Sometimes at parties, I’ll pull out a bag of balloons. Having something to do with my hands helps me relax in social situations. I’ll twist a few animals and colorful bouquets. Make someone I’ve just met a hat. But my favorite thing to create are balloon people. They liven up a gathering, I think, propped against the food table, examining the host’s music collection, taking a bath, or lounging on the pile of coats. Later in the evening, feeling more comfortable, they’ll interact with the non-balloon party guests – exchange pleasantries, tell jokes, breakdance, do shots. For fun, they might twist themselves into animals or twist someone else into a hat. Everyone laughs at first. The problem is balloon people have no understanding of the human skeletal system.
Rachel Karyo’s short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Deep Cuts, Noctua Review, Liars’ League, Lumina Online, RipRap, Silent Auctions, Monster Mashup, and Belletrist. Rachel lives in Seattle, Washington.