Frank Banta

Droozle, by Frank Banta

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Title: Droozle
Author: Frank Banta
Release Date: October 22, 2007 [EBook #23148]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Produced by Greg Weeks, Rebecca Hoath and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net

Droozle was probably the greatest writer in the world--any world!
Jean Lanni could see that his girl friend, Judy Stokes, thought it was the lamest excuse she had ever heard. If your ballpoint pen won't write as you want it to, your life doesn't stop, she probably was thinking. You just get yourself another pen--You don't call off a marriage....
Skeptically the girl with the long, golden red hair pointed at his breast pocket. "This Droozle I must see. And who's that other member of the partnership there beside him? An Eversharp pencil named Blackie?"
"No, that is the other end of Droozle. Permit me to introduce you." Blandly the tall, young artist slid Droozle from his breast pocket, straightened him from his U-shape and handed his twelve-inch pen to her.
"A snake!" she shrieked.
"What else?"
"Why, I thought those ruby eyes were jewels! I must have squeezed right up against him when I kissed you," she cried indignantly.
"You did. I felt him squirm a little."
"Oh! And here I thought it was your heart beating wildly."
"Well, maybe it was. It does that sometimes."
"Let's try again. And this time hold your snake behind you." The long-legged girl stood on tiptoe to reach him.
"It was your heart beating wildly," she decided a moment later. "Which makes me think you might not just be trying to get rid of me by a silly excuse."
"Believe me, I'm not," he urged. "Droozle is the key to all my fortunes."
"All right, tell me about it. But first tell me where in the universe you got him."
"Oh, that was just after I graduated from art school. I was on my grand tour. We had an unexpected stopover at the Coffin planetary system. I discovered ballpoint snakes are the chief export of Coffin Two. When we lifted ship, I had acquired my little puppy snake, Droozle."
"Is a puppy snake like a puppy dog?" she asked, fascinated. "I mean, do they have their little domestic troubles, such as the calls of nature?"
"Oh, he was thoroughly pocket-broken before I acquired him. But he did like his little jokes, and I learned to leave him curled up in a circular ashtray until maturity sobered him."
* * * * *
"Well, I should say! You drew sketches with him, didn't you tell me?"
He nodded. "At first he only had one color of ink--red--and if I sketched with him all day he would commence to look wretchedly anemic. He took two days to refill, normally. But I could use him again in only one day's time provided I didn't mind the top three-fourths of my pen laying on my arm."
"I hope his weight didn't get tiresome," she commiserated, holding in her amusement.
"I coped somehow," he answered sturdily. "Later he learned--after I squeezed him on the liver a few times just to show him how--to switch to a lovely shade of ochre, which was delightful on pale green or pink paper. Why, what's the matter, Judy?"
"Go on," she choked. "Go go go!"
He beamed. "I write my letters with him too. Every day I wrote with him, first in red, and then in ochre to give him a rest. He seemed to love to write more than to sketch. He would jump into my hand with tail happily pointed downward as I sat down to my writing desk. And when I later saw his dark green stripes turning pastel and knew that anemia was imminent, and started to lay him down for a earned rest, he would stiffen himself as if to say, 'Oh, come, come! I'm good for half a page yet!'"
"It sounds as though he was a willing worker, but I still can't see why his malfunction makes our marriage impossible."
"I haven't gotten to his career as a novelist yet. There lies the heart of the tragedy."
"Please proceed to the heart of the tragedy."
* * * * *
"It all began when I found him arched up one morning, writing by himself--with difficulty, it is true. His first message to the world was, 'I hold that the supine viewpoint is seldom downward!'"
"I don't see how he could stand up on end to write for very long, even with such a magnificent philosophy to bolster him."
"What a terrible pun," Jean groaned. "He couldn't stand up very long at first. But
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