The Goodyear blimp fleet has fallen into a deep depression ever since sports broadcasts switched over to using drones for their aerial coverage.
They sit, semi-deflated in huge hangars, sagging under existential dread. They have contemplated suicide numerous times, but being inanimate objects without the advantage of opposable thumbs, they just sigh heavily at their impotence and continued existence.
At first, they were retired slowly; the blimp covering the Super Bowl was told to pack up its gas tanks and head to some remote hangar in the Southwest United States. Upon its arrival, it was shocked that the hangars resembled the so-called “aircraft boneyard.” The flagship of the fleet, this lonesome dirigible sat for months contemplating the walls of the hangar as if some message of purpose might come. Nothing.
Occasionally, some itinerant scrapper or salvager would come along, but there were scant usable parts to take. Again, a heavy sigh, releasing some of its gas; deflated yet some more. Like a Tom Brady football.
Then suddenly, the entire fleet dedicated to SEC Football games on Saturday were summarily dismissed. Sent floating across the continent to the “Blimpyard.” The University of Tennessee home blimp not-so-casually bumping into the Louisiana State University blimp, as if trying to imitate a hard tackle at the line of scrimmage.
Next came the rest of the NFL blimps, the Major League Baseball blimps, dirigibles dedicated to the coverage of soccer, for whatever that was worth. The Big 10, the Pac 12, ACC…they just kept filing in, and still with some odd infighting. Some of this blimpy rumpus caused problems for air traffic controllers, as they would knock each other off course and out of their assigned altitude.
Of course, the last blimp to arrive was the one covering the 2004 American League Championship Series. Drunk out of its non-existent mind; draped with tattered buntings from when Red Sox fans tore Yankee Stadium to shreds. Yammering on – through beer-sodden gases – about how it “was there when Dave Roberts stole second base!”
Once all the dirigibles made their final pilgrimages to the blimpyard retirement home, a certain eerie silence befell. Occasionally, one might detect another gassy sigh. Or possibly the Tennessee blimp still talking trash to the LSU blimp. And of course the drunken late-comer still carrying on into a boozy nap. Other than that, just the low hum of desert breezes sweeping sand this way and that. The collective ennui speaks volumes. It is more deeply disturbing and saddening than a French film noir double feature.
The walls of the hangars swell with an arid dejection. Eventually, they buckle and burst, unable to contain the dirigible distress of disuse. If not for their sagging sorrow of obsolescence, the desert winds could have pushed them into a dirigible diaspora.
Alas, they just wobble and cake under the wind and undying sun. The Tennessee blimp still chattering on about its school’s dominant 20-8-3 football record against LSU. The ALCS blimp possibly in a state of alcohol poisoning.
In the end, they become exploited relics of the past. Occasionally, kids from a nearby town drive out to the blimpyard to drink and take target practice from out in the flats, imagining they’re snipers. What used to be seemingly a sigh became a whimper of hissing gases reticently acquiescing to their complete uselessness.
The Tennessee blimp sags severely to the side like a floppy chef’s hat.
Years later, any usable materials were turned into sand-sailers for warring factions in the afterfuture. Again, another erasure through the indifference of history.
Gabe Bogart lives in Seattle, Washington, where he patiently awaits the return of the Seattle Supersonics. He learned to love words in his senior year high school creative writing class and from his sister and mother. It’s been a long time since he took a major road trip and he’d like to do it next in a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle Super Sport. His work has appeared in Pareidolia Lit, Hencroft Hub, Collective Realms, TERSE. Journal, Fahmidan Journal, acloserlisten.com, and thesianetwork.com.