Sunday, April 19, 2009
Patti was always finding money on the street. She told me that the secret was to always look down when walking, especially near parking meters. Patti found hundreds of dimes and quarters this way, and occasionally a twenty-dollar bill. Then one day she found a finger–a severed man’s finger with a gold wedding band around it. It repulsed her, but she knew she had to pick it up and bring it to the police. So she wrapped it in a Kleenex and put it in her purse. She took a cab to the police station and handed the finger over to the officer at the desk, explaining where she had found it. The policeman assured her that there would be a thorough investigation and asked Patti for her address, in case there were any further questions. For months Patti couldn't get the finger out of her mind. Her dreams were populated by fingerless men. She had one dream where, at her own wedding, as she was putting the ring on the groom's finger, the finger fell off the groom's hand onto the floor. She woke up screaming. She stopped looking down when she was out walking. She didn't want to know what was on the street, didn't care how much money she was passing up. And eventually she forgot the finger. That is until one day, about a year later, when a policeman rang her doorbell and handed her a package. Nobody had claimed the finger, so now it belonged to her.