Puppet People - Georgia Lane
By The Reducer
(Note: Story takes place in the 1958 so imagine certain things from that era when I use general terms)
“Why didn’t I stay with the others?”, she thought as she ducked from shadow to shadow in the empty theater.
Georgia Lane kept thinking to herself which would have been better to run like she is or stay to meet her end. Mr. Franz searches the theater for her and the others calling their names and looking around. But Georgia was well hidden.
You see how a grown woman can be so well hidden comes from the fact that she had been reduced to the size of a doll. Now she ducks behind the legs of the chairs in the theater in the very back row. The others decided to try to make a run the same way that Bob and Sally did but Mr. Franz stood between them and the door out.
The door beside her opened and a new set of legs appeared. A large coat was draped over the chair she was hiding behind. She waited until the feet moved away and decided a new way out might be inside a pocket of this coat. She watched as the feet walked away then climbed into one of the pockets. She curled up in a ball and waited & hoping whoever it was didn’t reach into this pocket.
Herb Choice came into the theater area to check the panel by the stairs up to the projection room when he saw a man searching around the area looking at the floor. He recognized him from the other building he services.
“Mr. Franz? How are you doing? Lose something there? Need some help?”
“Yes, no, ah well, oh Mr. Choice. What are you doing here?”
“I came by to do the final check on the heating system before I go to my lake house for a month. Been checking all my clients’ system one last time. This is the last stop. Was just going to head up to the projection room. So what did you lose?”
“I thought I saw something running around in the seating area. Just making sure it wasn’t something that the audience won’t get hurt with. I came by to test a friend’s marionette that I fixed before …. I left for the day.”
Herb shrug. “Sometimes these places get the wrong type of visitors because the kids love spilling stuff on the floor. Not that Mr. Hoyt doesn’t keep this place clean. Well, if you’re set I’ll check that panel be off. Nice seeing you.”
Herb went to the panel and check to make sure the circuit breaker was good and the right voltage and the switch worked. He heard the furnace kick in then off when he flipped the switch on and off. He smiled and left. One last wave to Mr. Franz before grabbing his coat and heading out to the truck. He placed his coat on the passenger seat before dropping off the bill at the ticket booth. He waved as he got in and left the city.
The truck had been traveling for a bit and Georgia laid in that pocket listening to the music coming from the radio. She could tell they were getting further out of the city as the signal was starting to fade.
“You’re listening to KBIG, Los Angeles and here is the latest news. Mr. Adolph “Al” Franz has been taken into custody today on suspicion of the disappearance of a number of people. While names are being withheld, his factory, Dolls Incorporated is being searched for clues. More as it is available”
The radio faded out. Georgia laid there wondering what will happen now as she hears the driver speak.
“He seemed a nice guy when I met him.”
They drove for a few more hours then a stop somewhere with the sound of a bag being placed on the floor near the coat.
“I’ll call when I get to the house to let you know I made it and thanks for stocking it up for me, Ben.”
The door closed and they were off again.
Another hour or so and the truck stopped. Georgia felt the coat lifted and heard the bag taken in the other arm. The door was opened and the coat was hung on the coat rack by the door. She heard him go somewhere in the building and place the bag down. She popped her head out of the pocket a bit to see where she was.
The room looked like the inside of a log cabin. The furniture looked like it was made of the same type of logs as the cabin was and was very nature like. She glanced here and there amazed to be somewhere other than the backroom of the factory and seeing giant stuff. She could tell that it was a male domain because there weren’t any frilly things that meant a woman’s touch was there.
Then he came into her sight. He was cute and rugged and looks like he was single. She watched as he went over to the crank phone on the wall. He turns the crank after he picked up the earpiece and talked into the mouthpiece.
“Ben, Herb up at the lake. Thanks again. I’m up here and all looks well. I’ll bring down a couple of fishes for you later in the week. Okay. Take care.”
He hung up the phone and went to the refrigerator and took out a beer. I grab the church key and popped the cap off the bottle. After taking a swig, he sighed.
“A month away from that rat race with no work to worry about at all.”
Georgia decided she better make her presence know and now would be a good time.
“Excuse me, could you help me here?”
Herb went to the door and didn’t see anyone out there or anywhere close. He shrugged and went back inside.
“I could use a hand here.”
He spun in place looking around to see where that voice was coming from.
“Either I’m hearing things or this is really strong beer here.” He looked at the label to see what brand it was when he heard it again.
“Please. I can’t get out of here without your help.”
“Okay, who are you and where are you? I’ve got a gun and willing to use it.”
“You have no gun in your hand and I’m in your coat over here on the rack.”
He crossed toward his coat and then took a step back when he saw sticking out of his pocket a very small woman waving at him.
“That’s right. Here I am. I need help out of here. Please, just reach and grab me. Please be gentle.”
Herb took another long draw on the beer and closed his eyes. Upon opening them again, the woman was still there. He went over and looked at her trying to figure out how to take her out. Reaching in, his hand wrapped around her waist and lifted her out as he held the coat with the other hand. He looked her over and she smiled rubbing his hand that she was in.
“A nice firm but gentle grip. I like that in a giant man. Could you place me on the table or you going to stare at me all day?”, she winked and smiled.
“Oh, yes.” He took her over to the table and placed her there. She brushed her dress a bit to straighten it then looked at him.
“Thank you very much. I’m Georgia Lane. And you are?”
He stuttered as he pulled a chair up before he fell from shock. “Ah, Herb Choice.”
“Choice…Choice…why is that familiar? Yes, the heating company. I remember you working on the building where Dolls Incorporate is.”
“You saw me?”
“Well, I wasn’t always this small and I was going up to work when you were getting into your truck.”
“Okay, so you have me at a disadvantage. I must have been in a hurry to get to another job. Sometimes during the year, it gets crazy trying to make sure systems are working. Even harder when you’re a one-man business.”
“I can imagine.” She kneeled down on the table and sorted her dress out around her covering her legs and feet as she sat back on them.
He looked at her. “You said you weren’t always this size so what happened?”
“Well, what year is this? I lost track.”
“Two years? I lost two years? Wow, time flies when you sleep most of it. Fine, you deserve to hear about me. I moved out here from the East Coast about three years ago. You know fame and fortune draws us all out here to get into pictures. I wasn’t doing too well so I took odd jobs to keep a roof over my head. Then I saw an ad for an office girl at Dolls, Incorporated. Mr. Franz hired me and we were both happy. Then after a few months, a role opened for me and I told him I had to leave. He sighed and told me he was happy for me. But he wanted to show me the backroom before I left. Next thing, I woke up in the toy department of the world. I was scared and screaming. But he introduced me to others he shrunk. He took care of us and played with us.”
“Played with you?”
“Nothing like you might think, you dirty boy. He was a lonely man and we were his companions… in a way. He would give us tiny parties while we danced and played in front of him. It was freaky but never having to worry about the rest of the rat race workings…… it felt good. When he was done playing with us, he would put us back in tubes and we would sleep while displayed in the office.”
Herb took a sip of the beer as he listened.
“It seemed that after the last two he shrunk, the authority was asking about all of us who worked in the area disappear. He decided he wanted to end it all and take us with him. He was at the theater and we escaped after drugging him with the pill he puts in our tubes. I got separated from the others and climbed in your coat.” She shrugged. “It was the only thing I could think of to get out of there.”
Herb looked at her and took another sip. “So all this happened to you and would you like to be brought back to the city so you can get back to normal?”
She got up and went over to his hand laying on the table.
“Back when this start, I would have said yes. But after all this time, I’ve gotten used to being a living doll. Besides, I heard that have Mr. Franz in custody on our way up here and I have a feeling the machine that did this might be taken apart or destroyed. Then there is what will they do with me? I might go from being a tiny companion to a lab rat to see if they can correct it or do it again to someone else.”
She reached down and started to rub his hand. “Maybe I could be a tiny office girl for a one-man heating company. I take shorthand.” She winked at him. “Unless of course, there is another woman in your life?”
“Nope, no one else. The last girlfriend I had just didn’t like the idea of me being on call. She would have something planned and the phone would ring for me to run across the city or the suburbs to fix someone’s furnace. She was ready to move but I decided to let her keep the apartment that we just rented. I moved to the room above the shop so I don’t have to go too far to get ready if called.”
Georgia looked sadly at him. “I’m sorry to hear that. I hope the downstairs neighbor isn’t too loud.” She smirked a bit hoping he caught it.
Herb looked at her and shook his head.
“What about you? Any boyfriend that might be missing you?”
She sighed a bit. “No one really. I mean that I thought I had someone but he was hoping to get some insight into Mr. Franz’s work. Other than that, no….well I was hoping to maybe to get to know one of the other people that were…like me but anytime we would start to get close it would be time to go back into the tubes and sleep.”
“I won’t be putting you into tubes so I guess you’ll get to sleep laying down.”
She smiled a bit. “That will be a change.” She looked down at her dress. “But I don’t have any other clothes to wear.”
Herb scratched his head thinking. “I do have some scraps of fabric from old shirts that I tore. When we get back to the city, I’ll get you some dresses for the house.”
“See if you can find some pajamas my size.”
With his stomach grumbling a bit, Herb went into the kitchen and made a simple sandwich for himself and trimmed off a bit for Georgia with a thimble he found he pour her something to drink. “Share the beer. Been awhile since I’ve had any.”
They talked more about what they’ve been through in life and a couple “cupfuls” of beer gave Georgia a bit of tipsiness.
“We’re cutting you off, little lady.”
“But I’m of age even though I’m small. Because I can drink a couple of beers before I get tipsy.”
“A couple that stands almost as tall as you are now?”
“OK, maybe not anymore. But you can’t blame a girl for celebrating her new place.”
Dishes were put away and clean while Georgia explored the table a bit. She kept being amazed how big the world is now she’s outside of the shop and how cute this guy she hooked onto was. She kneeled down again and waited for him to come back.
“All set for the night. All we got to do is figure out where you’re going to sleep.”
She got a little flirty. “Anywhere you want me to be.”
Herb looked at her a bit and shook off doing anything to take advantage of the situation. He went to the back of the cabin and made up a bed in the drawer of the nightstand next to his bed. He returned and told her. She got up and lifted her arms.
“Take me to your room.” She smiled and winked.
He wrapped his hand around her waist and carried her into the bedroom. He showed her where she’ll be sleeping. And took her into the bathroom to see if she needed anything there.
“Well, I would try the toilet but I’m afraid to fall in.”
Herb thought for a moment and grabbed a small paper cup he had in the bathroom. He ripped one side so it folded inward and placed it on the counter. After placing Georgia down there, he waited to see if it would work.
“I’ve heard of roughing it but this is different.” She smiled as she tested it.
Herb was ready to leave when she shouted back to him. “Don’t go. I’ve gotten so used to be watched on the certain thing so it is OK for you to stay…so I don’t fall in.” She blushed a bit as she lifted the back of her skirt up and sat down. He waited as she relieved herself then took the soiled cup away. He plugged the sink and filled it with water and slivers of soap.
“Figured you might like a bath after the day you had. But I’ll leave you to yourself for that. I’ll be outside the door. Just call when you’re done.”
She watched as he left with the door opened a bit. Georgia slowly undressed and placed her outfit off to the side. She slid into the sink and sighed. The very warm water felt fine against her skin as she soaked a bit. After grabbing a sliver of soap, she started to clean herself. As she did, her mind wandered a bit.
“Mr. Franz never handled any of us once we woke up and it has been so long since I was held in any form. I wished Mac was able to hold her in his arms but Mr. Franz never gave us time alone to even get to know each other on any level.”
She glanced at the door as she saw Herb walk by doing something in the bedroom. She smiled a bit as she watched.
“But it did feel so good to be held even if it is only by one hand. And what a hug that is. A full body massage with four fingers. He is cute….. For a giant. I wonder how he’ll treat me. Like a doll or a tiny woman or maybe both.”
She rinsed off and called for Herb. He came in, with what to him was a hand towel, and placed it next to her on the counter. He turned his back as she got out and dried herself. She grabbed her clothes and got dressed again.
He turned and smiled as he reached to drain the sink. He then took her in his hand back to the bedroom and placed her on the nightstand.
“I fixed up a drawer for you to sleep in. I bet it will be different to lay down for a change to sleep.” He smiled again. “I put in a piece of cloth you might be able to use as a wrap so you’re not naked. I’ll go in and take my shower while you get ready.”
He left her to herself while she heard the shower start. The sound of pants with a belt hitting the floor came back to her as she stood there for a moment imagining what he looked like getting into the shower. She shook her head and climbed into the drawer. After seeing the cloth, she got undress again and wrapped herself in the cloth. It wouldn’t be seen on Paris runways but it will do for her. She crawled into her bed and lay there when he came back into the room. She could see him from the waist up. With his bare chest glistening from the water, she gasped in awe. He didn’t hear her because he was drying his hair and threw the towel over to the hamper. He looked down at his guest.
“I hope it is comfy for you. We’ll figure out what to do for you in the morning. Get some real sleep. Night, Georgia.”
The lights went off and she laid there. After what felt like hours, she heard him snoring a bit. She stood up and looked over at him. He flipped over facing her sleeping on his side with his arm under his head making a little pit as his arm was bent in such a way. Georgia watches and yearned for company.
Getting the courage up, she crawled out of the drawer and got on top of the nightstand. After making sure he wasn’t going to make a sudden move, she leaped over to the bed. Falling to her knees and hands, she got a real good look at his face. She licked her lips and thought how really cute he is. She worked her way over to his arm and crawled over it slowly making sure he wasn’t going to move. Once she got in the little area of his arm, she laid down with her head on his wrist and legs over his biceps. She nuzzled against his arm then drifted off to sleep as content as she could be because it felt good to be near someone.
Herb felt something on his arm and opened his eyes a bit and saw Georgia climbing on his arm then settling down to use his arm as a bed. He smiled a bit and made no movement. He drifted off as he watched her fall asleep.
After a deep sleep, Herb woke but didn’t move so he could check on Georgia. She somehow managed to be on the bed itself with his arm forming a wall around her sleeping form. Not wanting to startle her, he gently spoke.
“Hey, sleepy head.”
She stirred a bit. “Five more minutes. This is a wonderful dream.”
“It is going to be a wet one if I don’t get up now and hit the head.”
Georgia’s eyes flew open as she looked around. Where was she? She wasn’t in her bed. Nor was she in the tube. And why was she wearing a wrap to bed? Then she noticed what was surrounding her. A giant arm. Her eyes followed the arm to a shoulder and then a face. The man’s giant face was smiling and she tried to move away but was trapped against his arm. He moved his arm from behind her and got up. God, he was tall… and cute. She followed him with her eyes as he disappeared into another room. The sound of a toilet lid being lifted and a stream told her that was the bathroom. A flush and running water came and he came out wiping his hands on a small towel.
“Do you need to use the toilet?”, he asked.
She nodded as he reached for her. She grasped the top of the cloth around her body as she was lifted. He took her into the bathroom and made her a toilet again from a paper cup. He left her alone for a bit as it sounded like he was rummaging around for something.
Herb returned to the bathroom dressed and had her dress in his hand. He placed it beside her as he took the cup after she got off it. He placed a small piece of toilet paper and a small cloth that was wet so she could clean up. “Call me when you’re ready.”
He left her alone again. Georgia looked around and released the cloth around her and quickly cleaned herself and got dressed. Noticing the mirror was low enough so she could see her face, she fluffed her hair and smoothed the dress out.
“I’m decent.”, she shouted. But muttered to herself, “as a doll-size woman can be.” She giggled at her own thought.
“I put the pot on for some coffee. I have instant and some tea if you want that.” He scratched his head. “Just got to figure out how you’re going to drink it.”
He picked her up after she held her arms up over her head.
“I’m sorry I was a little scared before. It has been so long since I slept laying down. I completely forgot where I was.”
“It’s ok. I guess I might have been the same way if it was me. I’ll make some toast and we need to talk about what we’re going to do.”
She nodded wondering where this was going to go.
He brought her into the small kitchen area and placed her on the counter as he fumbled through his junk drawer looking for something cuplike for her drink. After finding a thimble, he set up a toaster rack on the burner on the stove. Gently turning it to toast each side, he grab some peanut butter and butter.
“Didn’t know what you like so I have peanut butter and butter for the toast. Coffee? Black?”
She nodded as he put a couple spoonfuls into his cup and poured in the water. He had an eye dropper where he drew up some of the coffee from his cup. Putting a few drops in the thimble, he cut some of his toast off and placed in on a paper towel. He put peanut butter on his as he put a tiny spot of butter on her’s.
“You said you wanted to talk about this?”
“I was thinking about what we’re going to do while I slept. Sometimes the best ideas come to me then. Since you’ll be staying with me, I’m going to have to take you to a toy store, hidden so no one sees you, and let you pick out what you’ll need. Unless you’re one of those people I heard about in one of the coastal city. Think they’re called nudist or something like that.”
She giggled a bit. “No, I’m not.” Then she looked up at him flirtingly. “Unless you want me to be.”
Herb swallowed a bit. “You move fast for a tiny lady. We’ll see about that after we really get to know each other. Where was I? Back home. I’m trying to figure what to do with you when I’m either downstairs working in the garage or when I have to go on a call.”
“I can’t answer the phone because the receiver is a bit too heavy for me alone to lift. A pencil might be too big for me to handle but I’m willing to try. I could try filing.”
Herb shook his head and laughed a bit. “We’ll have to see what happens when we get home.”
Herb took and found or bought cloth to make some primitive outfits for Georgia while they were up in the cabin. Georgia tried her hand at writing with a normal size pencil but they found the stubs were good for her to take notes while he was working on something. They got comfortable with each other and they started to see more than they saw before when it came to bath time.
The days flew by as Herb did what he normally did when he went to the cabin while Georgia got used to being up and about more than she has been in years. They fashioned clothes for her from old t-shirts and she got used to being carried to many places. She even took to sleeping in the crook of his arm at nights while he learned not to roll over too much in his sleep.
Georgia was a city girl at heart but being in the woods and by the lake made her appreciate many things. She rode in Herb’s jacket went he went to the dock by the lake to fish. She watched as he would hook a couple fishes then decide which ones to keep and which to bring down to the store for the storekeeper. She began to get fascinated by watching him clean the fish to make dinners some nights. She would be inside his pocket inside his coat when they went to the store to get his attention for what she would need while they were up at the cabin.
Herb closed up the cabin after a month up there. He stopped at the store to drop off a couple more fishes he caught and let them know he was going back home after doing a favor by checking their system as he always did. Georgia rode in coat listening to the radio on their trip back to the city. Nothing new on the news about Franz or anything.
They made a stop at the toy store on the way into the city. Georgia hid in the chest pocket of his coat while he walked up and down the doll aisle. She tapped his chest when she saw something she liked and he grabbed it for her. He also bought doll size dishes and other things she might need to make her life easier for them.
The girl at the register marveled at the amount of stuff he was getting.
“A cousin’s daughter is having a birthday soon and she loves dolls. So I’m overindulging her.”
He took the package and left. Georgia giggled in his pocket.
“Was that the best story you could come with?”
“Well, most around here know me and know I’m an only child so I can’t have a sibling’s kid want it. So if you keep this up, Missy, you’ll be running around the apartment naked.”
They got back to the building where his shop was. After parking the truck in the garage below, he went up the back stairs of the garage to his apartment above.
“This is it. Small but when you’re a single guy…..”
“Small for you but a mansion to me. Plenty of places for me to hide if I want.”
He takes her out of the pocket and hung up the coat. He takes her to the kitchen and sets her down on the table.
“Hiding? Planning on playing cat and mouse?”
She made squeaking noises as he laughed.
“I don’t know about you.”
He took her around the shop and his office. They made notes that Georgia wouldn’t be able to answer the phone or write with any of the pencils he had there. She glazed over as he explained a few things he had in the work area. When she was placed on the workbench she saw that there were stray small parts here and there.
“You know if I had a work outfit I could keep this bench clean after you’re done working on something. I could even help get the small parts from bins you might need. So a small broom, work clothes and flat shoes.”
“Yes, madam. Anything else you want? I might have you train as an apprentice if you come down here to help.”
“Well, this area is a mess.”
“Mess? I know where everything is….almost everything…..ok, maybe a little cleanup. But you’ll need to learn what parts are what so we’ll start tomorrow.”
He picked her up and went back up to the apartment and made dinner. The news came on with nothing too interesting while they talked about what they’ll need for her in the workshop. A place to hide on the bench in case someone comes in and a way back up to the apartment.
A little bit later, there was a knock on the office downstairs. Herb mouthed “stay hidden” as he went downstairs.
A man in a hat and business suit was standing by the counter and looking over the waiting area.
“Hello, may I help you?”
The man reached into his breast pocket inside his coat and took out a police badge.
“Sgt. Paterson. I’ve been trying to get a hold of you. You seem to be a hard man to get in touch with.”
“I just got back from a month up in my mountain cabin.”
“Between seasons, I usually go up there to get away before the heating season starts up. May I ask why you were looking for me?”
Sgt. Paterson took out a notepad and a pencil. “I was told you were the last person to see Mr. Adolph Franz at the theater about a month ago.”
“Mr. Franz? Oh, the old man who does the dolls and fixes marionettes. I saw him when I was doing the checks there before heading up to the cabin. What did he do?”
“I was wondering what you saw or heard when you saw him.”
Herb scratches his chin. “He was looking around the seats near the stage calling out names. I didn’t pay too much attention. I did offer to help but he rebuked me so I went to the basement to make a list of parts I might need when I get back. I left and he was still looking around. I heard something about an hour or two out of the city on the radio about him being arrested.”
“You didn’t see anything?”
“Tell me what I should have seen. I’m not trying to be rude but I’m just wondering what he was taken in for.”
The sergeant took his hat off and scratched his head. “He was accused by a few people of kidnapping and holding them against their will.”
“I’ve seen him and I doubt he could hold a cold hostage.”
“Well, it is complicated on what happened. Are you sure there isn’t anything you can add to help me out?”
Herb thought a bit. “Look if I do help you with this you must promise not to tell anyone about what I’m going to show you & not take her away. Please.”
The sergeant perked up a bit. “I can’t promise but if you help me out I might consider it.”
Herb motioned for the sergeant to follow him up the back stairs. “This is my apartment. I found her after I got to the cabin. I offered to bring her back here so she could get help but she decided she didn’t want to. Georgia. Please come out of hiding. This is Sgt. Paterson and I think he might like to hear your story.”
Georgia stepped out from behind a vase on the table and smiled at the sergeant.
He was taken back a bit. “Georgia Lane?”
She nodded. “One and the same. Well just less of me than before all this happened. How can I help you, officer?”
He took the chair that Herb offered him as he sat close to Georgia as she stood on the table.
“I would like to know what happened and how this all happened.”
Georgia kneeled down and started to tell her story to the officer and he took notes nodding here and there. After she got done, Sgt. Paterson turned to Herb. “Could I ask her a few questions in private?”
Ok, I’ll be downstairs getting the order for tomorrow set. Just let me know when you’re done.”
Herb got up and went downstairs. Sgt. Paterson turned back to Georgia.
“We did find the others that were left at the office at this size.” He waved his hand up and down toward her. She nodded as she listened. “We were able to restore them and we were looking for you and three others. We couldn’t find them. But from what you said it looks like they’re out there somewhere at this size. Now my question to you and be truthful, is he holding you against your will and would you like to be restored?”
“Sergeant, I left willingly with Herb. He didn’t know I was there until we got to the cabin. He has been taking good care of me and I would really like to stay with him if you will let me. It is nice to have someone to look after me without the parts of life we have in a normal life. I’ve gotten used to being a living doll or puppet person if you will. So if you would, I would like to stay with Herb.”
The officer thought a bit more. He nodded to her and called for Herb.
Once he came upstairs, the officer addressed them both. “Normally I would have to report this and do what I can to help her get back to normal.” He looks thoughtfully for a moment. “But I can see that you’re not holding her against her will and she requests to stay with you.” He tore out the pages from his notebook then handed them to Herb.
“I didn’t see her or know that she is around. As far as I’m concerned you didn’t see too much that day and couldn’t help me any more than we have already from the others involved.”
He got up and tipped his hat as he was escorted downstairs. Herb showed him out and locked up for the night. He went back upstairs.
“So it seems I have a little woman to take care of now. Did you really tell him that you wanted to stay with me?”
Georgia nodded as she blushed. “Not too often that you find someone who is willing to help a stranger. Just hope I don’t cramp your style or living arrangement.”
Herb reached over and picked her up and kissed her on the face. His lips covered her face but she did all she could to return the kiss. She smiled as she caressed his face as he holds her close to his face. He carried her around as he turned off lights in the apartment and the main switch that turned off the lights downstairs. They went into the bedroom and got undressed. No needs for clothes tonight.