The Balloon Man


The Balloon Man; he is as ominous as he sounds.

Taking advantage of Summer in London, means embracing Park Life.

However, it’s not all lounging about in the park reading, and listening to music, there’s a hard day’s people watching to be had to; but what happens when you are the one being watched?

A week or two ago now, I decided to spend my beautiful 30 degree sunshine days off in my local park. It’s a beautiful park, with grass aplenty, a pond, boating, ducks and swans, everything you could long for in park life. Anyway, there I am, lazing about in the sunshine reading my book, trying to catch a bit of sun, when I roll-over onto my stomach. I happen to glance up at the end of a chapter, and I catch him. I catch my first glimpse of The Balloon Man.

I look up, and about 50 metres away, standing under a nearby tree is a lone man, humming to himself, staring at me, holding a single red balloon.

This is possibly one of the strangest, scariest things to happen to me to date; the humming was like a warning, an alarm –  rape alarm.

There he was, just staring. Standing all alone, staring right at me. I tried to pretend he wasn’t there and ignore him, but all I could see from the corner of my eye was his single red balloon bobbing around in the back-ground.

My first instinct was to text one of my bestest’s in this situation. We have a “Code Brown” arrangement. “Code Brown” is panic-mode. It means I am in a situation; that situation may be my date has turned up and is missing a limb or is missing a limb’s-worth in height. It also may be that the date is going terribly, so terribly that I need a Get Out Of Jail Free card. Or I might just need to get out of jail… Or a freezer… Or a make-shift dungeon. Anyway, at the first sight of The Balloon Man, I felt that this was a Code Brown situation that needed immediate attention. Immediately.

Fortunately, she was on Rapid Response.

Like all good friends, her first concern was whether or not I was wearing good pants (which on this occasion, yes, I was. Assuming The Balloon Man deems black lace good taste that is.) Unfortunately however, I raised the point that I wasn’t appropriately groomed. (I never went to the park with the slightest consideration that I might get sexually attacked; it’s also a bad day for females when peer-pressure reduces you to ensuring you are properly groomed just in-case you get sexually assaulted.)

On the subject of poor-grooming, she sent me this supportive link: (which to be fair, was a fair representation of my legs up until the sunshine making an appearance; my winter coat.)

He was still there throughout this supportive conversation, humming to himself, staring and his paw clutchedly around that single red balloon, however, he was now lying down on his side. A bit like The Balloon Man trying to pull off some Titan-esque “draw me, Jack” pose, all sexy like. Except The Balloon Man wasn’t no Kate Winslet, and I sure as hell wasn’t his Leonardo DiCaprio.

Having pondered over moving via what was potentially the last Whatsapp Conversation of my life, and having decided that moving would only draw attention and provoke The Balloon Beast, I now decided, that I would move (but only if he got his cock out.)

But only then. Not before, not after, only then.

Eventually, what was one of the longest and most uncomfortable half-hours of my life, the knowing, the not-knowing… The thought of the post-mortem being completed only to find that I had been choked to death by a red balloon… All this was a tad terrifying.

Eventually, at the end of this half-hour saga, he left. Off he bobbed towards the outskirts of the park, still clutching his lone red balloon, still humming to himself, and occasionally glancing backwards.

More terrifying still, is that it’s not the sound of his humming droning through my head and creeping me out, it’s “99 Red Balloons”, and what is it that is creeping me out exactly? Well, it’s obvious isn’t it? That there was another 98 Red Balloons out there, and another 98 Balloon Men out there to go with them.


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