Pens is a piece of flash fiction that was written on the 28th of April 2013 as a part of Janis Mackay‘s Short Story Class. Like my Ghosts of Blogs Past this story has been edited and re-drafted since it was originally written. You can find other stories I have written on the What I Have Written Page of this website.
I dig deeper and deeper into my bag, an old rucksack from school I now use for uni. Frayed around the edges, covered in Tipp-Ex, pen and old bits of thread from the patches of rock bands and adventures. Each replaced every few months or so when I got bored with the old one.
From within I pull out notebooks and single sheets of crumpled paper, society minutes and exam papers from before Christmas. Why do I never clear this bag out? In some ways it is great to come across hand written notes from John or Jenny, normally dares to perform in the back row of lectures or mission planes to come to the pub. She has a thing about studying all the time.
At the bottom lying on, between and under chocolate wrappers of metallic colours are my pens; red, blue, green and of course black. My bag seems to be their breeding ground for a mongrel race of Tesco value biros, flashy promotionals from Fresher’s Week and a highlighter looking like a hippy in the twenty first century. Each is taken out and sorted into those that still have use and those that don’t. I always feel an odd guilt condemning loyal servants to their death just because they can no longer perform their duties. Why can’t there be a retirement home for finished pens? For now, the bin is their only option. I pick up the survivors and return them, along with the notebooks to my bag.