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This short story was prompted by the following image:

 

Circus clowns visit sick boy. CC photo Boston Public Library.

Circus clowns visit sick boy. CC photo Boston Public Library.

 

Joe’s New Bed

His clean-cut world had been transformed, now shocking lit and stale with color. Even the newfound friendlings were over-the-top raucous, especially the stubby, multi-legged creature.

 

“Why Joe, your eyes are so watery you’re gonna drown the lot of us.”

 

Joe blinked his eyes.

 

“And look at that huge honker! You must be able to smell flowers across town with that thing,” laughed the friendling with the big red nose.

 

Joe slowly moved his unbandaged fingers, touching a nostril for the first time.

 

“What’s this?” asked a third, pointing somewhere low Joe wasn’t looking. But when Joe glanced down, the friendling ran his pointer up past Joe’s incision, smacking him in his face.

 

The friendlings laughed with glee . . . but was it maliciously? Joe began harboring the possibility that maybe these friendlings weren’t so friendly at all. Cautiously, he began searching for telltale signs of threat, like the needles the white-clads bore.

 

He’d have to be sly, outside the bubble, he would.

 

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Written as part of Friday Flash Fiction

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