On Varditor

by Shrinkingman

Is it possible to be a dwarf while just shy of 6 feet tall? It depends where you are, I guess. Where _I_ am is on the planet Varditor, where everyone and everything is twice normal size. My name is Tom Harding, originally from Burlington, Vermont, and I stand 5'10" and weigh about 250 pounds.

That doesn't account for too much on this world. I married a woman from this planet, Hrillvo, who is just shy of 12 feet tall and maybe about 1,300 pounds. Together we are raising three kids--two of whom are normal size (normal for Varditor) while one somehow got my genes and is of Earthling size.

I don't mind it, I guess, as I kinda like being a little guy in a big world, though it doesn't make things easy sometimes. I can't drive even with raised pedals--just too short and scrawny. Turning doorknobs and opening doors is hard. Reaching things can be a challenge, but around the house I can stand on a stepstool, or, say, at the market, I can ask someone to reach something for me. It can be a 10 yr old who gladly pulls something down for me, noting how small this "adult" is!

And I deal with kids for my job, as I am a teacher. Kids who range from 8 to almost 12 feet tall. As I head toward my classroom, in the hustle of the hallway, I have to be careful I'm not knocked down. They've learned to kind of watch for me.

I'm easy to notice--the only one in school who's a mere 70 inches tall.

My oldest is my son Dorty, who is 12. He's just shy of 10 feet tall and weighs about 700 pounds. Athletic and energetic. He laughed when I told him basketball stars on Earth would be about 3 feet shorter than him--he'd be the same height as the rim. The youngest child is my daughter Mrotta, who is 6...she's about 8 feet tall and maybe 600 pounds.

In the middle is my 9 year old son Garny, who is all of 4 foot 6 and 80 pounds. Yes, he's three years younger than Dorty and not even waist high to him...and he weighs one-ninth what Dorty does. Sometimes Garny kind of clings to me, the only guy around who's even close to his size. The only guy who isn't a toddler, I mean. He wants me to protect him from the huge Varditorians and I hate to break it to him, but who's gonna protect ME from them?

Maybe my wife or other kids, I guess. Everyone seems so gigantic here. My brother in law must weigh a ton, literally.

I actually joined the Little People of Varditor, which is similar to an Earth organization for dwarves. I'm the smallest member; most of them are non-proportional dwarves and tend to be between 7 and 9 and a half feet tall. Some are "proportional". One I met is about 7'1", maybe 300 pounds, and I informed him he'd be a giant on my planet. "Look at me. Most people on Earth are my size, maybe slightly smaller or bigger. You'd tower over most of us."

I ride in a child's safety seat. When I sit in a chair, I choose between sitting cross-legged, or letting my legs dangle over the side.

Sometimes my wife gives me a ride to work. Sometimes...I ride the school bus. The kids are used to me but I can't help but feel powerless when they start to act up on the bus: yelling, screaming, fighting, throwing things at each other. I'll yell at them to stop but they often ignore me. Why not? The smallest of them could beat the crap out of me, so why bother listening to me? The bus driver keeps them in line, though sometimes I speak up.

One day the kids got off the bus. I was one of the last to depart and I heard the driver say to me, "I'm sorry, man."

"Sorry about what? You didn't do anything wrong."

"No, I mean I feel sorry you're small...It must be hell..."

I sigh. "Well, I'm normal sized back on Earth. In some way I don't mind being small here, but there are days..."

"Keep strong my friend," he says, firmly grasping my tiny hand in his huge paw. I wince a little--even though he's intentionally being easy on me, it still hurts. His hands are twice as long, twice as wide, and who knows how many times as strong as mine.

part 2

When the kids were causing trouble on the bus, I yelled at them to stop and some of them, very well aware I was a teacher at their school, obeyed. Even if I wasn't big and strong, they knew I'd report their behavior to school administrators who could punish them. Others kept acting up, though the bus driver kept them in line. They tried to see what they could get away with but a stern rebuke from the bus driver made them cool it.

Into the school, and into the maelstrom of huge kids getting to class. One section of the school was for kids aged 8 to 11, while another (and I did some teaching there) was for those 12 to 14. That day I found myself in the older kids' section and there was one period that I had free--most kids were in class, but I could roam about a bit...maybe go outside to eat my lunch.

See, during the regular lunch period, I was helping out a couple students with a computer project...so I delayed my own lunch. I went outside, just after 1 pm, and enjoyed the meal on a nice late spring day. Then I went back inside and was heading toward a classroom when I suddenly heard loud footsteps behind me. I was certainly used to that.

Suddenly I felt myself being picked up. Huge hands reached under my armpits and carried me off. I heard laughing and tried to look around but I could only see the T-shirt and jeans of the boy who was carrying me. Another boy was laughing; the one carrying me said, "Quick, open it!" There was the sound of a locker's lock being spun around to a certain combo, and then the locker being opened. And me being thrust into it.

From outside, I heard what sounded like the boys exchanging the Varditorian equivalent of a high-five, more chuckling, and one saying, "C'mon!" Their sneakers squeaked on the hallway floor the way basketball players' sneakers might do the same, and they were off. And I was stuck in a locker. I pounded on the door and demanded to be let out!

After a minute or so I heard a familiar voice outside: "Just a sec!"
The door opened, and there was my son Dorty.

"Dad! How did you..."

"Someone threw me in there...two of them..." I looked back into the locker and picked up a notebook. Inside were some corrected test papers, and the boy's name was right on them. Obvious--one of these kids decided to throw me into his own locker (since he knew that combo), probably on a dare. He didn't figure that I could find out whom he was.

Suddenly I noticed the principal leading two boys back into his office. "We were just going to the bathroom," one of them protested. "We don't need hall passes like the little kids."

"Listen," said the principal. "I got a complaint about the both of you from one of your classmates, and we're going to talk about it right now--"

He stopped short when he saw me. I explaned how two students had thrown me into a locker. Then I walked over to one boy and saw his T-shirt and jeans. Looked familiar in some ways.

"Mr Votto," I said to the principal, "is one of these boys Kyno Feji?"

"Yes, Mr. Harding--the other is Pokli Reyin..."

"...who I had in my music course last year. I remember."

Both boys were in trouble. They were about 14 or maybe 13 years old. Tall and gangly, with long, thick hair. Twice my height, maybe five times my weight. Yet I had no trouble walking up to the both of them, looking up, and berating them for their behavior.

"You take advantage of me because of my size? What were you thinking?"

"We were just goofing around," said Pokli.

Each of them pointed to the other and said, "IT WAS HIS IDEA."

I wanted, I really wanted, to slap them both in their faces. Had I been about 5 feet taller maybe I would have.


In some ways I don't mind being small...I feel like a kid again; the innocent, joyful time of life. Being this size actually helps me relate to some of the kids in younger grades, who feel comfortable being with an adult who's not bigger than them but actually is smaller.

One 8 year old was trying to reach something on a high shelf with no luck. "I wish I could be big," he said.

"You ARE big...compared to me!," I told him with a smile, and some of the kids laughed. "Heck, you can reach some things I can't." We compared hand sizes--and he didn't feel all that small after that.

Thankfully the kids don't tend to be mean-spirited...though some times they can do stupid things; witness the locker incident.

I met with them in a kind of detention session after classes. They were already sitting in the assigned room when I entered. Kyno got up and went over to talk to me. Even when a kid his size is sitting, he's taller than me. Imagine how much smaller I felt when he then got up. I craned my neck up to look him in the eye, which I guess was better than staring straight ahead and seeing his belt buckle.

"Just a sec..." I went over to the teacher's desk and stood on top of it. Even then, he was a bit taller than me, but I felt a lot taller now.

"Please sit." He sat down. I looked down at the two of them--yes, now they had to look up, if ever so slightly, to look me in the eye.

"OK, I'm from a planet of dwarves compared to you guys. That's just the way it is. But I am no less a person than either of you, and had our sizes been reversed, I would not have thrown you into a locker. It doesn't matter whether I'm a teacher, or your little brother, or whatever. People deserve respect--and then they get it."

"We're sorry," said Pokli. "We were gonna come right back and let you out."

"We couldn't resist it, Mr. Harding," added Kyno. "It's just weird having a grownup your size, y'know? And we thought it would be funny--"

"Funny to you guys, but not to me." I sat down on the desk, my legs dangling over the side. "You know there are times when it's not bad being small, but it can be pretty painful, too. Do you know about my son? The one who is only 3 nikklas tall?" (A nikkla was 18 inches, on Varditor.) "What do you think life's like for him?"

They nodded. 9 years old, but here he was the size of a one year old, here on Varditor.

"So you see me walking down the hall and figure it might be fun to throw me into a locker. THROW me. That's assault, you know-- you forceably picked me up without my consent and threw me in there with your huge hands!"

"We didn't mean any harm," admitted Kyno.

"Look how much bigger your hands and arms are, guys. Your feet, legs--what a huge difference. You could hurt someone like me--in fact, you did. I bumped my head on the side of the locker when you threw me in!

"Now, I talked to your writing teacher and she agreed to assign you guys an extracurricular activity. You're going to write a short story about going to my planet, and your character --twice as tall as the ordinary Earthling--is going to help people out. Aid those in trouble. You do that story, each of you, and it'll be counted in your final grade. You don't do it, and you get an incomplete in your grade...am sure your parents won't like that."

They nodded, then both of them got up and walked over to me and they apologized for what they had done.

"Thank you," I replied. Then I got down (or, more like jumped down) from the teacher's desk where I was sitting, and I looked up at them...and tried to conclude things with a bit of humor.

"Now, I said that if our sizes were reversed, even THEN, I wouldn't throw you guys into a locker. Keep in mind, the only way that COULD happen would be if our sizes were reversed."

"Yeah, I don't think you could throw either of us in a locker the way things are now," smiled Kyno.

"You got that right." I kind of spread my arms apart and pretended I was trying to lug a nearly-12-feet-tall teenager around. "Urhghh!," I grunted. "Boy you guys are heavy!" I then pretended to throw the invisible teenager toward a storage locker. We all kinda chuckled.


Hrillvo picked me up when the school day ended and took me home. She has a bit of a flexible schedule and can do that sometimes. I feel like a 4 year old being picked up by his mom. She insists I ride in the child seat in the back of the car, for safety. And there is a law here that kids who weigh less than 600 pounds do have to be in a safety seat. I'm no kid, but my comparatively scrawny weight of 250 means I qualify.

"I could sit in the front with you--"

"And if someone rear-ends the car, you'd go flying. Sorry, hon..."

She's right. The regular seat belts are far too loose on me.

"Where's Garny?"

"He's over at Honapo"s house and said he'll walk back to our house when we're ready to go to dinner."

Poor Garny, who was incredibly tiny on this world. It wasn't easy for him being so small, though thankfully he had a classmate like Honapo who could help him out a bit--and certainly be his friend. Like most 9 year olds, Honapo was far bigger than me-- 9 feet tall, maybe 650 or 700 pounds--and certainly seems even more huge to Garny. But he can kind of be a body guard to the runt of my family. Some kids made fun of him for having such a little friend, but Honapo was pretty well liked by his peers and they must figure if a cool dude like him had such a tiny friend, then so be it.

"So do you think my idea is a good one? I know it'll be tough, but we can have fun, and I know Garny will love it."

The "idea" was what we would be doing on vacation, going to a remote place called...Burlington, Vermont. Yes, my home town on my home planet.

"Garny will love being in a place where other kids his age are his size," Hrillvo agreed. "He'll fit in better--things won't seem so huge."

But the logistics of the trip were a hassle. We'd have to get a private rocket to go there, and a world meant for people 6 feet tall or under would not be comfortable for Varditorians. Chairs would be too small. Other than Garny or myself, the rest of the family would be too big to fit comfortably in rooms--I had images of Hrillvo, Mrata, and Dorty hunching down to fit through doorways and only being able to fit in rooms if they sat on the floor. (In a house, that is; other places like restaurants might have ceilings high up enough to accomodate them.)

Fit in an Earth car? Maybe a huge truck.

Eating? The huge portions Varditorians demand would seem outrageous to the locals.

Still, for the first time, Garny could be in a world built for people his size. And my size.

Mrotta was at a Girl Scout activity that afternoon and Dorty had some school sports (practice) to deal with. They each would have rides to bring them back home. Our plan was to head out to a nearby park and have a picnic, together with my brother in law's family...Rodno, Iwaj, and their five year old son Yonek. An energetic child who, of course, was also bigger than me--maybe 7 feet tall, 340 pounds. He liked to run around with me and Garny (though I worried that the boy might knock Garny over if he wasn't careful.

The size difference is truly pronounced. A kid like Yonek weighing more than me; winning when we arm-wrestle....yet considered puny compared to older kids and adults.

I sighed. "Well, there are times when I really don't mind being this small, Hon, and then there are..."

"Oh no...sweetie, what happened..? Did something happen to you today--"

"Yes...I got thrown into a locker by two dumb kids." I briefly told her the story, including how Dorty heard me pounding and let me out.

"How did he know the combo?"

Interesting question! "I think on these lockers, after you close them you're supposed to spin the wheel a couple times so it locks again.. If you don't you can just lift the latch and it opens. The kids forgot that. I could have tried to open it from the inside but I don't know if that's possible--and I was panicking so I didn't try. I just started pounding on it to have them let me out."

She said she was sorry that this had to happen to me.

"Yeah--sometimes I feel like a misfit being here, like I should have stuck to my own planet. But if I had, I wouldn't have met and married you and had such nice kids."

A friend of mine was serving as ambassador from Earth and he heard me mention my fantasies about being small. "Come to Varditor and you'll be waist high without shrinking an inch." Hrillvo worked in his office.


Rodno and his family joined us for the picnic. We had a table in the park near a lake. I helped them bring some picnic supplies to the table and we all sat down and enjoyed the food. Garny was so small he wound up standing on the picnic table's bench to better reach things and see over the tabletop.

Afterwards, some of the kids went running around the area; Iwaj and Hrillvo talked, and I sat down next to a tree, joined by my brother in law Rodno. We must have looked like a father and his three- or- four year old son.

"I have the printout of the article here--check it out." He handed me a couple pages of Varditorian text, and I looked it over.

by Rodno Fodix

Tom Harding, who hails from the planet Earth, is only half the size and one eighth the weight of the average Varditorian male. But his small stature does not stop him from teaching kids much bigger than him, or from spreading his Earth culture to us. Tom (full disclosure: he's my brother in law) is getting some kids to learn an Earth game called baseball.

"I had to adjust the dimensions of 'Little League' to Varditorian kids," he explains. "The Earth kids who play 'Little League' baseball are maybe just over three nikklas tall." Harding himself is just under 4 nikklas tall. "In Little League, it's about 30 nikklas from the pitcher's mound to home plate, and 40 nikklas from one base to another."

Those are Earth dimensions. He had to double them for Varditor.

"Little League dimensions are smaller than Major League baseball-- the professional type played by adults. The funny thing is, if we built a baseball field for kids on Varditor, it would be far too big for Earthling ADULTS to play on!"

(I stopped reading for a second. Yes, it was true. Suppose you had some Earthling baseball all stars playing against some Varditorian kids. Even using a "scaled down" field for kids, the Earthlings would have a tough time. Pedro Martinez would have a tough time pitching from 90 feet away. Derek Jeter would find it impossible to beat a throw to first base, when the distance from home plate to first was 120 feet--30 feet more than the major league distance.

The outfield fences in Varditorian Little League would be almost 500 feet out; David Ortiz would have a difficult time hitting a homer. In other words, it would be like taking an Earth little league team and having them play Major Leaguers who had been shrunk down to three feet tall!) Of course, if Varditorian Little Leaguers played on a major league (Earth) field, it would seem too puny to them.

Resuming the article:
Harding explained some of the basics of the game to me (see box). Players are pitched a ball which they attempt to make contact with. If they safely make it back to "home plate", they score a "run" and the team with most runs wins the game.

"It involves athletic skill and strategy, and games can be quite dramatic." Harding wears a T-shirt celebrating his favorite Earth baseball team: "Boston Red Sox, 2004 World Champions". Yet he gets a kick out of the size difference factor. Even the smallest Varditorian 'Little League' players would be much taller, heavier, and faster than adult baseball players on Earth. Harding proves his point when one nine year old boy, about six nikklas tall, runs a small race against Harding. No contest. The boy easily beats out Harding, with the Earthling's short legs and smaller feet being a disadvantage. Even this writer's five year old son is bigger than the Earth-born teacher.

I scanned the rest of the article and nodded. "Good work. This should help to publicize my effort."

"Thanks! You really make a difference with those kids. I'd have a tough time dealing with kids bigger than me, something that YOU do every day. You've got a strong spirit."

I thanked him. It was true; I was a weakling compared to even the smallest kids in my school, but inside, I was strong.


Big Vistors to Earth! by Kyno Feji

Pokli and I took a trip to planet Earth where everyone is half our size. It's really weird having people only waist high to you, and we thought we'd be seen as freaks but they actually admire us. For one thing, they get a kick out of seeing teenagers as big as Pokli and me and we kinda became celebrities. But they also like us because we have done some heroic things!

Well, in some ways we were seen as freaks when we got here because people gawked up at us. But Pokli and I figured if a couple teens twice our size showed up on Varditor we'd do the same thing. "They love us," Pokli told me. "Like today when we went to that high school? The girls were swooning over us man!"

"Yeah we got big muscles and we look cool! The guys are jealous though. They wish they could be our size, and they think we're stealing their girlfriends."

We went to Mr. Harding's home town which is called Burlington Vermont. It's right on a lake and has a nice walkway with shops and restaurants. The University of Vermont is there--it would be cool if we could go there. The football team would love to have us! But I think it would be tough for us to get around because we're so tall.

Anyway, we were staying with Mr. Harding's brother in a town called Essex Junction--we slept in his garage because we couldn't really fit in the house. And one morning we heard this big crash outside. Pokli and I went out and saw it was a schoolbus that must have flipped over a couple times because the driver took a turn too fast! It was laying on its side and there were a bunch of screaming kids, maybe 10 or 12 years old. They were having trouble getting out.

Pokli and I ran over and saw there was a small opening in the roof. The bus was really crumpled bad, and the kids needed to get out right away in case it caught on fire or something. We went to the opening and bent the steel, and when we made the hole a bit bigger we got the little kids and the driver out. There were police and ambulance cars coming and one cop asked what we were doing--if we weren't careful we could cause harm..

"Sorry sir but we gotta get these kids out! Here..." We started handing the kids over to them, taking care with a couple who seemed to have broken legs or something. The back of the bus started to catch fire but we got them out in time.

A few kids did have to go to the hospital but most were just really shaken up. We made the TV news and the parents thanked us. Someone told us that a few years before, there had been a bus crash just like this one, up in a country called Canada, and most of the kids were OK but 4 kids--12 or 13 years old--died. We wished we could have been there to help those kids.

Kyno--you did a really good job on this. You and Pokli are good kids, and I forgive you for throwing me in that locker. I noticed you worked in that story I told you about what happened in 2001 back on Earth--the bus accident in Canada. I got a bit of a lump in my throat when I read that part. Yes, if only you could have been there...--Mr. Harding

(Note: I sometimes put real life events in my stories. The bus crash I mentioned in "Kyno's school assigment" really did happen in April of 2001... four students were killed in a bus crash in New Brunswick...--shrinkingman


I love this crazy tragic
Sometimes almost magic
Awful beautiful life--Darryl Worley

"So you think Rodno's article did you justice?," Hrillvo asked me that night.

"Yeah...well, the article isn't really about me. It's about this game of baseball I'm trying to introduce to Varditor."

"But it is about you. You're a special guy."

I blushed. "Maybe so. You know, Rodno's a great guy...and it runs in the family." My wife laughed and agreed.

It was true. A gentle giant, my brother-in-law. Cheerful, friendly, helpful, and so big and strong he'd make a good bodyguard for me on Varditor, or on Earth for that matter. Gentle, but he could do a good job protecting me if someone tried to beat me up or something. I smiled, thinking of the reaction people on Earth would have if they saw me walking around with a 12 foot tall, one-ton man--again, a gentle sort, but his strong arms could easily scare away anyone trying to do me harm.

But heck even my son Dorty could scare away an evildoer from Earth, if he had to!

"You remind me of him," Hrillvo added, "just in a more compact package."

We hugged. "You folks are giants in more ways than one. I am so lucky."

I walked over to my twin bed. We slept in separate beds because of the size difference...I didn't want Hrillvo to roll over on top of me as we slept! I sat on the edge of my bed, dangling my white-socked feet over the side.

"You must miss Earth, though."

"I do--Vermont is lovely, and maybe we can visit. But you know, I am much happier here. I mean, Varditor has its troubles but they seemed much worse on Earth. We each get our share of crime, wars, natural disasters, tragedies--but for some reason they're not as bad on Varditor...not as commonplace."

That night I had a dream. I was out for a walk and as I saw different people it was as if I could see their past lives. And it occured to me that Varditorians just might be people on Earth who had a sorry life and a worse end, but they were, well, re-incarnated here.

I pictured a musician on the street as a music fan who died in a nightclub fire in Rhode Island. His life was cut short on Earth, only in his twenties...yet he had another chance here. Some kids ran past and somehow I could sense that they had been molested, mistreated, or murdered on Earth--but now they were living happy lives here.

And then a man about my age suddenly stopped and looked down at me. "Vermont..." He read the word on my T-shirt. Not many Varditorians could speak or read English, but how could he?

'Yes. That's where I am from," I said to him, in Varditorian.

"As was I. I dream of it and can tell I used to live there." The man crouched down to look me in the eye. "It was nice but this is even better." He held a hand up, just above the top of my head.

"Yes, I was your size back then, I know it."

Was Varditor heaven? Was it a place where some Earthlings from a past life could get another start? Of course I was still alive; I simply moved here.

When I went to speak to the man he suddenly vanished. This was a dream, all right, so that kind of thing happened. From out of the bushes came a small man, small for this planet. "We miss you, Tom," he said. Why it was my younger brother Paul, who lived just outside of Burlington!

We hugged and I told him I was glad to see him--and yes, my family WAS planning to visit Earth some day. Suddenly I heard footsteps. It got darker, as if storm clouds were moving in or as if it were suddenly dusk. A circle of Varditorians formed around us. We looked up at their menacing voices and suddenly heard them speak--in pre-pubescent pitch.

"Now we got TWO pipsqueaks! Two midgets!" A twelve year old boy, towering some ten or 11 feet up into the air, with a face, arms, and torso considerably bigger than mine.

"Naw they're from Earth," said an 11 year old boy. "I seen THIS one on TV." He pointed his oversized hand down at me. "You're no grownup! You wanna fight? The two of you together can't take me!"

Paul and I pleaded with them to let us alone. I didn't recognize any of the kids--none were from my school. Maybe they came from another town.

The first twelve year old lifted my brother up as if he were a three year old kid brother. Outsized hands reached under Paul's armpits and easily hoisted him up. "Can ya see me now, shrimp?" Paul struggled to break free. One of the kids--there were half a dozen or so--grabbed Paul's sneakers and ripped them off his feet and threw them off to the side. I went over to the 12 year old and again begged him to put Paul down. The 11 year old went over to me and put his hands on my shoulders, then pushed down. I crumpled to the ground and soon found one boy put his sneakered foot down on my chest to keep me down.

I looked up and saw Paul attempting to punch the boy who held him. Tiny fists went into the lad's belly but didn't make much of an impression.

"Lookit how small his arms are!," laughed a 10 year old dirty blond boy. "What a weakling!...OW!"

A 12 year old girl, presumably the 10 year old's sister, punched the 10 year old in the arm and started to drag him away. "Come ON, Leunig. You can't keep beating up little kids--"

Suddenly the girl caught a better look at my brother and me and saw the adult faces--beards, and so on. She giggled. The next thing I knew, the boy who was guarding me took his foot off my chest--but then kicked me and I rolled over a few times, my face ultimately landing face down in the dirt.

"OK, boys, you did enough damage," said the girl. I felt her pulling me up as the boys started to yell at her.

"Whadda doin', you gonna put him in your dollhouse?"

"(giggles) Aw, he ain't THAT small. And you're too old for dollhouses anyways."

Now that I was standing up again, I took the opportunity to go over to the boy who was holding my brother and tried to pull him down--my brother, that is. (I'd have no hope of bringing down the boy!) The boy did set Paul down and we tried to make a break for it.

We ran away but heard thumping noises behind us. It took no time for the humungous boys (and one girl) to catch up to us, and we were taken down like football players being tackled. No football player back on Earth had to deal with kids who weighed a good 800 pounds or so.

As one boy tried to again hold me down (another boy held Paul) I heard a familiar voice in the distance...and one boy said something like, "Guys, let's get outta here..."

A man who weighed two and a half times as much as the biggest kid, and towered over all of them, reached them and I could see him toss each kid aside as easily as they'd manhandled me, if not more so.

Rodno Fodix to the rescue.

The kids started to flee, but my brother in law commanded them to stop in their tracks. An apology was due, but first Rodno had to make sure we Earthlings were OK.

I was winded from running, coughing, and my legs seemed shaky. Rodno's gigantic hands firmly (but not TOO firmly) reached around my shoulders, as if to give me some needed strength.

"I'm OK, but how's--"

He was gone. Where was my brother? I was just about to see if HE was OK, and introduce him to my brother in law, but he vanished... and the surroundings changed from a city park to a darkened bedroom. My wife in the other bed, and the house mostly dark save for a dim light in the kitchen.

My dream, or was it nightmare, was over, and was I ever glad it wasn't real.

I had to use the bathroom so I eased myself down to the floor and went down the hall; but I glanced into the room my two sons were sleeping in. Tiny Garno, using a toddler bed despite his nine years of age, was sleeping peacefully. So was his big, big brother Dorty, in a regular sized bed in the opposite corner of the room.

I could certainly sympathize with Garno, being so small, and subject to various dangers. But the big ones like Dorty, his mom, his sister, and their uncle Rodno would be there to protect us.

As I settled back to sleep I thought, yes there were some bad things on Varditor, at least for someone small like me, but hopefully they would only be bad dreams. Otherwise it was a pretty good life.

to be continued


I had a half day at work so I planned to meet Rodno for lunch at a local restaurant to talk about my idea: to take my family for a visit to Earth. Maybe the appearance of my brother in that dream spurred me on to this quest, but I actually had been thinking about it for some time anyway.

We got a booth and ordered steak tips, potatoes, and beer, with cheese and crackers to munch on while we waited. The place gave huge portions even for lunch orders; just enough to fill Rodno's huge belly and way too much for me. As usual, the forks, knives, and spoons seemed outsized for my tiny hands, and even the small mug of beer was so big I had to use both hands to lift it to my lips. People passing by our table wondered why a 3 year old boy was drinking beer...till they noticed the "boy" had a beard and was dressed semi-casually in adult-looking (but kid sized) clothes.

"Do you want to..." I could sense what the waitress was about to ask: did I want a booster seat.

"No, that's OK, I can reach everything fine. Thanks anyway!"

So I told Rodno of my plans to take Hrillvo, Dorty, Garny, and Mrotta to Earth, specifically my hometown of Burlington, Vermont. "The rocket is an expensive rental but I have a way around it. And you'll enjoy the trip, I'm sure..."

Rodno's face brightened. "Me too?"

"Oh of course! Maybe your whole family too, if you want to bring them...but I knew you'd like to come so you can write about it. Write about being on a planet of little people."

"Well, thanks! I'll ask the family, sure, but whether or not they want to join me, I'd love to go."

"All right. Well, my friend the ambassador to Earth can get us that rocket rental for a song...since we'll be on a goodwill mission. Government write-off, you know. Meeting the kind people of Earth, and so on. He may join us as well."

"You can pick up some clothes for yourself and for Garny while we're there," suggested Rodno. Yes, Earth clothes specifically meant for my son and me, as opposed to the specially made ones we were using here.

"Right. Now, we'll have to be careful when we're there. Especially the kids--don't want them knocking over some Earthlings if they run around. Be polite and helpful...Oh, and we can stay with my brother and his family. You giants might not be able to fit in his house but there's his garage, or maybe a tent out back for the kiddos. You giants will be too big to fit in cars but maybe can ride in the back of a flatbed truck or something."

"OK. Ooh, here's our food. Oh, speaking of which..."

"I know what you're gonna say. Yeah, Earthlings eat a lot less than Varditorians. You've seen how little Garny and I eat? Because we're so puny? Well, on Earth it'll be interesting because your appetites are much more. Hopefully you won't eat my brother and his family out of house and home, and when we go to restaurants--the ones big enough for you to fit in--you'll have to order a couple dinners each to feel full."

It was true: the size difference would come into play.

"I have plans: boat ride, train ride--I think they could squeeze us into a rail car if we try...Swimming, sightseeing...and we'll be media darlings. The TV networks will love us."

Rodno nodded, busily eating. I glanced down at his plate. His lunch could feed an Earth family for several days. Varditorians were twice as tall as Earthlings; eight times as heavy--that meant food portions for them were eight times as big as what we'd be getting on Earth.

"And I'd get to drive...yes, to actually be able to reach the pedals again! That'll be fun." Yes, I was tired of being consigned to only being a passenger in Varditorian cars--and having to use a booster seat. (It was a law: anyone under 9 foot 6 had to use a booster. Hrillvo and Dorty were big enough but Mrotta, Garny, and myself all needed to use them.)

"Garny will be so happy," said Rodno. "Kids will be his size!"

"Yes--over here, he's smaller than Yonek. It kinda bothers him that he's nine but smaller than a five year old."

"And YOU'LL be happy, too...back in a world of people your size."

I nodded. "Though I still like Varditor, even though stuff is so big to me here."

"And we like you, little guy."

I smiled. "You know, when Hrillvo and I were dating; when she told me she'd like me to meet her brother, I was a little leery--because I didn't know if you'd like me. But you saw me and shook my hand, and we got to talking, hit it off right away... and I found that you didn't mind someone my size...someone from a different planet...was in love with your sister."

"Sure, I had no problem with it. I could tell you were a good guy. And remember what I told you just before the wedding?"

I sure did: "Redda jon (little guy), I know Hrilly loves you with all her heart and what's fine with her is fine with me. You'll be part of our family now and pal, we'll stick together. Help each other...and if you ever get into trouble, what with being so small, don't worry--I'll protect you. You won't have to worry, redda jon."

"Redda loy (big guy), I appreciate that. I'll do the same for you. We're family. We're loyal. Ikli ikli! (thank you very much)"

And we WERE family, despite the size differences and the fact we came from different planets.

And that night I told my family that arrangements were being made: we would be journeying to Earth. They were all delighted. Later, I went into the den and sat on the sofa, my feet just about reaching the edge of the cushion. I leafed through the mail and noticed Garny entering the room. He climbed up onto the sofa and gave me a big hug.

"Dad, this'll be a great trip! I can't wait--people OUR size!"

"You'll love it, Son. Things will be scaled down for you--for US. You and I might get to sleep in my brother's house because we're so..."small". And you'll be able to reach stuff there..."

"I'll have kids my age who are my size, too!"

I smiled and tussled my son's hair. Poor redda jon, only four and a half feet tall in a world of giants.

"Tell me Garny...do you ever feel bad that you're, well, Earthling sized?"

"Sometimes...I feel kinda left out, y'know? Being so little. And people sometimes make fun of me."

"Are you...are you mad at me because I'm so little and I passed my genes along to you, so you're little too?"

"Not really, Dad. It's OK. It's the way things are."

"Let me tell you, Garny: whether you're Dorty's size...or the size you are...or whatever...we all love you. And we look out for you."

"I know, Dad."

"We'll stick together, redda jon. I'll be around to help and protect you. No matter what world we're on."

Hrillvo and Mrotta came into the room and each gave Garny and me a hug and a goodnight kiss.

My family. Big or small, I love them all...


At least seven people would be making the trip to Earth: me, Hrillvo, Dorty, Mrotta, Garny; my brother-in-law Rodno, and Rob Dorr, the Earth-born ambassador to Varditor. It was possible Rodno's wife and son might also come. Of the seven, three of us were Earthling-sized (Garny, remember, had inherited my genes and was a mere four and a half feet tall)--so, Garny, Rob, and me. The other four would be more than a bit outsized for my home planet.

The Varditorian giants weren't exactly Godzilla sized or building sized, but being twice the height and eight times the weight of Earthlings was still quite a size differential. To give you an idea of just how huge a Varditorian could be, imagine the dimensions of Rodno: feet 8 inches wide by 20 inches long. His kneecap was three feet up, and his waist nearly 6 and a half feet up. Long legs and arms, and hands eight inches by 14 inches. I imagined the trouble he might have walking up comparatively puny steps with those huge feet. How he'd have to watch out for "low" branches of trees.

And more importantly, how could someone his size get into most houses? The answer was, he couldn't, not with low and narrow (to him) doors and ceilings maybe 4 or 5 feet shorter than he was. Though some places would have doors just big enough and ceilings high enough.

I imagined it would be tough for my wife and my two taller kids, for example, to use a bathroom. Imagine a toilet scaled down to baby size. A sink down at knee level.

"My brother got into contact with a porta-potty company," I told Rob, "who can make two units--one on property Paul owns, and one in downtown Burlington, which would be scaled up to the Varditorians." There would be a combo lock (above my head!) on the huge facilities so only the giants could use them, of course. They'd be too big for Earthlings to use anyway.

"I told everybody to be careful when they walk around, so as not to accidentally injure someone," I told Rob. "And my brother Paul has spread the word to the local paper and TV stations saying that Burlington-area residents shouldn't fear these giants...that they should be welcomed, and so on."

"Yes...the media, that's an important point, too--yes, they should know the giants will be visiting, but we don't want to cause too much of a media sensation, if you know what I mean."

It would be hard for the Earth media to resist the story, though. They already made a big deal when the Varditorian ambassador to Earth, Doryan Oto, moved to my home planet, remarking about his titanic size. Now several Varditorians would be visiting.

"At least I am in no danger of being mugged or assaulted, not as long as someone like Hrillvo or Rodno were to walk around with me!," I chuckled. Yes, the offender would run away in a panic at the very sight of a giant companion.

"Yup. And they all speak English rather well, so communication shouldn't be a problem."

Indeed, that was the case. I had taught them quite a bit of the language. In fact when Rob had brought some Earth music back with him, I made copies for Rodno and he loved the rock and country songs, and sang along, too. He got a kick out of the country stuff--songs like "That's What I Like About Sunday", "Mississippi Girl", and "I Love This Bar".

Being a good-natured kidder, though, at one point I asked Rodno to say, in English, 'I am very pleased to meet you.' Rodno said, in English, 'Your raccoon is a first-baseman who stole my pancakes.'"

"Come on!," I had laughed. "Be serious..." Rodno had laughed, too, and said, in perfect English, 'I am very pleased to meet you.'"

As he left, Rodno started to sing, in English, one of the country songs he had learned: "There's no cover charge/Come as you arrrrrrrre....Mmm hmm hmm, hmm, hmm, I love this bar."

to be continued