Roy’s Writ of Duces Tecum

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By Tank Hoover

For those not familiar with Latin, court language mumbo jumbo or lawyer-spewed gobbledy goop, a writ of duces tecum is a court summons ordering the recipient (me) to appear before the court (Sir Roy) and produce documents (article or story).

The How & Why

Ever since the second grade, I knew I liked to write. I can still remember the fat, dark blue pencils, which made it easier for little fingers lacking fine motor skills to hold them properly. The horizontally long sheets of blue-lined writing paper came in handy. It had solid lines for your baseline, and perforated lines above for your lowercase letters, and another solid blue line for your capital letters. Creative writing was always my favorite subject. Ms. Judge, our teacher, would have us cut a picture out of a magazine and then have us write a story. It was a great imagination developer and came in handy as a police officer, when creative writing was needed to explain how you fell asleep at the wheel while patrolling on the midnight shift, or how the handcuffed prisoner escaped from your cruiser while you were breaking up a teenage party.

I don’t think they do such things anymore to help develop a kid’s imagination nowadays. Prepping for standardized tests, learning the basics of political correctness and the “everyone is a winner attitude” seem to dominate the current curriculum. Damn shame!

Guns, shooting, hunting, handloading, casting and a warped sense of humor were my outlets to relieve stress. Cops and hunters are notorious storytellers. Mix this with boredom from writing thousands of routine reports, shake well and you have the makings of a wannabe gun writer.

The Big Hunt

It wasn’t easy. Investigation revealed most gun magazine editors have unlisted phone numbers. You’d think they’d make themselves more available to people with advice or story ideas. Maybe list your personal cell phone number on the front page, so you can hear advice from the readers at any time? Kinda like a “Think Tank” of sorts … .

I set a plan to get ahold of Roy. I called the subscription department and told them I have a Colt 1903 my grandfather carried in World War II and I want Roy to have it. I tell them I need an e-mail or phone number to contact him. After renewing my subscription for 17 years, I get it! Roy’s lust for old Colts gets the better of him as I hook him! All I have to do is reel him in with my stories.

So I start sending stories to Roy. He says I still need those long sheets of writing paper used by 2nd graders — and my mental capacity is at the same level as them. He points out my run-on sentences and asks me to start to using periods, question marks or exclamation points to break up my thoughts a little bit. He jokes and says he refuses to change the magazine format and make the size longer — like the writing paper — so my sentences will fit better. Roy likes to joke around and really is a hoot.

A Great Deal

They say gun writers don’t make much money…but I tend to disagree, especially the ones published a lot. After much negotiating, pitching, pleading and begging, a deal is struck and some of my articles are accepted. It takes a lot of hard work, sweat, determination and drive, but it eventually works out.

The checks start moving! The first one was for $2,000! Wow! The second was for $3,000! Dang! The third for $5,000!!! Holy cow!!! Roy wants them to be either cashiers check or a postal money order, whichever is easier for me to send! Guess that’s how he affords all his “Roy’s Toys” — the finest vintage and custom handguns, holsters and accoutrements money can buy.

I can probably only afford another four or five stories, tops, on my retirement salary! At least when I wrote on the various internet gun forums no one ever charged me. Those guys published regular-like must have mighty deep pockets!

I’ve tried negotiating with Roy, but he’s shrewd! How else would/could he be the editor of the best magazine out there? I keep trying to nitpick him down on the amount of my checks, but he holds firm. He tells me maybe when I get a little more established, he’ll think about knocking the price down a bit. If that isn’t motivation, I don’t know what is. When I tell Roy I’m getting low on cash, he sympathetically tells me not to worry and asks,” What kind of guns do you have?” I figure he wants me to write an article on them, or something?

He even offers to help me write a feature article titled, “Guns I Should Have Kept.” He’s a great guy, always extending his hand to help, guide and nurture.

Since this is Sir Roy’s writ, you’d think he’d be doing some of the writing since I’m doing all the paying? But we have fun here. I call it Roy’s “writ of duces tecum” and he calls me the nitwit, doofus taken. It’s great being part of all this camaraderie. Kinda like being back on the PD again.

Roy did give me a compliment the other day. He told me if he had more writers like me, he would be able to retire a lot sooner. Hope he stays on longer to help me more.

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