Dear 'Pen' Pal

    I write an old friend of mine who chose to trade 25 years of his life for 25 years in the pen for reasons that defied common sense. Emotions were riding high and he let them write the recipe for disaster, plus I suspect he may have cooked in a little alcohol to boot. Though no one was hurt, his addition of a firearm to spice things up, did not set well within the bowels of the justice system, who concluded his rash behaviors warranted long term correction.
   My friend was never someone who respected law enforcement personnel anyway, as I recall a time when we attempted to cross into Canada many years ago and when asked by the border guard if he had been arrested, he said yes, he had, for a DUI. The officer asked him to step into the office with him, leaving me to wait patiently in the vehicle. Very soon, the officer came to the car with my friend in tow and told me to take him back to the United States as he was denied entry, and if I should attempt to cross into Canada, with him, at any other border crossing--well, there would be trouble. "Understood, Officer." I said.
   Turning my vehicle around toward the U.S. of A, I asked my friend there sitting, smiling, what had transpired in that brief interim that inflamed said officer so decisively, and my friend described how when the officer asked him if he had any scars or tattoos that would identify him, my friend held up the middle finger of his right hand without comment, as he complied with the officer's request, although the officer, not recognizing the fact that my friend's middle finger on said hand, is one knuckle shorter than the rest of his digits owing to an accident he endured in adolescence as a result of playing with a homemade cannon I had made in junior high school industrial arts class, and had given him those many years later.
    Sitting on his bed in his bedroom of his folk's house on Des Moines Street, in Des Moines, Iowa, he attempted to ram an amount of explosive powder down the muzzle of the small mortar-like cannon using, of all things, a steel punch. The punch created a spark, that ignited the powder, that exploded and shot the punch, with the first knuckle of his middle finger on his right hand, into the ceiling of his bedroom, causing his father, who was napping peacefully downstairs, and who also was a WWII veteran in the South Pacific Theater, to leap from his lair there and vault the eleven stair steps, in a single bound, to his son's room where he was met with a cloud of blue smoke hanging there in suspension, around his stunned-looking son, whose first knuckle of his middle finger, of his right hand, was missing from it, and impaled instead into the lath and plaster ceiling above his unsmiling head. The boys ears were ringing. Plaster littered his bedspread.

    My friend called me from the hospital. "Guess where I am," he said. Although I guessed dozens of scenarios, I couldn't guess accurately despite knowing him as I had for almost all his life, and fully expecting a bizzarre tale of what unbelievable thing happened to him this time, as was his nature in all things great and small. I was not disappointed. I picked him up from the hospital. Resembling Napoleon's famous portraiture pose, with his arm held in a sling,  my friend opened the door with his left hand, as his right hand, palm down, was taped to his body, its foreshortened middle finger sewn into the skin covering his stomach  He looked a curious sight.

   When his finger healed, the skin covering his stomach had grown around the tip of his finger. His finger was cut free of his stomach as good as new. A small band aid covered the incision.
    Fine hairs grew from the end of his finger, a topic of conversation for the rest of his life.


meenahxoxo said…
Great post. Enjoyed every bit of it. Thank you :)
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scott palm said…
He made life interesting!

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