Hot Air Balloon, Chapter Two

Fiction By Clare // 3/3/2010


Chapter Two
Mrs. O’Kay and Mrs. Ryan had known each other for years before either of them got married, but had lost track of each other for a little while. When it turned out that, after the O’Kays moved from South Dakota to Wisconsin that they now lived in the same town as the Ryans, they were thrilled, especially since they both had young kids. Jessica was eight, Rachel was six, and Cody was two. Georgie was a few months old, but from the moment Cody laid eyes on her, he hated her. She screamed in his ears and spit up on him. “Yuck.” he proclaimed with two-year-old superiority, and decided girls were all yucky.
This was how Georgie felt about Cody when she was two: she had been playing in a sandbox, when Cody came over, stole her favorite purple shovel, and then accidentally dumped a large amount of sand right in her lap. Georgie lashed out with violence uncharacteristic of a sweet little girl of only two years, and bit Cody Ryan’s hand so hard he didn’t stop bleeding for an hour. This fueled Cody’s hatred for her, and smoldered the newfound embers of her hatred for him.
They went on another four years hating each other, till one day, something truly miraculous happened. It was all because of Georgie’s hair; she had none. She was almost completely bald, save a nicely shaved buzz cut. There had been a dreadful incident including an entire pack of sour apple flavored gum and Georgie trying to get her floppy head of hair to stand up straight. Mrs. O’Kay, who had a newborn baby in the house, was just about hysterical, and took her to the barber shop immediately. Having absolutely no creativity concerning the matter, the hair stylist told Mrs. O’Kay that the only thing for it would be to shave the little six year old girl almost completely bald.
Georgie was beyond fury. She hated her new fuzzy hairdo, and she resented the hair stylist, her mother, and sour apple gum for making her look like a dumb boy. It was a week after this hair disaster that Mrs. O’Kay was going to her weekly book club, the main place she saw her good friend, Mrs. Ryan. Georgie didn’t want to go along, but had to, and found the situation even worse when she saw that boy standing before her.
“Play with Cody,” her mother said. “Be good…don’t bite him.”
Georgie had stood there, skinny arms crossed over her chest, glaring at Cody Ryan, her lips trembling because she knew he was going to be mean and she knew she was going to cry. She felt so incredibly ugly, she had spent much of the past week bawling over her hair…or rather, lack of it.
But Cody Ryan just frowned at scrawny Georgina Anne O’Kay. “You cut off all your hair.”
Georgie glared with all her might. “So?” she demanded.
“You looked dumb before,” he informed her. “Now you look like somebody who could have fun,”
Georgie stared at him. “I do?”
“Yeah. You looked all girly and funny before. Now you have good hair,”
And for some strange reason, every incident of hatred that had gone on between them the past four years vanished in that moment of Cody stating something that had absolutely no meaning but still meant something to Georgie.
“Will you play with me?” she asked with abruptness.
Cody looked thoughtful. “Ok.”
And somehow, after two hours of running around screaming and giggling through the Washburn Community Center, pretending to be foreign spies trying to crack the code of the dog with the computer on his collar, Cody and Georgie Anne became best friends. The very next time they saw each other, they started writing a story of their adventures. And oh were there a lot of adventures in that story now! They traded it back and forth every time they wrote a story so both of them could tell it, and currently there were nearly two hundred adventures recorded in the stack of spiral bound notebooks, fifteen volumes in all.
Occasionally, they looked back over all the stories and laughed over adventures gone by. One favorite was from the year they were nine and eleven, when they had a genius idea of how to test the water of the many lakes in Wisconsin; tasting them. Fortunately, none of the lake water proved toxic, but some of them resulted in a very bad stomachache. Georgie and Cody agreed that if you want to taste the best lake, go with Lake Superior. Nice and cold, plus it’s not as sandy as most. However, the best story, thus far, was hands down the most recent one. The great flower bed plot.
Alright, so, it was a stupid idea destined to fail, but what happened because of a few firecrackers, a bottle of coke, and some mentos was astounding. Apparently, if you drop mentos in a coke and screw the lid back on tight, it blows up. Cody and Georgie weren’t sure how well it would work buried in the ground, and they honestly had not meant (more or less) to bury the coke bottles in Mrs. Crabapples flowerbed…it just sort of happened. It was worth it when they lit the firecrackers, though. Who knew petunias could get so much air? Not even forking over fifty dollars each to Mrs. Crabapple to try and make amends couldn’t dampen their spirits. However, being grounded for a month could.
Honestly, it amazed some people how Cody and Georgie could be friends. They were so starkly different. Cody was tall and brawny, Georgie was short and twiggy. They had different preferences in reading, music, most food, TV shows, and dozens of other things. They even disagreed on whether or not a tomato was a fruit! They had similar senses of humor, true, but the largest differences between them rested in their families. Cody was an only child, currently living with his mom in his aunt and uncle’s home after his dad left. They had pretty much been forced to go live with Mrs. Ryan’s brother and sister in-law because poor Maggie Ryan was flat broke. And the Walters were rich and well-to-do. Unfortunately, Jodie Walters did not approve of the fact that Maggie was a single mother (even though she and Cody’s father never divorced…he just left) and Cody bore the brunt of much of Aunt Jodie’s disapproval.
Georgie, on the other hand, had eight siblings, though in all technicality, every last one of them was her step-sibling. Mr. O’Kay and Georgie’s mom got married when Jessica and Rachel were young and Georgie was a baby. Both of the O’Kay parents had lost their first spouse. Georgie thought it was a really cute story, except for the fact that her step-dad didn’t like her. Georgie’s mother, Stacy, didn’t want to change a single thing about how she raised Georgie, but let her husband take care of how they would raise their other six children. Mr. O’Kay thought Georgie was a trouble maker and punished her far more often than he punished his kids. It stung Georgie, and she hated that she was the cause of at least fifty percent of her parent’s arguments.
Despite all their differences, Cody and Georgie were the greatest duo Shelby, Wisconsin had ever known. They simply owned the town. They had a designated booth at the local ice cream shop, Jim’s. The Lawrence family who owned the candy shop always saved their favorite candies for them. They also had a special rental boat down by the lake Mr. Faust always saved for them. Cody had been barred from the library after an ugly incident with the man who did the puppet shows and a rolling cart, otherwise they probably would have had a designated desk in the library. But that certainly didn’t mean everyone liked Cody and Georgie. Oh no. Most people hated them with a surprising amount of passion. Mr. Miles, the man who owned a farm at the edge of town, started working himself into a seizure every time he saw Cody or Georgie after they accidentally drove his tractor into a lake. And of course, there was Mrs. Crabapple. There aren’t any G-rated words to describe how Mrs. Crabapple felt about Cody and Georgie, especially after her poor petunias met an untimely end.
To return the more current events of the story, the day of Cody’s visit had been a Sunday, and Monday morning, Cody’s mother dropped him off at the O’Kay’s, and Cody and Georgie decided to have a farewell visit to Jim’s. Neither of them had eaten much breakfast; one needed a fairly empty stomach for the mission they were about to embark on. They walked five blocks, hurrying past Mrs. Crabapple’s house (fortunately she wasn’t outside nursing her ugly off-pink flowers back to health), and turned left on Main Street. There it was, at the corner Main and Walnut, last in the lines of thrift shops and boutiques and hair salons and tattoo bars. Jim’s.
Jim’s was a miracle. It was a sensation. It looked like something that shouldn’t exist because it’s way too perfect. It was built on the corner of two long strips of stores and diners one finds on most Main Streets, simple stone mason unaltered with any paint or flashy advertising. It had a simple but charming red and white striped awning and a small but fun sign overhead and next to the door that simply read in black letters and curly font: Jim’s. Two broad glass windows on either street on the corner showed passersby just what they were missing eating anywhere else. Jim’s was an ice cream shop/diner/bakery/coffee shop. Large open cases of muffins, cupcakes, breads and cookies stood next to the cash register, which sat on the counter with all the ice cream in it. The ice cream was all homemade and they had a new special flavor every week to add to the twelve steady flavors, and if something was really popular, it stayed for good. The owners, Clark and Cathy Claiborne, were fanatics about the atmosphere, and worked hard keeping everything perfect along with their three kids. The walls were painted a cheery shade of sunshine orange, and the tabletops were the same color. The booth chairs were incredibly squishy and comfortable, colored red, orange, or yellow, depending where you sat. The booths were so tiny, however, that only two people could really sit very comfortably in one. Georgie and Cody loved it. And though they would come to eat a full meal of heavenly burgers and fries (the best fries in all of Wisconsin, its true), they most often came for one thing and one thing only. It was heavenly. It was bold. It was awesome.
It was called the Quadruple Cherry Explosion.
Three different kinds of cherry ice cream (black cherry, cherry jubilee, and cherry sherbet), fresh Bing cherries, maraschino cherries, walnuts, cherry syrup and chocolate sauce. It was insane. It was also huge, and while Cody and Georgie could probably have finished a whole one off individually, it wasn’t really that cheap, so they split one unless they felt it could be their last meal (like right after driving Mr. Mile’s tractor into the lake).
“Hey you two!” Clara Claiborne called as soon as they came in. She was the oldest of the Claiborne kids and was already planning to take over running Jim’s when her parents retired. “Cherry Quad, right?”
“Two spoons,” Georgie replied.
Since it was early Monday morning, not many customers were in yet, and the two of them immediately snagged their favorite booth. It was right next to the door, so they could hear whenever anyone came in by the cheerful twinkling of the little gold bell above, and it had the best view. From that seat, you could see out both windows; who was going down Main and who was coming up Walnut. The booth was a tight squeeze, and while they could always sit at the bar stools, they saved the stools for French fries and root beer floats.
“So,” Georgie said, folding her hands and holding her legs over so Cody’s could take up most of the space under the table. “The Super Secret Mission of Epicness,”
Cody snorted. “Epicness isn’t a word,”
“It is now,” Georgie replied. “So. What do you want me to do first to get ready?”
“Just pack your stuff,” Cody said. “I have the rest of it all figured out,”
Georgie kicked him fondly. “How very OCD…controlling the entire situation,”
“The details are no fun,” Cody said. “You get to do just fun stuff,”
Georgie couldn’t say she wasn’t happy about avoiding work, but she did love planning crazy adventures. “Fine, but I want to have something huge and important to do to help!”
“Pack anything you know I’ll forget,” Cody replied.
Georgie rolled her eyes. “So…everything important?”
“Yeah, pretty much.” he said.
Just then, Clara came over carrying a large ice cream dish piled high with cherry goodness. “One perfect Quadruple Cherry Explosion,” She placed it down on the table. “Two spoons,” She pulled one silver spoon out of her apron for each of them.
They attacked the large amounts of fat and sugar with gusto rarely seen when devouring food. Cody didn’t come up for air for a full five minutes, but Georgie found it just as much fun to watch Cody eat as it was to eat herself. He got this amazingly determined look in his eyes and the eating utensil (fork or spoon…sometimes spork) went back and forth steadily, like a swimmers stroke. If competitive eating was a sport, Cody would have world titles to spare.
Finally, Cody took a deep breath and leaned back from the sundae dish. “Why does this have to taste so good?” he asked.
“It’s magical,” Georgie said, licking her spoon. “Angels come down and sprinkle heavenly dust on it while Clara isn’t looking. If you eat too much, you die of joy,”
“What a way to go,” Cody said. “Now…back to the point…when will your family…or most of them…be away from home?”
Georgie frowned. “Oh, Wednesday. Maria has a dress rehearsal for a 4-H play and I can’t go ‘cause I’m grounded. Jessie and Rachel will be home, but I guess we can avoid them,”
“They are kinda hard to miss,” Cody said. “They look nothing like you,”
“Memory jog!” Georgie cried mockingly. “They aren’t even related to me. We don’t share a single parent…which might be why they think I’m so lame compared to them,”
“You are not lame,” Cody said vehemently. “They just look down on you because you’re younger than they are,”
Georgie suddenly looked sad. “I’m younger than…than you. Do you look down on me?”
Cody blinked. “Absolutely not. I look at you as an equal. I mean…I have to look down on you because your shorter than me…but in the other since, no way!”
“Good,” Georgie said. “Because if you did I would never speak to you again.”
“Leaving that awkward topic,” Cody said, clearing his throat. “What time should I be at your house?”
“Three,” Georgie said, taking a large bite of walnuts and cherry chocolate chunk.
Cody nodded. “Get permission to go to my aunt and uncle’s on Saturday…ten in the morning. You’re coming for tea,”
Georgie blinked. “I…am?”
Cody grinned. “Yeah…it’s gonna be awesome,” he said sarcastically.
“Alright than,” Georgie said. “Make sure you give me a map to the closest bomb shelter beforehand,”
“I don’t have a spare,” Cody said. “Just make sure you stick close to me or you might fall behind when I make a run for it. Let’s finish this sundae and get a move on,”



Chapter one is done. Then you say it is the end of the story. If you write an epilogue, it means that it is the end. Unless you made a spelling mistake and meant PROLOGUE, why in the world would you write a second chapter after the epilogue? 0 star for that mistake, shame on you!

TKingtiger | Mon, 03/08/2010

Tkingtiger: If you had read

Tkingtiger: If you had read the "Epilogue" and the comments that followed, you would have realized that this has already been addressed. Clare meant to write "prologue."

Clare: Good work! I think I'm going to enjoy this story--your writing style here is fun and light-hearted and captures your mischief-loving characters well.

Annabel | Mon, 03/08/2010

Lol, yes, my foolish blunder.

Lol, yes, my foolish blunder. I was like, "Ok, need to get this right cuz its going online, its EPILOGUE. PROLOGUE is at the end!"

*rolls eyes*

Anyway, thank you! I am really enjoying writing this story! This is only the first draft that i'm posting, but i wanted to know what parts people liked and didn't like when i go to revise!

Clare | Mon, 03/08/2010

Good job, Clare! I enjoyed

Good job, Clare! I enjoyed this.

E | Tue, 03/09/2010

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond


Very cute! I like it!

kit-kat | Tue, 03/09/2010


That was great clare! I can't wait to hear more! man so interesting! I want one of those ' Quedruple cherry explsion's' ! please bring me one some time LOL

Good job wright on


Kassady | Thu, 03/11/2010

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


That was really good!
There was only one thing that I caught.... It said that she had her hair cut really short when she was six, but in the prologue, it also said that she had to lift her hair out of her face, and she was six then. Maybe you could change her age in one of the places...
Anyway, other than that, I really like this chapter!!!  

Oh, and one more thing... I would also like one Quadruple Cherry Explosion, please!!!

Kendra | Mon, 04/12/2010

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


 There are seven chapters so far (and I haven't read them all) but what ages are Georgie and Cody? I'm not sure. I can see them being around high-school (you mentioned so in chapter one along with the prolouge) but I was just wondering. It would help me to picture them better. Thanks! 

Oh, and btw, excellent! :-) 

Madeline | Wed, 06/09/2010


The flashback at the beginning of the chapter has lots of telling and little showing.

Julie | Wed, 06/09/2010

Formerly Kestrel


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