The little men by om, p.3
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       The Little Men, by OM, p.3
 

           matthew lewis
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  Part 3

  OM

  Just as Martha finished unpacking the automobile, she heard a knock at the door. Normally she would have left it, letting the person knock until they eventually left. It was nippy outside and seemed cruel today, and she figured no harm could come from a few moments of kindness and walked toward the front.

  Calling out to her from the other side was Regina Miller, her neighbor from three houses over. She had a loud mouth and would go on for days, talking about a myriad of distractions that mattered little to Martha, but she sometimes knew something about Robert's school or the creep down the road or some other strange happenstance and decided it might pay to listen.

  Martha put her coat back on and walked to the door and opened it, trying to find out what might be going on. She told Regina to "come on in", not wanting her in particularly, hoping she could steer the conversation in a direction that was at least controllable.

  "So, Regina, how are things?"

  Ten minutes later...

  "and we know it is just you and your son here now that Scott left. Sorry if it's bad timing, I get the five second rule with food mixed up with men. Anyhow, we want everyone to chip in a little money so we can have some sort of block party this year and did not know if you would be able to or not. Last year's party went on for a while but Jim.."

  Twenty minutes later...

  "and she told me that the shoes were not the same color when I KNEW they were. You could tell in actual light, not artificial light, and if she had taken the time to look when I walked outside she would have noticed. I swear, just because one of them had faded a tiny little bit in the sun does not mean that.."

  Thirty minutes later..

  "and we drove down that road anyway because we were not going to be told by some weird looking old guy that we could not do something we wanted to do, regardless of how creepy he was. And he was creepy, honey, let me tell you. Had an eye you would not believe and.."

  Finally, Martha spoke up.

  "Yeah, a block party does sound good. You'll have to call me about that."

  She feigned a small cough and allowed her right hand to casually "miss" her mouth.

  " Hopefully Robert will feel better by then because he is getting over the worst case of measles I have ever seen. I think it's the measles anyhow, but you.."

  Regina put her hand over her mouth and backed toward the door, smiling her Botox smile.

  "Well, give me a call then, I have to go! Bye!"

  Like that, she was gone.

  Martha walked into the living room, ready to finally put her feet up and forget about crowds and Regina and block parties and Scott, when she noticed Robert playing with something and that the something looked like it was moving across the floor on its own. Crawling, not battery operated but writhing, like a tiny action figure that had been melted with an iron.

  "Honey, what do you have.."

  There.

  The last word hung in her throat like a lump of acid that would not clear and Martha, normally ready for anything, screamed in revulsion and backed away.

  In front of her son was the box for Little Men, opened the way children open things, pieces ripped and portions tattered, a playset still in its package sitting to the right, complete with what looked like a terrarium and items you might buy at a pet store. There was a little house and a tree, a plastic dog and a little fence, plus tiny objects like road tiles, tufts of grass and click-on flora, and other individuated articles.

  That was not what bothered her because the set itself looked great.

  What was bothersome was that Robert had set up a tiny tree, metallically reinforced for durability with four prongs securing it for added stability, like the type you would see under a Christmas tree, and that he had two small chains attached to the truck, each leading to its own helmet with a single bar across the front.

  Both were worn by what the box was calling "The Best Little Friend You'll Ever Want to Make."

  She did not know how to describe it or what to say, but there, in her living room, were two ten inch zombies, both very much alive and very much active, doing their best to move toward her son, controlled only by the Made in China restraints he had placed around them just moments before.

  He was wearing his pair of Little Men and Friends Padded Gloves as he picked up the tiny figures as they thrashed about wildly, adjusting the helmets on their heads so the bar would run across their mouths.

  He had apparently finished using the Little Men stylizers, a pair of tiny fingernail clippers, suggested by the instructions to keep your Little Men from possibly tearing a hole in the Little Men and Friends Padded Gloves or from damaging one another.

  He had already finished with the "Everything you Needed" baggie that included a plastic sheep with two holes in it that lined up with a maximum of five tiny mouth guards, a sack of Little Men chow that looked like bloody pulp in a bag poured inside, a battery hooked to it to make the animal seem, as the instructions called it, "A Little Thinking Man's Meal."

  The miniscule sheep jerked back and forth when switched on, current causing it to dance and waltz across the floor, undulating in front of two sets of dead eyes as outstretched arms grabbed wildly at faux-fur. There was a science to it, not that a little kid would really be interested, tricking the Little Men into thinking the pulpy meal was something it was not.

  Brains, the current caused the Little Men to think the sheep was filled with brains.

  "You have to wait, Sean" Robert chided, talking to one of the zombies as it attempted to grasp at the animal, bits of A Little Thinking Man's Meal leaking out one of its nostrils as electricity caused it to dance a jig, There was a miniscule red dot on the carpet, noting were it had come to stop, one of the chemical components a type of anticoagulant so the meals would stay fresh.

  Martha turned on the news later that evening, listening intently to everything the media reported, hoping they would have some sort of report on the things and the company, OM. Surely someone had reported this. How could they not?

  OMMM, she thought to herself, eyeballing the little things as they wrapped at their plexiglass cage, the little beasts stored in the living room until she figured out what to do. Cute name for a company making zombies for kids.

  She wondered how many households had them out there and what it meant, if the things might be contagious, if they were like the things in the movies and if their bites might spread disease.

  How long would it be before a child ran out of food and could not find more, no longer able to fill the dancing sheep bounding along on electrical current? What would happen to the Little Men then?

  Martha scolded herself angrily, looking at the little postal worker and little businessman as they thrashed against the glass, looking at her like they looked at the sheep, knowing she was out there. She sensed they were staring at her, at her head, at the thing inside.

  Wouldn't want them getting to the kids while they slept.

  ####

  I hope you enjoy Little Men, by Om. I always thought it would be interesting to have pet zombies in an aquarium I could feed like pets, and the story sort of evolved from there. It is also about going through the motions without taking the time to notice things. You might not get pocket zombies but something far worse.

  Check out my other works if you want, and thanks for reading.

  Matthew S. Lewis

 
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