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Estimated reading time — 3 minutes

Last paper of the term. Only a 500 word paper. Sounds easy, he thought. That will only take a few hours at the most. It was an exercise in tedium.

He grabbed his Tyconderoga #2 Pencil. Normally it’s just called a pencil, or a #2 pencil. The name Tyconderoga just stuck in his mind.

Tyconderoga, Tyconderoga, Tyconderoga, on and on ran through his head.

He had wasted enough time on thinking about the word “Tyconderoga”. It was time to start writing the essay. An easy five paragraph paper. He should be able to whip it out in an hour or two.

The paper was coming along beautifully. Words seemed to flow out of the Tyconderoga’s graphite like it was a heavily filled fountain pen. They just flowed right out onto the college ruled notebook paper. It’s effortless he thought, and kept writing. Forty-five minutes later the words still kept flowing. The five paragraph paper turned into eight paragraphs, then twelve, then twenty, and so on. After two hours and three times sharpening the Tyconderoga he began to think he, personally, was feeling pain when sharpening the pencil. Pain that resonated through his own hand. It started at his fingers and coursed up and through his hand and wrist bones. The ache progressed up his arm, numbed his elbow, and extended to the shoulder. A painful ecstasy traveled across his clavicle into his throat, as if he had swallowed a wasps nest soaked in vinegar. The pain then became a pleasure with each sharpening of his Tyconderoga #2 Pencil.

The words kept coming. So many that he didn’t know what he was writing anymore. Writing had become just scribblings of words. A cursive script that doctors would respect. He wasn’t even sure he was writing the same assignment that he had started. Time was no longer an issue. He kept writing.

After six hours he felt a tinge of weariness. The fatigue stopped when the graphite lead broke. He knew that if he sharpened his Tyconderoga the pleasure from it would wake his need to continue writing. He stuck the Tyconderoga into the electric sharpener. The ecstasy shot through his arm and into his gut, and the scrawling exploded on the paper. He was writing more fervently than the first two hours. He pressed down so hard that the paper ripped under his Tyconderoga.


His Tyconderoga was whittled down to very near its end. It had become almost impossible to hold. His scrawled writing was indecipherable. Penmanship had been thrown out the door hours ago. He scratched through the paper, gouging into the table beneath. Etching into the hard surface under the paper every word he scribbled.

Sharpening his Tyconderoga could no longer be done. He could barely hold the nub of wood which had become smaller than the metal ferrule holding the eraser. Smashing the short bit of wood and metal into the table, it became a carving tool. He scratched as fast as he could. Characters and dots and lines meant nothing. He had broken down along with the Tyconderoga # 2 Pencil.

He was possessed by the word Tyconderoga. Tyconderoga pounded through his brain. He needed to write. It was the only thing in his mind. With no more Tyconderoga, he was devasted. The urge to write overtook him. He felt no more ecstasy from sharpening the Tyconderoga. He was possessed with a determination to keep writing, to make the words keep flowing. He started scratching his fingernails into the table. Bits of his fingernail and wood fell from the table. He pressed harder, rubbed harder into the wood table. It burned and blistered his flesh. That was of no concern. The writing was all that mattered. Tyconderoga he thought. He could not stop. His hand jumped for a brief second when the remainder of his fingernail fell completely off. His nail spun onto the floor. Blood oozed out from where his nail had been. He stared down at it on the ground. Then he turned his head toward the electric pencil sharpener. Without hesitation he set the sharpener opening to its largest setting. He pressed his finger into the hole and kept pressing in until the sharpening mechanism activated. The blades were spinning, shearing off skin, and choking the motor with blood. He leaned back and screamed in orgasmic pleasure. He fell back into his seat and resumed scrawling with his fleshless, honed, bleeding bone. He pressed harder and harder into the table. Bits of bone and skin fell as he wrote.


The constant movement and agitation of his wound kept his blood flowing. Soon the table and the floor under him was red and wet with his blood. Chunks of skin, muscle, and bones were scattered around the table. He lay on the floor under the table in a pool of blood.

He missed the paper’s due date. The blood around him dried. Flies and maggots covered the wounds and his orifices. He lay dead five days before they discovered him. He was found with one arm intact and one arm chewed off about three inches above the elbow.

Credit : Greenson

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