Louie’s Balloons
(urban fairy tale)

What’s lower than a mime? Perhaps a balloon sculptor.
Meet Louie who has big plans of his own.
Winner of the BBC Short Story Award.

Oh, My Goodness...
Such a glorious short story with an unexpected ending. Well worth the price of admission to see this story played out. Thank you, MK.
—— Irene Onorato




Louie's Baloons


Louie knew she would be back soon, and she’d know he hadn’t gone to the park today, not with this weather. He rose from his workbench where pieces of an intricate apparatus lay scattered. Louie sighed and looked down from the window on another rain swept day. His thoughts turned to the sun, the park, his balloons; then he picked up a tiny screwdriver and set to work again.
Balloons… Their shapes rose to fill his mind. They were his life, not his passion. How could anyone be passionate about some rather silly balloons? But he was adept at twisting and coercing them into all kinds of fantastic animals, real or imagined.
Not like today, but every pleasant day would find Louie near the park where he would wheel the heavy cylinder of helium. He’d find his usual place by the south entrance and begin filling and squeaking his balloons into those colorful shapes, those animal shapes that the children found irresistible. And Louie took pride in his skill. He could make a giraffe in less than ten seconds, and a lion in eighteen. A dinosaur would only take half a minute or so, on a good day.
But on a dark day like this, Louie took to brooding. After all, how can one’s passion be balloons? And what can one say at a party? “I am a balloon sculptor?”
Twisting balloons was certainly not his only skill. Louie could have taken up any trade. He was, after all, good with his hands, dexterous as it were, and nothing was beyond him in terms of fixing, given enough time and the proper tools. Easily, Louie could have been a carpenter, an electrician, or anything— as she constantly reminded him. And with little enthusiasm he had tried many, many jobs, never lasting long at any, and always through no fault of his own.
As for passion, well, on such dark days spent alone, his true dream came painfully to mind; a dream not to be soiled by dwelling on it for too long. Louie hunched closer to his workbench. She will be back too soon, he thought.
“Ambition and money,” he could hear her say. “You have neither.” Louie always disagreed but well knew there was some connection between the two— what, he could never say exactly, up till now.

click for an excerpt!