Tuesday, December 07, 2004

vignette: green balloon

Five minutes from now, the little girl in pigtails will release each balloon she has in her hands as she enters a tan minivan. One of them will be caught by her balding father, he will say: "Gotcha!"; the other will float out the window, provoking inarticulate cries from the little girl and her friends. The balloon caught by the father will be the red one. The one that flies out will be the green one.

Seven minutes from now, a young woman walking her Dalmatian will look up and see the green balloon. The spotted dog will bark and stand on his hind legs and paw at the air, as if he could reach the balloon if he tried. The woman will smile and say: "Oh, Dog Martin. Don't be stupid." She will yank at his leash and Dog Martin will drop to all fours, growl and cast one last look at the floating balloon before the woman drags him away.

Eleven minutes from now, the balloon will be stuck in a tree, one bare of leaves, looking almost all-branches. The string that keeps it tied up will dangle down and a boy rising a bicycle will feel it brush against his face. He will say: "The hell?" and continue a few meters before turning around to investigate, discarding his initial impression that he ran into a spider web. When he finds the string, his dull brown eyes will follow the line up to the balloon and he will experience the quiet joy of serendipity. He will yank it and tie it to the back of his bike and go down the street.

Twenty minutes from now, the boy on the bicycle will evade a black Pontiac G6. He will fall off his bike and hit the ground, rolling once before stopping on his stomach. The driver of the car, fresh from the auto dealer's, will rush out of her car and scream: "Oh my God! Shit! Shit!", her thin stilleto spikes will make clack-clacking sounds on the concrete street when she runs to the boy.

Twenty-one minutes from now, the young woman and the Dalmatian Dog Martin will arrive at the scene of the accident. The young woman will rush to see what has happened and say: "Gadz. Come on, you stupid dog.". But Dog Martin's attention will be focused on the green balloon bobbing in the wind, still tied down to the left handle bar of the bicycle. He will attempt four times to get to it, but the young woman will stop him.

Twenty-five minutes from now, a tan minivan full of children will pass by and slow down as its driver, a balding man cranes his head for look. He will say: "Sit down, kids. There's nothing to see." One of the children, his daughter, in pigtails, will say: "But that's my balloon, Dad." Her father will just shake his head and drive away, the girl will cry and all her little friends will tease her about it for the next six days.


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