Flash-Fiction-Friday - FF-Bum-Knees.jpg

By J. Peter W.

“Dude, Are you getting up?” Alex asked, standing impatiently at the doorway.

I looked at him and shrugged. “I can’t.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s my knees. They quit on me.” I pulled back the blanket and revealed the blasted things. They both squinted in the sudden light, covering their eyes and mumbling.

Alex stepped into my bedroom. He hesitated a few feet from the bed. “What the fuck?”

“Yeah, I know. They just gave up. Stopped shaving. Stopped eating. Now they won’t even get out of bed,” I said.

Both knees had grown extensive, wild beards. Their hair lay in curled strands of unkempt and untended locks that flared around my legs. The fingernails on their tiny hands were two weeks late of a good clipping.

“So you’re just gonna lay there, enabling them? Come on, man. It’s time we do something about this,” Alex said. He went over to my stereo and fumbled through some CDs. Sneering back to me, he said, “This is the one,” and popped the disc in. He pushed play and the room filled with obnoxious waves of Eye of the Tiger.

“Dude, no,” I said, but he was already pulling back the curtains and lifting the blinds.

“It’s time, man. We gotta get those knees back into the flow of things.”

Sunlight shot in with an intrusive brightness; even I shielded my eyes.

Alex ran to the bathroom, singing the lyrics as he went. He returned with scissors and a grin that teetered on the line of mischievous and downright evil. “Hold their arms back,” he said.

I grabbed the grubby little arms of my right knee first. Alex snipped the beard into a close crop and then did the same with the hair. After we finished trimming the left knee, Alex set the scissors on my bed and helped me get up.

“I don’t think they like this,” I told him.

“Of course they don’t, but they need it. We’re doing this for their own good.”

I nodded and followed his lead. Moving to the beat of the song, I lifted my legs and bent my knees, taking them out of their comfort zone. I could hear them grumbling and cursing under their breath as I began to jog in place.

“That’s it, man. Let’s go. Get that blood flowing. Doesn’t it feel great?”

The music started to swim through me, forcing me to smile at the silliness of our actions. “Actually, it does. I think they’re coming around.”

I could feel the heavy, dark clouds lifting from their minds. Their tiny shoulders rose, no longer dragging down. Finally, their faces turned towards the window, letting the sunshine fill them with warmth. They were radiating strength and power, slapping high fives and dancing to the song. They were once again ready for the world.

When the song ended, Alex stopped jogging and turned the stereo off.

He turned to me, “Ready to go?”

“I can’t,” I said.

“What’s wrong now?”

“It’s my brain,” I told him.

“Your brain?” he asked.

“Yeah, it’s scattered.”

I pointed to the desk, where tiny pieces of my brain sat in a tight circle, playing cards and puffing on cigars. In the far corner, two pieces were in a deep conversation about western politics. Under the bed one was wandering aimlessly, daydreaming of California beaches.

“Well,” Alex said, “let’s go round them up.”


J. Peter W. lives beneath trapped doors, writing with night eyes and night fingers. He is the author of numerous short stories, novellas, and novels including The Severed Limbs of Rheum Vimorae, The Dead Arms and Other Stories, and A Friend In Me. You can follow him on Twitter at @jpeterw013 or check out his blog at jpeterw.blogspot.com.


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