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* Chapter I
* Chapter II
* Chapter III

The Case of the Haunted Pen: Chapter IV
Continuation of the bi-weekly serial
from the fountain pen of David Lee Mason

Pinkie had the pen, of course, the silver/blue Vacumatic Major with a flex fine nib and slight brassing on the top of the clip and the capband. What kind of a plot would this be without that? It had been dumped on him by a fleet-fingered thief named Icepick Vinnie, who used his pick to worm locks and latches to great advantage. His advantage. Vinnie had dropped off a veritable boxful of pens for Pinkie to fence, he'd had a busy week out on the Heights where the rich folk lived. Vintage pens were leapfrogging in value regularly, and there were no serial numbers, not on the old ones.

Vinnie and Pinkie were on congenial terms, enough so that consignment sales were the most profitable for both. Even more so than art, collecting pens was a secretive, solitary sort of avocation and many many of Pinkie's customers never questioned the provenance of their pens too closely. Pinkie had connections in Chicago and on both coasts who could trade him pens tit-for- tat so that Aunt Winifred's purloined Parker wouldn't show up at her next church social swap meet.

Molly Penn had precipitously left Pinkie's office at sunset and he scurried home, as well as a 300-pound man can scurry. Home was a one bedroom shotgun apartment on the lower East Side, living room-bedroom-kitchen-bathroom-backdoor out to the alley full of mournful cat songs, hobos and pipeheads. Pinkie kept the majority of his merchandise in a vault uptown, but he just happened to have a silver/blue Vacumatic Major with a flex fine nib and slight brassing on the top of the clip and the capband lying around. He picked it up, fingered it a bit and asked it out loud "Did you really do all that? Haunted? HA, Ha, ha...." The pen, mute until paper'd, left him no clue at all. Damned if I'll be spooked by a silly superstition, thought the Pinkster. "Ha! It's just another pen! Ha!" With the aid of several sturdy shots of scotch and a few hits of opium courtesy of Mungo the inscrutable houseboy, Pinkie finally drifted off to a troubled, dream-laden sleep.

Pinkie was standing buck naked and shivering on a streetcorner, it was a dark and stormy night. Bony men in long black hooded robes were swinging scythes, decapitating passersby with gleeful abandon. Heads rolled in the gutters like bowling balls, fog twisted like wraiths in the dim glow from the streetlamps. Pens flew through the air like sparrows. Old pens, vintage pens. Suddenly, a thought rang out! And a girl was standing there. It was Molly, of course, eyes of Emerald Green, lips of Ruby Red, hair Havana Brown. Still tightly sheathed in her South Seas Blue silk skirt, her Pink Bubblegum tongue snaked around her lips and she hissed "The PEN, Pinkie... where's the PEN?!?" The inkwell was filled with blood. Pinkie's head turned into a nib and the mouth of the inkwell was approaching closer, ever approaching....

Pinkie awoke buck naked and vibrating, laid out on his living room floor, mouth parched, eyes crusted with fear-tears but worst of all he was drenched in ink and couldn't remember a thing. "AAAAARGHH!" he cried. "What's happening to me?" Perched on the edge of his desk, resting in pristine uncapped elegance, was a silver/blue Vacumatic Major with a flex fine nib and slight brassing on the top of the clip and the capband.

Coming Next: What's Happening to Pinkie

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