Made To Measure

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

My own interpretation of a pretty famous meeting.

Cover image:

Made To Measure


Now, I don’t know about you, but it’s not often that I come across a caterpillar quite so big as this one. He’s a bit too high for me to be sure, but at first glance I’d say this fellow, for something tells me that this is most certainly a male caterpillar, is as big as my arm.

He is staring right back at me, or rather he would be if he could stop his eyes from rolling in circles. They are quite mesmerizing as first they revolve to the left, then they revolve to the right. Or maybe I am becoming effected by the fumes from the smoke, for this caterpillar is puffing away on a very strange pipe that I’m pretty sure is not filled with tobacco. As I look at him he inhales deeply, then blows out the smoke directly towards me.

I cough, then I splutter, so hard that I end up doubled over with tears streaming down my cheeks. There’s something naggingly familiar about this fellow, I’ve come across his like somewhere before but I can’t quite place him.

When I finally regain control over my lungs I look back towards the caterpillar. I guess I’ve upset him for he has turned his back on me. “I’m so sorry,” I say at last. “How do you do!”

Head turned towards me, eyes squinting, he asks in a very gruff voice: “How do I do... what?”

Um, it’s a way of saying...” I begin to explain, but he cuts me off. Quite rudely, I might add.

Fit in? I fit in very well, thank you. Rather better than...” He squints his eyes, and I duck to miss the smoke this time before he finishes with... “You.”

Well, how rude! I mean, I don’t fit in here, there or anywhere else, but I don’t expect someone to announce it. Not even a caterpillar. I’m speechless.

But,” he continues in a slightly less stern tone, “I do have something that will help you to... err... fit, in any situation really. All you have to do is remember your sides.”

What is he on about? I fear that the smoking has quite addled his mind. On the other hand, what does that say about me? I’m the one that’s standing here talking to the would-be butterfly after all.

The caterpillar begins to move along the branch, back towards the bough of the tree, then he slithers down a bit, along a bit and stops almost directly in front of me.

Look down,” he says in a tone that says refusal is not an option. “What do you see?”

A toadstool,” I answer, sure that I am right.

Wrong!” The caterpillar shakes his head in sadness. “I thought you might be cleverer than you obviously are. It is a mushroom. Repeat after me: mush-er-room!”

Whatever. Mushrooms, toadstools, they are all pretty much the same if you ask me.”

Not this one, I can assure you.” This caterpillar has puffed himself up with his own self-importance. “Pick it and bite it.”


Pick... it... and... bite... it!”

I bend down and pull at the mushroom but I’m not sure about taking a nibble. “Here, this is not one of those funny ones, is it?” It’s my turn to narrow my eyes. “Or are you perhaps trying to poison me.”

The caterpillar laughs, either that or he’s choking on his pipe. “I’m trying to help you to fit. Now, take a bite from the side nearest to me.”

I lean over the mushroom and take just the tiniest piece into my mouth. At once I begin to inflate. There’s no other way to describe it. My arm is as big as my waist used to be, and my clothes are pulling and straining as though they will pop. “What’s happening?” I ask.

The caterpillar seems entirely undisturbed. “Now take a bite from the side furthest from me.”

My head feels like it has been pumped up, and my lips are rather difficult to control, but somehow I manage to take in a morsel. The effect is instant. I feel like a balloon that has been pierced by a pin as I rapidly deflate back to my normal size. But I don’t stop there but keep on going. I’m getting skinnier and skinnier by the second. “Help,” I shriek, grabbing my waistband.

It will take a bit of practice, I’m afraid. Just take a little bit from the other side.”

It must have been too much, for again I’m back to resembling an over-ripe melon, but I know what to do before the caterpillar tells me.

Now, take it away, go on. Leave me in peace with my pipe. Once you get the hang of it you will find that this mushroom will be invaluable in making you fit in anywhere.”

Well, thank you,” I say, “I’ll just be on my way then.”

The caterpillar does not even turn round, so I wander away. And as I go I take a little bit from here, and a little bit from there, totally disorientated by my constantly changing physique.


Submitted: January 31, 2021

© Copyright 2021 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Donald Harry Roberts

Incredible...True Hully DBLE Q

Sun, January 31st, 2021 7:04pm


Thank you so much, DH!

Sun, February 7th, 2021 5:53am

Joe Stuart

This has an Alice in Wonderland quality about it, Hully. I love it.

Sun, January 31st, 2021 9:44pm


That's just what I was aiming for, Joe. I've got a few more to post which I hope you will enjoy.

Sun, February 7th, 2021 5:51am

Mike S.

A fine Alice in Wonderland-inspired tale, if I'm not mistaken?

Sun, January 31st, 2021 9:44pm


You are quite right. Thanks, Mike!

Sun, February 7th, 2021 5:50am

Craig Davison

Why did the mushroom go to the party? Because he was a fun guy. Nice story, hullabaloo22. I had teapots full of tears published last year. Very Alice.

Mon, February 1st, 2021 1:24am


That's great, Craig. I'd love to read it. Oh, and thanks for giving this a read, too.

Sun, February 7th, 2021 5:49am

Serge Wlodarski

You could get rich if you had a patch of those mushrooms. Very creative.

Mon, February 1st, 2021 12:48pm


Haha! Especially if they were all made of the thinning side. Thanks for giving this a read!

Mon, February 1st, 2021 11:34am

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