“Zombie fingers. Get your ice-cold zombie fingers. Only five cents each,” yelled a push-cart vendor.
“Gimme one,” a kid said.
“On a roll or stick?”
“Roll. With lotsa mustard and onions.”
The vendor removed something that looked like a green hotdog from a large jar. Plopping it onto a roll, he smeared it with mustard and onions.
“Mmm,” the kid said. “I love zombie finger sandwiches.”
“How about you?” the vendor asked Jim.
“I’ll pass,” Jim said. “Are those green things really zombie fingers?”
“Yep. Direct from Haiti. This batch was chopped off and flash frozen just yesterday.”
“Do they come from dead zombies?”
“Nope. Dead zombie fingers taste lousy. These come from live ones.”
“They must be nuts to let somebody cut their fingers off.” Jim said.
“Look at it this way: they get a pound of fresh human brains for every finger chopped off. Plus, they get a gold star pasted in their finger amputation books. When the book’s full, they get a free trip to Disneyland. I’ve run into some of them in the Magic Kingdom. They’re smelly, obnoxious bastards.”
“I wonder how they get along without fingers?” Jim asked.
“No problem. Zombie fingers grow back in a day. Sure you don’t wanna try one? If you don’t like it, I’ll refund your money.”
“OK, gimme one on a stick.”
The vendor removed a finger from the jar and put it on a cutting board. When he jammed a sharpened lollypop stick into one end, the finger twitched violently.
“Good grief!” Jim said. “Looks like it’s in pain.”
“Nah. These are so fresh the sliced nerves ain’t settled down yet.”
The finger was still twitching when Jim took a bite. “Mmm. Delicious. It’s so crunchy.”
Before long, he gobbled six.
That night, Jim had a lucid dream in which his thumb turned green. An zombie appeared, lopped Jim’s thumb off with pruning shears, jammed a stick into one end, and ate it. Searing pain threw Jim out of bed. He screamed when he saw blood gushing from the spot where his thumb used to be.
Emergency room surgeons wanted to reconnect the thumb to Jim’s hand. But nobody could find it.
“What happened to your finger?” they asked.
“A zombie ate it.”
Figuring he was a self-mutilating, cannibalistic loon, they summoned a psychiatrist.
“Zombies don’t exist,” the psychiatrist said. “And even if they did, why would a zombie cut your thumb off and eat it?”
“Maybe to get revenge for all the zombie fingers I ate yesterday,” Jim said.
“You ate zombie fingers?”
“Yeah. Six. You hafta try them, Doctor. They’re fabulous. Wish I had one right now.”
The shrink transferred Jim to a padded cell.
The next morning when he woke up Jim found a green thumb had grown on his hand. An army of astonished doctors gathered to examine and photograph the greenish mass.
“You’ve made medical history,” a doctor said. “Hundreds of journalists are clamoring for photos and interviews. Schools want to arrange field trips so kids can see your thumb. It’s one of the wonders of the world.”
Enjoying his sudden fame, Jim welcomed visitors, especially when the hospital installed a coin-operated turnstile in the room’s doorway. Jim and the hospital agreed on a 50-50 split. The entire population of Phoenix paid a buck a head to view the thumb.
Now affluent, Jim ignored job offers that poured in from every circus and freak show in the world.
Soon Jim found himself craving zombie fingers. He asked friends to locate the vendor, and buy a dozen. Their search was unsuccessful.
Jim’s cravings grew so acute he began to nibble his own green thumb. Finding it tastier than zombie fingers, he ate the whole thing.
Miraculously, Jim’s thumb grew back in an hour. But, his hunger pains returned just as quickly. Consequently, Jim ate his new thumb as fast as he could chew. The faster he ate his thumb off, the faster it grew back, and the more his appetite increased for his own flesh.
After three hours of continuous thumb eating, Jim’s stomach exploded. Though he died, his thumb grew back as green and fresh as ever.
The coroner, who performed Jim’s autopsy, tasted Jim’s thumb out of morbid curiosity. Finding it exquisitely delicious, he became immediately addicted. Barricading himself and Jim’s corpse inside the morgue’s freezer room, he ate Jim’s regenerating thumb until his stomach exploded.
Doctors collected bits of Jim’s thumb, cloned them, and mass-produced green thumbs in secret laboratories. They announced a new, exciting snack food in spectacular ads during the Super Bowl.
The world was electrified, especially when learning the new snack was low-cal, fat free, and loaded with vitamins. Before long, American green thumb sandwiches became the snack choice of billions around the world.
The sudden drop in demand for authentic, freshly cut zombie fingers created severe economic problems on Haiti. Matters got worse when zombies realized they could no longer fill their finger amputation books with gold stars and win free trips to Disneyland. They declared war.
Meanwhile, the stomachs of three billion people around the globe exploded when snackers ignored the Surgeon General’s warnings about excessive ingestion of cloned green thumbs.
Unable to raise an army because of massive depopulation, all nations sued for peace.
The zombies demanded two concessions: the destruction of every American cloned green thumb, and the right to free trips to Disneyland, even if their finger amputation books contained only a single star.
They got what they wanted.
Soon afterward, red ears from werewolves began showing up on in major cities. They were so tasty, everyone quickly forgot all about zombie fingers.
Intense war still rages between zombies who supply green fingers and werewolves who provide red ears. Since blockades by the combatants have made both commodities unavailable, everyone on Earth has switched to potato chips.
So far, nobody’s stomachs have exploded from gorging on potato chips.
And for now, Disneyland is free of smelly, obnoxious, green-fingered zombies.
Copyright: © 2009 Michael A. KechulaMichael A. Kechula is a retired tech writer. His fiction has won first place in eight contests and placed in seven others. He’s also won Editor’s Choice awards four times. His stories have been published by 114 magazines and 30 anthologies in Australia, Canada, England, India, Scotland, and US. He’s authored a book of flash and micro-fiction stories: “A Full Deck of Zombies--61 Speculative Fiction Tales.” eBook available at www.BooksForABuck.com and www.fictionwise.com Paperback available at www.amazon.com.