Tiny People (Story#16)

Since getting married, every night, Ben checked his pockets thoroughly.  His wife was always getting on him for that; she told him she didn’t like it when he put his pants in the hamper without checking because then she had to rewash all the clothes to get rid of the bits of paper-dust that were everywhere.  She hated redoing the laundry even more than she hated doing laundry in the first place, which she hated intensely.  So, needless to say, Ben did his best to clear his pockets.

But one day, just as he was about to throw away the shreds of receipts and old gum wrappers from the day, his eye fell on the tiniest scrapling.  The paper itself was non-descript: white, a strip of computer paper, he assumed.  But on it, was a drawing.  A stick figure, the kind any child might draw based on what she’d learned in math class—all line segments and circles.  He wasn’t sure where it came from.  He wasn’t one to draw tiny stick figures on little scraps of paper.  He wondered to himself how it was that the paper ended up in his pocket.  Though not the type to draw tiny figures, Ben was the type to think about the tiniest of things, which is what he would’ve done except that his watch started going off telling him it was time to go to bed.

When he woke up the next day, the first thought he had was of the tiny drawing.  But when he looked for it on his desk, he didn’t find it.  For a moment, he was sad.  As sad as one can be for a stick figure, but he told himself not to worry.  His wife, clean-freak that she was, had probably thrown the little piece of paper away.  So he went about the process of getting up and getting ready for work and forgot all about the tiny drawing on the little piece of paper.  At least, he forgot about it until he was getting coffee later that morning and he went to pay.

There, among the pocket change and a matchbook (he didn’t smoke, but liked matchbooks) he pulled out of his pocket another small scrap of paper with another tiny man on it, except that this time, the tiny man was a tiny woman.  He assumed she was a woman because attached to its small circular head was a triangle, which he assumed was a ribbon.  There was also a wisp of a line coming off the circle, which he assumed was hair.

The people in line behind Ben started to get anxious.  They just wanted their coffee.  The cashier (who the coffee company called, a Transaction Specialist) with her hand out, was trying to fight her caffeinated annoyance, but she also had just come from yoga, so she was keeping things together nicely.  Meanwhile, Ben stood in place, holding the little drawing of the little geometric woman in his palm, still trying to figure out where she came from, and he probably would’ve just stood there longer if it wasn’t for the fact that she started talking to him.

She seemed a little lost, which made Ben sympathetic since at that moment, he felt a little lost himself.  “So who are you looking for, exactly?” he asked, walking away from the caffeinated-yogasized Transcation Specialist and the annoyed customers who were all staring at him.

“I’m looking for John.  He told me to meet him here.”

“Where?”  Ben asked.


“In my palm?”

“No.  In the club.”

“Where’s the club?”

The drawing seemed like it was trying to move her head toward something.

“Are you ok?” Ben asked.

“Yes.  I’m just trying to show you where the club is.  It’s not easy when you’re a stick figure.”

“No.  I guess not.”

Ben and the drawing stared at each other (Ben assumed she was staring, though it’s kind of hard to know for sure when a drawing is staring at you.)  “Do you mean my pocket?”

“If that’s what you call it.  So have you seen him?”


“John.”  The drawing was becoming a little annoyed.

“What does he look like?”

“To you?  He probably looks a lot like me.  But that’s because you 3-D types are biased.  You think we all look the same.”

“Are you talking about the little guy I pulled out of my pocket last night?”

“Maybe.  I wasn’t there, so I don’t know who you pulled out of your pocket.  A lot of us go there, you know.”

“To my pocket?”

Before the drawing could answer, Ben noticed that the line of coffee-needing people were still staring at him as was the Transaction Specialist, who was now losing her battle of yoga-induced equanimity.  Ben shoved the tiny drawing back in his pocket and went back to work, trying to forget what he’d seen.  It wasn’t easy, though.  He’d made contact with the littlest things in life—the tiniest of beings—and some of them, it seemed, thought of his pocket as a pick-up joint.

On his way back home, he wondered to himself if there were other tiny things that wanted to make themselves known to him.  Could insects speak?  How about dust?  Maybe dust was more than just dirt.  Like some kind of conscious blob of soft tissue that could speak if someone would just listen.  The possibilities were endless, Ben told himself just as he walked by a construction site under a huge crane.


What Ben had no way of knowing, because how many people could know this—is that huge things (like cranes) become really jealous—especially of tiny things.  Needless to say, a man paying so much attention to tiny drawings and insects and dust was just too much for this specific crane, who decided, quite on a whim, that this man should become a tiny speck of a person himself.



Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Categories: fiction

Author:the circular runner

g. martinez cabrera currently lives in San Francisco with his lovely and talented wife. He holds degrees from Columbia and from the Harvard Divinity School where he spent three years thinking about lofty things. Since then, he tries to write some lofty and some not-so-lofty things down so others can see how lofty he sometimes is. When he’s not writing or spending time with said wife, he tortures young people with learning. He blogs at www.circularrunning.wordpress.com and Tumbls at www.circularrunning.tumblr.com

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