Friday, February 20, 2009

Adventures in Politics

It was my first time in a hot air balloon. I’d finally gathered the courage to conquer my fear of heights after a case of vertigo ruined a romantic evening atop a swaying building. I figured hijacking a hot air balloon in the process of take off would be the best way to “force” myself off the ground. Once your grappling hook latches and your feet are dangling, you’re hard-pressed to back down.

“What the hell, get off the damned balloon, you stupid imbecile!”

You get off the balloon, you . . . ballast!” I responded, jabbing in their direction with my three-pronged hook. I released the sandbags and soared higher, nervous as if I were on a sinking ship. I had the flame run until out of fuel and I was high enough to be able to see the city, the ocean, the desert, the forest, and the mountains in one glance. I felt confident and safe in that basket, drinking the wine and having the cheese left behind. My euphoria kept increasing until the wake of a passing plane toppled the balloon and bucked me out.

Luckily it was a plane filled with sky divers and I was able to land on a rectangular parachute that looked like the American flag. It was comfortable, like landing on a giant, patriotic pillow. I heard someone singing below me.

“No need to ask.
I’m a smooth operator,
smooth operator,
smooth operator.”

“I know that voice,” I said.

“Is that--.”

“Mr. President!”

“Frank, how have you been!” Barack asked ecstatically.

“Oh, just conquering my fear of heights. Has an irrational fear ever thwarted a night of pleasure for you?” I asked and slid to the edge of the parachute and looked down at him as though we were bunk buddies.

“Once, but to be fair, it was a very large spider,” he said. “So did your parachute fail to deploy?”

“Hah, no, I stole a hot air balloon. By the way, do you have my back on that? Might turn into a legal issue.”

“No problem, Frank.”

The president and I floated down together slowly. I landed with a thud and was dog piled immediately by secret service agents, but Barack peeled them off and pulled me out of the rubble and that’s how I conquered my fear of heights.


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