Red Rubber Ball
"I'm sorry sir I don't think we have any red balls."
"You mean to tell me you don't have any like baseball sized red rubber balls? That's crazy."
"I mean... I haven't seen one."
The clerk and me were tangling. I wasn't old but I was old enough to remember red rubber balls in toy stores.
The street that I was walking down when I was thinking of this encounter with that clerk was cracked. The sidewalk's concrete was poking up out of the street from the roots of the trees. The just dying, but oddly and seemingly blooming, fall trees seemed to laugh at the concrete. They were toiled in it, and in retribution for their prison of concrete without other chlorophyll critters they told the streets of Baltimore that they can go break themselves.
The clerk kept looking at me as I shook my head. I was so confused at the lack of the red rubber balls that I just couldn't move.
I pictured my life without red rubber balls. It was oddly extremely empty. I can remember about 30 of them in my life as if they were cats or dogs; probably more like fish really.
"I want twenty red rubber balls ordered from some catalog that exists under some desk that reads at the top of it "This catalog has fun normal shit to play with."
It all seemed quite ironic when I got to the office and started typing this on a non-normal shit to play with apparatus. When did anything that I do cease to be normal? Then it dawned on me. The 80's were fucking weird and possibly may have been the anti-Christ of all decades. It was the death rattle of the red rubber ball.
The street again was talking to me. Reading the book that she had given me with an inscription that I had ripped out so as to appease some mad person, I pressed on over the treacherous tree root torn terrain. I moved in dashing little darts of unbelievable reading and walking agility that I think I even heard someone in their car say "Look at this motherfucker." I laughed internally. I laughed very loud and closed the book at the best line I had read in weeks:
The bottom line is that (a) people are never perfect, but love can be, (b) that is the one and only way that the mediocre and vile can be transformed, and (c) doing that makes it that. We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.
"Irises" I thought to myself. I really would love to see an iris and think "That is an iris and I know it." I wish I could turn to her round loving face and just utter the words "I love irises and this one is for you." When did botany become part of licking life. They seem to go together so well. The tasting and the smelling of love, life, and plants seems so perfect. The sun plays a role though. Let's not forget him (but more likely a her).
In the office still typing this I tried to remember another detail about the sidewalk or the toy store or possibly even the look on Tom Robbin's face when he realized that he had just written an entire love story about Ralph Nader
. I mean Ralph Nader is great and all but let's not kid ourselves, who wants to see Raph Nader with their panties around his neck? I'd assume no one...not even Mrs. Nader.
The time on my wrist said 8:37. It was 8 minutes since I left home and 30 minutes since she left. I texted her on my absurd apparatus, "I love you." It felt strange coming out but it felt amazing leaving my fingers and maybe even watching it somehow vapor glide through the air like it was my amazing way of saying that Tom was right and sometimes shadows lie the hardest.
"So this is the book of ordering shit?"
"Look man I don't mean to give you a hard time and all but this has all of the sudden become very very important to me. Can you understand that?"
"Look I'm not on meds or anything, I just... you know... think I would sleep better at night if I knew that children today could still walk into a toy store and buy a red rubber ball."