Authors: Robert T. Jeschonek
A Pinstriped Finger's My Only Friend
by Robert T. Jeschonek
6 Fantasy Stories
6 More Fantasy Stories
, A N
Girl Meets Mind Reader
The Genie's Secret
The Return of Alice
The Sword That Spoke
Warning! Do Not Read This Story!
A Pinstriped Finger
's My Only Friend
The first thing Judd Ramsey sees when he opens his eyes is...
("Yaaaahh!" Screaming, he scrambles out of bed in a tangle of arms, legs, and bedsheets.)
(He hits the carpet on both knees, hits it
, sending a shock right up to his tailbone.)
...that it scares the
out of him. And that's really saying something, because Judd never scares easy, but holy
, what would
(Lurching to his feet, he staggers through the open doorway of his bedroom, out into the hall. His heart is
on high speed setting, he has to get away from that
...seriously, what would
do if you woke up from a sound sleep and looked up and saw some kind of
(Run run run run
is all he could think of, all he can do, he has to get away somehow from that freaky
or whatever it)
...some kind of
purple, furry creature
hanging from the ceiling, staring down at you...and did I mention...
Are the walls
as he runs past, or is it some kind of optical illusion from the panic?)
...did I mention the creature's eyes are bright
? What about its breath that smells like
with a hint of
(Oh my God oh my God get away must get away)
That's right! You'd do exactly what
does, which is run the heck outta there before this crazy thing can get its...
(Is somebody singing
(Go left go left the front door the front
all over you, except what if...
(Oh no, the front door flies open all of a sudden, except it flies open
, from the ceiling to the floor, and then and
...what if you ran right into the tentacles of
one just like the
(...and then a
creature rushes in from outside, just as purple and furry and orange-eyed as the one in his room, and
one grabs him before he can get away, and it
"Good morning, son!" That's what it says!
(And it says it, holy crap holy crap...)
And it says it in the voice of his...
The voice of his mom
"Where are you running off to this fine morning?"
Judd freezes in the tentacled grip of this freakish monstrosity. His eyes are wide as full moons as he stands there, locked up in the craziest moment of his life so far by
Which only gets crazier when Sphinx, the chocolate Lab, saunters in, and Judd realizes who's been doing the opera singing.
"What's wrong, honey?" The furry purple thing turns its face all the way around like a pinwheel, so its mouth
(which looks like a green croissant)
is on top, and its swirly orange eyes are on bottom.
And that's when I finally speak up. Because I know how upset Judd is at this point. I know he needs someone to talk him down from the ledge, and that someone has to be me. Because the fact is,
is more attached to him than
"Hey, Dude!" I shout it as loud as I can. "I said, hey,
At first, Judd doesn't know where my voice is coming from. He's clueless. So I call out again.
"Dude! Judd!" What I
to do is smack him upside the
, smack some
into him, but maybe that would be cruel. If I could do it in the first place, of course, which I can't. "Listen up!"
Finally, he looks down in my direction. His eyes get even wider, which I didn't think was possible.
(I feel the tingle of electricity through his nerves, the twitch of muscle, the creaking of bone...)
Then, he lifts his arm, raises his hand to eye level.
(...and I add a little twitch of my own, a little flicker of movement from side to side...)
And this time, when I speak, he hears me loud and clear. He
me loud and clear.
"That's right, buddy-boy." He sees
, the little finger on his left hand, doing the talking. "Listen up, bro." The deep blue vertical pinstripes running up and down the pale blue length of me
(which isn't very long)
curl as I bend at the first knuckle
it if I tend to
when I talk?)
and dispense the words of wisdom I've been meaning to say.
"You need to
I still don't know if it's the shock of seeing his pinstriped pinky finger talking to him...
(Like I said, we're
...or the weird purple furry with its tentacles wrapped around him, or the opera-singing chocolate Lab...
(It could be the walls, come to think of it, which are not only squirming, but
...but that's when Judd Ramsey, who has never ever fainted before in his whole entire life...
Can you blame him?
24 Hours Earlier
Imagine the coolest song you know. The coolest song by the coolest singer, the one you wish you could be. Now hear it in your mind. Imagine it playing, like in a movie soundtrack, as the camera zooms in on a character lying in bed. And you just know, from the sound of that music, that this character is going to be
There he is, right now, in bed. He's rolled over on his side, with his back to us, so we can't see his face...but we can see he's a teenage boy, we can see that much. Seventeen, maybe eighteen, with wavy blond hair. He's sleeping on top of the rumpled blue sheets in his underwear (black bikini briefs, mind you) and we can see he's got a muscular back and arms. Dude works out, right?
(Keep that cool music playing in the background, don't forget.)
Now let's have a look around while this guy's sleeping. The morning sun's streaming through the mini-blinds on the window beside his bed. The blinds are all the way down on one side, but halfway up on the other; the cord's tangled between the slats.
Now what's over there? Look at the wall facing the foot of the bed. Start up top with those
: basketball stars, football stars, baseball stars,
in bikinis! Like, the whole wall is
with them, all crooked and overlapping and stuck this way and that, one layer on top of another. Has he ever taken down a poster in his
? Is he a slob, or does he just have better things to do with his time?
Now look over and down at the desk in the corner. Again, we see a little slice of chaos: there's an open laptop computer, still on, with a hot chick animated screensaver (She's washing a car! In a bikini!); we see videogame controllers tangled over the keyboard, one joystick hanging down by the cord. And check out the smartphone, baby! We hear the ringtone (it could be that cool song you love, why not?) but the sleeping boy doesn't, and there's a text:
"U R L8! XOX"
(It's from someone named Eva!)
But he doesn't see it. Too busy snoring.
So you keep looking. What else is on the desk? Candy wrappers, crushed energy drink cans, a set of ear buds, a pack of gum. An unopened red backpack half over the edge, not looking too full. Not a book in sight, but there might be one in that backpack, you're not sure. One or two at the most.
(You haven't stopped the cool music yet, have you?)
It's time to move on. Watch out for the scuffed-up basketball shoes on the floor. There's one on its side, and there's the other, a few feet away.
Now we're looking along the other wall, also plastered with posters, except for the folding door of the closet in the middle. More sports stars, more babes...plus a car, a really cool hot rod car...and rappers, too, one black and one white, looking tough.
Which brings us to the dresser. Or should I say the
? It's five drawers tall (three of them half open with clothes sticking out) and the top is
with golden trophies. You see football, basketball, football, baseball, wrestling, football, basketball. There isn't even
for them all. Look down, in that cardboard box on the floor; he's got more trophies in
this guy, anyway?
Suddenly, the door swings open, almost hitting you in the face (it's right near the dresser) and this woman's voice hollers in, briefly drowning out the really cool music, and she says
"Judd! For the last time! Get up!"
At which point, the boy in the bed finally rolls over, and you get a look at his face for the first time.
(Which is when the really cool soundtrack music gets louder, punching the moment when the really cool star gazes out at the audience.)
You can't say he's not a good-looking guy. Even half-asleep, he is one handsome dude. Get a load of the high cheekbones and smoothly sloping nose. What a great tan, huh? It really makes his blond eyebrows and hair stand out like a hundred times brighter. Did you know he has major dimples on either side of his mouth? You can't see them now, but...wait! There they are!
And now with the eyes. They pop open, and
(Have you seen him somewhere before? On TV maybe? In a movie? In a band?)
. About the brightest blue you've ever seen, and sparkling like a rapper's diamond bling on his pinky in a video...
(Pinky's the coolest, right? I notice things like that.)
...bright blue and sparkling, what they call
blue, and there's something about those eyes, you have to admit. They're like
, just pulling you in, like there's something going on behind them that you've never encountered before, and you want to be a part of that scene, whatever it means...
...you want to know what the world looks like through those electromagnetic eyes. What
But the woman at the door might not feel the same way, at least at the moment. "You're already late for school, Judd! Your brother and sister are long gone!" She does
sound happy. "Now get a move on!"
Judd grins up at her without twitching another muscle. "It's all good, Mom."
"Okay, that's it!" Suddenly, Judd's Mom marches in, clapping her hands loudly for his benefit. "Get your lazy
out of that
or I will
it out!" She's dressed for work in a gray business pantsuit, black high heels strapped and buckled, brown hair styled and sprayed in a wavy kind of flippy sort of 'do. She's tall and slender, with a high-cheekboned face like her son's but not those eyes,
eyes are strictly hazel with none of that crazy sparkle. She's pretty for a woman in her...
? No way, José!)
...and not just pretty, but pretty angry.
"Let's go!" Mom's still clapping. "Up up up! On your feet, Judd!"
Here's where I've gotta hand it to him. Dude doesn't grumble or growl the slightest bit. He just keeps grinning as she stomps over and claps in his face with her well-manicured hands. Other folks might not take it so well, y'know?
But not Judd. "All right, all right." He floats up from the mattress in a smooth, graceful motion. "I'm up, see?" He sits there with that good-natured grin on his face, only now that he isn't lying down, you can see it's kind of lopsided, tipping to the right. And you can't help noticing, can you...
...that it only adds to his charm.
"Happy now?" Judd's voice is in the middle range, did I mention he's a tenor? How do I know this, you ask?
Because not only does he play every sport like a champ, but he's also the star soloist in his school's show choir!
(Say it ain't so, bro!)
happy when I have to start the day like this!" Even as Mom says the words, though, you can see the angry look in her eyes soften. She can't stay mad at him for long, nosiree Bob. "What am I going to
with you, Judd?"
Again with that lopsided grin of his. "Let this blow over and scare up a cup of coffee to make sure I wake all the way up?"
Look at Mom, she isn't fooled. Charmed maybe, but not fooled. "Get it yourself." She smirks as she brushes her fingertips over the side of his face. "And make it snappy!"
"Yes, ma'am!" Judd sits up straight and gives her a mock salute. "Making it snappy, ma'am!" Then, he launches into a wild bout of finger-snapping, like a flamenco dancer playing castanets.
Mom sighs and shakes her head...
(Get the feeling she's done this before?)
...but then she chuckles and tousles his hair. "You're something else, you know that?"
Judd stops snapping and cocks his head to one side. "Something awesome, you mean? Or something freaky?"
Mom gazes into his sparkling blue eyes as she nods. "You definitely have a little freak in there, Judd." She pecks him on the cheek and draws away. "In a
way for that?" Judd shakes his head slowly, acting highly insulted. "I can't believe my own mom just called me a
"Get over it!" Mom says it over her shoulder as she marches out the door. "
got a touch of freak, deep down inside."
Then, she's gone...
(She's running late herself now, way to go Judd!)
...and Judd's yelling after her. "That is
psychological abuse! I'm calling youth services, I swear to God!"
Did she hear him?
(She probably heard him.)
Did she hear him?
Just before she slams the front door, she hollers back: "Then
calling Homeland Security to come get this
out of my damn house!"
That one made Judd laugh all the way to the shower.
(The cool music's still playing as he struts into the bathroom. The camera doesn't follow him inside, but we can hear the water running. One last time, the music peaks, as...)
His black bikini underwear zings into the hallway and hits the wall like he shot it out there by snapping the elastic.
(...and then we fade to black as the water and the music continue to flow.)