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“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”

Wind whistles through her hair. Her knuckles turn white on the edge.

Pleasant valley cottages are nowfields

colorful fruitlets in the bowl of green.

“Totally,” he says with a final tug on the gas-powered torch.

The bull’s eye balloon ascends through a cloud,

filtering the expanding world.

She stands in the middle to avoid looking directly down.

Outward and beyond is extravagant enough.

“Beautiful,” she murmurs. Caught in the moment, she leans forward and looks down.

Her stomach free falls as she focuses on something much closer to her.

But then her stomach proceeds to do back-flips.

He is kneeling, holding a ring, proclaiming things, all while maintaining a smile.

She steadies herself before she bellows, “Yes!”

Her fist grips the ring. They wrap around each other and stare out at the sunset,

the symbol for their future, while literally riding a mile high wave of euphoria.

balloon“You had to choose this balloon.”  On the outside of the balloon,

the words “Just Kidding” circled their heads. He shrugs.

“A joke surprise for a serious surprise.”  Pop goes the cork to the first

bottle of champagne, then the second. As they sink into the basket,smoke stacks

they sink into the bottle of brandy they had snuck with them.

“Hey. Hey! Humans! You’re going to hit the smoke stacks!”

Her head pokes up to look around for the source of the noise.

raul dukeA green alien, costumed in its best Raoul Duke attire [complete with stoned out eyes and cheap, twitching cigarette holder], dangles from a vine of extraterrestrial flowers.

It disappears into the sky before she can get a better look.

“What was that?”

“Nothing Cherie, come back down here.”

Dominating the view is the solid, steel side of one of the smoking pipesfactory and balloon

connected to the factory nestled in the valley they currently hover over.

“Rick! Do something! Quick!”

He sits up with a grin.
Slowly his mind processes what she said and what his eyes confirm. Next he rattles the carriage, exposes his Flash boxers, and he pulls the cords that make them rise just in time.

Narrowly, they miss their demise.

They return to their misty gaze over the world while wondering,

“What just happened?”

starshipUp above, in the outer bands of the atmosphere, their alien savior returns

to the viewing deck. “Did I miss anything?”

“No, they’re having sex again. You know you weren’t supposed to save them.”

“Yeah, but they’re better than what’s on television.”