No Arm in Love

She had been warned, but now it was too late. The limb already displayed signs of infestation and her stump threatened infection.

She re-sealed her satchel then the barkeep removed it. She watched him bury it in the ice tub, noted his absent smile. Her stump tingled of resuming pain.

Could he love a one-armed girl?

The phone message had read: “Reattachment possible up to 3:00p.m.” The bar clock read 3:32.

Another half hour, to be sure they don’t insist putting it back on.

A miniature glass of green liquor was placed before her. The barkeep tipped some powder from a sachet into it: blue powder. Some fizzing then the drink was still. It had no odour. When she grabbed for the glass, it remained where it was. She had more success reaching for it with her remaining hand.

This is going to need some adjustment, she realised.

The drink had less flavour than it had scent.

Sweet smoke billowed from beyond the broad shouldered beast beside her. She heard a low conversation beyond with someone eclipsed by his bulk. She sucked in the smoke. Her tingling stump returned to it’s numbed state; from the drink or the smoke, she knew not.

As the barkeep reached for the glass, she reached for his hand. She wanted to look up into his smiling eyes and tell him how she had done it for him. All for him. His hand disappeared with the glass and she reminded herself not to use the arm she no longer possessed.

The big, smoking man stirred, twisted, and a small brown packet slapped to the table where the little glass had been. The packet smelled as sweet as the smoke. She fought the urge to count its contents; that would be rude, not to mention tricky using only one hand. She placed the packet into a pocket. She did not want the barkeep to see such a thing.

The big, smoking man stood and left. His companion, smaller, no hint of smoke, shuffled one seat closer. Wiry fingers dropped a brochure where the packet had been: “Dream Prosthetics.” A pullout read: “50% off all attachments this month only.”

She went to flick through it, but the pages refused to turn. That missing arm again. The wiry fingers obliged, turning to the bargain section. They pointed at something that might resemble an arm in low light. It was all she could afford while maintaining a profit. The barkeep flipped the brochure shut and pushed it aside. His eyes suggested the wiry fingered man leave the bar. Wiry fingered man did, grumbling threats of having a word with someone.

The barkeep placed a tattered business card on the bar where the brochure had been. It read: “We do limbs, 24 hour turnover, satisfaction guaranteed.” His eyes suggested she opt for his recommendation. Her agreement was greeted with a smile: that smile she knew was only for her.

He loves a girl with one arm.


 

Story by Neil Dixon