Friday, March 09, 2007
I was walking home from work the other day. It was a Tuesday. Yes. A Tuesday afternoon. It was hotter than horseshit. The sweat ran down the middle of my back soaking my shirt. I drank a bottle of scotch wrapped up in a brown paper bag. I take a few swigs here and there. So here I am walking along minding my own goddamn business when I look down to the sidewalk. No real reason I just look down. Guess what I saw.
A finger. Yep. One digit. One lone half bloody stump of a finger. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I looked around as if half expecting someone to be running toward me yelling that it’s there fuckin finger. I scratch my head. “Humm.” Nobody. I take the handkerchief out from my back pocket and scoop it up and put into my pocket.
I continue on my walk toward the Starlight. The starlight is a great bar. Always open. I like that. I head in and plop down on a stool. A Hank Williams tune fills the air from the jukebox. Johnny Farnsworth the bar tender walks over to me. Johnny is an old school rockabilly guy. Aged and gray but still sporting the side burns and the tattoos.
“What can I get you?”
I smile like he’s my Jesus. As if he’s about to give me the juice of the gods to bless my soul.
“The usual Johnny, just bring me the usual.”
He nods and goes over and pours me some whiskey on the rocks. He puts down the glass in front of me.
"Here you go."
“Hey, you wanna see something?” I ask him.
“That depends what is?”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Well there are some things I don’t want to see?”
I lean back on my stool.
“Like what?” Johnny scratches his head.
“Ahhh…well…I don’t know…someone stabbed in the face…your balls.”
“Funny Johnny that hadn’t occurred too me?” “What?”
“That you think about my balls?”
“Very funny” he chuckles.
“What do you want to show me?"
I search in my pant pocket and pull out the handkerchief and set it on the bar.
He looks at it.
“Your snot rag?”
“No!” I bark.
Another man comes in and sits next to me. Lefty Tillman.
Lefty is a black albino who works at newspaper stand out in front of the bar.
He’s 48 years old but looks a young 38.
“What you guys lookin at?” He scoots in.
“Not sure yet” Johnny drawls.
“Looks like a snot rag.” Lefty chimes in.
I give Lefty a sharp stare.
“Very good, but its what’s in the rag”
I open up the rag revealing the finger.
They both look bug eyed at the finger.
“Shit!” Johnny blurts out.
“Well look at that” Lefty smiles.
“How about that shit, I found it while I was walking over here on the sidewalk.”
“You should return it man” Johnny complains.
“What do you mean return it?”
“I mean someone may come back looking for it.” I take a swig of my whiskey.
“Come back for it?” I fold the handkerchief back over.
Lefty and Johnny just stare at me with a weird look.
“Why would you take that?” Johnny asks.
I shrug. “I don’t know?”
I put the handkerchief and finger back into my pocket.
Lefty walks away and Johnny moves down to the other end of the bar.
Guess I freaked them out.
I take the last swig of my whiskey and slam some money down to the bar.
I walk out.
I start walking back the way I came. Sweat runs down my neck. The hot sun beats down upon my head. I come to the place I found the finger. I look around. Nobody. A few cars pass by. But know one is running around looking for a missing finger.
I decide to pull the handkerchief out of my pocket.
I unwrap the finger and stare it.
Whose finger is it? Are they still alive? What do they look like?
I put the finger back down onto the ground.
I look up at the sun as I stand back up.
I put the handkerchief back into my pocket and then walk away.
Sometimes the things we don’t understand are the greatest treasures.
Posted by Antony Berrios at 3/09/2007