Monday, April 13, 2009

The Finger, Part 4

(When a little girl finds a severed finger on the road, the finger evokes different responses in each person it passes to. If you're just joining us, go back to Part 1)

Sam heard the older detectives in his unit laughing.


They were coming in from the main hall after a smoke, or a bag of chips, or a visit to pester Nancy, the 8th floor receptionist. If they invited Sam to leave his makeshift office in the corner, it was only to give him shit. Or to boss him around. He was the entertainment on otherwise slow days.

As usual Rick's voice dominated. Sam heard his name. The usual insults. Another round of laughing. Sam made the mistake of introducing himself as Samuel on his first day. He didn't look up when the three of them came around the cubicle divider.

"Yo, momma's boy," Rick said.

Sam flipped the page in the report folder.

At the edge of Sam's vision, Rick's arm swung, and something crashed into the papers in front of Sam's face.

"Jesus Christ!" Sam said. "What the--"

"Congratulations!" Rick said. "You finally got the big case you've been waiting for!"

"What the hell is this?"

Sam dangled the baggie with the finger in it.

"Well," Rick said, "we were going to give you a hand, but we didn't think you were worth the whole thing."

"Thanks. Thanks a lot."


"The grunts just brought it in. It was found this morning. Nice of them to let it ripen up a bit for you." Another folder slapped onto Sam's overflowing desk. "There's the report. Some little girl picked it up on JFK."

Sam peered through the plastic.

It appeared to be a woman's finger. Severed just above the knuckle. Index finger from the left hand.

"Go to it Sherlock. Put that private school degree to good use," Rick said. "Or then again, maybe you should call Mulder and Scully over at the FBI. Looks like an X-file to me."

Rick's audience chuckled.

"I guess you'll be pulling an all-nighter," Rick said. "I'd toss you a Snickers Bar from the machine, but I ate the last one. Smell you later."

"Hey, shouldn't this be at the morgue?" Sam called after them. "What are we supposed to do with it here?"

But the voices faded down the hall. The door slapped shut.

"Great," Sam said. "Just great."

He glanced at the clock. 4:55 p.m.

Well, nothing to go home to anyway. An empty apartment and cop show reruns. Might as well get a start.

He turned on the desk lamp and pulled it down. Leaning in, he held his breath and opened the bag.

On to Part 5.
Back to Part 3.


the walking man said...

Now comes some interest beyond the joke and maybe even some compassion into play...lead on Jedi master.

Margaret said...

Hmmm...Why do I get the feeling, the finger is going to change Sam's dull life for the better??

Sarah Hina said...

I'm intrigued by Sam's social isolation and his dedication to the job. Like two sides of the same coin.

Great transition into something more focused and grounding. I'm fully engaged with that finger, and its mystery now. And I loved that you stopped with Sam's holding his breath, so that we do, too. :)

And of course I'm hearing the music to the X-Files now...

Aniket said...

I know I could get beaten up by the ladies here for saying this... but I really like the Rick character and hope you bring him again. He is one witty fellow. :)

But Sam's gotta job to do now... one that'll earn him his promotion. :-)

Waiting for the next part...

Charles Gramlich said...

Be careful what you wish for.

Creation said...

Instant effect: Sympathy for the Sam person. Sounds like one nice, dedicted chap.

And Rick,

*laughs out loud*

his humour certainly clicks with me (and others too, it seems).

Your writing style is captivating. Eagerly awaiting the next part.

Cheers! :-)

Aniket said...

Jason, I've used two of your image prompts from prior contests on my blog and have given due credits and link. Hope that's fine by you.

Also I would love to have you judge it like you usually do and any pointers would be most welcome. :-)

Anonymous said...

Sam is going to solve this case I know it. We need an unsung hero!

Karen said...

Jason - I don't know if you mean to use this, but this could be the beginning of or part of a novel. I really like this genre of fiction and read it all the time. You could write it.

Meghan said...

I'm intrigued by Sam's social isolation and his dedication to the job. Like two sides of the same coin.


Cloudia said...

Good pacing!

Anonymous said...

Walking Man, yeah, time to anchor on a character or two now.

Margaret, interesting concept! ;) (You may be onto something.)

Sarah, yeah, gotta love the X-files. ;) I think you're right. The story needed to ground more now. It needed some consistency. Thanks for spurring me on!

Aniket, I cracked myself up on Rick's joke. :)

Charles, very true words.

Creation, thanks so much for the kind words! I'm glad that this pacing and story structure works for you. :)

Aniket, I do want to get over to your blog ASAP. After the holiday weekend here, I got sick (the whole family has had it). Just bear with me a short bit. I'd love to comment.

Aggie, Sam's your guy for the job, eh? :)

Karen, I'm very glad to hear you say that. My WIP, which should be complete in another month or two, has major suspense elements.

Meghan, I wonder what the finger will spur for him.

Cloudia, thanks! And aloha to you too!

Aniket said...


By all means take your time... i was just seeking your permision to use the your images.

You please take care of yourself and your can wait.

Hope your family recovers soon.

SzélsőFa said...

He's one likeable character, this Sam.

Ona side note: I did not get why introducing himself with his complete (long) name was a bad decision, though. Must be that I'm not familiar with some of the cultural aspects of your country.

I'm sending my virtual get well wishes to you and your family, too!

Mairi said...

Nice to find your site. I have Karen to thank for that. I'm interested in the working aspects of posting serial fiction, as if you were Dickens under a deadline with instant feedback to help you along. I'm going back to the beginning.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Hi Jason...sorry I haven't been around. Life, you know. Loved your two previous poetry posts - gorgeous pictures and the poems complex and melodic. As my friend, Bob, says - I like when another poet makes me jealous. lol

This story is really capturing the imagination. Love the way you introduced Sam into the story. Fabulous how you can give us insight into his life in just a few lines - masterful.

Quite an accomplishment - can't wait to read the next part. ;)

Anonymous said...

Aniket, thanks, my friend. :) I'll ask you on your blog too, but if you could email me Word files, I'd be happy to give you any detailed comments I have right in the document.

Mairi, so glad that you stopped by! It's a gift to find other poets out there to share in those special resonances. I'm eager to read your work!

Kaye, no worries. I completely understand. I've had a number of those life intrusions lately myself. :) I'm especially grateful for your feedback about getting a vibrant sense of character in a few lines. That's something I've devoted a lot of effort to developing through blog experimentation. Ways to convey loads of information and experience efficiently and under the radar. A lot like life, actually.

Aniket said...

Will do so Jason!

Anonymous said...

Szelsofa, that's a great question! "Sam" is kind of a rough-and-tumble name. A construction worker would go by Sam. "Samuel" on the other hand is formal, academic, and even a bit religious. I could see someone who insists on "Samuel" taking some abuse from people like Rick.

Anonymous said...

Aniket, got it! I'll give you my thoughts. :)

JR's Thumbprints said...

Perhaps Sam will order take-out at Kentucky-Fried Chicken while working overtime -- finger-lickin' good. Now let's see if there's any compassion attached to that finger.

Vesper said...

Very well written part and an excellent characterisation. On to the next part! :-)