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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


Harsh, fearful times had fallen on the small town of Inkwell. Every citizen understood what their constitution said and they also knew it was the constitution that now threatened their lives. Written in fancy political penmanship and signed by elite congressional pen owners, it clearly stated:

“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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This article has been read 1209 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lisa Johnson04/15/10
Loved the build-up of tension... to a totally unexpected ending to the tale.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/15/10
This had a great ending. I laughed out loud at the nice little twist.
Jackie Wilson04/15/10
Oh, what fun! Loved the surprise ending!
Amy Michelle Wiley 04/16/10
Hahahaha, too fun!
Patricia Herchenroether04/17/10
What a fun read! I didn't even come close guessing the ending.
Lynda Schultz 04/17/10
Wow, what a delightful twist. Loved it.
Barbara Lynn Culler04/17/10
Cute! I liked the way you named your characters after pen Brand names!
Mona Purvis04/19/10
Your creativity just knocks my socks off! Splendid entry. This one will do so very well, indeed.

Sarah Elisabeth 04/20/10
What a cute story! Loved all the witty "pen" names. Ending was just great!
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/20/10
Clever story...I loved the conclusion.
Beth LaBuff 04/20/10
I loved the town names, Inkwell and Swordwell. :) Then I enjoyed the creativity with Mayor Cross and Sheriff Shaeffer and all the "pen names". :) LOL! Your ending went against expectation …and I liked that!
Carol Penhorwood 04/21/10
Great entry and so creative! I too loved your "pen" names! Absolutely delightful twist.
Carol Slider 04/21/10
I certainly didn't see that coming! This was a lot of fun to read, with a great ending. Well done!
Marita Thelander 04/21/10
Ahhh, welcome back , my friend. Welcome back! You had me smiling from the very beginning and laughing at the end. You creative take on the topic was refreshing. I hope it does well in the rankings. It is a winner in my view.
harvestgal Ndaguba04/22/10
Wow, I love a story where I could never guess the ending. How clever. I loved it.
Joshua Janoski04/22/10
Wow. Where to begin commenting on this masterpiece?

First of all, it reminded me of something I would write. Only you did it in a way that felt toally believable and not outlandish. I loved this line:

"I certainly couldn’t slash prices with my butcher knife. Only my pen could do that job."

Lucy Bic, the town of Inkwell, etc... I loved all the little pen and sword references that you gave to this. This was a very well thought out and well written entry. The tension you built up and the ending were perfect!

It's great to read your stuff again, Gerald. :)
Jackie Wilson04/22/10
Congratulations on your EC placing!
Beth LaBuff 04/22/10
Gerald, congrats on your Editor's Choice award on this well-thoughtout / creative story!
Carol Slider 04/22/10
So glad to find this wonderfully creative tale on the list of winners! Congratulations!!
Laury Hubrich 04/22/10
I certainly didn't expect that ending! I thought the little girl would save the day. Congratulations on your EC. Wonderful story!
Rachel Phelps04/22/10
Too cute, and wonderfully funny. Congratulations on your EC!
Ruth Stromquist04/22/10
Congratulations! A really fun read, and excellently written!
Carole Robishaw 04/23/10
Loved this! So funny, such wit, great job.
Lisa Johnson04/23/10
Congratulations on the EC. Very well deserved. The entry was a very enjoyable read (even the second time around).
Helen Dowd04/28/10
Wow! I really loved this. Your unique imagination and imagry (of pens and swords) had me hooked from start to finish. I loved the names of the towns - Inkwell and Swordsville, etc...And the ending was a nice surprise...Yes, what would the world do without PENS??? (even computers don't take the place of pens!!--Loved your story...Helen