Temporary Little Friendby Amanda
Inspired by Bookguy's Little Friends
It was your average college day. Or so I thought. I spent the day taking notes in anthropology and psychology for friends who had decided to skip that day. Then I filed in to the bus home with some other folks I knew. We rarely spoke and my mind was reeling with chores I needed to accomplish before setting out to work.
The bus started taking unusual turns and I noticed I didn't know the bus driver. Our usual guy must be sick, I told myself and continued to idly watch the strange streets he swerved down.
No one else seemed to pay any attention to the odd turns we were taking so I sighed and settled back in my seat. There were about 20 other people in the bus with me-- fairly empty for a Monday afternoon. Abruptly we made a sharp turn into a tunnel I hadn't known existed. We started down a long tunnel and folks started standing up in their seats yelling at the driver.
FWOOOSSSSH. A glass panel sealed off the front of the bus shielding the bus driver from us. In moments we drove through an odd green light. In short order the bus stopped and the bus driver hurriedly exited leaving us alone in the dark. Or so we thought.
And then the voice spoke. I couldn't quite make out what it was saying with everyone yammering and bouncing around trying to see. But I heard, "Please exit the bus" slowly. I got up from my seat and wandered out of the bus looking out and seeing everyone else still inside!
No one inside budged as the voice again urged everyone to come out. Then the walls of darkness dropped and I stared up at towering giants. My jaw must have dropped at least a foot and I backed away hurriedly. One of them flashed me a warm smile and then they set about to jostling the bus and pulling the top off of it.
The people inside screamed and howled but none were coming out. The giants seemed to be upset by this and started to pluck people out at random and drop them onto the ground beside me. When this started the whole group tried to bolt out the door at once trampling a few people. One man was trampled so badly that his limp unconscious form was carried off by one of the giants.
I started to wring my hands in worry. We were led to a giant holding cell and kept there for several hours. I sat down and waited silently as the hours ran by. Some of the men were arguing amongst themselves plotting our escape. A few of the younger girls were in hysterics.
Soon the door opened and we were led into an area with a soft mat and strange objects; it was almost maze-like. I looked at other victims questioningly, as if they might know what this strange place was for. And then the other side of the room opened up and giant children filled my entire field of vision. A giant adult was over talking with them and something was being said to us but I barely paid any attention to it. I merely stood dumbstruck staring at the children.
Soon the children lined up… getting ready for something, people around me startied screaming and running in all directions. I turned around watching and just as I said, "What's going on?," thunder erupted behind me as the giant children sped forth towards us.
Giant fingers wrapped around my body and a pair of blue eyes stared at me. Without thinking I writhed in the giant hand and then bit down on my captors finger. The 5 year old yelped and then tossed me to the ground harshly.
She stomped off without casting me another look. I took the fall hard and yelped in pain on impact. My leg and side throbbed with jolts of pain. I couldn't get up. Around me thunder still erupted as the giant children took off after their new pets. I laid prone on the soft mat crying. From time to time a child would look down at me for a brief moment and then bolt off after a more active little person.
After what felt like an eternity a giant wheel rumbled into view. And I felt myself being lifted up by giant fingers once more. My side and leg were jarred and I screamed out in pain. I felt myself being shoved up against some soft material and then I passed out.
Later I awoke in a very sterile cage sitting on a counter wrapped up in some sort of towel. Several giants in white lab coats were discussing something to a pair of plain clothed adult giants. All the while a boy in a wheel chair was looking at me anxiously.
"Is she gonna be okay?," the young giant asked with genuine concern.
"A sprained ankle and some bruised ribs-- nothing serious, but she won't be up and around for a while. She'll be ready by the next lottery though... don't worry, son, she'll find a good home," one of the lab men replied and ruffled the boy's hair.
"You'd better hurry back and get your little friend before they are all taken," another lab man quipped.
The young boy smiled and said "I do have my little friend-- can I take her home now?"
At that point a giant woman came around behind the boy, apparently his mother. "Now son, you know you have to get a male little friend. And anyway this one's all busted up --it wouldn't be a good friend for you," she explained.
A frown creased his face and he shot me a sad look. `But mom she needs me-- she's hurt and needs someone to take care of her. All the other kids out there were just gonna leave here laying there. Please mom, I'll take really good care of her and you can help? Please, mom."
His mom frowned and looked over at me. I was a crumpled up heaped lying down on a giant towel shivering in my cage. "Ben…. Its not up to me hun, it's the rules." Ben's mom continued. She looked over at the lab men who nodded sadly.
"Well, maybe I can talk to the boss. I mean the poor lil thing is gonna need a caretaker until she's well enough to be in the next lotto. Maybe Ben can take care of her until then. It'd be a good experience for him for when he gets his little friend, and it might tame her down. I hear she bit someone," chuckled the senior of the lab men.
Ben beamed a smile and rolled his chair over to my cage. He watched me with concern and sympathy. He poked one of his fingers between the cage bars and rubbed the top of my head. `Its okay, I'll take care of you,' he cooed softly.
The adults were somewhere behind him talking to a man in a fancy suit. Some arguing took place between Ben's mother and the fellow for quite sometime and finally the man in the suit came over to my cage. He peered in at me staring at me like one might look at a bird with a hurt wing.
"Alright, but only until the next lottery comes by this way. In about 3 months we should have another stop here with the next shipment of little friends. At that time Ben will need to return her and get one of his own. Remember this is ONLY temporary. And we will have people stopping in to make sure she is doing alright," the man in the suit said.
Ben nodded eagerly. `Can I take her to the little friend jamboree next month?," he asked.
"Sure kid, just be careful with her. By the way have you named her yet?," the man in the suit said with a smile this time.
"I'm gonna call her Tripper, cause she falls down," Ben said with a giggle.
I rolled my eyes and called out, "My names not Tripper, it's Carol!"
Ben just smiled at me and I was scooped out of the cage and into his warm palms. Ben looked to be about 8 maybe 9 years old. He had short dark hair and a pair of green eyes. He gently petted the top of my head and with one finger touched my leg, which was now wrapped up with medical tape and what looked like a lollypop stick.
I winced a bit as he touched it and then he cupped his hands around me. "Alright Tripper, we'll go home now," he whispered softly to me.
It was a long painful ride home. Each bump seemed to echo down my body, but slowly the pain was ebbing. At least I didn't break anything I muttered to myself. Soon we were at Ben's house. This would be my new home. He uncupped his hands around me and let me rest in his palm.
He showed me around the house at breakneck speed, making me dizzy and a lil' sick. I have always had a problem with heights, and the way I was being handled was making me insanely scared. But I was in pain and there was no where to go, so I just held on to Ben's thumb for dear life and squeezed my eyes shut from time to time.
Soon we entered Ben's room and he settled me down on a tiny bed inside `my house'. It was more like a modified aquarium. With thick plastic walls that couldn't be seen in or out and tiny furniture. Also the walls were adorned with drawings clearly made by Ben. I curled up on the bed and just laid there while Ben's billboard face looked down at me worriedly.
"Don't you like it? I made this for you," Ben asked.
I propped myself up with one elbow. "I'm sorry I just, I hurt a lot right now and I just want to rest. Its really a very nice place and I'm sure your `little friend' is gonna love it to death." I replied and then slumped back down onto the bed.
"But... you are my little friend." Ben muttered softly and then put the lid on my house in order to let me get some sleep.
And so went my first night at Ben's. He was very mature about the way he was treating me. Another child would have forced me to play something even though I was hurting. The next morning I awoke and stared up at a giant pair of green eyes. I yelped and tried to scramble away but my bandaged leg only let me fall off my bed.
Ben chuckled at me. "Silly Tripper."
My `house' was jostled around as Ben put it on his bed. He then reached into his pocket and offered me pair of tiny crutches.
"I went to the Little Friends store while you rested and I got you these. Now you can walk around!," Ben said cheerfully clearly proud of his idea.
"Later today Mom's gonna let us go do some more shopping there, I need to get you some new clothes and some toys. I already got you some plates and things!," he continued and then started petting my back with his finger.
He then produced a tiny plate with some bits of breakfast on it and a tiny cup of juice. He sat them delicately on a table in my `home' and beamed a bright smile at me. He clearly enjoyed taking care of me.
"Well, aren't you gonna try those walking things?" Ben asked, tilting his head at me.
I shrugged and grabbed one in each arm. I had never used crutches before and found I had difficulty just standing up to use them. Finally I balanced myself on one foot using the two crutches and made a small circle around the inside of my house. Ben seemed really pleased by this and clapped.
"Good Tripper, see, they aren't so bad," he said with a smile and patted me on the top of my head gently so as not to cause me to fall over.
So then I made my way over to the table and ate my meal while my giant keeper watched eagerly. He shifted a bit to get a better view and finally I shoved my plate back feeling very stuffed. I took a few sips of my juice and then arched my neck upward to look up at my master.
Abruptly a loud "BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEENNNNNNN" broke through the air as Ben's mother called for him.
`WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATT?" He turning around slightly.
"BOBBY IS HERE!" Ben's mom yelled again.
"OKAY SEND HIM IN, I'M JUST PLAYING WITH TRIPPER!" Ben called back once more.
A series of thuds started to come in the direction of the door like giant footfalls getting louder and louder. The door swung open and a boy about Ben's age, with sandy colored hair came in.
"Hey I heard you finally got a little friend," Bobby stated and walked over to take a look at me.
Bobby's eyes grew wide at the sight of me and he looked at Ben. "Umm Bobby… your little friend looks hurt, and umm it's a girl isn't it?" Bobby asked.
Ben nodded "Yep she needs me to take care of her, a girl at the center threw her down really hard. So they are letting me take care of her. Isn't she the neatest? Her name's Tripper.Can't really play with her yet cause her legs hurt, but she's a good little friend. Very obedient; watch, I'll show you. Tripper. show Bobby how you use your crutches," Ben instructed.
I gave Ben an odd look. But he gave me back a look that seemed to say "please", so I went around the box at the fastest speed I could muster using the crutches.
Bobby chuckled and smiled at my antics ,clearly pleased. And Ben nodded his approval. So I plopped back down on my bed to rest.
"She's really smart too; when she gets better we're going to the `Little Friend Jamboree' and we're gonna win some of the games," Ben continued.
Bobby just smirked. "Well you'll have some stiff competition, Cause me and Twiggy are going. And he's one of the best little friends out there." Bobby swelled with pride talking about his own "Little friend".
"Did you bring Twiggy? Maybe Twiggy and Tripper can play together" Ben asked.
Bobby nodded and pulled a tiny man from his pocket. He looked to be around my age mid twenties with red hair. I waved up at him and he waved back nervously watching his owner Bobby.
Twiggy was placed down in the cage near me and I smiled warmly.
"Hello, I'm Carol Markins-- who are you?," I asked curiously.
Twiggy turned and looked up at Bobby who was giving him a stern
I reached out his hand to shake and he merely stared at my hand then shifted his gaze to my leg and then to the ground.
"I don't think Twiggy likes your Tripper," Bobby stated, almost sounding satisfied.
Twiggy was scooped up and disappeared back into Bobby's pocket.
"Well, wanna play some games with Twiggy?," Bobby asked anxiously.
"Okey but maybe Tripper can play too," Ben said with a smile.
Bobby merely gave him a flat look. "Well she's hurt you shouldn't play with her and I bet she'd rather sleep right now anyway."
I was quickly becoming bored in my `home' as there was nothing to read or do. So I wobbled around on my crutches looking up at the two titanic boys.
"Can I come out for a little while please? I'm really bored." I asked. I felt so silly asking a pair of boys if I could come out and play.
Ben's eyes seemed to light up when I said this and he scooped me up at bit too eagerly jarring my leg. I winced but smiled through it.
"See, she wants to play," Ben affirmed. I was dropped onto a desk in Ben's room surrounded by giant toys ranging from toy robots to tiny cars. I wobbled around on my crutches looking everything over.
"Well I dunno, she's a girl. I don't know if I want her to play with Twiggy. She might have bad habits or I dunno. Anyway I doubt she'd like any of our games." Bobby explained.
"I bet she can do anything Twiggy can do," Ben challenged.
"Oh ya? Well let's race them," replied Bobby.
Ben's face dropped for a minute and then he just nodded. Carefully he plucked me up with two fingers and supported me on the floor. He then handed me my crutches with his other hand.
I balanced precariously on my crutches looking up at the two giant boys. Bobby scooped Twiggy out of his pocket and dropped him next to me none too gently.
Twiggy sprang to his feet and looked around. His eyes darted around looking for a means of escape.
"First one to the bed wins," Bobby proclaimed.
"You're on" said Ben who carefully wheeled himself out of our path.
`Ready…. Set… GO!,!" yelled Bobby as soon as Ben was clear.
Twiggy blazed off ahead of me and I hobbled after as quickly as I could. But there was no way I could keep up with him. I continued to go as fast I could towards the bed and watched as Twiggy bolted right under the dark depths of the bed, disappearing from view.
"Twiggy!!!," Bobby yelped. And dropped down on his knees looking under the bed.
I swerved in a new direction back towards Ben's wheel chair in order to avoid colliding with Bobby. I came to a halt beside Ben's foot rest and just stood there watching Bobby grope around blindly under Ben's bed.
"Its all HER Fault!" ranted Bobby shooting a glare over his shoulder at me.
I wanted to hide, there was so much anger in that look that I felt fear running down my spine. Ben scooped me up abruptly and held me against his chest protectively.
"Its not her fault Twiggy is trying to escape." Ben said in my defense.
Finally after shoving some furniture around, Bobby retrieved Twiggy and dropped him into his pocket. "We're going to go home now I need to give Twiggy a time out," Bobby said curtly and stormed out of the room clearly still upset by the whole incident.
Ben just patted my back and muttered everything was okay. I soon found myself back in my little home and Ben wheeled out of the room to go see his parents.
One boring hour later Ben returned with an odd cylinder-like object with what looked like a door on it. A carrier of some sort, it was blue with white stripes on either side. Ben lowered in it next to me so it was standing upright. He motioned for me to get in but I just gave him a blank stare.
"Ohhh Nooo, I don't wanna go in that thing" I said backing up clumsily
with my crutches.
My face twisted at the thought of wearing pink. I better go with him and assist in my outfit selection, I decided. Slowly I edged into the carrier and held my crutches firmly. The door closed and the carrier was tilted onto it back so I was lying down for a moment and then tilted onto it side. I was held firmly in place by the soft plush cushions inside.
The carrier was fitted onto Ben's belt and soon we were rolling out to his family's car. His mother lifted him out of his chair and set us down in the front seat. She then folded up his chair and put it in the trunk.
In no time at all I watched from my odd position as we walked into the door of the "Little Friends" Store.
It was actually a really nice store. I liken it rather to "Toys R Us" in our own world. Simply because it seemed to have everything for people my size anyway. There was an outdoorish sort of table with toys and provisions for campin and other outdoor games. On another table was books, and I do mean books, mountains of them. Sadly, they seemed to be in no order, just a bunch of tiny toys shuffled in a pile.
Another table had replacement gear for our `homes'. A brand new top of the line porta-shower-potty thing stood proudly on one table surrounded by boxes of more of them. There were two types of beds, one for girls and one for boys. I recognized the blue on as the one Ben had at home for me.
My carrier was shifted around and for a few moments I was staring up at the ceiling and then I was level on a table upright. The door opened and using my crutches I wobbled out onto the table.
"Okay Tripper, you can try on some clothes over here and I'm gonna go look for some toys for you," Ben said with a smile.
Ben's giant hand swooped down and gently patted me on the head reassuringly. And then he motioned towards the sea of clothing that was spread around on tiny racks. I wobbled forward and found some plain ol' blue jeans and some shirts I liked. I found myself skirting away from the girls clothing as it was… a bit too bright for my taste. The dresses reminded me far too much of Barbie and I thought the pink was going to hurt my eyes.
Slowly I made a pile of clothes I liked, a few white 2 shirts with the "Little Friend" logo on them. 4 pairs of jeans, some shorts, and a few light sweaters adorned the pile. I nodded to myself it seemed good enough-- after all, Ben wasn't going to keep me so I shouldn't get much more.
I wobbled back to the center of the table and looked around for Ben. He was wheeling around looking over all the exercise equipment seriously. A soft smile erupted on his billboard face and he picked up something I couldn't see. Slowly he wheeled back over to my table using his freehand.
"I've been looking for one of these," he explained and showed me a giant book in his other hand. To him it was more like a pamphlet but thicker. He held it close in front of me so I would read the title:`Little Friend Games'.
"We'll can play all the games in here" he said with a smile and sat the book in his lap.
"Did you get all of your clothes, Tripper? Show them to me," he commanded I merely shrugged and motioned towards the pile I had made. He scooped up the whole pile with his hand and fingered through it nodding approvingly. "Good girl but I think you should get some more shirts and some more pants. "
I started to limp forward towards the racks again knowing what shirts I might get. Meanwhile he went over to the counter and put down what we already had. He rolled back into view about the same time I started hobbling out of the clothing racks. I handed his giant fingers the new clothes and looked around.
"Can I look around some too?" I asked.
Ben tapped a finger on his chin and seemed in deep thought about the matter. I rolled my eyes this was ridiculous. Finally he nodded and looked around. "What did you want to look at, Tripper??"
I motioned over to the table where all the books were. Ben's gigantic hand scooped me up and held me snug against his chest as he wheeled over to the table with one hand. Carefully he set me down on the table and smiled widely. "Alright Tripper, hurry up and get some books, its time to go home now"
I shrugged and meandered around the table looking for something of interest. Books books and more books! I grabbed a few books I knew, like Treasure Island and a few science fiction books that looked interesting. Finally when I had about six books chosen, I hobbled back over towards the end of the table and Ben.
Ben inspected each of my choices, and then nodded approvingly to me. "Good Tripper!," he said with a smile and scooped me up abruptly. He jostled my leg a bit and I let out a yelp.
He gave me a worried glance and then wheeled over to the counter to make the purchase. I sat on his leg a moment while he dropped the load of items we had chosen on the counter. The lady at the register smiled at Ben and then gave an odd look at the sight of me. She shrugged it off and handed a small bag with my new belongings to Ben.
Before I knew it I was once again situated in my carried watching the world drift by at my odd angle.
It seemed like forever and a day passed before we were finally at Ben's home again. It was good to be home, I thought to myself. Abruptly I shook my head. This wasn't home. This wasn't my home and it would never be. My home was possibly light years away… somewhere where I might already be forgotten. I frowned and ignored the world outside my carrier. I wanted to cry.
While I mulled in my self-pity, I hadn't notice that the jostling I was feeling was Ben removing the carrier from his belt. Nor did I notice the large pair of brown eyes looking in at me.
"Pretty cool lil bro, she'll be a good trainer for you" The stranger said with pride. "When you get your own Little Friend you'll know so much about taking care of them now. And how to train `em."
"You think so Jake? I was kinda hoping, you think if I take good care of Tripper I can keep her?" Ben asked his older brother, from out of my line of sight.
My carrier was tilted to the side and, I assume, handed to Ben. I couldn't quite tell from my position; all I knew was I was being shifted around and moved through the air.
"Well Bro, I don't think you're going to want Tripper. I mean, she bit that one kid after all. Anyway, maybe you can get an even younger one. I know she's kinda young, but they say the younger you get em, the easier to train," Jake explained. "But I'm sure, Bro, everything will work out for the best, for you and Tripper."
By now I couldn't see either of the giants and it grew quiet for a while as my carried was jostled a bit and then giggling erupted behind me. Soon Ben was wheeling off again into his room. Days grew into a week, as my time with Ben continued on. For that first week, our interaction was limited. His own fear over my injury and my own natural fear of him kept us apart. We talked a bit, and he fed me but that was about it.
As the week progressed I felt better myself and the fear of my giant host was slowly subsiding. I limped around on my crutches often and then about 8 days since my arrival I decided to do something for Ben. After all, it wasn't his fault I was in this position. And it truly seemed my host was trying to keep me as happy as possible, as happy as one can be being a pet.
So when he wheeled into the room coming home from school I shouted his name and waved him over. Finally his smiling face appeared above me "Yes, what do you want Tripper? Do you need the potty?"
I shook my head vigorously and held up one of the books we had gotten at the Little Friends Store. Treasure Island, I remember as a young girl my father sitting up at night and reading the story to me before bedtime.
"I want to read my book to you, I think you'll like it," I called up to him. Ben chuckled a bit at his pet's antics and carefully plucked me out of `home'. He wheeled us over to his bed where he sat me on his nightstand. He positioned himself in front of me and regarded me with a humorous grin.
"Alright girl, go on. I'm listening," he assured me.
I rolled my eyes and sat down on the flat surface. I flipped the pages to the first chapter and looked up at him. "Now when I was very little my father used to read this to me. I think you'll like it, I know I did!"
I saw a strange look appear on Ben's face when I spoke of my father and then I started reading the long story. I made it through a few chapters before it was dinnertime. I wasn't allowed at the table, just like most household pet's. So I sat and waited quietly in my `house' boredly.
I hated these long moments of waiting, I had almost no patience and being with out something to do or occupy myself was slowly driving me insane. Reading was alright. I was reading a lot but my injuries kept me from being very active. Finally Ben returned again and wheeled up in front of my cage.
With a large smile he sweeped me up into his hand and probed my leg carefully. "I think tommorow I'll take you with me to the club meeting. You'll like it a lot, Tripper; Twiggy will be there and so will Bobby!," beamed my owner.
I merely nodded. Whatever made him happy, and as long as I got away from this blasted cage! I thought to myself about Twiggy, I wondered how he was. "What club is it?." I yelled up at Ben. Ben smiled. "The local chapter of the Little Friends club of course! I think you're well enough to go this week since your leg doesn't hurt so bad. Oh you'll like it Tripper, lots of games and activities for us to do together!"
I smiled --kids will be kids! The prospect of spending a day with Bobby and other little boys wasn't that attractive, but Ben would never let me get hurt. And I was in no position to fight his decision of going.
Ben gave me a light kiss on the top of my head and rubbed me against his cheek. "I love you Tripper, now you get to sleep-- you have a big day ahead of you!" He ordered and dropped me down onto my bed. I sighed and slipped into bed on command.
The lights went out a short time later and I heard Ben's mother tucking him in. The next morning I was awakened earlier than usually and as soon as I was ready, shoved into my carrier.
School proved to be even more boring than being stuck in my cage all day! I was kept in my carrier at all times. The teacher explained to Ben that little friends out of their carriers was too much of a distraction. So I was trapped for hours in that small box-like carrier until lunchtime finally rolled around.
Ben rolled to the far side of the lunchroom and wheeled up to the end of a table. I could see the feet and legs of many young children down the table as I was jostled and removed from the belt. Finally I was dumped out into Ben's palm and looked around.
I felt my blood run cold, staring at all those giant children. Some of them had hungry looks in their eyes, they wanted to hold me and play with me. I grabbed ahold of Ben's thumb for security and to steady myself standing up. Ben smiled down at me and then looked at his friends.
"This is Tripper-- she's my Little Friend!," he announced cheerfully.
I opened my mouth to correct him but before I could say a word a grubby hand picked me up rather harshly. I was squeezed a bit and tilted to and fro in front of a massive face. "This is your Little Friend? Jeez Ben you talked like you had the best Little Friend ever, this is a girl. You should trade it back in and get a better one." scoffed the young boy.
He dropped me to the table, uncaringly. Ben scooped me up and cupped his hand around me protectively. "Don't do that, she's hurt!" Ben exclaimed.
Ben kept me beside his tray while he ate, slipping me food every once in a while and keeping a sharp eye on me. Like I might run away if his back was turned for a moment. I tried to stay as close to Ben as I could, casting fearful looks at his peers.
Ben patted me on the head and started a conversation with his friends. Something about a jamboree coming up and how they all hoped to go. Then the conversation shifted to sports, I felt bored out of my mind once more!
Abruptly I was shoved back into my carrier by Ben's fingers and adjusted back into place. We wheeled back to class just as the bell rang. The day continued to drag on. Nothing to do, and I knew if I made a ruckus in my carrier I would probably spend the remainder in a desk drawer.
Finally, the bell rang again and we were once again moving around on the school campus. Ben went from room to room and finally we arrived in a classroom where a bunch of children of various ages had assembled. Each of them parading around with their own `Little Friend'. I saw several girls younger then Ben and a few boys older than him each making their own groups amongst themselves.
Over in one corner I spied Bobby telling some sort of story making a flurry of hand gestures. I noticed something in his right hand and squinted at it while he continued to fling his hand to and fro while he spoke. It was Twiggy. Twiggy was tossed around helplessly in his owner hands as the story continued. I winced thinking what that had to feel like.
I turned away and looked over at the young girls who were directing a tea party in the corner with their own Little Friends. An adult entered the room and surveyed the goings on. He was a tall man in a fancy suit who seemed to absolutely reek of cheerfulness. He kneeled down beside Ben and looked in at me.
`OH you must be Ben! Why Hidey Ho there Ben and who is your Little Friend there?." the man exclaimed.
`This is Tripper!" Ben said with a smile.
"Well, you and Tripper go ahead and meet the other kids, we'll be ready to go in a moment!," exclaimed the man again.
His cheerfulness irritated me to no end. Ben complied and soon we were amongst the other children and their Little Friends. The young girls approached Ben and asked if he and I would like to play tea party. To my relief he declined! Instead we went over and watched the older boys who were racing their Little Friends on some sort of race track.
The walls were high on either side, too high to be scaled easily by someone of my size. It was a long wide path with walls on all sides. Lines were drawn on either end to mark the starting or finish lines. Clearly one of the boys had built this for safer racing. I saw Bobby holding Twiggy firmly in his fist nodding at each race.
Soon the overly cheerful adult appeared again. He asked all the children to be seated with their friends in a circle and one by one everyone got into the slowly forming circle. Bobby lingered by the race track a moment and I didn't really pay attention to him.
Moment later I heard a yell from behind Ben and I. Ben turned his head easily able to look while I was stuck not knowing what was going on. By chance I turned and faced the door and I locked eyes with Twiggy. Twiggy stopped dead in his tracked looking at me from the far end of the room. He had somehow gotten on the floor and was making his way out the door. I opened my mouth, trying to say something.
But I quickly closed it and turned, pretending to have not seen Twiggy. I'll never really know what happened to Twiggy, the boys searched all around the room looking for him and eventually they did go into the hall looking for him. Bobby cried and told one boy that his `stupid race track' was faulty.
We were dismissed and sent home by the Club leader, the stranger overly happy adult. I found out from Ben that he was sent by the company who sells all the Little Friends products to give us new ideas for games.
Days went by and I asked Ben a few times about Twiggy. He just gave me a sad look and would turn away. Ben became more watchful of me in the coming days. I wasn't allowed to wander very freely even though I was slowly regaining my ability to walk on my own with out my crutches.
And when the day came I that I walked across the table with out my crutches I looked up at Ben expecting his usual warm smile. Instead I met a pair of sad eyes and a straight face. I was dropped unceremoniously into my `home' and left there until it was almost bedtime.
After a few long hours I began to tap loudly on the side of my cage. It felt like a cage to me. Ben claimed it to be my home but, when your trapped inside something, no matter how hospitable it may look its still a cage. Ben had taken great pains to add every convenience to my little `home' as he termed it. He had managed to attached the porta shower and potty to the home. So I didn't have to wait for him to get home to use the facilities and it allowed for more privacy for me.
I continued to tap and started to yell at the top of my voice, which I am unsure how loud that could even be to them. I stared at the clear wall waiting for some sort of reaction. Ben was over on his bed reading a comic and would look up at me once in a while.
I slumped against the wall and started to cry. It was hopeless. Trapped here on this miserable planet, with a little boy in charge of how my life is lived. I cried for the people at home, who would never know what happened to me. I was dead to them. And maybe I was dead here.
I was not Carol. I was Tripper, Tripper the pet of Benjamin. And I would spend the rest of my life subject to the whims of a child. Unless… the thought nagged at me thinking of how Twiggy had successfully escaped. Twiggy, that poor tortured soul who had made a break for it. Who had some how outsmarted and out ran that hoard of giant children.
If only… If only I could get away like that. But what could this world hold for a person my size? What dangers? Is it worth the price of being free?
I wiped the tears from my eyes and gazed upward into Ben's face. He had been watching me, for who knows how long. I barely noted the concerned look that strained his normal cheerful smile into a frown.
His tree like fingers came from nowhere and closed around me lifting me at a breakneck speed towards his billboard like face. I was becoming used to this. At times I thought I would be sick when he picked me up. The height and the speed were just too much to start with. But now it seemed commonplace, I guess if you ride a roller coaster enough you become immune to it.
I was brushed against his giant cheek gently and kissed on the top of my head. He then held me directly in front of his face and looked at me for a moment.
"I'm sorry, Tripper. I know you're lonely. I'll play with you more often. " He smiled a bit.
"We can play all sorts of games now that you are better. We'll have some great times girl, I promise" He continued and stroked my back with his fingers.
I merely sighed and nodded in agreement. Ben wasn't a bad kid. As far as I could tell he was one of the better-behaved young boys I had met up with. All the others were too wound or brattish. I was lucky he wasn't a brat. That and he seemed to genuinely care about me. Which was in its own way unsettling to me.
Holding me close to his chest, Ben wheeled over to his bed where , with some maneuvering, he got him and me on top of his bed. He then produced the comic he had been reading and flipped the pages before me. It was massive. He pointed with his trunk like finger at a box where the comic started at the top.
I read the comic with him, it was about some Super Hero named Commander Rystoff. He was some space hero who went through the galaxys stopping evil doers. At the end of the comic he rescued a group of children from a space station, and lo and behold one of them had a Little Friend in his pocket.
I felt ill looking at the box with the child and tiny person. That's who I am now. A pet, a novelty. Ben's finger rubbed my back as he noticed my distress.
"It's okay Tripper, Commander Rystoff will save those children you'll see!," he said with a winning smile.
I merely nodded and sat while Ben finished reading his comic. After he put up the comic he laid facing up on his bed holding me up in the air above him looking me over.
"They want to make me give you up Tripper." He said sadly. "I know you don't want leave me do you girl?" He ruffled my hair and looked at me in askance.
I frowned. He was a nice kid but I didn't want to be his pet. I didn't want to be anyone's pet. I wanted to go home, to earth and live my life again.
"I want to go home Ben," I called to him.
He blinked and started to shift to get up. "Alright I'll put you to bed " He stated matter of factly.
"No! That's not my home. I want to be with my family. I want to be with my friends. I want to have my life back." I yelled again and felt like I was going to start crying all over.
Ben froze and stared at me. "But I am your family…" He started to say and then noticing the tears coming down my face he held me against his cheek.
"Its alright Tripper, I'm here. I love you Tripper. And I will be your family. Everything will be alright." He continued.
Ben spoke softly to me for the better part of an hour trying to calm me down. His soothing tone helped a bit and I found myself hugging that giant cheek clumsily.
Somehow I fell asleep during all of that. And later that night I awoke to the noises of heavy breathing and my eyes darted around in the darkness. I was on Ben's pillow and his fingers were on top of me holding me down. It was warm, secure and terrifying. My mind raced with worry, what if he tossed and turned?
And then I thought maybe to escape. But it was so dark, and I didn't know where to go. So I snuggled against the pillow trying to get as comfy as I could and drifted uneasily back to sleep.
Several nights went by just like that one. With my emotional outbursts and Ben being there. He was a big shoulder to cry on but I could tell my tantrums were taking a toll on him. He seemed more prone to worry about me and less to try to talk me into a game.
And then the week of the Jamboree rolled around. Ben was ecstatic. He showed me a model he had made of one of our pyramids. He did a good job but the thing was far too small. While he was explaining the Jamboree to me, he liked the idea of me knowing what we were going to do in great detail; a knock came at the door. It opened and Bobby swaggered in.
He strode over to the table I was standing on and picked me up roughly. He squeezed me tightly in his palm and waved me around. " I can't believe you intend to take THIS to the Jamboree" He exclaimed and looked at Ben.
"It's her fault that Twiggy ran away! And now you're going to let her go give her bad habits to all the other little Friends. Sounds stupid to me." Bobby said still gesturing with me in his hand.
He squeezed harder and held me up before his eyes. Out of instinct I squirmed and cried out. Ben's eyes grew wide looking from me to Bobby. "Hey stop that, you're hurting her!" he yelled and rolled towards Bobby determinedly.
Bobby held me high above the air swinging me back and forth. He squeezed a bit from time to time. I felt like I was going to be sick all over the place. Would serve him right if I did, I thought to myself through the dizzying movements.
Bobby hopped around like an idiot keeping me out of Ben's reach. I could barely see Ben and I started to yell out for him. I guess that had an effect, because somehow Ben got up.
I mean Ben got up from his wheel chair and kind of stood there for a minute. Bobby was gaping as Ben reached for me, not quite able to balance. Ben snatched me from Bobby's torturous grip and smiled at me a moment before he collapsed on the floor.
I took the landing hard and rolled away from Ben across the floor. Bobby looked down at Ben wide eyed and bolted out the doorway without another word.
I looked around curiously from the floor. Ben was struggling trying to get back into his wheel chair and I realized. I could make a break for it right now. So I began to back up and started to walk behind Ben's dresser. Ben caught my movement and called out "Tripper, come here!"
I shot him a look and continued to make my way behind the piece of furniture. He wouldn't be able to get me back here easily. I heard a strange noise and peered around to see Ben pulling himself across the floor to where I was hiding.
"Come out right now, Tripper!" he said demandingly while trying to reach under the dressed after me.
I stayed clear and glared at him a moment. Yes, it was time to try to take life back into my own hands. So I bolt as fast as I could running wide around the fallen boy and his wheelchair. The door, my goal was in view.
Ben tried to turn around quickly to swipe me up and failed. He watched as I sprinted for the door as fast as my legs would take me. I would have made it too…
But then from behind I heard "Please don't…"
"Please don't leave me, Tripper" Ben called. "Please come back."
I stopped dead in my tracks. And turned to look at him, he'd never said please to me. He'd never asked me to do anything. It was an order…
I looked ahead at the door, freedom. And I looked behind me at Ben, he looked so sad and worried. I could see genuine love for me in those eyes. I took a step forward towards the door, and this gut wrenching feeling churned within me. My conscious got the better of me. I turned on heel and walked back to Ben without another word.
Ben scooped me up and held me close to his chest. I could hear his gigantic heart beating loud and quickly. He petted my back and waggled a finger at me. I was scolded and told never ever to scare him like that again.
I merely nodded and accepted my scolding. And when he was done scolding me Ben's mother walked in and helped him get back into his chair. I was placed back into my home but things wouldn't be the same.
Days went by and we didn't go to the Jamboree like we had intended. Ben didn't say why we weren't going but he muttered maybe next year. We started to play games. I liked the games we played, we played army with little plastic soldiers and I had a tiny toy gun to run around with. Or we would play with his toy train.
We even read the newest Little Friends magazine together, there was a picture of a model shuttle in it from the jamboree. And on the cover was some drawing of the Loop in Chicago by a boy named Yorbe.
Life wasn't so bad, I was well taken cared of and I felt loved. But then that faithful day finally arrived. The day I was to be sent back. Ben had a solemn look on his face as he carried me in a box to the car.
His mom kept saying encouraging things like "Oh but Tripper will be happier this way and we'll get you a really nice one hun"
I felt my heart drop realizing what was going on. I tried to scramble out of the box and Ben looked down in at me. He shook his head and patted the top of my head.
"Show them what a good girl you are." He said sadly.
Then I started to yell out "I don't wanna go!!" and jumping up and down in the box. Ben's mother pulled over to the side of the road and came to the backseat. She peered in the box at me curiously.
"She really loves you hun… and you really like her don't ya," she said to her son and ruffled his hair.
Ben nodded sadly and stroked my back with his finger. His mom smiled to him and whispered in his ear. A smile went across his face for a moment.
"You really think…." He started and stopped the sentence looking down at me.
"I don't know but it's worth a shot." His mother said.
We finally arrived at the building, where I remember the horrible chase and the five year old. I shuddered in retrospect. I was placed on a counter while Ben's mother and some adults spoke and motioned towards me.
Abruptly a man in a lab coat scooped me up rather harshly and marched with me out of the room. We kept on going till we reached the back door of the facility. He opened that door and looked outside at the grass and the single tree in the yard.
He then bent down and sat me outside the doorway nudging me out with his hand. I stared up in confusion. "You're free. Go be free, shoo!" He said and stomped his feet. The minor earthquake caused by his feet jarred me into action and I found myself running into the grass.
I stared as the door closed and the man disappeared. A mother and her young girl walked by on the sidewalk and I dived down into the grass hiding. They continued on without ever seeing me. When I poked my head back up I saw Ben and his mother wheeling around peering at the tree and making their way down the sidewalk.
I yelled and ran towards them as fast as I could. They didn't hear me and kept on looking around for something. Finally I got close enough and yelled again and both swirled around to look at me.
Ben had the biggest smile on his face when he spotted me. His mother went over and picked me up, very gently and handed me over to Ben. Ben held me close to him, and we went home. Our home.