Joe said to Sam, “Advances in balloon technology have contributed to better made equipment and although you have to stand inside the basket, it is very stable and most passengers have no sensation of ever having left the ground. It is almost full of hot air now, so jump in and we will go on the ride of your life.” Sam hoped into the basket and said, “It is not the ride that I am worried about, it is the landing that bothers me as you have no way of controlling where this thing is going to take us and I don’t like being at the mercy of the wind.” Joe climbed into the basket and the balloon lifted off as he responded, “Our wives are the ground crew, they will follow us in the chase vehicle and track us by sight and the GPS installed on the balloon and they will help us to find a suitable landing site. We are a team up here and our main concern is avoiding power lines. When it is time for us to land, we will look for an open field that doesn’t contain any cows or sheep, as we don’t want to frighten them or end up stepping in any of the pies that they made.”
A voice came in on the radio, “Chase crew to balloon team, do you read us?” Sam pushed the talk button when he heard his wife’s voice and said, “Oh honey, it is so beautiful up here, I wish you were with me.” Joe grabbed the hand-held radio away from Sam and told him that this radio is the exclusive property of the pilot and that he needs to ask permission in order to use it, because he is the one responsible for everyone’s safety up here. Joe depressed the talk button and said, “Retrieve team, we read you loud and clear, we have achieved our cruising altitude of 1,200 feet and everything below us looks very tiny.” Sam said, “Chill out dude, I understand that it is your radio, but that is my wife and I came on this trip with you to have a good time, so try to cut back on your ego and don’t lose control of your sense of humor, or else everyone in this basket is going to be in jeopardy. Try to focus on having fun, as that attitude of yours is ruining everything.”
Joe said, “I am sorry that I got carried away, but I have a lot of responsibility up here as I need to determine our safest route, analyze our flight plan and make sure that it correlates with the current weather conditions, as I monitor our fuel consumption, but you are right, we are here for fun. There really is nothing quite like floating silently and effortlessly above an interesting landscape, but I am always happy when we get back down on the ground.” Sam handed Joe a beer and said, “Let’s go over the landing instructions again, as I see a nice-looking grassy area ahead. How fast can this thing go back down?” Joe said, “Anytime our lift is less than our weight we will start coming back down and I need to coordinate the burner system with the vent that lets air out to ensure that we have a soft landing. Contact our ground team and see where they are on the map.” Sam said. “Oh, now you want me to use the radio!”
Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #122.