He was called Finger, since he was five. His mother didn’t want to send him to school. She knew he would be bullied and pushed around for the missing finger in his right hand. Two fused into one and three other normal ones didn’t make him any fit for public school and the alleys they lived. “Where’s your finger, little finger?” They booed and jeered.
When he was thirteen, Finger fell in love with sweet, dumpy Sally Mary; she always spoke to him using his name and shared her mother’s ham and cheese sandwich every time she brought it for lunch. She and his mother were the only ones who used his given name still His father and his brothers called him Finger in a madcap attempt to toughen him up. One day while he was walking Sally Mary back home, the alley bullies saw them. “Finger and Ball what mischief you be doing” they sang out as they followed them. Finger pushed to his last straw at the thought of his burden leading to his lovely Sally Mary’s humiliation too, snapped right then. He grabbed a discarded iron rod from an abandoned construction site on the way, and wildly brandished at the five. “I will beat you one by one till all you are is bloody pulp” He spat out with calm vehemence that left no doubt to the truth of his words. That was the day Finger realized the world would keep barking at him, until he accepted it and did something about it. From that day onwards the bullies never troubled him. No one dared cross him and like this he grew up.
His mother got more harried and harrowed. Her sweet youngest down the same troublemaker good-for-nothing path as all the men in her knowing had. The women ran the houses in the alley else they ran on blood money. Some nights the streets would be soaked red, an insult here an offense there a fight here a war there. Finger started early in the money making business. He started at sixteen hosting poker nights and party days. The games would be rigged and the drinks all spiked. He dealt marijuana his entire eighteenth year. He killed for the first time, on his twenty first birthday. Everyone was drunk and happy, in all fun and games a cocky bastard of a friend of his asked him, “So what is your name Finger? Finger, finger, littlefinger” and bam right through his heart Finger shot and in a blink he was dead, a laugh still frozen on his face. When he turned thirty and finally less angry, Finger decided it was time to leave the business. Far from people recognizing his given name, he had in fact made his nickname legend in the streets he was born. His mother threw a big party inviting the entire neighbourhood to celebrate his return to legitimacy. Finger celebrated and drank with his friends and family. “Hey Man. Can I talk to you outside for a minute” whispered Charley into his ear. Finger didn’t know Charley, except that he was Sally Mary’s younger brother. The rumour on the street was Charley had a smack habit but then like all guilt stricken junkies the rumour also said he was trying to kick the habit. Finger in all his drunken happiness and his thirty year new found calmness went with him.
“So what’s your name?” he cried as he shot him through the heart. “I am sorry but he promised me more. He said it would never stop”.
There died Mathew ‘Finger’ Jones.


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