Paul felt… very strange.
He looked around – what was this world of black material? Why was there an enormous white void all around? Why did his leg hurt- he looked down, and his eyes widened. He was naked.
John sounded panicked.
“Stop messing about!”
George sounded exasperated.
Paul glanced around, and realised, with shock, that the needle in the leg had, in fact, taken.
So that… he crawled out of what was suddenly, horridly apparent as his own trouser leg, and glanced around.
There was confused yelling – it was as if he’d suddenly had his head forced against speakers. Why was everything suddenly so loud?! He looked at the thing next to him, and groaned as he recognised it as his own shoe. Well, he wasn’t getting back into his suit…
George’s chewing gum wrapper lay next to him like a carpet, and he grabbed for it, wrapping it around his waist. Great. Just great…
“Look out! They’re coming through the door!”
“…ah, shite,” Paul cursed, and glanced around. He was deeply unhappy with the way this had gone – mostly because flirting with Ahme was going to be a lot more difficult now. Maybe she liked short guys…
It was as if thunder had gone off next to his head – he jumped violently, and snatched at his new skirt. Oh, great. He’d better get somewhere safe- he retreated back to the shoe, and watched as giants fought around him.
Maybe he could climb back inside the trouser leg?
“Feet! Feet! You’ll have Paul!”
They knew – that gave him hope, as George shouted across the room, and he clambered into the ashtray that now contained a cigarette five times the size of him. He just had to wait it out – surely, he reasoned, it would wear off?
“Hey, he’s still small.”
John was staring at Paul, who was still, very grumpily and stickily, wearing a chewing gum wrapper, standing on his palm as the others crowded around to stare.
“That was ace,” George grinned, and Paul took a mocking bow. He was lucky Dr. Foot had not been expecting him – he had seen the gun aimed at his friends and grabbed a drawing pin that was now more accurately a lance to the tiny man, ramming it into the doctor’s ankle. He had screamed, giving John time to grab a lamp and gently ‘persuade’ the man to leave, and Paul had managed to attract their attention by screaming until someone had picked up on the tiny wail.
“How long is this gonna last?!” he shouted, and John shrugged, trying to keep his hand stable. “I’m gettin’ a sore throat yellin’, John…”
“I’m not the shortest in the band anymore,” Ringo noted, and Paul flipped him off.
“We’ve gotta get you some clothes, lad,” John sighed. “This is grotty, you’re naked and stood on me hand, like…” Paul glared.
“Oh, Johnny, I’m sorry to be an inconvenience, like, what with the fact Ringo’s jewellery’s nearly gettin’ us murdered, an’ I’m three inches tall!” he raged, and George grinned.
“This is great. Can we keep ‘im?” he laughed, and John rolled his eyes.
“Right. George, go buy our lad some clothes. Get one of them Ken dolls, they’ll do. Ringo, we’ve gotta hide you, an’ find Paul’s lady friend.” He looked at Paul, and then grinned. “George, make sure the clothes are warm. Anyone fancy Switzerland, like?”
“I don’t like this!”
Paul nuzzled down into John’s shirt pocket, and whimpered as the sledge shot down the hill, and John laughed.
“Come on, lad, loosen up!”
“Fuck off, John!” Paul screamed in panic, and as the sledge hit a bump, the worst thing happened – he flew out, and landed on Ringo’s collar. As he gripped on for dear life, wishing that Ahme had been a little more specific about how long the serum lasted, he felt himself rise, and heard Ringo yell in panic.
“Ringo?” he yelled, and Ringo’s hand rose into view, very gently plucking him off and lifting him to eye level… downwards. What…?
It took him a few seconds – the world was now on such a scale directions were very hard – but he realised Ringo and he were upside down, and that the sledge was heading away. He looked up – or down – or whatever direction – and saw the rope on Ringo’s ankle leading up to the ski lift.
Well, it didn’t take a bloody genius to put two and two together…
“Paulie?!” Ringo asked, panicked, and Paul closed his eyes.
“Wait a sec, lad!” he yelled, praying Ringo could hear him. “Put me back on yer collar!” Ringo nodded, blue eyes enormous with panic, and as he flew towards the man’s black shirt, he looked up. Okay… he could climb that, right?
He began, and realised this was pretty easy – it was more of a slope than a climb, and as he ascended, he realised that life was actually quite cool at this size. He was like a superhero – he looked up, trying to see if he could recognise the perpetrators. Two men – probably those bloody scientists…
He reached Ringo’s belt and stopped for a breather, realising that they were reaching the point where the lift turned and went back. In the distance he could see John and George had stopped the sledge and were looking around in confusion – John in particular was kneeling down, brushing through the snow. Were they looking for him?
“Yeah, I’m on it,” he called back, unsure if Ringo could even hear him – the rough material of Ringo’s trousers made this climb even easier, and as he reached his shoe, hauling himself up, he looked up. He could climb up to the lift right now and stop this…
He looked down, and felt a little sick at the drop.
“Ringo, why do yeh just… accept fan gifts, lad,” he groaned to himself, and began to pull at the fibres of the rope. To somebody bigger, they would have been impossible to separate, but he could get between every fibre, and the rope frayed, and then…
Paul realised he had not thought this one through from his own point of view, and lunged for Ringo’s shoe as the rope snapped.
The fall was… unthinkable. He imagined this was what a suicidal leap felt like, but he felt warmth in his chest that Ringo would make it, and as he gripped onto Ringo’s shoelace he wondered if they’d even find his body, or if he would just appear in the snow in a few days already stiff and dead…
They hit the snow, and Paul learned from a first-hand point of view how spiders survive falls.
He stood up, and shivered as the cold set in – his lack of mass meant that everything was a lot colder – and pulled on Ringo’s shoelace as hard as he could.
“Ringo!” he screamed, and there was a sickening moment as he thought he would be left to freeze – then Ringo looked down, panicking, and slumped as he saw Paul.
“Paulie, lad,” he said in relief, and scooped him up in icy hands that were still comfortingly warm compared to the snow. “Oh, Paulie, thanks, lad…” Paul shook his head, shivering, and John staggered up.
“We lost P-” he panicked, and then saw him in Ringo’s hands and closed his eyes. “Lad, what happened, yeh were…”
“He saved me,” Ringo gabbled, and Paul waved his arms.
“They’re ‘ere, the scientists, we’ve gotta go…”
“London,” John said flatly. “We need protection, lads.”
“We can’t record like this.”
George Martin stared at Paul, who folded his arms.
“He’s tiny. What’re we going to do? He can’t play his guitar, he could live inside an acoustic!” He stared. “What happened to him?”
“His girlfriend accidentally stabbed ‘im with a needle,” John said flatly, and George M. sighed, closing his eyes.
“Okay. Well, we can get someone in to do his parts and just… rerecord his vocals later… if we have to. For now, you boys aren’t allowed out. Strange things have been happening, and if this gets out… he’s three inches tall!”
“Yer very accepting of the fact I’ve shrunk,” Paul said flatly, and George M. nodded.
“Frankly, what else can I do,” he snapped. “We’ve arranged for you to go somewhere safer… I wish you’d come to me and Brian before you gotScotland Yard involved…!” He stormed out, and Paul shrugged.
“This stuff’s really itchy, like,” he complained, and there was a knock at the door. John scooped him up and put him in his breast pocket, as their George adopted a karate stance in front of Ringo.
“Now you have some random woman here to visit you…!”
“Ahme?” Paul gasped, and the door opened to reveal just she, in a green silk pantsuit and green feathers in her hair. She was breathtaking. Paul swallowed nervously, and retreated back into the pocket.
“Beatles,” she sighed in relief. “I was concerned that we had lost you after the skiing…” Paul cringed as she paused. “Where is Paul?”
“Look what yer’ve done!” Paul heard John snap, and fingers were digging around in the pocket – he dodged for a second, but then fingers were around his waist, and he felt himself lift into the air – he squeezed his eyes shut, and then felt himself placed onto a smooth, warm palm. She smelled really, really good – like perfumes. Maybe if he threw himself off her palm he’d die here.
“Paul?” she asked gently, and he looked up at her, before shrugging.
“Do yeh like small guys?” he asked, and she smiled at him sadly.
“Oh, Paul, I am so sorry.” She looked up. “And he has been like this since the accident?”
“Yeh,” John said fiercely. “Yeh’ve shrunk our Paul.” Ahme sighed, and looked back at him. “We need ‘im. He’s our ladies man, how’s ‘e supposed to chat up birds? Do we set him up with a Barbie?”
“It will wear off. I promise you.” She was speaking to him, not John, and Paul flushed, looking down at his feet. “The amount will take between a week and a month to wear off…”
“A month?” George gasped, and Ahme nodded. “What were we gonna do with a drummer with a tiny finger?”
“I would have given Mr. Starr a controlled dose!” Ahme snapped, and Paul clapped his hands to his ears. “Oh, Paul, I am sorry.” She kissed the tip of her finger and then gently pressed it to his tiny cheek, and he couldn’t help but grin soppily. “I am here to tell you that I have misdirected Clang to the site you were supposed to record.”
“He’s off to Stonehenge? Great, maybe he can make friends with some druids,” John said flatly. “An’ where are we going?”
“I cannot come with you, but you are to be sent somewhere safe.”
“Nowhere’s bloody safe,” George grumbled.
“Buckingham Palace is safe, gentlemen.” The superintendent smiled, and Ringo looked up from his cards.
“Excuse me if I doubt yeh,” he mumbled, and motioned towards George as he left. “This is unfair, lad, you’ve got help.” George looked at the tiny man on his shoulder, and shrugged. Paul waved.
“Paulie’s no ‘elp, believe me,” he said softly, and Paul nodded.
“I’m shit at cards,” he called over to Ringo, and John sat down at the table.
“You’d do well to cut,” he smirked at the drummer, and Ringo looked over just as John pulled a knife out of his pocket – he shoved his hand, as well as his cards, into his jacket in panic, and George sighed.
“Now who’s cheatin’?”
“I’m not cutting it off!” Ringo panicked, and Paul sighed.
“Let me have a crack at it,” he advised, and slid down George’s jacket, walking across. Ringo placed his cards firmly face down before laying his hand flat. “God, lad, your nails are grotty…”
“Just pull it off,” John smirked, and Paul pulled a face. “Oh, take a joke, lad. Come on.” Paul sighed, and pulled at the ring. It was no good – oddly enough, it wouldn’t even twist, as if it’d fused with Ringo’s skin. “Lad, did you glue it on…”
“It really won’t come off?” John asked, and Paul shook his head. “Well, we’re doomed…”
“I’m doomed,” Ringo argued, and John snapped. This was admittedly a common occurrence, but this was almost terrifying this time. He rose above Ringo and waved the knife at him.
“Sorry, lad? We’ve been in danger since day one! Our ‘ouse is wrecked! Our album’s fucked because we can’t record it! Paul’s three inches high and might be stuck that way!” Ringo stared up at John. “Bloody hell, lad, yeh can drum without that finger, yeh can wank without that finger, what the fuck are yeh-”
“I’m sorry,” Ringo interjected quietly, and John stopped. “I’m… I just… I’m sorry.” He looked so ashamed that John sat back down, and looked down at Paul. “I’m sorry.” He exhaled, and gestured at the knife. “Do you reckon it’ll hurt?”
“…well, yeah. We can get yeh some ice,” John reasoned.
“Or a hospital,” George suggested, a little sharply.
“Give us yeh hand, let me have a look,” John murmured. “Yer sure?”
“…well… Paul took a bit of a hit for me, so…” Ringo muttered, and as John took his hand, the ring slid, anticlimactically, off of his hand and onto the table.
Everyone leaned in, and stared at it.
“…well,” George said quietly.
“Yeh were brave and it came off,” Paul gasped, and looked up. “That’s what Ahme said! If yeh were brave, the injection wasn’t necessary, like!” Ringo stared at his hand, and then at the ring. “Jesus!”
“But he’s still gonna be on the list unless someone else is wearing it,” George said quietly. “We need to put that on someone else.” John nodded, and bared his teeth in what could loosely be called a smile. “Anyone thinkin’ a certain bald cult leader?”
“Wild horses, lad. We need to get hold of Paul’s bird-”
“Ey,” George interrupted, gesturing to the wall. “What’s that whirly thing coming through his stomach?”
“I don’t reckon they came from the Bahamas.”
“Well, we’re not gonna fly directly to their temple, lad, if you wanna catch a tiger you don’t ram your ‘ead into its mouth.”
“How many tigers have you caught?”
“Is Paul okay in the sun?”
Paul looked up from where he lay on the tiny scrap of towel, and gave the thumbs up.
“It’s a nice holiday though, innit, lad.”
It had been a week – they were now officially in the range of this stuff wearing off, and he felt good about that. Being small was an adventure, but he’d like to be tall again.
“So… what’s the plan again?”
“We’re gonna dress as Ringo, and when they come and get us we’ll catch ‘em and drag ‘em off and rough ‘em up!”
“I’m not very good at roughing. Don’t like fruit, really.”
“That’s roughage, you twat.”
“So what am I doing?” Paul asked, and John sat up, looking at him.
“That’s a point. Don’t reckon a masks gonna fool ‘em in your case, Paulie.” He shrugged. “Stick with our Ringo. Maybe yeh can get him outta trouble again.” Paul nodded. “Until then, think… big thoughts?”
“Yeh got it, Johnny,” Paul sighed, and leaned back, basking in the sun. He could do this.
“Come on.” Ringo put his hand on the floor, and Paul scrambled up onto it, before being put in Ringo’s pocket. “We’d better get going. I’m not spending all me time in the Bahamas doin’ nothing.”
“What do you mean, you don’t have it?!”
Dr. Foot glared at Ringo, and Ringo shrugged.
“It came off.”
“It just… worthless, I tell you,” the scientist muttered, and pointed the scalpel directly at Ringo’s Adam’s apple. “Give me a reason not to. Go on, I’m not unreasonable.” Ringo shrugged, and Paul launched his Attack.
He launched himself out from where he had hidden himself on Ringo’s collar, and Dr. Foot stared at him.
“What on earth…”
“Get away from my mate!” Paul snapped, and Dr. Foot picked him up. “Ah! Gerroff me!”
“Fascinating! This… this can only be…”
Everyone turned to see Ahme on the deck of the boat, clad in a black swim outfit and holding in her hand a small vial. Paul cringed away from it, and she stepped forward.
“I will trade it to you for…”
“Accepted,” Dr. Foot said immediately, and Ahme stopped, before shrugging and gently taking Paul from his hands. She handed him the vial, and as he and Algernon began to attempt to decipher the writing, she turned to Ringo.
“I can’t swim,” Ringo said nervously, and raised his hand. “Got rid of it though!” Ahme gasped, and then beamed. “It’s not here, it’s with the police, we’re gonna put it on Clang…”
Dr. Foot, Algernon, Ahme, Ringo and Paul all turned to see Clang on the bow of the boat, grinning.
“Who are you?” Dr. Foot snapped.
“Prove that someone else isn’t wearing it!”
“By this point, my boy, I don’t care,” Clang said simply, and grabbed the red brush, slathering some paint on Ringo’s shirt before gesturing to the statue of Kaili. “She doesn’t care either. I simply do not care.”
“But what if yer missing out on a really great victim?” Ringo asked desperately, and Paul struggled. Clang had placed a pint glass over him a few feet away from the sacrifice site – something so simple, he thought desperately, and struggled again. There was limited oxygen in here…
“Whose name is the terrible?” Clang replied viciously, and Paul closed his eyes. He had to get out, he could see Ahme and Ringo strapped down like Lilliputians had gotten some serious ideas, he had to get out…
He opened his eyes, and everything was really small.
Wait, no. That was normal size.
Oh god… he wasn’t naked again, was he?
He grabbed a beach towel that was, by some universally-welcome happenstance, next to him, wrapped it around his waist, and tapped Clang on the shoulder as he chanted.
“Get sacrificed, lad, we don’t subscribe to your religion,” he snapped, and punched him – Clang went down, and Paul dropped to his knees, pulling at Ahme’s restraints.
“Paul!” she gasped, and Ringo gasped.
Up the beach, running towards them, were John and George, and a lot of police – a lot of police. Paul exhaled for a moment, and Ahme tapped his shoulder.
“You get Ringo, I will deal with Clang,” she said sharply, and he nodded, tugging at Ringo’s binds.
“You’ve cut yerself,” Ringo gasped. “Hey, yer all big again!”
“I know, it feels weird,” Paul laughed, and pulled him up to standing. “Now there’s broken glass everywhere…” Ringo nodded, and John and George stumbled to their sides.
“You’re all red,” George noted, and Ringo grinned.
“I’m beginning to like it.”
“You’re big. You’re naked again, though,” John noted, and Paul shrugged. “Ah, well…” The superintendent stumbled to their side, and John held his hand out. “Give me the ring, I’ve got some trouble to cause…”
Paul watched, and then turned to Ahme, and waved as she held a knife to Clang’s neck. John marched over and shoved the ring onto his finger, and she beamed.
“I think I’ll ask her out afterwards,” he said carefully, and looked at Ringo. “Let’s get you cleaned up, yeah?”