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n't put it all together.


"Mom?" I squeaked, as sweet and unassuming as can be. "Yes?"


"Why is there a finger in the medicine cabinet at grandma's house?" She laughed a little.


"It's your grandfather's. You know, he's missing two fingers." Well, technically only one's missing. We know the location of the other. Turns out, the one involved in the explosion went MIA (obviously) but the sawblade fiasco had spit the finger onto the floor. They took it to the hospital (I think) but no luck. So into the jar it went. In my mind, it looked a bit like a shaped vienna sausage, pink and fleshy and suspended, floating, in what I think was alcohol, with a jagged bottom where snags of skin dangled below it. At night, I close my eyes, and there it is.


I think about this finger maybe more than I should. Sometimes, on sleepless nights, it comes to me, in its glass jar with the rusting white metal lid, and compels me to contemplate its current where- abouts. Is it still there, after all this time? Did someone finally put it in the trash? Can you put it in the trash? Would you want to keep it, a twisted momento of a loved one no longer with us?


Over a decade after the first and only time I saw it, I had to ask my mom more. "Mom?" "Yes?"


"My cousins remodeled grandma's house after grandma and grandpa died, right?" "Yes..."


"And you all cleared everything out?" "Yes..."


"So what did the do with the finger?" A laugh. "Well, I guess it's still there."


"Really? I don't think I would want to hang on to that sort of thing. I mean, what do you do with a finger? In a jar?"


We both thought a moment.


“Well, I guess we should have buried it with him, said Mom. “Just didn't occur to us at the time. I'm not sure anyone really knows what to do with it now.” What do you do with a finger?


You know, I've never been one to fight over possessions after someone dies. I've never quite under- stood inheritance and why people fight over it. Technically, you didn't earn it and all. But I think something like this should be in a will. So as to not have any confusion. Or fighting. Such an odd lit- tle thing, surely someone would want to give it a home. I picture the family gathered in the living room, still sniffling, tissues in hand, hanging on the lawyer's every word, relieved breaths or eyes of envy shooting around the room. The lawyer goes down the list:


...cousin Sally gets....the silverware, the pickup goes to.....Uncle Fred, and ...Susan gets...the finger! What's more, there was a point where the house was empty, between my cousins living there and the passing of my grandparents. The house is very isolated on a dirt road thirty miles from the near- est Wal-Mart. Anyway, some meth dealers squatted in the house, making meth in the basement. Now, imagine yourself quite consumed by meth, you cut your hand on a piece of glass, and you reach


for a band aid..... •


Are you a Southern Writer? We welcome short stories (of 1,500 words or less) and poetry for publication consideration. Send your material to michaelbuffalosmith@gmail.com. There is no compensation, but you get to be read by the coolest audience in the world!


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