Tall Like Me

When John Smith woke up this morning he was surprised to discover that he was three inches taller than when he had gone to bed. A man of thirty five, the time of reasonable growth spurts had long past. And though he was used to gaining and inch or two here and there during the course of his later years, never had it happened in such a sudden or vertical fashion.

He had gone to bed five feet and nine inches in length (or height, depending on the position) and awoke a bewildered member of that rarefied and special breed of men: the six feet tall.

"I'm six feet tall," he thought to himself as he looked at his image in the bathroom mirror. "Fancy that." The towel rack and light switch were lower on the wall behind him. The ceiling light was brighter against that thinning spot on the top of his head.

Clothes turned out to be less of a problem than one might imagine, as John had several pairs of pants hanging in his closet that he had been planning on getting hemmed.

He went to work, less comfortable in his car perhaps, but more confident in his stride across the low-ply carpet toward his desk. Did anyone notice? It seemed the women smiled at him a little more brightly and the men nodded with more force.

"How's it going John!" they seemed to say with exclamation points.

"Fine! Damn fine!" he answered back with a new, more resolute nod of his own

Later, on a cigarette break, he surveyed from this glorious new vantage point of three inches higher, the other smokers around him—perched on ledges, sitting on the edges of fountains and planters, like monkeys at an outdoor zoo exhibit. Most of them were shorter then him now. They were sad, bent and broken creatures of less than seventy-two inches, more worn down than stunted. Did he feel sorrow or sympathy for them? Pity? No no no. There but for the grace of God, thinks he.

Even the sun is closer now, and the dust and cigarette butts that litter the ground farther and farther away. The highest branches of the leafless trees bow down towards him. The clouds skidding by overhead in the Virgin-Mary-blue sky nod forcefully in his direction. How's it going John!

Fine. Damn fine. Fine fine fine.

By this afternoon John will conquer the world.

About the author:

Grant Bailie lives in Cleveland. His fiction has appeared in Born, McSweeney's, The Exquisite Corpse, and other publications. His first novel, Cloud 8, is available in stores now. Or they can order it for you. Or write Mr. Bailie directly and he will point you to the nearest retailer or library that carries it. Or he will lend you his own copy, if you're in the neighborhood.