Up, up, and away...in my beautiful, my beautiful balloon...
THE WILD BLUE YONDER
“So how long have you been doing this, Mr. Neely?” Brandi asked as she surveyed the beautiful scene below her.
The little gray haired man twiddled his thumbs and glanced up at the sky, as if he was thinking about it harder than he needed to. After a few seconds he said, “Oh, I don’t know. I guess about thirty years now. And you can just call me Glenn.”
“OK, Glenn.” She was still leaning over the side of the basket, taking in the panorama. She could see for miles, and the things she took for granted every day on the ground paled in comparison when viewed from this height. Houses and cars were just tiny blips, and if there was a person down there walking on a road, they couldn’t be seen. She felt like an eagle, soaring on the currents and letting them take her wherever they wanted.
It was a peaceful Sunday morning, not a cloud in the sky, and Brandi had no regrets about missing church for this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
☻ ☺ ☻
Glenn Neely loved his job, even though taking people up in his hot air balloon for majestic rides across the Shasta Valley could hardly be considered a job. The smiles that he saw on his passenger’s faces always brought a smile to his own face, and at seventy years old that was one of the few things he lived for.
But he also loved meeting new people, no matter how briefly he got to know them on the mile high rides in the wild blue yonder. He had no family of his own, at least that he knew of, so it always lifted his heart to see how many different types of people enjoyed his lifelong pastime.
☺ ☻ ☺
“Would like something to eat?” Glenn asked, reaching into his lunch cooler. “Maybe a croissant or a bagel? I’ve also got some coffee.”
Brandi was still taking in the sights, but she paused for a second and looked over her shoulder.
“Oh, no thank you,” she answered. “I had a big breakfast before I got here.” She turned her gaze back over the railing. “I just can’t get over how beautiful it is up here.”
Glenn poured himself a cup of coffee from a thermos and checked his watch. They’d only been up here for an hour, but he knew it wouldn’t be long before the wind started picking up.
“Hey,” Brandi said, her voice rising slightly in excitement. “I think I can see my house!”
Those words were music to Glenn’s ears; seeing their house always seemed to be the 'high point' of their ride. Setting his coffee down, he stepped up behind Brandi and casually shoved her out of the basket. He listened for a few seconds—he never watched—while her screams slowly faded as she plummeted to the earth below.
Glenn Neely loved his job, but he also loved meeting new people, no matter how briefly he got to know them.
(499 Words—the six happy faces don’t count as words, nor do these)