“Keep the ball pit steady, gentlemen. Maintain current heading.”
One woman looked up from her control panel. “All systems normal, sir. The children’s laughter cells are full.”
Richard Broomhandle smiled. “I knew it would hold. There’s no better way to keep kids having fun than a ball pit. This self-recharging laughter engine will keep us in the air for years, and in perfect silence.”
And they would need it, he thought as he looked out the bay window. Huge anti-aircraft guns glared up at him from the mountains below, whirring as their instruments scanned the skies. Behind them was the source of their pain, a grim stronghold built into the side of a mountain.
Richard stared right at it through the mesh grate, wading through hundreds of brightly-colored balls until he was closer. “That’s it, all right. That’s where they make all of those low-budget Halloween costumes.”
“You mean the ones that are just variants on prostitutes?”
He nodded, watching their approach. “Sexy Cheerleader, Sexy Cowgirl, Sexy Old Woman, Sexy Toilet, Sexy Drowned Corpse. They all come from that building, and that’s where we’re going to put an end to this.”
He pulled a radio from the console, clicking it on. “Are the non-safety scissors ready?”
Garbled laughter broke through the static. “They are, sir. Once we fire these babies at them, in a couple of months or so, someone down there will probably trip while holding a pair and accidentally cut himself up pretty bad. Might even need stitches.”
“That’s what I’m counting on.” He moved to put the radio back when the ship bucked from a sudden impact, the crew falling out of their seats since none of them wore any kind of seat belt. He knew he shouldn’t have only hired driving school failures!
One man got back to his monitor, looking at the screen. “It’s a jungle gym, sir! We’ve been spotted!”
Richard peered, his whole body growing cold when he looked at it. It was the largest jungle gym he’d even seen, having no less than seventeen slides, four rope bridges, and twenty plastic tunnels. And…
“Dear sandboxes above, they’ve got their own ball pit!”
He felt their forward thrust weakening as the radio squawked to life again. “I’m losing power! The kids are getting bored, and want to go to the better playground!”
“Set up a dodgeball match, quickly! Offer popsicles to the entire winning team if you have to, but keep us moving! That’s an order!”
He didn’t hear a response before another shot rang off the side of the ball pit, sending bits of shrapnel into the control room. Several crew members fell, their eyes covered with razor shards of potato, horror frozen on their faces.
“Don’t they know they can put someone’s eye out with those things!” Richard cried, leaping to the controls. “Hail the captain! This is butchery and madness! No one with any heart would use a potato gun on a ship filled with people!”
“You’re so, so right.” Came a voice from the main monitor.
A woman in the Sexy Cop outfit appeared on screen, the cheap blue fabric shirt buttoned down. “Surrender your playground, or be destroyed. We will not ask you twice.”
Richard threw off his uniform, revealing the homemade bushel of grapes costume he wore underneath. The purple balloons jiggled on his arm as he pointed toward her. “Never, temptress! We’ve all sworn to fight to the death against those who would crush the hopes and dreams of the homemade costume enthusiast! No amount of Sexy Hobo costumes can ever extinguish our passions!”
“I knew you would say that, Richard. Every year, you always wanted to do a couples costume, like twin babies or a two-person horse costume. You never understood that I wanted to wear a costume that made me look good, and not like I had a mental disorder. You will understand now, though.”
Richard smirked, his finger on the firing button for the lawn dart launchers. “I guess I will.”