IMAGE WILL DECORATE
BALLOON BOUND FOR SYDNEY
By Eric Shackle
A wealthy American living in Bangkok (Thailand) is scouring the world looking
for a nude model whose image will decorate a huge new hot-air balloon which he
plans to display in Sydney next year.
Alf Erickson, heir to a bread fortune, recently swapped his home in
Florida in favour of a luxury suite on the 14th floor of "the world's
finest hotel," Bangkok's Oriental. He already owns three hot-air balloons,
which have been displayed in several European countries.
His Internet website, which reads like a personal diary, contains dozens of
photographs of his favourite models, dressed and undressed.
Asked for details of his quest, Alf replied: "I want to bring
Corkscrew-Balloon Number 4 to Australia for its maiden trip.
"Right now we are running a 'contest' to find a model for the
balloon...with the winner being able to come along. Anyway...we have had very
little luck in finding anyone. I think people think we are joking, but we are
"Maybe we'll just wind up using a composite girl...oh well. The balloon
is connected with my all girl elephant-polo team which will play here in
Thailand next year. Then we'll take it to Australia."
Publicising his quest for a model, Alf says on his website: "A photo
shoot or sketch session can be arranged at any of several locations around the
world. Although our initial plan called for an Asian model, we will consider
candidates from all nations.
"Think of the satisfaction of having your image on this balloon!
Corkscrew Balloon III has now flown all over Europe, and it has been admired
wherever it has gone. The images on that balloon - based upon Denise and
Christen - are now beloved by balloon gazers in
several European countries. No prior experience is required.
"In addition to the fame, however, there is also adventure: You will
accompany the balloon on its initial flights! Current plans are for the
balloon's first public inflation to take place on a chartered barge on the Chao
Phya River in Bangkok. In Bangkok, you'll stay at the Oriental Hotel, which is
generally regarded as the finest hotel in the world.
"A day or two after the initial ceremonial inflation, you will travel
with the balloon to Australia for additional flights. In Australia,
accommodations will also be the best available. All expenses will be paid,
including round trip air transportation from wherever you live. All you need is
a valid passport.
"Contact us at applicationATcorkscrew-balloon.com
right away. You can write to me at AlfATcorkscrew-balloon.com."
Last year, Alf embarked on a similar quest for a new model. "Our
ultimate goal was to find a replacement who could be passed off as Denise, the
balloon model who will be unable to join fellow Screwmaid Christen in Chateau
d'Oex [Switzerland]. We need to be able to say to the assembled throng of press
and hangers-on: 'Here they are: Christen and Denise' and get away with it.
"Our diabolical scheme now looks like it will actually work, because our
winning Screwmaid Replacement is actually named ... Denise!"
That lucky winner was Denise Hagan, of Seattle, Washington. In her
application for the job (duly shown on Alf's all-revealing website) she had
listed: "Turn-ons: I like my hair pulled, my neck bit, and seeing lust in a
Why are all Alf's balloons named Corkscrew? Well, that's because he
owns the world's greatest collection of corkscrews - more than 4000 of them.
Corkscrews are often used in preparing screwdrivers (vodka
and orange juice served with ice). They have no connection with screwballs
(whimsical, eccentric persons).
Copyright © 2001. Eric
Shackle Story first posted September 2001.