A NEW COUNTRY
r. m. glover
“What is it, speak up.”
“You’ve left your pen, sir.” The clerk offered up a green and white hotel pen.
“Aw, hell. I sure did. Why do you suppose I did that?”
The clerk shrugged and held the pen out like a prize. At the counter, in the lobby on a Saturday morning in downtown Atlanta, their eyes met.
“I don’t want it back, get it?”
The clerk stroked his thin mustache. His head wagged left and right. “Yes,” he said. “You don’t want the complimentary pen.”
“No. I don’t want the complimentary pen.”
The man turned and walked through the lobby and out the revolving door.
He was still chuckling two blocks later. A city bus passed by blowing black smoke and a pigeon rushed over his head and he could hear the bird’s wings flap and then he stopped and lit a cigarette. Newspapers whirled in the wind and steam puffed from a grated storm drain. Next to his foot at the crosswalk a green and white hotel pen laid crushed in the crease of the sidewalk.
R. M. Glover
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