When the mail came today, there was a plain #10 white envelope from InterGalactic Medicine Show. Taking one look at it, I knew what it was. Every writer knows. It was a rejection slip for a story that I submitted to them not too long ago. Plain white #10 envelopes are burned into the psyche of every writer after a dozen, a score, a hundred or more rejection slips. Reluctantly, I tore open the letter, grimly disappointed in myself, and was momentarily confused at what was within:

It was a 1099-MISC tax form for the payment I received for the story I sold to the magazine back in 2007. It’s my first, and hopefully, not my last.

Incidentally, if you’ve never seen a 1099-MISC form, there are some interesting boxes on it. Some of them make sense: (1) Rents; (2) Royalties; (3) Other Income. But how about these: (5) Fishing boat proceeds; (10) Crop insurance proceeds; or lucky (13) Excess golden parachute payments.

Mine is listed in box (7) nonemployee compensation. Interestingly, the instructions for Box 7 reads (in part) as follows:

Box 7. Shows nonemployee compensation. If you are in the trade or business of catching fish, box 7 may show cash you received for the sale of fish.

What is this obsession the IRS has with fish?