Lobster Hand Harry

Three fingers from his right hand were sacrificed to a ravenous table saw in a long-ago shop class, giving Harry the beginnings of the distinctive look he would nurture for the next dozen or so wasted years. He would make a gun of the thumb and forefinger which shot real psychic jolts. People could feel them, all right. Lobster Hand Harry would fucking well shoot you down.

Woulda been a drag to another kid, but Harry took right to it. Turned it into his identity. Tattooed the stumps gunpowder black with  beebee sized red dots. Learned to do everything with those two digits. Started with the usual matchbook tricks and took on off from there.

It was Harry who came up with the moniker, and Harry who made it stick. Had a realistic as hell claw tattooed on his right forearm and BANG in Chiller style scratches on the barrel of his forefinger. He would cock that thing and the pain in the gut would bring a grown man down.

What are we to make of this information? I got an agenda of my own, after all, and this freak is just another obstacle I have to deal with. We eyeball each other from opposite ends of the diner’s yellow counter while sipping high test from white ceramic mugs. I knock over the sugar dispenser just to see if he’s jumpy or anything. No reaction.

Justine was printed on the counter girl’s name pin, but she was no Justine. That’s far too fancy a name for a hash-slinger. I had her pegged for a Dotty, and I got a talent for names.

“Wipe that smile off your face,” says Harry, the words coming from out of nowhere. Got a little color to his cheeks. “I don’t want no smilin.”

“Huh?” goes Dotty/Justine, stopping in the middle of refilling my mug. Harry has his hand up, but his thumb ain’t cocked.

“You talking to me or to the dame?” I ask this because somebody’s got to ask, and besides, I’m not really sure about the whole thing. Somebody has been affronted, and I aim to find out if it was me. “And just in case you’re wondering, I know who you are, lobster boy.”

“Whatchu call me? Tell me I didn’t hear what I thought I heard. Cause you’re looking at a world of hurt, big nose.”

He pointed his finger my way and I had a nerve spasm in my shoulder. How did he know my name was Big Nose?

“That was just a warning shot.” What a smug friggin face this creep had. What I wouldn’t do to push that smug puss of his into a crumb cake in the here and now. What I wouldn’t give to …“YOW”…  I hollered, as hot coffee surged it’s way onto the crotch of my gray double pleated Sansabelt trousers. The diabolical lobster had given me an unforeseen twitch in the wrist.

“Here’s a five for the pie, sweetheart. Keep the change,” shouted Harry, as he made for the door. “Coffee is on Big Nose.”

And me, I couldn’t follow him. Sucker floored me with a charlie horse.

© 2003, Mark Hoback