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* Chapter I
* Chapter III
* Chapter IV

The Case of the Haunted Pen: Chapter II
Continuation of the bi-weekly serial
from the fountain pen of David Lee Mason
The Right Reverend Robert "Bobo" Penn, Molly's grandfather, had been the only man she had ever truly admired. He had been a penman of the old school. Well versed in Spenserian, Palmerian, Roundhand and Roman, fluent in Foundational, Carolingian and Blackletter, somewhere in the midst of all his scribblings he managed to slow down enough to sire Molly's unfortunate progenitor. Both her father Uncial Penn and her evil half-uncle Tremolo (Grandpop's second wife had been an opera singer) were cursed by a case of father-fear; Uncial could barely master a decent italic hand, miniscule at that, and poor Tremolo was but a scribbler all his life.

Thanks to her grandfather's influence, Molly was no mean slouch at the art of calligraphy herself, but a peculiar genetic quirk in her makeup caused her to specialize in salaciously risque doodles, her "off-color off-hand flourishes." She was garnishing Pinkie's ink blotter with one of these using a green snakeskin pattern 1938 Pelikan 100 with 14K trim and an original slight- flex fine stub nib. It didn't help his mood.

"H-h-ha-haunted, you say?" stammered Pinkie. "Y-y-you don't strike me as the superstitious type, Moll," he offered humbly, mindful of the potency of that slap. "I never heard of a haunted pen."

"Think a little, Pinky." Molly's tone was gentle, as though she had appeased her gremlins of fear and anger with that very slap. "For thousands of years people have believed that material objects took on characteristics from their owners and the things they were used for. What do you think the search for the Holy Grail was all about? How much do you think General Custer's or George Washington's military sabers would be worth right now? What about King Tut?"

Pinkie shook his head slowly, not wanting to think about the thousands of used, shady and flat-out purloined vintage pens that had passed through his hands over the years. The Pen Moll pressed her advantage.

"Now, if any of this is true, what kind of objects would be most likely to pick up impressions from their owners? I mean, what did pens used to be used for, after all? Love and hate and life and death, that's what. A pen was the foremost tool that people used to focus their innermost being on the world around them, pens used to be how people's thoughts changed the world. Love letters, firing notices, bridal shower and baby announcements, letters to home from school and war, vacations, letters from home. Letters to the editor, articles for publications, term papers, complaints and compliments. Before typewriters, Bics and then e-mail ruined everything, a fountain pen used to be the very heart of a person's communication with the world."

That was twice in the same visit that Pinkie had seen Molly lose it, a new record. "Gosh, Molly, you sound downright... passionate about this." She slapped him again, casually this time, fired up another cheroot and whispered "Where's the pen, Pinkie? I'm not quite ready to lose you, yet." "Molly, honest, I ain't seen a silver/blue Vacumatic Major with a flex fine nib and slight brassing on the top of the clip and the capband!" "Honest?" she guffawed, tapping ashes into his lap. "That'll be the day! C'mon, Pinkie, I'm gonna tell you a story here, a story about where that pen's been...."

Coming Next: THE HISTORY OF THE HAUNTED PEN

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