Sound familiar? It's an excerpt from my short story, "Pen Pal", published in 2004 in Revolution SF. It received an honorable mention in the 2005 edition of "The Year's Best Science Fiction".
The story germinated after I found one of these pens in a desk when I started at a new job in 2003.
In 2005, I went to work at a newspaper that used to have an office supply store, and I found six more of the pens.
I have kept this small supply of very old pens since then; only a few of them, maybe three, still write well. Over the past few years, I have tried a few times to order them, but no office supply company overseas would sell such a prosaic product overseas.
THEN, two weeks ago, I stumbled upon a web site that stocked them and would ship them overseas. It wasn't an office supply business, it was a scientific technical supply company - Alltec in the U.K.
I paid $22 for a box of 20 - the shipping was two-thirds of the cost. They arrived yesterday. It's great; they're bright, shiny, new, and write like the old dream I remember. They're all I will be using for the duration.
Happy, happy, happy.
In case you want to read "Pen Pal", it's still archived at RevolutionSF: tp://www.revolutionsf.com/article.php?id=2303