Angus is a pencil with a plaid painted body and the name Angus
written on his barrel (it used to say Angus Steak House INC. Forty
Two Main Street Cityville USA). He has been sharpened, his eraser is
rounded, he wears a Glengarry and has a short white beard. Angus is
shorter than most of the other pencils and speaks with a Scottish
Angus has one goal in life: to warn the pencils about being used.
He's in constant struggle against the pencil sharpener (an inanimate
object on the desktop). He's older and therefore thinks he's wiser
than the other pencils. Unfortunately the other pencils think he's
old and depressing. It doesn't help that he can get distracted by
the other pencils into "wasting" his life (doodling or tic-tac-toe).
He's a favorite of the "Blues" as they think he's funny. He doesn't
appear to have any real friends but gets along with the pencils and
The role of Angus is to remind us of the importance of living a
"A-Tacks" are bulletin board pushpins of various colors.
Sometimes they behave like bees, other times they are used by the
desktop inhabitants to secure paper, string, etc.
Blacks are black ballpoint pens with black caps and white bodies.
They share the “buck-teeth” of their blue counterparts.
All Blacks look identical, but are otherwise unique, each having
their own unique name and personality, and each is easily identified
at first glance by all of the other members of the desktop
community. Blacks normally interact with other Blacks. Romantically,
however, Blacks are naturally drawn to Blues.
Blacks represent the “every-woman” and are most commonly found in
stories containing social commentary that investigate the
relationships between men (Blues) and women (Blacks).
“Blues” are blue ballpoint pens with blue caps and white bodies,
eyeglasses, and 2 “buck-teeth”. A Blue’s greatest flaw and best
quality are one and the same: naivety. “Blues” are filled with the
best intentions but remain inevitably clueless. “Blues” often miss
the point or fall victim to their own misguided actions while
remaining as endearing and lovable as puppies.
“Blues” do not feel unique and rightly so. All “Blues” are identical
in every aspect of the word. The desktop is filled with “Blues” who
are all named Blue. The only spark of individuality that a “Blue”
has is the ability to tell each other apart; a feat that no other
desktop character can achieve.
“Blues” are social characters that spend most of their time
interacting with everyone. They are completely accepting of their
life on the desktop and live from day to day and moment to moment.
“Blues” normally interact with other “Blues” as well as with the
Pencils. Romantically, “Blues” naturally find synergy with “Blacks”
(the female equivalent to the “Blues”).
The role of a “Blue” as a character is to represent the “every-man”
as a catalyst for social commentary. “Blues” are often involved in
stories that investigate the relationships between men and women or
the naďve ignorance surrounding man’s interactions with the people
and things surrounding him.
Chewey is a typical pencil with yellow painted body which is covered
with dents and holes. His tip is dull but still very functional. His
eraser is rounded but also very functional. He's been sharpened and
used over the years so Chewey is shorter than most of the other
pencils, about the same height as Angus.
Although “Pencils” tend to be spiritual, Chewey’s thoughts rarely
exceed his concern for his own mortality and his desire for
longevity. These regards are in direct contradiction to one another
while they are the two greatest fears of any pencil and Chewey’s
internal conflict. These fears manifest themselves as deceptive acts
of aggression toward the other pencils that he encounters as a means
of self-preservation. A large amount of his time on the desktop is
spent “tricking” pencils into perilous situations like tossing
themselves into the trash, sharpening themselves to the point of
uselessness, rolling off the back of the desk, and otherwise causing
Unfortunately for Chewey, there are lots of pencils and it is
unlikely that the ever-present influx of replacement pencils will be
discontinued. Each day remains the same as the last; another day on
the desktop is another good day on the desktop.
The role of Chewey as a character is to investigate man’s increasing
sense of his own mortality and purpose as he ages.
The 63 crayons have googly eyes and cute names (Crimson, Sky,
Strawberry, Teal, Sunburst, etc.). They live on a child’s desk
without their brother, Orange. They appear in flashbacks and in
Orange’s dreams. They have the mental capacity of 5 year-olds.
Orange has no desire to return to them and they don’t even know he’s
They represent our lost childhood, innocence and "childish things"
to be left behind.
The 63 Crayons also appear in their own comic strip. That
strip is used for ideas that did not necessarily fit with
the main Office Surprise story lines or characters.
Dr. Fountain Penn MD PhD PDQ
Dr. Penn is a high quality refillable fountain pen with gold trim
and a fancy calligraphy point. He is trained in psychology and is a
licensed therapist. He is the most grounded desktop inhabitant
completely aware of his existence and purpose. His goal is to help
each writing instrument live up to its potential.
Dr. Penn works mostly with the Blues. But on occasion has treated
Orange and Chewey. Sometimes he finds himself overwhelmed by the
Blues’ problems, which are usually the same problem shared by all of
them at the exact same time.
Dr. Penn represents the sound psychological answers so few seek in
Elmar is a thick black permanent marker and the tallest writing
instrument on the desktop. Written on his barrel in large white
letter from bottom to tip is “Elmar Company”.
"Secretly" Elmar is el Marco, a crime fighting superhero that
rids the desktop of evil. When he appears as el Marco his cap
has been removed and place at the bottom of his barrel. He is
inverted so that his felt tip is on the desk and the writing on his
barrel goes from his newly located head to his tip. His cape and
other desktop objects often hide the majority of his written name,
while in disguise, leaving only the partial phrase “Elmar Co”
visible. He wears a mask to hide his identity; this makes his eyes
appear to have no pupils. Nobody ever witnesses the transformation
to el Marco or back to Elmar.
Ironically, there is no evil on the desktop; something which he
attributes to his own vigilance. He has no concept of the delusional
world he has created for himself. el Marco means well, but he
is always leaving large black marks all over the desktop as he
“swooshes” around on patrol.
Elmar/el Marco interacts with all of the desktop characters:
Blues think he’s a hero, Blacks think he’s dreamy, everyone else
thinks he’s crazy. Elmar denies he is el Marco when
confronted with the truth.
Elmar/el Marco is the child in all of us, who wraps a towel
around his neck and runs thru the house pretending to fly
(inevitably, until he’s told by his mother to go play outside before
he breaks something!).
Frenchie is a standard #2 pencil with a yellow painted body. He
has been sharpened and his eraser has been used so much that is has
been filed down at an angle.
Frenchie is a political activist who stands on his soapbox (staple
box) preaching to whomever will listen. He is neither conservative
nor liberal and he preaches against both equally. He is a moderate
centralist who fights against the far sides of politics and the
extremes of dealing with these problems, specifically targeting el
Marco as an unwarranted vigilante, who does more harm than good.
Frenchie doesn’t appear to have any friends. He is content merely to
have an audience (usually pencils and occasional Blue).
Frenchie represents the voice of political moderation and societal
understanding and reason, which seems to be missing in many cultures
around the world.
The Highlighter Gang
Sergeant Major Floyd Clegg (Status - Active): The pink
highlighter leader of the Highlighter Gang, Sgt. Clegg is a large,
wide barreled pink highlighter, slightly shorter than Elmar. He is a
drill sergeant, who believes that the lawless frontier that is "the
desktop" requires martial law as a governance until a more formal
government can be established. He feels that it is HIS
responsibility to teach new writing instruments the rules of the
desktop (his rules) when they arrive.
Sgt. Clegg views el Marco as a lawless vigilante threat. This
belief and the desire for an orderly government are the only two
values that he shares with Frenchie, with whom he often finds
himself at odds. While he recognizes that Elmar is el Marco,
having once offered him a position in the Highlighter Gang (which he
turned down), he either has no authority to stop him or is simply
incapable of doing so.
Sgt. Clegg’s represents the blind minds of those who follow rules
and laws without question.
Agent Orange (Status - Active): Classified.
Aqua-Marine (Status - Reserve): This large blue highlighter
goes by the name "Aqua" and is nearly as tall as Elmar. He is a
gentle giant, dumb as a post, who is generally used as the mindless
muscle of "the Team". When called upon, Aqua will follow Clegg's
orders to the letter.
Detective Green (Status - Semi-retired): Detective Green is a
large, wide barreled green highlighter, manufactured by the Star
Marker Company. He has a black star painted on this barrel. Using
old fashioned police skills, Detective Green uses reasoning,
experience and observation as the tools of his trade.
Old Yella (Status - Retired): Old Yella is a skinny barrel
highlighter about the size of a Blue pen. He is the oldest
inhabitant on the desktop and remembers how things "used-to-be"
before all of the young whippersnappers arrived.
He is Sgt. Clegg’s great-uncle and “friends” with the stapler whom
he calls Stanley. The staples that he met years ago are long gone;
the new staples think he’s an old "kook". To their credit, they are
probably correct in this assumption.
He doesn’t believe things will be better than the good-ole-days. He
is slightly senile, yet recognizes that he is old and could be
discarded at any time. Driven by the need to pass on his years of
wisdom and experience, he often tries to offer advice to anyone that
will listen. However, his recollections of days past are fading and
his well intentioned tales are often lead astray, becoming rambling
Old Yella represents the older generation, full of knowledge and
wisdom, yet generally ignored or unappreciated.
The Invisio character is clear plastic barreled pen has run out
of ink. He believes by removing his cap that he can become
invisible. Of course, this is impossible. The other desktop
inhabitants believe that he is insane and his attempts to use this
"power" are often simply ignored.
Mechanical Pencil is an off-screen character and perhaps the
most book smart writing instrument.
His only known relationship is with the Blues, who seek his
assistance in designing and building devices. He provides the Blues
with very specific plans for building exactly what they ask for,
even if it’s impractical. His plans are often missing critical
elements that the Blues failed to provide as part of their
Mechanical Pencil represents the engineering world around us which,
through "progress", often does not make our lives easier and
sometimes complicates matters.
Miss Red is the only red ballpoint pen on the desktop. Unlike the
Blues and the Blacks she does not have buckteeth. The Blues think
she is the most beautiful pen on the desktop. This, of course,
infuriates the Blacks, who are uncontrollably jealous of the
attention that she receives.
Miss Red is either quietly confident or blissfully oblivious. She
has been "seen" talking to Orange (crayon), but her voice has never
heard by anyone else. The desktop bully, Push Top, seeks her
affection, but she is appears to be completely uninterested in him.
Whenever she is out and about it is very distracting to the Blues,
regardless of what they’re doing, often resulting in disastrous and
catastrophic sequences of events.
Miss Red represents the mysterious, unattainable image of perceived
female perfection that so many men desire to find, but never will.
The Ones who came before
“The Ones who came before” are standard #2 pencils who where, at one
time or another, sharpened and thrown into the ceiling tiles, to
remain as trapped observers of the desktop for all time. They have
the limited amount of wisdom that could be attained as a result of
dangling above an office desk for several years.
Having existed in the office longer than most other office supplies,
“The Ones who came before” are considered to be wise. They regularly
receive visits from pencils that journey across the desktop looking
for sage wisdom. While the advice they dispense often sounds
credible it is usually useless and underpinned with sarcasm.
“The Ones who came before” have little meaning in their lives and
spend most of their time looking for ways to amuse themselves. With
nothing better to do, they try to find opportunities to play jokes
on anyone who might pay attention to them.
The role of “The Ones who came before” is to illustrate the inherent
cruelty in man and similar to “The Oracle” to highlight the
importance of choosing credible advisers.
The Oracle is a black desk stapler who in and of itself has no
“life” on the desktop. With a combined consciousness, made up of the
sum of the staples which reside within its protective casing, The
Oracle serves as a false beacon of truth for the pencils who journey
to ask it questions.
The Oracle’s biggest flaw is readily apparent in its schizophrenic
behavior which has gone unnoticed by the pencils. The various
personalities of the staples, who inhabit it, are constantly in
conflict with one another; sometimes oblivious to, sometimes
apathetic to, and sometimes outright aggressive to one another and
Many of the staples, presumably the ones closer to the front of The
Oracle, are aware that they are collectively being mistaken for a
desktop "Magic 8 ball" and happily play into the role, while trying
to keep the newer staples at the rear from blowing their collective
Some disagreements over what advice to give to the pencils will
bring The Oracle to a complete impasse, while others reach such
volumes that they threaten to reveal The Oracle’s secret. The
staples within the stapler each have unique personalities which
proves to be a great hindrance to them. They are rarely able to come
to a consensus on any given thought. There are simply “too many
cooks in the kitchen”. Most questions that are posed to The Oracle
by the pencils will inevitably be handed off to “the Ones who came
The role of The Oracle is to illustrate the controversies
surrounding “blind faith” and highlight the importance of wisely
choosing qualified spiritual advisers.
Orange, being a misplaced crayon, is out of place on the desktop and
struggles with his desire to be accepted and his natural instinct to
return to the simple and comfortable place where he once was. He
overcompensates for his insecurity by lashing out at those around
Orange has difficulty making friends due to his instincts to “show
up” the other characters. He often sees things with a clarity that
eludes the other desktop characters and can’t help pointing out
their mistakes; This makes him very unpopular, especially with many
of the pencils.
He does socialize regularly with Chewey and Ralph, who are also
The role of Orange as a character is to be the voice of reason while
at the same time showing the importance of humility over
self-importance. Moreover, his relationship with Chewey and Ralph,
illustrates the value of friendship and the difficulty experiences
in finding a place in society after childhood.
The Pencils that inhabit the desktop community are standard, #2
pencils with yellow painted bodies. Most pencils look alike, but may
vary in appearance based on characteristics such as sharpness
(unsharpened, sharp or dull), height (due to sharpening or
breaking), eraser usage (flat eraser, round eraser, angled eraser),
or other physical markings such as chew marks, etc.
Pencils are very spiritual, spending most of their time seeking out
the reasons behind existence and investigating their own mortality.
Pencils will often make a pilgrimage to ask spiritual questions to
and seek moral guidance from "The Oracle” and “the Ones who came
Pencils normally interact with other Pencils or with Blues. The role
of a Pencil is to represent mankind’s quest to understand the
meaning of life. They are often involved in stories that investigate
faith, god, mortality, or purpose. Sometimes Pencils can serve to
investigate some social issues that Pens are not capable of
Phyl is a refillable pencil. She has a plastic blue barrel, metal
tip, metal pocket clip and a small eraser. Because she is refillable
she has the potential to be the one of the longest living writing
instruments. While this infuriates Chewey, nobody else seems to be
bothered by the fact that she single handedly could render the need
for all other pencils obsolete. Chewey, stricken by love's
undeniable influence, cannot bring himself to "convince" her to
Phyl is friends with the Pencils, Blacks and Blues (even though the
Blues think she’s a boy because of her name). She is generally liked
by and gets along with everybody else. She knows Chewey likes her
and toys with his emotions while she waits for him to admit it to
her and himself.
Phyl represents the wholesome, confident (Tom-Boy) girl next door,
who is completely comfortable with her sexuality.
Pinky is a slightly used, sometimes amorphous, pink eraser who uses
cunning to elude Sir Reginald in and ever-occurring game of cat and
mouse. Pinky is an animal, which would prefer to be left alone and
lay around all day sleeping. Without the ability to speak or
otherwise communicate with the other desktop characters, its' only
concern in life is to find a place to nap and avoid being captured
by Sir Reginald.
Push Top is a push button pen with beady little eyes. His pocket
clip can be utilized as a muscular arm, good for pounding/pushing
around the small Blues. Push Top is a bully, who’s only goals are to
beat-up the Blues and to make Miss Red his girlfriend by impressing
her with his physical strength. He is feared by the Blues, ignored
by Miss Red, and is generally friendless and lonely, releasing his
frustration the only way that he knows, violence and intimidation.
Push Top represents the insecure bullies who turn to physical
violence as their only outlet.
Rainbow is the only openly homosexual inhabitant of the
desktop. The girls love to be around him. The boys think he
has great taste in music. Some know and understand his
sexual orientation; others are confused by it. Some may even
be in denial. But, either way, Rainbow pen is there to stay.
Rainbow's purpose on the desktop is to not only represent
the homosexual population, but to express the ignorance and
prejudice which the gay community must often tolerate.
Ralph is a green eraser-less miniature golf pencil. He has little
black eyes and the words “Ralph’s Pitch & Putt” written on his
barrel in white letters. He is about the size of a crayon and the
only pencil that appears pencil tip up.
Ralph is "The Pen Fairy". How he became "The Pen Fairy" is a bit of
a mystery, a topic he will not discuss. He is bound to grant
one wish to every pen he encounters, a job he does with great
reluctance. Ralph must speak the Pen Fairy Poem (PFP) prior to
granting a wish to a pen. Like a genie, he will twist the meaning of
words in the wishes he hears for no purpose other than his own
enjoyment. His only motivation is to do as little as possible. He
socializes with Orange, Chewey and the other pencils, while trying
to avoid pens (especially Blues) at all costs.
Ralph represents the lazy man who is filled with great potential,
doing the bear minimum to get by.
Sir Reginald is a "handlebar" mustached, monocle wearing permanent
black marker with a black cap and gray/white body. This snooty
English big game hunter is obsessed with capturing his long-time
nemesis, the elusive Pink Eraser. Regardless of how simple or
complex his plans Reginald always seems to be bested by his prey.
Reginald takes no time to reflect on himself and his blind
obsession. Loud and boisterous, he consistently recruits pencils to
assist him in his hunt, convincing them that by capturing the Pink
Eraser, they can prevent their work, their very purpose, from being
erased. The single-minded Reginald will befriend anyone that might
bring about the realization of his dream.
The role of Reginald as a character is to show the futility of man’s
obsessive behavior towards unattainable desires.
Sharpener Dog is a small plastic pencil sharpener. Reginald has
used him in his quest to capture the Pink Eraser. He is an animal
who merely follows his instinct to sharpen pencils.