The Pen of Good Fortune (ms)

The not unpleasant sound of finely machined metal twisting away from it’s counterpart was muffled slightly by the fingers doing the work. They were well manicured fingers at the end of a hand whose wrist sported a handsome watch, expensive cuff links, the sleeve of a finely tailored and equally expensive suit.

The hands worked at opening a fountain pen which was something to marvel over in itself — a fine piece of craftsmanship that only those appropriately well-to-do could afford. The man preparing to put his pen to work was that.

He occasionally sat at his desk and thought back over the years to the time when his favored writing instrument, his only writing instrument, was a pencil. Those were not the best of times to be sure. There was never money beyond that needed to keep the family in food and under shelter and those were meager at best. The pencil was a prize to be maintained for it could not be replaced. He had used it and those given him at the beginning of each succeeding school year wisely and well.

Over time he managed to achieve higher education working all the while at whatever he could find. His first real job, one that had some future to it, was in the very building where he now sat decades later. He began as a teller in the bank. Now, he was a senior vice president. Things happen and they had for him. If there was a story to be written about the great American Dream he thought he could surely star as the main character.

The ladder to success, he believed, was built of hard work. He started his days early ending them well after his counterparts left for home or an evening out. He stayed and worked and learned and his rewards had been great. In his first year at the bank he made more money than his father’s annual salary even after twenty years in the same factory. Now the yearly taxes on a salary as a percentage of profits, increased revenues and the like amounted to nearly as much as his father made over his entire working life. He had been quite successful indeed. Truly the American Dream packaged in a fifteen hundred dollar suit

When it came right down to it he always concluded the real sign of his successes were not the suits, the fine cars and lovely homes. No, for him the real sign that he made it was the fountain pen in his hand. He recalled seeing one first as a boy at the bank where his parents went to get a mortgage for their home. That banker smiled as he took the cap from his pen and gave it to them to sign the papers. The man even now could recall how it glinted in the light, the fine sound it made as his father first then his mother signed their names with it. It was nothing to the banker, just another bit of business on an afternoon but to the man that fountain pen had been a sign of power, of wealth, of authority; he now had several and could afford more if he wished.

“Here you go, folks, use my pen. Just put your names on the bottom lines there and you’ll have the mortgage to your home, the American Dream some say.” To one side stood a small boy, bashful but observant. He watched as the pen came to his parents, it’s body glinting in the light.

–Mike Stevens

~ by admin on February 12, 2011.

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