Foley: As you well know, I have several experiments going on in my backyard, many of which I discovered when I was bequeathed “Teddie Earnest’s Big Book of Ideas” when he went to the Bridge. Among these experiments was a hot air balloon for safe travel to and from the homes of my Brigade friends. When I was not working on it, I kept it under a canvas in our backyard. Most of all, I made sure I only worked on it while Pocket was sleeping.
Pocket: I woke up from my nap on the back of the couch today, stretched, and walked to the double doors that lead to our deck, looked in the back yard, and Foley was working on a flying saucer. It was the coolest thing ever! I so had to go for a ride in it!
Foley: Yes, I must admit, I am a genius, a dog who can build a helium balloon, must be considered a genius, but I am also a dog, so, after I fired up the helium to check on the lift, and made sure the balloon was well tethered, I saw a squirrel and my instinct took over, and I chased that squirrel with a vengeance.
Pocket: This was my chance. I hurried out the back door to the ropes. I chewed them until they were ready to fray. I then jumped in the basket. There was a switch, and I pawed it up. Suddenly the balloon began to fill with helium, started to lift, and I became Air Pocket.
Foley: The squirrel and I were going at it; the squirrel darted left, I darted right, back and forth, when suddenly the squirrel stood up and said, “BALOOOOON!” I turned and saw my balloon floating into the air, and then Pocket, hanging over the side, waving a paw.
Pocket: “I’m going for a balloon ride!” I told Foley. She put her paws to her head and groaned. She barked something at me. I couldn’t hear her. I was so high I could see the entire State Mental Institution. The patients ran to tell their doctors there was a flying Yorkie in a balloon overhead. They all received immediate electroshock therapy.
Foley: Luckily, because I’m not an idiot, I put a radio in the balloon and ran in the house and down to my laboratory, followed by the squirrel. He helped me remove the tarp on the radio, and I cranked it up and called out for Pocket.
Pocket: I heard Foley’s voice, and I picked up the thing you talked into and said hello. Several times Foley said: “paw the button,” until I finally figured what he meant, and I pushed the button and said, “Hi Foley!”
Foley: I told Pocket to bring my balloon back right now. She told me that she wanted to visit her friends. Then a man’s voice came over the air.
Man’s Voice: Please identify for air traffic control.
Pocket: I’m Pocket.
Man: Please give your flight numbers.
Pocket: I don’t know!
The Squirrel: S42697.
Man: Thank you. Have a safe flight.
Foley: How did you know?
The Squirrel: I’m a flying squirrel. I’m named Steve, nice to meet you.
Foley: I shook paws with him and told him it was nice to meet him. I then turned my attention back to Pocket and said to her that there were two strings above her. If she pulled the one to the right, she would fly home, but to the left, you’ll go away.
Pocket: I’m pulling left.
Foley: No, don’t. You’ll go away.
Pocket: But I’m having so much fun. Hey, look, I can see Hattie Mae’s house. Hi Hattie.
Hattie Mae: I looked up from my back yard sipping tea, lifted my hat, looked up, and saw Pocket floating above me in a balloon. I waved. He waved. Then I called Hobo to tell him Pocket was floating away in a balloon.
Hobo: Nothing surprises me with those two.
Pocket: I knew Hattie lived by the castle and so I began looking for it.
Foley: I kept yelling into the radio for Pocket to come home. We were going to be in such trouble.
Steve the Squirrel: This was great entertainment. I sat back on a comfy chair, arranged my nuts, and watched everything unfold.
Pocket: I looked down, and there it was the castle. I told Foley I was above it. I then climbed up on the side of the basket, stuck my butt over, and let a bomb fly from my butt.
Steve the Squirrel: I looked at the coordinates. “Excuse me, Foley,” I said, “but that’s the Pentagon.”
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates: I got pooped up by a lap dog in a balloon walking into work today. Rumsfeld never had to put up with this shit.
Foley: I don’t know why all G-men feel the need to work blue.
Pocket: Oops. Good thing I’m not an Afghan Hound, or the terror alert level would go crazy.
Foley: I was now screaming at her to come home; we were in so much trouble.
Steve the Squirrel: One of my nuts just rolled under the dryer. I hate appliances.
Pocket: I looked down again and saw I was over Reba and Dodger’s house.
Foley: I asked her how she knew it was Reba and Dodger’s house.
Pocket: I told her I was on the Internet. Everyone on the Internet knows what Reba and Dodger’s house looks like from the sky.
Steve the Squirrel: By my calculations, Pocket was running out of helium. I would have mentioned this, but I had a backscratcher in my mouth trying to get my nut from under the dryer.
Pocket: I started to slow down and lose altitude, and I told Foley.
Foley: I told Pocket she had to be very careful where she landed and then make sure she knew where she was.
Pocket: I saw a railroad track and decided to land there.
Steve the Squirrel: Why, when animals become domesticated, their survival sense flies right out the window?
Foley: I told Pocket not to land on the tracks.
Pocket: It was a great idea. I would land on the tracks, and then I would hop a train home.
Foley: I told her if a train were coming, she would be squished.
Pocket: I was coming in for my landing on a nice railroad bridge. Everything was going to be okay, and then I saw THE TRAIN!
Steve the Squirrel: NUT.
Pocket: I closed my eyes, waiting for the impact, but I landed right on top of the train.
Foley: That dog is going to live to be 40 and still not be toilet trained.
Pocket: The train was going towards my house, so I curled up and took a nap, and when I woke up, I was crossing the street where I lived, so I pushed the balloon off the car, landed softly in the road, and brought it home.
Foley: Steve the Squirrel and I saw Pocket dragging the balloon, and I was so excited to see her that I went running over to her and gave her big kisses and hugs and didn’t even get mad at her for stealing my balloon. Then we drug the balloon to the back yard.
Pocket: I was sitting on the deck, telling Foley about my adventures, when we saw the balloon start up again.
Foley: I turned to see scattered helium tanks on the ground and Steve the Squirrel rising in the air, stealing my balloon.
Steve the Squirrel: There will never be a nut too high for me now. Old Rocky’s got nothing on me; I’m Steve the Flying Squirrel.
Pocket: It was a beautiful balloon, watching it go across the sky. Foley had done an excellent job building it.
Foley: All I could think, watching a deranged squirrel stealing my helium balloon, was, ah Nuts.