No wait, that’s not what happened. This is what happened.
Helen called Jane at 5 in the morning.
“There’s an enormous hot air balloon here,” Helen said. “At the park. And nobody’s guarding it.”
“Hot damn! I am on my way,” Jane replied.
Jane parked her bike against a tree, and the two girls approached the balloon. The hot air balloon was part of a realty advertising campaign, it looked like. It was just going to go straight up and hang there, tethered to the ground by a long rope. Jane and Helen climbed into the basket.
It was wonderful. There was a flame thrower in the basket, pointed up into the balloon. When Jane pulled a lever, giant flame spewed up with a roar, and the balloon lifted skyward. When it reached the end of the rope, they were almost two stories high. They could see the harbour, and the bridge. Nobody spoke for a long time. It was early, and the air was still cool, and they were flying.
“I got accepted to MIT,” Jane said, after a few minutes. “In their physics program.”
Helen smiled and pulled the flame again. The balloon creaked against the rope.
“Let’s never go back down,” Helen said.
“What happens when we run out of fire?” Jane said, like she was perfectly serious.
What a silly thing to worry about.