YOU OUGHTA BE IN PICTURES By Poco     Photography had been Erin McCoy

YOU OUGHTA BE IN PICTURES By Poco     Photography had been Erin McCoy

YOU OUGHTA BE IN PICTURES

By Poco

Photography had been Erin McCoy's hobby since she was 12. It was fun, she was

cute, and anyway she needed to learn about the craft because, by golly, she was

gonna be a model! Twelve years later, Erin was a bank teller (a very cute bank

teller, but modeling just wasn't in the cards. Something about "the look.")

Also 12 years later, she was running out of drawer and closet space for clothes,

shoes, and other necessities of life, by a collection of pictures and negatives

that seemed to have taken on a life of its own. Most of the pictures were

mediocre -- mundane family scenes and the like -- but getting rid of any of them

was not an option. She had too much of her life invested in this mess.

The idea of somehow getting this mess organized did have its appeal, however.

Once Erin had let the mental images of Hercules and the Aegean Stables run their

course, she resigned herself to her own labor, one that would occupy most of her

nights and weekends for the next month and a half. Sure, it was only a two-week

job, tops, but YOU try wading through half a lifetime of memories, and see if

the reminiscences don't slow YOU down a little!

Six weeks later, the thousands of pictures and their accompanying negatives were

categorized by date, cross-indexed by subject and meticulously labeled. Whew! It

was satisfying to be done with it, but what was to keep it from all happening

again when she reached her 30's? There had to be a solution to this, and Erin

had thought of one as she tucked the last of the file boxes into the hall

closet.

Several more large boxes showed up at Erin's front door the following week,

boxes that had put a major dent in her savings account. Her first "real"

computer: CPU, monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, software and a few other

ancillaries. Erin had a machine from a bygone age, but it could hardly be called

a computer. More like an oversized typewriter, with a "backspace" key that took

the place of Liquid Paper.

This machine had raw power; megahertz and megs and gigs out the ying-yang. And

except for the monitor screen, it was actually a good deal smaller than the one

she had used in high school. Miniaturization had sure come a long way, Erin

thought. She'd be thinking more about that later. A lot more.

With the computer -- thrown in as added value -- was a digital camera. THIS was

the solution to Erin's picture problem, and the main reason she had bought this

top-of-the-line system. (Well, maybe she'd try the Internet later, if she got

bored.) The camera would capture the images on a tiny cartridge, which could

then be downloaded to her computer, which could then be framed, cropped and

manipulated any way she wished, printed on paper or simply stored on the hard

drive automatically categorized! Beautiful! No more piles of prints to trip

over, no more month-and-a-half marathons to put everything in order. This would

let her spend more time doing what she really wanted to do: taking more

pictures.

Doug Ramsey wanted to spend more time looking at Erin McCoy. They'd been dating

more or less steadily for the past year, but he'd seen little of her while she

was rearranging her Kodak Moments. Finally, Erin had told him he could drop by

the next evening, once her new computer was up and running.

"Terrific," Doug thought. "Something else to compete with for Erin's attention

and affection." He truly missed both, but she was worth waiting for.

He pulled up around 7:30 to an apartment modest enough to be affordable on a

bank teller's salary. Erin answered the door with a smile, a hug and a kiss, in

that order.

"Hi, big guy!"

"Hi Stretch!" Doug called her that sometimes, because she literally did have to

stretch to kiss him, he at just over 6 feet and she at 5' 2". She had "the

look;" it was mainly her lack of height that kept her out of modeling. That

didn't matter to Doug. To him, Erin was an angel on Earth. If only she knew how

much he'd missed her...

She had a pretty good idea. Erin had changed from her "work clothes" into

something more appropriate for a woman who wants to be taken out for a nice

dinner. Doug had anticipated a little feminine craftiness, though. He had

arrived in a blazer and tie.

"Erin, as long as we look so good, how 'bout we hit that French place that just

opened? You can tell me all about your new computer over coq au vin and a snooty

wine steward."

Erin smiled the smile that had made Doug crazy about her ever since their first

date in college. "Don't we need reservations?"

Doug returned the smile, though none could match hers. "We've got 'em. Made 'em

yesterday, just in case. Figured if we had to cancel, they'd pull someone off

the waiting list. We're booked for 7:45, though. We'd better hurry."

"One thing before we go. Gotta get a picture of you in that suit!" She clicked

picture number one on her brand new, whiz-bang digital camera. Setting it aside,

she said: "I'll download it later and send you a copy."

Dinner with Doug was just what Erin needed. The company was wonderful, the food

elegantly so (even though she knew what escargot really were.) He got her home

quite late, but it was Friday. Doug stayed the night, and Erin made sure she

made it up to him for her weeks of hermitage.

She made coffee and toasted bagels for them the next morning, and as Doug

munched and sipped, she said, "Hey, lemme download that picture. I'll remind me

of one of the most romantic evenings we've ever had."

"Sure, let's see what you've got." Doug was no stranger to computers. He managed

stock portfolios during market hours, while slowly building his own through a

little day-trading. Just a little: he didn't have a gambler's heart.

She connected the little camera to the still dust-free CPU, clicked on the

appropriate icons, and waited. Nothing. She tried again, using the tech manual

as a reference and checking off each step. Nothing.

"Son-of-a-bitch!"

The words weren't his, but hers. Doug was amused to find that she had them in

her, but turned his attention to trying to help. Erin was vexed.

"Three thousand dollars this crap cost, and that's after the rebate!"

"It's OK, Erin. We'll work it out. The problem's probably in the camera. They're

much newer than desktops, and probably still have some bugs."

Erin had turned a bit sullen, thinking about the half of her savings account

that wasn't there anymore. "Well, you can look it over, for what it's worth."

Thirty minutes later, Doug had good news and bad news. "I'm pretty sure there's

a defect in the camera. But I know a guy who can fix it, and fix it cheap. How

does free sound?"

It sounded better than anything Erin had heard since late last night in the

bedroom, although some of those words were pretty hard to spell.

"His name is Oscar," Doug continued. "A funny little man, far older than one

you'd expect to be working in the digital field. Has a little hole-in-the-wall

shop in an alley off Persimmon Street. Oh, this is just too good. His shop looks

like it belongs to a cobbler, and he looks like a cobbler, hunched over his

workbench. Plus, his mouth is all scrunched up...

"Like he's been eating persimmons?"

"Exactly!" Doug laughed. "But I'm telling you, if it's computerized, Oscar can

fix it. He doesn't advertise, doesn't need to. Just enough word is out on the

street to keep him as busy as he wants. I helped get some of that word out, so

he owes me a favor."

Erin was remembering "The Elves and the Shoemaker." The thought of an elfin

little man tinkering with millenium technology as a cottage industry in an age

of corporate giga-mergers almost made her giggle.

"So why does he owe you a favor?"

"My computer crashed early this year. A friend had told me about Oscar, so I

took it to him to have the operating system reinstalled. He did it while I

waited, and charged 17 dollars. I mentioned it to people at the brokerage, and

he has all their business now. That's all he needs, and all he wants. He told me

he'd return the favor. You're it, pretty lady."

Doug went to see Oscar Monday morning, Erin's camera in hand. It was in his hand

when he knocked on her door that evening. There was a slight prideful glow

inside of him that he had been able to ease his girlfriend's troubles so quickly

and easily. It was a "guy thing." He presented the camera with a slight

flourish.

"All done, lovely one."

Erin was impressed. "Ooohh, Doug, thank you! He did it the same day!"

"Told you he was the best. And get this: not only did he fix it, he fixed it

better."

"What do you mean, 'better'?"

"It does more stuff now. He didn't tell me exactly what, but here, he wrote down

these notes to read before you take any more pictures."

"I'll read them later. C'mon, lets try it out."

Doug posed next to the fireplace while Erin framed the shot and squeezed the

button.

The camera clicked, the flash flashed, everything worked perfectly, except for

one thing.

Doug was gone.

CHAPTER 2

"Doug? Doug? This is NOT funny!" Erin's astonishment was quickly being replaced

by panic. "Where ARE you!" She could never have imagined where he was, so she

searched the apartment. It took her about 3 minutes to scour all 900 square

feet. By all physical, human standards, she was alone.

She sat down to think this over. Call the police? Tell them what? That her

boyfriend had vanished from her living room, in the blink of an eye? This was

crazy. Maybe she was crazy. Maybe she needed to try something else. But what?

Oscar's notes were on the coffee table. Erin picked them up and started reading.

Pretty good handwriting for an old guy. This was helpful.

"Modifications." Doug had said something about that. She read further, holding

the camera. "See the bottom-plate switch now two extra settings contains."

(Oscar was German by birth.) "The DM setting is for 'digitize matter'. Beyond is

the DDNA or 'digitize DNA' setting."

Erin was no physicist, but she'd had enough education to think about some

possibilities. She continued reading.

"DM and DDNA settings are protected by safety interlock. Very important! Do not

disengage interlock before reading these instructions completely!"

Doug had done just that, accidentally, in examining the camera. He'd not read

Oscar's notes, either. Erin read on.

"DD setting will digitize any non-living matter seen in viewfinder within a

distance of approximately 35 metres. DDNA will produce similar effect to living

organisms within the same distance."

Things were starting to become clearer to Erin. "Whoa! This means that..."

"Digitized matter is stored in camera's memory chip, and may be obtained by

downloading into compatible computer."

"Oh, my God." Erin turned the camera bottom-up. She saw a defeated

safety-interlock, and the circular switch set to 'DDNA'. When she opened the

tiny hatch to the left, the camera's memory-chip, scarcely bigger than her

thumbnail, tumbled into her palm.

Holding it in shaking hands, she realized that Doug was right there. Everything

about him, his body, his personality, his hopes and fears and dreams, all the

love he held for Erin, were resting in this wafer in the hollow of her hand. She

stared at it for several moments, then, almost unconsciously, softly closed her

fingers around it as if to keep it safe from harm.

There were a few more notes from Oscar on downloading and displaying the

digitized "object," and finally, blessedly, on restoration. Then Erin read these

words:

"It is not possible to reproduce a digitized object full-size, with current

technology. This will soon change, of course, as I continue my work. Thank you

for reading instructions completely before using these features."

Erin McCoy was cussing a little old man under her breath as she connected the

camera to the computer. She reloaded her now fingertip-sized lover into it, and

hoped for the best. The camera spent the first couple of minutes reconfiguring

the computer system and loading new software into it. Then, the question popped

on the screen.

UN-DIGITIZE AND RESTORE Y/N?

Erin jammed her right index finger down on the "Y" key, almost breaking a nail.

The hard-drive produced a familiar, comforting rattle. The printer activated by

itself, its ink-jet heads creating the classic "whoosh-whoosh" sound, punctuated

by the grunt of paper being advanced a millimeter or so at a time.

Erin held her breath, not daring to glance to the right until the picture was

fully printed and deposited on the rack. When it was, she pulled it out and

looked it over. A perfect copy of the photograph of Doug Ramsey she had shot 45

minutes earlier. Erin couldn't have felt worse if she had shot him with a gun.

Drops fell from her eyes, splashing onto the paper and smearing the not-yet-dry

ink. Her tearful rage was now directed at Oscar.

"You bastard! You took him from me, turned him into a...a...cornflake! What now,

blow this picture up to life-size and make love to it? You bastard...you

bastard..."

Erin, sobbing with her face buried, didn't see the next message on the computer

screen right away. It waited for her.

RESUME PHYSICAL RECONSTRUCTION Y/N?

"Yes, yes already! Do it!" Erin trembled as she pressed the "Y" key once more.

CONFIRM CLEAR AREA IN FRONT OF PRINTER 30 SEC

That seemed strange, but there was nothing directly in front of the printer, so

she waited as the on-screen timer counted down.

At "zero" a soft, blue beam shot from the printer's power indicator light, down

to the floor at roughly a 45-degree angle. The light touched the floor for a few

seconds, and when it was done, there was Doug, perfectly restored and 5-1/2

inches tall.

Erin looked down from the computer chair, her eyes competing with her mouth for

wide-open size. She couldn't take many more of these extreme emotions; she was

only human. But so, now, was Doug again, except that he was so tiny! A bug on

her rug. She rose slowly, and even more slowly, got down on her stomach and put

her face to the figurine that an hour ago had been more than a head taller than

she.

Doug spoke first. "Erin! It's me, it's really me! Something went wrong."

Something certainly had, and Erin knew why. Tears filled her eyes again. "Oh

Doug! It's my fault. I didn't read Oscar's notes before I used the camera. Can

you ever forgive me?"

"Please stop crying, Erin. It's my fault, too. I played with the camera and I

didn't read his notes either. It's more my fault, because he told me personally

not to mess around with it."

"What do we do now?"

Doug was overwhelmed by his new perspective, by furniture as big as houses and

the love of his life bigger than the furniture. What did they do now? "Erin,

could you hold me? It was pretty lonely in that chip."

Erin reached out a hand; her lover carefully and gratefully stepped into it. She

could feel him trembling.

She stood slowly, her fingers keeping him safe in her palm, and moved to the

couch.

She managed a half-smile.

"I guess you'll be staying here tonight again. What happens tomorrow?"

"You can take me to see Oscar tomorrow. But tonight, please just hold me."

"Shhh. You're safe now, Lover." She gently kissed Doug's minuscule form, then

stroked the length of his body with a fingertip. In the warm softness of her

palm, it wasn't long before he was sound asleep, from emotional exhaustion if

nothing else. Erin was worn out herself, but somehow, all that had happened

tonight was not quite as mind-numbing to her. Some things were: the fact that

the sexy man who had snuggled her so tightly a few hours earlier, lifting her

feet off the floor, was now curled up in her petite hand like a jumbo shrimp

cocktail. It made Erin feel protective, yet kissing and stroking her

"insignificant other" had been an odd sort of turn-on, something she had never

experienced before. In fact, the feeling must have been powerfully erotic to

make its way through the sheer amazement that any of this was happening, and the

visceral fear that it could be a permanent condition.

Erin had always dated men who were a good deal taller than she. Once she went

out with a guy who was 5' 5". With Erin in heels, they saw eye-to eye, and the

"Oh, what a cute little couple" looks they got from others set her teeth on

edge. Doug's size and strength had eliminated that scenario, made her feel

cherished and feminine, and, she had to admit, occasionally quite amorous.

But that was nothing like what she was feeling a few moments ago, namely horny

beyond imagination. "Power is an aphrodisiac" went the old platitude. While it

might explain a few national political scandals, Erin tended to ignore what she

considered "bumper-sticker philosophy." But it was true, wasn't it? Erin's

sexual excitement was being magnified by the realization that she had utter,

ultimate control over another human being's life and destiny.

Doug's limbs were twitching; he must be having a nightmare. Erin gazed down at

her open hand, wondering if she should wake him. "What do itty-bitty men dream

about?" she wondered, chuckling to herself. Contemplating his complete

helplessness, and feeling her palm being caressed by his tiny tossings and

turnings, was almost orgasmic in itself. Almost. She had to finish this.

Erin deposited Doug slowly into a half-empty tissue box, using the fingers of

one hand to slide him off the palm of the other. Moving to the bedroom, she

noiselessly closed the door behind her, undressed and spent the next hour in

wildly erotic self-gratification. Wave after blissful wave washed over her,

washed through her. There seemed to be no end to it. Eventually, of course,

there had to be.

She lay on the bed for a few minutes while the room stopped spinning, and a few

minutes more considering the change that was coming over her. The power! The

commanding power! So sensuously delightful! Erin was not ready to give this up.

Now it was adrenalin excitement that rose within her as she quickly re-dressed,

stepped stealthily out into the deserted parking lot, and snapped a picture of

Doug's car with the camera on the DM setting. It vanished. This must be the rush

a criminal feels. No wonder there was so much recidivism in the prison system.

Erin didn't know what was motivating her: she could scarcely believe what she

had done, even after she had done it.

A delicate, yet mighty woman's hand reached into the tissue-box, jostling Doug

enough to wake him as he was removed. He opened his eyes to Erin's face gazing

down from on high, as high as the pedestal she had stood upon in his mind from

the moment they met.

"Just checkin' on my fella."

"Oh, Erin. Thank you, I was having the worst nightmares..."

"Everything's all right now," she said in the most comforting tone she could

manage. "No more nightmares for my precious sweetie." Erin cradled and stroked

him until he was asleep once more, then put him back in the tissue-box, just a

little less delicately this time. She was hurrying -- the arousal had returned,

bigger and better.

Another hour in orgasmic orbit, and Erin herself was asleep, dreaming far more

pleasant dreams than those of the plaything she had left in the other room. She

was on the fashion runway, 75 feet tall, with what used to pass for supermodels

-- the ones she had always envied -- standing at her feet, not even reaching her

ankle. The mice-models scattered when hundreds of bouquets of roses were hurled

onto the giant platform. They were all for Erin, for the show belonged to her.

So did the crowd's absolute adoration, thousands of voices cheering their

praises of her. She scooped up dozens of inch-and-a-half long bouquets, inhaled

their aroma, then tossed them back with a great sweep of an arm that left the

audience gasping, then cheering again. Erin waved, blew them several giant

kisses, then turned and gracefully glided away as the Liliputians begged her to

stay...

CHAPTER 3

Erin awoke in a warm, contented glow a few minutes before the 7 o'clock alarm

would have done its job. Her heightened level of internal energy made the

morning bathroom routine effortless, and noticeably faster. At 7:25, she

discovered that Doug was also awake. He stood on the bookshelf where she had

left the tissue box, waving tiny arms to catch her eye.

"There you are, Erin! I'd been calling to you, but I guess you couldn't hear

me."

"Afraid not, little one. Your voice is just to weak to carry to the next room."

The fingers of her right hand folded around him as she spoke. "Besides, I

thought you needed your rest."

"A little sleep deprivation couldn't be worse than the dreams I was having.

Erin, I dreamed you didn't love me anymore, that you had gone away, and left me

totally alone. It was like being in the camera chip again...that black oblivion.

It was awful." He curled up into an almost fetal position in her palm, as Erin

twisted her hand slightly from side-to-side, like a baby's cradle. It was

calming to him, exciting to her.

"Duggie, we need to get you ready to face the big day ahead. I'll put you in the

bathroom sink, with a little stream of water running, so you can take care of

your personal needs. I'll put in a little piece of soap. Wash the clothes, too.

A few seconds with the hair dryer and they'll be ready to wear again."

Doug took care of business in the sink, mulling over two things. First, lovely

Erin had never before called him "Duggie," or used any diminutive for him.

Second, she didn't ask him what she wanted, she told him what to do. Calmly and

gently, to be sure, but he couldn't help noticing.

The miniature tea-service on Erin's kitchen windowsill was too large for Doug,

but he should still be able to hold the smallest teacup in both hands and sip

coffee without scalding himself. Erin inserted a fingernail into a warmed-up

bagel, and pulled out enough crumbs to pile in the middle of an inch-wide plate.

There was little breakfast conversation; each was lost in thought about the

future.

Sitting on the table-top, with a folded cloth napkin as a cushion, Doug

suggested, "We can take my car if you want."

Erin almost laughed out loud in full voice, but stopped before she accidentally

blew her boyfriend across the kitchen table. "Dear-heart, I don't think the keys

would fit the ignition anymore." Her thumb and forefinger took a quarter-inch

hand and held it.

"Maybe your little arm would, but I don't think that's such a good idea, do

you?"

Doug tried to pull his hand out from between her fingertips. It wasn't going

anywhere, either. He felt sheepish at blurting out such a silly miscalculation

of scale. Erin had chided him pleasantly, and in good humor, but dammit, there

was just something, something, oh, condescending about the way she said it.

"Of course you're right. But we'd probably better do something with the car

before someone gets suspicious."

"Already done, love." She told him how.

Doug was incredulous. "What? Without asking me?"

This time, the hand pinned his arms to his sides as he was lifted to her face.

She kissed him, not quite as tenderly as he remembered, then pulled him back

about 12 inches. Her face was still his whole visible world. Her grip was not

hurting him, but was definitely tighter, and there was a look of excitement in

her eyes that could have frightened him at any size.

"Now, look. Until we solve your little problem, you'll just have to trust me. I

know what I'm doing." Very slowly and deliberately, she asked:

"Do...you...understand?"

There were a million dumb things to say, but only one smart thing to say.

"Yes, Erin. I do."

"Good. We're leaving now. I called in sick at the bank while you were in the

bath. Your office will just have to wonder about you for the time being."

Doug found himself tucked into an inside coat pocket. As they drove to Oscar's

shop, he wasn't sure what to make of all of this, of the way the woman he used

to delight in cuddling was speaking to him. "Little problem?" That bordered on

mean-spirited. "I know what I'm doing?" Neither of them had ever cut off a

discussion wi

YOU OUGHTA BE IN PICTURES By Poco     Photography had been Erin McCoy

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