Thaddeus looked around the corner of the house. Standing on the porch gave him a height advantage. He pressed close to the wall. His eyes scanned the old, gray boards of the barn. He didn?t find what he wanted.
The clouds parted slightly to let some sun seep onto the yard. The thin, brown grass stood in sickly patches in the yellow clay soil. One large puddle stretched through the ruts that ran between the house and the out buildings. Thad?s eyes followed the muddy water toward the machine shed.
They called it a machine shed because the name barn was already taken. It was too large to be a garage but it had an old bean truck parked inside. Piles of assorted farm machine parts and automobile bits sat dejectedly under dust covered tarps. The single, large doorway, permanently open without a door, invited Thaddeus in to settle and rot.
Despite the multitude of things within, the machine shed held nothing he wanted at the moment. He leaned a little past the corner of the house to get a better look at the garage.
The two stall garage barely stood. White paint curled from the faded wood of the siding. Tufts of straw protruded from every opening where a bird could build a nest. Cracks shown dully on the dust covered remains of window panes. Vines tugged themselves up the precariously leaning walls. The old lawn tractor cowered in the darkness, afraid to move for fear of collapsing the building, but needing the shelter from the rains.
More important than the garage itself was the bright, orange rubber ball sitting on the ground immediately in front. The lower part of the ball showed specks of clay. A small puddle of dirty water surrounded the ball.
Thaddeus knew this ball was going to be trickier than his previous balls. It didn?t matter. In the end, no ball had ever escaped Thaddeus? grasp and this ball would be no exception. Soon, the skin of the ball would be curing in the racks in the basement. Soon, he would have enough to finish his couch.