It was a chilly Spring day in the local park, as far as Chaotic was concerned. Normally, he’d have been at home bundled up – a warm cup of hot chocolate, a movie, perhaps – but, duty called – and so, he was out wandering along the old concrete paths rounding the lake, daydreaming as his wares bounced and bumped and shimmied in the bright sunshine and wind overhead.
Chaotic, of course, was a balloon vendor – a dream job, as far as he was concerned. Set your own hours, stop when your day’s merchandise is gone… and, well, balloons.
Who didn’t like balloons?
Chaotic definitely did. In fact, he was so lost in daydreaming about balloons that he’d almost entirely missed the rabbit sleepily wandering down the path ahead, almost tripping over them!
“S-Sorry!” Chaotic managed, catching his balance and breath as the bunny glanced between his waist, where the many, many strings were tied – and the raccoon himself.
“S’okay?” The rabbit offered – though, now that Chaotic really looked – it wasn’t your standard fluff-and-fur affair. This rabbit was soft, little tag sticking out of its tail – a plushie rabbit?
Oh, well. He’d met weirder, around here.
Still, as the wind picked up, the strings began to tug slightly on Chaotic’s belt, the raccoon having to struggle a little just to manage to keep his footing – to say nothing of how blushy it might’ve made him if he hadn’t just barely managed to keep it under wraps.
For a second, he imagined himself being carried off – drifting away above the trees, held up by the strings and wind and sky.
Chaotic blinked, feeling how warm his cheeks had gotten. Oops.
“I said, are you selling those or just walking around with them?”
The bunny thumped one of their little paws, one ear drooping a little as they tilted their head at him.
“I, uh, yeah? I sell them, dollar apiece.”
The rabbit brought a paw to their chin, tapping it twice. “I’ll take one, sure?”
“Okay, which one would you like?”
Chaotic shuffled slightly. He hadn’t had as much variety as he’d have liked in his stock this morning, but… oh well. Balloons were balloons, after all? He had huge yellow ones, a few red ones, and a lot of hearts for nearby Valentine’s day – surely the rabbit would be able to pick something?
Finally, after a moment, the rabbit pointed. “That one!”
…Except, they hadn’t pointed up at the bundle at all. Following their finger, Chaotic realized it was… about level with his tummy, more or less.
The instant he began to ask what that even meant, a loud hiss reached his ears – and, as he glanced down in surprise and bewilderment, his tummy began to expand right out of his shirt! Fluffy at first, it soon sprouted a little plastic valve as the fur around it began to mat down into soft, raccoon patterned vinyl, leaving the flustered raccoon to sputter and stammer as the plushie bunny giggled away.
“S-Stop this!” Chaotic finally managed, just as his pants began to tighten as his legs swelled out, shoes giving up the ghost as his footpaws sprung outwards due to the air pressure within – painting themselves on as rough inflatable approximations of the real thing. His tail, too, didn’t escape the changes – inflating from base to tip as the fur softened and melted away into just more vinyl, seams popping up where the raccoon’s legs and tail met his increasingly rounded and hollow midsection.
“I mean, you did ask,” The rabbit offered, watching curiously as the wind began to gust again – this time, catching the raccoon off guard as it dragged him a few feet backwards, the lifting power of the balloons growing with each passing second as yet more of him turned to simple plastic and air!
Thinking quickly, he decided he’d simply untie the bundle before it was too late – and, glancing backwards to gauge where they were, realized two things.
The first being that the balloons were no longer tied to his belt – but instead neatly tied around both of the little plastic handles now sprouting from his lower back, soft and plasticine like an increasing amount of him now was.
The second, was that he had handles. Inflatable pooltoy handles, and, try as he might, he just couldn’t reach them.
“U-Uh, can you… help?” Chaotic managed to squeak out, watching his handpaws begin to swell into bappy inflatable mitts just as his footpaws had, arms swelling up until his shirt felt like it was held on by threads.
“With what?” The rabbit asked, amused.
The bunny wandered around to peek at the handles, just as the changes began to creep up to Chaotic’s neck – and, as his snout flattened out into a smiling, painted-on grin, the bunny giggled.
“…Nah, I think it suits you!”
Chaotic started to protest, but just as he began to grumble – the wind, once again, picked up.
This time, Chaotic’s paws skidded along the soft grass as the raccoon struggled to find purchase, eyes darting between the bunny and the sky in an attempt to communicate the problem – but if the plushie noticed, they didn’t say anything.
The helium in the balloons tugged and tugged as the wind blew, until, finally, Chaotic felt his paws leave the ground completely. An inch at first, then two – then six, a few feet!
For a moment, he almost got caught in the trees overhead – holding onto the branches for dear life, even as his paws squeaked and squirked against the branches without any dexterity or grip – until, with a mighty tug, the wind yanked him free.
“MMPH!” He called out, cheeks burning red even through vinyl – but he was simply too high up, too light.
Up into the early afternoon air he drifted, buffeted about by the wind as he listened to the bumps and squeaks of balloons and vibrations of strings, watching the green park below slowly recede as the sky opened up around him.
Far down below, watching the raccoon recede into the wild blue until there was little more than a dot, the bunny giggled – cupping their paws around their own snout.
“Have a nice flight!”
Thinking to themselves, they dug around in a pocket – and dropped a dollar on the spot the raccoon had been standing a few moments earlier.After all, they had gotten a balloon, right?