Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Pen is Mightier than the Sword (04/08/10)
TITLE: My Pen Is Bigger Than Your Pen
By Gerald Shuler
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“We, the people, recognize, as an unalterable truth, the reality that the pen is mightier than the sword. Therefore, we recognize the total uselessness and lack of need for swords from this day forth.”
There it was, the one word that was now escalating their town into a fearful frenzy. Things certainly would have settled down on its own if only the writers of the constitution had not used the word ‘unalterable’. The law could not be changed, even if there was a need for change. It had been deemed unalterable. One word was about to end the existence of Inkwell forever.
Rumor had spread that the neighboring town of Swordville was planning an invasion on Saturday night… the night of the 75th Annual Inkwell Pen and Paper Jamboree. Something had to be done to protect every pen loving citizen of Inkwell, but no one knew just what to do.
That is why an emergency meeting of every citizen of Inkwell was called to determine who had the mightiest pen of all. Whoever held the mightiest pen would be drafted to be the heroic pen holder sent to subdue the treacherous Swordies.
The meeting had been called to order by Mayor Cross and the danger had been explained. The floor was now open for comments. Sheriff Sheaffer was first to speak.
“Folks,” he said, “You all know I carry a big pen. Unfortunately I have had to use my pen far too frequently in the line of duty. I regret that I have had to use my pen to write tickets, yes, even to friends and neighbors. Without doubt, I understand the power of the pen. But, Mayor Cross, if it comes to an actual showdown with swords… my big pen is still only plastic. I’m afraid I am not equipped to save the day for our beloved town.” With shameful, tear-filled eyes, the sheriff melted into his seat. The next to speak was Ted Parker, owner of Parker Brother’s Meats.
“I know something about swords. Meat is butchered with knives and I suppose that is something like a small sword. Well, maybe, maybe not… that doesn’t matter. I have learned through the years that my pen, though not the largest, is still extremely powerful. I certainly couldn’t slash prices with my butcher knife. Only my pen could do that job. But against real swords? I wouldn’t stand a chance.” He quietly sat down and then added, “Sorry.”
Throughout the night similar comments were offered by every citizen of Inkwell. None among them could suggest one single shred of hope for their future. So, by meeting’s end, the sad conclusion was reached that the town would have their Jamboree as scheduled. They would use their pens to write final farewells to far off relatives and then they would bravely dance and sing as the Swordies swooped amongst them. It became a very depressing week in Inkwell.
Finally, the fateful day arrive and the festivities had begun. It was somewhat odd hearing the joyful songs but seeing sobbing eyes. Each citizen clung to this last chance to be brave. Now, the time had come to courageously face the horrid Swordies.
Little Lucy Bic was the first to see the enemy arrive. The brave child didn’t scream. She simply tugged on the trouser leg of Mayor Cross. Soon, the whole town was aware of the hoard of men coming toward them with swords drawn. The sound of the aggressor’s footsteps pounded in the ears of the silent citizens. Soon, everyone knew, it would be over. Fathers and mothers held their children close, and yet not one person stood to defend the town.
The leader of the Swordies raised his weapon high into the air, sharp metal flashing brightly in the festive lighting. He smiled a gruesome smile.
“Greetings Inkwellians.” Somehow his voice didn’t sound as mean as the town had expected. “Sorry to interrupt your party, but…”
He stepped toward the mayor. Poor Mayor Cross… would he be the first to go?
“…we wanted to invite your town to one of our own shindigs.” The Swordie leader’s words shocked the town. “We have no pens in Swordville to write invitations. Can we borrow one of yours?”
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