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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Pen is Mightier than the Sword (04/08/10)

TITLE: The Great Pen Caper
By Sherry Curtsinger


It was a sweltering, sticky afternoon in July as I sat at my kitchen table preparing to fill out Vacation Bible School certificates. This is a task I enjoyed intensely; taking great pangs to fill in each blank as flawlessly as possible. Being an elementary school teacher, I took pride in my penmanship. I could not expect perfection from my students if I did not expect it from myself. My heart (and my head) would swell with pride when faculty and friends would compliment my “gorgeous handwriting”.
“Certificates? Check. Attendance? Check. Calligraphy pen? Check. Inks? Check. Okay, I am ready to begin.” I gently pull my chair out and begin to ease into my seat. The kitchen explodes with activity. Suddenly, all empty kitchen chairs are represented by someone with a deep interest in my Bible school certificates. My husband, who lives to agitate his family, is sitting to my right. My teenage son, who lives to agitate his dad, is sitting to my left. I am agitated!
“Hmm hmm,” I clear my throat. They did not pick up my signal. “Okay guys, you know what, you all are going to have to find something else to do; in another room. I cannot finish these with anyone at the table, so please just go on.” As my husband was mocking me he picked up my pen. “Well, would you looka there. This is a spiffy pen.” Looking at my son with one eyebrow cocked upward, and the corners of his mouth turned down. He said sarcastically, “Want it?” With that my son grabbed the writing end of the pen.
I said nothing. Though my frustration grew crushingly I only stared at them. I crossed my arms, sat motionless, without emotion, fixed my gaze, and stared them down. They teasingly continued to play tug of war with my thirty dollar calligraphy pen. If they bent the razor sharp tip it would no longer create the fine lines I had grown accustomed to. Everyone at the table was laughing. I continued to sit in complete silence. Just as I had put both hands on the table to push myself back to take my leave, they both released the pen simultaneously. The pen seemed to be moving in slow motion, but not slow enough for me to react.
There was a hush come over the room. Everyone’s mouths were open with their hands covering them. I felt blood trickling down my face and dripping first to the table then my lap. My husband reached over, plucked the pen from between my eyes, positioned it in front of me, and said, “I’m finished.” My son moved at the speed of a hunted animal to escape any immediate backlash. As quickly as the kitchen had filled - it emptied. I tended to my wound; between one fourth to one half inch long down to the bone.
“Certificates? Check. Attendance? Check. Calligraphy pen? Check. Inks? Check. I feel my husband’s presence behind me, “You alright?” I do not look up from the task at hand, “I will be.” He gently squeezes my shoulders and kisses me on top of my head, “Good.” He walks to my right and pulls out the chair, sits quietly for a short while, pulls a pencil from above his ear, “On guard?"

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This article has been read 376 times
Member Comments
Member Date
AnneRene' Capp04/15/10
Adorable story and like your sense of humor throughout.

All of your emotions are so well written and relatable. Your last sentence gave me a great LOL!

Remember to double space between paragraphs for easier reading.:)
Phee Paradise 04/15/10
What a great way to poke fun at yourself. I think I would like your husband and son.

A few of your descriptions were a little confusing and you had a point of view shift in the second paragraph.

I enjoyed reading it.
Theresa Santy 04/17/10
This piece was so very entertaining. Your set up and description of agitation made me laugh out loud. I smiled throughout, until near the end, when I grimaced during the suspense, my jaw dropped, and then I laughed. A pleasure to read, enjoyable from beginning to end.

My only suggestion would be to watch your tenses. You began the story in past tense, then switched to present tense.
Amanda Brogan04/17/10
I wonder how long it took that wound to heal . . . well at least the pen didn't break! ;) I don't think that I would be able to have your patience in a situation like that, but I do admire it.

This is a fun story, complete with ornery husbands and sons, caligraphy pens and certificates! I love the agitation line. :)
Jan Ackerson 04/19/10
I love beautiful calligraphy, and I could feel the frustration of your main character.

There were a few places where you switched tenses--from past to present and back again.

This was a highly entertaining story.
Jackie Wilson04/19/10
That was a brave man, to mess with you after what they did! Very interesting and fun piece.
Sarah Elisabeth 04/23/10
Sherry, congrats on placing 8th in Level 1! That's an accomplishment :-)

If you haven't already, be sure to check out the highest rankings on the forums: