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Ms. Jewls hit the print button on the computer. The printer did not respond. She checked all the connections and tried again. Nothing. I walked over to the printer and spied a little red flashing light. “Jewls, this says to check the print cartridge.”

She said, “Okay, check it.”

I looked. And looked. And looked. And looked.

“Well?” She said.

“Where is the print cartridge?” I queried.

She said, “Open the machine. It’s right in front.”

“Uhm, no,” I answered, “It’s not.”

She looked at the clock. In less than half an hour she and those papers had to be in a meeting. She sighed. It was a disgusted, what-are-you-an-idiot?, type of sigh, but she refrained from saying anything of the kind. She got out of her chair, came over to the printer, opened the front panel and looked. And looked. And looked.

Then she turned the machine around to the light and looked again. “I don’t believe it!” She exclaimed, and looked at me. “Someone took the print cartridges out!”

“Along with the entire print carriage,” I agreed.

Ms. Alyce came in the room. We asked her to look at the printer. She was just as stymied as we. Ms. Angel had a similar reaction. None of us — the people who work in that room and have keys to the door — took the print carriage and ink cartridges out of the printer, yet they are gone.

Even more baffling, a cabinet sporting several packages of full ink cartridges is nearby and unlocked. Within that cabinet are several thousand dollars worth of other supplies — completely unmolested. Not only that, computers (2 desk & 1 laptop), 2 boom boxes, a room full of expensive children’s toys and an entire 3′ x 3′ x 2′ box of almost new children’s clothes remain untouched. All that is gone is the ink cartridges and their carriage.

Who? When? Why?

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. Rendal — Indeed. We cannot simply replace the cartridge and go on. Without the carriage, for all intents and purposes we have a large gray paper weight. Luckily we have an old printer that still prints when it’s in a good mood, and today it was.

  2. Newspapers here would call that a “prank”. I’d call it pre-meditated vandalism.

    The kids go back to school here on Monday after the 6-week Summer break. My old school was broken into and trashed last night – windows smashed, classrooms destroyed, fire hoses turned on and left on to flood the school. It’s an “apparent prank” according to the reports. Prank, my arse.

    Hope you catch whoever did it and kick some sense into them before they escalate into the brainless tools that trashed my old school.

  3. Pauline and I were both thinking of Clue.

    But I thought that the white rabbit took it down the rabbit hole, using the rope to drag it.

    Rabbit rabbit.

  4. I bet it was the groundhog. Anything to avoid having to look at its shadow. Perhaps Mr. Groundhog needed to print his musings on all those humans who gather around his hole on cold winter days?

  5. could it possibly have been removed to be repaired?

    because in a sense of stealing something that fits into the normal reason for theft, ie they want to sell it for money, your just not going to find much market for printer carriages without the rest of the printer attached…

  6. Kat — it was a parent-teacher conference. The document in question was a report card. The four year old the report card belongs to couldn’t reach the printer — and if he was smart enough for that manoover we need to reassess his grades!

    Mumma — vandalism is what we are calling it.

    Pauline — schools have butlers? All these years and I never knew! Exactly whom do they buttle?

    TLP — when/if he brings it back I’ll use that rope to hang him, then I’ll fry his carcass and eat it in gravy.

    Melli — wasn’t me. NOT a funny prank. We still have no print cartridge carrier and without it the machine is junk.

    Sauer Kraut — that ground hog is a dead rodent. Can you say D-Con?

    Polona — a very bad kind.

    Tina — we cannot find any explanation that fits the normal reason for theft. We think it was vandalism and can’t for the life of us figure out who would do such a thing.

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