Michael Sheehan

It might have been just a gust of wind or who knows really maybe a tornadic blast or something but the kids in the Bingo the Beagle Birthday or Other Occasion Bouncy Castle were just lifted up, castle and all, over the lawn and beyond the treeline and through the neighborhood and across the interstate and toward downtown where the castle hit the Bank of America building and was propelled — bounced — upward before pinballing back and forth between the construction-scaffolding that veils the façade of the future home of Pierce, Walker, and Klein and the specular architecture of One Park Center, the tony upper-end apartment complex — where “all our units are penthouses™” — before being catapulted even higher (the sounds of the children’s screams no longer audible at all) at which point the first tiny body was photographed — published the following day before the outcry had the photo removed from the Tribune’s website and both the photographer and editor fired (the editor’s house was later vandalized) — in an almost acrobatic position of fall-flight, reminiscent of little Tiare Jones in “Fire Escape Collapse,” and thereafter things got worse as the bouncy castle (which had taken flight filled with fourteen children, all between the ages of five and nine) was caught by maybe an updraft or some wind current and began a fairly steep climb out over the lake where commercial shipping freighters laden with particolored crates — China Shipping, Ohio Lines, Global Shipping, TransAmerica — witnessed and tracked the now-turbulent dips and rises of the bouncy castle and its (presumed) passengers as they were buffeted by the uneven lake winds, at high altitude, headed now across the lake far below and out toward the stateline — all attempts to marshal any rescue response had faltered as the castle’s bouncy flight had come about so rapidly and shifted course so dramatically — from the suburbs to the city to the lake and now