A Photoblog by Monte Stevens

A place for my photos and random thoughts

A Sunday Story: The Inventory

with 8 comments

This is the third of a series of short stories about a pen. It was an idea conceived by Faye White after making a comment on one of my posts. We have agreed to come up with four stories about a pen and it’s travels. For me, the pen in these four stories has a encounter with someone and it’s task is to empower those who use it to bring their ideas, thoughts, dreams and visions on paper. I intend to post each story on four consecutive Sundays. I also encourage you to visit and enjoy Faye’s story here. Leave us comments to let us know you stopped by, we’d appreciate it.

Ronnie found the pen just as he approached the side door leading to the church basement. It was an eye catching pen and looked expensive. He was running late so he placed it in his shirt pocket and headed inside where he met up with everyone.

He’d been coming to these meetings now for the past seven months. He was uncertain why he kept coming as there were some really off-the-wall types inside these meeting rooms, people he would not normally associate with. However, he knew he kept coming back because of the relationship he had developed with Bill. They were not the best of friends and didn’t have all that much in common as Bill was older, widowed and very outgoing while Ronnie was on the quiet side and more introverted. But, Bill had sobriety, 18 years to be exact, and that’s what Ronnie wanted and needed.

Even though it had only been a few months, Ronnie could remember those morning hangovers. Waking up with a dry mouth, trying to remember the events of the night. The almost overwhelming fear when he couldn’t remember driving home. Most of the people he hung around with were drinking buddies who also dealt with hangovers so he had grown to accept these morning as his normal way of life. Some mornings it was tough just sitting up in bed, trying to focus bloodshot eyes but thankful he was in his own bed.

The topic at tonight’s meeting was on the Fourth Step of the 12 Step program. Ronnie listened intently as a couple of old-timers, both with over 20 years of sobriety, shared how the fourth step had been a major step in their recovery. Ronnie had not worked all of the steps. Step four seemed to be a holding place for him. Bill, who he had asked to be his sponsor, had not pushed him, feeling he would work the steps in due time. Bills felt forcing Ronnie was not going to work. Ronnie had to want to work the steps when he was ready. They had been reading the Big Book together and had read through Chapter 5 on How It Works, where it outlines all the Steps. Ronnie had worked up to the third step and said the third step prayer with Bill but Ronnie balked at step four. Taking an inventory to clean house by looking at his faults was not something he felt he needed. There were to many people who were the ones at fault and had caused him much pain.

After the meeting he gathered around to share in the fellowship the program offered. Bill walked up and gave him a big hug, a much welcomed hug. As they separated their embrace Ronnie wondered again why Bill’s presence was so calming.

“Glad you made it, my friend. How’s your day?”, Bill asked.

With a smile Ronnie responded, “It’s been good. I’m still employed and the repairs on my car didn’t damage my pocket book as I expected.” They both laughed. As Ronnie pulled the pen out of his pocket to show Bill he said, “Look what I found outside the church as I came to the meeting tonight.”

Bills lowered his head and looked over the top of his glasses so he took a good look at the elegant silver and gold pen in his hand. With his calming voice he told Ronnie,”Man, that’s an expensive looking pen. I bet  it would be a great pen to write a Fourth step inventory.” And, yes, it was a nudge for Ronnie to move forward and Ronnie knew that.

Damn, all this talk about the Fourth step tonight. Ronnie quickly responded, “Yea, I suppose so.”, and placed the pen back in his pocket, hoping they could move on to something else. They both knew Bill had done what was required, so nothing else needed to be said.

Inventory is Started

Later that evening Ronnie remembered the pen and decided to look at it before going to bed. He picked up the envelope containing his electric bill, pulled off the cap on the pen and wrote down his name. The pen did have a good feel to it. Without much thought, he took out a blank sheet of paper from his printer, walked over his desk and sat down. It was almost 10:00 PM. He should be going to bed but he knew the time had arrived. At the top of the blank sheet of paper he wrote, “Inventory.” He realized it was going to be a late night.


Written by Monte Stevens

February 14, 2010 at 12:01 am

Posted in A Sunday Story, The Pen

Tagged with , ,

8 Responses

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  1. Great story, Monte. It really is fascinating to see how one single thing has sparked our imaginations and creativity. Awesome…


    February 14, 2010 at 11:06 am

    • Fear prevents many from taking the simplist of steps to sharing little gifts and talents with the world. I’m a slow learner. Hope you’re not in too much pain today and again, Happy Valentines day!

      Monte Stevens

      February 14, 2010 at 12:10 pm

  2. Monte, I’ve enjoyed each of you stories and congratulate you on the wonderful job you did.


    February 14, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    • Thanks, Earl! It does mean a lot to know people are taking the time to read these short stories and leaving comments. I have one more for people to wade through then will put it aside. I have a friend we does some good creative writing and has given me some much needed feedback. As with many of our little projects I think found growth, empathy for those write. With these stories I wrote the stories and then needed to find the image, which was also a new challenge for me.

      Monte Stevens

      February 15, 2010 at 2:56 pm

  3. Monte,
    This is a wonderful episode! The power of the pen – just taking it in hand gets Ronnie to act. As you know, Ronnie avoiding the inventory probably comes from an internal fear. Many people are reluctant to face themselves.
    Anyway, great story. It is a keeper.


    February 17, 2010 at 12:41 am

  4. I shared “A Sunday Story” with my mom and she absolutely loved it too. You’re an amazing talent Monte. Until next time…

    Nikki Campbell

    March 20, 2010 at 9:37 am

  5. Monte,
    This is really good. You took a pen, made it the stimulus for a very good “story” about a tough subject. Remember, my brother, that if you can do it with a pen, you can do it! Well written and meaningful.
    BTW, after all these years, I can still remember how bad the day after felt (I keep that memory alive because such memories can be very useful).
    Keep up the great work.


    March 22, 2010 at 1:28 am

    • So can I, Wayne. And, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      Monte Stevens

      March 22, 2010 at 7:46 pm

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