doing here?" she demanded again.
"Oh, didn't you hear? I'm going to be the new head of this project."
"No you're not," said Rana. "Is he Sean?"
Sean was silent.
"She seems rather agitated, don't you think Doctor Rockston?" said Chanchez. "When I'm leader of the project I'll have to make sure and remedicate her and the others."
That did it.
"All right, you quack," said Sean. "In a week or two you can come in here and do whatever you want. But until then this is my house, this is my project, and these are my patients. So why don't you just march your M.D. butt outta here before I throw it out!"
"Temper, temper, Doctor," said Chanchez. "I'm leaving. But I'll be back." He left.
"I really REALLY hate psychiatrists!" said Sean.
"Wow," I said. "That guy was a real creep."
"No way is he living here," said Molly.
"If the board fires you, Sean, then that's it," I said. "We're gone too. Mom's never gonna live with that guy."
"It doesn't matter," said Sean. "The project is too popular with the institute and the public. Rayburn and Chanchez will find a way to keep it open."
"Then I guess we'll just have to make sure that you stay leader of the project," I said.
A WEEK LATER...
We were in the public meeting room of the Institute's review board. Me, Molly, my mom, and all the smallings were there. Sean was nervous.
"Doctor Sean Rockston," said the chairman of the board.
"Yes sir," replied Sean.
"Are you aware why you are here?"
"Yes sir," he said.
"Certain charges have been brought against you due to you're comments and actions on the Elise Garvin television show. These charges claim that you are unprofessional and not of high enough moral fiber to be affiliated with the Smalling Studies Institute."
"Mister Chairman, I would like to publicly apologize for my actions on the Elise Garvin Show," said Sean.
"I'm afraid a public apology can't erase such serious charges," said the chairman. "Is there anything else you'd like to say in your defense?"
"Mister Chairman, I acted irrationally and stupid on the Elise Garvin Show. I was upset at the presence of a man I believe to be the institute's greatest enemy, and over reacted considerably. There's nothing I can do but apologize."
"Is there anyone here today who'd like to say anything in Doctor Rockston's defense?"
Sean kept his back to the audience, but had he turned around he would have seen that about a dozen and a half people stood up.
"In that case the board will now hear testimonial one at a time."
The first women to stand up and talk was in her late forties. She and her smalling son were former patients of Sean's.
"My name is Patricia Orlan. My husband and I weren't blessed to have children of our own, so we chose to adopt a smalling child," she said. "My son suffered from a lot of emotional issues, and the transition from institute life to life with us was a hard one. If it hadn't been for the family therapy we obtained from Doctor Sean I doubt we would have ever bonded with our son."
The next woman who stood up wore a very loud dress and had big hair. There was something kinda crazy looking about her.
"My smalling kid was a total nut case before we met Sean," she said. "She actually thought she was a hamster. Spent all day running around on one of those little exercise wheel things. I couldn't get her to stop. She used to ask me to feed her pellets like you by at a pet store! All the doctors I talked to wanted to medicate her, or put her in some kind of smalling nut house. But Sean was able to help her without all those things."
One by one the witnesses told how Sean had been able to help them and their smallings when no one else could.
"Are there anymore who wish to testify on Doctor Rockston's behalf?" asked the chairman.
"Yes," I said, standing up.
"Go right ahead, young man."
"It's not me, sir," I said. "It's my smalling foster brother, Nick."
A small laugh reverberated through the room.
"It's highly unusual to have a smalling testify on such matters as these," he said.
"Please, sir," I said. "Nick may be small, but he's still a human being. He deserves to speak on his friend's behalf."
"I will allow it," he said.
I took Nick up and sat him on the long table the board was seated at.
"Go right on, little fellow," said the chairman. "Say what you've got to say."
"I'm a person," said Nick.
"Of course you are, but what does that have to do with anything?"
"I'm a person. But there are times when I don't feel like it," said Nick. "There are times when I'm so scared I don't want to get out of bed. Everything in this big world scares me. People treat me like I'm just something small that needs to be taken care of. They treat me like what I think and feel doesn't matter."
"Yes, they do. I'm a person, a human being, a homo sapien. Just a very little one. It's hard for big people to realize what life it like for us smallings. And it's hard for us to explain that we feel the way we feel. But we don't have to explain to Sean, he already understands. He makes us feel like human beings who matter. That's why we need him."
I carried Nick back to our seat in the audience. Once we were seated Sean turned around, looked at Nick, and mouthed the words, "Thank you."
"Doctor Rockston," the chairman said. "After hearing the testimony of so many it is clear to this board that the amount of good you have done far surpasses you actions on the Elise Garvin Show. Although you will still be expected to increase your professional attitude, you are released from this inquiry without penalty."
A few people in the audience cheered, and Sean just smiled and said thank you. I think there might have been a tear in his eye for just a moment.
Sean took Nick in his hands and held him in a way that I think was suppose to be like a hug.
"Let's go home," said Nick. On the way out we passed Doctor Rayburn and Doctor Chanchez. They both gave Sean dirty looks.
Sean just smiled and said, "Hey, Doctor. I still think psychiatrists suck."