The Curse of the Gigantic Finger - excerpt
To Hull and Back Short Story Competition 2018 - Shortlisted
This all happened the day I cut off the tip of my right index finger on a televised cooking competition, which is actually a much less interesting story than you might imagine. The only noteworthy bit was when the nurse put the dressing on. She had a cool gadget to help her twiddle the gauze around to ensure effective coverage of my finger. I admired the nurse’s handiwork in the taxi home.
I yelped when I stubbed my finger on the door handle. The thing about the bandage was that it was gigantic. I looked like I was wearing one of those huge sponge hands that Yanks wear to baseball games. My roommate, Nigel, said the words I would come to dread, “What happened to your hand?”
I told him the story. “You cut the tip of your finger off on TV?” He could barely stand he was laughing so much.
“Not live TV – it’ll be on air next week.”
“What night?” he asked. “I am SO having everyone round. We can serve finger foods.” In that moment, I really wished the gigantic bandage was on my middle finger.
“Yeah, yeah. Hilarious.”
“You’re going to be a total babe magnet after that, aren’t you?”
I thought about Matt’s housewarming party next Friday. I pictured chatting up some wavy-haired goddess who resembled Nigella and wouldn’t take the piss out of me for watching the Bake Off. It would be great, until my mates decided to play my clip from YouTube.
“Fuck off, Nige,” I said. Then, “Fuck!” I was having a fight with a can of beer.
“Aww, mate, does PeeteyWeetey need a wittle hewp wiv his dwink?” said Nigel.
I punched his shoulder, then dropped the can as I reeled and clutched my hand. “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!”
I think my eyes may have even filled with tears, because he said, “That’s it. You’re coming out with me.”
I noticed Nigel was wearing his best suit and a garish, patterned red tie that belonged at a haematology convention.
“Didn’t you say you had an important meeting tonight with some clients? I believe your words were ‘life or death’. I’m not sure I should gate-crash that. Much as I could do with a drink someone else poured for me.”
“Er, the thing is, mate,” Nigel’s eyes bounced around the room. “I lied.”
“Okay,” I said slowly.
“I don’t have a meeting, per se. I’m, erm, going, um, speed-dating.”
“You’re shitting me! Speed dating?”
“Yeah, well, I’m planning on meeting a dozen women tonight, what are your plans?”
TV. Takeaway. Beer if I can get one open. Pity party. “Fair point,” I said.
“You should come along.”
“I dunno, mate, speed dating. Sounds pretty lame.”
“After that show airs next week, you’ll be lucky to have a conversation that doesn’t involve some girl laughing her pants off – and not in a good way. Think of it as a last chance saloon before you’re exiled to dating Siberia.”
Full text in the To Hull and Back Anthology 2018