And I felt this tiny tug on my pant leg. His name was Vernon and he was three inches tall. We swore we'd live to circumnavigate the globe and visit both Disneylands and trek across deserts with arms full of Kerouac paperbacks. When we were kids we used to pretend that Beckett wrote the Bible and we'd do our favorite scenes on our stage in the playground sandbox. Vernon was always Jesus. For our finale I'd untie the rope from around his neck and we'd play dodgeball on the water in the fountain.
Then came third grade. That was the year that Vernon started shrinking. At first it wasn't so noticable. But by the end of the seventh week he had lost a foot and a half of his height. (His mother insists that when he was born he was at least six feet tall and the doctor had to use forceps.) Nobody knew quite what to do or say about this untidy business with Vernon. Vernon didn't seem bothered by it at all. Neither was I. Vernon said that when he was the size of my Barbie doll then he'd stop wearing clothes and live in a shrub in my backyard. I promised not to look when he had to pee.