Mack had a hankering for a stir-fry. He had all the ingredients at home except for beansprouts, and he couldn’t possibly get the full satisfaction from a stir-fry that wasn’t loaded with beansprouts.
He nipped out to the local supermarket and picked up his beloved ingredient. It wasn’t until he reached the till and the cashier asked him for money that he realised he’d left his wallet at home.
“Sorry,” he said, “I’ll have to come back for them.”
The cashier smiled at him. “What else have you got?” she said.
“What do you mean?”
“I can trade them with you. What else have you got? Check your pockets.”
Mack grinned at her. She was flirting with him, he thought. He may as well play along and see where it would take him.
He fished around in his coats pockets and found a two-pence piece, an old receipt, a crusty packet of chewing gum with just one soggy lump left in it, a train ticket purchased seven months ago, and a small, plastic toy cow.
He placed the little cow beside the beansprouts and shrugged. “That’s the best I’ve got. It’s my nephew’s; I was looking after him at the weekend and he must have forgotten it.”
That ought to impress her, he thought. Show her he was good with kids.
The cashier shrugged. “Yeah, it’ll do.”
“Really?” Mack said. “Thanks. Maybe I can buy you a coffee to repay you?”
“We’ll see,” the cashier said, as she picked up the plastic cow and tucked it away in her trouser pocket. “See you around.”
“Well, um, could I get your number? For that coffee?”
The cashier tsked at him. “I said we’ll see. You know where I am.”
At home, Mack cooked up his dinner with a spring in his step. The stir-fry was delicious – probably the best he’d ever made. When he was done shovelling it down his gullet, he threw himself onto the sofa and turned on the telly. It wasn’t long before he was drifting off into dreamworld.
It was the cold that woke him. He was shivering, and he couldn’t figure out why. Then he noticed the sirens and the shouting and the screaming.
He rubbed at his eyes and looked around him. He was outside in the street. The sofa seemed to be gone. Rubble surrounded him – jagged lumps of timber and hunks of red brick and smashed glass.
And then he saw all the tiny people running around him. Some of them were in uniform – police officers, fire service and paramedics. Others were in regular clothes; Mack noted lots of pyjamas and dressing gowns.
There were tiny houses to go along with the tiny people, too. Down by his foot was a miniature supermarket. It looked a lot like his local – the very same one where he bought his beansprouts that morning. And a tiny person was stood in front of it, waving at him.
Mack watched, amazed, as the wee human clambered onto his toes and began to scale his leg. It wandered up onto his stomach, walked up his chest and sat down on his shoulder.
He peered down at it. It was a she, and she was the cashier from the supermarket.
“You ate them, then?” she said.
Mack could only gawp at her. “What the hell is going on?” he said. “Why is everything so small?”
She snorted, amused by him. “It’s not us that’s small. You’ve grown into a giant. Those beansprouts you bought from me? They were magic.”
Mack once more noted the rubble around him. He’d destroyed his own home. He’d obliterated the entire street.
“Don’t worry,” the cashier said, “there’s a home waiting for you up in the clouds. A castle, no less. There’s a giant beanstalk just outside the city that will take us there.”
“When you say the beanprouts were magic,” Mack said, “did you mean really magic, or the psychedelic kind of magic?”
The cashier rolled her eyes at him. “Just shut up and enjoy the adventure.”Follow Ellie Scott on WordPress.com