The Safety Balloon

Billy spent his days eating flies on the shores of the Amazon river. It was a good life – the flies were delicious and plentiful, and his friends and he could always find enough people to play capture the flag or build a fort of sticks. The only problem was the snakes. There were a lot of them, and all they wanted was to eat the frogs. And eat the frogs they did. Billy had had three of his friends eaten, and he was getting scared that he might be next. So his friends and him had a long meeting in the moonlight one night.

Three days later, Billy was hopping carelessly along the banks of the Amazon, when all of a sudden, as quick as a racer, a snake shot out of his hole and swallowed Billy in one huge gulp. But Billy was ready for this, and even as he was moving along the snake’s esophagus he kept his head. He counted one, two, three, and then he pulled the ripcord on the backpack he was wearing.

The nitrogen canister in the backpack inflated the safety balloon, and a big inflated tube rolled up and down the snake’s belly. It took Billy a while to wiggle out through the tube (it was a pretty tight fit), but wiggle out he did, and he stood beside the snake whose eyes were bugged out and whose body looked like a balloon animal.

“Take that, buddy,” Billy said, “And tell your snake friends that we’re all wearing airbag backpacks now. You’d better find something else to eat.”

Now the frogs spent their days without fear of the snakes, and if it had been a good life before, it was a great one now.

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Written on 3/12/16 at RMSC for a kid freshly inspired to invent

The Safety Balloon