I was just at the Verizon Wireless store downtown, which I find to be a depressing place because it's where I learn the cold, hard facts about the embarrassing number of text messages I send (319, somehow, in August). But as I was waiting for my turn at the counter, numbly reading the backs of Blackberry boxes, in walked none other than Mr. Balloons!

"Hi Steve," said the Verizon clerk.
"You can call me Mr. Balloons!" said Mr. Balloons. He had a large black bag full of thin balloons and a large black cape and large black top hat. Mr. Balloons, like us mortals, had to pay his cell phone bill. But unlike us, he could twist balloon animals while he waited. He's offered up balloon animals to the children at various outdoor festivals around town this summer. Maybe you've seen him.

This is one of the best photos Ive ever taken.
  • This is one of the best photos I've ever taken.

"What the kind of balloon do people want most?" I asked.
"Swords. Everybody wants a sword," said Mr. Balloons, twisting me an orange flower.
"What's the most popular animal?" I asked.
"Dragons. Dragons are a three balloon deal. They're big," said Mr. Balloons. "But I don't do them except for tips. Not unless the person tips $5 or more."
"I understand that, using three balloons must cost you more," I affirmed.
"How did you know I use three balloons?" asked Mr. Balloons, suspiciously.
"You just said it," I replied.
"Hm..." replied Mr. Balloons. He started twisting a poodle on a leash for the Verizon clerk.

"Thanks," said the Verizon clerk, handing the small pink poodle off to the manager. "Take this poodle on a leash for a walk."
"I'll need to bring along a plastic bag," joked the manager. THANKS MR. BALLOONS!!