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“Bye daddy!” The little girl yelled after squeezing her dad’s waist in a big hug. The grade-schooler waved at her dad and rushed to the car, where her mother was waiting, holding the back passenger door open. John’s wife smiled and waved at him, and then got in the front seat. One quick check later, she started the car, and they were off.

John looked at the car leaving the driveway, and followed it with his eyes until it turned around on the street. He sighed. A whole week to himself, while his wife and daughter would visit the in-laws. He asked to stay back because of a project he was needed at work, while his family would enjoy a relaxing time in the southern coasts. A week at the beach while daddy was stuck in the snowy northern area was a deal that mom and daughter took with glee. It was Friday afternoon, and they’d be back on next Saturday, giving him plenty of time to deal with work.

John did not have work that week. In fact, he had taken time off work. He walked back into the house, noticing his body casting a shadow on everyday items around the house while he walked.

John was not a happy man. He felt “stretched”. While his height was nothing special, and would be considered quite average for a man of his size. Most men would want to be tall and strong. Not John. Ever since puberty, John always felt that his body was always too big for himself. He grew out of his childhood clothes, he became tall and “heavy”. It made him feel uncomfortable in his body, and it made him hate himself. He had had many a failed relationships, with women who expected and wanted him to act his size, be bigger than them, dominant, and take them. It was the same with his wife – it took many months into their relationship before he could admit his fantasies of being the size of a child to her. It took many more months for her to accept him.

But she could tell, every time she looked up at him, every time he had to bow down to kiss her, that he hated her. When they were married, she felt that he would rather be held in her hands like a toddler, than carry her triumphantly out of the church building. But somehow, their relationship had endured. She was scared to have children, at first. “Are you going to be jealous of how little our child is?” she would ask time and again. And John would lie, and say “of course not. It’s out kid, he or she should not enter my thoughts like that. I have principles.” 

He did not. From the moment he held his newborn daughter in his hands, every milestone in her growth, he imagined himself just as small as her, or even smaller. Not as a child, but as himself, an adult human male, just … small. He never admitted it to his wife. And she never asked again. Their relationship survived only because of their daughter. They would not want to split up, at least not while she’s that young. But the family pictures would tell a story untold. More often than not, daddy would be squatting down while holding his daughter, trying to appear more like her equal, than someone twice as tall as her.

But now, John was home alone. Deep in his thoughts, his heart fluttering, he went to the kitchen, where a box waited. He opened the box. It was a secret formula, stolen from a laboratory somewhere across the globe. John had found out of its existence just a month ago, and he liquidated his hefty retirement account, sold off his investments and family savings, turned it all into bitcoin, and hired a thief online to steal a sample for him. The formula was so restricted, so world-changing, that the theft never made the news in any country, the lab burglary was hushed. And somewhere out there, a person had received about half a million dollars for the job.

He opened the box. It contained two transparent packets of identical looking silvery dust. They were as small as a teabag, but they were full. They were marked by two single Cyrillic characters. One was code for down. The other was for up. John held the packets in his hands, trembling. His whole life he lived with the knowledge that no matter how much he wanted his dream to become a reality, it would be impossible to actually do it. And yet, here he was, his finances in ruin, his wife happily ignorant of what he had done, holding the power to make his dream a reality.

John removed the packets and set them on the counter. He put some water in the electric kettle, and let it warm up. Just like making tea. He put his hands down on the counter, and realized that if everything went well, he would be barely able to see above the counter. His heart kept racing. He felt dizzy, and for the first time, terrified. The kettle let out a ding, and turned itself off. John picked it up, and carefully poured water into a large cup, filling it almost to the top. John then took a shot glass and poured just a small amount of water in it. He picked up the packets and set them next to his “tea” water. He picked up a knife and very carefully punctured the baggie marked “up”, and poured just a few particles in the shot glass. The water took the silvery-gray color of the dust, and swirled around for a bit, before settling on a dull color. John looked around for a bit of tape, and taped over the hole in the “up” packet. And then, he opened the “down” one. This time, he was much more liberal. He dumped about half of the packet in the larger mug, until the drink took the same dull silvery color, letting out a weird metallic scent. John sealed the “down” packet, and put both of them in the box. He then reached down below the kitchen counter, pulled the shorted drawer open, and placed the box neatly on top of some tupperware.

He then put his two drinks on a tray, and carried it over to the master bedroom, setting it down neatly on the nightstand. John carefully undressed. He unbuttoned his shirt, and then his pants, and stripped down to his underwear and socks. He looked at his wife’s mirror. The “too tall” man looked back at him. He paused for a moment, but then remembered that he had long crossed the point of no return. He could not chicken out now. If he did, his life was ruined anyway, so he might as well enjoy it.

John carefully removed his underwear and dropped it on the floor. He looked at his member, flaccid, resting on a tuft of pubic hair. He used to “manscape”, as they call it, when he was sexually active with his wife. But the early-thirties man was long removed from that time by now. He felt a cold breeze in the room. John pulled up his left foot. It felt so long, so big in his hands as she tugged and rolled his sock down. He did that with the other sock. He was naked.

John picked up the tray and went to the hallway. By now, his “tea” was still warm, but the aroma had subsided. He carefully lowered it on the floor. And then, he took a look at the familiar kitchen doorframe. There were height marks and dates, down by his knees, up by his leg, and the freshest around his waist. Documenting his precious little daughter’s height ever since she could stand up. He crouched down and touched the marks. His fingers were white from the pressure he was putting against the marks. It was now or never.

John picked up the “down-tea-mug” with both hands, stood up, and looked down at his daughter’s 3’4’’ height mark, the one they had just taken that morning. His heart was racing, and he started trembling. Almost dropped the tea. Now or never. John opened his mouth, and poured the warm liquid in, swallowing quickly, feeling it tingle against his tongue, throat, and esophagus.

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