As I've said, I'm not a huge fan of poetry, basically because it scares me to death, so I've decided to change the format for this week. I of course welcome poetry back next week or whatever the winner chooses to do.
So without further delay, this week's topic is balloons, and I want you to write a series of vignettes that individually tell a story that together forms a larger one, with each including this topic in some way. I think it might be best to share my writing example and then I'll lay out the rules, which are vast, and maybe complicated if I explain them like an ass, but are meant to allow for an array of creativity.
When I was a kid my mother worked for a singing balloonagram company. She would often drag my sister and me with her to work. Her goal was to go back to the shop as little as possible, and so she would cram more balloons in the car than there was breathing space. Painfully, we would sit huddled within a rainbow cave of rubber, our bodies contorted and powerless to move. Usually we were starving, but my mother’s obsessive tardiness resulted in her standard response of, “We don’t have the time. Stop being babies you’re not going to die.” We succumbed to the torture, and tried not to pay attention to the unremitting gurgling sounds blaring from our bellies, and the nauseating smell of latex being shoved up our noses.
At my best friend’s eleventh birthday party there was a talentless, obnoxious clown named Mr. Giggles. With whisky soaked breath and nicotine stained teeth, he told dim-witted jokes, like why did the chicken cross the road. Even though his humor was lame, his balloon animals had been the buzz of conversation. Everyone kept congregating tightly around as Mr. Giggles, with intense concentration that made his forehead crinkle and eyes water, had successfully constructed beauties, such as a three legged dog with a missing ear, a short neck giraffe with a tumor protruding from its belly, and balloon hats that closely resembled the male genitalia. We all laughed at first, but it soon got old, and after numerous attempts to keep our attention, Mr. Giggles desperately resorted to mooning us.My sister once dated a guy named Lan Tran who always wore a red and black checkered shirt, and fixed car transmissions with his unblemished, oversized hands. One blistering summer day Lan drove up to our house with a helium tank. I watched as his beefy arms jolted and perspired while he wrestled the hefty piece of metal out from the bed of his truck and into our garage. Later, I helped Lan blow up balloons while my sister borrowed his truck to pick up friends. When he wasn’t paying attention I stole glances at his handsome feathered, streaked mullet. He soon asked me if I wanted to do it, and handed me a helium filled balloon. As I sucked the air through my throat and into my lungs, I imagined the cold air trickling inside me and being warmed by my body was Lan’s sweet syrupy breath. I began to get dizzy and lightheaded, and in an instant I was flat on my back watching my balloon whiz by my head as the remainder of helium forced itself out. Like a velocious bull, Lan charged to my side to examine my condition. I blurted that I was fine with a voice that sounded like one of the chipmunks, while with impeccable timing, as always, my sister came sauntering in with her friends and rudely told me to leave. Everyone laughed, including Lan. Still feeling the effects of the helium, I sat outside the garage with the discomforting sensation of my exile in the pit of my belly, and listened while the happy gang repetitively gulped down helium, and made crank calls to elderly people.
“Bombs away,” they screamed. We had averted our eyes upward just in time to see orbs of red, yellow, green and blue spiraling down upon us. The three of us screamed from the intense feeling of latex snapping against our skin, like rubber bands, and the shock of the cold unforgiving water dripping down our legs.
“You dumb jerks,” I yelled up at them.
“Screw you Stevens,” howled my friend Meredith while she politely gave him the finger.
Jill, who was always the quiet one, kept walking, until, out of the blue, she came to a dust screeching halt, and with the poise of a dancer lifted her insipid freckled arm to examine the cherry colored welt that was increasingly jutting out. Instantaneously, her pale skinned face turned fire engine red, while her stretched, lean fingers, which normally hung droopily by her side, began ceasing a strength that caused her emerald veins to slither and stretch beneath her pasty casing. With the speed of the roadrunner, Jill suddenly sprinted up two steps at a time to their apartment and gracefully threw Stevens out of the window.
The funeral was cheerless. In an ironic attempt to memorialize Stevens, someone at the burial released several hand signed balloons. Little boys jumped wildly in the air in an effort to keep them captive, but as the spheres were sucked further into the cosmic sky, loosing their importance to the eyes, the boys began to cry.
Adam, my college boyfriend, who I met at Stevens' funeral, took me on a surprise picnic in a secluded spot with rolling hills as far as the eyes could see. We ate cheese, strawberries, and more wine than either of us should have drank. Adam eagerly fondled my upper thigh, and soon we were naked, his body pressed confidently into mine. while our bodies entwined, a breeze of colors swooshed passed my face. It was...
Now, on to the rules:
1) Each vignette must include balloons in some form. This means, for example, it can be actual balloons; a balloon design on a shirt, tablecloth, window, etc.; maybe something that looks like balloons; or simply conversations about balloons.
2) Each vignette needs to tell a story, while together forming a larger one.
3) You cannot write an ending to each series of vignettes. You want them to stay open. Why? See rule 4.
4) You can choose to continue writing my last vignette, which I left unfinished, and then continue that series; or you can write an entirely new series of vignettes; or you can write off of someone else's series. You don't have to pick up where the last person left off. For example, say JPX decided to finish my last one and continue the story for a few more vignettes. Cat could then either pickup where JPX left off or she could choose to write where I left off and send the story in a completely different direction.
5) Your stories have to include balloons, but other than that they can incorporate anything you want and be wherever you want. They can be about people, animals, objects, locations, senses, etc. They can take place over the course of an hour, a day, or a lifetime.
6) Write as little or as much as you want.
7) If I've confused the hell out of you, and you don't know what to do, then just write anything that you want. Rules were meant to be broken, and no matter what, if I love it, I'll award you the winner.
All right, enough rules, now go have some fun with balloons.