Soap Bubbles

Jordan and his dad were playing with bubbles out on the lawn. Dad had a pie plate and a bent coat hanger and was making giant bubbles.   It was amazing.

“Pop them before they hit the ground. Hurry!” Dad said.

It was hard to get to them in time before they popped themselves. “Stop making them so close to the ground,” Jordan said. He was getting a little tired of running round.   “Let me try. It’s my turn,” he said.

It was harder than it looked. He finally figured out a slow wrist turn and flick that worked. Dad stood really close and popped the bubble before Jordan had a chance to admire it. “That’s cheating, Dad,” Jordan said. “You need to stand farther away. Wait to pop them until they’re really close to the ground.”

He stood on a chair and turned and flicked the soapy hanger. The bubbles got bigger and bigger. “How are you doing that, Jordan?” Dad asked.

“I don’t know,” Jordan said. “Practice, maybe?”

“Maybe I should take a picture,” Dad said.

“Watch this one,” Jordan said. He hummed a tune and did an extra fancy move with his arm and wrist. The bubble was huge.

“Wow,” Dad said. “I can’t believe it.” The bubble started sinking and Dad reached out his finger. “May I?” he asked.

“Pop it,” Jordan said.

Dad poked the bubble. It didn’t pop. Instead, with a quiet slurp, it sucked him inside and started floating away.

“But that’s impossible,” Jordan said. He started to chase the bubble and almost reached out to touch it, then jerked his hand back. No, that was a bad idea. He ran into the house.

“Mom!” he yelled. “Dad needs help. Hurry! Bring the car keys!”

Mom raced down the stairs in her slippers and bathrobe, clutching her purse.   Her hair was wet and plastered to her head funny. “What happened?” she asked.

“Follow me,” Jordan said. He ran out the door. Mom followed.

“We need to rescue Dad,” Jordan said. He opened the car door and sat down. Mom was buckled in before he was.

“Where do we need to go?” she asked.

“That way,” Jordan said. He pointed the direction the bubble was headed when he ran inside.

Mom drove that way. Once they were headed down the street, she asked, “Jordan, what happened?”

“Turn here,” Jordan said.

Mom turned. “Jordan…” she began. She stopped talking. There, ahead of them floating ten feet in the air, was the giant bubble. Dad looked alarmed. “How did that happen?” Mom asked.

“I don’t know,” Jordan said. He waved at Dad, to maybe help him relax a bit.

“But it’s impossible,” Mom said.

They followed Dad’s bubble as it floated over the neighborhood.   Sometimes it floated across people’s backyards and they had to hurry around the corner to catch up. Twice it doubled back and Mom had to make a quick U-turn. Mom was able to follow him without hesitating. It felt like they were in a racecar.

The wind grew stronger and Dad’s bubble started to float higher. “Oh no,” Mom said. Dad had both hands braced against the sides of the bubble and his eyes looked large and bright.

Mom raced to catch up, barely stopping for the stop signs. Dad barely missed some power lines, floating over them at the last minute. Mom’s fingers were white on the steering wheel.

They turned another corner. “Mom, look,” Jordan said. Dad’s bubble was headed straight for the tallest tree in the neighborhood. It was probably four or five stories tall and dwarfed everything around it. Dad’s bubble collided with it somewhere around its middle.

The bubble popped.

Dad managed to grab a branch and wrap himself around it. The branch shook. Mom pulled the car over, parked, and jumped out. She didn’t even stop to close the door. Jordan turned off the car, pulled out the keys, and shut the doors.

Dad was facing the wrong way to climb down. He tried to sit up, and the branch made an ominous creaking sound.   “Don’t move. I’m calling the fire department,” Mom said.

Mom called, and then she stared very hard at the road like she was trying to use magic to make the fire truck come faster. Even in her bathrobe and slippers she looked a little scary.   Jordan looked up at Dad. Dad looked like he was uncomfortable and maybe felt a little sick.

“Dad, I don’t want to play with bubbles ever again,” he said, loud enough for Dad to hear.

“Never again,” Dad yelled back.