The super-rigger 

Storage for the things you value

All my talk about trailers has inspired Lary to try to put an old Airstream on his roof. He says all he has to do is drill a big hole in his ceiling as well as through the underside of the trailer, then bolt one of those wrought-iron spiral staircases into place, and voila, an economic second-floor wing. I have to tell you, if he pulls that off I will be so jealous my head will hemorrhage.

"Please put it on my roof instead," I begged him. My house is much more suited to sit under a trailer, if you ask me. First of all, it's hardly bigger than one, so it would serve as the proper understated pedestal and not detract from the magnificence of the Airstream. Lary's dilapidated old warehouse, on the other hand, is so huge and its roof so high that an Airstream on top of it would just sit there like a silver boil and probably hardly be noticeable, especially considering all the other stuff that's up there, including, but not limited to, an entire life-sized plastic lawn nativity scene, various tires, bird cages, a herd of feral cats and, on and off, the back end of a truck.

"The roof is where I put all the stuff I really value," he said.

Lary is a rigger by profession, and not just any rigger, but he's like the master Jedi rigger that other riggers bow before. Whatever you need done, Lary can figure out a way to do it, including, but not limited to, probably time travel. This is why huge companies pay him tons of money to accomplish the impossible at their conventions. For example, if plans call for a Ferris wheel suspended over a lake in the center of a previously lakeless sports arena, Lary is the one they finally approach to get it done once everyone else says it can't be done.

He's in Hawaii now, staying at the Four Seasons because word of his patented brand of rigger madness has reached the people with real money, and he's been hired to, I guess, simulate a giant-scale, authentic volcanic eruption or something for some huge convention out there. Of course the idea of making his own magma was irresistible to Lary. "It's incredible, like the earth is violently puking," he says to me of his work over the phone. "I can't wait to see it happen with a real volcano." He says that last part like he'll have some say in it, which, knowing Lary, he probably will.

So one of the things all of us learned early was not to doubt Lary when he says he's going to do something, no matter how crazy it sounds. I remember I scoffed at him when he said he was going to steal a billboard from the freeway once, and the next time I went to his place to water his plants, there it was taking up most of his warehouse: a massive highway sign that read, "JESUS WAS A VEGETARIAN." The billboard pissed him off, he said, and it had to come down. He must have climbed an edifice 20 flights high to pull that off. So if he says he's going to put a trailer on his roof, he probably will.

I'm looking forward to it, especially the part about the wrought-iron spiral staircase. I personally know those things are easy to put up and take down because my own mother stole one from one of our many rented residences back while I was growing up. They're not much more than twisted ladders, really, and all it took was a good shaking and it practically popped right off the brackets into her hands. It probably helped that my sisters and I used to hang and climb on it like an upended monkey bar, loosening it to a good degree. It was probably the biggest heist my mother pulled off from one of the places we used to live. The last I saw of that staircase was decades ago, in the shed she kept in back of the trailer she'd bought just north of the Tijuana border. That shed is where she kept all the stuff she really valued.

It turned out she never needed any of it, because the day never came when she could finally piece it all together to make a home of her own. If she had known Lary, though, he could have done it for her. This is probably why I appreciate Lary, because he can rig anything. He can make the impossible possible. He is a super-rigger. He can put a trailer on his roof and then turn around and ask me if I'd like one on mine.

It occurs to me that it's probably possible for people to go through life and never have a home even though they may spend every second surrounded by walls. In the end it's not until they start collecting things they really value, and keeping them someplace safe, that their home starts to take shape. "Hell yes, I want a trailer on my roof," I tell Lary. "Hurry up and come home."

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (


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