Hot Air Balloon, Chapter Six

Fiction By Clare // 5/24/2010


Chapter Six
After a little while longer paying last respects to the noble hot air balloon (and scraping cow poop off of shoes), they shouldered their backpacks and headed north, in the direction of the downtown Madison bus station. It was astounding, but they had traveled 55 miles in their hot air balloon in less than 24 hours!
The field itself took them a whole hour to cross to get to the main road. They trudged in a carefully zigzagging pattern, trying desperately not to hit any cow patties. The cows themselves, after getting over their initial terror, couldn’t really have cared less about Cody and Georgie. They lumbered about, occasionally straying close to the sweaty and tired humans, but only one dared get close enough to lick Cody…which it did.
Cody gave the cow a withering look. “Ew. Just…ew.”
“Leave him alone,” Georgie advised the cow. “He’s had a rough day,”
But the gray mood couldn’t last long. As soon as the smoke cleared and the smell of burning balloon left the air, their spirits began to rise again. Soon they were smacking each other and pretending to shove each other into patches of cow doo doo (which was disgustingly plentiful). When they finally left the field, they rested a little while (drinking Coke and popping chocolate covered peanuts into their mouths), and then set off, racing from fence post to fence post along the gravel road, until they came to the turnoff onto asphalt, the sights and sounds of Madison within reach, just ten miles.
Note to self: ten miles is way longer on foot than in a car. Way longer. By way I mean Georgie and Cody only got another five miles before the sun went down. They crashed in the ditch, spreading out blankets and their jackets to sleep on. It was probably the most fun night yet. They didn’t turn on any lights and lay low in the ditch, watching cars go back and forth from the busy life of Madison. They watched the stars come out and then the counted them, determined to get a for- real star count number, until they finally dozed off, final count 1,597. 
The next morning, they woke to the sound of a noisy truck driving past. “Phew!” Cody said, stretching his arms, loud pops and cracks coming from his many stiff joints. “Man I don’t think I’ve ever slept so well!”
“Me neither!” Georgie said. “Breakfast time!” She dug into Cody’s backpack and pulled out a package of peel-apart cherry Twizzlers. “Twizzlers for breakfast?” She looked ponderous. “Absolutely.”
They dug in, finishing off the entire package in five minutes.
“Caffeine,” Cody said.
Georgie tossed him a Coke. “Coke and Twizzlers…what a sophisticated palette you have, Cody Ryan,”
“Hey, what are you gonna wash your Twizzlers down with?” Cody asked.
Georgie held up a cherry flavored Capri Sun.
“Cherry on cherry…brilliant,”
When they finished their ‘breakfast’, they packed up their things and headed for Madison, looking like your typical teenage vagrants to any drivers who happened to notice them. An hour later, they crossed a busy median into Madison, and began trying to figure out which way the bus station was.
Actually, the plan had a simple brilliance to it. They had run away in a hot air balloon, sure, but all along Cody had planned to hop on a bus. When they had become friends, Georgie, who had been listening to her step-father’s long talks about money, had recommended they save their birthday money so they could spend it on a really great adventure. Along with small odd jobs and an occasional ‘you are special’ gift from grandmas (aren’t grandmas the best?), between the two of them, they now had nearing $900! Cody was entirely confident this was enough money to last maybe years.
But…first they had to find the bus station.
“Let’s ask for directions!” Georgie said after they’d wandered around Madison for two hours, breaking for lunch at Burger King once. “There’s thousands of people all around us…one of them will know where the bus station is!”
“No, no, I got this,” Cody said, craning his neck to see if that sign said BUS STATION or HOSPITAL. It was hard to tell.
“Come on,” Georgie said. “Why can’t we ask?”
“Because, we don’t need to,” Cody replied. “I can find it,”
“Mm hm,” Georgie said, crossing her arms. “Look, if we wait until you find the bus station, we could be here for days. Weeks, maybe. If you don’t want to ask, I can,”
Cody rolled his eyes. “I bet you five dollars I can find it in the next ten minutes,”
Ten minutes passed. They had walked five blocks. No luck.
“Consider five of your $500 mine,” Georgie said. She walked over to a well dressed woman sitting on a bench. “Excuse me, ma’am,” she said. “Do you know where the bus station is?”
The woman looked up from her magazine. “Oh yeah, its eleven blocks from here…that way, and hang a left,” She jerked her thumb to her left and went back to her magazine.
Georgie marched over to Cody, a smug grin on her face. “There.”
“Girl, that was beyond vague!” Cody protested. “What does that way even mean? There are like, five streets going that way. Hang which left?”
“So, we ask someone else,” Georgie said.
“Aw, c’mon!” Cody moaned.
Too late. Georgie jumped into the path of a man who was jogging. “Excuse me, sir!” she cried. “Can you tell me where the bus station is?”
“Bus station?” The man panted. “Nope,”
Georgie shrugged and let him pass. She intercepted another person…a man wearing a very awesome fedora. “S’cuse me sir!” she said, smiling her adorable smile. “Can you tell me how to get to the bus station?”
“Sure, kid,” he replied. “Its ten blocks up this road till you come to the pizza place. Then you take a left and walk till you see the signs,”
“Thank you!” Georgie said. She skipped back over to Cody. “Come,”
“It took you three tries,” Cody mumbled, trying to redeem himself.
“So? You have to get three strikes to be out,”
They followed the fedora man’s instructions and finally found the bus station. Cody looked at the buses leaving. “Where to? Michigan? Minnesota?”
“Ooh!” Georgie cried. “Minnesota! I always wanted to go there!”
“$150 per ticket,” The man at the surface window said. “That’s $300, plus tax,”
Cody’s tongue came out and he counted on his fingers. “Do you think $600 is still a safe bet?” he asked Georgie.
Georgie shrugged. “Sure…it sounds huge,”
“We’ll take it,” Cody replied. “Can we pay in cash?”
The man gave the two of them a scrutinizing look. “Sure…do you have $300 in cash?”
“We do indeed,” Georgie said, and she dug Cody’s wallet out of his backpack for him. Cody counted it out and handed it to the man. “Oh…plus tax that is…?”
The man rang it up. “$321,”
Cody counted out another $25.
The man handed them the tickets and their change, and with one last scrutinizing scowl, he turned his attention to the next costumer.
“Yee haw!” Georgie squealed. “This is gonna be so fun! I am so excited to ride a real bus!”
They sat down on a bench. “Really, Georgie,” Cody said. “Riding a bus isn’t that awesome,”
“Maybe not to you!” Georgie said. “But I’ve never ridden a bus before! When I get to high school I’ll go to Shelby High with you, but until than my mom home schools me!”
Cody sighed. It wasn’t that he loved being home schooled that he was miserable about going to high school in the fall, but he knew he would actually have to work in high school. Redoing eighth grade at home had been easy enough…he’d failed it all the year before so he finally was able to catch up doing it a second time. But in high school they would want him to pass all his years and not redo…or at least his mother and Aunt Jodie would. It was then that the incredibly blissful reality dawned on Cody; if they never went home, he would never have to start high school. He could just live on the road with Georgie until she was seventeen and he was nineteen…and than they could get real jobs and just start their own lives without having to bother with high school or college or any of that junk! It was a slackers dream come true.
Everything was going perfectly. Until of course, their bus was late. And as crazy as it might sound, Georgie and Cody were extremely patient and complained not once, even in their minds, that twenty minutes had past since four o’ clock, when the bus was supposed to arrive. The time continued to pass, and more and more people came to sit on the benches, waiting for various buses. Some buses arrived. Others didn’t. Another half hour later…well, it’d been nearly an hour. The bus was really late. The ticket man informed everyone that two of the buses had broken down. The complaints started.
“Good grief!” A snappish women in designer clothes said with a sniff that could have challenged Aunt Jodie. “You call yourselves reliable. I may as well start walking.”
The ticket man closed his window, and Cody and Georgie could see him slip in some ear plugs and put up his feet with a magazine. Cody strained to see what magazine the guy was reading.
“Why do you care?” Georgie asked irritably. She didn’t think it was right to feel bored while running away.
“I thought for a second he was reading a Seventeen magazine!” Cody said, looking horrified. “I need to know its not true,”
“Knock yourself out,”
When Cody left the bench to casually ‘pace’ around till he got a look at the magazine cover, Georgie propped her feet up where he’d been sitting and sprawled, unable to think of anything that would entertain her at this point. She watched Cody pace. She watched a fly land on the head of a woman on a bench nearby. She waited till the woman noticed. The fly flew away.
Georgie fell asleep.
Cody hated having to wake Georgie up from a dead sleep. It didn’t happen too often at all, but when it did…wow. Georgie was a very odd type of person who could be a night owl or an early bird. If she woke up on her own, she was ready to go climb Mount Everest. But if somebody woke her up…she was a groggy mess and might even hit someone.
So, of course, Cody leapt back as soon as he’d tapped on Georgie’s shoulder. Nothing. He sighed, and tapped her again. Georgie’s hand made contact with his nose immediately.
Heads turned. Georgie moaned loudly. “Go away, Susie…it’s too early! I’m tired!”
“Georgie,” Cody grumbled, hands clasped over his bleeding nose. “Get up,”
Georgie slowly sat up, blinked, and suddenly noticed Cody. “Your bleeding!” she cried. “Who slugged you!?” She looked ready to beat up whoever had bloodied Cody’s nose.
“You did.”
“Oh. Whatever than. Why did you wake me up again?”
Cody rolled his eyes. “The bus is finally here!”
“Yay!” Georgie cried. She leapt up, hoisted her backpack, and followed Cody to the bus. They climbed aboard and took seats at the front, right across from the seat behind the driver.
“Prime spot,” Cody said, grinning. “Away from the madness. Front row. If they play a movie or something, no big heads in the way,”
Georgie would have been thrilled if they’d been forced to sit bungee corded to the roof. Having prime seats made her feel even more excited. The bus driver came into the bus last, and smiled cheerfully at the busload of passengers. “I’m your driver, Mart. We’ll be on our way in a moment, folks. If you listen to music, please keep it down so it doesn’t bother anyone, and keep all other noise to a dull roar,”
Georgie giggled. She liked Mart.
“Alright everyone, enjoy the ride,” Mart started up the bus and Cody and Georgie gripped each other’s hands. Yet again, they were on their way.



 For some reason, I found this to be the best chapter yet. You finally get a place in the adventure. Wow! I can't wait to read chapter seven!

Madeline | Wed, 06/09/2010


Cool chapter!!! I liked it. Especially the bloody nose part. :P i can't wait for chapter seven either!

Kendra | Fri, 06/11/2010

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

Thank you

very much. I sent Chapter Seven in and it should be here soon. I'm very glad you guys like this story. Do you think it could ever get published? *dies* that would be AWESOME!!!!

Clare | Fri, 06/11/2010

&ldquo;Leave him

“Leave him alone,” Georgie advised the cow. “He’s had a rough day,”

Ha ha! :)

paperpoet | Tue, 06/15/2010


They are so brave! Love It! keep it up! can't wait to read chapter seven!

LOL! pour Cody I hope his nose is ok!

WOW 300$!!!! jeeks what are people thinking these days!

Great job can't wait to read more

Kassady | Fri, 06/25/2010

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


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