Lizmar struck the keys violently as Michael Craig Davis's words echoed in her mind.
"Ayn Rand sucks? How can he say that?"
She grew angrier and angrier with each key stroke until she was finally paralyzed by fury.
“Ayn Rand is amazing, The Fountainhead changed my life.”
She thrust her hands into her sweater pockets and sat there, marinating in her rage.
Her fingers breathed a sigh of relief.
Pinky turned to Index, "When is she going to stop? I can't take anymore of this, we can't keep up with her."
Index twitched violently.
"Excuse me? You can't take this? No, Pinky, I've had enough. You don't know the half of it. Every time she stops for a break, she launches at her Coors Lite like it's an oxygen tank. You're not the one that has to deal with the cold aluminum pressing against your skin, like you're lying on some examination table waiting for an autopsy. You just dangle in the air while the rest of us grip the can to drive her alcoholism. And it's me and middle finger doing most of the typing. You occasionally drift toward backspace but most of the time you're just floating around like a fucking finger fairy."
Pinky was about to open his mouth in protest but Lizmar went for a swig of the Coors Lite. Index was lost behind the aluminum wall once again.
Pinky was furious. How could Index reduce him to such triviality? He had as much a part in Lizmar's daily musings as Index.
But Index was right. Pinky did spend a disproportionate amount of time being dangled in the air, teased with prospects of utilization, only to be overlooked for Middle... or even Ring. He spent a lot of time on the metaphorical finger bench while the other fingers shone like stars.
But what could he do? He couldn't force Lizmar to overcome years of habitual neglect solely for the sake of his sense of self-worth. He was just a Pinky. He was smaller and weaker and less coordinated than all of the other fingers. He was feeble next to Ring, sickly next to Thumb. Meanwhile, Index boasted the dexterity of pianist. What was a Pinky to do?
Index had defeated his spirit. And Pinky had let him win. Pinky decided he would just have to keep his mouth shut around Index. He couldn't handle his acerbic attacks right now. He retreated to the safety of Palm's warm embrace and closed his eyes.
When Pinky awoke, Lizmar and the rest of the fingers were fast asleep. Pinky was left there alone, in silence, to sort out his insecurities.
Index’s voice repeated itself over and over again in Pinky’s mind. Pinky’s own thoughts would chime in to add to the discourse on his worthlessness. Index had become his self-talk and Pinky’s subconscious was apparently happy to whistle the same tune. How could this have happened? Index shouldn’t have this kind of power over him. He only grew more furious as he tossed and turned.
Suddenly, he shot up. He had had enough. In the throes of this anger, his insecurity subsided and he was overcome, empowered by a desire to hunt down meaning and pursue purpose. To disprove Index and to quiet any part of him that entertained Index’s lies.
Pinky reached for the nail clippers Lizmar had left on the bed. He dragged the rest of the fingers, hand, arm, behind him. He crawled toward the nail clippers. He knew what he’d have to do to free himself. He took the nail clippers and positioned them at the edge of his base. It was too thick to but he would rip through it, millimeter by millimeter, layer by layer, until he freed himself.
He was Aron Ralston, trapped underneath the burden of his dependence. But he was done. He clipped, little by little. The blood poured from the open wound, he'd have to hurry and free himself to tourniquet his base if he expected any chance at self-preservation.
Everyone else was still fast asleep, the clippers clipped and the blood flowed, but the 24-pack of Coors Lite had rendered them nearly unconscious. He clipped on until he finally reached the last flimsy piece of skin. It was the only thing keeping him from reaching his full potential as an individual. He slowly lifted the clipper in the air, and ceremoniously lowered it to the last bit of skin.
He was free.
He hopped toward the night stand. Hop by hop, he made his way to the bandages sitting on the table. He pulled them out of their box and threw them into a pile. He began to unwrap them. He stuck them together, taking each individual bandage to the adhesive of another to form one lengthy band-aid. He wrapped this super-sized band-aid around his base and squeezed. He couldn't let himself lose anymore blood. He wanted the blood at the base to coagulate and scab over. The wound of the severance would heal. He would be complete. He would be whole.
The process of breaking free had been a tiring one and he craved a warm bath to soothe his aching body. There was a half-empty cup of meatless Wendy's Chili on the stand. It was still hot. The smell, the warmth, it drifted over Pinky, overwhelming his senses. Delicious. Pinky hopped toward the cup. Without body heat, Pinky had grown chilly. Pinky figured the chili would sooth his chills and hopped over into the cup. For a minute, he floated blissfully amongst the beans in Lizmar's chili.
All of a sudden, the chili began to swallow him. He tried to wiggle himself back toward the surface but it only pulled him further down. The cup of chili wasn't as shallow as he'd thought. He tried to stand vertical but could still not get up for air. The chili poured into his mouth but he couldn't cough or scream for help. He couldn't swim. All he could do was wiggle furiously, and thus what little oxygen he had absorbed before his descent quickly dissipated as his tiny body begged for air. Only minutes into his freedom he had become a slave once again. To the chili. To his misjudgment. To the impermanence of his existence.
He knew what the chili had in store for him. But he wanted to have at least a scrap of control over his life, and so he opened his mouth to take in the chili. He would not beg to be spared by the chili. He was not an animal. He had his dignity. He would welcome the chili. He would embrace it. He would get his freedom one way for another, from worldly things. From worldly people. He would stare death in the eyes to greet it.
And so he did.
He went limp as the life drained from his body. Until all that remained was the empty corpse of the finger.