clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Secret Lives of Pens

At left, a monk at work in a scriptorium. Public domain image hosted on wikicommons .

I use my own pen, mostly. Receipts, credit slips, waitlist sign-ins. I usually have a pen unless it is lost.

That second part: unless it is lost.

What happen to the pen after it is lost?

I imagine a collection of souvenir pens. They look ordinary enough; but, each was acquired from a famous writer in their lifetime without their knowledge.

I can see Updike searching for a Parker ballpoint to sign a rental car agreement and not having his pen any longer. Vonnegut's Bic isn't in his corduroy jacket pocket when he goes to sign an autograph. Dan Brown's crayon is missing when ...

Okay. That last one is just mean. You've got me.

I can see a type off odd little crook whose acquisitions are of attachment - to him - and not for the material value in the things he stole.

Now, he dies. The expansive home is filled with seemingly ordinary items in places of prominence and display. The pens aren't in the kitchen drawer. They're in the library in a frame upon the wall labeled in a neat little hand:

George O.
Bret E.E.
G. G. Mq.

The house is filled with these inconsequential little trophies acquired surreptitiously.

But there are other things, too.  There's a Matisse - say Blue Nude - which is supposed to be in the Baltimore Museum ...but this one is either a copy or another draft or ...what? There's a gun rack in the game room. There's a Mannlicher-Schonauer rifle chambered in the 6.5x54mm cartridge labeled "shooter three's rifle."

So, the dead man is a collector. He never put forth any of the collection for sale, auction, or display. What is the provenance? What would an heir do?

What would they do with a small box of Memorex tape labeled "18 min., R.N. potus."

Memorex in the 1980's was the largest worldwide supplier of magnetic storage medium. Some of you had a Sanyo dash mounted tape player that ate the stuff like candy.

There's something to this little tale. I'm going to have to think about it a bit.

What tale are you thinking of these days?

Witches? Zombies? Devils? Sugar-crazed nephews?


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I think pens go wherever odd socks go. :)

I like the idea of the dead collector. Lots of ways that could go.

And...yep. I do remember the tape-eating dashboard player. Although I think mine came with the car (a hand-me-down from my parents) and was integrated into the dash. Still ate tapes!

jack welling said...

Munch Crunch Chrunch.

Are my tape of The Cars. Something about poetic revenge in there.