The name Sumgai has by now become synonymous with the dread
nemesis of all collectors, the cause of "the one that got away".
Of course, the real dark secret of Sumgai is that we all get a
chance to be Sumgai ourselves sooner or later. As a wise fellow
once said, "we have met the enemy, and he is us"
Well, it has finally happened, yet, as I relate this tale, be
warned! In true Lovecraftian fashion, I am certain that It is
still out there, somewhere, biding it's time, awaiting the moment
in which to strike again.... It had been a poor couple of days,
lots of looking, stopping every few blocks or so, to root through
antique malls and shops, only to hear the same sad story. It had
been here..... The dark and malignant presence of the evil demon
of pen collectors, Sumgai. I heard the same terrible story from a
"Oh, yes, we had a bunch of pens, one big old red colored one, and
one was all silver. But Sumgai was here yesterday and bought them
all." It was truly horrible, the devastation that had been wrought
upon this area. I quailed under the knowledge that I was too late,
I had missed my chance to save these pens from the grasp of
Sumgai. It was as if It was everywhere at once, through some awful
porthole to another dimension It came, snatching up the pens,
never to be heard from again.
I began to despair of finding anything, so as I turned towards
home, I was of a mind to pass by the gleaming new antique mall.
But then a sixth sense warned me. I vague feeling of something
calling to me, deep within the recesses of my mind. I stopped and
pulled into the parking space that was suddenly there, right in
front of the door. I went in, and for the first ten minutes, it
appeared as if It had been here, or if there had just never been
any pens to begin with. Then suddenly, I saw them! A case with
about ten pens in it! I looked wildly around for a clerk, certain
that It had already gone to find one and was on It's way back to
buy them all! But no, I found one, and she opened the case and
laid them out on the countertop! Four Vacumatics, and a couple of
The Vacs were all priced the same, $125. There was a toothmarked
black standard, a green demi, a brown standard, and.... A brown
Oversized! The 51s told the same story, both priced the same, $50,
a plain beaten black one, and a Signet capped double jewel. This
was the time for action, swift and certain action! At any moment
Sumgai could stroll through the door, and there was no telling
what It might do when It found out I had beaten It at It's own
game! I offered $150 for the Oversize and the Double jewel 51. No
doubt glad to have helped in the defeat of Sumgai, the dealer
agreed! I had triumphed!
As I drove away, I thought I saw an awful form materialize and
slink into the store. It seemed that there was an horrible cry,
but I couldn't be certain, I had the radio turned up....
This article was originally published in Stylophiles.