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3.25.2003

PEN*IS*MIGHTIER – Part Two

Pirate Booty

“Did you hear about the gargoyle?”

I was sitting in the waiting room of Painted Desert Marketing. I didn’t know where else to go. Yeah, yeah, I might have released a demon into the world, but I still needed to make rent, you know?

I shaved on the road, which is never pleasant. I figured if there was going to be a mob after me, I wanted to be at least a little hard to identify. Shaved my head, that is.

“Mr. Pazoozak?”

“Sorry, what?”

“Did you hear about the gargoyle?”

“You mean the demon?”

“We don’t go in for demons around here.”

“Oh.”

The secretary turned from me in an intolerant huff. I had heard a radio report about the demon heading towards Phoenix, stopping occasionally to terrorize a tourist or trash a gas station. I tried to figure out what the hell had brought the doodle to life. I mean, the obvious answer was the pen.

Just to make sure, I drew some ducks. I figured ducks couldn’t really hurt anyone. They were pretty nice ducks, actually. Hardly cartoonish at all. I waited ten, fifteen minutes and nothing.

I examined the pen carefully in the waiting room trying to see if I could determine, well, anything. It was smooth, cold now, and there was no obvious way to open it for an ink cartridge. I remembered that these fountain pens sometimes sucked up ink from the tip – at least they did in old time cartoons.

I stuck the ducks back in my briefcase. I drew a line down the back of my resume and stared at the ink. It was a thick, black (almost gray) line that just seemed to sit there, like the ducks. It wasn’t anything special.

“Do you need some tape, baldy?”

“Hmmm?”

“You ripped your resume.”

“What? No, this is just a line.”

The secretary shrugged. I looked back at my resume and, before my eyes, the line turned into a big, open slice in the middle of the paper. No sign of ink, just a rip. Clearly, something was up with the pen, I concluded. Not the most brilliant conclusion, but all I could come up with at the time. I mused that it was a good idea that I hadn’t drawn what I usually doodled or a giant, disembodied vagina would be attacking Arizona.

-

“Nathan Pazoozak? What kind of name is that?”

“Uh, I’m not sure you’re legally allowed to ask me that…”

“Fair enough.”

The interview pretty much went downhill from there. Lynn Bilbao, the owner of Painted Desert Marketing, and I did not hit it off. I was still a little frazzled from creating a demon, and she, for her part, didn’t like my gender, didn’t like my religion, didn’t like my ethnicity and most definitely didn’t like my resume.

“It’s ripped.”

“Sorry.”

“So, would you wan to keep going to church even if we hired you?”

“You can’t ask me that during a job interview. It’s illegal.”

“Those laws were meant to protect minorities, mister.”

I realized I probably wasn’t going to get this job, but I was desperate enough not to say anything that I would regret later.

“Well, we might as well see what you can do. Let’s draw something, shall we?”

“Great. Where’s your computer?”

“We prefer to work on paper first.”

“Oh. Can I borrow a pen?”

“Didn’t you come prepared?”

I could see where this was going. Nervously, I pulled out the pen.

“What do you want me to draw?”

“Let’s see a pirate – like the one from those art school ads.”

I sighed. “A pirate?”

“We do a lot of business with Captain Morgan’sTM out here.”

I did my best. A big, goofy pirate with a surly looking parrot. The pirate had an eye patch, a hook hand and a peg leg. Clearly, he had been on the losing end of a few swordfights. He held a bottle of rum in his good hand. The parrot smoked – he had a peg leg, too.

“The parrot looks like he’s the brains of the gang,” said Lynn.

I had to agree.

“Well, clearly you have some skill – more of an illustrator than an artist though, huh?”

“Yeah,” I said, glancing nervously at the drawing, which was just sitting there at the moment.

“Leave your cell number – we’ll call you.”

“What about Happy Jack here?” I asked, indicating the pirate.

“We’ll keep it on file.”

Relieved, I headed for the lobby. Clearly, some part of the equation was missing, since old Jack hadn’t sprung to life. I was leaving my number with the secretary when I heard it.

“Yar! Grab the wench, you scurvy dog! SQUACK!”

“Mrs. Bilbao?” called the secretary.

Out through the door hobbled my pirate, a parrot on one shoulder, a screaming owner of a marketing company on the other.

“Get that damn hook out of my ass,” she ordered.

“Yar, that’s what I call booty, Salty Pete!” yelled the pirate.

“SQUACK! No booty puns or I’ll poop in your rum,” replied the bird, “Let’s head for the open seas!”

“Mrs. Bilbao!”

“Misha! Help me!”

Too stunned to react, I watched as the secretary bum rushed the pirate only to be chased off by 15 pounds of feathered, peg-legged fury.

“Do something!” Misha screamed at me as Happy Jack lugged her boss into the dry Arizona morning.

“I am,” I replied, already reaching for a fresh piece of paper and my strange new pen.

To Be Continued

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