One chilly spring day, a girl named Sara walked to the park with her mother. When they approached the park, they saw dozens of kites in the sky, and they realized there was a kite flying contest being held. Kites of all different shapes and colors filled the sky- everything from box kites to deltas to kites shaped like birds, planets, flags, and airplanes. Sara was mesmerized watching the kites fly and was startled every time a kite swooped down, crashing to earth. She saw kites many times in her young life, but this was the first time she really watched them, and she felt like she was entering a magical new world. As her jacket flapped in the breeze, she studied everyone in the park and shared in the small victory when each gained command of the kite.
Sara pestered her mother until she bought her a kite, but the kite from the store didn't have the same magic she felt at the park. She dreamed of making her own kite, and she found books at the library that showed her how to build one, but her mother said it would be too difficult and told her to use the kite she already had. After begging her mother repeatedly, like a fly buzzing one's ear, Sara received an advance on her allowance and bought everything she needed to make a kite.
For the rest of spring, Sara worked hard, and at times she felt like giving up, but eventually she made a beautiful blue kite that sparkled in the sky. Her kite contained all her spirit, and she loved it as much as she loved anything in the world. One windy day she took her kite to the park. She ran around the park, struggling to get the kite up, and after darting back and forth through the grass for several minutes, the kite shined against a background of streaming clouds. As she rested from running, she fought the wind to keep the kite flying, but then the roll slipped out of her hand and tumbled down a hill. As the string spun off the roll, the kite flew higher and higher in the sky. Sara raced down the hill, but she couldn't catch up to the roll. All of the string came off the roll, and the wind blew the kite far away. Sara ran home as fast as she could and found her mother on the phone. "I lost my kite," she said, trying to catch her breath. "We need to go look for it."
Sara's mother turned away from her and kept talking on the phone. Sara tugged on her mother's shirt. "Mommm..." she moaned.
"Hold on, Sara. Don't be rude," her mother said.
Sara's faced cringed and her feet bounced up and down like she was standing barefoot on hot blacktop. Finally, her mother hung up the phone. "What is it?" she asked.
"I lost my kite. It flew away. We need to look for it," Sara replied.
"Okay, just hold on," Sara's mother said.
Sara ran out to the car and waited for a few minutes, but her mother didn't come out, so she went back into the house and saw her mother sitting at the kitchen table. "Mommm... we need to go now," she moaned.
"Relax Sara," her mother said. "I made a quick list. I need to run some errands since we are going out."
Sara waited impatiently as her mother went to the bathroom, made another phone call, fed the cat, cleaned the kitchen, yelled out the window and cracked a dumb joke with the neighbor, put the laundry in the washer, changed her clothes, checked the mail, flipped through her coupons, and then grabbed her coat and purse and locked up the house. By the time her mother got in the car, the kite was six counties over and Sara had reached puberty. They drove around for a while, but they didn't see the kite, so Sara's mother showed Sara the charms and wonders of Carpet World, then anchored her at the grocery store for an hour.
As the blue kite flew in the sky, it expanded and kept growing mile after mile. Dozens of people saw the kite expand until it was larger than a plane, and they followed it in their cars. The kite grew and grew, appearing to swallow the sky as it flew. Finally, the wind died and the kite floated down to a town called Bethany and landed over a graveyard. Trees and power lines damaged the kite, but it still was large enough to cover the entire graveyard.
The citizens of Bethany were surprised and upset by the incident; they wanted to know what it was and who was responsible. Some said it was a prank or bungled government operation, but they were dismissed. The townsfolk cleaned up the mess, and the authorities determined it was some sort of large balloon.
Hundreds of citizens came forward and said they saw a kite increase in size and land in the graveyard. They were interviewed on local television, but their willingness to talk with local reporters made them lose credibility and they appeared loony. However, rumors persisted and people said that someone was using magic to vandalize burial sites. To calm everyone down, a local anchorman hosted a debate about the incident. The anchorman was a middle-aged, hair-gelled hunk who never relinquished his crown from homecoming, and as he sat in the sun at his favorite outdoor cafe, with sunshine gleaming off his dark shades, he looked like he just slipped off the silver screen from the local Cineplex.
The debate featured a local minister and a high school science teacher in a blind date between heaven and hell to determine if magic existed. The minister was a young man who was dressed entirely in black, absorbing all the sunshine that others deserved, and the science teacher was an older gentleman who sported the type of beard that made him look like he was born with one.
"Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence," the teacher said.
The minister nodded in agreement, for he was skeptical of extraordinary claims that weren't in the Good Book. The anchorman showed some of the material from the graveyard. "What about this debris and all the eyewitnesses?" he asked.
"Well...," the teacher chuckled, "the experts said the material was inconclusive, and it was probably a balloon, so it must be a balloon of some sort. It definitely isn't a kite. And we know that it is impossible for kites to increase in size. And we know how unreliable eyewitnesses can be. It is easy..."
"Yes indeed, and it is ...... well ...sorry to interrupt," the minister said.
"No, go ahead," the teacher said.
"No, please finish," the minister said.
"Well, as I was saying, it is easy to lose perspective on the size of things when driving, and there is the reflection of light," the teacher said.
"Yes, people should be more skeptical," the minister said.
"There was an eyewitness who swore it was a kite that grew in size, but she was afraid of magic, so she prayed it wasn't true," the anchorman said. "What do you think about that?"
"I don't think that is necessary," the minister said with half a smile. "I don't know about my friend's religious beliefs, but people should understand miracles are rare and not be too quick in believing in magic. God does work in mysterious ways, but we need to avoid another War of the Worlds broadcast."
The teacher avoided the subject of his personal beliefs, but he mumbled something about admiring the Bible as literature and agreed that people shouldn't be hysterical.
When the anchorman heard the reference to The War of the Worlds broadcast, he thought about Orson Welles and tuned out the debate. He thought about how much he loved Orson Welles and wished he could interview someone like that. The debate continued and the anchorman asked more questions, but he didn't even know what he was saying; he just wished artists like Orson Welles still existed. A minute later he started thinking about how much he loved the film The Third Man and how he meant to get the dvd version; then he thought about the scene with Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles on the Ferris wheel and Orson's speech about the Swiss and the cuckoo clock. The zither music from the film started playing in his head, and he visualized the streets of Vienna in black and white. He then thought about Graham Greene and how he heard he was a jerk, but he still wished he could interview a great writer like that, and he thought about the novelists of today who always whine about the movies but who couldn't write a good screenplay to save their ass. For a minute, he daydreamed about hosting a round table discussion with Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, and Graham Greene. Orson was drinking wine and enjoying a big cigar, Joseph was dressed in a nice suit and telling stories about the larger than life stars of yesteryear, while Graham was smoking a pipe, drinking whiskey, and making insightful comments about the human condition. He wasn't sure if they smoked, but they probably did, and it would be great to have clouds of smoke hang in the studio during the discussion. He figured he could get video commentary from Trevor Howard or Noel Coward, whichever one it was, he always got them mixed up, and some commentary from the director Carol Reed and from that actress who kept walking during the classic final scene. The anchorman finished the debate between the minister and the teacher by making both parties agree to wish the high school football team good luck on the upcoming season, but he kept dreaming about hosting his special on The Third Man instead of doing his usual segments, like the one about the best local hairdresser.
After he signed off, the anchorman took the kite debris home with him; he was in a giddy mood and figured he might as well make a kite. He asked the weatherman for help, but he didn't know squat, so the anchorman learned on his own, and within a few weeks he made a small blue kite. After he finished the kite, he bought a large poster with Orson Welles's face on it and pasted it to his kite.
One Saturday afternoon the anchorman flew the kite in a quiet park. Nothing magical happened, but he loved the peaceful feeling the sunny afternoon provided. Then he saw a car drive by and turn around, and he thought someone recognized him. He realized he didn't want to be seen flying a kite with Orson Welles's face on it, so he dropped the roll, causing the kite to fly away. The car drove by and honked, so the anchorman waved and forced a big smile, a smile he hoped would spilt his skull in two and send it crashing to earth.
As the wind blew the kite over the countryside, it grew larger and larger. The poster with Orson's face also grew, so by the time the kite reached the city of Creighton, Orson's giant face could be seen for miles around. "Who's that?" a girl asked her father.
"I think it's Orson Welles, but I don't know what it's for," her father replied.
People were puzzled at first, but they figured it was an advertisement and thought it was funny. They didn't know what Orson was selling, but the ad seemed like a good idea. Eventually, the kite floated down and covered a day-old donut shop.
The owner of the donut shop was upset and called City Hall for help. The city said someone would be right out, but no one showed up and the owner had to pay all her staff overtime to clean up the mess. She was irritated with the whole situation, so she had the blue kite placed on top of her donut shop, with Orson's giant face meeting the oncoming traffic. Everyone thought it was a great ad campaign, and her sales doubled in the next month. "How did you get the kite to land exactly on your lot?" some would ask.
"I'll never tell," the owner replied. She worried that someone would claim the kite, but nobody did, and she used it until the Welles estate forced her to take it down. The anchorman saw a story about the donut shop and the kite on a different channel, but he figured it was just another fluff piece where the reporter was sucking up to a local business owner, and didn't pay close attention to it.
Sara was upset about losing her kite, but she blamed her mother and soon got over it. She made another kite and promised herself it would never get away from her. She loved making and flying kites for the rest of her life, but they always stayed within her grasp, and none of them ever broke free like the blue kite.