By Robert David
Milford Triger bends over the edge of the nacelle and gazes down, fascinated, at the passing landscape of the Swiss Alps. Blood rushes to his forehead, and his eyes roll with a pleasant dizziness. Led by a weary gesture, he plummets toward the evergreen forest.
From the air pit that fills the balloon, his notorious feathered friend, Hector the Ebon, flies away with a sharp croak.
The wind pierces Milford’s eyes and entrails.
Hector descends and rests on Milford’s shoulder, his wings fluttering, claws tightening to grip the plump man’s flight suit. As if playing a ludicrous game, the little bird rises skyward, carrying in its claws a smiling character with cheeks like baby bottoms.
Milford Triger’s body quakes with a full laughter that echoes into and amongst the fir needles in the green abyss.
The strange-looking couple ascend and return to the aircraft. They sit on a bench, one beside the other, man and raven. Milford opens a bottle and pours a crimson liquid into two thimble-like glasses.
They watch the TV news. The balloon has all of the modern facilities of a five-star hotel. The latest story is about about what the two of them have just seen.
“I bet you wanna head to Bucharest,” croaks Hector, punctuating the aircraft’s engine noise with the odd electrical tone of his voice.
“I’m not even surprised by your fantasy,” Milford answers. He starts grunting. “I’ve created you in my own image...” he says, staring at Hector with one half-opened eye.
The aircraft continues its sinuous flight. The nacelle readjusts, morphs, and becomes bigger than the balloon’s engine.
There’s more room now. A third character appears in the flying boat.
“Hello,” he greets from underneath a green moustache. “I am the banker of your dreams!”
The edges of Milford Triger’s mouth droop. “I would have preferred a prime-minister,” he says, “But if this is the Will, I will obey; I’m merely a character...”
“Can you just stop with this entire untimely grudge?” the man says. “Those who are having fun with us don’t need such an attitude. Anyway, I am in fact a prime-minister banker,” adds Radius Vasilius Ţiriacus, the newest member of the flight crew. I’d dare to anticipate our next move!” He rolls his eyes skyward, and all of the famous trio's attention is focused there, since a fourth intruder is now climbing down a rope from a zeppelin that might have otherwise escaped their notice.
The newcomer jumps from the ladder and adjusts his braces. “I always fill your evenings with surprise guests! And I bet I’m doing a good job...”
Hector emits a proud croak: Marius Tucus! Marius Tucus!
Marius joins the others on the bench.
The wind howls, blowing harder and harder. The sky darkens. A cold rain spatters and soaks the four crew. UFOs float amid the leaden clouds.
A new voice complains from within the nacelle, “I am depressed! I am depressed! I am depressed!” says the voice, “I don’t know who put me here and what I am doing amongst all of these other confusing characters. Nobody can understand how hard it is for me.”
“Looks like the president’s joined us too,” says Marius, and shouts “Look out. He’s filling up with hot air again!”
The president swells until he begins to float, and a gust of wind tugs him away from the aircraft.
A tough battle ensues. Marius Tucus, Milford Triger, Hector the Ebon, and Radius Vasilius Ţiriacus simply cannot decide who should sling a stone at the president...or why.
About The Author
Robert David lives in Bucharest, Romania. He is the author of “The War Of The Parallel Worlds” — Liternet, 2002 and “The Twin Towers” — Omnibooks, 2003. His fiction sketches started to travel across the world in 2007 when “The Twin Towers” short story was translated in Hungarian and published by the Galaktika magazine. The “Five Characters In Joyful Masks” is Robert David’s first short story published in English. More about the author on his website, only in Romanian language for the moment.