User Rating: 2 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Well, I didn’t know what I thought at the time.  It was an unusual situation, so there is no routine response to the unusual.  Maybe someone out there has routines for the extraordinary, but I don’t.  I thought, well, the first thing I thought was someone was sleeping in the soft soil of the flower bed.  Yeah, and they had simply covered up every other part of their body except their hand.  You know bed – sleep, stimulus – response.  Not routine but natural.  I like it when the doctors do stimulus – response.  It’s a fun game for me.  The doctors seem to like it too.  I could make them smile with some of my responses.  I was never certain what would make them smile, so I would try different things.  No routine for the unusual.  It was sort of an exploration, like a discovery mission.  I like talking to people, though not everyone likes talking to me.  I never understood that. 

            I am always interested in other people, why won’t they be interested in my thoughts?  That’s why I like talking to the doctors.  They are always interested in what I think and say.  Ruthy says they have to be interested; it is their job to be interested. 

            “Well good!”  I always reply.  “Well double good!  A profession that requires you to be interested in other people.  Well good for whoever or is it whomever, thought up such a profession.”   I do it for free, I like it so much.  I could use some extra cash though.  The snackshoppe has gotten so expensive. 

            But anyways, the guy’s sleeping in my flower bed, well, he was never there.  Well, maybe that’s wrong.  Maybe there had been someone sleeping in there, but he went away but forgot to take his right hand.  How do you forget your hand?  Women can forget anything Ruthy says but it had to be a guy this time.  The hand was too big and hairy to be anything but a guy.  It was a pale white hand, so the guy must not have gone out in the sun much.  My hands are dark tan from the sun during the summer at least; I work in the garden so much.  Maybe he was an office worker?  How is he going to do his job without his right hand?  Maybe he is left-handed?  That is a possibility.  It would explain why he could have forgotten his right hand.  He didn’t use it routinely.

            I like routine.  That is why I like gardening.  Flowers like routine.  The sun comes up and then goes down and does it all over again and again.  A daily routine.  Good ole routine sun.  I like the sun too.

 “Who wouldn’t?”  I say to people.  “Who doesn’t like the sun?”  No one I have ever asked has said, “I don’t.”

Since it was his right hand, I don’t know if he was married.  Why would he sleep in my flower bed if he were married?  Maybe he had a fight with her.  Maybe he was so drunk from disappointment; he passed out in the garden and then was so hung-over that he just left without his right hand?  It is a possibility.  Ruthy says my possibilities are not.  That is not possible. 

I say, “How do you know what is not possible when you’ve been in here longer than I have?”

When I ask the doctors a question, many times they reply, “Anything is possible.”  I tell Ruthy that and she replies, “They are just saying that.”  Which confuses me, because I had just told her that they had.  Ruthy once got mad at me and called me “simple-minded.”  I answered back what my mother told me to say to that, “Am not.  I am just straight forward and to the point.”


To get to some of these points, a few problems have arisen.  In the morning exercise classes we are always supposed to stretch and loosen up.  But so far no one has loosened up enough to have their hand or foot come off.  Not even a fingertip!  I tried to think my hand off at first, but nothing happened except I got dizzy.  Then I thought it might have been thoughtlessness that got that hand left behind.  I tried clearing my mind of all thoughts but how do you know if you succeeded clearing your head?  If there is nothing there, how do you see nothing?  I was confused and confusion didn’t loosen anything on my body.  So, I don’t know how he could have forgotten his hand?  I just don’t think it is possible, but then there is the hand alone.  I have felt like everything was coming apart before, but it never actually happened.  I even pulled on my hand and still it held tight.  It even started to hurt.  But if it hurt to lose your hand, I think you would notice that.  I certainly would.  I just don’t understand.  How could you walk off and leave your hand behind like that then?

My second problem, well, the hand’s problem, I guess it is, it’s got that old sandwich smell.  When I didn’t finish my lunch sandwich, I would put it in the potting shed.  After a few days it would smell a strongly odd smell.  It didn’t taste very good after that.  Even the dogs wouldn’t eat it after that smell started.  So, the forgotten hand was smelling like a dog wouldn’t eat it.  I didn’t try feeding it to the dogs.  I just know they wouldn’t touch it now.

I was thinking about telling Ruthy.  She is always asking me to give her a hand.  Now I could but she would make fun of me I know.  I did try to tell the doctors, well asked one of them during one session, “What if I found a hand in the garden?”  And the doctor said something that didn’t make any sense to me. 

He said, “Well, that would be great.  The work would be easier for you then.  You put a lot of time into those flowers.”

How would the forgotten hand make my life easier?  It has made it smellier and confusingier, oh ah, more confusing.  I did a bad thing though, to actually make my life in the potting shed easier, ah less smellier.  I stole a plastic sandwich box that they use for picnics sometimes.  I put the hand in it.  It stopped the smell for a while.  But there was too much smell for the small size of the plastic box, I guess, because every morning the lid would have popped open and more of the smell filled the shed.  I thought of stealing a bigger plastic box, but I don’t know where they keep them.  I finally sat a flowerpot on the top of the plastic box lid.  I guess the pot was heavy enough and the smell was too weak to lift its weight. 


So, I had forgotten the forgotten hand.  I even forgot that I forgot it.  I was just reading my old diaries.  This must have happened three Christmases ago.  The doctors and I are working on my memory issues they call it.  Memory is such a funny thing.  I don’t remember the discarded hand at all.  Isn’t that odd?  It’s like Jack’s stories to me, just make believe.  I thought at first Jack had been playing a trick on me and wrote this story in my diary, but Jack says he can’t write.  Still, it could be made up too.  I have seen him read, so he has to be able to write.  But my name is on the diary, so I guess I wrote about the hand in the garden.  But I went to look under the big flowerpot.  There was a plastic sandwich box there.  It only had little bones in it.  None of them as big as a hand.  They rattled around in there like a kid’s rattle.  No hand just noise.  Maybe there were only bones there from the start?  Jack’s stories can make you think things are there when they are not.  He makes ghosts come to the darkness of our room when they are not real.  The doctors tell me ghosts are not real, that ghosts are just made up for “entertainment purposes only.”  The doctors talk like that.  Yes, they do.

So maybe this ghost hand left bones behind as a souvenir?  Memory bones, I guess you could call them.  I am going to show the bones to Jack to see if his made up story had bones in it.  Maybe he will make up a story to match the diary story.  I know he can make a ghost hand to put the memory bones in.  Jack is like that.  I won’t tell Ruthy until after Jack’s ghost hand story exists, cause she would tell me not to do it.  Not to talk to Jack.  She doesn’t like Jack’s stories.  She says they are lies and that lying is bad.  I’ll just tell her what the doctor said, “It’s for entertainment purposes only.”



I am a biologist and writer with thirty-seven short stories published. Most recently stories have been in Lost Souls, Surprising Stories, Trembles, Morpheus Tales and in UC Berkeley's Imaginrarium, Death Throes, Black Heart, Tracers and anthology called Fat Zombies, Creature Stew, Gumshoe Mysteries and Future Visions Vol. 3.  January through March 2019, my Novella, The Last Dung Beetle appeared in  It was a sci fi adventure story.  It was rated 4.5 on Goodreads.






Donate a little?

Use PayPal to support our efforts:


Genre Poll

Your Favorite Genre?

Sign Up for info from Short-Story.Me!

Stories Tips And Advice