He volunteered to be a Little One (trademarked) the day after his eighteenth birthday in May. He could have become one before that, but that decision would have required his parents’ approval. He didn’t want to talk to them about it. They still believed he had a normal future in a normal world.
Admittedly, he didn’t understand the Little technology, but he also didn’t understand television technology, so…? Being a little person, he could reduce his bioprint. They would feed him and ensure he had water. They’d give him a little bonus for volunteering to be a Little One. He’d live in a domed little city where “the air is the cleanest air in America.” Called little SF, the city that agreed to take him was a recreation of the 1950s era San Francisco, except it had modern cars and technology. The city was located on the enormous recreation of the Pacific Ocean that they’d carved out of Kansas farmland. He could still communicate with everyone through the Internet and social media so it wasn’t like he was really leaving anything behind.
Like all Little Ones, everything in Little Land surprised him. The little cars and houses were exactly to scale. Eating utensils, computers, corn on the cob, cheeseburgers, beer cans and bottles — everything — were proportionate to his little hands. So were grass, trees, and birds. Little cows and horses dotted the countryside, and neighbors had little cats and dogs. Big little freighters came into the Little SF Bay past Little Alcatraz, docking at the Little Piers. Little fish populated the Little Pacific and the little ponds, streams, and rivers. Living there, he constantly reminded himself, “This is real.”
He found a job in a little office where they published several little local newspapers. Little was required of him there, but the structure helped him cope. His favorite activity was to take the Little Train to Little SFO out on the Little Peninsula, and watch the Little aircraft take off, flying to other Little Land locations, like Little Chicago, Little Miami, and Little New York. He could buy a ticket and go to one, but he was, he said to himself with a wry little private chuckle, a little afraid.
Still, even with all of the evidence and his experience, he struggled to accept it was real. He began to think he was in a computer simulation or a virtual reality. He began thinking that nothing he experienced was real, that his mind and perceptions were being manipulated and conned. He began thinking, maybe it was the other world that was fake, and this world was always his real existence. He began to think, I’m a little afraid I’m not going to make it. I’m afraid I’m going a little crazy. I’m going to be a little suicide.
Then he met Candy. Her first words to him were, “Hi, I’m Candy. I’m a little tart, and a little sweet. Want to have a little fun?”
That was how he became a little bank robber. It seemed as good a way as any to spend a little time.