The Case of the Pen Thief


Pen theft may not sound like a serious crime, but it’s a big problem at our office. It seems that everyone has a favourite pen and we can never keep up with demand.

Sharon and Carl write only in green. Leslie and Brigid prefer a good grip. And then there’s Andy. The snob of all pen snobs, Andy refuses to use anything other than the PaperMate Inkjoy. This is the Cadillac of pens — it comes in a variety of colours, with a varietypapinkjoy of grips and always writes smoothly. Naturally, everyone in the office wants to steal these pens. They want to steal the green ones or the grippy ones or whichever ones suit their mood of the day. For Andy, this is a problem.

“Ugh!” Andy grunts as he scans the supply closet. “Why is it always the Inkjoy?”

He grabs a handful of non-Inkjoy pens. “Sharon, these ones come in green, too! Why is it always the Inkjoy?”

Sharon shrugs as she walks by, “They were the first ones I saw.”

“And you,” Andy gestures toward Brigid as she walks by, an Inkjoy pen dangling from her clipboard. “Why did you have to take the Inkjoy?”

“I like the grip!” Brigid says.

Then, it’s just sad ol’ Andy, standing alone in front of the supply closet. It’s stocked full of pens, but he’s not satisfied. He wants an Inkjoy. He probably won’t get a thing done today without one.

Andy feels a hand on his shoulder and straightens up. It’s Martha.

“Andy,” Martha says, “you can have mine.” She holds her hand out to Andy, an Inkjoy gripped between her fingers.

“Won’t you miss it?” Andy asks with mock-concern. He’s already taking the pen out of Martha’s hands.

“Can you keep a secret?” Martha says, gesturing for Andy to follow her.

Martha leads Andy to her desk and, crouching down, she whispers, “I love Inkjoys, too.” She opens her desk drawer to reveal two full packs of Inkjoy pens, hidden perfectly under a stack of blank paper.

“So, you’re the one who’s been stealing all the Inkjoys!” Andy shouts.

Martha shushes him and takes a box out of the drawer. She offers it to Andy but as he reaches to grab it, she pulls back. “Don’t forget this when… I run out of Inkjoys,” she pleads.

Andy smiles, “Deal.” He takes the box and slyly conceals it under his sweater. On the walk back to his desk, Andy feels triumphant. He’s got the office’s most coveted possession. That is, until the next pen thief strikes.

Don't Miss. Written On White Paper

A Replacement Andy? Better check the catalogue for that.


Despite plastering his office with homemade sticky notes, Andy had managed to redeem himself. Beneath the layers of gluey paper was an idea he’d had to recycle unwanted printed pages and set about making scratch pads out of misprints.

“Do you need a scratch pad?” Andy was obviously delivering door-to-door, also.

“Sure, I’ll take one,” I grabbed the top pad from the stack he held. “What’s your next project?”

“Finding the perfect pen,” his pile of pads started to slip and he clasped them to his chest.

“And how is that going to benefit the department?” I asked as I realized that the glue hadn’t dried on the pad and it was now attached to my palm. Andy juggled the pads against his shirt and noticed that they had stuck to that, too, “have you seen our office supplies’ cabinet? We’ve all kinds of odd pens kicking around. I thought it would be better if we chose one and then ordered them in bulk.”

It was hard to take him seriously as he tried to separate glue from fabric, but I was saved from laughing by Brigid, who appeared behind him with a colourful flyer in her hand.

“Aditi asked me to give you this,” Brigid pushed past Andy, further cementing the pads to his clothing.

I grabbed the Office Plus flyer and flipped through to the pens.

“What did you do to yourself?” Brigid, although a recent hire, had taken a mentoring role with Andy.

Andy was a mess of paper and glue with a drift of unglued pages at his feet.

“I didn’t let them dry long enough, sorry,” Andy looked depressed. His one good idea lay in tatters at his feet.

“Why don’t you check out the pens in here?” I pointed to the pen page.

“InkJoy? Oh that’s a new line from PaperMate®,” Andy stared at the pictures.

Brigid looked over his shoulder, “I’ve heard of those. They use specially blended, low viscosity inks…

“…viscosity?” Andy confused resembled a colicky toddler.

Brigid picked up a page from the floor and slapped it against Andy’s shirt, where it stuck, “viscosity is stickiness, but with these pens it means that they start writing straight away with no dragging, and only need a little pressure in order to write.”

“And look!” Andy pointed at a price, “you can save if you get these ones in boxes of 12, which is exactly what we need. I’ll get on it right away.” And with that, he left, picking up a few sticky pages on his shoes.

Brigid watched him leave, “have you ever seen a replacement for Andy in that Office Plus flyer?”

“No, but I haven’t looked through the whole catalogue yet.”