Watson had been seated at his desk all day, scribbling on a page before him then balling it up and tossing it toward the hearth in frustration. Holmes watched, bemused, and eventually fell asleep on the settee, for Watson's doings truly weren't interesting enough to keep him from napping.
When he opened his eyes again, Watson was muttering to himself and stuffing a stack of pages into an envelope. Holmes was a little startled by the amount of progress made in such a short time, so he rose and passed by Watson's desk under the pretense of fetching more tobacco.
"Pray tell, where are you sending that?"
"To my editor."
"My dear Watson, those pages are blank."
"He insisted upon seeing something from me today, regardless of what shape it's in, so here it is. I call it Twenty Pages."
"You are sending him twenty blank sheets of paper," Holmes stated, astonished and more than a little concerned that Watson had taken leave of his senses.
"I think it's one of my best works," Watson said with evident satisfaction as he sealed the envelope. Then he glanced up at Holmes and burst into laughter. "Holmes, you should see your face!"
"Your editor will no doubt have a similar expression when he receives your parcel. Are you well, doctor?"
"Yes, quite. I am merely making it clear that when I say I have nothing to show him, I mean it."
"Very well," Holmes said uneasily. He continued to keep a close eye on Watson for the next week, but he demonstrated no further signs of derangement.
Watson's editor never forced him into an unwanted deadline again.