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The Road From Passenger Princess To Thumbelina Is Shorter Than You’d Expect

Flash Fiction, Laura Wencel

I used to get a lot of shit from my friends for not having a driver’s license. 

I saw these girls every day so I had exhausted all my excuses – driving anxiety, poverty, even a made-up fling gone awry with a driving instructor. I knew I had reached my expiration date when Emma drove me to LAX and we were stuck in that monstrous tunnel for 73 minutes. 

“I’m never doing this again. Not for you, not for my firstborn,” she told me, breaking the hour-long silence. 

It was an obstruction in my life, definitely. I only worked from home, picking up freelance writing jobs wherever I could find them. Usually those remote work websites, but sometimes Craigslist, or even my mom’s Facebook group friends. I only hung out at home, with my roommates, smoking weed and watching Survivor and PBS documentaries. Sometimes we would even give the cat some catnip. 

But then they’d all be up at 7:30 AM, making coffee and grabbing granola bars. Imani drives a respectable Honda Civic to her really nice job in Glendale. She’s the cat’s legal owner, but Shrimp and I hang out all the time until she gets home at six. At 6:30, Imani grabs the cat, her bong, and a Diet Coke and shepherds us out onto the balcony. 

Emma, who has the biggest room, works social media for a start-up and drives a brand-new Fiat 500 with a pistachio interior that makes you just wanna lick the dashboard. She’s supposed to work hybrid, but she’s never home until the evening anyway.

“I just think you’d make a great housewife,” Emma said one night. We were watching a documentary about Anne Boleyn, so I tried not to take it to heart. 

“Yeah,” Imani added in between bites. Shrimp was trying to snag some chicken off of her plate. “You’re a great cook, you clean semi-well. You keep plants alive.” 

I thought about it for a moment. 

“Do you think I could be a lesbian housewife?” I asked. 

“Of course,” Emma said emphatically. “I would only let you be a lesbian housewife.”

I made tacos for dinner and my fingers still smelled like onions. Housewife status might be a pipe dream. 

“Where are they paying gay women enough to support two people?” Imani said after a long pause for chewing. We shut up after that, conceding. 

But I couldn’t get it out of my head for a few days. Not being a housewife, per se. Rather, finally ending the agony of searching for who I wanted to be, or missing the mark, or never leaving the house. If my life’s purpose was being married to the house, no one would second guess me or my lack of a driver’s license.  

I racked my brain thinking how I could be a housewife for Imani and Emma without them having to support me. I finally figured it out watching Shrimp eat his breakfast. Imani measures it out with a cup and it’s really not that much, obviously, because he’s so small. If I was even smaller, I could survive on much, much less. A normal-sized bite could be the whole meal.  

I realized the best course of action would be to shrink down to a few inches. 

Imani and Emma took some convincing, but I promised I’d continue to pay rent, and that nothing would change. Emma said she was excited to carry me around in her pockets. I subleased my room to some guy who used it as a music studio during the day. He paid for most of the rent, I paid for half, and I gave Imani and Emma the overlapping cash in return for their troubles.

I spent about a week preparing. I blew all my savings in toy stores buying Barbie clothes and tiny things. I built two ladders out of straws and pipe cleaners: one for the kitchen counters and one to get up on the toilet. I cleaned the whole house and made tons of pre-portioned meals frozen in ice cube trays. I even quartered my antidepressants and put them in a travel-size Tic-Tac container. 

I spent my last full-size day decorating a fairy house I found at Michael’s with glitter and green paint. I cleared a shelf next to our window and set it up there, with all my new clothes and gadgets. I was ready. 

Some guy on Reddit recommended an Indica strain called “Thumbelina” for the actual downsizing. I found it at my dispensary, but only after having asked for it specifically. The budtender raised his eyebrows but brought it out from the back and rang me up without question.  

I smoked the whole jar out of Imani’s bong as a final farewell since I wouldn’t be able to use it. It kept making me sleepier and sleepier until I inevitably passed out on our patio couch. When I woke up, I was the size of a can of beans. Thankfully, I left the balcony door open the night before. 

The first few days I spent my time exploring hard-to-reach places in our apartment and obsessively watching Netflix on my phone, my new flat-screen. 

Shrimp was on a power trip for a while, being so much larger than me. I tried riding him around the apartment a few times but he refused to move until Imani found a doll saddle in a thrift store and put it on him. Now, I think I make him feel mighty like he’s the tabby stallion and I’m a cowboy. Emma said she would crochet reins out of pink wool for us. 

Admittedly, I gave up on traditional housewife duties pretty early. I got really winded cleaning the whole house, so I settled on intentional spot-cleaning. I can only really cook stews and deal with ingredients that don't need cutting, which halves my repertoire. But it pushes me as well. I made the girls tiny pancakes one morning, because the ladle was too heavy otherwise, and they loved it. 

I even continued writing. Someone locked behind an NDA selected me to ghost-write Regency-era erotica for a few hundred dollars. I was nervous about the mechanics of it, but I have been able to turn typing into a workout. My keyboard is now a Dance Dance Revolution floor pad, and I break a sweat jumping from key to key describing the lurid proclivities of some English duke. 

The only thing I hate about being small is my voice. Alvin and the Chipmunks is false advertising – the smaller you shrink, the quieter your voice becomes. I suppose it makes sense, my pipes did get smaller. I found a karaoke microphone on Facebook Marketplace that I use sometimes if I don’t feel like shouting. 

On my birthday, Emma and Imani surprised me with a Barbie car—a pink Corvette with the roof off. It had a separate steering remote that Imani fastened to the front seat so that I could drive it by myself. Me! Driving! 

Mostly I drive it around the apartment, terrorizing Shrimp. Sometimes, though, at four in the morning, when no one is out, I drive it through the city streets, the wind billowing all two inches of my hair. I sing so loudly only the dogs can hear me.  


Laura Wencel is a queer Polish woman who ended up writing in and about Los Angeles. She holds a Creative Writing degree from USC, mostly dealing with auto-fiction, folktales, and poetry. You can find her on Instagram @laurawencel or online at


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