A written story.
by J.D. Clark
There once lived an old man who had a very large collection of pens of all different colors, shapes and sizes.
But he was very unhappy.
His wife, whom he loved dearly, had passed away several years prior, and he had spent his time since traveling the world, seeing the wonders of it in hopes of filling the emptiness he felt inside since she had departed. He had been to the highest mountain, the deepest sea, the grandest waterfall, the most luxurious mansion, but none had provided any lasting pleasure.
At every lodging where he stayed, every place he ate, or gift shop he visited, he signed in or paid his bill with the pen he was handed, and after doing so, he had a most terrible habit of putting the pen away in his worn suit jacket and walking off with it.
On the evening after returning from his final trip, for he had seen everything there was, he lay awake in his bed and asked God a simple question:
How can I be happy again?
Not expecting an answer, the man drifted off and just as his usual snore commenced, a very distinct, but soft voice awoke him whispering,
"Return the pens."
The man opened his weary eyes, expecting to see a person at his bedside, but saw no one. Again the voice said,"Return the pens."
The old man thought the request very unusual, for not one of the writing utensils in his possession must have been worth more than a few pennies, and he himself had left plenty of pens in places to balance out the justice of the universe, but believing it must be God's answer, he made the decision to obey.
And so he gathered up his pens and began retracing his steps...
The first place he returned to was Paradise Falls, the tallest and most beautiful waterfall in all the world. The pen he had stolen from the Paradise Hotel's reception desk was a large black pen, six inches long.
Fountain, of course.
But when he arrived, he found the hotel was empty except for a bellhop who seemed frantic on the phone.
"Yes, police!? This is the Paradise Hotel," said the bellhop,"A young woman is about to jump off the falls-come quickly, please!"
Being curious, the old man rushed outside and climbed to the very highest point of the falls where a crowd of panicking onlookers were trying to persuade the young woman to climb back onto the safe side of the railing.
"No!" cried the young woman as a hotel worker reached for her,"Back away or I'll jump!"
By this time, the old man had made his way to the front of the crowd and was staring down at the violent water descending thousands of feet, splashing into the canyon cut river below.
Suddenly, he felt a compulsion to speak to the young lady, and so, without knowing what would come out, he opened his mouth...
"That's certainly an amazing drop!" he shouted,"In fact, the only thing more certainly amazing would be to see someone plunge off this falls to their certain death! And I'd certainly love to watch! But before you entertain us all, may I ask why you are jumping?!"
The crowd gave the old man a rather displeasing look, and some of the women began to practice their screams, for this old man's sarcastic comments would certainly push the young woman off the edge. And even the old man was alarmed at what came out of his mouth, for he generally kept to himself and was far to shy to encourage someone to commit suicide.
But to everyone's surprise the woman responded with equal sarcasm,"Certainly, old man. I've lost everything: my job to another country, my husband to another woman, my home to the bank and now I have nothing left. Most certainly nothing to live for."
"Ahh, I see,"said the old man, once again without thinking,"those are certainly good reasons, good reasons, indeed. Quite right, you have nothing to live for. But what do you have to die for?"
"What do you mean?" said the woman.
"Joan of Arc had the oppressed of France, Martin Luther, the faith of the ignorant masses, Romeo had true love, what cause do you have to die for?"
A pensive look came across the young woman's face.
And after a minute or two she replied,"Well, I am not quite sure, but-"
"I detect the uncertainty in your reply," interrupted the old man,"Now I suggest you at least delay your last leap until you are absolutely certain you have a cause worthy of death."
Miraculously, the woman seemed to come to her senses and tried making her way back to safety, but slipped on a loose rock and was about to fall into the abyss.
Instinctively, the old man, who was just about six inches further away than arms length from the woman, held out the black fountain pen, which she grasped, and he pulled her to safety.
The crowd's sighs crescendo'ed into cheers and clapping for the old man's heroic deed.
"Anyone have a small piece of paper to write on?" asked the old man.
A hotel worker handed him a small notepad and pen.
"Just paper, thank you,"said the old man,"I certainly have plenty of pens."
Then he wrote his name and address on the paper and handed it to the woman.
"Now I certainly don't want to miss this event when it eventually occurs," he said,"Do inform me beforehand, would you?"
"Certainly," said the woman.
Then, the old man returned the notepad and black fountain pen to the hotel worker and went on his way.