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This story is now published as part of the anthology ‘Loyal and True’.

When they came to take him away, he was surprised and a little disappointed.

The two men weren’t dressed in white coats.

Didn’t they understand that there are conventions that need to be observed?

You can’t just come and drag someone off to the Loony Bin and not be dressed in a white coat; it’s expected.


When they got him outside, they put him in a four-year-old Toyota Tarago!

Where the hell was the white Cadillac ambulance?

These people had no class whatsoever!

A Toyota Tarago; they had to be kidding!

Dragging him off to the Funny Farm seemed a bit extreme.

It was true that he had not slept much over the last few months and that he had forgotten to eat on the odd occasion, but he needed to lose weight so there was no harm done there, was there?


The day his box of pencils arrived he knew he was off on an extreme adventure.

These were not just any pencils, they were Blackwing 602s, the most famous writers’ pencil ever made. Steinbeck who wrote ‘Of Mice and Men’ with one of these pencils.

Never-Waste-A-Blackwing (1)

At the rate that he had been chewing through pencils, his forward estimate was not going to be accurate.

When the box arrived, he worked out that he could probably write for about two years before he needed to purchase a new box.

Twelve pencils; one every two months equalled about two years.

As it turned out, he was three months in and on his second last pencil.

One story had quickly turned into two and then twelve and then twenty and —– you get the idea. The stories kept coming; he couldn’t stop them; he didn’t want to stop them. This was the rush of inspiration he had been hoping for all these years.

As soon as he switched from his laptop computer to pencil and paper, the ideas started to come.


When ‘they’ came for him there was a bit of arguing but strangely he wasn’t that worried. He had finished the story he was working on, and an editor could easily polish it up without him being there.


He didn’t grab his phone or his wallet; he figured they would take them away from him, but he did manage to slip the last of the Blackwing 602s up his sleeve and the special pencil sharpener of course.

He didn’t know how long they would hold him and he needed to be able to write.


He was actually a little concerned about what might happen if he was not allowed to write.


The Tarago was comfortable and the two men, who were not wearing white coats, were not very talkative which was OK by him. He was outlining his next story in his head, and he had reached the part where the dragon ate the Prime Minister when the Tarago pulled into the driveway of what looked like a particularly pleasant private hospital.


A large female nurse, who was wearing a white coat, showed him to his room. It was pleasant enough and had a writing-table in front of a small window that looked out onto the garden.


He was going to like it here.


For a time they let him have paper and a pencil, and he wrote like crazy, although he never used the word crazy. He could spell it, but he did not want to give them any ideas.


He kept the Blackwing 602 well hidden. He figured that there might come a time when the ideas dried up and that pencil would surely give him inspiration.

In the meantime, he wrote with a generic 2B.

The pencils seemed to have come out of a show bag.


They had different company names printed on the side.

His favourite was ‘Crazy Billy’s Used Cars’.


There was that word again.

He chewed through that pencil in less than a day.


The irritation in this process was the time wasted while he waited for a nurse to sharpen his pencil; they had confiscated his custom Blackwing pencil sharpener, but they failed to explain why.


He still wasn’t sleeping much and sometimes his meal tray was returned untouched.


He had a vague feeling that these things were going to cause problems but he didn’t have time to worry about such trivial things; he needed to write.


It was a Thursday when they came into his room and took him to see the doctor.

He knew it was a Thursday because the doctor had a huge calendar block on his desk and it said ‘Thursday’.

Personally, he didn’t care much what day it was, in his stories it could be whatever day he wanted it to be.


The doctor spoke with a soft, calm voice and there was a thought about a late night deejay that went through his mind; late night deejay could make the basis of a pretty good story; crazy fan stalks deejay; no that’s been done, ‘Play Misty For Me’.


The doctor’s gentle deejay voice broke through his story thoughts, and it became obvious that the doctor was suggesting that a bit of time away from writing might just be the thing that was needed, “Just until you get back on your feet”.

Naturally, the man protested, there was even a bit of begging, but the gentle deejay doctor was determined to implement this new treatment.




Detective Sergeant Miller was about to go off duty when the call came through.

He was looking forward to going home and kicking the footy with his son on this beautiful summer day.


When he arrived, two men, who were not dressed in white coats, showed him to the office.


The pathologist had been there for a while and had done a preliminary examination, but it was academic.

It was obvious what the cause of death was.


“Murder weapon?” D.S. Miller asked pointlessly.


The pathologist answered, “I’ll know more when I get him back to the morgue, but it looks like a Blackwing 602 to me.


“Maybe Steinbeck did it,” said D.S. Miller. He thought that was pretty funny, and he was dying for someone to ask him why he had said it, but no one did.


After they had washed the blood off his hands, the two male nurses took the man to a secure room and gave him lots of paper and a pencil.


‘The smooth talking DeeJay was not so smooth talking now that they had stretched his neck’.


The man was happy; this story was coming along nicely.


18 thoughts on “Blackwing.

  1. I really enjoyed this story! I’m so glad they keep giving him paper … my initial worry was that they would go “The Yellow Wallpaper” on him. Interesting that he gets to play out his story in the institution. Very clever 🙂


    • Thank you very much. As you know, I value your opinion. I know how this guys feels [though possibly not as intensely]. When you are in the midst of a story you don’t want to be interrupted!
      I’m glad that you enjoyed it, it’s one of those stories that felt good even after I had finished it. Sometimes, when I revisit a story a few days later, I wonder who the hell wrote it! This one I was pleased with.


    • I’m pleased that you liked that line, please feel free to use it. Things are well and interesting on my side of the world, thank you for asking. As I type there is a male Magpie collecting the out of date breakfast cereal I threw out, one piece at a time. It’s just outside my window and he has been working on the pile of cereal for three days, only interrupted by my dogs occasionally yelling at him through the glass. I hope his mate appreciates his diligence.
      I love your posts, you have the ability to transport me from my world into yours so effortlessly.
      When I was growing up, England was ‘the mother country’ so most of my story books were about England.
      I love my country but I have an affinity with yours.


  2. Pingback: Inspiration. | spidersweb

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