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Rated: E · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2279438
A collector of globes meets a different type of collector. 988 words
I was excited when I first encountered Darrell Halloway as he exited his office building in San Jose. Earlier that day, I had seen his orb collection, and learned about his personal life. At the time of our encounter, he was 47, the divorced father of two sons, and worked as an attorney in an office overlooking the eastern foothills.

Over the next few days, I learned that he was an avid collector with a fine set of spheres, which he displayed in his office. They were on a series of shelves on the wall, directly opposite the door. He was very security-conscious, and had installed a state-of-the-art laser detection sys-tem that was almost totally unobtrusive.

Darrell’s globe collection was quite an unusual one, consisting of spheres generally two to four inches in diameter, in varying colors and patterns. Some were decorated with scenes. One was covered with a pastel line drawing of a fisherman hauling a huge bass out of a lake; one was a large orb with slight depressions and ridges representing the planet earth; one had three tiny detailed drawings of movie stars. He even had several pairs of orbs painted like eyes.

Some of his globes were more prized than others, though few had been appraised for more than $500. Darrell liked to estimate the overall value of his collection at $10,000, though he knew selling them for that price would be iffy, assuming he ever had to, or wanted to, sell.

His own assistant had no idea he was so compulsive about the orbs. She allowed me into Darrell's office once when he wasn't there, and I was quite impressed at the extent of his defense precautions.

It wasn’t long before Darrell was telling me all about the new globe he was determined to add to his collection.

“It’s made of black obsidian, maybe six inches in diameter, and flecked with thousands of gold flakes. It draws one’s gaze down and down into its depths, and leaves the observer with a feeling that he’s seeing something secret and mysterious.”

He went on to say that the globe seemed originally to have been two pieces of obsidian that had accidentally become fused together, with one piece acting as base to the perfectly round orb.

However, unfortunately, someone else was the proud owner of this globe, displaying it care-lessly on a shelf but quite unwilling to give it up.

Collectors usually enjoy finding potential locations for treasure, such as junk shops, garage sales or flea markets, where at times gullible sellers might be induced to part with items whose value they don’t appreciate, at a very reasonable price. Some collectors haunt estate sales, and may even examine the obituaries in surrounding cities for a first chance at possible trophies.

Collectors prefer, of course, to get their collectibles cheaply and without fanfare. They enjoy being the only one who knows the value of their collection. But if they can’t get their collectible easily, they’re willing to go to great lengths to obtain it. In the most extreme cases, a collector has been known to kill to achieve his objective. Darrell, however, was not that type of collector.
He was quite willing to offer to purchase his desired pieces. His first offer for this obsidian globe had been refused so he was working hard to learn what offer might be accepted. He would then make that offer, if it was within his ability to do so.

Sometimes, of course, collectors find themselves bidding against other collectors for an item. If so, they are occasionally willing to go somewhat beyond their means to win. In some cases, avid collectors might generate a desire on the part of swindlers to con them, which often leads to counterfeiting, burglary or worse. But Darrell has had little trouble completing his collection up to now, as there are very few globe collectors in the arena. And it’s difficult to put a value on a simple globe unless it’s encrusted with jewels or associated with a commemoration of some kind.

When Darrell saw this obsidian globe at a client's home, he knew he had to have it. He rapidly estimated his bank balance and what he might get for his stock portfolio if he had to liquidate. He concluded that he could afford to spend up to $7,500 on the item, what with his ex-wife's demands and the drop in his income since he'd become so involved with his collection. But his first offer for $1,200, on the face of it quite generous, was turned down and he soon upped the offer to $2,500, which was also rebuffed.

At that point, he reassessed his desire for the item, telling himself he didn’t really need it after all. However, he soon found himself obsessed with it. None of the globes he saw during the next two weeks attracted his interest in any way.

Finally he approached the owner of the obsidian orb to offer $5,000. When this was rejected, he asked what the owner would take for it. It was not for sale, he was told. It would never be sold. It was an heirloom, and priceless to the owner. But “priceless” is a negotiable evaluation.

The price Darrell finally paid for the orb was $13,500, and in his opinion, well worth it. I was impressed at this display of dedication to his collection; there aren't many collectors who will go so deeply into debt.

I was beginning to be very curious as to what lengths Darrell would go to for his next find. However, at this point, I was ordered back to my home galaxy.

I quickly completed my quest for my own collectible, and congratulated myself as I saw my beloved world, Prolixy, come in sight. I smiled as I gazed at Darrell Halloway; he would make a fine addition to my growing collection of non-Prolixian collectors.
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