Karen came home angry. She’d gotten a cab all the way out to Nowheresville just to have her client not bring any money. He thought that a bottle of gin and a few Xanax bars would be plenty for her. They were, but that wasn’t the point. Karen had bills to pay, and until the landlord accepted Xanax as payment, neither did she. She took his “gifts,” then grabbed his phone and made him pay for her Uber back home. She’d been in the business for over twenty years now; did he really think she was some kind of chump?
She made a detour to Hemingway’s Bar before coming home. Yes, she had a pint of gin in her purse, but she couldn’t bare to return early for the third time night a row. She sat down on her favorite barstool—the leather had cracked faster than any of the other stools underneath Karen’s daily sweat—and ordered a beer. She already had a beer gut; why not have a drink better to fit it? Karen resolved to not return home until the sun was down.
Eventually, she stomped up the filthy steps of her apartment building to her one-bedroom on the third floor. Then, after fumbling with the keys for longer than she would have if she’d been sober, she unlocked all three locks on the front door and went inside.
There was her friend Amanda—5’11”—and son Sam—0’5”—playing Scrabble as per usual. Karen smiled at Sam’s determination to struggle with the tiles even as they got larger and larger over time in comparison to him, then immediately began sobbing. Amanda turned to face her and frowned with concern. “What’s wrong?”
Karen sucked up her tears and did her best to put on a brave face. She tried to act nonchalant, despite all three of them knowing rent day was looming. “The only thing worse than getting paid for sex is not getting paid for sex. Rent’s due in a week, and I’m about ten clients short. I haven’t had a single actual one in over a week.” She kicked the heater below the dirty window. “I can’t even afford to fix this damn heater. I can see my breath in here. I wish I’d stayed at the damn bar.”
Amanda walked over to her friend and placed her hand on her shoulder. “You just have to remember it’s February, babe. Work will pick up in the Spring.”
“Not if I’m homeless then!” she yelled. “And what’ll happen to Sam if we get evicted? Foster care? You know what that’s like. At his size… Those foster care fuckers’ll eat him alive.”
Amanda rubbed her shoulder. “Money will come. It always does. You know that.”
Karen shook her head and walked with Amanda over to the couch. “Money doesn’t come to me like that anymore. Not since my open heart surgery and my scar and all this weight from sitting around all the time after. Nobody thinks I’m forty, but I am! It’s not my fault all that coke back in the 90s made me age so quick.” She sighed, surveying her body. Yes, she had a great ass and great breasts, but who cared about any of that on a woman who weighed slightly over 300 pounds? And though she personally thought she had an excellent tan, it didn’t take much for bystanders to snicker that it was a bit too much on her, even for a Miami hooker. “I’m a decade out from my best years. You have it easy. You’re thin and young and beautiful. And you have a great package,” she joked.
Amanda rolled her eyes. “And I have a package. Work is still hard for me. Not everyone’s as into trannies as you think they are. I only get by half the time by seeing those creepy guys who want you to pee on them.”
“Politicians. Yeah.” Karen pulled out a cigarette and lit it, then extended the pointer finger of her free hand to Sam. She couldn’t give him a full body hug anymore, but she still needed to show him her affection. She hated to see him shivering. “I’m just saying. You made a grand yesterday. I haven’t seen a grand in a week in a long time.”
“I’m always happy to help cover costs that you can’t manage,” Amanda said, leaning close to her friend. “Rent won’t be a problem for you as long as I’m around.”
Karen sighed. “I know, I know. I just…” She took a drag of her cigarette.
“What you know,” Amanda said, “is that this place isn’t going to stop smelling like cigarettes until—
“Shut up,” Karen cut her off. “I need a smoke.” After taking another drag from her cigarette, she leaned in to whisper into her friends ear, but at Sam’s size, he could hear everything. He tried not to let on that he could hear when they whispered; it gave him a bit of an advantage. “I’m scared about Sam,” she said. “He’s only five inches now. What happens when he disappears completely? What if I hurt him?”
“I can’t answer that,” Amanda said, trying to remain pragmatic. “But I can say your smoking inside doesn’t help anything.”
“I told you,” Karen said. “I need it. For my nerves.”
“What you need,” Amanda said coyly, “is some of this.” She winked at Sam, ignoring the appalled look on his face, then pulled two small pieces of paper out of her breasts.
Karen frowned. “Is that…?”
Amanda beamed. “Yes. Acid. Good acid.”
Karen looked at the pink and blue tie-dye colored squares in Amanda’s hand with wonder. “In Miami? I haven’t seen a halfway decent psychedelic since…”
“Woodstock?” Amanda joked.
“Guys,” Sam tried to pipe in, but neither was paying attention to the teenager, who was scrawny even for his size.
“I’m not that old,” said Amanda. “But really? Good acid? Here?’
“Even in Miami.” And to prove she meant it, Amanda took one of the two squares and placed it on her tongue.
“Shit,” I haven’t had any of that since I was a teenager.” Karen rubbed her beer gut with thought. “I’m almost kind of nervous.” She laughed.
“Wait,” Sam said, but if either of them could hear him, they showed no signs of caring. Sam watched with awe and trepidation—and, he had to admit, with a twinge of jealousy—as the two gigantic women in front of him placed the pieces of paper on their tongues. He was eighteen. Ever since he’d started shrinking when puberty hit, his life had less and less adventure in it. While all his friends forget about him in a haze of alcohol, sex, and sleeping through detention, Sam was forced to stay home with his mom, Karen, or, if she was “working,” her friend she’d met on the job, Amanda.
The two couldn’t have been any more different. There was Amanda, not only his mother’s best friend but his as well—with long, silky auburn hair and more than a handful of surgeries on her body that had rendered her nothing short of most men’s ideas of a goddess. Add in her smooth, pale, and hairless skin and the fact that she bragged frequently enough about having one of the biggest dicks in the state that it had to be true: She made money.
And there was his mom. What she bragged almost every time she got drunk and, subsequently, horny was that she used to be one of the top strippers in Vegas. She was one in a thousand out there, with breasts large enough on their own to not need augmentation and natural blonde hair that didn’t grow frizzy from bleach. But that was twenty years ago. After getting pregnant with Sam while filming a porn scene (to his chagrin, she’d told him the story more than once), her stretch marks put her out of the game. She started hooking to get by, and from there fell into a daily speedballing habit. She lost weight like crazy, but after an overdose gave her a heart attack and a mini-stroke and the months of bedrest and binge-eating-inducing depression following it, she gained back all fifty pounds she’d lost—five times over. The constant warmth of Miami let Karen wear skimpy clothing year-round, whether or not strangers would have recommended it—and her skin had grown leathery and tan, mottled in color and wrinkled in texture. The world had been unkind to her, and she wore it across her body.
Sam watched from the coffee table helplessly as the LSD began to work itself into their brains. He had told Amanda not to do it, but she had written him off. She claimed she’d be around the whole time to make sure his mom didn’t get too crazy. It eased his nerves, but not as much as he would’ve liked it to. The two of them were so big compared to him. Add their drug habits and general boisterousness and Sam was on the brink of a panic attack almost once a day.
“Mom?” he called to her from the coffee table, gazing up at the woman placing LSD on her tongue. She was gargantuan, in comparison to him, yes, but also to others, her elbows sinking into nonexistence in her fat, her thighs overflowing on normal sized chairs.
Karen sat back, failing to hear her son. She cared about him more than she knew was possible. Even when her drug habit had fallen into excess in the early 2000s, she had never neglected him… too much. Nowadays, she didn’t ignore him on purpose; he was simply difficult to see and hear, especially over The Grateful Dead that Amanda put on.
“Remind me. How long does this shit take to kick in?” she croaked, absentmindedly playing with her nipple.
“Half an hour,” Amanda said. “Plenty of time for me to finish my game with Sam.” She winked at him. Sam didn’t return her joviality, crossing his arms and frowning. Why didn’t she listen to him? He really wished he were in foster care, just as his mom had threatened he could be any day. But the stories the two of them told… He thought he’d prefer to stick with what he knew.
“Amanda,” he asked her, “can you put me in my house, please? I don’t want to be around while you two are high. You know that.”
Amanda grinned. She did know that. But if she was planning to make a move on Karen, Amanda didn’t want her to think that it had all been planned to the last detail. Including setting Karen up with a fake john to get her in the mood, as well as some booze and benzos. Removing Sam from the room on his own request added to the authenticity for her. Sure, it was conniving, but Amanda felt that Karen only needed a little push to see what was right in front of her all along.
She laid her palm out in front of her on the coffee table and let Sam climb on, then lifted him up to her chest. She smirked at his erection.
Sam couldn’t help it. He was eighteen and a virgin. He had never so much as had the opportunity to kiss a girl, except a brief two minutes with that girl Stacy who had taken pity on (or advantage of) him when he’d stood at three feet tall at sixteen. And Stacy had been fat, with glasses, braces, and acne. A miraculously oversized polo shirt and undersized khaki shorts. Only a fanny pack could have made Stacy more Stacy. And here was Amanda, looming and beautiful, right in front of him. He wasn’t crazy about what she had going on downstairs, but her breasts were some of the best he’d ever seen.
His “house” was a doll house his mother had found at a garage sale. It was ratty and smelled of something stale, though he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. It had apparently been sitting in some old woman’s attic for seventy years or so years before she finally kicked the bucket. He didn’t like feeling like a doll. But it was better than a shoebox with a washcloth and sponge in it, where he’d spent his first few months of being under a foot tall after he’d started insisting he not share the bed with his mom.
The second Amanda left the room, Sam began to masturbate. Then he stopped, frustrated with himself. He could hear their voices and make out about half of their words as the drugs started to kick in for both of them.
Amanda and Karen spent the first hour or so howling with laughter at absolutely nothing. When the second hour crept on them, their moods grew more introspective. Karen, as per usual, had nothing but her son on her mind. Under the effects of the LSD, she felt she really understood what he must be going through. She felt that she, too, was less than half a foot in height. “Please don’t let me disappear, Amanda. Please. I don’t know what I’ll do if I disappear. Who will take care of Sam?”
Amanda hushed her. “Don’t worry about that right now, Karen. Take a deep breath. No need for a bad trip.”
Karen took a deep breath and tried to relax. Without intending it, her hand snuck its way inside her daisy dukes. It was the only way, outside of the drugs she was already on, that she knew how to relax. The Xanax had worn off, but the acid was only getting stronger by the minute.
“You know,” Amanda said, scooting from her end of the couch closer to Karen, “if you’re in the mood, sex on acid is the best.”
Karen looked at her. Really looked at her. Maybe it was the acid, but Amanda seemed only more beautiful, if that were possible. She also felt beautiful. Like anyone in the world would be lucky to even look at her, let alone feel her most intimate parts.
“And it’s a good way to stay warm, too,” Amanda added.
“Blueberries…” Karen said.
Amanda giggled. Then she leaned in and kissed her.
Sam, listening to them slurping on each other (he hoped it was just mouths), couldn’t help but start touching himself again. He knew it was wrong, but if he just pretended the noises were coming from people who didn’t act as his mothers in conjunction… The moaning and sucking sounds, increasing in intensity and frequency—those were from two random women who had somehow snuck into this apartment.
Then he heard Amanda’s phone ring. The moaning coming from the other room stopped and he heard Amanda say “Hold on. I have to take this.” He continued what he was doing anyways, at this point just wanting to get it over with. Just because neither of them were going to finish didn’t mean he couldn’t.
“Okay Jack,” Amanda’s muffled voice reached through his mom’s bedroom door to him, “I’ll be there in half an hour.”
“Do you have to go right now?” his mom said.
He could practically smell Amanda’s disappointment. “Yeah. This guy is really reliable. And he’s booking three hours. That’s a full month’s rent in my pocket.”
“But…” Karen started to say, then forgot, then remembered again. “Blueberries…”
Amanda laughed. “Christ, I didn’t realize how hard this stuff was going to hit you. Listen, I’ll be back in a handful of hours. You’ll still be high. Trust me, this shit lasts almost too long.”
“Cherries?” Karen asked.
“Yeah, I’ll pop your girl cherry when I get back. Promise. Now hold tight and don’t have any fun without me.” Amanda opened the front foor, thought for a moment, then turned around to face Karen again, relenting. She returned to her and handed her four milligrams of Klonopin. “You know what? Take these. You’ll be knocked out in half an hour. It’ll waste your high, but I don’t think you need to be going nuts all by yourself right now.” Then she yelled over her shoulder, not realizing Sam had been able to hear the entire time, “You’re welcome, squirt!”
With a slam of the front door, Amanda was gone.