"I need a blank ink cartridge."

Good morning, world.
I'm sitting here with my Sumatran Blend and my additive-free nicotine, pondering the philosophical implications of "blank" ink. And working up the intestinal fortitude and determination to tackle a few chapters of Black today.

Elderly gentleman with silver hair comes up to me yesterday evening, with a small crumbled piece of paper ripped from a larger sheet. It has some writing scrawled in barely legible penmanship.

"Hi there, can you help me? I need an ink cartridge for an Epson printer."

I walk him to the printer aisle, where the replacement cartridges are arrayed on the shelf.  He tells me the number jotted on the paper, and I point out the correct replacements.  "Did you need a black or color cartridge?" I ask.

"Oh, this says blank ink cartridge. You don't carry blank ink?"

"I'm sorry, sir, the printers only use black or color ink. I've never heard of blank ink. What does one use that for? Secret encrypted document printing? Photos of the invisible man?" I couldn't help myself. The parameters of stupid exceeded the capacity of my brain.

He looks at the shelf, and glances at me.  "You really don't carry blank ink?" He pulls a cell phone from his pocket. "I should probably call and double check."

Wow. Really? Okay, you do that. Here's your sign. I'm going to go back over here and try to regain a semblance of sanity and intelligence while you call and verify that what you actually need to purchase is BLACK INK.

Yep, that's pretty much my day job. Woohoo. I really must get a few more sales under my belt and devise a way to... escape. There are times when I feel like I'm locked in Alcratraz. There's no way out that won't kill you. But like a wolf with his foot caught in a trap... desperation leads to amazing feats of survival. Like chewing through one's leg.

Dreamspinner has a few anthologies planned for release next year. None of my current muses will deign to lower their noses sufficiently to work on a short <12k piece, so I'm busy devising an appropriate soldier character for the task.

The general consensus amongst the muses? Laughter. The eldest of them seems to be the spokesperson, for whatever reason. Seniority amongst muses? Strange, that.

"Oiy. You really think you can write that story and keep it under 12k?"

"Yep.  Gonna try, anyways."

"Good luck with that. Remember what happened last time?"

"Yes. Black happened. How could I forget."

"Precisely."  Much snickering in the background, shuffling, the barking complaints and grunts that result from elbows in the ribs and jockeying for space. "Don't you think there's enough of us in here already?"

"Thought you troupe took off to Bora Bora for the winter already. Why are you here harassing me about this, anyways?"

"...Well, because obviously someone needs to be the voice of reason here."

"Right. And you were elected to fill that slot by democratic vote?"

"Watch it. I'm older than you."

"No, you're not. I invented you when I was fourteen, I'll always be older than you. So there. Now run back to your beach hut on the water and soak up some sun before I decide to put you to work."

Now he's looking like a belligerent child.  "Right. Like that'll happen. You haven't so much as glanced my way in... what is it now, five years?"

"Three. You're a guy. Where's your logical detachment?"

He straightens a fraction, rolling his shoulders back. As if additional height gives him greater clout. "It's useless against the whims of a female."

"Well. That explains much." I toss him a can of Tootsie Rolls and the rest of the muses descend on him in excitement, a pack of starving dogs on a chunk of meat.

Black edits are the sole agenda for today. The few remaining household chores will not be employed as procrastination devices. Nope, not today. Today, I am the Editor.


  1. ROTFL! You friggin' crack me up!

  2. I want some blank ink too. Then I can use it as an excuse why my page doesn't say anything interesting. Oh the good parts were printed in BLANK ink. :)


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