by Samuel Orona
Chapters 7-12 of the original version of the six millimeter man
|Chapter Seven: Deuce the Sleuth
I continued on my journey for several hours. I was getting very hungry, and eating blades of grass just didn't cut it. I was hoping to find a garden in someone's yard, but I had even better luck than that.
As I came to the top of a hill, I looked down to see a strawberry field, seeming to stretch out in all directions. At six millimeters tall, to me, it seemed much bigger than it really was. To a normal-sized person, it was probably about one acre. Not very big for a strawberry farm, but much larger than an average garden.
I could actually smell the strawberries. I ran down the incline at top speed, racing towards the nearest plant. Once I got there, I had to climb up one of the mounds of dirt that had been formed in rows, where the strawberries had been planted. To me, it was like climbing up a small hill. To a normal-sized person, it would've been small enough to step over in a single stride.
A ripe strawberry was leaning against the mound of dirt that the strawberry plant was rooted in. I dug greedily into the juicy outer layer of the succulent fruit, and savored mouthful after delicious mouthful. I had strawberry juice dripping down my chin onto my clothes, but I didn't care, I just continued eating until I was satisfied.
When I was done eating, I sat down to relax. I had covered a lot of ground since I'd left the place where I saw the ants, and I needed a break. As I sat there, it occurred to me that I was better off staying here for a few days, because I had a long journey ahead of me, and I didn't know how scarce food was going to be. I stood up to survey my surroundings.
There were strawberry plants as far as I could see, but in the distance, I could see a house. It was old, probably built in the 1940's or 1950's. It wasn't in really bad shape, but that old house had definitely seen better days. I walked a little bit farther down the length of the elevated row I was standing on, to find a place to set up camp.
After arriving at a point not quite halfway between one end of the strawberry field and the other, I decided to set up camp in a spot where a large number of ripe strawberries clung to the dirt, where they would be easy for me to get to. I dug a cave into the side of the dirt mound, and concealed the entrance with bits of leaves from strawberry plants, and various weeds growing in the gully between the two raised lanes where the strawberry plants grew.
I knew that I could only stay a couple of days at best, because these strawberries looked very ripe, and harvest time was probably drawing near. But for those two days, I was going to eat like a king! I fell asleep easily that night.
I woke up some time in the middle of the night, because I heard a car engine. At my diminished stature, I had very acute hearing, and ordinary sounds seemed to be greatly amplified. It was just like all of my other senses. The smell of the strawberries, for instance. I could smell them as though the entire universe consisted of one smell: strawberries. Or my sense of taste; I've failed to mention the fact that I can taste the difference in food, if even an insignificant amount of spice was added. During my time with Amber, it did no good for her to have me taste food that she was trying to prepare, because my taste buds were far more sensitive than the palate of normal-sized people.
I emerged from my shelter and stood up, to see where the sounds of the car engine were coming from. The car was definitely parked on the dirt road that I had crossed on the other side of the slight incline at the back end of the strawberry farm. When the sounds stopped, a group of shadowy figures emerged on the horizon, and I could see them climbing over the fence that I had simply walked under.
Each of them had bags with them, and they started picking strawberries. At first I was worried that they would find me, but they were concentrating on an area on the other end of the strawberry field, so I didn't have anything to worry about. They continued picking, and this went on for close to an hour. When their bags were full, they left the same way they had come, and disappeared over the fence. I heard the car engine start up again, and they were gone, so I went back to my hollowed out shelter and went back to sleep.
The next morning, after I woke up, I had a breakfast of strawberry chunks, and decided to explore the property. I walked down the length of the elevated row where my shelter was located, and made my way towards the house. It took longer than you might think.
Once I was in the front yard, it occurred to me that the owner might be a pet lover, and I worried about encountering a vicious dog or a hungry cat. I didn't see any dog bowls or plates of dry cat food, or any other evidence of a pet, but I remained alert just in case.
The front door of the house opened, and I saw a very old woman step out. She slowly made her way to the side of the house, and gradually worked her way to the back. She spent a good deal of time examining the strawberry field, obviously aware of the events of the previous night. After spending close to a half an hour walking around the perimeter of her farm, she returned to her house and went back inside.
While exploring the front yard, at what I assumed to be about just before noon, a postal delivery truck pulled up in the driveway. A postal worker got out, and walked toward the front door with some letters and junk mail. The old woman opened the front door, and the mailman handed the mail to her.
The old woman addressed the postal worker, "They're back at it again, Pete! Those hooligans stole more of my strawberries last night!"
The postal worker had a look of concern on his face, and replied, "It's probably a bunch of teenagers, Mrs. Chaney!"
The old woman replied, "But if they keep it up, come harvest time, there won't even be enough strawberries left to pay the workers and break even! I use that money to buy Christmas presents for the grandchildren!"
"Have you tried reporting it to the police?" asked the postal worker.
"Oh, yes, that's the first thing I did when it started becoming a problem, but they only have just so many patrol cars on duty at that hour, and whoever it is that's been doing this, cleans me out and leaves before the police even know what's going on!" replied the old woman.
The postal worker said, "It's too bad you can't hire someone to watch your property one of these nights, so you can catch those bastards red-handed!"
"Not on Social Security! I'm barely getting by as it is!" replied the old woman.
"Well, I have to get back to my rounds, good luck on catching those thieves, Mrs. Chaney!"
"You have yourself a nice day too, Pete!" said the old woman, and she went back inside, and the postal worker left in his mail truck.
What they didn't know was that Mrs. Chaney did have someone to watch her property, and I figured that I owed her at least that much, after enjoying her strawberries. I already had a plan in mind!
After nightfall, I made my way to the back of the property, and up the incline, and down the other side to the dirt road on the other side. I sat there and waited for the car to return. I waited for several hours, and then one or two hours more, but nobody arrived. If I could've had some coffee to keep me awake, that would've helped, but I didn't, so I started getting really sleepy. Eventually, I finally fell asleep.
I woke up to the sound of a car engine, just like the night before, but this time it was much louder, because I was near the dirt road where it parked. An alarmingly large portion of the stars were blocked from my field of vision by the immense vehicle that seemed to be as large as a building. The two doors opened, and a group of teenagers emerged from the car and slammed the doors shut. The sound was so loud to me, that I thought I was going to have permanent hearing loss.
When they had ascended the slight incline and had hopped over the fence, I emerged from my hiding place, and walked around to the back of the car. There was just what I was looking for, big as day. The license plate!
I didn't have anything to write with, so I had to memorize it. The numbers and letters didn't spell out anything in my mind right away, so if I had less time, I wouldn't have been able to remember the seven digit combination of letters and numbers. Eventually, as I studied the license plate, I began to work out a pattern in my mind. Two of the digits, for instance, were the same last two numbers of the year a relative of mine was born. The remaining number was a 7, which was easy to remember, because I had always thought of it as an unlucky number. The remaining letters had no particular significance at first, but then I worked out an acronym in my mind, so that each letter stood for a word in a sentence that was ridiculous enough that I knew I would never forget it. Once I had the license plate memorized, I high-tailed it back to the edge of the dirt road, where the grass was tall enough to camouflage me from the juvenile delinquents until they left.
Close to an hour later, they returned to their car, with plastic grocery bags stuffed full of Mrs. Chaney's strawberries. They had no idea that this would be the last time they would be able to steal strawberries from this farm for a long time!
After they drove away, I began to make my way toward the front of Mrs. Chaney's house. Up and over the incline, down the length of the rows of strawberry plants, and on to the front door. At six millimeters tall, I doubt if I could've traversed that distance in an hour if I'd been running as fast as I possibly could, so even traveling at a moderate pace took the better part of three hours, and by then it was almost daybreak.
This worked to my advantage, however, because I needed the light of the sun to see what I was doing anyway. First, I dug trenches many times wider than my body, and I dug them many times longer than they were wide. Eventually, I had the letters and numbers of the license plate spelled out in the dirt in front of Mrs. Chaney's porch. It's a good thing she didn't take care of her yard, because the fact that she had no grass growing in front of her porch really helped. If I had been forced to write the message in a planter on the side of her porch, it might have gone unnoticed.
After the trenches were dug, I began gathering pebbles to fill in the trenches. Of course, to me the pebbles were like huge boulders, and progress was slow. The sun had been up for over an hour, and I was barely getting started. I had to scout and search far and wide to gather the amount of pebbles I needed. I had to cover an area about 20 yards long and 20 yards wide to get enough of them, and at six millimeters tall, that is quite a wide area to cover!
I decided to take a break after the numbers and letters of the license plate were spelled out before I continued. I still wasn't done yet, I still needed to come up with some kind of a message, so if Mrs. Chaney read it, she would know that these were the numbers and letters of the license plate of the kids who had been stealing her strawberries.
Before I had a chance, though, a paperboy rode by on his bicycle and threw Mrs. Chaney's morning paper towards her porch and missed; it landed right on top of the trenches that I had dug and filled with pebbles! It was much too large and heavy for me to even think about moving it. I was just lucky it hadn't landed on top of me, or I would've been crushed beneath the tremendous weight, and all of my problems would've been over.
Mrs. Chaney must've been an early riser, because I barely had time to get out of the way before she opened the door to retrieve her morning newspaper. When she picked up the paper, she saw the numbers and letters I had spelled out, but other than making an inquisitive remark about it, she completely ignored it. It wasn't until the postal worker returned that something was done.
When he arrived shortly before noon, as he apparently does every day, he saw the numbers and letters of the license plate I had spelled out in the dirt, and asked Mrs. Chaney about it.
She replied, "I don't know who wrote that. What do you think it means?"
The postal worker responded, "Mrs. Chaney, I think someone is trying to help you out here! Maybe someone knows who's doing this, and they're just trying to let you know without letting their friends realize they're being ratted out! I suggest you call the police immediately!"
After the postal worker left, Mrs. Chaney did as he had instructed her, and not long after that, a patrol car arrived on the scene. Mrs. Chaney invited them in, and awhile after that, she took them on a tour of her farm, to show them the areas where strawberries had been pilfered.
The police left, and that seemed to be the end of it, until some reporters arrived from the local newspaper. They went inside, and came out with the old lady, and they took some pictures of her standing next to her strawberry field. I figured that I had done my part in all of this, and that it was time to move on, but I decided to stick around for one more day, to see the newspaper the next morning. Besides, I loved those strawberries, and I would've made any excuse to remain there another day.
Sure enough, the next day, when the paper boy threw the morning newspaper onto Mrs. Chaney's front yard, there it was on the front page. I could see a photograph of Mrs. Chaney, and the title of the article had to do with the arrest of a group of nineteen year old delinquents, for stealing strawberries. They probably didn't get very much jail time, but I knew that whenever they do finally get released, their probation officer will be a thorn in their side for a very, very long time.
Knowing that I had made a difference in someone's life gave me a feeling of accomplishment. It had never occurred to me before that a six millimeter man could make a difference in someone's life, but I proved myself wrong. So I set out before I lost too much daylight, to continue my journey toward the coast, to find Jessica. With a chunk of strawberry strapped to my back, I made my way south, as my quest continued!
Chapter Eight: My Journey Continues
I walked by night and hid during the day, to avoid being captured. I was making my way south, trying to avoid the center of town. Eventually I arrived at a creek at the north end of town, but it would do no good to try to float down the creek on a twig, because the creek cuts through the center of Matheson City, which would make me a sitting duck.
I made a shelter from twigs and leaves, and hid in some tall grass growing on the high bank of the creek. I had eaten sparingly from the chunk of strawberry I had brought with me, but it finally ran out. A noise woke me up in the afternoon, and I looked out from between the leaves of my shelter and saw a woman with a bicycle. A normal-sized woman, who to me at six millimeters tall, was a towering colossus.
She was putting a patch repair kit back in the tool pouch beneath her bicycle seat. I noticed that when she zipped it back up, she had left it open enough so there was enough clearance for me to climb in and hitch a ride. That is, if I could manage to get there and climb in before she took off. She was standing there, taking a drink from her water bottle, so I made a run for it.
Her mountain bike was lying horizontally on the ground, so it was in the best position for me to climb up to the tool pouch. I ran beneath her well-muscled legs, but I knew I didn't have enough time to admire her statuesque beauty or her perfect tan if I wanted to make it to the tool pouch before she resumed her journey. I grabbed onto the zipper of the pouch just before she put her water bottle back and got on her bike. As I climbed up and into the tool pouch, we were already moving.
I fell to the bottom of the polyester tool pouch and banged my knee on a wrench, but the pain didn't even have time to register in my mind before I noticed something else: a protein bar. The last time I had eaten was when the last of the strawberry I had lugged with me on my hike was finished off some time yesterday, so I was ready to eat something real. The protein bar was a food supplement designed for athletes. I recognized the brand name from my days at the gym in my younger years. It had complex carbohydrates and protein, as well as complex-chain amino acids, which were just what I needed after eating nothing but strawberries for over a week. Not that strawberries were bad for you, but if someone tried to subsist on strawberries and never ate anything else, theoretically, they could starve to death; so I guess it's good that I had the will-power to leave that strawberry field while I had the chance. It had been very tempting to remain there.
Getting into the wrapper of the candy bar was difficult, until I figured out a way to use the wrench I had hurt my knee on as leverage to cut a corner of the wrapper. Some wrappers are difficult to open even at normal size, but at six millimeters tall, it would've been impossible without that wrench.
After eating the first nutritious meal I'd had in quite a while, I started getting sleepy, so I curled up and fell asleep. I had gotten accustomed to sleeping during the day while I was out hiking, so to me, this was my normal sleeping period. I slept like a log, and I awoke to a jarring motion that sent me tumbling against the side of the tool pouch. Everything was tilted sideways, so I climbed to the opening of the pouch to take a look around.
I was amazed. During the time I'd been asleep, the bicyclist had pedalled over 7 miles, from the city of Matheson all the way to a small town on the coast adjacent to the tourist town where Jessica lived. I recognized some of the hillside and terrain. The bike was leaning on its side against a log, so I climbed out and leaped down onto the log. The woman was tying her shoelaces, so I climbed down on the other side of the log so I'd be out of her view when she stood up again.
After she got on her bike and pedalled up the hill into the distance, I walked around the log to the edge of the road, still hidden in the grass at the side of the road that leads toward Jessica's house, which was about a mile and a half away. As I watched the giantess pedal away on her bike, I wondered what the deal was with her. Over the years, I'd seen people like her many times before. These people who wear spandex painted-on shorts and ride bikes across the highways of America. Do these people have jobs? Does their whole life revolve around riding bicycles across the country? And if so, where exactly do they go? Do they just ride for the hell of it? How do they support their bicycling habit?
As I pondered my George Carlin style musings, I thought of the campground on the other side of the road. It was a place called Avalon hot springs. My mother and I had stayed there a year before we moved to this area, when I was still a teenager. I was in such a hurry to jump down from the woman's bike before she took off that I hadn't grabbed any pieces of that protein bar she had in her tool pouch. It would take me at the very least an entire day, maybe a day and a half to reach Jessica's house, so I figured that it would be best to try to grab some food from some unsuspecting campers on the other side of the road before I continued on to the last leg of my journey.
I walked to the corner where Highway One and Avalon Creek road intersected. I probably waited about a half an hour before I decided that it was safe to cross. I ran as fast as I could, and it still took me nearly thirty seconds to get to the other side. I was lucky, too; just as I reached the other side, a long stream of traffic went by, and a few bicyclists.
The curb on my side of the road towered over my head, but it was so weather-beaten that the individual pebbles making up the side of the asphalt curb were exposed enough that I could use them to climb up on, like rungs on a ladder. I made my way up, and stood on the top of the curb. I still had a little higher to climb to reach the summit of this micro-mountain I was climbing. I made my way to the top, and stood at the summit. Strands of gold colored grass swayed in the breeze, blowing back and forth so high above me that they seemed like trees.
As I looked down to survey the campsite, I could see that the campground was filled to capacity. It was the middle of summer, so that wasn't surprising. There were tents galore, and a lot of motorhomes. No less than half a dozen people were barbecuing, and there was a volleyball game going on. The only bad news was that I saw a couple of dogs down there, so I knew raiding the camp was out of the question. Before I left, I stayed and watched the volleyball game. It was kind of nice to be able to watch a sporting event, even if they were just amateurs. When I was staying with Amber, I rarely had the opportunity to watch any kind of sports on TV, because she always watched those kid shows and those stupid soap operas. Any time I asked her if I could watch a ballgame, she was usually on some kind of a power trip, and denied my request, for no other reason than because she enjoyed telling me 'no' whenever I asked her for a special privilege.
I had to cross the street again, and it took even longer to get across this time than it did before. I wasn't worried, though. There was no need to be in a hurry, because it had taken me over a month to get this far, and I was almost to Jessica's house, so minor setbacks like this weren't bothering me. After I had crossed Avalon Creek road, I made my way up the hill and onwards down the road that intersected it, southwest towards Jessica's house. I had made it a habit of sleeping during the day and walking at night to avoid capture, but I wouldn't need to hide during the day for most of the rest of my journey, because there weren't any houses for another three quarters of a mile. All I needed to do was to watch out for people in cars and an occasional bicyclist who might see me, and I'd be all right.
By nightfall, I was not quite halfway there. The entire town was built parallel to the 101 freeway, and that worked to my advantage. I was in the middle of town, but I didn't have to worry about being seen, because I had crossed the road after it had gotten dark, and I was walking on the other side of a chain link fence that was next to the freeway, on the opposite side of the street as the main street of the town I had to pass through. I continued on through the night, because I didn't think it would've made sense to stop and camp out this close to my destination.
By early dawn the next day, I had arrived in the beach town where Jessica lived. It was still early morning, so there wasn't much traffic on the street yet. That helped me cross several streets and the main road that cuts through the center of town. By the time the early morning rush was on and people were driving to work, I had made it to the front of the gated community where Jessica's upper-middle class well-to-do home was located. Jessica's mother was the District Attorney of Matheson county, so it shouldn't have been any surprise that they were this affluent, but it never ceased to amaze me that I knew people who were so upper-class.
And there it was. The familiar driveway with two cars parked there. A pink Volkswagen that had been Jessica's 16th birthday present, and the Mercedes owned by Jessica's mother. The two-story home was just as I remembered it. I walked up to the front door, wondering how I was going to get inside.
There was only one concrete step that I had to ascend to reach the front door, but to me it might as well have been a mile high. Fortunately, there was an agave plant in the planter next to Jessica's front door, and it was high enough to bring me up above the elevation of the 8 inch high concrete step. I began my climb, and after about 15 minutes, I was a couple of feet in the air. As I looked down, I realized that the lowest leaf was too high above the step for me to jump down safely, but if I kept climbing, I could reach the living room window.
Just as I reached the living-room window, I saw a sight that made my skin crawl. It was a cat. It was a black cat that roamed freely through the neighborhood, but I knew if it spotted me, I was through. Felines, at least in my opinion, are nature's most thorough and deadly predators.
I knew I had two choices: either stay and wait for it to leave, or pound on the window and hope someone inside was awake, and hope yet again that if they were awake, that they would open the window in time before the cat pounced on me. I chose to stay and wait.
Chapter Nine: Arrival At My Destination
I stood on the window ledge and tried to remain absolutely still. The cat hadn't seen me, and I wasn't sure if it could smell my scent or not. I knew dogs had an acute sense of smell, but I wasn't sure about cats. It just wandered around the front yard, smelling the grass. The cat seemed interested in a gopher hole in the center of the yard, and was circling the hole as it made its way around. The cat was obviously aware that a gopher made its home there.
The silence was shattered by the arrival of the paper boy on his bicycle. When he threw the morning newspaper, it smacked the concrete not far from the cat, and scared it away. After the cat disappeared around the side of the house and the paper boy was far enough down the street, I began pounding my fists on the window as hard as I could. One hundred men my size couldn't have knocked a hole in that window, because it was at least twice as thick as I was tall. It was obvious that the sounds of my pounding weren't very loud to normal sized ears, but I had to try to make contact with Jessica or her mother before the cat returned.
I detected movement through the thick glass. A familiar figure went about her daily routine as she prepared to leave for work. It was Jessica's mother, known to the law-abiding citizens of Matheson county and feared by its criminals as District Attorney Susan Calypso.
As she tried to hold both her briefcase and her morning cup of coffee a figure stirred on the couch. Covered in a blanket, Jessica had apparently fallen asleep on the living room couch watching television, which was a consistent habit for her on weekends and holidays. Mrs. Calypso had more than enough money to buy a TV and VCR for Jessica to keep in her bedroom, but Susan Calypso wouldn't allow it. Susan Calypso firmly believed that the bedroom was a place for studying.
When Mrs. Calypso opened the front door, it became apparent why my futile efforts at making contact by pounding on the window had zero effect. My tiny ear-drums were assaulted by the heavy-metal sounds of none other than Judas Priest, transmitted through the now open front door. The volume probably wasn't loud to the ears of a normal-sized person, but my six millimeter stature had endowed me with very acute hearing; the sound penetrated my ears at the deep end of the bass spectrum, minus about half of the higher-pitched sounds, but with the decibels amplified to a level equal to that of a jet engine starting up less than a foot from my ears. It had been years since I had seen a Judas Priest video on TV, and I found myself wondering if they were having one of those top-one-hundred-videos-of-all-time countdowns on one of the music video channels.
The front door opened. Jesssica's mother walked over to the driveway, and started up her Mercedes. The front door was still open, so I took a running start and leaped from the window sill to the leaf of the agave plant just below me. I made my way down the plant, sliding down and letting gravity do most of the work. Mrs. Calypso let her car idle as she returned to the house, and shut off the television. She probably wasn't as concerned about the wasted electricity used by a television that wasn't being watched so much as she was by the fact that the lyrics of the song "Breaking the Law" were being amplified to the ears of neighbors who knew Susan as the District Attorney of Matheson county.
I jumped from the bottom leaf to the door jamb, and ran in just as Mrs. Calypso turned from the TV and started walking back to the door. I ran behind a house plant just as she closed the door behind her and left. She hadn't seen me. I had made it. After all of this time, I'd finally reached Jessica's house. Now, my only problem was finding a way to get her attention without getting accidentally stepped on.
Jessica was still asleep up on the couch, far above me. I knew it was best to avoid the areas of the carpet that were walked on the most, by sticking close to furniture and the edges of the walls, because there was no way of knowing if Jessica would suddenly wake up and lumber across the center of the carpet without seeing me, and I didn't want to be in her path if that happened. The world can be a dangerous place when you're six millimeters tall.
I saw the basket that contained Susan's yarn and sewing supplies near the living room closet. It had always been there, but I had never paid attention to it when I was normal-sized, but now I saw that it was the key to making contact with Jessica.
I began to climb the wicker basket. It was about eighteen inches high, which to me seemed like the size of a building. By the time I was halfway up, the height would've made me dizzy had I been at the same proportionate height at normal size, but I knew my decreased mass protected me from falling from altitudes that would kill a normal size person if they fell from an equivalent altitude.
There was a spindle of purple yarn, and I realized it would contrast with the off-white carpet. All I had to do was unwind enough yarn and spell out Jessica's name in cursive, and she would see it. Climbing the yarn was easier than climbing up the wicker basket, and soon I found the end of the strand of yarn.
I pulled it and unwound the strand of yarn, working my way around and around the top of the spindle of yarn. I lowered what I unwound to the carpet below, and after a few minutes I had what I needed, so I climbed back down.
I stretched out the length of yarn on the carpet, and began manipulating it until I spelled out the name "Jessica" in large enough cursive letters so large that a normal sized person would be able to easily see it. I sat down by the yarn, and waited for Jessica to wake up. It had taken me a half hour to climb the wicker basket and retrieve the yarn, so another hour or two wouldn't matter.
She finally woke up about an hour later, and walked over to the bathroom. She was still sleepy, so she didn't notice the yarn. When she came out of the bathroom, she walked straight toward the kitchen, then stopped when she spotted her name spelled out in yarn.
"Deuce?" She asked.
"Deuce!" she shouted, when she realized that it was really me.
She hopped down on her knees and kneeled down to get a better look at me, and I thought she was going to collide with me and smash me into oblivion, but she stopped just in front of me. She was titanic, noticeably larger than Amber had been. Her blonde hair was longer than the last time I had seen her, but she was as cute as ever. Her first reaction was to place the palm of her hand in front of me. I jumped up into her hand.
Jessica lifted me up, and I felt the same momentary fear I had felt when I had first been captured by Amber, but my fears subsided as I realized that I was safe with Jessica, because I knew she was still in love with me. I could tell by the look in her eyes. She started to cry.
"Deuce," she asked, "what happened to you? Everyone thinks you're dead!"
I replied, but I had the same problem I had when I first tried to communicate with Amber. My voice was too faint; even though I could make myself understood by screaming out to her at the top of my lungs, after a few minutes my voice would be to hoarse to talk above a whisper. The only solution was to put together a microphone with an amplifier and a speaker.
"I need to build an amplifier!" I yelled. "Take me to professor Stiles, he'll have the equipment we need!"
After repeating this a couple of times, Jessica understood.
"I'll take you to the professor right after we eat breakfast, Deuce! He's just as worried about you as everyone else! Are you hungry?"
That was an understatement. I was famished. Jessica set me down on the dining room table, and cooked some oatmeal in the microwave. She scooped some up in a thimble from her mother's sewing kit, and placed it in front of me. She filled a bottle cap with water, and set in next to the oatmeal. I ate until I was stuffed, but the thimble was still half full. Just one of the economical things about being six millimeters tall.
As I ate, it occurred to me that I was finally in the company of someone I completely trusted. I had at long last reached my goal, and I felt relieved. The world is a terrifying place when you're six millimeters tall, with cats, giant insects, and girls like Amber who thought of me as a convenient toy that could be kept in a jar, completely oblivious to the fact that I was a human being with the same rights and freedoms as her.
After breakfast, Jessica got ready, and carried me to her car and dropped me in the cup holder next to the driver's seat. She started up her Volkswagen, and drove to the university. She knew where the professor's lab was located, and because it was late August, classes hadn't started yet, so he was busy with his experiments, as usual.
Jessica kept me clenched in her fist, gently, to surprise the professor, as she walked up the path behind the physics building where his lab was located.
"Hi, Professor Stiles!"
After a brief pause, I heard the unmistakable voice of the professor. "Jessica! How have you been?"
"You're never going to believe this, professor!" said Jessica, dropping me on the table. "Look who showed up at my house today!"
I was on one of the tables in the profesor's familiar laboratory. He walked up, amazed.
"Unbelievable," said the professor, "but it verifies my theory!"
Before Professor Stiles could go on, Jessica interrupted, "Deuce needs you to build him some kind of amplifier thingy, so I can hear him better." Jessica couldn't care less about the professor's theories, and would tell him to his face, if he ever asked.
The professor realized that communication with me was a priority, so after only a few moments of hesitation, he dug through his cabinets and storage lockers, seeking the necessary components to construct a device that would permit my miniscule voice to be heard by normal-sized people for the first time. I had the knowledge to build one, but Amber's mother had forbidden me, because she worried that I might construct something that would allow me to escape from her daughter.
In less than 15 minutes, the microphone, amplifier and speaker were hooked up to a 9-volt battery, and it was ready to be tested out. Professor Stiles placed the microphone nearby. I yelled into it, and nothing happened. The professor made a minor adjustment, and when I yelled into the microphone, my voice was as loud as a normal-sized person's voice!
"Professor," said Jessica, "you did it!"
"Amazing..." said the professor, "young man, I would appreciate it if you would explain where you've been for the past month and a half! I'm sure it must be extraordinary!"
"Yeah Deuce," said Jessica, "I think you at least owe me an explanation... I've been worried sick about you!"
And so I began to tell them of my adventures. How I started to shrink right after the professor left to go call the police the night the lab was robbed, how I ended up in Santa Margarita and got captured by Amber, the car accident that enabled me to escape... about halfway through my story the professor went and brewed a cup of coffee, and I finished my story after he dropped a few drops in the thimble Jessica had brought with her. I continued my story, telling about the strawberry thieves I helped capture, and my trip along the El Camino Real to Jessica's house in the tool pouch under a bicyclist's seat. When my story was finished, every detail of it, both the professor and Jessica were astonished.
"It's amazing that you survived, Deuce!" said the professor, "You should've stayed with that girl, you probably would've been safer! But everything turned out all right in the end!"
"And Deuce," said Jessica, "I remember when those strawberry thieves got busted! The newspaper tried to make it look like something supernatural happened... but it was you all along!"
"Professor," I asked, "Do you think you'll be able to duplicate the cold fusion experiment that those thieves destroyed?"
The professor began to chuckle to himself and said, "They got what they deserved, Deuce... the cold fusion experiment turned out to be a dud!"
"What do you mean, professor?" I asked.
The professor replied, "There was no nuclear fusion taking place at any time during the reaction, however, I did stumble on the theory for miniaturization, as your reduced stature demonstrates!"
The professor went on to explain, "The power gauge displayed an increase in kilowatts, but it was just the atoms in the air in the vicinity of the reactor being stripped of electrons as the tritium-deuterium solution gave off neutrino particles. What I thought was an increase in wattage was actually just a side effect of the miniaturization reaction that shrunk you, Deuce!"
"So what does that mean?" Jessica asked professor Stiles. "Can you make Deuce big again?"
"It means," replied the professor, "that I failed to solve the mystery of cold fusion, but in the process, I inadvertantly discovered how to miniaturize atoms! However, I regret to inform the two of you that Deuce can never be restored to his normal stature, at least not with existing technology. My guess is that it'll be at least a century before science can perfect a neutrino transfer technique that can restore miniaturized atoms to normal size! Deuce my friend, I'm afraid you'll have to get accustomed to being the world's one and only six millimeter man!"
"Professor," I asked, "I just want one thing. Promise me that you'll testify in court when we bring those bozos who robbed the lab up on charges! I want revenge against the bandits, and the jerk who hired them!"
"Without hesitation, Deuce my friend! It's the least I could do for you after all you've been through!"
After the professor promised to testify, Jessica took the amplifier equipment and put me back in my jar, and took me home. She was determined to help me track down whoever was responsible for robbing the lab. On her home computer, Jessica tried to figure out who might be the most likely suspect responsible for hiring the crooks who robbed Professor Stiles's lab. I had spent the past month pondering this, so I immediately asked her to look up the shareholders of stock in the local electrical companies. After checking PG&E, SMUD, and Southern California Edison, one of the local companies had the name of a stockholder listed, and it was a name I recognized.
"That's him!" I yelled up to Jessica, pointing at the computer screen, and she recognized the name, too. "He lives around here," said Jessica, "that's Doctor Nebulous, the former Matheson University professor who got kicked out of Cal Poly for gambling! Do you think he's involved, Deuce?"
"One of his associates was at the lab a few weeks before it was robbed asking questions," I replied, "I think it's a safe bet that he's a suspect!"
And so now it was coming full circle. With Jessica's mom as district attorney for Matheson county, it wouldn't be too difficult for her to secure a subpoena for Doctor Nebulous to have his day in court. After all my trials and tribulations, it looked like I might finally have my chance for revenge against the man responsible for turning me into Deuce Orion, the world's first six millimeter man!
Chapter Ten: Doctor Nebulous Gets A Subpoena
"I just don't know," said Mrs. Calypso, "this Doctor Nebulous might be guilty, but we need more proof to subpoena him."
I was standing on the dining room table, and Jessica and her mom were sitting, discussing the situation over coffee. Jessica had placed my thimble full of coffee, and I had a stairs glued together with toothpicks to make my way up to drink from the thimble.
Later that day, Susan Calypso had a construction crew knock out a hole in a wall in Jessica's bedroom and had a fishtank put in. This was my new home, carefully concealed behind a curtain. From the top of the fishtank to the bottom of the wall there was enough space for Jessica to fit her arm to reach in and pick me up.
I thought I'd be safe there while Jessica was away for the day, and I was, until the arrival of the twins. Bethany and Brianna were Jessica's cousins, and they came to stay at the end of Summer vacation. They were 12, almost 13, and they had an insatiable curiosity.
I hadn't been introduced to them, because I was supposed to be a secret. I was in my aquarium in the wall one day when Jessica and her mom were gone for the day.
The curtain was brushed aside, and I found myself looking into the faces of Bethany and Brianna. I was alarmed, because I knew two unsupervised kids could get into a lot of mischief.
"Bethany," Brianna said, "look! It's a little man!"
Brianna reached her hand in and grabbed me. It was futile to resist, so I didn't even try to run from her.
"Wow," Brianna said to me, "how did you get shrunk?"
My voice was too miniscule for her to hear me, so I pointed to the voice amplifier in my aquarium. She understood, and reached in and grabbed it. She turned it on, and I began my tale. It took about fifteen minutes to tell her everything, from the day the lab was robbed until I met up with Jessica.
Just then, Jessica and her mom arrived home. Brianna popped me into her mouth, and said, "I'm keeping him. Tell Jessica I swallowed him!"
Brianna still had the voice amplifier in her hand when Jessica showed up.
"We found Deuce," Bethany said, "and Brianna swallowed him!"
Brianna stuck out her tongue to prove this, with me safely tucked in her cheek.
"I don't believe you!" Jessica said, and stuck her finger in Brianna's mouth to retrieve me. She pulled me out, wet from Brianna's saliva.
"Don't ever do that again!" Jessica said, "you're forbidden to come in here any more!" Jessica turned the amplifier on and put the speaker up to my face.
"Deuce, are you okay?" she asked.
"Yeah," I said, "a little wet, but none the worse for wear!"
The next morning I was sitting on the dining room table eating breakfast with Jessica, the twins, and her mother when the subject of getting a pool built came up. Mrs. Calypso was under the impression that she was getting a good deal, because she had wanted a pool of certain dimensions, but decided on a pool with exactly half the dimensions of the original. The contractors were charging her one quarter of the original cost, and she thought she was making out like a bandit! How could I explain to her that she was getting ripped off?
When I tried to explain it to Jessica, she threw a cloth napkin over me to shut me up. She thought I was crazy!
"But I'm telling you, Jessica," I explained, "it will only cost them one eighth of the original cost, so they're charging your mother double!"
"How do you explain this idea of yours?" Jessica asked.
"It's called the square-cube law, or in some circles, the cube-square law!" I told her. "Pull a sugar cube out of that sugar bowl, and I'll show you!"
Jessica pulled out a sugar cube, and placed it on the dining room table. "Now how many sugar cubes," I explained, would it take to double the length, width, and height of that one sugar cube?"
"That's easy!" Jessica replied. "Two sugar cubes!" And as if in response, she lifted out another sugar cube and stacked it on top of the other one.
"Now get out six more sugar cubes!" I commanded the titanic teen.
Jessica got out six more, and I told her to arrange the eight cubes into a larger cube. "That giant cube," I went on, "is twice the length, twice the width, and twice the height of the first cube. Now do you understand the square-cube law? It is only taking the pool contractor one eighth of the work to build the smaller pool, but they're charging you one quarter of the price! They're charging you twice as much as they should!"
It was like a light went on in their heads. I had studied engineering in college, and the square-cube law (or the cube-square law, depending on who you were talking to), was something that was basic to any engineer, but it was uncommon knowledge to the average person.
Mrs. Calypso got out of her seat and began looking up numbers in the phone book. She got the number of the pool contractor, called them up, and found out who their boss was. When she got off the phone, she had amazing news.
"Their employer," Mrs. Calypso informed us, "is none other than Doctor Nebulous, that scientist you were after, Deuce!"
"Can you bring him up on charges?" I asked.
"No problem!" she replied. "It'll be done before the end of the business day! I have the paperwork with the estimates that prove he tried to swindle me!"
Jessica was puzzled. "Deuce," she said, "I understand that he's being brought up on charges for trying to swindle my mother, but how will that help you prove he was behind the robbery at professor Stiles's lab?"
It was a good question, and I didn't have a quick, easy answer. But as long as we could get Nebulous in a courtroom, it improved my chances of proving he was behind the robbery at the lab!
I spent most of my time in my chamber, with a heat lamp to provide warmth, because even at 70 degrees, I could freeze to death without artificial heating. I had talked to Professor Stiles about it, and he promised to design a suit for me that would keep me heated to 98.7 degrees fahrenheit. He's pretty busy these days, so I'm not counting on it any time soon.
As the days went on, the twins returned home, and it came time for Nebulous to appear in court. During that time, something fortunate happened. Someone came forward and claimed to know that Nebulous was behind the robbery at the lab. He worked for the pool company Nebulous owned, and he got caught with a large amount of methamphetamine. In order to get a lighter sentence, he agreed to cooperate with Calypso and the police in prosecuting Doctor Nebulous.
The arraignment came and went, there was another court date set, and that came and went. Eventually, it came time to get down to the nitty gritty, and Nebulous began to testify on his behalf. Jessica's mother came back from work every day and kept me informed of the events. Eventually, I received a subpoena to appear in court.
Professor Stiles built an elaborate glass containment system with a built in heat lamp, and a voice amplifier. When my day in court came, there were reporters first from the local news, then from other areas of the state, and eventually, the whole country! I quickly became famous over night as the world's first six millimeter man.
Jessica was considered my guardian, and she was approached with offers from people who assumed I was a possession, and wanted to purchase me. Jessica just brushed them off. In court, Doctor Nebulous sat there with his teenage daughter Alyndria. She was a punk rocker, dressed in shredded fishnet stockings, a black leather miniskirt, Doc Marten boots, and a Sex Pistols T-shirt. She had part of her head shaved, and the other part kind of long. She was really pretty, and she had nice legs, but I could tell by the look on her face that she was just as evil as her father.
In court I described how the gunmen opened fire on the reactor, and explained that I found out that Nebulous was a major stockholder in a power company that would make money if they could acquire the patent to a new energy source.
All this looked bad for Nebulous, but things turned around for him several weeks into the trial when the key witness against him was found dead washed up on a local beach. No witnesses saw him enter the water, and it could not be proved that foul play was a possibility. Of course, I knew better. Nebulous had obviously arranged for this guy to be killed, to protect himself from the allegations.
In the end, the jury found him not guilty, and the trial was over. As Doctor Nebulous and his daughter prepared to leave the courtroom, his daughter Alyndria, the punk rocker chick, stopped by my glass cube and spoke with me.
"Better luck next time, little man!" she said.
I didn't know how to respond. She continued: "I wish I could keep you as a pet! That Jessica chick sure is lucky!"
When I got home with Jessica, a man was waiting for us. He was from a publishing company, and he wanted me to write about my ordeal and my experience as a six millimeter man.
"I'll pay you a seven figure sum, plus a percentage of the profits!" he said. The deal sounded good, so I agreed to it. Jessica helped me sign the contract, and I got to work writing my biography.
After he left, Jessica got the mail and found a letter for me. It was from the court, and I had a summons to appear regarding conservatorship. It turned out, my own mother had found out about me, and was suing to gain custody of me! So even though the trial of Doctor Nebulous was over, I still had to go to court again to fight for my freedom!
Chapter Eleven: My Mom Tries To Get Custody
If my mother successfully gained custody of me by becoming my conservator, my sex life would be non-existent. I haven't mentioned what sex is like with Jessica, because minors reading my memoirs might be offended by the material. But it is sufficient to say, that both Jessica and I are consenting adults, and we do like to have a good time together.
If my mother gained custody of me, she would never allow that to happen. I just had to win this case! I had Susan Calypso, Jessica's mother, on my side. She would be fighting the case on my behalf.
Once again, my glass cube came into play. It was portable, with a power source for my heat lamp, and all the comforts of home. It even had a private bathroom that I could use unseen while in the courtroom. Jessica carried it to the car with me inside, and we went to the arraignment.
My mother was there, and all that happened was basically another court date was set. Several weeks later, at the preliminary hearing, I asked for a trial, stating I didn't want to be placed on conservatorship. Basically, conservatorship is for people who are mentally or physically incapable of taking care of themselves. Because I am only six millimeters tall, I fall under this category.
Some unknown lawyer was with my mother the first couple of times we were in court, but once the trial was underway, she strolled in with Violet Hayes, the best lawyer in the county! Hayes has a reputation for never losing a case, and even though she probably lost a case or two in her time, she's better known for her many victories.
Susan Calypso tried to reassure me. "Violet may be the best lawyer in the county," she said, "but I'm the best prosecutor in the county, so we're evenly matched!"
Violet spoke for my mother. "Your honor, Deuce O'Ryan is unable to care for himself due to his miniaturized stature, so it is in the best interest of this court that he be placed on conservatorship, and that his mother be made his conservator."
Susan took her turn to defend me. "Your honor," Susan began, "Deuce O'Ryan is a person, with certain inalienable rights. It would be an affront to his dignity if he were forced to live under the conservatorship of his mother. Mr. O'Ryan has revealed to me that he has no interest in living under his mother's care, and wishes to remain with my daughter Jessica."
The argument went back and forth. I wasn't sure where I stood. Since this was a trial, it wasn't up to the judge. A jury of twelve people would decide my fate. Trials take a long time, and I won't bore you with the day to day trivial events leading up to the jury's decision; I'll just get right to the point.
When the jury foreman stood up and read the decision, I was dumbfounded. "We, the jury find for the plaintive, and have decided that Deuce O'Ryan is unfit to care for himself and must be placed under conservatorship..."
It made me angry. I was doing just fine living with Jessica and her mom. But there was more! The jury foreman continued: "But we also decree that Deuce is free to choose his own conservator, and does not need to be under the specific care of his mother, but he does need to choose someone."
At this point, Jessica stood up. "I'll volunteer to be his conservator! I'm eighteen, and I'm registered to vote!"
The judge asked me, "Mr. O'Ryan, how do you feel about accepting Jessica Calypso as your conservator?"
My voice amplifier was loud enough for the judge to hear me. "Yes, your honor!" I said. "I agree to accept Jessica Calypso as my conservator!"
My mother stood up and shouted, "He's been brainwashed by that evil girl and her mother! Your honor, you need to do what's right and turn him over to my custody!"
"This is a trial, Mrs. O'Ryan," the judge said, "and the jury has reached it's decision! I'm afraid there's nothing more I can do!"
I shouted in triumph, and Jessica and her mother high-fived each other. When we went home that day, we were in a mood to celebrate. There was a van parked in the driveway, and it turned out a reporter from MTV was there to interview us. They had been following the trial to its conclusion, and were interested in the results. But even though it was the best day in my life, events would soon turn it into one of the strangest days of my life...
Chapter Twelve: A Strange Turn Of Events
When we got home, after the MTV interview was over, Jessica decided to go to a movie. The movie she wanted to see was playing in Atascadero, a town not far from where Amber lives. Since that was the only location where the movie was playing, she left me at home and went out for the night.
I stayed home in my chamber, under my heat lamp and dozed off. Several hours later, Jessica returned. She got the glass cube out of her closet, and put me in it. I couldn't figure out what was going on. She loaded the glass cube in the car, with me in it, and started driving.
When we arrived at our destination, Jessica opened the passenger front door of the car and picked up my cube. Then I saw something that amazed me. It was the front of Amber's house! Jessica carried the cube to the front door and rang the doorbell, and Amber's mother answered. Amber quickly joined her, and eagerly took the cube in her hands.
From my perspective, my cube was huge, but I could see how small it really was as Amber carried it with me inside. One of her hands were big enough to conceal half of one side of the cube. To her, it was like a small toy!
Jessica then told me the whole story. She had ran into Amber at the movie theater, and since Jessica was a celebrity because the world knew she was my guardian, Amber recognized Jessica immediately. Amber told Jessica her side of the story at the theater, and Jessica decided then and there to turn me over to Amber!
It seems that since the interviews and the courtroom dramas, Jessica had been getting death threats from people who wanted to own me. Millionaires were even offering her money for me! Jessica decided that I was better off with Amber, since she had taken care of me before, and missed me.
I decided it was for the best, because I wanted what was best for Jessica. She promised to come visit me from time to time, and she was as good as her word. Over the next several weeks, I got used to living as Amber's toy. Sometimes, when Amber was playing with me, she would tie me to a string and lower me into her mouth, pretending that she had decided to swallow me whole. Of course, as real as it seemed to me, and I fell for it every time, Amber never hurt me.
Alone in my cube as I write this at my toy desk, Amber is at school, she just started the seventh grade. Knowing there is no cure for my diminished stature, I have resigned myself to my fate; I shall spend the rest of my life as Amber's toy. But really, what could a six millimeter man ever expect to be?