A short by Carter Melrose
Illustration by Matilda Mel
“Curtains in six,” I hear from Wesley. I staunch wholeheartedly to the front of the stage, present the audience with a monologue and get reamed by my stage-boss Mildred.
Mildred was acting all mighty, as if she hadn’t just been left by her husband. I think about bringing it up but realize my shoe’s untied and throw her the, ‘one second’ signal.
This seems to bruise Mildred in a way I hadn’t yet been able to comprehend in my short life and she grabbed, tugged, and clenched my finger within her palm. Sorta like my finger was the sausage in the world’s sweatiest corndog. I tug and tug and even decide to scream out for help. The crusty and well-yet-weirdly-dressed widow-by-awfulness, wouldn’t let go. As if this is a win she had been seeking for months, and for some reason the laws of sweat decided to stop applying to her.
“Mildred, I’m going to count to three and then I’m going to find a loose weapon and chop-off your hand.”
Mildred doesn’t flinch and squeezes my finger harder and even starts to grit her teeth to show her disdain and moxie. With my free hand I start nudging that saggy-bag across the room, pushing with enough force to throw out a base runner from left-field and oh, my back, for that matter. Mildred braces a bit, and I finally find a penny, face-up (of course). With Lincoln in attendance, I attempt to saw through her skin and for some reason I have no clue how, it doesn’t cut her. I lean back and accept my fate. Mildred puts both hands around my fingy, and pinches tight enough that the tip of my finger suddenly detonates, spewing blood at a violent speed.
Some tell me, blood is blue in the veins, and red in the trees.
My liquid spritzing the audience was blue that day, and so was my energy. The crowd erupts in laughter and one little boy even begs to drink straight from the tap, his request is abided. For today my blood was blue-raspberry, and the play, “The Women Who Squeezed So Hard She Popped An Index Figure.” The story of true concentration and persistence.
The review from the local newspaper the next day read: “true to its name, TWWSSHSPAIF is everything you could have hoped for, and more.” Well, tell that to my index finger.