1/23 OT

The Hot Air Balloon Duel

An astonishing number of stories that end with somebody going home full of bullets begin with two men, one woman and some kind of compromising position involving genital contact. As far as we know, only one of those stories takes place 2,000 feet above Paris.

The story goes that in 1808, two Frenchmen, Monsieur de Grandpre and Monsieur de Pique, were caught up in a love triangle involving one Mademoiselle Tirevit, who had been secretly sleeping with both of them. The men decided to duel, but for some convoluted reason, they figured it was best to do it in hot air balloons.
We really wish there was some sort of figurative meaning behind that phrase. There is not.

According to the local press at the time, the two men chose hot air balloons because they felt that they possessed higher intellectual properties than normal men. So even though they were trying to murder each other, they also wanted to do it in a way that was somehow insulting to the rest of the population.

So, on May 3, 1808, the duelists entered identical hot air balloons in front of a huge crowd. Each man was allowed a blunderbuss (a primitive shotgun) and a co-pilot to help him operate the balloon. In this case, though, at least one of these wingmen was about to end up like Goose.

Strangely, this incredibly inaccurate image isn't even as stupid as how it really went down.

Once they'd reached a height of about 2,000 feet above Paris, the world's first balloon dogfight commenced. De Pique fired first, but failed somehow to hit his opponent's enormous balloon with a shotgun. De Grandpre was more accurate, and so both de Pique and his co-pilot (who was, at this point, probably regretting every second of de Pique's friendship) plummeted to their deaths.

That's right -- they weren't just trying to shoot at each other's passenger compartments in hopes of hitting the other duelist. They were trying to shoot down the balloons themselves. Which means the co-pilots were signing up to also die if their guy lost. And they didn't even get to fuck Mademoiselle Tirevit first.

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