Kindling and Pinky Blood for 3WW

Published July 25, 2012 by Ms. Nine

3WW: hazard, cut, endangered

All you need to chop kindling is scrap wood, a hatchet, and a hard surface.  I have done it many times without endangering anyone.  Except once…

“Mom, m…m…ake a fire,” Thelma said through chattering teeth.

The stove, with its burned out coals, was as useless as an empty whisky bottle.

“Yeah, it’s freakin’ cold!” Sandy said, her breath forming icy clouds that hung over her head like speech balloons in a bad cartoon.

Freakin’?  I ignored her remark with a staccato of orders. “Marie, get some kindling. Sandy, feed the dog. Thelma, open the Spaghetti Os.”

They scattered like mercury beads in a broken thermometer.  I was about to take off my coat when I heard Marie yell, “Mom! The kindling box is empty!”  This was an informative yell, not a panic yell.  Mothers know the difference.

“I’ll chop some!”

“No! I wanna do it!”

“No, Mom! Let me!”

Unfortunately, the hatchet in any one of their hands could become a weapon of opportunity, a hazard; they’d threatened to kill each other once too often.

“Thanks, kids. But I’d better do it. It’s too cold out,” I said, going out the door.

The first pieces cut in four short whacks.  Just a few more…and… I saw blood dripping on the ground. At first, I was confused. Where was the blood coming from? I looked up at the sky. Was it raining blood? Is the wood bleeding? My God! It’s me. My blood. My pinky!

“Mom! What happened?” Sandy asked, watching me run to the sink.

“Just a cut,” I said.

“Let me see.” She bobbed her head around my body as I tried to hide my stumpy and bloody pinky.

She performed a quick medical assessment. “Don’t worry, Mom. We’ll fix it. We’ll sew that piece right back on. Where is it?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “It must be outside.”

By now, the rest of the children were hovering. “Go and find it for me,” I said, shooing them away like flies on rotten meat.

Sandy returned with the ax, the tip of my finger still clinging to the blade. “Just stick it back on and hold it,” she instructed. “I’ll get some tape.”

“Tape? That’s not gonna work.  Mom, let me sew it.  I’ll get the needle and thread,” said Marie.

“Let me see what it needs first,” I told them.  But they had already scattered to search for medical supplies.  My hands shook as I took the tip off the blade.  Phew! I’m okay, I told myself. It’s just a little slice. It slipped from my fingers and swirled down the drain.

“Here.  I found some tape. Should we sew it first? I can do it. Thelma, hold the tape. Give me the needle and ….Mom? What happened?”

“It’s gone. Washed down the drain.”

Sandy’s shoulders dropped.  Marie and Thelma started crying.  I removed the blood-soaked rag and peeked at my pinky.  It was half an inch shorter.  I collapsed.

My husband came home to crying children, a cold house, and a bloody kitchen.   After absorbing the shocking tableau, he bandaged my finger properly and made dinner.  Without a word, he went outside and chopped a three-year supply of kindling.

The ax is still hidden away.  So is that tender slice of ego that slid down the drain with the tip of my pinky…

Thanks for stopping by!


19 comments on “Kindling and Pinky Blood for 3WW

  • I feel bad for laughing, but I love how the kids were going to fix you up (tape?)…at least they didn’t suggest a stapler! Now, I know missing fingertips are not a laughing matter. When I was in third grade, my middle finger was shut in the hinge part of a wooden fire door. It was hanging on by skin (luckily not washed down a drain) and sewn back on, but it still feels odd sometimes.

    Thanks for the chuckles tonight. I like to think I can laugh at this, not because I’m evil, but because I know you’re okay 🙂

  • I’d like to say I like this, but not sure that is the right thing here. My husband almost did the same thing with a hedge-trimmer a few years ago. I don’t like the sight of blood and had visions of having to go and find finger ends in the hedge trimmings. Luckily all were intact, if in a mess.
    Hope you are healing well.

    • Your concern touches me deeply. That incident occurred more than twenty years ago. I must have starfish qualities because the skin and nail have grown back. A tiny spot on the tip is forever numb, a reminder that anything can happen in a splitting second.

  • Not nearly as bad, but I am accident prone as well. Recently my husband and I redid our bathroom. We needed a relief from the hideous seafoam tile that covered all walls and the tub. I can’t recall what we needed, but my husband left to pick something up at the hardware store– I kept chiseling at the evil ceramic tile. Then it came alive, shot across the room and hit my clenched buckles. Blood, lots of it, open flesh wound, my faithful tiny pup sitting in my lap licking my facecas the room started to blacken. My husband was already at the store and freaked. Lucky me, my mom is an amazing APRN. I called her and her and my Dad sped my way. She glued me back together and when my husband got home I was on the coach still trying not to pass out! It was then I realized my back up medical degree (if I never get famous for my novels) wouldn’t work out, at, all. Good thing I hadn’t dumped too much money into it yet.
    Thanks for your story! Sorry about the pinky!

  • I liked this story, but I kind of wish I hadn’t been eating a sandwich while I read it… not sure I can finish the sandwich now. 😀
    Anyway, I’m a violinist so I can’t imagine what I’d do if I accidentally cut off part of an appendage. Ouch!

  • I loved the story, true or not it reminded me of my grandmother who did the same thing when younger and with quick thinking grabbed the finger tip and ran down the doctor who sewed it on and all was good as new…almost!

    • This one is true, a story my children will never forget. Memorable injuries like this belong in memoirs. Consider writing one about your grandmother. I’d love to read it.
      Thanks for your comment.

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