At this point in the story the big red ball had only damaged 2 trailers. “What do you think it weighs?” I asked. It was an impolite question but one I should have asked earlier in the process.

“I don’t know,” said the salvage-yard man in a tone that implied it’s my problem now. “It might weigh 3 or 4 tons I guess.”

I had fixed my trailer with Eddie’s help but when I offered to fix Jim’s trailer he demurred. “I’ll sell it at next weeks auction.” he said. Junk men can get away with that, as there is always another undamaged trailer waiting for them around the corner.

A friend of Jim’s had a semi and Jim arranged for transportation to Eddie’s. All I had to do was pay for it.

Another trip commenced to Coronado Salvage where once again the giant earthmover scooped up the ball and this time deposited it on the semi. We chained it down and I took a deep breath to see if I could smell disaster but all I smelled was salvage. Off we went….I was leading the way to Eddie’s.

Approaching the Big I, I looked in my rear view mirror and saw the semi pull to the right and I caught a glimpse of flashing red lights. I couldn’t pull over myself so I looped around the Big I to get back to the semi and see what the problem was.

Once I pulled behind the police car I could see the semi driver holding a tape measure talking to the cop. The big red ball was not only too heavy, it was too big, and we really needed a low-boy trailer to haul it. But since I was paying for this I said, “Its not far to Eddie’s and there is no overpass or stop lights to clear on the way.” which got me off the hook. I promised never to do this again, so with the cop joining the parade I turned on my flashers and followed the semi over to Eddie’s.

The big red ball is certainly not the first “thing” to capture my attention. It does however encapsulate the odyssey of my interior life, which has gravitated towards some strange love of “presence” or “thing-ness”. To explain ever since childhood certain objects have captivated me, possessed me.

“Possession” is not too strong a word. I didn’t merely desire something the way a shiny bicycle or a new toy might be desired. Things haunted me….tormented me. A rock, a stick, a board with nails in it, or some vestige of a world I did not know, would weave itself deep inside of me, coil itself into my night and unwind itself into my day. The more obscure or bizarre the “thing” the more haunted I became.

I am not unlike those hapless people called hoarders who have suffocated themselves in a sea of stuff.

Yet my derangement is much more refined. I have visions…. visions of what I can create with a particular thing.

Perhaps it is this potential that I seek. I could always see it so clearly …what something is intended to be.

In my world “things” are not intended to simply stay in whatever form we find them. Things are meant to be transformed and therefore elevated. They embodied within themselves their own unique potential…. a potential that would wake me with a start, excitedly anticipating what was soon to become. Then throughout the days what was yet to be would talk to me, cajole me, and relentlessly hound me until I would make some move on the material world in its general direction.

I can see myself now…. howling at my mother and grandmother (my father knew enough to be absent). I howled because what I wanted was for the stick to be nailed “this way” not “that way” and I couldn’t do it.

My world was formed by frustration…..the frustration of getting the vision on the inside of me into the “real world” on the outside. It has never let up. The fever still burns.

There is a day partially buried deep inside in which my father piled the three of us kids and surely my mother for good measure (although she is hard to see) into the green station wagon and we set off for a salvage yard not much different than Coronado Salvage on South Broadway…the former home of the big red ball. That day would result in a magically obscure object which lent itself to many inward journeys and it also was a day that would result in blood.

to be continued