Black Swallow of Death

Here’s a trio of things from one of my commonplace books. I keep meaning to do something with them, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Maybe next year.


Eugene Bullard. Black combat pilot in WWI. Boxer. Musician. Elevator operator. Had a pet monkey named Jimmy. Known as ‘the Black Swallow of Death’. Probably some kind of pulp hero.

The War of the Bucket. AKA the War of the Oaken Bucket. Literally a war fought over a bucket. Also part of that whole sorry-ass Guelph and Ghibelline scene. Began AND ended with the Battle of Zappolino. Had a mock-heroic epic written about it.

Picatrix. AKA the Goal of the Wise. Four hundred page book of magic. 11th century, or maybe 10th. There’s a copy in the British Library. The original Arabic version wasn’t discovered until 1920.

My subconscious has a bad habit of making random connections – crashing together unrelated concepts until something fits. I don’t know if that’s what’s happening with these particular entries, but I wouldn’t bet against it.

Bullard, in particular, has been taking up real estate in the back of my head for a few years now. If ever there was a historical personage deserving of fictional adventures, Bullard is it.