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Black Satin

A Book, Small, Black, slightly Shiny, possibly Leather ...

By Tim StiXPublished 3 years ago Updated 2 years ago 7 min read
Artwork by Jane and Tim StiX

Sleep cracks, as lids flutter in dream

Georgie Porgie has vented his spleen

A melon-tinged bird appears on the wing

Take me back gilded horse, Madame Queen, Mrs King

Mary Contrary with buzzard and cheese ...

... Blink!

Eyes blink open. Daytime ... just light. 6:58 AM ... 2 minutes till alarm. Damn! It feels like I just shut my eyes. Wait ... there was a pig-faced man overthrowing a monarchy ... a golden horse and ... a duck. No! An albatross? Wait ... no, it’s gone!

I reach to the nightstand and foil the wretched alarm. And then, there it is. A dark object, previously unseen, slightly shiny.

Betwixt sleep and unknown reason, I wrench myself awake and sit up in bed. Looking down on a ... book ...

Small, black and yes, slightly shiny. Possibly leather. But more likely faux.

I just sit there looking at it. And in turn, it peers blankly back. Neither of us utter a sound. A conversation of images rather than meaningless words. Yet the intensity of the silence is electric.

My hand reaches toward the artifact but freezes mid-way, mid-grab. Drawing back quickly to rest cross-armed, mesmerised and mute. Struck-dumb but with so much to say. Seemingly waiting for a sign, a queue.

What is it?

Oh, I know what it is! A book, small, black, slightly shiny, possibly leather but more likely … What is it doing here? How did it appear on my nightstand without waking me?

Yes, I know what it is, but why is it? Am I supposed to read it? Or write in it?

Its exterior appears clean, pristine, untouched. Even the edges of the pages are as snow white as the day they were born.


What am I thinking! It must be inanimate, not sentient, but why am I waiting for it to break the silence?

Eyes transfixed, examining the shape, texture … aura? No! Surely, it’s only a mass-produced book. But still, I dare not reach forth and touch it. My body has frozen, and my mind is not far behind.

A book, small, black, slightly shiny … satin? Yes satin. Not made from satin, it looks leather or probably faux. A satin sheen, a slight gloss, potentially ethereal! No, I’m overreacting. Just my over-heightened neurons, pinging in all directions.

Oh! Now I see!

A Small, Black, Book … a Little Black Book!

Suddenly, thoughts and images flood through by brain: phone numbers, addresses, records of bad deeds. A ledger of accounts, a diary, and then somewhere from left field, I think of spies.

Why would it be a spy-book? Surely spies don’t write their secret codes and thoughts in a book. Imagine, “Two, Twenty-eight, Churchill-three, Thirteen”, committed in ink by a spy. Unheard of!

Of course, it could be a ruse or a decoy. Whatever! It must be just the color, making me think of espionage and skulduggery.

Black and mysterious !

No, that’s not it at all. In actual fact, the small, satin book appears quaint and inviting.

But I remain … uninvited!

I cannot move. Just wedged there, spellbound. All thoughts of my job and necessary travel times, have evaporated. I know what it is, but why is it there?

What am I supposed to do with it?

With one enormous effort I lurch off the pillows and sit forward in bed. Movement and sanity seeps slowly, warmly, into my core, until finally, limbs feel renewed and ready to thaw.

I reach for the tome, the prize, the orb ...

But all of a sudden, without warning, my bedroom door clangs open and in trots a horse. A gilded horse with an albatross on its back and a crown on her head …

Raucous laughter echoes in from the hall

As a multi-hued jester stumbles in and falls

Beep, Beep, Beep, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, B E E P!

Damn! What a dream. Why did you go off now, you electronic Bastard!

Wait ... there was a black-hatted man chasing ... a golden horse and ... an albatross. No! A jester? Wait ... no, it’s gone!

Bashing the off button on the alarm to silence a head-banging racket. I look down at my nightstand and see a small red book, slightly glossy … possibly leather ...

What the hell is that doing there!

Oh, I remember. That recent niggling thought, to start a daily diary.

I recall grabbing a cheap notebook from a newsstand and the guy saying it was leather. Yeh right, for five bucks it’s definitely faux!

But, for some reason the color seems wrong. Should have bought black

… Click!

Holographic images of a Little Black Book engulf the receptors in my brain, and I am overwhelmed with loss .

BUGGER! I never did open that bloody book!

Draped in despair, like drowning in warm glue, I make for the door. Hey! What about the notebook, the diary?

So, I trudge back, sit on the bed, and grab the book. Small, red, slightly … oh Crap! I feel like Shite!

I print my name on the top of the first page but don’t have the energy to write a morning entry. Then, as I make an effort to stand, a dream scene surges back in technicolor ...

A little black book, cloaked in an ambience, almost a presence

Mr Black-hat picks up the book, opens to a random page and inks a code, or potentially codes

The picture is unclear and before I can truly focus, the book closes and the image dissolves

Great! What was that bloody code! Two, twenty something, Mr King? Argh!

I look down at my diary and … what the Bloody Hell is that!

I must have scribbled it unconsciously, "2, 28, churchill 3, 13"!

But what could it conceivably mean?

No time now, I’m running late again. Off to the car and work young Smith, the salt-mines are calling.

As you can imagine, work is a disaster. I arrive late for the second time in a week, and just can’t concentrate at all. An earworm has me humming a tune that eventually evolves a rhyme.

Two, twenty-eight, Churchill three

Ten and three, what’s it mean to me?

Two, twenty-eight, Churchill three

Ten and three, what’s it mean to me?

Around and ‘round and ‘round incessantly! After an hour of Winston, numbers and questioning rhymes, I give up, and go outside for a walk.

Coffee first, then a stroll to clear my head .

The strong coffee gives me a headache, so when my canter passes the newsstand, I give the guy an indignant mouthful. Complaining bitterly, about how a $5.00 notebook could not possibly be leather.

He seems so genuinely upset, that I start to feel sorry for him and blurt out an apology for being rude.

His reply stuns me. “I have a hot tip for race 4 in Kentucky. Horse 7, Blue Lightning”.

I must look really stupid standing there with my mouth open, while cogs whirl in my head, because he asks me, “Are you feeling ok?

A few more seconds of whirling before my incongruous response, “Do you have the race-guide for Churchill Downs?


Today is February 28, right?”


Race 3, what’s the name of horse 13?

Black Satin.

HOLY SHITE!”, I check my pocket, just over a hundred bucks. “How long till race 3? Where’s the nearest betting shop?

10 minutes. Round that corner, about 200 yards.

Right!”, I gallop off at top speed, in the direction indicated.

I glance back briefly and think I must appear crazy, because now he is the one looking stupid, with his mouth wide open.

6 Months Later

The rest, as they say, is history. Number 13, Black Satin, Race 3, Churchill Downs, 28th of February at 200 to 1.

One pocketful of loose bills at two-hundreds, is a tad over a cool 20 G’s. A tidy sum.

The total amount wasn’t enough to retire, but it gave me time to find a job that I actually enjoy. Now my life in general, has changed for the better.

Well managed and wisely spent, 20k can be truly life changing .

So, what happened to the Little Red Book?

It is now bound in a small, black, slightly shiny, definitely leather cover. With no hint of faux.

My treasured notebook never became a diary in the strict sense, it is now a dream journal. I keep it by my bed for any visions of crowns, black hats, gilded horses and perhaps a stray bird or two.

Melon-tinged or not!


Bespoke satin leather

As soft as powdered snow

Custom ordered from Moleskine

And absolutely not faux


See our Closing Credits Webpage.

Tim StiX Feb 2021

Artwork by Jane and Tim StiX

Drawings by Jane StiX with digital imaging and effects by Tim StiX.

Tim StiX is The Sober Bard on Vocal.

fact or fiction

About the Creator

Tim StiX

Tim StiX alias Tim Styx. Manic Master of The Internet of Things and The Sober Bard.


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