What bothered Faith even more than finding a beaten ring on the side of the railroad tracks was that there was a finger still in it. She was left clueless as to what to do with it, through all her years of girl scouts, high school, college, and on the job training, nobody had ever mentioned how to react to finding a severed finger.
"Jesus Christ," she said to herself. She made a mental note, next time she feels like having a breath of fresh air, she was going to the park. She withdrew a kleenex from her purse, using it to retrieve the finger from the grass in which it lay. The ring itself looked inexpensive, and noticing that the nail of the severed finger was colored, she assumed that the ring and the finger had belonged to a woman.
"Excuse me," came a voice from within the shadows surrounding her. Startled, Faith let out a small yelp as she turned to face the stranger approaching her.
"I just noticed you picked up a finger from over there. I'd like to have it back." The man who spoke to her held out his hand, palm upwards.
"This... is yours?" Faith responded. Confused wasn't a strong enough word to describe how she was feeling.
"Well, technically it belonged to my wife, but since she's no longer with us... I'd just like to have it."
"I'm sorry to hear that." She placed the kleenex clad finger into the stranger's hand. "If you don't mind, could you tell me what happened to her? It's not every day I find a finger laying on the ground."
"I'd hope so," the man said with a chuckle. "This really isn't a humorous situation, though. Do you really want to know what happened? It's a bit bizarre."
"And finding a finger laying on the ground isn't?"
"Point taken. Well, my wife and I were having some problems. We'd only been married a few months and things were becoming a little rocky. We came out here for some peace and quiet so we could talk things out. She had an allergy attack from the bermuda grass out here, and well... after she'd sneezed a few times she tried to hold the last one in. She plugged her nose and mouth as she was sneezing, and she exploded."
"Yeah, right over there." The man pointed to a grassy hill overlooking the railroad tracks they were standing on. The ground was still stained red, and a tree was knocked completely over.
"Jesus. When did this happen?"
"Last night at about 11 o'clock. I've been out here ever since, picking up the pieces so I can have her buried."
"You're a pretty wierd guy. Look, I gotta get out of here. This is just too much for one night." Faith turned and started to walk away.
"Wait! Do you think you could help me find the rest of her?"
Faith was more than annoyed at this point. "Look sir, I found your wife's severed finger when all I wanted was some air. I think I've done more than my part. I don't mean to be rude, but I've really got to get home. So if you'll excuse me."
"I understand. Thank you for your time, miss." The nameless man turned his attention to the ground nearby, searching frantically for parts of his late wife.
Faith backed away from the man, watching intently until she was a good enough distance away to turn her back to him. Shaking her head in disbelief, she tried to forget about what had just transpired. She was about 300 feet away from the stranger when she felt a tickling in her nose. She began taking in gasps of air in preparation to sneeze. Bewildered, she looked back at the stranger. He was staring right at her.
"God bless you!" The man called out to her, grinning from ear to ear.
Joey Anderson resides in the 7th layer of hell, otherwise known as Memphis, Tennessee. He writes fiction and satire for www.sufferbastard.com and is a columnist at MindKites: Perceptions on the Fringe, a freethinker ezine at www.mindkites.com.
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