The cheap motel room smelled like an outhouse and the bed was as solid as a rock, but that wasn’t about to dampen Joey Tomson’s spirits. He was a happy man. Not only had he made $20,000 for a single day of work, but he’d managed to acquire something new for his collection as well: a finger.
It was even better than the ear from his last job.
Joey was a hit man, and his latest hit had been a Mr. Robert Farrington, whose wife, Liz, had grown bored of him and wanted the rich lawyer ‘out of her life’. According to Liz, Robert had been her third husband. Joey didn’t want to know about the first two.
He reached over to the nightstand and plucked the finger out of the ice bucket.
Holding it up in front of his face, he gently bent it back and forth, like a piece of wire. The two knuckles of the pinkie finger had stiffened a little since he last played with it, but they seemed to loosen each time he flexed it. The blood had long since drained from the end where the pruning shears crushed the bone above the first knuckle, and he'd washed it several times since. He still gave it a little squeeze though, hoping against hope to see maybe one final drop of blood, but the finger had given all it could give.
The strange thing was the more he looked at it, the less it looked like a real finger. It looked too perfect. Robert had kept his fingernails well manicured, this one anyway, and he must have used hand lotion on a daily basis. If he didn't know otherwise, he might have thought he was holding a woman's finger. A rather large woman's finger, but a woman's finger nonetheless.
It had been a long day with the hit and the ‘burial’ at sea, and he was more than ready for a nap. Putting the finger back on the ice, Joey leaned back against the pillows and closed his eyes.
He was almost asleep when he felt something feather the tip of his nose. A fly, he thought. With his eyes still closed, he waved it away.
Five seconds later-on his forehead. Again, he waved it away.
Ten seconds later-again on his nose.
"You son of a bitch!" he cried. He opened his eyes and started to sit up, ready for battle.
Except he couldn't sit up. He couldn't move at all.
"What the hell..."
A voice? A thought?
Not his voice. Not his thought.
Joey's heart started racing. He heard the voice. But not with his ears; in his head.
Don't worry, Joey. You're not crazy. It's really me.
I'll bet you didn't think you'd be hearing from me again, eh?
"You're...dead." He was starting to panic. Farrington's voice in his head? His breathing was getting faster, and from where his head was propped up on the pillows he could see his chest rising and falling. "You're dead!"
Don't shout, Joey. I can take care of that, too. Not that it really matters, though. There's no one at this end of the motel that would hear you, anyway.
"This isn't happening. This isn't...fucking...happening!"
Oh, it's happening, alright.
Joey tried to stretch his muscles. He tried to move his legs, his arms, his head. He could feel the muscles tighten, but nothing moved. It was as if he was encased in a block of cement.
It won't work, Joey. I've got complete control of your body. And we're going to have some fun tonight.
Now his mind was racing as fast as his heart. He felt a drop of sweat roll down his temple, and his eyes darted back and forth around the small room.
What are you looking for, Joey? If you're looking for me, you won't see me. I'm in here.
This is a dream. A nightmare. I passed out and-
That's right, Joey. Just a nightmare. And now it's time to wake up.
Joey watched his hands rise up by themselves so that he was looking at his palms. Then the fingers of his right hand curled tightly around the pinkie of his left.
With a sudden jerk, his right hand snapped the small finger 90 degrees to the side.
A silent scream. He had no voice.
Are you awake now, Joey?
He could feel hot tears rolling down his cheeks. Pain he never knew.
You went into the wrong line of work, my friend. Now where’s that pistol you killed me with?
The pistol was in the drawer of the nightstand, and even though Joey tried to concentrate his thoughts on anything but that, the word ‘drawer’ still flashed though his mind. He immediately directed his thoughts to-
Your finger? Nice try, Joey, but I still got it.
Once again he watched as he involuntarily took the weapon from the drawer. It was loaded and ready to fire, as usual.
“Please,” Farrington allowed him to cry. “Please don’t do this.”
That’s funny. Seems like I said those exact same words a few hours ago.
His mind filled with terror as he watched his hand bring the barrel of the snubnose thirty-eight up to his right eye.
I’m sorry Mr. Tomson, but you’ve used up all of your appeals. Any last words? Or thoughts?
“YOU SON OF A-”
Joey’s finger pulled the trigger. Nine rooms away, a man briefly stopped bouncing on his whore and turned his head to a noise.
Then he went back to his business.
Liz Farrington was sitting on her couch with a glass of wine and looking over Robert’s life insurance policy. She was wondering how long she should wait until she reported her poor husband missing when she felt something softly touch the back of her neck.
Hello, Liz. Wanna have some fun?