That Pen by Chris Leavens

By Chris Leavens
That Pen takes the idea of borrowing/stealing a pen at the office to an extreme. I wrote this story for the sixth issue of Pork Pony under the pen name Eli Lindy. I didn't want people to think the site was just a bunch of crap by me, so I hid behind this and a few other psuedonyms until we recruited a few more writers. A bunch of people seemed to like this story, told from the point of view of a good ol' boy. (CL)

"Don't touch that pen."

When it came to that pen, dammit, Sam was just plain mean - you know, in the British way, all miserly. He took it from its holding place (this chipped up coffee mug sculpted to look like some Arab guy) right fast. No way was that little bastard Franky gonna lay a paw on it.

"Come on. I mean, uh," Franky whined.

Damn greenhorn. Everyone knows that NO ONE touches Sam's pen.

"Sam, don't you have another pen the kid can borrow?" piped in Al, who was working damn hard crunching numbers from the latest lumber sale.

"The son of a bitch can go buy one," Sam mumbled while looking at papers of his own. He knew the kid was gonna hear!

"Hey, uh, I might be young, but I'm not an idiot or, uh, deaf." Franky kinda shook a little and he made a fist out of that scrawny hand hanging from that scrawny right arm of his.

"Do you know what this pen means to me, son?" Sam held the pen up and stared straight into Franky's eyeballs. The pen reflected some of the light coming from the overhead florescent, which, by the way, had a bad ballast. It was making it flicker a little.

Franky balked, "Hey man, I, uh, I need to get back to work," he held that left paw of his out as if he figured Sam would lend him that pen.

Sam pulled back his pen and kinda leaned back in that comfortable chair of his, "This pen, son. This pen has a history. You ready for a little lesson in history?"

The kid sighed and rolled his eyes. He actually rolled his eyes. "Yeah, uh, teach me."

It was as if Sam didn't even notice that the little bastard was disrespecting him. He just stared at that pen of his and went into spinning that old tale: "I'll never forget that night. It was pretty clear - the sky, that is - and there was this crescent moon just sitting up there in the sky, looking like a bowl full of blackness."

Al looked up from his number crunching and shook his head while he mouthed the words Sam just said (bowl full of blackness).

"Now I like to walk a lot," Sam kept talking, "especially at night. I walk everywhere. All these lunatics driving two blocks to get some milk or Pepsi Cola! Get out of your damn cars and walk for God's sake. Anyways, I was walking down to the Rea and Derricks-"

"Isn't it, uh CVS now," Franky was getting impatient right quick.

Sam gave him a stare, oh boy what a stare, "Rea and Derricks," he said through his teeth, "to get my prescription filled. Anyways, it was all peaceful and calm on the way there. That moon, the cool night air. I was just walking and whistling away.

"The air, I guess, was a bit nippy and my hands sorta started to chill, so I put 'em in my pockets, you know, to keep 'em warm. Anyways, when my hands get into those warm pockets of mine I realize that I accidentally brought my pen home from work. This very pen you now ask to borrow. So I kinda chuckle because I remember that some smart ass kid like you was trying to swipe it from me and that's why I put it into my pocket. To keep it safe and well, mine. People steal these things all the time and I get damn sick of it. That's why you can't find one right now.

"So I go into Rea and Derricks, grab up the prescription, and chat with this girl at the counter, real sweetheart - pretty too. I think she's graduated from school and a teacher now - least that's what I heard. So I walk out of the store, prescription in hand, happy as can be. I'm starting to walk back home and this kid - this Mexican - is watching me. He gets up and starts to follow me. I go left, he goes left. I go fast, he goes fast. Anyways, I was trying to beat the punk, but he was pretty young and fast and I was just out of surgery (that's what that prescription was for). I got my elbow all banged up playing high-school ball back in the day, so I got this operation to fix it. Damn thing still gives me problems. So I'm feeling groggy from the surgery, which lets this Mexican bastard catch me. He says to me 'hey, old man, what time is it?' I tell him 'it's 7:15.' He says 'how much did that watch cost?' I say, 'none of your business, bandito.'"

"You didn't call him bandito," Al yells as he works. Good worker, that Al, never misses a beat.

"OK, so I didn't. But as soon as I told him 'none of your business,' he reaches around my neck and stops me from walking. He has this knife to my throat. I say, 'what do you want,' and a friend of his, some ugly looking white kid with hair that looks like that Billy Ray Cyrus character - boy, what a loser that guy was - pops out in front of us. 'Cut him, man do it,' the ugly white kid says. The bastard's missing some teeth. So I'm scared, but my mental processes are still purring. 'You want money,' I say, 'I'll give you money.'

You see, he's told this story so many times and damned if I don't say it never gets old. This next part's real good:

"So remembering with that sharp as a tack, no-slip, ever-ready brain of mine, I put my hand into the pocket with the pen in it - the pen I forgot to leave at work. I reach in there and the Mexican kid eases up, thank God. I reach in there and I uncap that pen, I pull it out real slow and then I jab the Mexican in the stomach with the tip. He moans and drops that knife of his. I jab him again, this time in the shoulder as he's dropping to the pavement. That ugly kid takes a start at me so I stick him too - in the cheek - and he falls down and starts crying like the ugly sissy he is. I see his face all puffed up and bleeding and I look at that Mexican. He's on the ground moaning and all kinds of liquids are oozing from his gut. Later that night, the cops tell me I killed the bastard"

"That's horrible," Franky yelped 'cause he's a little wuss.

"What the hell kid? They were the ones who were after me. Anyways, it was self defense." Sam shook his head and chuckled, "Hey, you want to know the best part?"

Franky was turned muter than Helen Keller and he just stood there as Sam pulled the cap from THE pen, grabbed a piece of paper from that messy old stack of his, and drew one of those smileys on it.

"Still writes," Sam told the kid as he put the cap back on the pen and Franky, he just stood there, mouth agape, face a-paste "Al, this kid's not so bad after all. Why don't you give him one of those spare pens you keep?"

Al opened up the top drawer on that desk of his - he always kept that sucker clean as a whistle - and pulled out a pen. He chucked it at the kid. Al smiled and looked over at that old prankster Sam. Sam started to howl and then Al was laughing, too.

Franky, who, being bad at sports due to his pansy-first-class status, dropped the pen, tickling the funny bones of Al and Sam even more. The kid's face got real red as he bent down and picked up that blue Bic ballpoint pen. He looked at those two old characters laughing their heads off and, taking the cap off that Bic, lunged at Sam, who, although a bit on in his years still had that old ball-playing quickness about him. Franky missed, of course, and he drew this big old blue line on the wall. That's the one, right there.

Al retired, but Sam's still working here part time. That kid, I think he went gay or something, don't know for sure, but he moved away from here a long time ago. Pansies don't last long here. I meant to ask, are you a pansy?

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This page contains a single entry by Chris Leavens published on February 4, 2002 9:44 PM.

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