Thursday, July 19, 2012

Eric Suhem


Willow drank a glass of water, and started to see purple kumquats dancing the Watusi on the linoleum floor. “There’s something strange in this water,” she said, looking at the dripping tap over the kitchen sink.

“I’ll write to the state’s water commissioner about this!” she suddenly declared, sitting down at her desk. As she feverishly scribbled a letter, a large group of green balloons wafted into the room. The balloons slowly moved forward onto Willow and began pressing her against a painting of sunflowers on the living room wall. One green balloon circled around the room, and then wrapped its string around her letter, lifting it off the desk and carrying it back out the window, high into the sky. At once, the other balloons released Willow, and followed the first balloon out the open window.

The balloon with Willow’s note floated across the city to the desk of Hiram, the state’s water commissioner. Everything in Hiram’s office was green, including Hiram, due to years of overexposure to fluorescent light. His current project involved tainting the water supply to create more pliable citizens. “Well done!” said Hiram to the green balloon, rewarding it with a blast of helium, and quickly reading Willow’s note. “This citizen is becoming suspicious about the water supply,” he announced to the other attentive balloons in front of his desk. “I want you to step up the surveillance.” The balloons immediately flew out the window, back toward Willow’s house.

However, Willow had already left, speeding out of the city with her neighbor Julia towards the ocean. The balloons found and followed her car, which had a large sunflower painted on the roof. Trees, leaves, and sunlight flickered by as Willow and Julia accelerated through the canyons. They arrived at a forest near the ocean and began exploring, as the balloons hovered nearby. Willow and Julia wandered through a green forest, grooving on the moss-covered trees, emerging into a meadow filled with brightly colored flowers and butterflies, while the green balloons continued their surveillance from above. The women played in the ocean waves, and invited the balloons to join them. The balloons were hesitant at first, but soon were frolicking with Willow and Julia in the sea spray, drifting exuberantly through the foam, memories of Hiram collapsing into a misty collage of neon bubbles, melting together in the clear bright sunshine. The balloons became swirling lemonade lollipops bouncing through the saltwater waves amidst rising pink steam, as joy and exhilaration inflated them towards the blue sky.

Four hours later, the balloons drifted peacefully back to the city. Each balloon was radiating a warm glow as it wafted into Hiram’s office. He was sitting in a big pile of red balloons, enjoying the stinging sensation when they would occasionally pop. “Balloons, what’s your report?!” demanded Hiram.

The balloons sat quietly, and then consulted amongst themselves, ready for freedom from Hiram’s repressive control. “How about slowly pressing him deep into the ground?” suggested one particularly aggressive balloon.

“No, it may ironically taint the city’s water supply,” replied another. Ultimately, the balloons decided to wrap their strings around Hiram’s arms, and slowly lift him into the sky.

Willow and Julia looked up from the ocean waves to see the balloons and Hiram soaring into view. The balloons gently dropped Hiram into the surf, where Willow and Julia commenced wrapping him in strands of seaweed and kelp. The balloons returned to the city, and assumed new positions of responsibility.

© Eric Suhem 2012

Eric Suhem dwells in office cubicles and ocean waves. His book "Dark Vegetables" can be found in the orange hallway (


  1. What fun Eric has with words! What fun I have reading what he does with them. This piece had a good number of views, but nobody else left comments. Surely, it's worth a moment or two to let a writer know how entertaining he's been.
    Brought a smile to my lips more than once!

  2. I enjoyed this piece too. Surreal, new and different...not like other things I've made me think of Burroughs and other Beat writers, but with an extension of light humor


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