Maurice Nigaud lay dying; sun burnt, starving and dehydrated. He was sandwiched between blue sky and bluer sea. His food rations were nothing more than a sweet memory and his water long since evaporated along with all possibility of survival.
Maurice had always dreamed of doing something great; to list himself in the archives of the human race, becoming immortal.
His first endeavor was to cross the English Channel using no hands, but when he plunged into the ocean he lasted a hundred metres. The water was freezing, jellyfish were abundant and he was under shock before the murky bay water subsided into the clear ocean blue.
He had then attempted to scale Everest alone. No teams, no guides, no companions. Hypothermia got him and had it not been for the satellite phone his friends had convinced him in taking, his corpse would still be there today, not-decomposing in some frozen crevasse.
The third project Maurice tried his hands at was crossing the Atlantic in a rowing boat. Albeit the fact that the Vikings had already achieved that feat millennia before his ancestral line was even an itch in humanity’s loins, his friends did manage to persuade him that it would in fact be suicide.
It was now the fourth undertaking that Maurice was attempting. On November 1st he took off from New Zealand in a race to cross the Pacific in hot air balloons. Two weeks were schedule for all the contestants to land in Chile where medical aid and the world would be waiting. But after five weeks Maurice’s balloon was hovering, losing hot air faster than his body was losing sweat.
Maurice bitterly remembered the taste of a memory; the excitement and glory that had filled his lungs when the sound of the shotgun reverberated and three hundred air balloons cut their chords and floated up like dandelion seeds riding on the breeze, the cheers fading, silence slowly conquering Maurice’s world. Of course, he was alone in his balloon, and thus striving to be the first man to cross the Pacific solo.
What being alone had achieved Maurice so far though was getting him lost when his GPS malfunctioned. His navigation-by-the-stars skills were as foreign to him as ancient Greek and thus Maurice lay dying. His balloon dropped so low that the dangling rope graced the water surface; making ripples that crisscrossed those produced by the circulating fins following his shadow.
It was then that Maurice heard a whining sound approaching. He concocted inhuman strength and fired a flare gun; a useless effort considering that it was broad daylight and his balloon was a bright red blotch in the middle of the blue plane.
Maurice was rescued while grazing the International Date Line off the territorial waters of Japan and with that he was remembered. The news feed from his rescue scored the most viewed Fail Compilation video on You Tube since the invention of the internet.
I have written this in response to the Write at the Merge: Week 2 photo prompt challenge. Technically it is both a photo and a song prompt, but check out the link and you’ll see. This is the first time I’ve participated in this challenge and I’ve really enjoyed it; so there will be more!
I will put a disclaimer here though. Everything written above is completely fiction. I did not check the Guinness Book of Records for previously completed feats, so it could be that some of the projects mentioned here might have been attempted at some point or other – no judgements. Neither did I check if a Maurice Nigaud actually exists; although I doubt he does. I just started writing and waited to see where it got me… I hope you enjoyed the story as much as I enjoyed writing it 🙂