The Virus: MLM-01
Oakley coasted into the driveway and pushed her bike into the garage.
“I’m home Mom!”
Just two more weeks and she’ll turn sixteen. She couldn’t wait, but had to hide her excitement from her mother.
“Honey, could you help out? Heather dropped off a box today and I’ve been too busy to get to it.”
Lynlee Pratt had a thriving multilevel marketing business selling clothing for shrinkies. Nearly half the women in the valley had husbands and or sons who survived. That meant they’d need tiny doll clothes. She found two manufacturers in Vietnam and another in China and just added a these as line to the exercise clothes she’d been selling for the last five years. Her tiny clothes had taken off through her multilevel marketing channels. She had something like eighty women around the country now and soon would be expanding to Canada and England.
Her ex wasn’t around. They’d divorced two months before the first wave and he was one of the unlucky ones. These days only about fifteen percent of infected men died, but the only way to avoid getting it was total isolation. Some had gone that route and it looked like it was all over about six months after the first wave and then the second wave rolled through. Now they were in the third.
Heather was a staff nurse at the Orem Hospital for the Shrinking Syndome. She was good at her job, but started worrying about how men who didn’t have families with means would be taken care of. It wasn’t like they could take care of themselves. Professional care cost a lot of money. In the US that meant warehousing with terrible conditions for many. One thing led to another before she and Lynlee came up with a plan for some of them.
Heather only took those who didn’t have families visiting the hospital. A number of women were doing so poorly that they weren’t able to pay the hospital bills. A lot of men ended up unclaimed. She’d mark them deceased and didn’t lose sleep over it. She had a little oven in back for burning up dead mice to give her ashes to file away in case a family wanted to claim them. So far no-one did.
The sortings were around the first of the month. Heather would drive up with a box of anywhere from three to fifteen and they’d all have to be cleaned up and then photographed and classified. After that Lynlee would work on the marketing materials. She considered Oaklee to be the most discerning of the trio. Sometimes they’d question her judgement, but trust a hormone filled teenager to have a great eye for tiny men.
Oaklee read through the handwritten manifest. Nine this time ranging in age from sixteen to twenty eight. They had agreed on a firm cutoff of thirty for the oldest and sixteen for the youngest. One black, one mixed race and the rest were white. All from Utah except the one from Texas. Last month they only got four. Either more were being infected or Heather was less selective this time around.
She opened the box and pulled out one of the grey six inch cubes. A handwritten card said ‘Mark’ She flicked the latch and opened the padded box. They were almost always like this - protecting their eyes from the sudden light and cowering in whatever corner they could find.
“Hey Mark! Don’t worry. I'm not going to hurt you. We’re just here to help you find a great home. Way better than those government wards.”
She tipped the cube and let him tumble into the palm of her hand. She walked over to the camera and switched the stage lighting and monitor on. With the magnification at 4x she could make a rough decision.
“Stand up straight next to the grid Mark. Gotta make some measurements. Real tall. Now turn ninety degrees. Okay.. good.. now another ninety. Excellent. You could be a model!”
‘Good looking, in good physical shape.’ she thought to herself
“You must work out Mark, right?”
Mark was too terrified to say anything.
‘Light brown, eyes look brown - can’t really tell’
“Hey Mark, how tall were you.”
He didn’t say anything.
“Need to know for the records. I won’t bite.”
“Oooo.. that’s nice” she said, hoping to make him feel more at ease. She knew six two was just a tiny bit over three and three quarters. She had to wonder what it must seem like to talk to a giant like this. At least she wasn’t on of the girls who really grew. She came down with it about the time her Dad died and went from five five to six four. That was rare. Most girls only saw an inch or two, It could be worse. Four in Utah County were Supers. That meant over nine feet tall. She knew two of them. Bailey is almost eleven feet. She’ll never be able to get cute clothes, drive a car or have anything that wasn’t custom. And poor Sariah went to almost twenty three feet. Such a shame 'cause she's so pretty. It's made her super-shy. She'll probably have to live on some kind of assistance to pay for things like food.
Without saying anything she picked him up and thought for a minute. Then she walked over the the aquarium marked ‘B’
“You’ll have to wait here for awhile. It’ll keep you safe from spiders and things.”
Her stomach growled.
“Mom?” she yelled without waiting for an answer. “I need a snack.”
Lynlee came in and watched her daughter started build a sandwich that was too tall to stay together.
“I could do that when I was your age, so enjoy it now.”
“I will Mom” she said as she patted her five foot four mother on the head.
A half hour later they were sorting and cleaning. “One A, six Bs and two Cs About average.” Lynlee said. The As brought ten thousand, the Bs went for seven and the Cs went for six. The A and two of the Bs are really athletic. Athletic, musical or exceptionally good looking added a plus to their base rating. That could more than double the price.
Lynlee and Heather made donations to the right politicians. Noting more than helping men who’d be in a bad place otherwise and they didn’t have to know the details. On top of that they gave five percent to the Giant Girl Organization - an organization to help women like Bailey and Sariah.
When she turned sixteen Oakley would get her pick of the lot to keep in her room on a three month trial. At the end she’d decide on keeping them forever wait for someone better. She’d known about this for almost a year and cried when she’d fallen for Aaron. He was seventeen and had a runner’s body and an amazing singing voice. He was funny and even told her he thought she was beautiful. He went for something like twenty five thousand to someone in Arizona. She cried for at least a month.
Lynlee took each one and gave them a bath. Oakley had seen them naked, but cleaning them early on was off limits until she was sixteen.
While her mom was working, Oakley took all of the men to the apartment complex in the basement. It looked just like that, but it was in a plexiglas box with a door. Lynlee had found some tracksuits that should fit them and had them waiting along with a serious feast.
A week later the last of the lot had been sold along with the two returns. Demand continued to be very strong. Oaklee had managed to get the two older women to agree to sending a few that didn’t work out to the Supers. To them the shrinkies would be so tiny that it wouldn't matter and much. It seemed like such a great idea, but her mom wanted to wait a few month.
The FedEx package from Utah sat on her porch until just before the party at Sandi’s. . Women’s relationships had always fallowed the full range from deep friendship to purely sexual to romantic. As the pandemic wore on a number of women had come to love the intimacy of another full-sized person Sandi had some of the cutest women at her Friday parties and Ashley was looking for hookups. Especially with Ekaterina the Russian girl. They only met for a minute last time. Both were Bi, and she felt the electricity. She’d been daydreaming about her the entire week.
It took her nearly an hour to get dressed and put on makeup for Sandi’s. Opening the door she saw the package.
“Oh My God!”
She bought him partly because he was named Asher and she thought he was cute. Hopefully he’d work out with the others.. she couldn’t remember if there were eleven or .. maybe even thirteen. She had the money and liked to collect.
She rushed back in to open the box and get him settled, but there was this over-riding need not to be late. At least traffic on the 405 wasn’t a problem these days, but a glance at her watch told her she needed to leave now. ‘The other girls’ll love him’ she thought as she picked him out of his shipping cube and dropped him into her purse.
“I’m going to a party. The girls’ll blow your mind Asher.” she said as she slid into the bright yellow 911.