What Happened To Balloon Boy?

There are a few moments in cultural history that transcend expectation, becoming almost holy simply by bringing the world together through a shared experience. There were two such moments in 2009: one came when an anxious nation watched with bated breath as a chrome, saucer-shaped balloon hovered precariously over Colorado, purportedly holding a frightened six-year-old boy inside. The other occurred that evening when the boy, who had been hiding in the family's attic the whole time, told Wolf Blitzer that the whole thing had been done "for the show," and America, as one, shouted the same expletive at their TV screens.

It's been more than a decade since the great Balloon Boy shenanigans of 2009, when Richard and Mayumi Heene were warmed by the national spotlight for a scant few hours. To this day, the Heenes claim that their fears were real and justified; that they truly believed that they had inadvertently launched their son Falcon into the atmosphere in a taser-powered helium zeppelin. Law enforcement officials say otherwise, pointing to Mayumi's confession during a polygraph test in which she stated that the whole shebang was engineered to whip up studio interest in a television show that the couple had unsuccessfully pitched after an appearance on Wife Swap.

Balloon Boy and the World of Tomorrow

So where are the Heenes today? At last sighting, they were interviewed in a 10-years-later retrospective for Denver-based magazine 5280, living in a trailer in Florida and working the family business together, renovating houses. Richard continues to push his inventions, including a wall-mounted back scratcher and a miniature fan designed to soothe the sweat-drenched crotches of tractor operators. He also claims, as he has for some time, that Mayumi's confession was pressured out of her, and that she was threatened with deportation if she didn't fess up. The whole family stands by their assertion that, for a scant few hours in October of 2009, they really thought that the kid was stuck in an electric balloon.

As for Falcon, the Balloon Boy himself is now in his late teens. Working alongside his dad and two older brothers, the homeschooled human entry in 21st century curiosity is now focused largely on his music. He and his brothers formed a metal band, "Heene Boyz," with their signature track, "Balloon Boy No Hoax," racking up nearly half a million YouTube views since its release in 2014. They've also released bangers like "The Youth of America for Trump," an ode to the 45th president with lyrics like "Alex Jones and Drudge Report, tellin' it like it is," "Mainstream can't get it right, build the wall to make us tight," and "Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump." It's available for download on their website.