The Right Word

This bit of silliness was written at the request of a friend, who wanted stories for her birthday.

Knavery, knavish, knawel.”

Rob heard mumbling from the next room over and found his friend Bob sitting cross-legged in the middle of the floor, a dictionary open in his lap. Bob’s index finger advanced down the page as he recited each word aloud.

“What are you doing?” Rob asked.

“Looking for a word. Knead, knee, knee action, knee breeches,” Bob replied without looking up.

“What word?” Rob asked.

Bob shook his head. “I don’t know. Kneecap, knee-deep, knee-high, knee-jerk. That’s why I’m looking.”

Rob frowned. “Why exactly are you looking for a word?”

Kneel, kneeler, kneepad. Because I have to write a story.”

“A story? That sounds interesting. What’s it going to be about?”

Bob shrugged. “I don’t know. I have to find the right word first. Knell, kninckers, knickknack, knife.

“So you’re using a dictionary?” Rob asked.

Knife-edge, knight, knight-errant. That’s where they keep the words.”

Just when Rob thought he couldn’t possibly furrow his brows any more, he managed. “How long have you been doing this?”

“Since last Wednesday. Knighthead, knighthood, knightly, knish,” answered Bob.

Rob let his jaw drop. “You started with A?”

“Of course I started with A. Knit, knitting, knitting needle, knitwear. Do you think I’d start with F?” A hint of annoyance entered Bob’s voice.

“And now you’re on K.”

“Obviously. Knob, knobkerrie, knock. Are you feeling well? Knockabout, knockdown. You sure are being slow on the uptake today.”

Rob stared at Bob, baffled into silence. It took him a good minute to craft his next inquiry. “Now I’m no expert on writing stories, but shouldn’t you know what the story is about before you go looking for the words?”

Bob eyed Rob suspiciously. “Well, that sounds terribly backwards to me. Knockdown-dragout, knocker, knock-knee, knockoff.

“And how will you know when you find the right word?”

Knockout, knockwurst, knoll, knop, knot. It’ll be the last word I read.”

“So does that mean you’re going all the way through, to Z?”

“Oh, no. Knotgrass, knothole, knotty, knout. I’ll stop before Z if I find the word I’m looking for.”

“But I don’t understand. You just said it would be the last word you read.”

Bob looked as if he just asked whether the sky was blue. “Well yes, of course. Know, know-how, knowing, know-it-all. What good would it do to keep looking once I find the right word? Knowledge, knowledgeable, know-nothing. That’s just absurd.”

“Of course, but isn’t there an easier way to write a story?”

Knuckle, knucklebone, knucklehead. I can’t really think of one,” Bob said.

“Why couldn’t you just pick a word at random, like kumquat?”

Bob paused. “No, Kumquat isn’t the right word. Knur, knurl, koala.

“But if you used your imagination—”

Bob held up a finger to stop Rob from going any farther. “Too haphazard. Kobold, kohl, kohlrabi. I’d rather not leave things to chance.”

“So once you find the right word, then you’ll write the story?”

“Oh, heavens no. Kolacky, Komodo dragon, kook. Then I have to find the next word.”

One thought on “The Right Word

  1. robwil79 February 19, 2014 / 10:39 am

    Sometimes it feels that difficult, confusing, and insane

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