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The Late Great Matthew Burnside



The reclusive local writer, having failed to amass any critical or commercial success and believing his legacy to be one of obscurity, had begun to float balloons containing his work from the balcony of his apartment late one night, convinced at least this way they would find an audience.


His theory would prove partially correct, the shriveled army of balloons raining down upon Brownleaf to ignite a new pastime for a loyal handful of folks dubbing themselves The Helium DetectivesBalloon Combing, a weekend hobby performed by those dedicated to unlocking the mystery of the cryptic balloon messages.


Matthew would never learn any of this, however, sinking only deeper into his Salingeresque seclusion, then, eventually, something like madness.


One night he would inexplicably drown his typewriter in the bathtub, and then, after floating his last unrequited work out into the wide world, accidentally float himself off the edge of the balcony too, dizzy and high on helium.


He would not achieve flight.


The next morning no one would recognize the face of their long-time neighbor, and no one would ever link him to the phenomenon of the mysterious black balloons of Brownleaf: his most enduring, albeit anonymous, legacy.



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