www.pentrace.com - The Site for Fountain Pens that Write
 
Home
search:   
Articles in Full
 
Home Page
wow
Go to Message Board
Join the SnailMail Group
Reader's Corner
Submit an article for publication
Bureau of Weights and Measures
Reference Section
The PenMarket Message Board

about the Pentrace site
Biographies of Pentrace Contributers
Links to other resources
Contact details for Pentrace.com
Previous articles and older stuff
Message Board Archive

 

A Weapon of Choice VIII
The eight installment our pen related serial
from the fountain pen of Myra Love
Previous Chapter Chapter Index Next Chapter

 Chapter VIII

Clayton Clausen or CC, as he was usually called, owned a car dealership and a the local sporting goods store. He should have been well-to do, but he gambled. Everyone in town knew he lost regularly at poker every week. So all of us were surprised to see him at the hearing since it was his regular, weekly poker night.
CC sat down at the back of the room, and Miss Carswell turned her attention to his son.
"Ben, Mr. Willard just told us that you saw him put Jason's fountain pen in the faculty storage closet. Is that correct?
Ben nodded.
"Speak up, boy!" she boomed at him.
"YES, IT IS!" Ben bellowed, his face reddening.
Miss Carswell smiled coldly and continued. "When did you see him do this?"
"The afternoon that he took the pen off Jason," Ben muttered.
"Louder, please!" Miss Carswell ordered him sternly.
"THE AFTERNOON HE TOOK THE PEN OFF JASON!"
"Was that after classes ended for the day?
"YES."
Miss Carswell wrote something down and then looked up at him.
"Do you usually spend time after classes end with Mr. Willard?"
Ben shook his head. "HE ASKED ME TO SEE HIM BEFORE TRACK PRACTICE.
"I see. And when did he ask you that?"
"RIGHT AFTER I HAD CLASS WITH HIM."
"Health education right?" Miss Carswell asked conversationally.
"Yeah, health class," Ben mumbled.
"What was that?" Miss Carswell asked with a slight smile.
"Goddammit!" Ben mumbled and then shouted, "YEAH, HEALTH CLASS!"
"Were you late for track practice that afternoon?"
Ben shook his head.
"I beg your pardon?"
"NO, IT ONLY TOOK A COUPLE OF MINUTES FOR HIM TO SHOVE THE PEN IN THE CLOSET."
"And did anyone hear him ask you to see him after school or observe you on the way to or from seeing him?"
"HOW THE HELL SHOULD I KNOW?" Ben replied.
Miss Carswell stared at him intently.
"Sorry!" he mumbled. "But you're making me yell and it annoys me."
"Well, I certainly wouldn't want to annoy you, but you mumble, " Miss Carswell replied.
I had a sneaking suspicion that she could hear him just fine though, mumble or not. And I wondered why she was making him talk so loud.
"Now, Ben, Mr. Willard also told me that you told him that Jason had broken into school and taken back the pen Mr. Willard had confiscated from him. Is that correct?"
Ben nodded. "Yeah, that's right."
"Excuse me?"
"I SAID, 'THAT'S RIGHT'!"
"Did you see Jason break in and take the pen?
"NO."
"Did he show you the pen?"
Ben looked over at his father, then at Mr. Willard. He shook his head. "NO, I HAVEN'T SEEN HIM SINCE HE WAS SUSPENDED. BUT HE TOLD ME HE DID IT ON THE PHONE THE ONE TIME I TALKED TO HIM AND TOLD HIM WHAT HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS HE'D MISSED."
"And when was that?" Miss Carswell inquired calmly.
Uh, let's see. He got suspended on Tuesday. So it must have been Wednesday , the first of the three days."
"What time, Ben?"
"Huh?"
"At what time did he tell you that he'd broken into school and stolen back his pen?"
"I don't know when he broke in and took the damned pen. He didn't tell me that."
"That is not the question, Ben," Miss Carswell said, slowly enunciating each word. "I asked you at what time you spoke with him on the phone and heard his confession."
"Oh, around three-thirty or four in the afternoon."
"So he was suspended Tuesday afternoon and had broken in by Wednesday afternoon and taken the pen?"
Ben shrugged. "He was really pissed. And he loves that stupid pen."
Miss Carswell didn't bat an eye at his language. She just looked at him as if he were dirt. The she shook her head and said, "Thank you, Ben, that's all for now."
Ben started to stand up, a smug look on his face, but then she said, "Oh, just a second, I forgot to ask you something, Ben."
He sat down again, looking deflated.
"Why did Mr. Willard ask you to see him on the day he confiscated Jason's pen?"
Ben looked over at CC.
"I asked you, not your father, Ben," Miss Carswell snapped at him.
Ben shrugged and mumbled, "He wanted to talk to me about my work."
"Yes?"
"Uh, yeah, that's right," Ben replied with more confidence. "He wanted to, uh, tell me I owed him a homework assignment."
Miss Carswell gazed at him, disbelieving. "I see."
Ben took a deep breath and started to his feet again.
"One more thing, Ben," she said, and he sat down again, grinding his teeth. "How did Jason find out that Mr. Willard had locked his pen in the storage closet?" She looked over at Mr. Willard. "That is what you said you did, right?"
Willard nodded and she turned back to Ben who was squirming. "I don't know," he said. "I guess he figured it out. Where else would Willard, uh, Mr. Willard have put it?"
I looked over at Mr. Willard who had a big grin on his face. I heard Ben's dad say, "Good job, son. Don't you feel better having told the truth? Even if it means telling on your friend?"
I shook my head in disgust and looked up to find Miss Carswell staring at me with raised eyebrows.
"Well, Jason," she said. "Do you have any rebuttal to make?"
I took a deep breath. "Ben did call me Wednesday to get me up to date on homework assignments, but I never told him that I broke into school and took back my pen because I didn't."
I made eye contact with her and held it. "But one thing he said is true: I do love my pen. And if I had it, I'd never let is sit without its cap for days on end." I pulled the cap out of my pocket and held it up.
Miss Carswell said nothing, and Mr. Willard's lawyer stood up. "That is no argument, boy!" he said, smirking up at Miss Carswell. "It seems to be the word of this young man here against that of his teacher and his fellow classmate."
Miss Carswell raised her eyebrow. "Seems is the operative word here. However, as Jason's grandfather Edgar used to say to me at every opportunity, "Things are never the way they seem."
My eyes opened wide, but not as wide as my mother's. "You were friendly with my father?" she blurted out.
Miss Carswell gave her a deadpan look. "We shared a hobby."
Mom shook her head. "Who'd ever have thought it?"
"Not you, obviously," Miss Carswell retorted in a very dry tone. "Now Jason, I told your mother to send your lawyer, Mr. Conley home, didn't I?"
Yes, you did, Miss Carswell," I said to her.
"Do you know why I did that?"
I shook my head. "No."
"It was because you said you trusted me to be fair. Is that still true?"
I nodded. "Yes, it is," I said, not sure as I said it why I believed it so strongly.
She smiled. "Well, having someone trust me is a rare experience in recent years. So I decided to earn that trust. Of course, I didn't know that Mr. Willard would bring a witness to support his story about what happened to your pen."
I nodded. "I didn't either," I said.
Her smile broadened. "I strongly suspected, as you know, that your pen had been destroyed, mostly like intentionally and maliciously. So I wondered how I could check out my suspicion, find evidence one way or the other."
I nodded again.
"Evidence is very important, Jason."
"Yes, ma'am," I replied.
"And I found it," she said, a slight note of triumph in her voice that I wasn't sure anyone else detected.
She reached into her bag and pulled out an envelope. "I'm very sorry to have to affirm to you that your fountain pen was indeed destroyed. I have the remnants here." Unfortunately they are only fragments."
She laid out a piece of white paper from her notebook on the desk and emptied the tiny shards of plastic, a bent lever and clip, and a torn sac onto it. "I am very, very sorry," she said.

 


Previous Chapter Chapter Index Next Chapter

 

Comment on this article...

 

 

www.pentrace.com

 
[ Home | Message Board | SnailMail Group | Reader's Corner | Submit Article | BoWaM | About | Biographies | Contact | Older Stuff ]
 
Copyright 2000-2001 pentrace.com, All Rights Reserved