A Paper Clip
together is what I was meant to do. But here I am
just lying around, unused with a bunch of other
No. 2 silver look-a-like do-nothings. At most we
get shuffled around once in a while, when they
are looking for something, and every now and then,
one of us gets plucked out, and it's then I
imagine what it must be like to be useful, even
if it's just keeping together a
short stack of paper. It might be photographs; it
might be newspaper clippings. It might be a
report or even a short story manuscript; or it
could be bills. But it could also be business
cards, coupons, credit card slips, lottery
tickets, etc. All the possibilities, and yet none
of us ever gets to know what actually happens out
there. I still believe it's exciting. It has to
be. It can't be like living in a box.
I was the last
of a 100-count box, and I just couldn't wait for
that drawer to open again, because that's when it
sometimes happened. I knew that I had to be
selected soon, and I had a feeling, which I kept
to myself, that it was going to be something big,
something special, much more special than what
any of the others had been singled out for. It
had to be. I was the last, and I had been saved
for a really important purpose.
The time that
passed seemed to be without end. I don't get
tired and I don't sleep, but I know that time
passes. The drawer opened 35 times since the last
one of us was taken. That's a record. I've kept
track, and I'm good with numbers.
distressed me most was the sudden appearance of
another box. This one was much biggermaybe
four or five or ten times biggerthan mine.
Its many layers were visible when the label was
turned the other way. Time after time, when the
drawer opened, the little coloured paper clips
were lifted out of the large round box, while I
waited for my turnthe turn that I'd been
waiting for so long.
Then one day
it seemed all my waiting was going to pay off.
The drawer was opened, and I was pinched between
thumb and forefinger and pulled from the box just
before it was tossed into the waste basket. My
premonitions were confirmed. I was being saved
for something big. Within seconds I found out how
big. The fleshy pink forceps dropped me into a
vast transparent cylinder filled with hundreds of
vinyl-coated, coloured paper clips.