Friday, January 12, 2007


Originally posted on 11/19/06

At first, I didn't hear them. I was just pointing out the errant balloons in the parking lot.

Yesterday, a child in his father's arms let go of his red balloon. I could hear a friend of mine, a mother's words in my head. How do you explain that you can't get the balloon back? Kids that age just don't understand things like gravity and helium and gone.

The balloon went up and up and up. I watched it while I smoked a cigarette. By the time I went in, it looked like Mars. Impossibly far away, a red reflection of sunlight. We won't see it again until it pops in the stratosphere and rains down in red rubbery shards.

It was just an isolated moment.

But today, more balloons. A pink one hop-scotching across car tops. A blue one over the construction cranes at the other end of the shopping center. But there was no grand opening, no barbecue, no birthday party. Just these mysterious balloons.

Then I heard the screaming children. Not painful screams, just children screams, laughter and noise and shouting. But like the balloons, it's still coming from nowhere. There aren't any kids here.

A few days from now, we'll pick up the Times. We'll read about what they dug up while building the new Wal-Mart. And we'll hope they don't have balloons at their grand opening. Because that would just be inappropriate.



camera shy said...

i like the slow pace of this piece. you get so much into such a short amount of space. strong voice, great sense of timing too.

nice work

With Hammer And Tong...The LetterShaper said...

Wonderful, wonderful stuff...

Aura said...

thanks for visiting my site. i replied to your comment there. nice post here.

Kevan said...

Spooky kids!

JaneDoughnut said...

Thank you to my new visitors!

Aura - I have posted a link to your site in today's entry. I hope maybe some of my friends will weigh in on the mysterious lights, too.

Kevan - those kids are way creepy. Come to think of it, "Helium" probably could benefit from an illustration or two.

Kevan said...

Jane, that's the famous "haunted e-bay painting." Google that for some spooky wildness.