I was 16 and my family had just finished moving from a bustling city to a secluded, affluent town surrounded by trees in the summer. An actual law in this town is that a residence must occupy at least 2 acres of land. Ergo, our closest neighbor is about a 10 minute walk away. Coupled with the fact that our drive was now a legitimate 5 minute drive from mailbox to the actual house, it was eery.
The move went well and smoothly. However, during the move I found this plastic ball the size of a basketball. It was half white and half a light hue of violet with the colors intertwining throughout the circumference of the middle. During some downtime between moving and unpacking, I always tried to get my dog, a cock-a-pooh named Krispay, to play with the ball. She’s a small inquisitive dog that always took on the maternal air of responsibility with my younger sister and I.
My intention was to merely add this violet/white ball to her assortment of toys. But as with every toy we introduced to her, we had to “break it in”. For some reason, she refused to play with it. I attributed it to her stubbornness or preference for her tug-o-war rope or squishy squid ball. Figuring Krispay would eventually come around to it, I put it in my room.
The following three days Krispay staying in my room for an extended period of time throughout the day. I even began bringing food up to my room for her. She wouldn’t budge to come downstairs, even for food. It is odd because one of her favorite past times was to sit on her doggie couch in the living room with my family. Her gregarious and propensity for human affection made alone time foreign and even undesirable to her. Anyway, the move was finally done as my sister, parents and I were just systematically unpacking dining room boxes downstairs. Krispay had been lollygagging around upstairs and we figured she was just acclimating herself to the new house, especially my room. I went upstairs to check on her as it was increasingly disturbing that she wasn’t attempting to jump in and out of any boxes as we unpacked. I found her lying down in my room intently watching the lightly colored plastic ball I had found during our move. She was finally coming around to liking the ball I decided.
I began advancing towards the ball when all of a sudden Krispay began growling at me. A soft yet vibrant growl resonated from my tiny dog. I halted my advance towards the plastic balls and left the room. I chalked it up to Krispay’s own little doggie process of initiating this ball to her toy collection, who knows. I finished helping my family unpack and returned to my room to sleep after two hours. Krispay was still in the same position with her gaze intently on the plastic ball. I began chuckling at how silly this doggie ritual of integrating a new toy was as I drifted off to sleep.
That night I had a vivid dream and to be honest the only thing I can remember was just a heightened sense of urgency. An echo of foreboding seeped into my immediate concerns as I recall waking up in the middle of the night to my dog wildly barking. I don’t know if it was the fear or the sound of Krispay barking that awakened me. As I got out of my bed, I saw Krispay now growling at the plastic ball, again. Only this time it was vacillating from left to right in akin to a rhythmic beat. Probably a draft of wind from my windows I thought at the time. I closed the one window that was slightly ajar. Still growling at this lightly colored plastic ball, I walked over to the ball to show Krispay it was just the wind. The moment I started to walk over, Krispay began barking rapidly, a panicked pleading if you will. I’m sure every dog owner knows when their dog begins barking with high-pitched screeches lightly littered in between wails. She was scared but I stopped the ball from moving with my foot. I picked Krispay up and put her on my bed to sleep.
The next night, I remember waking up again with that sudden weird feeling of fear. It was odd in that I was afraid but of nothing. It was as if my brain was foreshadowing something and my primitive instincts of fight or flight were kicking in. Again, Krispay was barking at that same damn ball and it was vacillating back and forth again. I got up to close my windows but to my dismay and shock they were shut. Now I got scared and decided to pick Krispay up and run to my parents room. My mom got up and laughed at me, a grown 16-year-old dude who was due at football summer session in a few hours holding a cock-a-pooh telling her he was afraid of a plastic ball. I slept downstairs for the rest of the night.
The next day after I practice I remember just being tired from being woken up the night before. Fuck it, I was going to throw that ball out and be done with it. I got home, picked up the ball and went to my car. Krispay tagged along but sat in my lap while I drove. The plastic ball was in the passenger seat much to Krispay’s chagrin. We drove out of my driveway and a few minutes along the road to town. I chucked the ball out the window into the street where it rolled onto the side of the road. Krispay reclaimed her natural spot in the passenger seat and we both just felt a little lighter. It was oddly relieving but I think I was just glad to be able to sleep that night.
The next day I came home from practice around 5pm. Lo and behold, that same fucking plastic ball was in the living room. And Krispay had resumed her watchful position on the ball. I didn’t really know how to audibly respond at the time save for the “What the fuck?”. I asked my sister where that ball came from and she said my father and her had found it on the way home from the grocery store. They figured it would be a good toy for Krispay. Speechless, I wondered why the hell they thought it would be a good idea to pick up a plastic ball from the middle of the street and bring it home. Aside from the fact that this ball was the bane of my existence for the past couple of nights, I was fed up with this whole ordeal. I took the plastic ball out to our patio and just straight punted it into the surrounding woods.
Krispay and I were fine for the next couple of days. Her behavior changed dramatically and she returned to her once awesome ways of being a carefree dog.
The weekend had come and I went out with friends on a Saturday night. I came home around 2-3 AM and pulled into my driveway. I remember putting the key code for my garage door when a lightly circular object gently entered my peripheral vision. I turned around as the garage was opening and it was the same ball gently rolling. At this point I was just angry that I was being coerced into feeling fear because of a plastic ball. I ran inside, got a knife from the kitchen and came back outside. I popped the ball and put it in the trash.
Looking back at it now, it was a ridiculous set of coincidences involving a plastic ball. I was never more freaked out in my life than that time. But I’ll tell you one thing, I am probably one of the few people who has smiled at the decline of big plastic balls in supermarkets everywhere. Fuck that shit.