One Hand Publishing

Tiny Earth Declares War On Earth
A short story by J. T. Pearson
Post 3
Behind them a painting of George Washington fell to the floor with a crash, the carpeting parted, and the priceless art piece sunk out of sight.
“King Johnson can be tremendously rude,” Maynard said. “And disrespectful,” as he watched the top of Washington’s head disappear below the line of cobalt blue. “If only General Washington was here now. There’d be some tiny ass kicking coming their way.”
“Where does this assault on my office end, Maynard? When are they going to stop?”
“This isn’t the same as our previous contact with them. They’re being particularly aggressive this time, Mr. President. I need to let you know that the last time they contacted President Holcomb they indicated that they wanted to shrink him down and bring him to their planet so that he could address their demands. Now, that would be your job, Mr. President, to go down to their planet and meet them. They don’t want to meet on our planet.”
“Holcomb just ignored their request?”
“He did. With a lot of stalling and filibustering until you took office.”
“Holcomb!” the president yelled, throwing his hands up. “That son of a bitch!” Then the president thought for a moment. “Perhaps I can stall too?”
“For four years, Mr. President?”
“How long did Holcomb stall?”
“Two. But General Peck informed me that in their last message they stated that their patience is up and they expect our leader to come down to their planet before the week’s out or else.”
“Or else? Pretty big words for a tiny planet. They don’t think I can be as tough as Holcomb?”
“Perhaps your emphasis on social programs has led them to believe that you’re a weak leader, one to be taken advantage of and pushed around.”
“What the hell?”
“I’m not the one saying that, Mr. President.”
“We’ll see who is soft.”
“What do you plan to do?”
“Let’s get a committee together. More brains in the room. A committee of small men, but with large constitutions. A small man brainstorm. I need a tiny person’s perspective. Why does Tiny Earth feel that they need to harass us? I want to understand what I’m up against before I negotiate or find a way to destroy them. I need to get into their tiny brains. Don’t include a single man in this committee over five foot seven, Maynard. If it’s a woman, under five feet – no – under four feet. Do you understand, Mr. Secretary?”
“That would make the women midgets.”
“No women, then?”
“No, Mr. President. You need women on the panel. When prompted women are much better at inflicting punishment than men.”
“Right. Then women midgets will be just fine. And already angry, if possible.”
“I’ll find a panel of experts that are all as short as you request.”
“Good.”
“I’m considering bringing Tom Cruise in on this, Mr. Secretary. I think he might be able to help.”
“I know it’s not necessary to point out to you, Mr. President, that Mr. Cruise is only an actor and that he’s never really solved an actual world crisis.”
“Then why did you say it? I know that. I’ve just got a gut feeling about bringing him in on this, okay? Besides, he’s only five foot seven. He fits the initial criteria.” The president waved the secretary away angrily and walked to the window, looking out at what had started to be a beautiful day but was quickly becoming overcast. “You’re still here, aren’t you, Mr. Secretary?”
“Yes, Mr. President.”
“What?”
“You’ll also need to contact DC CARPET and DRAPES, Mr. President.”
“Do whatever you need to tidy the place up, Mr. Secretary, but please don’t bother me with the details. I doubt that bastard Holcomb dealt with keeping this place clean.”
“No, Mr. President. DC CARPET AND DRAPES is the most sophisticated and secretive branch of the government. Their identities are so secure that the agents sometimes forget that they are agents and begin to believe that they clean carpets and drapes for a living, which is really what they do about ninety percent of the time. It creates an amazing cover.”
“The agents actually do clean carpeting? That’s not some type of code you’re talking right now, like cleaning the carpeting means replacing an existing regime that we find unfriendly?”
“No, Mr. President. They do a hell of a good job cleaning – even the shag during the Nixon term.”
“Well, get them to the White House and get them up to speed, Mr. Secretary.”
“I’ll contact DC CARPET AND DRAPES and tell them to come. Informing them of anything is pointless. They acquire all of the critical details well before anyone else.”
“Perhaps I should call them, personally.”
“You don’t call them on a phone, Mr. President. We post a sign that lets them know that their presence is requested.”
“You can’t mean like signaling Batman with the bat signal?”
“No. Theirs is an ever-changing code that appears to fit no rhyme or reason, indecipherable.”
“What is the signal this time?”
“We need to decorate a tree in Cleveland that’s as close to a Pizza King as possible with Christmas tinsel, homemade pipe bombs, a portrait of George Clooney, and dozens of dead mice. Then call the local news media to make certain that it makes the evening report and so that bomb experts get down there right away keeping curious Cals in Cleveland from getting their ear muffs blown off. And then, we need to hold a press conference where we identify the bio-explosive materials in the tree as an act of terrorism and blame it on the French.”
“None of what you just said is some bizarre form of agent code?”
“No, it’s all literal, Mr. President.”
“Then I guess you’ve got some dead mice and berets to round up. You’d better get to it.”
The Secretary walked out of the office. Just after the door closed, three bismarks that were on the tray on the desk suddenly flattened like shrinking balloons, jelly dribbling out on to the desk.
The Secretary of Defense made the arrangements to contact DC CARPET AND DRAPES. The agents were all over the White House by the next morning diligently cleaning the carpets and window treatments. The president approached a chubby man with a severe spinal curvature. He had a heavily tanned and balding pate which was poorly covered by an erratic white comb-over, and a moustache equally snowy to the hair. He looked to be in his early sixties, of Italian decent, wearing an ill-fitting grey sweatshirt embroidered with the company logo, DC CARPET AND DRAPES, and doing a smashingly thorough job of cleaning the crimson drapes that covered the windows in the hall outside the Oval Office. His men throughout the building had a similar disheveled appearance. The man, his face mapped with sun damage and a continual grin, looked up and turned off the noisy machine he was working with, slightly bowing his head respectfully as the president approached.
“Oh my goodness, your honor! It’s my honor!” The man’s accent was thick. “How about this? How about this? The President of the United States and its Luigi Giacomini, the humble grandson of Italian immigrants, that gets the honor to meet him. It’s such a pleasure, Mr. President.”
“Okay, very good, a very convincing act. It is nice to meet you as well, Luigi, but we really need to get down to business. I’ll need you and your men in the War Room in half an hour to discuss the intelligence you’ve gathered.”
Luigi looked at him, confused but still smiling.
“What kind of carpita you got in there? Is it wool like you got out here or prolypopoline like you got in the Lincoln bedroom?”
“The secretary counted five men that you have with you on the premises. Is that an accurate count?”
“Alberto and Jonny only do the drapes, but so clean that your wife could wrap up a baby boy in them and feed him from her naked tiny bosom.”
“In the War Room, Luigi,” said the president examining his watch, “twenty nine minutes,” and he walked down the hall.
“I’ll need more shampoo from my truck,” Luigi shouted after him.
“I hope that’s agent code this time,” the president mumbled to himself as he walked away. He arrived at the War Room, went in, and took a seat at the end of a long maple conference table. As soon as he was seated the phone that had been placed in front of him rang. He stared at it for five rings, remembering the ear assault that Maynard had endured, before he finally decided to answer it.
“You wanted to speak with me?” said a steady cool voice from the receiver.
The President recognized the voice from the last movie he’d seen.
“Mr. Cruise?”
“You can call me Tom, Mr. President.”
“We’ve got a national emergency – hell, a global emergency, Tom, and we could really use your help.”
“You do understand that I’m just an actor, Mr. President?”
“Of course I do.”
“I mean if you want to stage Romeo and Juliet on the White House lawn and invite all of your rich friends over for a fund raiser I can do that. I could even do a celebrity cook off. I make an amazing beef stroganoff. But if this is the type of crisis that is generally handled with guns, Mr. President, I advise you take the conventional route and call the CIA or the Navy Seals, somebody that has killing explicitly stated in their job description.”
“This is a very delicate and specialized case, Tom. I wouldn’t ask if I really didn’t need the favor.”
“Enough said. I’ll fly my chopper in right away, Mr. President.”
The dial went dead and the president found himself alone with his thoughts. He thought about the elation that he’d felt upon winning the presidency, and then about how tired and old Holcomb now looked after serving only four years. Luigi and his men came into the room, set up their equipment, and started cleaning the carpet around him.
Maynard managed to get DC CARPET AND DRAPES to drop their cover and provide the intelligence that they had collected to the file he had on Tiny Earth. But the day hadn’t started out so promising for the president that morning. Upon getting out of bed that morning the president was greeted by a panic stricken Gentlebird. She held out a small cake dome that encased her golden retriever Maury. Maury had been reduced to the size of a penny, his tiny barking barely audible. The president’s priceless set of golf clubs, clubs that had belonged to Teddy Roosevelt had been miniaturized and were in the tiny dome as well. He hugged his wife, being careful not to crush her dog or his golf clubs. “Don’t worry. Everything will be fine.”
“I’m not happy, Winston.”
“Hey little buddy, we’re going to do something about this. You hear me, Maury?” he knocked on the dome and shouted through the glass.
On the way to the White House the car that Secretary Maynard rode in slowed down to a crawl as if it had suddenly started moving through syrup. It lifted inches above the ground, and then dropped violently, spilling the secretary’s coffee down the front of his uniform and bringing his teeth together smartly. This went on throughout the ride every time Maynard attempted to take a sip of his beverage. He cursed under his breath while he scrubbed at the stains on his shirt. “You’re a horrible little people. I hate you, Tiny Earth.”
The president arrived at the War Room to the six agents from DC CARPET AND DRAPES, a handful of short scientists, two of which were female midgets, the Secretary of Defense, and Tom Cruise, who was wearing a leather jacket that looked similar to one he wore in TOP GUN. One of the midgets kept placing her hand on Tom’s shoulder and he kept removing it. Luigi and the other agents of DC CARPET AND DRAPES no longer wore work attire and messy hair. They wore crisp blue suits with black ties and matching sunglasses. They were no longer smiling, their expressions now professional, all business, all bad ass. In the corner, with her machine ready, sat the stenographer. The president took his customary seat at the end of the table.
Post 4 is available here
Guest Post by J. T. Pearson

Tiny Earth Declares War On Earth

A short story by J. T. Pearson

Post 3

Behind them a painting of George Washington fell to the floor with a crash, the carpeting parted, and the priceless art piece sunk out of sight.

“King Johnson can be tremendously rude,” Maynard said. “And disrespectful,” as he watched the top of Washington’s head disappear below the line of cobalt blue. “If only General Washington was here now. There’d be some tiny ass kicking coming their way.”

“Where does this assault on my office end, Maynard? When are they going to stop?”

“This isn’t the same as our previous contact with them. They’re being particularly aggressive this time, Mr. President. I need to let you know that the last time they contacted President Holcomb they indicated that they wanted to shrink him down and bring him to their planet so that he could address their demands. Now, that would be your job, Mr. President, to go down to their planet and meet them. They don’t want to meet on our planet.”

“Holcomb just ignored their request?”

“He did. With a lot of stalling and filibustering until you took office.”

“Holcomb!” the president yelled, throwing his hands up. “That son of a bitch!” Then the president thought for a moment. “Perhaps I can stall too?”

“For four years, Mr. President?”

“How long did Holcomb stall?”

“Two. But General Peck informed me that in their last message they stated that their patience is up and they expect our leader to come down to their planet before the week’s out or else.”

“Or else? Pretty big words for a tiny planet. They don’t think I can be as tough as Holcomb?”

“Perhaps your emphasis on social programs has led them to believe that you’re a weak leader, one to be taken advantage of and pushed around.”

“What the hell?”

“I’m not the one saying that, Mr. President.”

“We’ll see who is soft.”

“What do you plan to do?”

“Let’s get a committee together. More brains in the room. A committee of small men, but with large constitutions. A small man brainstorm. I need a tiny person’s perspective. Why does Tiny Earth feel that they need to harass us? I want to understand what I’m up against before I negotiate or find a way to destroy them. I need to get into their tiny brains. Don’t include a single man in this committee over five foot seven, Maynard. If it’s a woman, under five feet – no – under four feet. Do you understand, Mr. Secretary?”

“That would make the women midgets.”

“No women, then?”

“No, Mr. President. You need women on the panel. When prompted women are much better at inflicting punishment than men.”

“Right. Then women midgets will be just fine. And already angry, if possible.”

“I’ll find a panel of experts that are all as short as you request.”

“Good.”

“I’m considering bringing Tom Cruise in on this, Mr. Secretary. I think he might be able to help.”

“I know it’s not necessary to point out to you, Mr. President, that Mr. Cruise is only an actor and that he’s never really solved an actual world crisis.”

“Then why did you say it? I know that. I’ve just got a gut feeling about bringing him in on this, okay? Besides, he’s only five foot seven. He fits the initial criteria.” The president waved the secretary away angrily and walked to the window, looking out at what had started to be a beautiful day but was quickly becoming overcast. “You’re still here, aren’t you, Mr. Secretary?”

“Yes, Mr. President.”

“What?”

“You’ll also need to contact DC CARPET and DRAPES, Mr. President.”

“Do whatever you need to tidy the place up, Mr. Secretary, but please don’t bother me with the details. I doubt that bastard Holcomb dealt with keeping this place clean.”

“No, Mr. President. DC CARPET AND DRAPES is the most sophisticated and secretive branch of the government. Their identities are so secure that the agents sometimes forget that they are agents and begin to believe that they clean carpets and drapes for a living, which is really what they do about ninety percent of the time. It creates an amazing cover.”

“The agents actually do clean carpeting? That’s not some type of code you’re talking right now, like cleaning the carpeting means replacing an existing regime that we find unfriendly?”

“No, Mr. President. They do a hell of a good job cleaning – even the shag during the Nixon term.”

“Well, get them to the White House and get them up to speed, Mr. Secretary.”

“I’ll contact DC CARPET AND DRAPES and tell them to come. Informing them of anything is pointless. They acquire all of the critical details well before anyone else.”

“Perhaps I should call them, personally.”

“You don’t call them on a phone, Mr. President. We post a sign that lets them know that their presence is requested.”

“You can’t mean like signaling Batman with the bat signal?”

“No. Theirs is an ever-changing code that appears to fit no rhyme or reason, indecipherable.”

“What is the signal this time?”

“We need to decorate a tree in Cleveland that’s as close to a Pizza King as possible with Christmas tinsel, homemade pipe bombs, a portrait of George Clooney, and dozens of dead mice. Then call the local news media to make certain that it makes the evening report and so that bomb experts get down there right away keeping curious Cals in Cleveland from getting their ear muffs blown off. And then, we need to hold a press conference where we identify the bio-explosive materials in the tree as an act of terrorism and blame it on the French.”

“None of what you just said is some bizarre form of agent code?”

“No, it’s all literal, Mr. President.”

“Then I guess you’ve got some dead mice and berets to round up. You’d better get to it.”

The Secretary walked out of the office. Just after the door closed, three bismarks that were on the tray on the desk suddenly flattened like shrinking balloons, jelly dribbling out on to the desk.

The Secretary of Defense made the arrangements to contact DC CARPET AND DRAPES. The agents were all over the White House by the next morning diligently cleaning the carpets and window treatments. The president approached a chubby man with a severe spinal curvature. He had a heavily tanned and balding pate which was poorly covered by an erratic white comb-over, and a moustache equally snowy to the hair. He looked to be in his early sixties, of Italian decent, wearing an ill-fitting grey sweatshirt embroidered with the company logo, DC CARPET AND DRAPES, and doing a smashingly thorough job of cleaning the crimson drapes that covered the windows in the hall outside the Oval Office. His men throughout the building had a similar disheveled appearance. The man, his face mapped with sun damage and a continual grin, looked up and turned off the noisy machine he was working with, slightly bowing his head respectfully as the president approached.

“Oh my goodness, your honor! It’s my honor!” The man’s accent was thick. “How about this? How about this? The President of the United States and its Luigi Giacomini, the humble grandson of Italian immigrants, that gets the honor to meet him. It’s such a pleasure, Mr. President.”

“Okay, very good, a very convincing act. It is nice to meet you as well, Luigi, but we really need to get down to business. I’ll need you and your men in the War Room in half an hour to discuss the intelligence you’ve gathered.”

Luigi looked at him, confused but still smiling.

“What kind of carpita you got in there? Is it wool like you got out here or prolypopoline like you got in the Lincoln bedroom?”

“The secretary counted five men that you have with you on the premises. Is that an accurate count?”

“Alberto and Jonny only do the drapes, but so clean that your wife could wrap up a baby boy in them and feed him from her naked tiny bosom.”

“In the War Room, Luigi,” said the president examining his watch, “twenty nine minutes,” and he walked down the hall.

“I’ll need more shampoo from my truck,” Luigi shouted after him.

“I hope that’s agent code this time,” the president mumbled to himself as he walked away. He arrived at the War Room, went in, and took a seat at the end of a long maple conference table. As soon as he was seated the phone that had been placed in front of him rang. He stared at it for five rings, remembering the ear assault that Maynard had endured, before he finally decided to answer it.

“You wanted to speak with me?” said a steady cool voice from the receiver.

The President recognized the voice from the last movie he’d seen.

“Mr. Cruise?”

“You can call me Tom, Mr. President.”

“We’ve got a national emergency – hell, a global emergency, Tom, and we could really use your help.”

“You do understand that I’m just an actor, Mr. President?”

“Of course I do.”

“I mean if you want to stage Romeo and Juliet on the White House lawn and invite all of your rich friends over for a fund raiser I can do that. I could even do a celebrity cook off. I make an amazing beef stroganoff. But if this is the type of crisis that is generally handled with guns, Mr. President, I advise you take the conventional route and call the CIA or the Navy Seals, somebody that has killing explicitly stated in their job description.”

“This is a very delicate and specialized case, Tom. I wouldn’t ask if I really didn’t need the favor.”

“Enough said. I’ll fly my chopper in right away, Mr. President.”

The dial went dead and the president found himself alone with his thoughts. He thought about the elation that he’d felt upon winning the presidency, and then about how tired and old Holcomb now looked after serving only four years. Luigi and his men came into the room, set up their equipment, and started cleaning the carpet around him.

Maynard managed to get DC CARPET AND DRAPES to drop their cover and provide the intelligence that they had collected to the file he had on Tiny Earth. But the day hadn’t started out so promising for the president that morning. Upon getting out of bed that morning the president was greeted by a panic stricken Gentlebird. She held out a small cake dome that encased her golden retriever Maury. Maury had been reduced to the size of a penny, his tiny barking barely audible. The president’s priceless set of golf clubs, clubs that had belonged to Teddy Roosevelt had been miniaturized and were in the tiny dome as well. He hugged his wife, being careful not to crush her dog or his golf clubs. “Don’t worry. Everything will be fine.”

“I’m not happy, Winston.”

“Hey little buddy, we’re going to do something about this. You hear me, Maury?” he knocked on the dome and shouted through the glass.

On the way to the White House the car that Secretary Maynard rode in slowed down to a crawl as if it had suddenly started moving through syrup. It lifted inches above the ground, and then dropped violently, spilling the secretary’s coffee down the front of his uniform and bringing his teeth together smartly. This went on throughout the ride every time Maynard attempted to take a sip of his beverage. He cursed under his breath while he scrubbed at the stains on his shirt. “You’re a horrible little people. I hate you, Tiny Earth.”

The president arrived at the War Room to the six agents from DC CARPET AND DRAPES, a handful of short scientists, two of which were female midgets, the Secretary of Defense, and Tom Cruise, who was wearing a leather jacket that looked similar to one he wore in TOP GUN. One of the midgets kept placing her hand on Tom’s shoulder and he kept removing it. Luigi and the other agents of DC CARPET AND DRAPES no longer wore work attire and messy hair. They wore crisp blue suits with black ties and matching sunglasses. They were no longer smiling, their expressions now professional, all business, all bad ass. In the corner, with her machine ready, sat the stenographer. The president took his customary seat at the end of the table.

Post 4 is available here

Guest Post by J. T. Pearson

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