20. Sally's Balloon Shop
© Bruce Goodman 30 October 2013

Sally’s new shop sold balloons.It was her first business venture and her father had loaned her the money. It was big and bright and beautiful.

Birthday Balloons! Congratulations Balloons! Wedding Balloons! Party Balloons! Even black balloons for sombre occasions — and these, as it turned out, would be the most appropriate. For the truth is, on the first night of the first day the shop burned down. Sally’s bubble — so to speak — had burst.

Never mind, said her father. Start again. And so she did. It was a lot of work. But — worse than a fire is no fire at all. No one wanted balloons. Just the odd customer. Sally stood in her shop bright with colour and cried. Wept. Blubbered.

Balloons were out of fashion. Their day had come and gone. And she thought that because no one wanted balloons, no one wanted her. She’d tried. She’d done her best. Why should the man in the shop next door who sold leather for bondage be thriving? He wasn’t even a nice man.

So early one afternoon she shut shop and went home. She never married.

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