Waste Of Height

Once upon a time, there was a Giant who lived in a tiny village called Humungous Falls in Northern Westchester County who never really fit in, despite owning a popular deli called Foot Long The Giant (which is what all the local lumberjack giants frequented every day, before chopping down more trees, later used for bookshelves for their hobbit hipster southern neighbors in Bushwick, Brooklyn).             Every day, the Lumberjacks would taunt Foot Long The Giant, calling him a waste of height for wasting his life making sandwiches for his fellow giants, when he could’ve just hired a bunch of Hipster Hobbits to perform the job, instead. Every day, they’d accuse him of being soft for shying away from more hardcore forms of manual labor involving chopping down trees from dawn to sunset.

            One day, an eight-year-old aspiring professional food writer hobbit from Bushwick, known as Hardcore Hunga, wanted to do a profile for The Bushwick Post on Footlong The Giant, considering his legacy for making the best footlong heroes in New York (which were totally worth the schlep from Bushwick, assuming you didn’t get too freaked out about getting stomped to death by a Giant Lumberjack by mistake, on his lunch break).    So, one day, Hardcore Hunga faked a tummy ache, ditched out on school, and flew his pet dragon to Humungous Falls to meet Foot Long The Giant face to face, praying that none of the local giant lumberjacks sneezed in his general direction, which could send him flying all the way to Stink A Lot Jersey, where all the shitty-smelling swamp creatures roamed.

            Footlong The Giant was descended from a land of giants who grew up to their full height out of Mother Giant’s womb. They expected to get working from day one, being denied any sustained age of sheltered innocence from the real world of a grinding worker existence ’till their last dying breath.

            Mother Giant finally banged out her last giant, and with no female giants to procreate with, this made these remaining giants the last of their kind. They normally started dropping like flies at a hard age forty.

            So, these lumberjack giants barely slept, and dedicated their walking lives to chopping more wood and tearing Foot Long The Giant down to size for thinking he was better than them by being an artisan sandwich maker instead. (This was when they weren’t getting wasted off Stouts, Porters, and Barley Wine, which they were paid in from their Hobbit Hipster clients in Bushwick, while competing in humungous cannonball contents throughout Humungous Falls after work, to blow off some much-needed steam.  

            They also sold wood for precious gems to local waterfall-dwelling Nymphs who made enormous bed structures (which always broke down and needed repairing) for Sleeping Giants Are Us.   

            Today wasn’t any ordinary day in the life of Footlong The Giant, because today he turned the big 40; but as usual, he had nobody to celebrate it with—that is, until the best looking, biggest-hearted, funniest hobbit from Bushwick graced The Footlong The Giant Deli with a tape recorder in hand to conduct a career-launching interview with the greatest hero sandwich maker the empire state has ever known.

            Footlong The Giant gets ready to blow out forty lit candles that go down in a straight line along his longest, star hero creation yet, a 40-foot hero that rests on a giant bench table that reaches from one side of the deli to the other. Footlong The Giant turns off the lights in the store and braces himself to take a depressingly long deep breath to make a fortieth birthday wish, thinking that this might just be his last, and says, “Just for once, I don’t want to feel like a waste of height anymore.”

            Then, as Footlong Giant opens his mouth to blow out the entire row of candles on his 40-foot-long cheesesteak sub (topped with Italian cherry peppers and lined with mayo and semi-sharp provolone), he hears a knock on the door.

            This startles him a tad, because it was already way past lunch hour and he was normally used to spending this time in the store getting the chicken parm stains off the wall after the standard lunch hour rush from the sloppiest-eating lumberjacks who ever lived.

            Hardcore Hunga knocks on the door again, but peaks inside the window this time, to see if anyone is inside, noticing a gorgeous flickering lighting of candles and thinking that he’s walked into a Death Memorial Giant Service (knowing that the giants of Humungous Falls are a dying breed and are dropping like termite-infested totem poles, these days).

            Footlong The Giant opens the door, not noticing Hardcore Hunga, who’s a solid 4 foot 2. Footlong The Giant says to himself, “I must be hearing things in my old age.” Hardcore Hunga, still holding his baby dragon on a leash, instructs Dragon Lungs to blow a fire ball that nearly hits Footlong The Giant’s head. Footlong The Giant looks down and finally notices Hardcore Hunga and his trusted, always-reliable companion, Dragon Lungs.

            Hardcore Hunga starts pitching. “Footlong The Giant, I’m Hardcore Hunga. I came all the way from Bushwick to interview a living heromaker legend.” Footlong The Giant laughs hard and long, blowing Hardcore Hunga Hobbit off his feet, yet Dragon Lungs puts on the brakes to make sure he doesn’t get blown away into the wilderness, by wrapping his leash around Hard Hunga in mid-flight before slamming him to the ground and wrapping him up as if he were roping a calf at a Texas rodeo.

            Footlong The Giant feels bad and invites Hardcore Hunga Hobbit and his pet dragon, Iron Lungs, into his store; yet totally forgets about never blowing out his row of forty candles. Hardcore Hunga was smarter than your average bear, so he realizes almost immediately that he’s just crashed Footlong The Giant’s lonelyheart birthday celebration (if you want to call it that).

            Hardcore Hunga Hobbit does his best to cheer up the sad-hearted giant and says, “Happy birthday, Footlong The Giant. This looks like your greatest hero creation yet. You really are a living legend; for a good reason.”

            As Hardcore Hunga examines the scrumptious cheesesteak hero, which is bursting with over-the-top dynamite flavor, draped in glistening creamy white provolone that’s hugging onto the sesame-loaded Italian loaf from one end to the other for dear life, and counts forty candles in total, in the process, his hobbit heart is filled with extreme sadness, knowing that forty is normally a death sentence for all giants who hail from Humungous Falls.  

            Hardcore Hunga encourages Footlong The Giant to blow out his candles and make a wish, already, and says, “Make a wish and blow out the candles, Footlong The Giant. Wait a minute—one of the candles went out already. Dragon Lungs, do you mind?”

             Dragon lungs blasts a stream of fire, which lights the unlit candle on the end with laser-sharp precision, which puts a big smile on Footlong The Giant’s face. Footlong The Giant wants to return the good, favored cheer from his kind, loving guests and give them a birthday surprise to remember.

            Footlong The Giant turns his bum toward the forty-foot hero, lifts up his right leg, and rips a humungous fart, which blows a gusty jet steam of sweaty, leg-flapping, foul mist which blows out all forty candles in one swoop. Hardcore Hunga and Dragon Lungs fall down, this time from laughing uncontrollably while holding their noses in the process.  Footlong The Giant shoots off a smile that could light up a youth hostel with no wi-fi during the next Chinese rat-planted plague.

            Footlong The Giant turns on the light in his deli and says, “Let’s eat.”  Footlong The Giant cuts off a four-foot-two hero and serves it to his new friend Hardcore Hunga, who conducts a lengthy interview ’till they all finish the forty-foot hero together, Dragon Lungs included.

            After the story about Footlong The Giant was published in the Bushwick Post, New York State declared the Footlong The Giant Deli a cherished historical site (especially now that all his lumberjack clientele dropped dead the next day, after turning forty themselves).

            Footlong The Giant no longer felt like a waste of height since his glorious friendship with Hardcore Hunga Hobbit began. Hunga made him feel like the biggest star in the universe.

            After all the lumberjack giants drooped dead throughout Humungous Falls, Footlong The Giant moved to Bushwick with Hardcore Hunga Hobbit and opened a local deli (specializing in much smaller portions, of course, when they weren’t building snow cones as big as skyscrapers every year for Hardcore Hunga’s birthday in February, the day before Valentine’s Day, which the entire village of hobbits licked up ’till they all became mostly brain-freeze dead, proving how the biggest hearts come in all sizes and packages).

Michael Kornbluth

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