I carry two pens at at work. One of which is a fine-point gel rollerball for the (frequent) occasions when I’m writing or signing something that has carbons.

The other is a fountain pen with a medium nib. This is the pen that I use for everything else, and is the one I use the most. To the point where I have to refill the converter about every three days or so.

Somebody forgot to remind me that a promotion comes with an exponentially-expanding increase in paperwork. The bastards.

Anyhoo, part of the reason I’m going through rivers of ink is that when an Inmate Request Form (colloquially referred to as a “kite”) crosses my desk I answer it properly.

Instead of scrawling a single word (“Approved”, “Denied”, “No”, or the like), I address the response to “Mr (or Ms.) [Insert Critters Name Here] and write a — usually — short paragraph explaining why I am not going to authorize the inmate to receive a My First Meth Lab in the mail; or opining that if Ms. Critter didn’t want to get stripped and placed on Suicide Watch in Solitary then she shouldn’t have tried to hang herself with a bed sheet on video.


I hadn’t realized that this would get as … distinctive … as it has, until the other day, when an officer brought me a kite from an inmate in the last ten minutes of shift. It had been a long shift, I was tired, out of ink, out of sorts, running low on patience and the request was a calculated attempt to game the system.

So I grabbed the kite and my rollerball, wrote a quick “Denied, see Inmate Handbook”, signed it, and handed it back to the officer for return.

Lord have mercy.

I get back to work next shift and the first thing I hear is that a certain inmate has twisted off. He’s raising hell, flooded his cell, filing grievance after grievance and generally acting the ass.

Huh. I trundle back to Solitary to ask him just what the hell his major malfunction was, and to impress upon him the advantages to a nice, quiet night; when — upon seeing me — he practically bursts into tears.

“Mr ‘Dawg! They’s fraudulating a superior officer! They can’t do that!”

I blink, feel my eyebrow slide up, and the Smartarse Gnome takes the opportunity to grab my tongue, “I’m pretty sure that fraudulating violates the laws of physics, if not the laws of the State of Texas, Anthony, but which particular case of flagrant fraudulating are you referring to?”

He waves a stack of kite forms in my general direction for emphasis: “You, Mr ‘Dawg! They is impressonating and fraudulating you! And I won’t stands for it!”

I look at the on-coming tier officer, “I am? Why was I not told? Did I at least hold out for dinner?” That worthy gives a puzzled shrug (which is a normal response from my minions, come to think), and I turn back to the passionately declaiming Anthony.

He promptly shoves a stack of kite forms into my paws, each one with a paragraph or three on the back in Noodler’s Blue/Black from a medium nib, “That’s you.”


He waves a single sheet of paper upon which four words are written. With a fine-nibbed black-ink G2.


“They said this is you — but I know better! I know better! I knows your writing, and this ain’t it! They wrote it, and said it was you! That’s fraudulating! If someone writes something and says that someone else writes it, and that someone didn’t write it, and that someone is a superior officer, that’s impressonating a superior officer! I won’t stands for it! It’s fraudulating!”


Why me?


Regarding Arizona
Dear Mr Critter

33 thoughts on “Egad”

  1. A very strange sort of fame, but Gaea assigns fame where and how She will, and She has a perverse sense of humor.

    She drinks, too.

    And welcome back to more-frequent posting, 'Dawg. There have been times this past few months when I wondered if there was something wrong, because you went so long between posts.

  2. as an English teacher, I'm delighted that someone chooses to take the (not substantial) time to write properly!

    Nice to know you're appreciated? (sort of?) He was just standing up for your rights…

  3. At least you know someone is looking out for you, even if it is a critter.

  4. Entertaining story, as always, and it shows what can happen when – out of necessity or whatever reason – you establish a pattern and then deviate from it.

    Like others have said, I'm glad you're back!

    You might also be interested to know that Noodler's is offering their own fountain pens now. They have a piston filler and an Aerometric filler – no converters needed – and run about $15 for the piston filler and $25 for the aerometric. I've got the aerometric and it seems to hold more ink than any converter I've had.

  5. The lengths people go to to have a pen-pal.

    Since you've been promotulated and all, you should have a couple of pens with different ink colours.

    That way ink colour can express the level of no! behind the polite note detailing why not.

    Green – reasonable but techincally no.
    Blue – Are you kidding? No!
    Black – No, but
    I'm increasingly curious. Where are you getting you drugs from?
    Red – No. You are mad person wasting my time.
    Purple – No. Don;t make me come down there.

  6. Ahhh, the joys of the law of unintended consequences. Isn't individual exceptionalism great? Oh wait, I forgot…we're all supposed to mediocre now thanks to all that wonderful Hope and Change. Seriously though, enjoyed the post.

  7. Next time, write –

    "Denied, see Inmate Handbook. No further explanation due to time constraints."

  8. The tallest nail gets hammered first…

    The fact that you even KNOW that foutain pens exist puts you in an increasingly rare strata these days.

    Probably write in cursive sometimes, too, huh?


  9. "Thanks for noticing!"

    Perhaps critter ought to get another scoop of ice cream for that?

    How about getting a dip pen for the desk? At least critter'll know it's you. 🙂

    Ulises from CA

  10. Mr Dawg, in the bordering-on-impossible event that I end up incarcerated in your state, can I file a request form in order to spend quality time in your jurisdiction? Any man who writes as you describe is above average.

    Anonymous@8:37AM I rather like your system a lot, but I suspect the nuances of it will be lost on the recipient.

  11. Thanks for the giggles, LD, and I'm glad to know I'm not the only fountain pen user still roaming free.

    I have very bad cursive, though, so learned Irish Copperplate caligraphy years ago. Made me terribly popular with the seniors who loved charts (this was before PowerPoint).

    Suggest you don't learn calligraphy, lest you never get out of the office again…

  12. You know….
    There is a point that no one has mentioned yet. You now know that, to the best of their abilities, the critters are actually reading your kite responses. That has to be worth something.


  13. They's fraudulating a superior officer! I hope being fraudulated is not painful.

    Congratulations on the promotion.

  14. Say, Mr Lawdog?

    What planet does this particular critter come from, anyways?

  15. Respect from a critter is still respect. Actually I think it's kind of cute.

  16. 15 years in Law Enforcement and I didn't see that one coming! Nearly choked on my coffee Dog, keep em' coming. Gotta send this one to my buddies at OHP.

  17. LD, so LT or Capt?
    Congrats. Are you deskbound?
    The stories from the street make our day but I'm sure being at your desk is easier on the pants.

  18. Gotta love that Noodler's ink. After the first elections in Iraq, they offered a purple ink with a pic of a purple index finger, called "Victory Ink", and I just got a bottle of their "Air Corps Blue-Black" with a pic of a P-40 from Claire Chennault's Flying Tigers.

  19. Thank you for the smile. And a reminder to restock on fountain pen ink.

    After all, grading season is about to resume.

  20. He was upset that you did'nt take time to 'splain things to him.

    If he is in solitary, your little missives are his only serious human contact.

    He lurves ya, Lawdog!

  21. Congrats on the promotion. You can now officially wipe out crime, one signed form at a time. 😉

  22. LD, keep that incident in mind when you consider changing your blog font. heh

  23. FWIW, the Bic 537R rollerball can be opened up and refilled with FP ink. Coincidentally, I've verified this with Noodler's blue black since the Bic is my second backup in case both of my FPs (Sailor Recruit and Hero 616) run out at work.
    Basically, work a blade in between the clear part and the gray part near the nib, and twist until the nib and feed start to pop out. Pull them all the way out and dump the ink, then soak the nib/feed in running warm water for a while. Refill the tank section to the end of the threads, reassemble, and scribble two or three pages full until you get a nice dark line of blue black. It feels a bit less smooth than with proper RB ink, but still better than a poorly adjusted FP or a ballpoint.

  24. Genuine LawDog. Accept no imitations.

    (that is, after all, why I keep coming back to this blog)…

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