In a failed attempt to clean some portion of my basement, I came across a collection of short stories and poems in a stapled packet from the creative writing course I took in my junior year of high school. Apparently my fascination with bizarre human behavior hasn’t changed much in the past 27 years because this publication, entitled Creative Impulses, included something I had written after observing a fellow student in my social studies class (ironically, her name may or may not rhyme with ‘Scabby’ but I don’t want to give away too much for fear of calling her out — although I really hope she’s gotten some help since then because, good Lord, it was grotesque.) Without her ever being aware I was watching, I would witness her daily gruesome ritual. I don’t know which one of us paid less attention to the teacher, her focusing on chewing the hell out of her fingernails and cuticles or me mesmerized by her horrifying habit. In typing these paragraphs for this post, I resisted the strong urge to edit my 16-year-old self’s writing. I did fix a few typos because back then we had Smith & Corona typewriters and used all ten fingers on the home row keys and not only was there no squiggly red line underlining a spelling mistake, but if you did catch an error you were lucky if you could find a bottle of White Out that wasn’t dried up. So I left the content but fixed “infront” to “in front.” Please forgive me. And so, without further ado, I present you with:
“The Finger Cannibal”
She sits, hand in front of her eyes, trying to decide which piece of flesh to chomp on next. She spies it, locates it, goes in for the attack. Her teeth close around it, and she pulls her hand away, teeth still clenched upon the flesh. It rips off. Blood. Ah, it stings a little. That’s all right. Moving right along. She moves on to another finger. She finds another piece of flesh that might not be as easy to grasp. Trying it anyway, she struggles. Her teeth don’t grab it right away but eventually, after a few tries, she gets it. No blood this time, but she has reached the tender part of her flesh. It is painful to touch. She moves on to another digit. Not much on that finger, she tries the next. Ah, a tasty specimen. A perfect size chunk of dead skin, that was just waiting to be eaten, sat in front of her eyes. As so many times before, she enclosed her teeth around it and pulled. The skin peeled off her finger for about half an inch. The exposed part was very tender and much of it was bloody. She squeezed the blood out more, drenching her finger in the thick, red liquid. She licked it off and busied herself with more skin eating. She was bored with this hand. She examined her other hand. Many of her fingers had scabs on the tips and around the nail. She focused on the skin. Spying a chunk, again she ripped it off with her teeth and gnawed on the flesh in her mouth. Yum. She was enjoying this session.
Four fingers and six nails later she was done. She pulled out a package of band aids and worked at fixing up her hands. Some blood seeped from underneath the bandages so she licked and sucked on her fingers until there was no blood left. She’s have to wait until more skin grew back before she could have as much fun as this again. It shouldn’t take long…
(By the way, I’m aware the attached picture is only loosely related to this post, but it’s a shout out to my Mom who presented my ten- and twelve-year-old daughters with the provisions for these adorable cupcakes. And she thinks I have a dark sense of humor…)