The big red ball rolled into my life. This was not entirely unreasonable. Some things have a way doing that…they roll in, then they roll out.

What was the big red ball? I’ll get to that later.

Let me just say it was at Coronado Salvage down on South Broadway and I had a vision for it. So I bought it.

I showed up the following day with my 16-foot trailer, worked like hell to get it in place, and then watched as they loaded the ball with a huge earthmover. As the ball was lowered on to the trailer I could smell the faint but distinct smell of disaster. My trailer tires started to flatten, the wood bed started to crack and splinter and the entire trailer, which was well made and expensive, began to bow.

“Stop!” I cried, “ I need a bigger trailer!”

The big red ball was dumped unceremoniously in the dirt and it rolled menacingly in my direction before becoming motionless. I surveyed the damage (extensive) to my trailer and retreated for a while to lick my wounds and seek another trailer.

I talked to Eddie over at Eddie’s and told him I was concerned that my forklift and other equipment weren’t big enough to handle the big red ball.

Eddie at Eddie’s said no problem we can put it at his place and use his forklift …”It can move anything” (direct quote)

Next I called up Jim to see if we could use one of his trailers. “No problem” said Jim.

Before I get into Jim, who is missing a finger, let me explain the vision.

The vision was of a very, very, large sculpture, easily 30 to 40 foot high ...the red ball anchoring it to the ground like a big fat cherry.

All it would take is a bit of time and money to complete and then the vision would burst forth from my soul or wherever it bursts forth from and I could then begin receiving the accolades.

The vision is the easy part.

But first I would need Jim who has a finger missing and one his trailers. Jim was busy, which was fine with me. I could use the time to reconstruct my trailer, which among other things needed its axles straightened. Eddie at Eddie’s could do that. A week went by and Jim and I agreed on a time and off we went with one of his trailers to Coronado Salvage on South Broadway to get the big red ball.

Let me say this about Jim:

Jim is a lying junkman, but he has become one of my really good friends. Jim operates on the periphery of society and I’m thinking of joining him any minute now…maybe I’m already there.

If you are a junkman you keep tabs of the price per pound paid for scrap down at Acme Metals. In fact you keep tabs on the price of damn near everything that you can buy and sell because that is what a junkman does …buy high and sell low.…or is it the other way around? I always forget.

Its also important that Jim know who has what and who wants what.

That is how Jim and I first got together…I needed a forklift then I needed stuff that a forklift can move. In fact I’m now on my second forklift from Jim and I also have a very good pile of stuff to move around.

You ask Jim if he knows where some 1-inch plate is and before you know it you have 8 sheets and some angle iron as well.

As to the missing finger on Jim’s hand I don’t hold it against him. It was Frank’s fault anyway, and I know plenty of people with all their fingers that I wouldn’t spend 10 minutes with, if given the choice.

So Jim and I and one of his trailers arrive at Coronado Salvage. We work like hell to get the trailer in place and the earth mover shows up and places the big red ball on Jim’s trailer and suddenly there is that faint, distinct smell again…disaster. The ball is being lowered on to the trailer when I see the tires flatten and hear the groan of the trailer. There is a small but still visible bow in Jim’s trailer.

“Stop!” Jim says and the earthmover raises the ball again and throws it unceremoniously in the dirt. This time it stays put.

Off go Jim and I and his now bent trailer to lick our wounds.

to be continued