“You can pop every fucking balloon in here if it means you’ll stop looking like you want to have sex with the damn things,” Jim told him in disgust as Drew hummed while he squeezed the balloon.
“Drew is a Looner,” Jenny yelled over to me in a helium-filled voice.
“What the hell is a Looner?” Claire asked in the same munchkin-like, helium tone.
“A Looner is a very complex individual who revels in the popping of balloons,” Carter informed us, sounding like a cast-off from Wizard of Oz.
When everyone looked at him funny, he just shrugged. “I Googled it.”
“Ha! Now I know why Drew wanted to fill this place with balloons,” Claire announced before taking another hit of helium. “Drew is a balloon fucker!”
Now, one would think that hearing the words “balloon fucker” coming from the mouth of my best friend who sounded like she was from Munchkin Land would have been hilarious. However, Drew was now on all fours down by my feet, dry humping a balloon.
“OH, MY GOD! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” I screamed at him.
“I’m only doing what comes naturally! My balloon fetish is a form of sexual imprinting! YOU CAN’T STOP ME FROM SEXUALLY IMPRINTING ON THIS GREEN BALLOON!” Drew shouted as he thrust roughly against the balloon until it popped.
As soon as it exploded, I heard the click-click-click of a plastic pregnancy test bouncing across the floor.
“WOOOHOOO! You found the balloon with the surprise in it! Pick it up and show it to Jim!” Carter squeaked with his fists pumping in the air.
“If you think I am going to touch something that Drew just humped out of a balloon, you are sadly mistaken,” I told him.
“Whew, that was exhausting. I think I need a nap,” Drew announced, grabbing onto an orange balloon and sticking it under his head like a pillow.
Jim ran across the room, shoving balloons aside until he found the test on the floor a few feet away. He picked it up, stared at it in awe for a few minutes before walking back to me.
“Liz, are you serious?! Are you—”
“WE WELCOME YOU TO MUNCHKIN LAND!” Jenny sang loudly, dissolving in a fit of giggles as she quickly grabbed another balloon from the ceiling while Claire and Carter took a big huff of the balloons in each of their hands.
I sighed, turning back to Jim to finally tell him out loud what he already knew was true. “I love you. We’re going to have a—”
“Tra la la la la la la la la la la la!” Carter and Claire squeaked at the top of their tinny voices.
“When you guys are finished, can I spend some time alone here in the shop?” Drew suddenly questioned.
“Ashtray! You little bitch ass motherfucker! Come over here and give your grandma a hug!” Carter shouted in his helium voice, because quoting Don’t Be a Menace while huffing helium is always a fine idea.
“Bitch ass motherfucker!” Jenny repeated.
“I’VE HAD IT WITH THESE MOTHERFUCKING SNAKES ON THIS MOTHERFUCKING PLANE!” Claire shouted.
Jesus Christ, it sounded like Munchkins gone wild in this place.
“How about we just cut to the chase?” I asked Jim, wrapping my arms around his shoulders. “We’re going to have a baby. As soon as he or she is born, we are getting as far away from these idiots as possible.”
Jim wrapped his arms around me and we stared at our friends who were now trading Samuel L. Jackson quotes back and forth in between sucking on the balloons.
“Awwww, come on, our friends are fun. Just think about how interesting your baby shower will be. We can have Drew do balloon animals for the kids,” Jim laughed.
“Except that would turn into Drew actually DOING balloon animals,” I reminded him.
“Well, one thing’s for certain—our life will never be boring with these people in it,” Jim told me.
As Carter wrapped his arms around Claire and whispered high-pitched sexual innuendos in her ear, Jenny ran over to Drew and flopped down on the floor next to him and they both started rubbing balloons all over themselves.
“You’re right, life will never be boring with any of them,” I agreed.
MY FAMILY AND I are pretty lucky in that we’ve never had to deal with losing someone close to us. My kids still have all four grandparents and our extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins are alive and kicking. It’s probably hard to believe, but we’ve only attended one funeral. Ever. It was for one of our neighbors a few years ago. She was a nasty old woman who screamed at my kids if they so much as looked at her yard when they walked by and she had a habit of stealing people’s Christmas decorations if she thought they were too gaudy. We only went to the funeral for her husband, who was the exact opposite of the old bat. Also, we were hoping our blinking “Santa Stops Here” sign might be perched in front of the casket so we could take it back. I loved that cute little sign.
Looking back on it now, I’m kind of glad that was our one and only experience with a funeral because we did not behave well. We tried, we really did, but it was no use.
Six years ago, when a funeral home suddenly became the best place on earth…
“I’ve got a camera on my cell phone!”
My daughter, Charlotte, and I looked up at the little boy standing next to my chair. He was around seven years old and he proudly held an old school flip phone in his hand.
I glanced around at the other mourners who filled the room in row after row of folding chairs, but no one seemed to be looking for their lost child.