“I always play Russian Roulette in my head,
It’s seventeen black and twenty-nine red,
How far from the gutter,
How far from the pew,
I’ll always remember to forget about you,”
-Tom Waits (“A Good Man is Hard to Find”)
I soaked in the warmth of being indoors. Two weeks wasn't enough time to get used to this cold weather. Omar was used to seeing me and didn’t bother to ask for ID. He just barely nodded to acknowledge me as I walked over to the podium and asked for Megyhn.
I was here alone for the first time. Audrey was meeting a former high school friend that lived in the area for dinner, and In order to give them privacy I had the day to myself. Our vacation was almost over and I wanted to say goodbye to Megyhn and ask her if she knew anything about my missing notebooks (yes the other was stolen too. I tried watching it closely, but I was, um, distracted) She was only the second person I’d met in real life that I knew was into the shrinking fantasies and the first I’d met that was into vore. I wasn’t the first writer from the forums to visit her, but I was the only one she hadn’t convinced to take the red band ride, and I think it bothered her on some level that I decided to keep one dream a fantasy in order to live out another.
“Well, if it isn’t my favorite customer,” She said as she came in from her office, “If I’d known you were coming I would’ve waited to seat your lover and her friend, but don’t worry, her friend actually ordered the food, (I know right?), so their order hasn’t gotten to them yet,” I was going to ask her what she was talking about, but she called out to Adela, “Put a hold on table six’s order please,” Adela nodded and walked off to work her other tables.
“She’s here?” I asked a little confused.
“Oh you didn’t know?” Megyhn asked, “I thought she only came here for your benefit. Maybe she’s starting to like it,” A slow smile crept across her face.
“Maybe, but I don’t want to interrupt her dinner. It’s sort of a girl’s night out kind of thing,” I told her.
“She doesn’t know you’re here? Well then, maybe I could get you to try on one of those red bands,” She said in a husky voice.
“I just come here to watch,” I said. My throat was getting dry. There was still part of me that was tempted by the offer even after seeing the reality of it.
“Don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it,” She said as she put a hand gently on my shoulder, “Besides, she doesn’t have to know,”
“If I were to do it, she’d know because I’m only interested in going through with it if it’s with her,” I said, pulling away. I was a bit angry at her offer now.
“One tiny man looks the same as any other,” She said, now whispering in my ear, “It could still be her and she wouldn’t know,”
“I really doubt that. We’ve been married for five years. Even tiny I’m sure she’d recognize me,” I said confidently.
“Do you really think she pays that much attention to the men she eats? I’m sure she’s put up many mental blocks to get past the fact that they are actual humans,”
“There’s still no way she wouldnít recognize me,” I said, though not with as much confidence.
“Why not put your money where her mouth is?”
“What do you mean?” I wasn't sure I liked where this was going.
“I'm willing to bet, to lay money on it mind you, that if you were in your wife's order of five unwilling men she wouldn't know you from the others. You mostly did unaware stories anyway didn't you? This should be right up your alley. What number would get your attention? How does ten thousand dollars sound?”
“I have no interest in making a bet with you,”
“I'll make it more interesting then,” She thought for a minute, “We'll say fifty thousand,” I shook my head, “one hundred thousand. Don't worry, I'm good for it. Think about it. You win either way right? If you're right, you get one hundred thousand dollars and if you're wrong your fantasy comes true. What do you have to lose? Most people would kill for those odds,”
This gave me pause. She knew she had me. No, I couldn't possibly.
“Goodbye Megyhn. It was, interesting, meeting you,” I said as I made my way toward the door.
“If you're that sure that you'd lose I understand. Maybe you don't believe in her, but if you walk out that door right now it'll be all you can think about for the rest of your life. If I didn't trust my wife to pick me out of a group of five other men I'd walk away from free money too,”
“When she recognizes me you will bring me back to normal size right?”
“If, she recognizes you I will return you to normal size,”
“I understand that there are papers I have to sign?”
She showed me to her office. Another woman was sitting at the desk doing paperwork.
“What do we have here?” The other woman asked. In many ways she was similar to Megyhn, although she was slightly younger and had mildly shorter hair. She was dressed in business attire, but was sitting casually. It was almost like she belonged there.
“One of the writers from the old site. Ed, Vera, Vera, Ed,” She gestured to us casually. We shook hands; “She does the legal work for Forbidden Dish. Ed here seems to think his wife pays enough attention to her food to recognize him in an order of five unwilling men. I say that he's in for a rude awakening. What to you think Vera?”
“I think there's a chance,” She said, “I recognized my friend Clark. Of course he was the only one in my order and I only recognized him because he was yelling my name, but it is possible,”
“See, maybe he's the only person you recognized because he's the only person you knew that you've seen that small,”
“Possibly,” she said.
Megyhn only smiled and listened to us talk. I was confused. Her friend was blowing holes in her argument and there she was just smiling away.
“Anyway, it's a good thing you saw him,” I said, “If anybody else had found him he'd be in big trouble,”
“Yeah, he was relieved that I found him, and when I ate him anyway I think he was pretty shocked. Which brings me to,”
“You what?” I cut her off.
“Which brings me to my little side bet. Megyhn, I'm betting his wife does see him and still decides to eat him. What do you say? Just a friendly wager, say two hundred?”
“You're on,” Megyhn said shaking Vera's hand.
“That won't happen. Even assuming she'd do it, which I don't believe for a moment, If she recognizes me you've already said you'd bring me back,” I said.
“True, but she is a customer and technically she bought you with her order, so I can only bring you back if she decides she doesn't want to eat you,” She stared hard at me with mock sympathy, “Is that going to be a problem?”
“It's not going to be a problem. There's no way she'd do that,” I said.
“Good! Now, we have to do this quickly, don't want to keep your wife waiting now do we?” Megyhn asked. She handed me a stack of papers, “We have to keep this legit right? If by some chance she doesn't recognize you, but comes to me complaining about your disappearance I need to have proof that it was your choice,”
I stared at the stack of papers. My hesitation was annoying to her.
“What's the matter? Don't you trust me? I thought we were friends,” She smiled.
I signed the papers.
“Good,” she said, “Now follow me,” She led me to the booths. They were made mostly of glass. The inner space was only big enough to fit one person (kind of like a phone booth) but the hatch was raised and lowered like the windshield over the cockpit of a fighter jet, “Well, hop in,” She patted the inside of the booth, and nervously, I complied. As she locked the door the absolute craziness of what I was doing started to sink in. Even if Audrey does recognize me I'm pretty sure she'll be mad. Maybe I shouldn't do this.
“Normally at this point I'd ask a patron if they were absolutely sure about this, but I can tell you're as ready as you'll ever be, so,” She pushed the button.
My world filled with white light. There was no heat, no change in temperature, but when the light faded I realized I was in a large room with a metal floor and Megyhn was scooping me up. I've tried to imagine what it would be like to be this small and in a woman's hand my entire life, but my imagination couldn't compare to how it actually felt. I was lightheaded from the g force of being lifted, but she didn't seem to care. she held me above her head.
“Um, Megyhn, I'm not sure I want to do this,” I said.
“Well, we might have a problem then. You see, I already pushed the button,”
“Yeah, but you could just grow me back and we can call the whole thing off,” I said.
“I could, but then again there are many things I could do. You know, I could eat you right here and now and nobody would know,” she said smiling.
“You could,” I tried to sound calm, but I know my voice cracked, “But then you wouldn't know who was right and that would bother you as much as it would bother me,” I waited, hoping this was true.
“You're right,” she said. I sighed with relief, “ I wish I could see the look on your face when your own wife sees you as nothing more than a tiny snack,” She looked like she was thinking, then a mean spirited smile crossed her face, “One more thing though,” She grabbed a personal groomer from her pocket and turned it on. It was one of those things used for nose hair and eyebrow grooming, so it was small. I heard a buzz above me and saw several long strands of red hair slowly float down. I lost sight of them well before they hit the ground. A stern reminder of how far the fall would be.
“What was that for?” I yelled. This was personal. I had not cut my hair since the week before I was married. She had no right!
“I'm just thinking about your wife's well being. Some of my customers complain that long hair gets stuck in their throats. We don't want her to choke do we?” She made a look of mock shock, “Oh, I just thought of something! Were you counting on your hair? I hope not! I may have ruined your chances of getting noticed! That would be horrible!”
“I'm sure she'd recognize me without it!” I yelled back. Come to think of it though there's actually a good chance that was the only thing that'd get her to look twice.
She walked briskly back to the serving area and found the order for table six. There was a serving of lasagna that was just now being plated and a bowl with five tiny men standing around with confused expressions on their faces. Megyhn picked one of the guys up out of the bowl and put me in his spot.
“Sorry, last minute change of plans,” She said to the tiny man.
“What gives?” he yelled, “I was next!”
She lifted the man to her face and smiled.
“Am I to take it you are unsatisfied with the service in my restaurant?”
The man nodded, “I've been waiting for hours to be regrown and suddenly this chump gets to cut in line! I'm going to report you to the Better Business Bureau!”
“Allow me to show you to the complaint department,” She popped him into her mouth and savored him for a while looking down at the rest of us. Nobody said anything. We were frozen to the spot unable to look away. It really was different from this angle. She swallowed with little effort and he was gone. We all knew that we could go just as easily.
“Anyone else?” Megyhn asked. We all slowly shook our heads, “Good. Adela, I believe table six's order is ready. It was nice meeting you,” She walked away smiling like she'd already won.
Adela went to grab the tray, but her phone rang. The table was low for easy lifting of the trays and we were at belly level with her. Her midriff was bare and shone white with the contrast of the bright colors of her clothes. I didn't know how she could stand wearing so little in this weather. I could see goosebumps along her skin. She sort of shifted side-to-side as she talked.
“Hey Skittles! How's the tour? Really? Oh yeah, no, it hasn't burned down yet,” she laughed, “Though I have been using a bunch of acetone in my latest project, so tell Helmut not to smoke in the house when you get back. The fumes should be gone by then, but who knows,” She blushed a bit, “Oh yeah? Well, put him on then,” Her smile grew brighter and she shifted more as she talked, “Hey Hess, what's up? I was just thinking about you,” Her stomach growled. It shook the table where we were standing, “Not much, just work. Probably not, but I don't think Megyhn will mind if I talk for a few seconds, besides, she doesn't have to know. Yeah, it is a nice place. It's too bad your visit was just a quick in and out. You oughta come by here some time after the concert k? I'll give you a full tour. K, put them on. Hey guys!” Indistinct noise that sounded like several people yelling could be heard on the other side of the phone. I hate to break this short, but I don't want my customer's order to get cold. Auf Weidersehen!” She hung up and lifted the tray.
“Hey Adela I need your help!” I yelled. When she finally looked down it took her a while to recognize me.
“Oh, hey cheese sticks!” She smiled down at me; “I didn't expect to see you here. Sorry I took so long. I was talking to my friends. Ever heard of the band “Who Bit Fluffy?””
“Can't say that I have,” I said.
“Well, you should really check them out some time. Oh wait, you're not gonna,” She stopped talking and smiled as if she was almost caught revealing a secret, “I mean after we regrow you, you should totally check it out,”
“Adela, I know,” I explained trying to use my patient voice, “I have a little bet with Megyhn and I need your help. Just make sure to tell Audrey to pay close attention to her food,”
“Can't do that,” she said.
“Megyhn wouldn't appreciate me interfering with the bet. I kind of like my job, besides, why would I want to help you?”
“Oh so I'm a bad guy because I eat dairy products?” Patient mode was gone now, “As opposed to your cruelty free diet of soy, lentils, and human flesh!”
“That's totally different, and you're really not gonna make me want to help you talking to me like that,” She said.
“Sorry,” I thought for a bit, “If not for me then for Audrey. You like her right?”
“I suppose so,” She looked like she was deciding, “If I feel like it I may give her a clue later,”
“How much later?”
“When I come by to check on drinks,” she said.
“That may be too late!” I said.
“There has to be some challenge right? If you survive that long I'll help you out,”
“Excuse me miss, but the booths are that way!” One of the other men called up to her.
“Don't worry, I have a few things I have to drop off first,” She smiled, “You'll be out of here shortly,”
The other men began to get loud asking her a barrage of questions and I was forced back. I could tell when we were getting close to the table because I could hear my wife and her friend's voices.
“And so I said to him, “If that's how you feel about it, then fine! I have no time for this,” The friend was saying, “And you know what he did? He walked right out, and I'm glad. I'm glad. I am. You know why? I alw,” What's her face was saying as Adela sat the plates down. Adela placed the plate of tiny men in front of Audrey and the Lasagna in front of her friend.
“Here you go. Sorry about the wait,”
“No problem at all,” They both said.
“K, so we got an order of five unwilling and an order of meaty lasagna,” I could hear her trying not to gag when she read the second order, “Enjoy,” And with that she was gone.
I tried to make myself extra visible, but Audrey was staring intently at her friend as she talked. She casually reached down into the bowl and grabbed one of the men and began to lick him as he cried out for help.
“Yeah, like I was saying. I'm glad he's gone. He had no business, eww I can't believe you're actually doing that!” Her friend said staring at the tiny man in her hand, “What made you pick this place anyway?”
“Ed talked me into coming here when we first started our vacation,” she said as she continued to lick the tiny screaming man. I was yelling to her as well, but between the tiny man in her hand and the other people yelling in the bowl she couldn't hear me. Maybe when there were fewer people she'd hear me better, “I wasn't sure about it at first, but they're great,” She started sucking on the tiny man. I had watched her do this many times, but not from this angle. I lost my sense of urgency and could do nothing but stare, “You can feel them moving after you swallow them. Want to try one? You'll love it!”
“Nah, I'm good,” her friend said taking a bite of her lasagna. Her fork load was almost as big as us. I didn't know pasta being cut by a fork was so noisy. After her first bite vanished in her mouth she started talking again, “Why did Ed want you to come here?”
“He likes this sort of thing,” She said as she popped the tiny man into her mouth. I was horrified to realize that she didn't look at him once the whole time. Without any thought or hesitation she swallowed. That could've just as easily been me. I saw the lump travel down her throat before she spoke again, “You know what?” She leaned in conspiratorially and began to whisper, “When we get back to the motel we're both ready,” She reached down and grabbed a second man. He was standing right next to me.
“Really?” Her friend had a strained look on her face, “This does it for the two of you?”
“Well, it does it for him, and seeing it do it for him does it for me,” She said as she slid the second guy into her mouth and swallowed easily. She picked up a third one and reached out to her friend, “Come on, you can't say you aren't at least a little curious. Since you're here you might as well try it,”
She timidly reached over and took the tiny man from Audrey's hand.
“He's screaming!” she gasped.
“Yeah, these ones signed the contract but backed out at the last minute. They should have read the fine print. Anyway. If you don't eat him I will, so just ignore the screaming and try it,” Audrey said to her friend. I was really starting to panic now that I was one of two people left in the bowl and the other guy was a quivering heap,”
“He kind of reminds me of my ex,” A wicked smile formed on her face, “This might be easier than I thought,”
“They all remind me of Ed,” Audrey said, “I've spent a lot of time pretending that they are him for his benefit. It's weird because now it sounds like they are yelling my name all the time whether they are or not. I already don't hear what people are saying unless I'm directly listening to them,”
Oh crap I forgot all about that! The only chance I really have is if she looks directly at me!
What's her name turned the guy around in her hand examining him as he begged her for help, “So, how do I?”
“First you have to get him real wet. You want to swallow them whole you see?” She grabbed the man that was in a fetal position on the bottom of the bowl and lifted him to her mouth. She proceeded to lick him, “You don't want to bite or they don't wiggle, and that's the best part. Plus it would be a bloody mess. Speaking of bloody messes, you need to try that steakhouse down the road. That had to be the juiciest piece of meat I've ever tasted,”
Just then Adela walked up to refill their drinks. As she poured water in their glasses she looked down into the bowl and saw me standing there alone. She smiled and waved.
“Then after you get them wet enough you can just swallow them. It's kind of hard until you get used to it. Don't be afraid to drink some water if it will help,” Audrey said as Adela walked away to work another table. She swallowed the tiny man she had picked up to demonstrate how. I was now alone in the bowl and the walls were too high to climb out.
“Here goes,” her friend said (seriously, what IS her name?) She licked the tiny man for a while and then timidly slid his fighting form into her mouth. As I was watching I felt a hand close around me. I could feel the metal of her titanium wedding ring against my skin. I remember being unsure which hand to put it on at the wedding and fumbling around for a while. Now I'm not sure if I'd even be able to lift it. The Celtic heart symbols on it are digging into my skin as she casually lifts me without regard to my comfort. Her friend choked a little on her first attempt at swallowing her tiny man.
“No, do it like this,” Audrey said as she brought me to her mouth and began to lick my body.
“Audrey! It's me! Look down! Please look down!” I yelled, but to my horror she continued licking.
Her friend grabbed a glass of water, popped the guy in her mouth, and downed half the glass.
“Whew!” As she caught her breath she smiled, “I can feel him move!”
“Yeah, It's great isn't it?” Audrey said.
“How long does it last?”
“Not long, a couple of minutes. It kind of sucks that this is my last one,” She looked down at me. For a second it almost looked like we made eye contact.
“It's me! You've gotta,” Before I could finish a shadowy object blocked my view of her face, and hers of mine.
“Would you like to try one of our desserts?” I heard Adela ask. It was a small dessert menu. Audrey took it with her free hand and held it where Adela had it.
“I'll just take this for you if you're done,” Adela said as she grabbed the empty bowl and the empty plate. When she reached under to grab the bowl she waved at me.
“I think I'll go for the turtle cheesecake,” Audrey said as she popped me into her mouth.
“No!” I yelled as I was tossed around and quickly pulled down her throat. It was tighter than I ever imagined in my stories. I don't know how it didn't crush my ribs. The tightness only increased as I entered the sphincter and was shot into her stomach with the other struggling men. I knew that she couldn't hear me. I knew that there was no escape, but what the mind knows and the body does are two different animals. I still fought like mad to get out.
Martha stared up from the composition book and watched the two women eat their cheesecake as she decided how to end her story. She took a sip of her green tea and thought. Suddenly it came to her and she leaned back over the paper.
As she took another bite of her cheesecake Audrey felt a few more flutters. They were weaker now. By the time she finished her cheesecake they'd be gone entirely. She wished they lasted longer but couldn't afford to buy more. She couldn't wait to tell Ed what she'd done. After describing it to him she was totally going to rape him when she got back to the motel.
Perfect. Martha closed the comp book and headed for the door, but she tripped right next to the two women's table and dropped it. She scrambled to grab it before they could read what was written in Sharpie on the front. She walked out the door quickly. Lifting the books was easy. She was good at being quiet, and small enough that most people didn't notice her. Megyhn would fill in some of the other details she needed to finish her story. It wasn't like her others. None of them had been in first person. She also really enjoyed knowing something the other woman didn't. This was almost as fun as eating an unwilling man herself. Almost.