“Don’t worry, ma’am… everything’s under control!”
Lady Salinger-Wallis screamed ~ in between fits of uproarious laughter ~ as Edward, her chauffer, tried his very best to bring the hot air balloon back under his control. Somehow they’d managed to avoid the overhead electricity cables and the pylons they were attached to, and they were now just scraping the tops of the trees with the bottom of the basket.
“Would you like me to steer, Eddie?” Lady S bellowed with laughter again, “You’d have to tell me where the steering wheel is in this contraption, but I’d love to help.”
“There’s no wheel, Lady S.” Eddie announced, now very flustered.
“No wheel? NO WHEELLLLLLLLLL???????!!!! We’re doomed. DOOOOOOOMED!” Lady S overacted her dramatic interjection somewhat, saw Eddie looking at her open-mouthed, and then just bellowed and snorted with laughter once again. “Oh, this is so much fun. Out in the fresh Summer air, wind blowing through our hair, and sandwiches being strewn everywhere!”
“Not to mention us, Lady S!” Eddie frantically pulled a lever that did nothing. “If I can’t land this thing smoothly, we’re going to land with a bump.”
“Oh, Eddie, head for that lake over there. That’ll be a soft landing, and this thing will float like a boat!”
“At this speed, we’re more likely to scoop most of the water up as we hurtle over it, but lets give it a go.”
Lady S always liked to think she had a plan.
“Hold tight, Lady S… we’re going in!”
Lady Salinger-Wallis saw her life flash before her eyes. Those awful blue shoes she bought that she could never bring herself to wear. The navy tweed jacket that she discovered had an extra sleeve sewn inside the lining (she never did find out why the extra sleeve was needed). The day she tried singing opera and thought she’d caused one of the windows to smash (she found out later that a window-cleaner’s ladder had been the true culprit.) She laughed again. She saw the time her blue rinse hadn’t taken properly, and she walked around town with lilac hair for a week. She remembered the passers by looking at her oddly as she hurtled head first down the indoor ski slope, laughing. Once more she laughed. She saw the red brick she carried in her handbag for a month so she could get a suit made in that very colour, but never did “I must do that…” she thought. She saw Eddie slumped at the wheel of her car, after she’d given him sleeping pills instead of painkillers for his headache. She remembered kissing a frog when she was a little girl, hoping it would turn into a prince “Sigh” She sighed. “That prince never turned up.” She remembered the feeling of the icy cold water being poured over her in her ice-bucket challenge that ruined her best frock.
The water caused her to choke. Gasping for air, she realised they were under the water’s surface, inside the basket. Eddie was tugging at her arms.
What felt like hours was mere minutes, seconds even. Eddie dragged himself and Lady Salinger-Wallis out of the basket, through the water and over to the banks of the lake.
It didn’t take long for the water to become calm again, after all the thrashing. Even though the sun was warm, there was still a chill beneath the surface of the lake, although Lady S was now glad to be on dry land. Still soaking wet, but feeling better for it.
She crawled over to the water’s edge, and peered at her reflection.
“Oh, Eddie.” She said. “We’ve been in some scrapes you and I, haven’t we dear? But promise me one thing.”
“Yes, ma’am” Eddie always wanted to help.
“You must not, under no circumstances, allow anyone to see me with hair like this. Is that clear?”
Eddie nodded. Lady S looked back at the now sinking basket and balloon, and she gazed at her reflection once again.
She guffawed. “Eddie, thank you. What would I do without you?”