22 June 2012


I slipped the skin right off his hand with a grasp so hot and grit-sandy; lifeless skin-glove came right off in my hand and it reminded me of that woman my mother told me about. It was a woman rushing to close the door of her garage, and it was before the advent of electric openers. It was a cold winter day and she was wearing light woolen gloves, tooled in the most exquisite tan wool yarn. As she pulled the door down, the tip of the little finger of her left hand got pinched in the great, hinged seam of the door and pressed flat. With a cry and a jerk she pulled it free, removing nail, skin, and glove-tip in the one frantic motion.

The staff in the emergency room found the skin of the fingertip and the perfectly manicured nail to be in fine, fine condition, although cold and pale. All of the blood had been squeezed out of it, and the woman had the good sense to pack both her protruding bone and the tip itself in fresh, new-fallen snow. This preserved the fine manicure, as well, and made the scene more pleasant.

The grit-sandy dry-slipped skin that had slipped off into my grasp was not well-manicured, and it had not the benefit of new-fallen snow. Lifeless eyes looked at me and the odor of the place was most offensive.

Pete the Marine touched my shoulder, although his hand was thousands of miles away. “C'mon, man, let's go,” he said.

I looked at the slip of flesh in my hand.

“Hadjis over the next berm. You'll never know it, though.” His words were raspy and as grit-sandy as the skin-glove that I held.

“Yeah?” I asked.

“I'll take care of it. You sleep.”

The staff in the emergency room found the skin of the fingertip in fine, fine condition.

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