High Reason

The Case of the Extremely Short Nails

The Case of the Extremely Short Nails

They were two of a kind. Sherlock and John sat opposite each other, laptops opened, typing away almost nonstop.

"Hm - what are you doing?" John asked at last, without stopping in his signature hunt-and-peck typing style.

"Case notes - you?" Sherlock said, flashing a quick glance over the top of the screen.

"Updating my blog."

The flurry of letters being entered continued, rife with backspacing and backspacing yet again, and at last Sherlock stopped, rising quickly with a muttered curse.

"What?" John looked surprised. "What's wrong?"

"I can't type properly, it feel disgusting. Where are the clippers..." Sherlock hurried into the bathroom, and began rummaging in the drawers beneath the sink.

"Clippers?" John followed at a slight distance, not sure if he should get involved. "Nail clippers?"

"Usually I can go six days in between, but it has only been five. Still, they're too long, and everything feels different. I can't -"

"Why don't you just wait seven and make it an even week?" He shrugged. "Then even if you have to be methodical, you can still have a decent way to remember it. Every Thursday, and so on."

"Seven days would drive me insane. It's enough to wait six. By day five, they're not quite long enough, it's the last day that's the hardest to endure."

"We are talking about - fingernails, right?" John was wondering if he might have missed something.

"Every week, waiting for them to get long enough to cut, and having to persevere through the day feeling them every time you touch anything..." Sherlock at last found the a small apparatus and began to clip his nails viciously.

"Watch it, you'll draw blood -" John winced, seeing the detective's vehemence. "Is this really that big of a deal?"

"Of course it is. It changes the spacial awareness my hands have in everything, but especially fine motor skills. Think about if you relied on a single part of your body - which you do, you just don't think about it - for nearly all the information your mind can take in, aside from your eyes. Ears don't count as much, not for me, visual and tactile learner. So, when you touch anything, your sense of balance is off by a fraction of a centimeter and I keep making errors when I type because things don't feel the same as when my nails are shorter. To calculate the total time lost by the inefficiency would be a good exercise, but maddening, seeing I have no way to prevent it."

"It's not as if you ever let them get long, by any means," John said in exasperation. "You're telling me you -"

"My happiness and sense of balance in day to day life is directly tied to my nails being so short I cannot feel them, yes." Sherlock finished, tossing the clippers back into the drawer and closing it with his leg. He ran his newly-liberated fingertips over the front of his shirt, rejoicing in the stimulation, but frowning when there was the tiny sound of a snag.

"John, do we have a file?"

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