Drunk on half a fifth of American Honey, Gordon cut the end of his big toe off while trying to trim his nails with a pocket knife.

He was fortunate, had been waiting for just something like this to happen. It was out of his hands now. Nothing he could do.

Gordon stuck his leg out and watched the blood ooze up from the white, fish-mouthed gash then down his foot, pooling on the carpet. The pinched end of his toe lay in the middle of the blood, a yoke, the unborn beginnings, all of him folded there into that lump of skin and tissue.

He imagined another him would spring up from that mixture, form right there in the living room, naked and confused. He knew it would stumble to him and talk baby talk and sit in his lap and ask him to read it a story.

Here’s a story, Toe Head, Gordon would say. He would read it Dr. Seuss books slowly and then tell it to go get some clothes on. It would return wearing a pair of his jeans and one of his t-shirts, and it would no longer be his baby Toe Head. Now it was a teenager, and everyone knew how teenagers could be. So he would send it to the room.

Gordon thought of what to do about his teenage Toe Head. From the room he could hear loud music and voices.

Toe Head! You better not be on the phone, dammit!

He really shouldn’t curse at the child. What kind of impression does that make? What would happen if Toe Head were to cut himself off a little lump of toe? What would happen then? Vicious circle. That’s what would happen.

Considering this, Gordon eased himself up from the floor and went to the bedroom. He shoved open the door and turned on the light.

I really shouldn’t have swore at you like that, Toe Head. I’m sorry. I just got upset.

His daughter, smelling of soap and clean pajamas, rolled over in bed.



It’s not nice to call people names. That hurts my feelings.

Gordon closed the door and turned to see the trail of blood from the living room, snaking down the hall to the bedroom. He tried to follow it back to where it started, but couldn’t keep up. It had broken in places and very soon he lost his way.

Copyright: © 2010 Sheldon Lee Compton
Sheldon Lee Compton lives in Kentucky. His work can be found in places like >kill author, Pank, Dogzplot, Monkeybicycle, Keyhole and elsewhere.


  1. Nice story, Sheldon. And it's always good to see other Kentucky writers. Most be something about the land that makes us write such crazy things. :-)

  2. Craziness. This is just too bizarre. It makes my head hurt, makes my toe hurt even more. Great stuff.