From the first line generator. Props to a Writing Center co-worker, who, when we went hunting for lost pencils, turned out to have more than a dozen pencils and pens–many of which were not hers.

The pen hadn’t been worth stealing. Not this pen, or the dozen before it, or all the pencils, either. Of course, she never meant to steal them, so it was hardly a question of worth. They simply wandered into pockets, leapt behind her ear, or migrated into her purse.

Maybe now and then, her eye was caught by a bright color, or a softly contoured grip, and the pens wandered with just a hint of intent, but really… when she’d dumped out her purse at her co-worker’s insistence, she’d thought there might be two or three pens in there. Hadn’t she cleaned out her purse just a couple of weeks ago?

From the litter of crumpled receipts, empty gum wrappers, half-used tubes of lipstick, and hair elastics, it had been longer than that.

With a kind of fascination, Lila counted out the writing instruments, separating them from the clutter. “One… two… three…”

She shifted her feet, annoyed. It was all a mistake, a petty theft, the kind of accident that just happened to people. Everyone found a pen or two that didn’t belong to them, now and then.

“Fourteen… fifteen…”

Someone in the crowd giggled.

“Some of those are mine!” she protested. “I’m always losing my pens. The green retractables.”

Without pausing in her counting, Lila nudged three green pens to the side of her growing pile. “Twenty-one… twenty-two…” She paused. “Twenty-two.”

“That’s nineteen! Three of those are mine!” Definitely not worth it, even if the pen that she’d picked up from Lila’s desk had a lovely cushioned grip and a sleek silver design. She sighed as that pen, and all but those three green pens, were carried away, people claiming their lost pens and pencils from Lila, and dispersing back to work.

Not worth it, but maybe if she slipped it in her lunch box, instead…

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

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