(Published in Black Moon Magazine, January 2023, ed. by Sam Campbell)
“Welcome to Balloony Tunes™”
by Victor De Anda
Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you’ve got what it takes to become a costumed character and balloon messenger for our fun-filled organization! We’re so happy that you decided to join our family!
Before your first day on the job, here are some ground rules that you should keep in mind as a representative of Balloony Tunes™:
1. While our costumes bear a striking resemblance to copyrighted characters, you must never refer to them by their popular names. Our purple dinosaur, for example, is named “Arney,” he is never called “Barney.”
This is for legal reasons, of course, and we hope you will comply. Failure to do so will result in a “strike” against you. Three of these infractions and you will be summarily dismissed.
2. Speaking of outfits, they are not yours to keep, they are company property and cost us a lot of money. Please treat them as you would your own belongings. Any loss or theft of your costume(s) will result in a garnishment of your wages.
Clothing must be worn underneath your costume(s) at all times. “Going commando” while in character is unacceptable and will result in immediate termination. The last thing we need are any “accidents” or bodily fluids soiling our costumes. This happens more often than you think. We do our best to keep them clean and odor-free and trust that you will, too.
3. Under no circumstances should you partake in illegal drugs of any kind while performing as a costumed character at a party. This would be ill-advised. Doing so may result in your senses becoming altered and/or feelings of expanded consciousness. Other possible side effects might include you forgetting the words to the “Birthday Song,” an impeachable offense which will result in a discharge with no chance for appeal.
4. Here at Balloony Tunes,™ we pride ourselves on customer satisfaction. We aim to please both parents and children with our entertainment services. You should remain diplomatic in any situation, no matter how much little Debbie and her tiara-wearing groupies are acting like assholes at her princess party. Ignore the drug-induced voices inside your head and finish out the job.
Do not scold, yell at, or threaten any child, even if they’ve called you names, spit on you, or kicked you repeatedly in the groin. Retaliating against a child by spanking them or slapping them on the hand is strictly forbidden. Doing so will result in dismissal and likely assault charges.
5. The same goes for the parents of the entitled child. You should never raise your voice to an angry mother or father, no matter how much they complain about your singing or dancing “style.”
Sarcastic comebacks from you will not be tolerated either, even if said parents scream at you for being high on “something” and fucking up their little Debbie’s princess party. Under no circumstances are you to push, shove, or punch any client in the face, no matter how much they berate you for being a drug-addicted loser with a Philosophy degree. Breaking this rule will result in termination and police charges, no doubt.
6. Any lewd or sexual acts performed while on Balloony Duty™ are also strictly off-limits. No matter how much little Debbie’s insanely attractive mother laments her failed marriage and begs you to “light her fire” while igniting the birthday candles. Just excuse yourself and finish out the party, even if little Debbie’s mother repeatedly asks you to accompany her to the restroom to see if there’s “something in her eye.” Any fraternizing with clients will result in immediate dismissal and decency charges, surely.
7. Consuming food or drink at any event is also strictly off limits to all Balloony Tunes™ employees. Kindly thank your party host for the offer and decline, no matter how much the drugs you’ve taken are telling you to do otherwise. Even if little Debbie’s ruggedly handsome father crams a slice of birthday cake in the crotch of his Bermuda shorts and implores you to act like a pirate and dig for buried treasure. I think you understand what will happen next should you break this rule.
8. Customers’ swimming pools and jacuzzis are for party guests only. As a Balloony Tunes™ employee, please respectfully decline any invitation to join customers for “a quick dip” in the pool and finish out the party, regardless if you’re “tripping balls” by this point. Not only will the water damage your costume, it could get very heavy and increase the chances of you drowning, for which we at Balloony Tunes™ hold no liability.
9. Should you get arrested by the authorities at a party for committing any of the aforementioned offenses, Balloony Tunes™ holds no responsibility for paying any bail amounts. This is non-negotiable, no matter how crazed your drug-induced nightmare has become. Any tirades made by you about your impending divorce, your loss of child custody, or your current economic situation will be ignored and result in termination.
10. One last thing—under no circumstances will we accept any collect phone calls should you be arrested for committing any of the offenses listed above. If things escalate to this point, you will be considered persona non grata. That about does it for the guidelines here at Balloony Tunes.™ Again, welcome to the family. Remember, our job is to bring happiness to people everywhere. Your own happiness, however, is not our concern.