|The Unwilling Counsel
Author: physics223 PM
'What are you cooking' Will asked. 'Ballpens,' he replied simply. 'Your diet certainly becomes more exotic by the day. Have you taken your meds yet? I heard they made Prozac a bit more affordable.'Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship - Words: 1,472 - Reviews: 3 - Published: 12-08-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3081109
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Unwilling Counsel
He switched on the oven, but he didn't have any ingredients save for six ballpoint pens in his right hand. Will had entered through the unlocked screen door and saw the blue flame flicker without any pots and pans nearby. Curious, Will went to the one beside the oven and asked him: 'What are you doing there, Sal?'
'Will, hey. I'm cooking.'
'I can see that. But what are you cooking?'
'Your diet certainly becomes more exotic by the day. Have you taken your medications yet? I read Prozac lowered its price recently.'
'That's just a sign that you didn't have much of a childhood. You didn't do this back then?'
'Cook ballpens? Of course not! There was a lot of other food we could eat, you know!'
'You ass, I meant using heat to make dried ink flow again. It's common sense, and basic physics.'
'I never really had that problem, you know. I mean, if one of my pens didn't write, I'd go and buy another one. It's much less hassle that way, you know. Pens aren't really expensive.'
'I guess I learned this trick because I was cheap, even from a young age. Not this time, though. I'm actually trying to relive a bit of history, which is why I'm trying to make this pen write.'
'What's so special about those pens, anyway?'
'Well, it was a pen like one of these that's made me so appreciative of the Scripto brand. Ten years ago, one of my cousins gave me a pen just like this, and I liked how it wrote and recently went on a quest to get examples of its brand that I liked – so I want this one to write.'
'That's quite a complicated and boring history lesson. Just show me how you do it.'
Sal first attempted to write with all the pens on a piece of scratch paper. None of the pens wrote, which was expected seeing the package that he had bought was nineteen years old. Sal then proceeded to remove the ink cartridge from the body, and then exposed the writing tip for five seconds to the flame. When the flame turned a blue-orange, Sal quickly removed the tip and waved the cartridge to cool it. He then passed the rest of the pen into the flame, taking care not to burn himself, heating the ink for a very short time. After doing it for the five other pens, Sal got a paper and scribbled.
The blue pens wrote relatively smoothly, with the ink he had remembered all those years past, but the black pens didn't write at all. Try as he might to redo his alchemical procedure, only one black pen wrote, and did so with difficulty. Realizing that they wouldn't write, he decided to stop and turned off the oven.
'Impressive,' Will quipped after the procedure.
'It's an offshoot of thrift. But practical knowledge as this sometimes helps,' Sal answered. 'Thank you. But why did you come here anyway?'
'I wanted to ask for some advice.'
'About what?' Sal raised his eyebrows.
'It's about a girl I like.'
'Then you should go home, then. I can't help you with that. I think I know a lot of things, but I don't know much about that.'
'I thought you could help since you're older than me and seem to be wise enough.'
'Ever read of the saying that "the brain works efficiently until one falls in love?" The same thing happened to me. I became an absolute dunce.'
'So you mean you never had a girlfriend before?'
'Yes, I never had a girlfriend before. That's why I have an avocation with pens right now.'
'Have you even courted anyone?'
'Yes. But I'm far too much of a slouch compared to my peers. I only courted a girl once.'
'Can you tell me that story?'
'I can give you its summary: I failed.'
'Did she herself reject you forthright?'
'I wish that she could have, but that would have been asking too much of her.'
'Have you made any bloopers?'
'I must have made tons. But I guess the last thing I did was the most embarrassing thing I have ever done in my life. I'm sure I embarrassed her as well, but I was red as a beet and beside myself as I decided to just go for her one last time. I may have probably scarred her for life, but I felt like I had to do it. She didn't say anything and I felt I had to do something, even if it was in desperation. So I finally confessed, in all the fury of my insecurities, and got rejected once again by silence. That was that.'
'Do you regret ever taking those risks?'
'No. Because regret really only seeps in when the actor didn't do everything in his power to realize his wish. I think I did everything. I swallowed my pride more than a few times; I stifled my introversion, and I even sang a song despite never ever being confident in public. Yeah, I think I did what I could.'
'But she never said yes?'
'The problem was that she couldn't say no. All I really wished was that she could tell me In person, because I would never have taken it against her.'
'I think you have to understand that it's hard, Sal.'
'I know, especially for her personality. But I'd have been glad for it as a sort of consolation – it's better than having been in limbo all this time, not knowing.'
'That's the reason why I can't give you any advice. It's not that I'm still hurting, because I really wish her all the best. It's just that I wished she knew it would have been an honor to have my heart broken by her.'
'Love is a fickle thing, isn't it?'
'I can say for certain that mine wasn't. I just held on too long because I was ignorant.'
'Have you thought of killing yourself after that?'
'I thought of sleeping the sadness away. But I never thought of killing myself. That's just stupid. She didn't like me, and that was fine. I had been a bit bitter, but I'm over that now. Even with all that embarrassment that was self-induced I still think it's stupid to kill myself. I think it's even worse to kill yourself just to make the extant people feel bad about their own selves. It's such an idiotic way of getting revenge. The best revenge is living well, they say, and I don't even have anything like revenge in mind.'
'Is there any advice you can give me, now?'
'Let me reiterate. I have never had a girlfriend. I only courted a girl once, and that ended in stark failure. You still want some advice from me?'
'Because unlike other guys I know you actually have a semblance of values, and I respect that.'
'Thank you very much. But I'm not as nice as you think. There were times when I was really angry at being rejected, you know, and you have to prepare for that. Sometimes I was angry at all the effort I had expended for naught. That comes with rejection, I guess.'
Sal sighed. 'You're very persistent. But I really only have one thing in mind.'
'Be yourself. Don't put your best foot forward if that doesn't reflect your personality. Show your good side, and limit your bad side, but never hide in a façade.'
'Don't the books say put your best foot forward?'
'Yes, but if that doesn't represent you it's going to be like a choker that's slowly going to kill you, especially if your relationship progresses. Never be someone you're not. If you're a geek, then be a geek. There will be people who will like you for precisely being that; and these will be the people that you would grow to respect and care for as well. I probably came off as an intense bibliophile to her, but if I tried to show myself off as a jock I'd probably fail even harder. I tried my best at what I could do, but I was never someone I was not. That's it.'
Sal once again fired up the oven, turning on the heat. He could not give up on those black pens. He had heated the cartridges longer, which led to one tip deforming. He stayed for thirty more minutes, Will watching him with a diligent student's focus, until Sal turned off his makeshift smelter. Only one of the pens wrote with some consistency: even then, its ink had sputtered. He then grabbed the three pens, and threw them in the trash can.