Big Things come in Little Packages
The afternoon presents no enjoyment for Marie. She sighs and leans back against the wooden fencepost. Her last exploit has left her drained, devoid of any emotion. Again, she sighs, and goes to wander home.
And she stops.
She pauses, a figure catching her eye from across the street. An odd figure, she thinks.
Walking along, doing nothing in particular, Ziggy enjoys the sun shine.
Intently she watches. She has never before seen such a critter. The fennec is short, perhaps abnormally, less than three feet. He wears a loose green shirt and tiny blue pants held on by a tight brown belt. His cute satellite dish ears being a notable feature about him.
Marie blinks, fascinated.
Ziggy walks on, sun warms his back. A sudden chill has him holding his arms for warmth, a looming shadow like a devil stretches before him.
He gulps, and turns around.
“Oh, I’m sorry.” Marie giggles girlishly, waving down at the fennec from above. She puts on her best friendly smile. “I didn’t mean to startle you. I’m just interested in you.”
Ziggy blinks and looks up at her like ‘What?’
She bends down onto the pavement. He backs away.
“Oh don’t be like that,” Marie pouts, reaching out to him. “I just want to get to know you.”
Again, he blinks. “Um....okay?”
Her hand reaches for him. He shakes nervously. It rests upon his head, patting him lightly, rubbing the hair gently. It is a nice caress.
“Don’t be frightened,” her voice melts into him, soothingly carrying away all dread. “I’d never want to hurt such a cutie. You are so adorable.”
Unprepared for a positive opinion, Ziggy blushes.
Marie pleasantly laughs, noticing his rouge complexion.
“Cutie, I know we just met, but can I ask you for some help?”
Ziggy stares open eyed. “You don’t need anything lifted off a high shelf do you?”
She tries not to laugh so hard as to frighten him, yet her bemused chuckling does unsettle him more than greatly.
She sets her hand on his shoulder.
“No, dear, I don’t mean that kind of help.” Marie pauses, rising up back to stand. “No. I need you to help me prepare for a party. And of course you’ll be invited too.”
Ziggy grins sheepishly. “What do you need me to do?”
“Come with me and I’ll show you.” Marie begins walking back to her place. Her movement is slow. She does not want anything happening to the fennec. She has BIG plans for him.
It is a rural house, painted pink and square in design. A white picket fence surrounds a clean cut green lawn. She leads him down the concrete walk up to her door. The door is unlocked, easily opened with a gentle turn of the knob.
“Here we are,” she calls out, opening the front door and entering quickly. “This is my home.”
Ziggy peers in. Bright colors assail his vision, nearly blinding him. Rubbing his eyes, his vision clears. He now sees the houses interior.
The hall is directly before them, separating the livingroom from the kitchen. Off to the left is the kitchen, a bland white expanse of tile. To the right is a funky living quarter, full of retro furniture and rainbow colors.
He hesitates to step inside.
“Come on in,” Marie insists, taking him by the paw and leading him onto the carpet. She shuts the door afterward. “There, now isn’t that.....?”
Ziggy shivers slightly, mumbling his worries under breath.
She sighs. He is such a child.
A child, she thinks, rushing off into the kitchen. “I’ll be right back darling. Don’t go anywhere. Although, you probably can’t reach the doorknob anyway.”
Sceptically, he gazes up to the doorknob, noting it might be difficult to turn it.
She taps him on the shoulder.
“MEEP,” he cries.
“Whoa, whoa, settle down cutie.” Marie smiles gently. “Here, I got you something from the kitchen.” She reveals in her paw a chocolate chip cookie.
Ziggy stares at the cookie hungrily.
“You can have it.” she hands him the cookie, taking pleasure when he begins to nibble. Her laughter rings through the house, surprisingly he doesn’t seem to care.
He finishes the treat rather quickly, emitting a near silent belch afterwards.
Marie pats him on the head. “Sweetie, remember what I said earlier, about that party and needing your help in a certain matter?”
Ziggy slowly nods.
“Well you see even though I’m big, I take very short breaths.” Marie walks into the livingroom, leading him to a box on the floor. She bends down, seating herself next to the box. “But you see,” and she opens the box, revealing many deflated balloons. “I love party decorations. I want you to help me blow these up, as many as you can.”
Initially he is confused, even though the question is simple. He wonders why she asked him. Wouldn’t it have been smarter to ask a larger man with large lungs? Regardless, she is a very kind furson, if a bit creepy. What could it hurt to help?
“Okay, I’ll help.” Ziggy says, a small smile shining. He seats himself beside the box, opposite from her.
“Thanks.” She plucks a tiny, yellow balloon out from the box, handing it to him. “Start with this one sweetie.”
He grimaces. “I can do a bigger one then that.” His eyes scan the boxes insides. There, among the tiny limp sacs, is a perfectly large red one. He picks it up.
“Oh,” Marie gasps as he places it to his lips. “Sweetie, I think that one’s too big for you.”
“I can do it.” Ziggy protests. He places the mouth of the balloon to his muzzle, lips ready to blow. He inhales through his nose, a deep breath. The balloon touches his lips, and he exhales. For the first few seconds his cheeks turn a darker shade, as if he strains. She almost plucks it from his grasp, but as she does the balloon slowly inflates.
His breath continues on, the large red toy filling inside. Seeing it inflate is stimulating. He wants to blow it bigger. He inhales again, pausing only when he spots the hare blinking at him. The look on her face is enough to laugh at, cockeyed and shocked. Pressing the balloon to his lips again, he exhales a far larger breath.
The balloon visibly swells larger, squeaking with internal pressure. Ziggy presses on as his efforts are rewarded.
Marie smiles, her lips spread far apart. She can’t take her eyes off the sight of the beautiful balloon getting bigger and bigger. She never dreamed he could make it that big.
A red sphere soon blocks out his face from her sight. He gasps for air, his paw holding the balloon tie shut. It is two feet round, very shiny, glinting in the light from the livingroom window. Proud of himself, he shows her his work.
“How’s that?” he asks.
She claps her hands giddily. “Cutie, that’s wonderful. Why, it’s the biggest balloon I’ve ever seen. It’s perfect.”
She reaches into the box, pulling out a very large green balloon. “Here, I want you to blow this one up next.” Her hand passes him the limp latex, while her other takes his already fully inflated balloon away to tie off.
He stares at the floppy toy in his paw. It is rather huge, even deflated it is two feet round.
“Is something wrong?”
Her question startles him. The balloon he holds might be too big for him. But he doesn’t want to say so. He doesn’t want to her to feel disappointed.
“Um, no,” Ziggy squeaks, “I’m just catching my breath.”
She seems to buy his fib. “Okay cutie. Take your time. I’ll help you okay?” her hands find a suitable toy, a medium size blue balloon. Her eyes gaze at the small fennec. The tie is tightly pressed to her full lips. She inhales a deep swelling breath. At the moment she exhales a loud squeak rings through the room. Latex surges forward, its skin rapidly filling with air, reaching capacity within seconds.
She gasps, giggling afterward. Quickly, she ties off the balloon. Then she bops it, sending it into the air. Eventually it drifts down to the carpet.
“You do this faster than I do.” Ziggy looks at his one blown-up toy, and how small it is compared to hers.
“Don’t worry about it.” Marie assures him, handpicking another medium size balloon out of the box. “You just blow that one balloon up for me, kay.”
She begins to blow into her second balloon.
He frowns slightly, worrying if he can do what she asks. The balloon is so big. Can he blow it up all the way?
He hopes so, bringing the tie to his lips.
The first puff is always the hardest, and the most disappointing. He exhales as hard as he can, but it doesn’t seem to affect the balloon. It makes him mad. He wants it bigger, like hers. Inhaling a huge breath that hurts his lungs, he blows into the toy. A good squeak is heard this time. Green latex takes off with a whoosh.
By the time his breath ends he’s left gasping. The balloon is a quarter of the way full.
Marie bops her second toy to the carpet. She laughs at his gasping. His poor face flushed. “Sorry sweetie. Maybe I did give you one too big. I can finish it for you if you like.”
“N...Nah,” Ziggy inhales into himself just to keep from hyperventilating. “I...I can....can do it.”
She pats him on the shoulder. “I’m Marie by the way, Marie Bunboe. And who are you cutie?”
“My names Ziggy.”
“Nice to meet you, Ziggy.” She takes out another balloon. “Keep blowing. My guests will arrive in a half hour or so. But no pressure to hurry. We only have about forty of those big ones left.”
His eyes widen. “F-Forty, did you say?”
“Yes, hun. Forty big ones left.”
Ziggy begins to sweat. He doesn’t want to quit, but so many balloons. He can’t possibly blow anymore large ones up. The one in his paws is barely full. How can he fill forty balloons?
His grip weakens. The balloon accidentally is released, spinning in the air a moment before taking off, flying into the room.
“Whoops,” he cries out, dashing up to snatch it. Unfortunately the balloon is too quick, easily avoiding his paws. He takes empty air while trying to catch it.
With the last of the air out, it falls to the ground before Marie, completely deflated.
“Oh,” she pouts, “you let it go, cutie.”
“Sorry.” Ziggy apologizes, sitting down in front of her again. He picks up the deflated sac from the carpet, bringing it back to his lips.
“Wait a sec, sweetie,” she catches him right as he inhales. “I have a better idea than blowing one balloon up at a time.”
“Oh,” his look is inquisitive.
She giggles while rising to her feet. “Follow me outside to the backyard. You’ll see my plan. It should make all my guests happy.”
He gets to his feet, following her through the livingroom into a small parlour. Two ornate wooden doors open into the backyard; a vast enclosure surrounded by a wooden fence like the one in the front, only this one is ten feet high and restricts the backyard from the front.
She leads him aside onto the patio while she shuts the door, secretly locking it.
“Over there,” her finger points to the center of the enclosure.
His eyes succeed her finger, squinting off into the distance. He can’t exactly make out the shape, but it looks to be an oval of some sort, standing erect in the middle of the yard.
Curiously he decides to investigate.
Marie watches him rush into the yard. How quaint, she thinks, he’s doing the legwork for me.
Ziggy stops. He is directly in front of a metal propane canister, one used to heat a house. He sees small lettering, and leans in. On closer inspection, he finds a different gas labelled on the side of the tank. The label reads: Helium.
Puzzled, he looks round for the corresponding balloon. That is what she wants right? She wants help in blowing up balloons? But try as he might to find one, he can’t seem to spot a balloon of that calibre lying around, or any balloon for that matter.
Her hand comes down on his shoulder, digging in and holding him tightly.
He blinks, gazing up. “Eeep,” he squeaks, noting her blood red eyes staring down at him.
“I’m so glad I found you little fennec.” Marie places her other hand on his opposite shoulder, it too squeezes and holds him down. “I was very distraught earlier. You see I host a special party for the neighbourhood each year. Everyone around here just loves balloons. But this year I was in a fix. Only a few furs ever volunteer to be my party balloon. I am so glad I found you. So very glad indeed.”
“W-Wait,” Ziggy shouts, “what are you talking about?”
“You’ll see.” She says, pushing him from behind. They are walking towards the back of the tank.
His mind slowly starts to put together the pieces. Of course, a sane furson would never have believed her words truthfully. But he seriously has worries as she keeps on pushing him closer and closer to the tank. She can’t be serious. She really mustn’t be serious? And then it dawns on him that she is dead serious.
He squirms in her grasp. “L-Let me go! Let me go! You’re nuts, lady.”
She keeps a firm grip on her prey. “Don’t worry. I promise it doesn’t hurt. At least no one’s ever complained.” A pause, “Of course no one’s ever come back to complain.”
They stop directly in back of the tank. A long black hose is wrapped round a post nearby, thick and silently hissing.
“Did I leave that thing on all day?” She leans over, reading the pressure gauge. “Oh, goodness. I must have forgotten to shut this thing off after playtime yesterday. Well, there should be just enough to send you into the air.”
“Into the air?!” Ziggy shouts. “Meep.”
She picks up the hose and shoves it into his complaining mouth. He begins to gag, so she uses one hand to gently rub his throat. The gagging ceases in a moment, allowing the helium to zoom down his esophagus.
“There we go. Now you be a good boy and behave. Guests should be arriving any time now.”
Ziggy struggles against her, never letting up, even when his shirt grows uncomfortable. His eyes fall down upon his shirt. A great muffled cry of surprise is heard. His usually baggy green tee is riding up. The cause of this, his swelling belly.
“How cute.” Marie laughs as he continues to struggle.
The helium rushes into his belly, filling it up fast. His chest expands to compensate for the lack of room. As it does he can feel the gas reach other parts of him. It tries to find any escape from his body.
His belly grows increasingly larger, rounder even. Soft, plush fur squeaks as it inflates. She reaches down and gives a gentle pinch to his tum. It squeaks louder.
The tight brown belt around his waist is forced down by the expanding belly. This presents a problem as his thighs puff up, the belt chaffing him.
“Is that hurting you, sweetie?” she reaches down, undoing the clasp on his belt. The clasp flings off into the backyard with a ‘ping’.
His belly freely bloats forward. The squeaking truly reaches an audible level.
“Don’t tell me your full alre......” Marie is interrupted by a sudden swelling in his arms and legs that tears open the seams on his clothes. Another muffled cry is heard, but his struggling crawls to a standstill. The bloating appendages force him to near immobility. It is extremely difficult to move any part of him, though he tries, wiggling fingers and toes.
His shirt tears open at the sides, bulges of fur expanding into the gaps. With a series of loud explosions, his blue pants burst off his thighs, lying as tatters on the ground.
The sight stuns her. She can’t help but wonder what will happen next.
His squeaking belly is joined in chorus by that of his arms and legs. A certain rubbery look comes over him. His body shimmers in the warm afternoon sun.
Pressure abounds inside his gorging paunch, swirling round until it can breach other parts. This revolving motion catapults the gas to bloat out his hindquarters. As odd as it may sound, for such a tiny critter, he doesn’t seem to be slowing down in inflation.
Ziggy cannot move. His belly is growing so large, like a beachball. Constantly his midsection sounds like the balloon he blew up in the livingroom. It encompasses so much of his small form that his appendages gradually sink into the beige sphere, only his head and tail seem immune to this effect. With a lasting clap, his shirt rips free, nothing but loose threads remain of it.
His tail, swinging from the onslaught of helium, slows until stopping. The swelling effectively blimps it into an oval balloon attachment sticking out from the rear-end of the sphere.
Roughly ten feet in width, he wobbles on his tumid centre. He makes for an exceptionally buoyant toy.
Marie is so enthused by his continuing expansion. She runs up and gives him a pleasantly tight embrace.
Shouting from the surprise, Ziggy feels his fat body fold over her arms. Her embrace frightens him. It tightens his expanding body.
“You are so CUTE.” She giggles, squeezing him tighter. His skin creaks. “Oops,” she lessens her hug to a purely light level. “Hehe, wouldn’t want to end things too early.”
Her ears perk up. She bounds out of the embrace, scrambling back to the house. “I’ll be right back, sweetie. I think I hear the doorbell.”
The evening commences with an orchestrated band playing classical tunes. A dining table set aside, caters to the snacking needs of the guests. Twenty or so odd fursons and a human or two converse round the patio. There is dancing on the lawn, and of course games to be had. Balloons have been arranged on the high fence. At their leisure guests can step up to a designated line and chuck a dart at a balloon. A prize is won if you popped the highest one.
Marie wears a sequin white gown, lined with gold thread. She wanders round the grounds, making sure each guest had absolute fun. She likes her partiers happy.
But she wants one in particular to be happy above all else.
Ziggy has given up struggling. His limbs long since useless, are drawn into his spherical body. Only his head and tail remain to remind anyone that it is a furson floating above their heads.
He is blown in the cool night breeze, shivering, even though the temperature is well above the freezing mark.
“How you doing up there, cutie?” Marie calls.
She hears a small Meep, and laughs.
Overall, she is impressed with his size. After she had left to answer the door he continued growing out, getting rounder and far larger than ever expected. The tank had not finished with the fennec, much to her glee. The flow had been off for hours now, but that would soon be remedied.
“Bunboe,” a white male, long black hair and silver glasses approaches her. He is skinny and clad in a physician’s uniform. “Splendid, absolutely splendid. I do enjoy these social get-togethers.”
“I’m glad your impressed, Andrй.” Marie glances over her shoulder to the fennec balloon. “I was actually afraid you and the board would disapprove.”
“Quite true.” He stares at the balloon. “However, my report will state you have been doing exceptional work for DAK. Make no mistake, Marie. Your support is well received and will be well rewarded. And as for this....airhead, well, I’ll personally enjoy seeing the end result.”
A raccoon with blueberry shade fur approaches the two conversing.
“Harvey, baby,” she takes him into a hug, squeezing him till he squeaks. “Ooh, you’ve been eating well, hun. Getting a tad full of yourself.”
“Heh, well, I sit on my butt most of the day.” Harvey gazes up. “Well, I can’t say I’m glad for the poor fellow. I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of this sort of thing. But I say he sure did get big for such a twerp.”
“Harvey,” she slaps his shoulder. “Talk nice about our guest. He won’t be here long after all.”
From up above Ziggy hears the conversation, and doesn’t like how everyone keeps mentioning a departure on his part.
“Gather round everyone,” Marie waves her arms, ushering the many adoring people to come and witness her handiwork. “We are gathered here tonight for a special occasion. This fine specimen is Ziggy. We met just earlier today. Now he’s a little shy and apprehensive....”
“Who wouldn’t be?!”
“Harvey, put down that champagne. You get drunk too easily.”
Marie clears her throat. “As I was saying, tonight is special and I hope we all make Ziggy feel welcome. You all know, at least you men know, how I operate. So let us take a moment to reflect on the good Ziggy has done for us.”
Bowing their heads, each and every single furson and person takes a few seconds out from their lives to wish their balloon a fond farewell.
“Alright,” she shouts, “a toast as we cap off the nights celebration.”
They all raise their glasses.
Marie reaches down to the nozzle on the tank, twisting it on.
A loud hissing startles Ziggy, both ears perking up. He shouldn’t be startled. He knows this as again his body fills with helium.
Before he had been roughly twenty feet in width, a veritable dirigible of beige fur. But that was with a low tank. Marie had since refilled it for the evening, and the gas was on full blast.
His poor blown out body creaks with the barrage going on. His fur stretches, the skin underneath beginning to show under. His body is less fur than sheen, glimmering in the moonlight.
Inside his mind he has already come to the conclusion, the ending of his ill-fated meeting with the hare. Outside eternity awaits, the creaking of his body as it encompasses the span of twenty five feet in girth, thirty feet, and pushing for another ten feet. Full ballooned cheeks blush red with the mass load of helium.
He rises further and further into the air, his portly definition turning upside down. The hose is the only thing keeping him from floating off into the sky.
The partygoers cheer for their ever expanding balloon. Hands clap to a distinctive tune, one that says ‘Pop’.
Nearing the end his body surpasses fifty feet, reaching an impressive seventy in diameter. The helium almost runs dry, gas blazing through the hose and into his mouth so speedily. That grand beige bubble shines brightly in the night sky above the backyard.
On the ground revellers are caught in the wake of rapture. Their eyes are captivated by the voluminous toy, reaching up into the stars. A few gasp in awe, others stop breathing all together.
She too is captivated. Only the creaking of his skin calls her back to her senses.
“I think it’s almost time.” Marie triumphantly calls out over the creaking of the balloon. “Three cheers for the best balloon we’ve ever had.”
He feels it coming. The skin tightens, no longer a creaking but a deep booming groan radiates across his hide.
“Hip, hip, Hooray!” The crowd breaths in the excitement, however, every member takes a few cautionary steps back.
His breathing erratically quickens. His flushed face turns a bright, beet red.
“Hip, hip, Hooray!” Another few steps back. Every set of eyes stares at him. They’ve never seen such a marvellous toy. But he has surpassed every other ever seen. Is this possible? By Marie’s description he was not but two feet or so high. How can such a squirt reach impeccable heights?
Marie unwinds the hose, allowing the balloon to ascend into the sky.
The helium’s pace slows. His skin refuses to take the abuse. It groans so loudly that the cheering below him is blocked from his ears.
“Hip, hip, Hooray!” Eyes blink. His rate of growth is monumental. Their minds are baffled, even frightened by how large the fennec has blown. Can it be he is unique? Some random mutation of nature or science? And his body shimmers so oddly. What is this?
Up in the night sky a beautiful translucent bubble covers the ground below in an ominous shadow. Crystalline moonlight shines through its taut hide, casting a soft pale glow on the revellers.
By now many of the guests have fallen silent. The most prudent question on their mind is just how much bigger their balloon will get?
Ziggy clenches all of his body, hoping he can hold out until the gas stops. His cheeks puff out, allowing a little room for the gas to grow, but not much. He holds onto his body for his life.
Pressure forces him to cry out as a long white mark flashes across his bulbous belly. His eyes open wide in realization. That is a stretch mark, a mean looking stretch mark.
For the last time that night there is a fiercely loud groan, and the balloon up in the sky harkens to its call.....
Down below the revellers fall flat on their backs. The mighty shockwave blasts them to the lawn. All are surprised, stunned by the explosion.
Marie rises to her feet.
In the air around her she finds small tuffs of beige fur. They glide gently down, falling on the neighbourhood like snow.
“Well,” Andrй speaks up, “quite impressive I must say. Well done everyone. Till next year, thank you Marie for a most entertaining evening.”
A resounding applause of many hands has her blushing. Marie bows, taking in the splendour of the evening.