Every couple of months or so we spotlight one of our members.
This time around, we feature a short piece by long time WCCW member Gary Rodgers.
We hope you enjoy his work!
I I see the way you’re looking at me. Admiring your accomplishment and smiling with a sense of pride. Well just so you know, balloons are supposed to run in packs! Usually twenty-five to a hundred in a pack, it’s just the way it’s supposed to be. Now here I am alone, stuck behind a sheet of glass, forever! It’s humiliating! Now let me tell you how this came to be.
The day began as normal. I was hanging out in the pack with all my buddies when suddenly, the pack was ripped open and all of us went spilling out. Then, one by one, my friends and I were swallowed up by these huge hands and had some sort of device shoved up our back sides. Needless to say, that was not a pleasant moment. Then we were inflated to ten times our normal size. A couple of my friends were even over-inflated and burst from the stress of the experience. At this point we all began to float aimlessly into the air. We all knew that this was part of our life, but that didn’t make it any easier to endure. Once enough of us were inflated to acceptable size and appearance, we had strings of various colors attached to our tails and then we were tied to a cart and left. So this was what we had all heard about. This was the beginning of the end. Or so I thought!
Before I could adjust to this new experience my friends began to be carried away. Some left in groups of three or four, others, alone and scared. None of us had ever experienced this type of treatment. But that was nothing compared to where my journey would take me shortly.
As I watched my friends disappear and I considered what my fate would be, a pair of hands suddenly grasped the string that was holding me stationary.
“This one, I want this blue one,” a young voice cried.
“Okay, but you can only have one,” an older voice replied.
That was you! Now quit smiling, you could have saved me then you know! But instead, you allowed me to be dragged on what seemed like an endless day. I heard you call it a birthday, whatever that is! The way all the other humans were reacting I thought it would be a good thing. That was before the cotton candy!
Yes, cotton candy! The next stop we made was to let the little one have some cotton candy. Did you know he would try to feed some of it to me? Well, he did! And that has to be the stickiest mess ever invented. There were a few times that I thought he wouldn’t be able to get his hands free from my delicate skin. I squeaked and growled from the feel of it, but you didn’t appear to notice. You just laughed and joined in by placing the string attached to my tail around his wrist so I couldn’t fly away. I tried you know!
It had taken me this long to realize we were part of a bigger celebration. Something called a fair. And during a brief pause called a Merry-go-round, I noticed that many of my friends were there as well. Trapped in a similar situation to mine and wondering, was this the fate of all balloons? Each attempt to fly to freedom was stalled by the strange string we were attached to. But during our journey through the fair I did see a couple of my fellow prisoners escape and fly to the heavens. But I also had to witness a couple of them burst and deflate into a remnant of their once inflated beauty. We all knew that could happen.
When we left the fair I thought my chance to escape was only moments away. My string was untied from the small wrist as you secured the child in a seat. I strained and pulled at the string but you held tight. Then you once again, I was tied to seat of the child and freedom escaped me. I don’t think you noticed, but it was about this time that I began to slowly deflate. But the adventure wasn’t over.
When we arrived at your home I thought it was almost over. Then suddenly there were more kids screaming and shouting and I noticed more balloons tied off to a sign reading Happy Birthday! Finally, I would be united with others of my kind! But no, I had been singled out as special.
“Dad, can I keep my special balloon with me,” he asked?
“Of course son,” you said.
The kids laughing and playing games was fun to watch. Right up to the point where they started including me in a game of tag.
This is it, I thought! My chance to escape! They were taking turns holding the string that was tied to my tail, and whoever had me was it! They would chase the other kids until they tagged them, then they would hand me off. Then it happened, one of the kids turned loose to soon and away I went! But as I mentioned earlier, I had began to deflate. And my escape was slowed because of this. But I was going for it. I could make it.
“It’s flying away,” somebody screamed.
Then everyone was screaming and chasing after me. Including the hairy, smelly creature you call a dog! Boy is he fast! Next thing I know that dog has bitten down on the string and is running faster than I ever imagined I could fly. He’s trying to help me escape, I thought. He ran in circles and zigzagged his way through kids. It was then that I noticed all these hands trying to grab me. They were covered in sticky, gooey, slimy stuff called cake! And I was getting covered in it!
“Roscoe, stop! Now come here boy.” I heard you say.
The attempted escape was over! For some reason I really began to feel deflated now.
“It looks like your balloon might have sprung a leak. Maybe we can frame it.”
Really? Frame me? Why would you do that?
The next thing I knew you had a towel and water and you were washing me off. Why this kindness after what you had put me through? But I was totally deflated by this point. No hope escape left. But I was still in one piece. Then you took a marker and wrote on me. You said, “Happy 5th Birthday Charlie, I Love You, Dad”!
Then you placed me inside a frame, behind this glass. I heard you say, “Now you can have your balloon forever Charlie.”
I guess it’s not the worst ending possible for a balloon. I mean, forever is like, forever. I might be deflated, but I’m framed, forever!