by Sarah Eaton
Mrs. Beck made a wet noise that sounded like disapproval. Janice-Katie had quite forgotten she was there.
“Don’t kiss anything!” shouted Dr. Scoot. Mrs. Beck leaned forward at the waist, ready to make lip contact with a tiny bunny.
“But they look so sweet,” Janice-Katie said, “with their eyelashes and their smallness.” She wanted to kiss one, too. She wanted to kiss all of them, the mini-animals, running her lips along their fur, letting it get caught up in her mouth. She wanted to put their small heads in her mouth, one by one, just bringing her lips closed around their small necks for a moment, just to feel the movement inside of her mouth, the cuteness, the alive.
“I’ll let you kiss one later,” Dr. Scoot said.
“Where’s the cake?” Mrs. Beck said.
“I didn’t have you pegged as a weak person, Mrs. Beck. Please be patient.” Dr. Scoot didn’t allow Mrs. Beck to retort. He said many things, rapidly, staccato, things that seemed like chants or magical mantras or incantations or prayer. All the while he spoke he used a series of bulky metal keys in succession, on a round object that did not look like it would open.
Finally, the round object fell apart like a dream. It hissed.
At the center of the now opened round object there was a pedestal, and perched on the pedestal was the smallest piece of cake Janice-Katie had ever seen.
Mrs. Beck snorted. “That’s more crumb than cake!” she said.
Dr. Scoot scoffed. “Shows what you know. If you were shrunk proportionally, this would be an enormous piece of cake, the kind of cake that you share with someone.”
Mrs. Beck backed away, catching the heel of her shoe on a table leg and nearly falling. “You don’t have the right to threaten me!” she said.
Janice-Katie gnawed at and spat out part of her index fingernail. “Can you shrink anything in that contraption?” she asked.
Mrs. Beck turned to stare at her. “Don’t you dare get in!” she said.
“No, no,” Dr. Scoot said. “I’m a concerned mad scientist, and we adhere to a strict ethical code. Only animals and baked goods go in there. And they don’t shrink; they grow.”