Ink

I sit on my swivel chair at my computer, legs crossed. But I don't type. I have a notebook in my lap, a Bic pen in hand. I found out why the caps on Bics have those tiny holes at the top. Ever notice them? They were designed that way so if you swallow them, you can still get air. I once almost swallowed a Bic cap. It was on my desk and so was the horse marine fish oil capsule that I'd put off taking it all day, along with a glass of water. I was concentrating on writing a haiku about a sparrow that flew into Macy's when I accidentally popped the cap into my mouth. But it only took a moment to realize it and I spit it right out. In Carrie Fisher's one-woman show, Wishful Drinking, she said her Dad, Eddie Fisher, once washed his hearing aids down with a glass of water instead of his meds. But he was drunk at the time. I should Google how many people swallow their hearing aids when sober. It reminds me of the one about the man who was too embarrassed to tell his doctor that he swallowed his spare glass eye.

"Doc, I got pain all through my gut," the guy complained.

The doctor palpated the man's stomach, intestines, then had him turn over, get on his knees on the table, and stick his butt in the air. The doctor had a peek with a light. There was the eye looking back at him. "Gee, you really don't trust me," the doctor said.

Bics are only about three bucks each, but they are pricey in the long run. I tend to lose the caps and then they leak. In fact, every time I buy a new pocketbook, a Bic takes a leak in it. Dang, I just got an ink splotch on my white slacks. The only upside is that my dry cleaner loves me.

"Oh, Miss Shapiro," he says with a grin, "I see you've been writing." Ca-Ching.

They sell push button Bics too, but I like the old time ones. With their transparent barrel, you can see the ink tube clearly so they don't go empty just when you are on a great riff. Unlike thermometers that you have to hold to the light, squint at, rotate a bit until you can read the silver line, even the near blind can read the ink level in the original Bic. I've taken to sucking on the top of the uncapped Bic when I'm waiting for words to come. If I somehow get ink in my mouth, I will be in a lot less trouble than if a thermometer broke and I swallowed Mercury.

I can barely read my scrawl when I try to type what I've written. How I wish I could write directly on the computer, but when I do, my writing sounds as stiff as those back to school essays, "What I Did At Sleep Away Camp," even though I never went to sleep away camp. My father, having escaped from Russia, would never let me go away. "What if the Cossacks galloped into our little beach town of Far Rockaway and started another pogrom?" he'd demand, his blue eyes searing through mine. "We'd have to leave the country without you."

I sit at my desk, notebook in my lap. I notice I dropped a Bic cap. When I bend to reach for it, I see an ink stain on my beige carpet. The carpet cleaner loves me too. Ca-ching. Ca-ching.