Steel Ball Run - Chapter 3
The chapter opens with Johnny reflecting on his reason for coming to the San Diego beach start line, on his youth as a new horse racer, and on his rise to fame. He was 5 years old when he first rode, describing the "beauty" that resides in it. Acknowledged by his father, he had acquired some fame before he turned 16, earning the nicknames "JoJo" and "Joe Kid" from his fans. He won the Kentucky Derby at 16, stating that he was unrivaled in his talent and had easy success with women.
He recalls going to a play with a girl he was dating at the time, and taking her advice to cut to the front of the line. There, a nervous man contests him, upon which Johnny bribes two doormen to remove him. The man soon returned and shot Johnny in the back, incapacitating him. Johnny awakened in a dark hospital room where he sees blood being taken from his leg by an orderly, who tells him neither his father nor any of his supposed friends have come to see him. Johnny cried out as he realizes that he has been abandoned, but the orderly stuffs a newspaper in his mouth to stop him from waking the other patients in the room, reading the headline "Steel Ball Run Race: Projected start in two years."
In the present, Johnny is amazed as he seemingly stands and then falls back into his wheelchair. Gyro leaves and Johnny desperately pursues him, demanding an explanation. Gyro tells him that it was a simple reflex; but, reaching out, just as Johnny again touches a Steel Ball, his arm twists, and he is hung at his fingers on a nearby rafter. Johnny resolves to discover the truth of this "Spin" and to enter the race in Gyro's pursuit.