I awoke after a night of rain and storms. At midnight I looked out the window. The wind gusts had not shorn the World from the door hinge. All was well.
Refreshed, from the pounding of rain on the roof while I had been sleeping, I awoke at six. Still raining, not yet light.
Looking out I didn't see the World. Looking close I saw it had lost all it's air, it was collapsed in a puddle with pools of water ponding on the pile of canvas.
I pulled out the air pump and ten minutes later it was whole again but the hissing of air quickly revealed the World had been vandalized through the night.
My first thought was that a young, angry child in a grown man's body just had to take it out on the World. Without anger I took action to repair the World.
The delay, I thought, would allow me meet someone I'd have missed had I walked away from the large parking lot with the post office, grocery chain store, Papa John's Pizza, and a hardware. Many intermediate storefronts were vacant.
There were two Knife holes that I could see, so I rolled the ball quickly under the overhang on the semi-vacant mall to get out of the rain. I rolled the quickly shrinking world in front of a closed dialysis business and began repairs.
The World had suffered a drive-by stabbing.
I would have to spend the day in Swannanoa pulling out the inner-tube, fixing three knife holes that I found and patched with a pool repair kit. The canvas needed repair also, so I set about preparing new canvas with adhesive for the patches I would need after stuffing the bladder back into the small hole of the wet painted canvas surface, then allowing the sun to semi-dry the painted canvas ball.
Removing the bladder, when the patch covered canvas skin is soaking wet, is problematic. The patches can loosen, a seam can rip apart when the bladder is folded and inserted in the small hole then re inflated. When the bladder works itself back to form it exerts a great deal of stress on the old seams, now held together with glue and surface patches. I took out the bladder two times that day. I thought the largest patch was leaking. I re patched it to make sure.
Of coarse a seam tore. A large number of patches and the knife holes had to be applied. I spent much of the day watching glue dry after the sun broke trough and the sky cleared.
About five hours later.
I was sitting on my folding chair watching glue dry,when a young man on a bicycle rode up and stopped to talk. We talked for awhile about what I was doing and why. I expressed my lack of anger at the attempted destruction of the World and my gratitude for the relaxing day I was having.
We had been talking about ten minutes. Now comfortable with the young man I casually asked which of his angry young friends might have driven by after midnight to do such a thing. Someone like him perhaps,who should have been at school for the last two days of class before the summer break...
Before he could answer another young man rolled up on his bicycle. He was carrying a B-B pistol in a shoulder holster. Before we had made an introduction he asked if I would hold it for him while he went into the grocery. " I can't take it inside or I will get arrested.", he said. "And I just got it back from that lady. She wouldn't give it back until she made sure it wasn't loaded."
I believe I had the perpetrator in my sights, as it were.
The second young man had little sense. He revealed in his questions and statements that he may, on this subject, know too much.
I said there were three knife holes.
He said that they had gone by at one in the morning and the ball was already flat.
"But we didn't do it..."
He then mumbled that he didn't even have a knife. (A boy carrying a toy pistol who doesn't have a blade... Preposterous.)
I arose from my chair and checked the "tack" of the glue on the half inflated ball's canvas. (Enough to keep the round form but not so tight as to further separate the torn seam I was working with.) The second boy then began to advise me how to find the hole in the inner-liner.
His companion interrupted, "shut up! He's already patched the holes!"
As I often do with people I meet, I raised my phone and took a picture if the young man. He asked, "Why you takin' my picture, fer' evidence?"
Turning to his companion with my camera-phone, who had been sitting there for twenty minutes, the first young man quickly turned a rode away so I couldn't get a clear view.
Please sign here...
Later that day, while continuing my glue-vigil, I met Paul. We were talking of health issues when he shared his experience with several close friends and relatives who had used asparagus to reduce, sometimes disappearing cancerous tumors. Twice a day consumption for a period of months and his loved ones had greatly reduced growths on their lungs, kidney and liver. With "goose-bumps " and near tears he told me several instances.
Perhaps Paul was that person I had thought I should meet while I was delayed.
The second tube repair didn't seem to do the trick.
The World still had a slow leak when I began the next morning.
I was not going to give the young school-vagrant the satisfaction of keeping the World down for another day by staying another day in Swanannoa.
I used my portable battery powered air pump to keep the World inflated until I found a place at Black Mountain, the next town.