Tonight we also played, in a separate breakout room, The Love Balloon by Ray Chou & Vincenzo Ferriero of Mythopoeia Games on board the Cloud 9, a cruise dirigible about to set sail into the sky. Our crew member is the ship’s bartender Natalie, who always has a kind word and seeks out fun wherever she flies. A pair of criminals disguised as musicians, Sarah and Gary, are staying in the Presidential Suite, with very different intentions. Henley Howard is back aboard the Cloud 9 in the Single Ensuite; he’s a salesman with a heart of gold and a never ending sales patter. In the Bachelor Suite is Al Own, a slime ball and inept pickup artist, who really just fears being alone. And in the Balcony View Suite is Jane, a dentist from Ohio, who has recently begun to lose her memory and wants one last chance at adventure before she can no longer travel.
Our story begins with Natalie welcoming Jane aboard and giving her a tour of the Cloud 9’s many attractions on the way to her cabin. Henley Howard pitch meets Al and manages to sell him breath mints and shoe polish to help him in his attempts to woo the woman of his dreams. When Gary and Sarah check into their suite, it’s clear that Sarah calls the shots and is packing heat for protection, but Gary is the one paranoid about being found out. They’ve made off with the money from Gary’s employer, but have very different ideas about what to do with it. Sarah sends Gary off toward the bar while she plots alone.
Natalie and Henley have a nice chat outside the ship’s theatre, but he fails to sell her a retractable screwdriver, a pair of dice, monogrammed napkins, sunscreen, or a joke book, but she does decide to buy the coin changer and puts in an order for a set of decorative silly straws for the drinks. Al meets Sarah at the buffet, but she sends him packing easily enough, and he beats himself up over something silly he said about a spoon. Gary and Jane meet on the top deck and despite their difference in ages (he’s 28 and her 59), an easy rapport quickly develops between them.
When the ship docks at a Sky Castle, Henley encounters Gary at the end of the organized tour. Gary keeps buying everything the salesman offers and even insists on overpaying. He buys disposable cameras, perfume bottles, artificial flowers, gift wrapping and bags, and offers to finance the salesman’s supply runs. In return, Henley invites Gary to join him and upgrade his travels: “I’m not a traveling salesman as much as a wandering nuisance.” Meanwhile, Sarah and Jane meet at the ship’s pool and Sarah tries to dissuade Jane from pursuing Gary, despite having and wanting no claims on him herself. Jane, having little time to waste, just wants Sarah to let Gary make his own decision. Later, Al meets Natalie while crying into his beer at her bar. She tries to convince him that he’s trying too hard and needs to be more curious about the woman and more humble about himself if he wants to ever succeed in getting a woman’s attention. Natalie agrees to a walk later around the deck so he can practice being a genuine person.
As they walk along the deck, Al asks about her day and her trip, and after replying, she says he’s pretty fun when he’s behaving himself. Henley shows up and offers to sell Al a series of self-help books and women’s magazines to help him improve and learn more about women. Then Gary and Sarah arrive, and Gary gifts Al the package that he’d had been hesitating to spring for. When Jane arrives, Natalie and Al walk on, while Henley runs interference with Sarah so Jane and Gary can steal away to talk. It’s quickly apparent that they’ve developed feelings for each other, but before she can accept him, Jane confesses to Gary about her impending memory loss and the likelihood that if he chooses a life with her, he’ll end up spending more years taking care of her than adventuring with her. He replies, “I’d rather have memories to forget than no memories at all. Taking care of you doesn’t sound bad at all.” And they share their first kiss under the moonlight.
Each of them depart the ship, Al hugging Natalie for all the help and true friendship she’s given him, Sarah pretending to be as happy as a clam, and Henley leaving a case as a gift for the new couple. Natalie hands over the case to Jane and Gary as they come down hand-in-hand. Inside are books on memory loss & retention, a camera for freezing time, and brain teasers and puzzles to keep the brain limber with a note stamped “Paid in full”.