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A Pen Called Lou Reed

It was on the counter this morning, translucent pink plastic contrasting with the red and blue of battered change counting mats. Cellophane tape affixed a small strip of orange paper to the shaft. A name scrawled in handwriting that was not my own: Lou Reed.

 

The pen bearing the name of a dead songwriter lay motionless on the counter as I performed my morning duties. Numbers for basic accounting brought into existence by my own pen- the magic wand that I keep close to my heart when not in use. Lou Reed, clothed in his pink plastic, haunts me. It is not a difficult mystery to solve. Most likely the cashier here during my off day left him on the counter as an accidental artifact of strangeness for me to encounter on my next shift.

 

Mind wanders like an old fashioned hobo stowed away in one of the boxcars coupled to my train of thought. What strange twist of fate would cause Lou Reed to return to the land of the living as a cheap plastic pen? Why not a fancy calligraphy pen, a paintbrush or some other tool of beauty. Did the pen name itself, imposing its imprisoned will on some unfortunate paw to scrawl its identification in ink-blood onto an orange Post-it?

 

Silence from the pen called Lou Reed.

 

I picked up Lou Reed and tried to write something. Cheap, flimsy and uncomfortable in my hand. Felt horrible. I did not like this pen one bit. I placed it back on the counter, the name hidden from view. Strips of tape and the edges of paper the only clue to this pen's unusual identity.

 

The pen called Lou Reed found usefulness as customers filled out paperwork and I wondered if the consciousness of the implement screamed at me as the soul of the artist was poured into names, addresses...mere facts. Was it jealous of my pen as it scratched out these words? Did the daemons argue in languages and tones that my ears were unable to hear?

 

It lay there, a repulsive thing to my eyes. A shaft too angular, too light, too thin.

 

I dared not ask any questions of the pen. Passers-by, purchasing their sodas and cigarettes may think me mad for interrogating a writing utensil. If, in fact, the pen is Lou Reed, what would I say? "How's it hanging, Lou."  Perhaps, this hideous thing is not the Lou Reed I am assuming. Maybe this is Lou Reed the plumber, or carpenter, or child who never had a chance to be anything. Maybe the pen was just a pen.

 

It just sat there on the counter offering no resistance and no explanations, waiting to be discarded.

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