I have a horror finger.
“It’s a consumption-related medical condition,” I tell my girlfriend when she asks about it.
“It’s a cheese-related medical condition,” she says.
And she’s right. I only get eczema when I eat cheese. It’s a shamefully bourgeois condition. I’m poorly because I can’t stop eating Roquefort.
My eczema is one of a wider family of cheese-related medical conditions, the more familiar siblings being nightmares, obesity, and happiness.
The case of my horror finger is a curious one though. Not only have I not been eating cheese at all this week, but it’s also very odd for eczema to attack a single finger.
For some reason, my right-hand pinkie finger is all blotchy and red. It looks like it’s going to rot off and then creep around of its own volition like something from Return of the Living Dead.
I really hope that doesn’t happen. I’ll never be able to “pinkie swear” again, or count to five, or slightly irritate people by doing that Dr. Evil gesture.
What would I hold aloft when drinking a cup of tea? Don’t answer that. It would be very difficult to appear dainty.
I’d be shunned by society, forced to dwell in the sewers with just three fingers, like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or someone who’s upset the Japanese mafia.
Yet there it is, my horror finger, revoltingly swollen like an unsavory part of the Michelin Man.
My sensible side wants to heal the finger and make it well again, but there’s a Mr Hyde part of me which wants to see how hideous it can possibly get.
I’m genuinely tempted to abstain from washing it so that it gets all stinky and untended. A nuisance perhaps, but it would be worth it to see what a human finger looks like when left to go wild. It would be my contribution to science: the world’s first and only savage pinkie.
Needless to say, I’m willing to eat a whole wheel of brie for this cause. I could even grow the fingernail ghoulishly long and varnish it a bilious shade of green and people could pay a penny to see it at the end of a godforsaken pier.
Maybe I could get some newspaper coverage as the man whose finger went monsterish, or an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records for the Western hemisphere’s scariest finger.
If anyone crossed me, I could take off my protective mitten, revealing the horror finger, and they’d go “No, no, no! I’m sorry I crossed you, Mr Wringham! Here, take my hat, my keys, anything, just spare me the horror of the horror finger!”
Of course, I will not do any of these things. The finger is monsterish but I am not. I’m actively nice. I will abstain from cheese and nurse the haunted digit back to health.
Even so, I’ll play it safe and not trust it lest it turns out to be possessed by the pinkie finger of a serial killer.
Precisely what harm or mischief could be wrought by a murderer’s pinkie finger, I’m uncertain. If he or she had been more sensible and taken possession of my index finger or thumb instead, they’d have been able to wreak all manner of beyond-the-grave havoc, dialling premium-rate telephone numbers and hitch-hitching.
But the pinkie finger? What kind of impractical demonic possession is that?
Keep an eye on the newspapers. If you hear about a man killed by his own pinkie finger–fish-hooked to death presumably–you’ll know it was me.