Parade Day, the flyer read in cheery, balloonish font. Celebrating sixty years of parades, downtown! Why, you might ask, would we hold a parade for parades? Why not?
Sqrl blinked at the flyer he’d been handed, slightly confused. A parade day for parades? What kind of event was…
His internal monologue trailed off as he noticed the large, underlined “FREE FOOD” at the bottom of the flyer, and shrugged. Free food was free food, who cares if the event was weird, right?
“Hm. I’ve got a few hours, why not?” Sqrl affirmed aloud, spinning on one of his big paws to head deeper into town, towards the music he could hear!
It was a huge, bustling affair; an entire city block had been filled to the brim with crowds and booths and live music, the smell of carnival food and hissing of distant floats being filled adding to the busy surroundings in wonderfully weird ways. Sqrl sampled a little bit of everything as he wandered along, humming to the music – before he began to feel a bit… odd. Lighter on his big paws. Must just be the fun I’m having!
“Say,” One of the event staffers called, waving the squirrel over. “You look like a trustworthy sort – care to help me get the floats ready?”
Sqrl nodded enthusiastically – who didn’t like blowing up balloons?
He followed the staff member into a back tent, walking along the rear of the event towards the adjacent street the parade balloons were being filled on – all the way not noticing his paws beginning to swell, his tail’s fur starting to mat over into plastic starting with the tail tip.
The staffer seemed to notice for a moment, before the bunny shrugged and kept walking, after all – what was one more parade balloon?
It was barely any time at all before Sqrl had started to help out, unfurling big, cartoonish animal floats from their boxes and trucks they’d been stored in since last year’s parades – even if touching them made the squirrel feel a little more odd, their fingers tingling as they finally plopped down on a surprisingly softer rear to take a quick break.
“Whew!” He sighed happily, wiping his brow. Two hours of nothing but filling balloons? Ridiculous!
“Okay!” The rabbit finally said aloud, clapping his paws together. “Just one balloon left and we’re ready to start.”
“One?” Sqrl asked, glancing around. He certainly didn’t see any, aside from the ones already drifting overhead. “Where?”
“Where?” The rabbit asked, chuckling a little. “That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it?”
As if on cue, the squirrel’s paws doubled in size.
The hissing he’d been hearing all day wasn’t far away – it was right under his nose!
Well, his belt line, too. Either way, the squirrel jumped up in surprise as his lower body suddenly began to rapidly expand, stretching his poor shorts to the breaking point as his increasingly parade-sized thighs began to strain and stretch past what they would hold – splitting down the legs and falling to the ground as the bunny staffer watched with a mixture of amusement and anticipation!
Was this why I felt so weird today?! Sqrl thought to himself, trying to press on his tummy with his handpaws as it, too, began to swell outwards – Sqrl’s big tail stretching and inflating into something more befitting a parade-sized critter than a normal squirrel, bumping into a few helium tanks he’d used earlier to fill a bunny float! They, promptly, fell to the ground hissing.
Sqrl, by now, was feeling… dizzy.
I… gotta get up, the squirrel lazily thought to himself, mind swimming as his shirt finally started to tear and rip, handpaws blowing up into massive, parade-sized versions of themselves as he watched, arms swelling from his armpits outwards into rounded, plastic tubes full of helium.
He didn’t want to get up, even as little hoops began to pop out of his big footpaws, ropes attaching themselves seemingly by magic!
“How’s the last balloon coming, folks? The parade’s due to start in ten minutes!” A voice from somewhere out of view called, drawing the rabbit’s focus.
“Almost done!” The rabbit called, quickly tethering the brand new ropes to their spots on the tarmac as Sqrl began to grow larger, stretching both upwards and outwards as the curious sensation to flop over began to gnaw at their thoughts. Parade balloons didn’t stand up, did they? They were on all fours!
Dazed, Sqrl flopped over – starting to lift off of the pavement as two ropes dangled from their huge, rounded paws, quickly gathered up by the bunny and tied down, too. H-Huh… did I always have those?
The squirrel managed a glance downwards, feeling just how right it felt to drift there – and how familiar the tethers holding them down against the wind were. Of course I had those!
They looked silly; a massive, parade balloon squirrel body with a tiny, fluffy head topping it – though, as the changes crawled up their neck, even that began to shift. First to change was the squirrel’s snout, springing outwards with a loud fwoomp of filling plastic as his smile became simple detailing paint, followed by his nose!
His eyes followed next, first freezing straight ahead, then flattening into simple, painted-on Sqrl eyes – and, finally, even his ears swelled up, his whole head filling and swelling until it, too, was parade-sized!
Sqrl’s thoughts were scattered, bouncing around inside his empty helium-filled head – until, finally, they stopped as the tanks ran dry; just another parade balloon for the Parade Day festivities!
The bunny cheered, clapping his paws together as he called a handler crew over.
“C’mon, let’s get started!”
The bunny tugged on their cap, grinning up at the huge inflatable squirrel’s face. “It’s time for a parade!”