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    Wednesday, July 09, 2008

    The League of the Pen

    No one knew what they called themselves, all they knew was that they were together, a gang. Gang was probably too harsh of a word for them though. Maybe they were a collective or even a group. But like a gang they had tattoos, small black splotches where they held their pens, and contrary to popular belief they were actual tattoos and not just ink from a pen temporarily staining their skin.

    Outside of the bar, no one had ever seen them together, which is why the gang moniker was probably inapt. But they met once a week like clockwork. They even arrived in the same order every time. They all wore jeans and sneakers with black tee-shirts. The only way their wardrobe differed was in their selection of blazer. The leader, or so everyone thought, was the one wearing the tan blazer with the leather elbow patches. There was something about the way his eyes rested under his thick black framed glasses and the way he licked the beer foam from his mustache before it could drip on his beard.

    If you had the patience to sit silently in a booth near their table you could glean bits of their conversation as it penetrated the small and silent moments between the songs from the jukebox. They played the same songs every time, but varied the order of play. The music was mostly undulating tone poems by bands like Sigur Ros, Radio Head and even Pink Floyd. These undulating pulses of noise, discordant from natural sounds masked their conversation as they spoke to each other in a non modulated tone like they were delivering dialogue in a Hal Hartley film.

    Rumor, always makes for great story and when one of the rumors started to spread, we never saw them again. It seemed from what we could glean from the disparate stories that at least one of them had been involved in a coup d'etat. The League of the Pen, as we called them was engaged on a regular basis with writing the things that changed history. In this particular story, one of them had been hired to write a note from the President of some third world back water country, to the General of the army of the same. His assignment was simple, set off a coup d'etat with less than 10 words in a personal note. There was already tension there, or though the story says, and the CIA was waiting in the wings.

    When the letter arrived at the General's private residence, it is said that he didn't question it for a second. He looked at the envelope, laughed and pulled the cigar he was smoking out of his mouth. He opened the letter, then sat silently after he read it, rage building on his face. In less than twelve hours, the country was his and in less than six after that it was ours.

    While what exactly was written on the card is greatly in dispute, there are those that say the writer did the unthinkable in only six words.

    I want to...

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