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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

If Only Pickpockets Were This Good

It was cold today, or at least it looked cold outside. I needed to shop – food, sundries, holiday candles – so today was the day. I finally got outside at 2.30-ish, and the air wasn’t as cold as i’d thought. So my thought was to walk through Latensky Sady (Prague’s largest park), then catch a tram down to the Tesco at Andel. I got off at Malostranska and walked up the block. I couldn’t find the park.

Biggest fucking green space in Prague and I’m standing by the river watching a trio of babushkas carry shopping bags. Where was this place? I thought I’d looked precisely on the map, but I must be a klick away. So I backtracked to the tram and took the #20 south.

Of course, I never leave the house without either a book, a notebook, and one of my Mont Blanc pens. I’d loaded my man purse with said items and was out.

mont blanc penWhen I got home, however, I unloaded my bags and discovered the Mont Blanc was not to be found. Shit!  This is my older Mont Blanc pen, a gift from Matt & Kathy Ryan on the celebration of my MFA degree (today I wonder why I bothered with that 3rd degree, but that’s subject is for a later book-length screed). It’s a slim, black & gold pen that writes flawlessly across all surfaces but diamonds. Engraved on its middle gold band is the phrase “Nobles Oblige” (the nobel obligation— writing to ones friends … or in my case writing mostly notes and novel scenes on anything that will accept ink).

The pen was gone. I looked in the satchel. I looked on the floor. I looked on the bed, where I’d tossed the satchel. I looked in my coat pockets. I tried to remember which slimy fuck stood behind me on the bus lumbering down to Dejvicka. And I asked myself, Did someone steal my fucking pen? I thought and searched, and decided that theft was the answer.

Then, over a conciliatory glass of Bordeaux, I decided to look in my backpack, the last place I’d for certain seen and used it yesterday. And there it lay, the white five-point star emblematic of Europe’s highest mountain, Mont Blanc, whose “glacier massif” is melting so fast that the mountain may in my lifetime be renamed Mont Noir. Anyway… the pen is indeed safe, and … knock on wood (I just rapped my forehead twice) … I’ve still never been pickpocketed.

(Lately I’ve been thinking this question over: Did I move to France to live in the shadow of Mont Blanc because I owned its eponymous writing instrument, or did the pen compel me to commune—to pilgrimage, take the haj—with its namesake? I have no answer to this question. BTW…Mont Blanc pens are made in Switzerland and Germany, owned by Richemont (Suisse) and have nothing whatsoever to do with France. Never had, but for the name. Hmm. Who needs a drink?)

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