500 Club: Bad Habit

Things have been slow around here. Life tends to take up much of my time. I’m doing my best to correct this, but change takes time (unless it’s forced upon you). I don’t have much in the way of news, so instead I’m going to participate in the 500 Club. If you don’t know what that is, please check out The Parking Lot Confessional for details. Then head to your own blog to play along.

One For Another

Barry looked down at the string of spit connecting his lip to the butt of his pen. The strand sagged and trembled before severing in two, one half sticking to his chin, the other to the mangle end of his pen.

This has got to stop, he told himself.

He stared at the misshapen writing implement and tried to will it back to the form it once was. The black tip with protruding metal point showed no signs of wear. Why should it? He’d only took the pen from its box this morning.  It would be another month before the ink would even be half used. Following up the gray shaft, the letters of the logo spelled out Pape— before the words were lost to teeth marks. That’s where it started to lose its shape.

The soft plastic bumped and creased in ever-changing patterns all the way to the butt. Barry thought there used to be a cap on the end, but unable to identify anything remotely similar has come to one of two decisions. Either he mashed it into the plastic of the rest of the pen, or…

He gulped as stomach gave itself an Indian rope burn.

He threw the mangled eye sore into the trash and quickly crumpled an old memo to toss on top. His own personal pen graveyard.

He needed to quit this. He ditch his cancer sticks almost six months ago now. It didn’t seem fair to have to deal with another disgusting habit. At least with a cigarette between his lips didn’t send the women running. Just last week Mary from two cubicles down asked to borrow some corrective tape. She looked up and snatched her hand back. The sneer on her face as she said, “Nevermind”  had me baffled until he pulled the saliva-soaked stump from his mouth. Barry didn’t even know when he did it now.

He pulled open his desk drawer to get another pen. He was down to his last three. He knew he had to break down and buy his own supply. Susan had questioned his last request for more pens.

“It seems like it wasn’t too long ago I gave you a bow,” she said casually. Barry knew better. She was on to his habit. That’s why he raided the supply closet last Thursday while she took a long lunch with her fiancé. Even with that extra bit of plastic to get him through, he knew it would be too soon to request more.

Pens aren’t as expensive as smoking. That’s what he told himself. Then he countered with, “But if I had to support my own habit, why not choose one that I actually liked. The taste of tobacco is so much more preferable to ink. Any day.”

Mary passed by and stared at him aghast. Great, he thought, now they all think I talk to myself.

A transfer was looking better to Barry everyday. Maybe they would have better pens.

There you go. Let me know what you think. This was all free-write. I only indulged in a spell check. Leave a comment or better yet, play along so I can see what you come up with.


I tried to ignore the glaring POV slip, really I did. After being called on it though, I had to edit it. I promise, no more edits after this.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License
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3 thoughts on “500 Club: Bad Habit

      1. Thanks for reading Tracy. I tried to go without editing, but the POV switch was too much for me to ignore. I fixed it. Now you should write something so I can read it.

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