ol' big balloon

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Gladys Pompon 6/7/2019 10:25pm

Oh my, don’t those look delicious! They’re like little orange pumpkins, aren’t they? And all packed neatly in their little egg carton rows. Are they from Asia? No? May I take one? I just want to plop one right into my mouth, they look so soft and tasty. Ooooooh I bet they taste like candy corn, don’t they. Please, I must have one. Give one to me. Give it to me now.

Cucurbita Pepo 5/8/2019 8:36pm

Easily, we fall into the patterns.

Manipulating the giant sacred scarecrows becomes second nature for the crew. Though most are below decks, manning the arms and legs with no visibility to the outside world, listening to the calls of the helmsman to execute their maneuvers, the patterns become so predictable they barely need to wait for their orders.

Climb from the bed. Morning toilet. Breakfast, commute, office, lunch, followed by more work, commute, dinner, sitting, evening toilet and bed. And again. And again.

And all around us, more sacred scarecrows repeating our patterns, as far as we can see in all directions.

How can we not fall in step with the herd? And how can we escape it?

Cucurbita Pepo 4/8/2019 10:17pm

We have discovered more like ourselves. Hundreds, if not thousands, teeming through this city of giants. Their massive orange pumpkin heads nod as they pass, riding atop huge sacred scarecrow skeletons, built of wooden beams and cable. We hear the crews calling to one another from within... "Left arm, position nine, extend to 135 degrees!"Aye aye, left arm, position nine, extend to 135 degrees!!" up and down the nervous system chain of command.

So many monstrosities, bustling through the city. How do they all know where they're going? Why aren't they all as lost as we are?

Cucurbita Pepo 3/8/2019 10:36pm

We guide the sacred scarecrow machines with ease now, moving through the streets undetected, navigating bus stops and revolving doors and escalators.

We've learned to manipulate their arms and digits with great dexterity, and have developed our own sign language to communicate over distances farther than our voices can be heard, calling out from within the massive pumpkin heads.

Now it is only the mild rash that disturbs us.

Cucurbita Pepo 2/5/2019 6:59pm

We are now running seven of the scarecrow machines. Each one needs a small crew to operate, and we are able to work them about the room, bumping into giant furniture, bumping into each other, bumping into walls. Now that we have located what appears to be a door, we have been ramming ourselves into it, two at a time.

What’s this? Number 5 reports a door knob.

Cucurbita Pepo 1/4/2019 10:43pm

The mouth of the cavern looms in the distance, jagged and cackling.

Our journey could have ended at the peduncle... at the inflorescence. But we needed to see where the path led. What was it all headed towards? And what's the rush?

Hacking through a wet jungle of fibrous dendrites and seed pods. The floor is wet too--and soft and bouncy and thick. Alejandro sticks his hand into the mushy mush. It's slightly acidic and stings. There's some debate about whether to use any of the water left in the canteens to flush it off. Alejandro takes a gulp, swishes it around, then spits it all up and down his arm, washing off the astringent juice.

Petty Officer Rigsby 12/1/2018 3:08pm

"Petty Officer Rigsby, here sir!"

"Ensign Rogers, sir!"

"Corporal Titus, sir!"

"Private Nickles, pumpkin head, sir!"

"Private Blaine, pumpkin head, sir!"

"Corporal Thickness, pumpkin head, sir!"

The Sergeant turned around and looked at us through the eye holes cut into his massive orange head.

"Now I realize there might be some nervousness in the squad, now that most of us are pumpkin heads," said the Sergeant. "But I'm not going to let this team fail. We've all got each other's backs, pumpkin heads or not. It's gonna take the world a little time to accept us, but if we just watch out for each other, and continue to follow my orders as a team, I know we're all gonna get through this alright. Now.... who wants pie?"

Private Nickels 10/29/2018 8:36pm

now, when we saw the pumpkin heads up there on the ol' big balloon, naturally we were right to follow protocol and raze the patch. we all know how those quasi-sentient pumpkin heads get when they go feral, and when they started out by decapitating their first four victims we knew they were serious.

but a key point that got lost in the mess is that the ol' big balloon was also carrying three ecto-plasmic shards--shards that had somehow escaped their ectoplasmic transport curse hazard level III containment. yeah, the ol' big balloon was running a pretty sloppy ship to have this level of confusion with their cargo.

this, however, turned out to be a big stroke of luck for ol' private nickels! see, once those pumpkins got ahold of me, they did kill me, but I found myself inside a one of them ecto-plasmic shards. and when the pumpkins weren't looking, i slipped back inside my body. 'cept now i got this big ol' pumpkin head! and it ain't just me--those shards can hold a lot. i think if we start looking around closely in the surf and the wreckage here, i got a feeling we just might find blaine, and the corporal too...

Ensign Rogers 9/23/2018 8:42pm

"You suppose those Hot Guns are outta fuel, Corporal?"

"There's nothing left to fire at, Rogers. So I suspect they're just being economical."

"Well there's all those dried up pumpkin vines still kinda floatin in the air where the Ol' Big Balloon used to be. And a bunch of office papers, and it looks like some feathers from the pillows, and--"

"It's all burnt up, Rogers. They've eliminated the target."

"And Sergeant Rico too, Corporal?"

"Yes, I expect so. He was real clear on needing to be the last one off, to make sure the rappel lines could support us. I've been keeping an eye out for him, in case he washes up. Wait! There! Do you see? That body in the surf!"

"Well I'll be! But that ain't the Sarge. That's Nickels, from recon team."

"Keep your head down, and let's drag him in."

"Nickels! We gotcha! It's gonna be OK. Everything's gonna be OK."

"Hold it, Rogers. Roll him over on his back."

"You want me to do CPR, Corporal?"

"Not unless you like kissing pumpkins, Rogers. Take a look at that mug."

"Oh my god... He's turned into... one of THEM."

HACK! cough cough *sputter* HAck!

"uh... howdy boys. Thanks for pulling me out. I thought I'd seen my last mission."

"Corporal! He's... he's still alive! But, he's a Pumpkinhead! For the luva pete. Whaddawe gonna do???!"

"You know the rules, Rogers. We gotta... we gotta finish him. Stand back--"

"now, uh... don't be so hasty. It's true I may look like a Pumpkin head, but I don't FEEL like a Pumpkinhead."

"Corporal--DO SOMETHING! It's one of THEM!"

"boys, it's not like you think. first, ya gotta listen to my story...."

Sgt. Rico 8/23/2018 10:33pm

"We're over the target area, Captain. Thanks for getting those nets up. The team is ready to jump."

"Uh, roger, Sergeant. We're ready when you are, over."

"Ensign Rogers will be making the first jump. Get ready..."

"Uh... Negative, Sergeant! ABORT! REPEAT--ABORT! Do NOT make that jump!"

"Come again, Captain?"

BANG! Crack! OOOF! {scuffle}

"Come in, Captain. What's going on down there?"

"It's the CDC Black Shirts, Rico. They had me at gunpoint. As soon as you make that jump you'll all be fried! Their Hot Guns are pointed directly at the nets. They're waiting for you, and will make sure there's nothing left. They say they can't risk the infection. They took over this op and wanted us to play along, but I can't do that to you and your men. Whatever you do, do NOT make the jump!"

"But Captain, that means..."

"They're coming for us now, Sarge. We can't hold 'em. It's up to you to destroy that ship and make it out alive. We..." BANG! RATTATATAT! BANG BANG!

"Captain! Come in, Captain!"

"...." crrrrk.. zzzzzzzt

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