Hot Air Balloon, Chapter Five

Fiction By Clare // 4/22/2010


Finally, it was time. They drove to the field in a golf cart, pushing the thing to new speed records for a tiny car used for chasing after balls. Hauling their backpacks, it took a little longer than the antsy pair would have liked. They could see it long before they got to the field, but when they got there; it was truly magnificent before them. 
“Oh my gosh…” Georgie breathed. “It’s really yours!?”
“Yeah,” Cody replied. “My Uncle got it for me for my birthday. It’s awesome, isn’t it?”
“Oh yeah.”
Tied down to Uncle Jeff’s pickup truck, bobbing joyfully just a few feet off the ground, was the hot air balloon. It was large and perfectly round, a royal shade of maroon with a small but cozy wicker basket. It was a hot air balloon that could whip the butt of any other hot air balloon…at least in Cody and Georgie’s eyes. The nearly barreled Uncle Jeff over as they rushed towards the hot air balloon, unable to stand how close they were to real, actual freedom!
“Whoa, there!” Uncle Jeff said. “Now, you two, no horsing around in the balloon!” he said. “There’s a hot burner sitting next to you in that basket and you don’t want to mess anything up,”
“No, sir,” Georgie said rather solemnly. But what she was thinking was, Burner? What the heck is a burner?
“I know, Uncle Jeff,” Cody said. “We’ll be fine! I am very responsible,”
Uncle Jeff gave Cody a very unconvinced raised eyebrow. “Uh huh. Anyway, since you know, Georgie doesn’t need the grand tour, just the basics. Don’t touch the burner unless you absolutely have to, Missy, and keep this boy out of trouble,”
Georgie smirked. “Certainly, Uncle Jeff!”
Cody rolled his eyes and wondered why his uncle and best friend had to be so chummy. It seemed unfair.
After a few minutes more of briefing (Georgie learned just how awesome and cool hot air balloons were, along with why she shouldn’t mess with the pressure valve and why it really would be best if she just stayed out of Cody’s way and enjoyed the flight), they were ready to go. Cody hopped up onto the flatbed of the pickup truck. Georgie stood on the ground with her backpack, staring up at Cody like he was a giant. “Help,” she said.
He reached down and hauled her up. It’s amazing sometimes what a difference two feet in height can make in a person’s ability. As soon as Georgie was in the flatbed, she was met with another reminder of just how short she was. The balloon’s basket was even higher up.
“Here,” Uncle Jeff said, and turned the crack to shorten the rope the balloon was tethered to.
“Can you get in?” Cody asked
Georgie felt herself shrink as she tried to conceptualize how she might hoist herself into the basket without blowing something up. She could give a heroic try to vault herself into the basket, and either end up victorious or a nice smudge on the grass. “Um…I doubt it,”
“Here,” Cody swiftly picked her up by the waist and heaved her over the side of the basket. “I would think you would weigh more considering how much you eat,”
“My mom calls it natural slenderness,” Georgie said. “My older sisters give me glares whenever she mentions it,”
Cody wondered why on earth Georgie had thought he needed to know that. It wasn’t like it wasn’t unusual for her to say something totally random like that, though. It was part of the ADHD mindset, or so one hopes.
Georgie tripped over her backpack and lay in the basket, staring up at the beautiful blue sky.
 Cody backed up a little in the flatbed. “Move over!” he cried, very suddenly appearing over the side of the basket and plopping down next to her.
“You huge lump!” Georgie gasped, as his legs had landed full force on her stomach.
 “Alright, you two,” Uncle Jeff said. “I’m going to release the rope and then you tie it up quick, Georgie,” He began to crank the wheel.
Cody leaped off of Georgie and shoved the backpacks into a corner of the basket, behind the large and complex looking burner. “Let’s do this thing,” he mumbled. He went over to the fuel tanks and began adjusting controls. Georgie kept her eyes fixated on the ground, not wanting to miss the moment they starting rising
“Ready!” Uncle Jeff shouted.
“Oh, yeah,” Cody said, grinning.
“Don’t kill me,” Georgie said, clutching the side of the basket.
 “Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh!!!” Georgie screamed, her toes curling so hard inside her sneakers they cracked.
And then, they were flying. Sort of. The balloon had raised a foot higher off the ground. Georgie screamed so loud Cody’s ear popped and for minute he thought the glass covers over the gauges were going to break. “Relax, Georgie, or I’m throwing you out at a thousand feet,”
Georgie burst out laughing. “Sorry…we’re flying!”
“That’s the idea,” Cody said. “I’m excited; too…we’re finally going!”
As the balloon rose, Georgie calmed down a little, staring with awe at the steadily shrinking ground as the balloon rose. Uncle Jeff waved cheerfully to them, completely unaware that he had just sent his nephew and Georgina Anne Regina Ryan on their way to a grand but, let’s be honest here, completely stupid adventure.
They waved back at him, grinning hysterically. This was it. They were off. They were running away!
Running away is probably most fun the first hour you are running. The thrill of rebellion is fresh and going on strong, not to mention your snack inventory has yet to show signs of diminishing. It was so with Cody and Georgie, who, as soon as the Walter’s mansion was a tiny speck below and getting farther and farther away, began having a rather riotous party for being several thousand feet off the ground.
“No! Hey! I love you and that’s always!” Georgie had her MP3 player cranked to volumes her mother would have fainted at, and was throwing Cracker Jack kernels up in the air, catching them in her mouth one by one. Cody was doing to same with his own Cracker Jacks, but instead of cranking tunes into his brain, he was popping bubble wrap a million miles a minute on his IPod.
“Wooo hoooo!” Georgie screeched, getting increasingly wild after listening to Family Force Five’s Love You to Death five times in a row.
Cody didn’t seem to notice how loud and excited Georgie was getting. He himself had switched from bubble wrap to Guitar Hero, IPod style, and was trying to match his random finger guitar wailing to what Georgie was singing, which was easy considering his Guitar Hero finger skills knocked Georgie’s singing skills any day. They continued on in this fashion until Georgie got too exhausted to wail I Love You to Death anymore and Cody had lost Guitar Hero twenty times. After Cody had made certain the balloon could go semi-auto pilot for a short while, they plopped down in the basket, kind of tired and yet buzzed up on sugar. You probably know the feeling.
“Running away is the best!” Georgie said, pulling her ear buds out of her ears with a loud pop. “I mean, seriously, no chores, no mom and dad telling you to do stuff, no siblings…and being with the only person who you still like even when they annoy you to death!”
“I wonder why everybody doesn’t do this,” Cody said, moving his last kernel of caramel corn from finger to finger.
“I guess not everyone has an awesome hot air balloon!” Georgie giggled.
They then decided to have a thumb war. “One, two, three, four, I declare a thumb war! Five, six, seven, eight, you’re dead fish bait!”
After reciting this intelligent (cough) rhyme a few dozen times over, they finally started. Cody won seven times in a row, and then Georgie took his thumb with her other hand and cracked it backwards. After a brief smack-off, Cody forgave Georgie and they went on to play rock paper scissors. Unfortunately, Georgie, who never could seem to play her cards straight (even when cards weren’t even involved in the game at hand), continually made her fingers into a gun and shot down Cody’s rock, paper, or scissors, whichever the case may be.
“You are cheating and you know it!” Cody said.
“Your hand is bigger!” Georgie said. “If I don’t cheat you always win!”
Cody stared at her. “That doesn’t even make sense!”
After another brief smack-off, they moved on to Staring Contest: Version Extreme. They timed each round, seeing if they could break any world records. Georgie was phenomenal at staring, but Cody was closely matched. They stared at each other until their eyes watered.
“Give up!” Cody gasped.
“Never!” Georgie panted.
Finally, however, with a loud and anguished cry, they both blinked at the exact same time. This of course led to a loud argument about who won and another smack-off.
They kept on switching rapidly from entertainment to entertainment, until they were using Georgie’s MP3 player to do a sort of version of karaoke. Cody didn’t think it was very fair that, after shuffling all the songs, he of course ended up with one of his least favorite songs in the universe, Hey Soul Sister.
“I hate this song, Georgie!” Cody grumbled. “I don’t even know all the words!”
“Give up?” Georgie asked with a wicked smile.
Cody glared at her. “No way,”
The song started. Cody bombed it. Then he proposed they switch to using his IPod, since he actually liked all the songs on it. Georgie said no because he had a good variety of metal songs she had never even heard before, and since you couldn’t ever understand the words in those metal songs anyway, they were no good for karaoke. 
For her turn, Georgie got Breaking Free from High School Musical. Cody begged her not to sing it, but she ignored him and belted it out with what she referred to as soul. Cody referred to it as too much Cracker Jack stuck in your throat---you sound terrible! Thus, Georgie was obliged to choose the song for his next turn. Knowing Cody well enough to know just what would drive him absolutely nuts, she chose Part of Your World from her Disney Princess song collection.
Cody humbly bore his shame like a man and provided Georgie with about three minutes of hysterical entertainment.
On and on it went. They were so happy; they didn’t even notice just how far away they were going from home. Even if they had noticed, they probably wouldn’t have cared. Farther and farther and farther…and a long time after the sun had set, Georgie curled up with her head resting on Cody’s knee, and they both fell fast asleep, listening to the cool Wisconsin wind blow them along, not in the least bit concerned about where they were going.
They were awoken at one in the afternoon the next day by a very hard jolt. Cody and Georgie both sat up so fast, they bonked heads.
“Ow!” Georgie cried. “Coody! What did you do that for?”
“Five more minutes,” he replied. “What’s going on? I need caffeine,”
Georgie tried to rub the fog out of her eyes. “We hit something I think…Cody, wake up!”
“No…” Cody moaned, trying to grab something to cover his head with. “Leave me alone…it’s Saturday…”
“No, Cody! It’s Monday!” Georgie cried, smacking his head with an empty water bottle. “Get up! You are flying this balloon, remember?”
“What balloon?” Cody muttered. His eyes still closed, he frowned. His eyes flew open. “Holy bison! Where are we!?”
“Holy bison?” Georgie repeated.
“It’s a take on holy cow…move!” He shoved Georgie out of his way and sat up, moaning. “My head…I need coffee…Coke…where is the caffeine, Georgie?”
Georgie sighed. “Wake yourself up, Captain, I’ll get you your caffeine,”
“I love you,” Cody said, cracking the knuckles in his fingers. “What time is it?”
“You’re the one wearing the watch,” Georgie said, rummaging around in Cody’s backpack for a Coke.
Cody looked down at his wrist. “I think it’s broken. It says its one pm,”
“It is one pm,” Georgie said. “Look around you…the sun’s been up for hours,” She yanked a Coke out of the backpack and popped it open, just as the balloon bounced again.
Acch!” Georgie screeched as she got a face full of fizzy Coke. “Oh yuck!”
“You’re dumping our precious caffeine rations!?” Cody yelped.
“Cody, what is going on!?” The balloon bounced again, more violently this time.
Cody struggled to his feet. “I…I don’t know…my brain doesn’t start functioning until noon,”
“It’s past noon!” Georgie screeched. “Cody Zebedee Ryan!!”
At the utterance of the abhorred middle name, Cody’s brain seemed to click into place. “You are so incredibly lucky there is nobody else around or you would be very dead!” He snatched the half empty Coke can away from her and swallowed most of it in a single gulp, when the balloon bounced yet again. That Coke came spewing out fast enough to send Cody stumbling backwards into the fuel gauges, which was when Cody realized they were in trouble.
“Oh no…how can we be out of fuel!” He leapt to the side of the basket and looked down. “What gives? Where are we? We’re dropping fast…oh shoot! I knew I forgot something! Fuel! Duh!”
“Cody!” Georgie yelped, getting more and more terrified as the balloon continued its jerky descent. “What are we gonna do? Are we gonna crash?”
“Umm…I…don’t know,” Cody said, looking rather concerned himself. “We need to land…but look!” He pointed down at the ground, and Georgie peered over the side of the basket.
“Ach!” she cried. “Holy bison! What are they all doing all over the field!” For that was what they were crash-landing towards…a large grassy field full of cows. Cody looked up, and recognized a water tower in the distance. “No way! We’ve lucked out…look! That water tower is in the same neighborhood as the downtown bus station—whoa!”
Cody!” Georgie cried. “Do something!”
“Ok, calm down,” Cody said. “Pop open another Coke and throw out anything we don’t absolutely need!”
“There’s nothing we don’t absolutely need accept the Coke!” Georgie yelled.
He never had to finish his sentence. It was then that the balloon started to deflate with a terrible hissing noise, and the basket and floppy balloon attached to it started to free fall the next several hundred feet towards the field full of cows. The cows started mooing in panic and scattering in all directions away from the falling balloon and basket.
 “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!” They screamed.
“Cody I told you not to kill me!!” Georgie screamed.
“I’m sorry Georgie!” Cody shouted. “I hope you can forgive me for all the times I was a jerk to you!”
“We’re about to die and you expect me not to forgive you!?” Georgie shrieked. “And while we’re at it, is there anything really deep and personally you’ve always wanted to share? It’s now or never!”
“Absolutely not!” Cody shouted.
“We’re about to die and there’s nothing you don’t want to say!?” Georgie cried.
Cody never had a chance to respond. The hot air balloon suddenly came to a very painful, abrupt stop, snapping their necks back. They bounced upward, nearly flying out of the basket before smacking back down inside it. The lines connecting the balloon to the basket snapped, and the momentum caused the burner and the balloon to go flying over one side of the hill…and Cody, Georgie, two backpacks, and the basket over the other side of the hill.
“Yieeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” Georgie screeched. “Cody!!”
“Georgie!” Cody cried. He was holding onto the side of the basket so tight his hand hurt, but Georgie was flying around, bashing into the basket sides left and right. She was going to get herself killed! “Grab onto me!”
“How!?” Georgie shrieked. The basket suddenly hit a bump and flipped sideways. Georgie screamed as she nearly flew out of the basket. She grabbed onto the side, but she knew she wouldn’t be able to hold on. “Coody!!” She sobbed. “Help!”
Cody stuck his foot out as far as he could. “Grab me!”
“I can’t!”
“Georgina Anne Regina grab my foot!!” Cody yelled.
Georgie took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and shoved herself forward. She missed Cody’s foot entirely, and went flying straight into Cody himself.
“Ahhh!” Georgie shrieked, grabbing hold of Cody’s neck.
Suddenly, the balloon bounced like a rubber ball on steroids, and stopped bumping altogether. Cody and Georgie were silent for a while.  
“No!” Cody finally shouted. “No way! We have to be dead! There is no way we lived through that!”
Georgie collapsed against the backpacks, which surprisingly were still in the basket. “Good grief…whose complaining?” Her whole body felt limp and shaky. She felt like she’d gone through a blender with boxing gloves for blades.
Cody slowly sat up. “Ow!” He felt like he’d been used as the ball in an every-man-for-himself no-rules tag football game. He suddenly sniffed the air. His eyes went wide. “Something’s burning!”
They scrambled out of the basket, grabbing the backpacks, and saw smoke coming from the other side of the hill they were at the bottom of. At the top of the hill was a tree…with familiar looking hot air balloon cables snagged in its branches. “Oh no!” Cody cried. “The burner!”
They dashed over the hill, and saw a most devastating sight; the balloon, and the ruined burner, burning and smoldering in the grass.
“No!” Georgie cried. “Oh, no! No! No no no!!”
Cody raced back the basket and ripped the fire extinguisher out of its carrier. He raced back to the balloon and began somberly spraying it down with white foam, realizing his thousand dollar birthday present was now completely destroyed. Georgie started crying. “It was the most beautiful hot air balloon ever! How could we kill it!?”
Cody wondered the same thing as he stared at the red and white carnage of his beloved (and only) mode of flight. He chucked the fire extinguisher aside, and lowered his eyes to the ground, where he found he was standing in a cow pie. Adding insult to injury.







Kassady | Tue, 05/25/2010

"Here's looking at you, Kid"
Write On!


MORE!!!! Please... PLEASE??? I really need more... because this chapter was really good, and I still really need more!!!!!! Post more soon!!!!

Kendra | Tue, 05/25/2010

"Are you sure this water is sanitary? It looks questionable to me! But what about bacteria?"--Tantor the elephant from Tarzan.

 Awesome! I think Georgie

 Awesome! I think Georgie likes Cody! LOL. This especially made me laugh: 


“I’m sorry Georgie!” Cody shouted. “I hope you can forgive me for all the times I was a jerk to you!”
“We’re about to die and you expect me not to forgive you!?” Georgie shrieked. “And while we’re at it, is there anything really deep and personally you’ve always wanted to share? It’s now or never!”
“Absolutely not!” Cody shouted.
“We’re about to die and there’s nothing you don’t want to say!?” Georgie cried.


Madeline | Wed, 06/09/2010


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