Toons in a Balloon

By Sharan McQuack, Launchpad's wife.

Based loosely on "Balloon Swoon" (1)

It was Launchpad and mine's wedding anniversary and Launchpad arranged for our four kids to be babysat by my parents. Launchpad took me to our backyard where a hot-air balloon, and a picnic basket were waiting. (2) He also had a bouquet of roses for me.

"Roses for my rose of Sharan." Launchpad said.

"And a kiss for my wild Irish rose-hair." I replied, kissing him and musing his hair up.

"Quit making fun of my hair!' Launchpad replied.

"I LOVE your hair. I sometimes wish you'd lose the aviator's cap." I replied.

"Happy Anniversary. I have a surprise for you." Launchpad said.

Launchpad loosened the balloon's rope from it's tether. Just then, the wind picked up unexpectedly.

"Launchpad, dear!" I warned, concerned.

But Launchpad had a firm grip on the rope, and the rope was still wrapped around the tether. Launchpad ran up the ladder and into the basket, right beside me.

"Had you worried a minute there, didn't I?" Launchpad joked.

So I kissed him.

"We are going to have an adventure. We haven't had one together in awhile, what with the kids and all. So...if it's OK by you, I'm going to let go of this rope and let the balloon go where ever the wind takes us." Launchpad announced.

"Fine by me. I love adventuring with you. And the kids will be fine with my parents." I replied, kissing Launchpad.

"I'll be glad when the kids are older and we can take them along. Then we can go adventuring again more often." Launchpad replied.

"Now maybe you can forgive your Dad for "curing" you of your fear of heights the hard way. Your parents traveled from air show to air show and even if they could of left you behide, they did not want to." I said, knowing that was a sore spot between my Launchpad and his father.

"Yeah, I guess I can see why my Dad felt he had to do that. I always thought he just wanted me to be a pilot so bad, but now I see that he and mom didn't want to leave me behide, not even with my grandparents." Launchpad replied.

"There is no reason why we can't do this once in a while, you know. The kids are fine with my parents or your grandparents (3) or Mrs. Beakly. We can pay them back with free travel or with fresh vegetables from our garden" I said.

"True. Or, with my grandparents, I can get them to be guest pilots at my Dad's air show- mostly by doing that myself. But I like spending time with my own kids!" Launchpad answered.

For awhile, we just kissed and admired the view. There isn't room for much else in a hot air balloon. We flew aimlessly on.

"Should I get out my compass and figure out where we're going?" Launchpad offered.

"Nah. Let's get good and lost, enjoy the day and worry about that when it's time to go home." I replied, knowing that we weren't supposed to pick up the kids till tomorrow morning.

"This reminds me of the time Daisy hired me to pilot a hot air wanted to surprise Donald with a romantic balloon ride for his birthday. Donald saw us together...and you know his temper! He sort of jumped to conclusions..." Launchpad began.

"Donald screamed at you?" I asked.

"Donald TRIED to punch me..." Launchpad continued.

"Is he nuts? You're three times Donald's size! You could knock him so far down he'd have to reach UP to touch bottom!" I asked.

"Well, I pun intended...I knew Daisy is "his" girl, so I understood his anger..." Launchpad said.

"Good thing you're so good natured. What happened next?" I inquired.

"Daisy calmed him down by telling Donald about the surprise she had planned, even if she wasn't sure she still wanted to take him. She asked Donald why he was acting like an idiot.

Donald said: "Well, Launchpad is awfully good looking."

So I did a limp wrist act and said: "Why, Donald, I didn't know you cared..."

I cracked up.

"Anyway, Daisy and Donald kissed and made up and I flew them on their balloon ride and that was the end of it..." Launchpad finished.

We flew into a cloud bank and did not come out for quite some time. When we could see where we were going again, we were flying over a jungle!

"Where are we? Central America? South America?" I asked. "No, don't check. Let's land and get off and explore instead."

We landed in a small clearing. We were surrounded by jungle as far as we could see. Trees, plants...quiet, no "people".

We heard small animals in the trees around us, animals that hid from us. That meant they were prey, not predator and too small to hurt us- I hoped.
We caught glimpses of monkeys and colorful birds, but we had no clear look at them, besides, neither of us are zoologists who can know identify animals easily and know where they are by the animals who live there.

So Launchpad went back to the plane and took some exploring gear- including a good old-fashioned machete.

"I like low-tech solutions to problems." Launchpad said.

"They're quiet, energy-efficient and they actually WORK. Can't have THAT, can we? Have to come up with a noisy contraption that's better than making noise than anything else." I agreed.

Launchpad chuckled.

"What's so funny?" I asked.

"I was remembering when DW insisted I fly him to Central America so he could chase a crook who fled there. Don't ask ME why we didn't just leave him there where he was somebody ELSE'S problem." Launchpad began.

" We waded thur these high grasses, trying to find the guy. DW had this electronic machete device, you throw it and it cuts down the grass right in front of you. I TOLD him not to try it in the wild, naturally he insists on throwing the thing BECAUSE I told him not to." Launchpad continued.

" Guess what happened? A jungle cat of some kind (I didn't get a good look at it) jumps on him and almost kills him! That fool devise almost took the cat's head off, which somehow got it MAD!" Launchpad said. "I threw some catnip-soaked treat I had with me in one direction, picked DW up and ran in the opposite direction!" Launchpad laughed.

I laughed, too- glad that Launchpad was free from that fool.

We made our way deep into the jungle, looking for some sign of where we where. All we saw were trees, weeds and sometimes a glimpse of a bird or a monkey before it disappeared. Then we saw some sort of large building in the distance. It looked very old. As we got closer, we saw there was an entire ancient city up ahead. It as if it had been abandoned for centuries. No "people", trees growing right up to it.

However, in the city itself, the greenery looked trimmed and tended. There were pathways leading thur the city and they were completely clear. No sign of life except the occasional wild bird or monkey in the trees.

"This is kinda spooky." I said. "and Halloween is coming up."

Launchpad nodded, then pointed to a beautiful mural on a wall.

"It's Quiz...Quiz...the feathered serpent. I have trouble pronouncing his name." I said.

"Quetzalcoatl" Launchpad said, surprising me. "Hey, I spend lots of time south of the border. I've seen murals and statues of him all over the place. I got curious and I asked. I don't spend very much time in Greece or Rome. I seldom go there and when I do, it's usually drop off cargo, pick up cargo, off I go."

"Is this place Aztec or Mayan?" I asked.

"How should I know? You get confused between the Greece gods and their Roman equalivents! Think I can tell Aztec from Mayan?" Launchpad asked.

"Halt! Who goes there!" some guys dressed in robes asked.

"Oh Good! People! And you speak English?"Launchpad asked. "We come in peace!"

"You shouldn't be here at all! The place doesn't open until next week! And it's supposed to be a secret!" Top Guard said.

"What IS this place?" I asked."Where ARE we?"

"AztecMayan world. A new theme park.(4) Built on the outskirt of Duckburg! Seems Flintheart Glomgold planned to open this place, he found ancient ruins and had them moved here." Top Guard began.

"Good thing too. An earthquake came to one site, right after these ruins were moved, then a very bad storm hit where the other ruins had been. Flinty lost a lot of money due to the quake and the storm." Top Guard continued."I think Flinty counted on stealing gold or other valuables from the site, but if they HAD been such valuables, the quake and the storm destroyed or scattered them."

"Like Flinty wasn't mortified enough by accidently saving these ruins from destruction! Flinty doesn't like doing anything GOOD. Scrooge McDuck ended up buying the place for a song." Top Guard finished.

"I work for Mr. McDuck! We came by accident, by balloon. We'll be happy to leave." Launchpad said.

So we did. But we came back, next week, with Huey Dewey, Louie, Webby and Dufus and had fun on all the rides. While Mrs. Beakly babysat our kids (Too young to take along. Just babies.) Mr. McDuck had given us free passes in exchange for keeping our beaks shut for a week till the big surprise opening.

The End.

(1)Based on a scan from the inducks of :Italy: Personaggi Televisivi
Duck Tales avventure di paperi - TV Comic Magazine # 7

(2) How Disney mistook me for Daisy is beyond me. Sure, I'm a female duck there- but I have brown eyes and hair and usually wear blue jeans and a top, not dresses. I certainly HOPE Daisy is no more interested in Launchpad than I am in Donald.

As Launchpad mentioned, Donald did once hire Launchpad to take Donald and Daisy on a romantic balloon ride, so many Disney got the two separate incidences muddled?

(3) Remind me to tell you about Launchpad's grandparents one of these days.

(4)I swiped this idea from "The Found World" a DW story(Disney's Adventures, 1992) I previously rewrote/redrew as a Ducktales story for my own private amusement.