I've mentioned The Ball before. This is the primary conveyance for my elder daughter when she wants to get from one end of the house to the other in the least possible efficient way. She literally bounces up on the ball, scoots it forward with one hand, using the other hand in a sort of ride-em-cowboy posture while destroying everything in her path.
The Ball, you see, has grown.
You know that old cult classic starring Steve McQueen wherein something that looks like chocolate pudding with an attitude begins oozing out of buildings and threatens to eat an entire city? I think The Ball has been watching that movie. Last I saw, it was a relatively small yellow ball, such as you might see on a playground being tossed around by a bunch of third-graders. Then I blinked, and the thing expanded by roughly 200% of its total mass. It also turned white, which I explain as being the result of its newly acquired appetite for white meat.
Charlie Brown had his kite. Calvin had his bicycle. Woody has The Ball. You may laugh, but I know it's out to get me. It waits, silently, in darkened passages of the house. It knows that sooner or later I have to get up and visit the restroom. Then, WHAM, it will knock me down and begin kneading me like three-day old sourdough. And when one's bladder is already painfully full... well, you get the idea.
I also believe it has somehow acquired the ability to chuckle. It does this very softly, and only when I'm close by. But I can hear it. I also believe it has eyes. Why else would it turn to follow my movements whenever I walk past it?
The sound it makes when my daughters bounce on it is particularly blood-chilling. Whang-a, Whang-a, Whang-a, Whang-a! I think this is where ancient African tribes first learned about battle rhythms and war dances. This sound is enough to make me curl up in a fetal position on my bed and whimper under the covers until it goes away.
My daughters, it goes without saying, think this is highly amusing. Funny Daddy! How could he be scared of this wonderful Ball of ours? See his face? Did you know it could turn that funny color?
Just wait, though. One day they will grow up and get married. They'll have children of their own. Then, one night, they'll be navigating their way to the restroom when they'll suddenly hear a soft chuckle. And they'll know it's too late.
The Ball will have won another round.