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Rated: E · Fiction · Sci-fi · #2288002
How far would you go to complete your collection? 5,600 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 private orb collection, and learned a little 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, and displayed in his office a fine set of spheres. They were on a series of shelves on the wall, directly opposite the door so that upon entering, one received the full impact.

He was very security-conscious, and told me, “I’ve installed a state-of-the-art laser detection system that’s almost totally unobtrusive.”

Darrell’s globe collection was quite an unusual one, consisting of more than a hundred spheres, generally two to four inches in diameter, in varying colors and patterns.

He told me, “Some of my globes are decorated with scenes: for instance, I have one that’s covered with a pastel line drawing of a fisherman hauling a huge bass out of a lake; one is a large orb with slight depressions and ridges, representing the planet earth; one has three tiny detailed drawings of celebrities.

“I even have several pairs of orbs painted like eyes,” he went on. “Some globes are more valuable than others. A few of them have even been appraised for more than $500. I estimate the overall value of my collection at well over $30,000, though I know selling them for that price would be iffy, assuming I ever had to or wanted to sell.”

It wasn’t long before he 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 deeper and deeper into its depths, and leaves the observer with a feeling that he’s on the verge of seeing something hidden and mysterious, possibly dangerous.”

He went on: “This globe seems to have originally been two pieces of obsidian that accidentally became fused together, with one piece acting as base to the perfectly round orb.

“However,” he went on, “unfortunately, someone else owns this globe. He’s displaying it carelessly on a shelf, but he seems quite unwilling to give it up.”

I know that 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 do prefer, of course,” Darrell informed me, “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,” he continued, “a collector has been known to kill to achieve his objective. However, I myself am not that type of collector.” He laughed a bit giddily at this, I thought.

He went on to say that he was quite willing to offer to purchase his desired pieces. “My first offer for this obsidian globe was refused, so I worked hard to learn what offer might be accepted. I knew that if I found out I’d make that offer, if it was within my ability to do so.”

He informed me further that sometimes, collectors find themselves bidding against other collectors for an item. “If so,” he said, “they’re 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 can often lead to counterfeiting, burglary, or worse.”

But Darrell said that he himself had little trouble completing his collection up to now. “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 com-memoration of some kind.

“When I saw this new obsidian globe at a client's home, I knew I had to have it. I quickly estimated my bank balance, and what I might get for my stock portfolio if I had to liquidate. I concluded that I could afford to spend up to $7,500 on the item, what with my ex-wife's demands and the drop in my income since I’d become so involved with my 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 said, he reassessed his desire for the item.

“I told myself maybe I didn’t really need it after all. But . . . I soon found myself obsessed. None of the globes I saw during the next two weeks attracted my 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’s not for sale, I was told. He said it would never be sold, that it was an heirloom, and priceless. But ‘priceless’ is a negotiable evaluation. The price I finally paid for the orb was $13,500, and in my 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 into view.

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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