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I’m sure Owen is a nice kid, but he isn’t getting any of my Disney money.

I was at the last-chance Goodwill store, the place where items go that are too ragged or too weird for the regular Goodwill store, pawing through bins heaped with clothes, broken toys and VHS exercise tapes from the ’80s when I came across a baseball with “OWEN” written on it in Magic Marker. Deeper in that bin, I found another “OWEN” autographed baseball. Then another and another.

I began piling Owen’s baseballs in an old cook pan just to see how many were there. A fellow at the other end of the bin noticed my sudden interest and said, “There’s a couple more over here.”

“Toss ’em to me,” I said. He did. Not much of an arm on him. If I were a major league scout, I would advise the ballclub not to sign him despite his helpfulness.

Owen’s baseballs numbered so many they overflowed the cook pan. There were at least 25 and my mind latched onto a potentially amazing story called “The Mystery of Owen’s Baseballs,” which would soon get a title change.

Since I currently have no use for 25 baseballs, I left them in the bin for someone who did. Back home, I Googled “Owen baseball” and a few of the top results were the Charles D. Owen High School baseball team in Black Mountain, a good 75 miles from this particular last-chance Goodwill; Marv Owen, the Detroit Tigers starting third baseman from 1933 to 1937; and Owen Miller, shortstop for the Amarillo Sod Poodles in the Texas League.

None of those seemed like the Owen I was looking for. I imagined Owen as a kid who loved baseball. Every birthday and every Christmas, all he wanted was a baseball. On each baseball he received from Mom and Dad and Grandpa and Grandma and Uncle Steve when Uncle Steve wasn’t in prison, he wrote “OWEN” in big letters with a Magic Marker.

And the name of the story I would option to Disney for millions of dollars for an animated blockbuster then changed from “The Mystery of Owen’s Baseballs” to “Owen and the Magic Baseballs.”

Here is a general outline of that story:

Owen loved baseballs. Each Christmas, his parents asked, “What would you like Santa to bring you, Owen?”

“Gee,” Owen said each and every time. “A baseball would be swell.”

When his birthday neared, his parents would always ask, “What would you like for your birthday, Owen?”

“Gee,” Owen said each and every time. “A baseball would be swell.”

“The kid is obsessed with baseballs,” Dad said to Mom one day while Owen was upstairs writing his name on his 25th ball, a Rawlings with a synthetic hide. “Why isn’t he watching YouTube videos like other kids his age? Baseball will just get him into trouble. Next thing you know he’ll be betting on games like Pete Rose, juicing like Jose Conseco or getting shot in in the back like Big Papi. Do you want that for our son?”

The next day, the mother dumped Owen’s baseballs at the last-chance Goodwill, where a short time later, a down-and-out newspaper columnist happened upon them and, perplexed by why they were there, concocted a ridiculous origin story because he didn’t have much else to write about.

A Disney executive, hungry for the next animated blockbuster, read the story. It seems the executive’s grandma sometimes cut the bonehead’s columns out of the newspaper and mailed them to him because she thought he was funny. Though the Disney executive usually threw them away, thinking Grandma was losing her marbles, he read this one and proclaimed: “This is it! ‘Owen and the Magic Baseballs’ is our next animated blockbuster! Give that bonehead millions of dollars.”

The end.

Thanks for the inspiration, Owen, but that Disney money is all mine.

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Scott Hollifield is editor/GM of The McDowell News in Marion and a humor columnist. Contact him at rhollifield@mcdowellnews.com.

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