Purulent Digititis

Posted By on September 10, 2006

Or
“The Invisible Hand’s Missing a Few Fingers”

.: It’s 2:00 am, and the apartment’s filled with noisy chatter and VH1’s Metal Mania. Most of the people there are metal fans; several of them recognize the bands on TV. Of the dozen or so people, half are intoxicated. Of the half, two are unresponsive to evironmental stimuli. One of them is about to cut his finger off.

.: It’s swollen just above the knuckle, as if he were wearing a ring two sizes too small. But there is no ring on his finger — only sweat and residue from whatever substances he imbibed hours earlier. He’s leaning against the wall, oblivious to and uncomprehending of the consequences that necessarily follow digital excision.


Fig. 1. Irreversible consequences make for good photos.

.: He lightly scrapes the blade across the finger then pauses. He looks at no one in particular: “The puss comes out if I cut it, right?”

.: Nobody answers him; we’re too curious to correct him. He reorients the knife and stares at his swollen finger for another minute. He seems focused on his imagined future, wherein his finger is gently pierced and all puss has cleanly escaped along with the pain.

.: He presses down hard on the blade. Across the room his friend jumps from the couch, runs past us, and snatches the pocketknife from him. His friend walks back across the room to his seat and sits down before the guy even begins to protest.

.: After some feebly worded and nearly inaudible objections, he looks down at his hand, possibly wondering where his knife has gone, and gives up. The pain remains, in spite of whatever illegal substances he consumed earlier, as a testament to their inadequacy.

.: Oscar, Justin and I look at each other. We all understand that we came very close to seeing someone permanently disfigure himself, and we didn’t do anything to prevent it. After a few seconds of reflection, Oscar comments, “I love how we take a laissez faire approach to this.”

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One Response to “Purulent Digititis”

  1. Jason says:

    Hi –

    Randomly came across your site (as is the trend these days) and spent way too much time reading it. I got caught by my boss and now I am unemployed. When my girlfriend found out I got fired, she broke up with me, and in my frustration at the atrociousness of my day, I slammed my car into a highway median, which caused a 37-car pileup and four fatalities, all of which I am liable for. So, as I came down from the roof of my apartment complex, I decided that the only thing I really wanted to do before the police shut the power off in my apartment was read your posts one more time and take solace in the fact that there are still people who can write out there. Thank you for enriching my life.

    Oh, and how’s that for an inversion? 12/90? Eh? Eh?

    Seriously, though, good stuff.

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