What’s the closest you’ve ever come to losing a finger?

In honor of yesterday’s release for Four Fantastical Ways to Lose Your Fingers, I’ve gotten together with the other three involved authors to chat about the time each of us have come the closest to cutting off a digit. If you haven’t heard about the short story collection yet, it’s by turns funny and serious, science fictional and fantastical.

Four Fantastical Ways to Lose Your Fingers

Early reviewers have wished for novels featuring the characters in some of the stories (and some stories are already linked to novels with Greek Gods and talking cats). Check it out on Amazon.com.

So, here we go!

Janine asks: What’s the closest you’ve ever come to losing a finger?

Let’s get to my own answer first, and then the others’. (Hey, you’re reading this on my blog; I figure I get top billing here, if nowhere else.)

You know how when you get cut by something really sharp, it doesn’t hurt at first? A few seconds later, it’s like “huh, blood.” And then ow and **insert optional expletive here**. Such was the case when I almost lost a finger.

I just bought a house at the end of last year, and it needed some work before it was move-in ready. For instance, the master bathroom’s sink had to go. I couldn’t use it. I was too short, and it was ridiculously designed for tall people.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t simply remove the sink and replace it with one from Lowe’s (or Second Use). See, the old sink had been gummed caulked onto the wall mirror right above it. The 7-foot long mirror.

I hadn’t planned on removing the mirror at all. Sure, it was builder-grade and more functional than pretty, but it was functional, and I had bigger problems (like a furnace that my inspector assured me was moments away from burning the house down). I turned to the Internet, and found just what I needed! All I had to do was tape up the mirror before prying it off the wall, and I’d be able to put it up again (after the sink replacement), good as new.

As you may have surmised, it didn’t work out that way.

Probably because the mirror was seven feet long. Even with all that tape on it, the mirror cracked. And cracked and cracked. I know, I thought, I’ll break it in pieces on purpose. That way, I reasoned, the pieces would all be big and obvious and easy to transport out of the bathroom.

I reached for the nearest edge, intending to grip and twist. And the mirror bit me. It didn’t hurt. You couldn’t even see the slice at first. Then blood welled up in the joint before spilling down into the unwanted sink. And then **insert optional expletive here**. The slice wasn’t deep enough to take off the finger, but it would have been if I’d been less delicate about my reach-and-twist maneuver.

Of course, then I had to take it out of the room (in giant, flaking, sharp pieces) and fit it into a box marked “broken glass”. At night. Without inspiring my new neighbors to call the police. But that’s another story.

So, that’s the tale of the closest I’ve ever come to losing a finger. Since Four Fantastical Ways to Lose Your Fingers comes out this week, I’ve asked the other three authors to share their true stories of fingerlessness. Let’s see how much more exciting their lives are than mine.

Z.D. Gladstone says:
The closest I’ve ever come to losing a finger would be one of the thousands of times I’ve been cooking. For a couple years I worked as a personal chef, which involved a minimum of 10 hours of chopping fruit, vegetables, and meats every week. You can’t do that without good, sharp knives. I keep my knives professionally sharpened, and I hone them before every use. And they get very, very close to my fingers.

I’ve shaved off fingernails without realizing it. I’ve snipped off the very tips of my fingers, leaving shallow, pea-size wounds that are a pain to try and bandage. I’ve sliced my thumbs and various knuckles more times than I can count. When I think about it, it’s frankly a miracle that I DO still have all my digits. But that will never stop me—I like food too much.

Tip to all cooks: keep a box of vinyl gloves in your kitchen, next to a box of Band-Aids. You can’t stop in the middle of a recipe, but you can’t get blood in it, either!

Michael G. Munz says:
I’m bad with knives. They are pointy and edgeful, and they slice everywhere. Case in point: imagine me, sometime in my mid-teen years, on the morning of the day after Christmas. I wanted bread, which was my downfall. More to the point, I wanted some of the homemade bread left over from Christmas dinner, which itself was not sliced. You always hear people talking about things being “the best things since sliced bread,” and let me tell you, I don’t know exactly how many self-inflicted injuries there were in the days before sliced bread, but I’m sure it was a lot.

So there I was, the first person up and around, in the kitchen and hungry. And there was the half-loaf of bread, equidistant between where I stood and a shiny new set of kitchen knives that my mom had received as a gift one day earlier. (The distance is not particularly important to this story; I just enjoy saying “equidistant.”) I seized upon the 12-inch, serrated bread knife—gleaming in a utilitarian fashion that belied its bloodthirsty menace—and applied its edge to the bread’s tough-yet-delicious crust. Being a teenager on holiday vacation, I had not gotten enough sleep the previous night, and so in my diminished state, I also applied that same edge to my left index finger. It made a very smooth cut, perhaps a quarter-inch deep, before my central nervous system kicked in and got the message to my slicing hand that hey, maybe (1) I should stop slicing, and (2) I should alert some sort of household healthcare authority.

“Mom!” I shouted. “You know those new knives you got? They work really well!”

There was also that time where I defeated an unnamed supervillain bent on world domination by sticking my hand into a running lawnmower, but that story is classified and/or may not have actually happened.

Note: I know “edgeful” isn’t a word. 🙂

Tiffany Pitts says:
In the parking lot to my kids’ school, 5 minutes before I was supposed to volunteer in my daughter’s 2nd grade math class, I had just got out of the car and somehow, when I closed the car door, I closed it on my finger. Thank god it was only the tip of my finger. Any more than that and it really would have cut my finger off.

That was probably one of the hardest tests I’ve had as a parent, and that’s including the winter break when we got snowed in for five days and my children went feral. I swore under my breath in the parking lot for four minutes and fifty-nine seconds, then I walked into that classroom smiling. Even when Darrin asked me for the seventh time what five plus four equals, I did not swear. I wanted to, but I didn’t. (Not at Darrin, of course. He’s a sweet kid. And he always smelled nice, like his parents invested in fancy shampoo or something.)

It took a solid five hours for the pain to subside. Maybe I should have gone to the ER but there was nothing visibly wrong with my finger so I figured it was just bruised to the bone. Three weeks later, I realized that I’d shut the door right on my nail bed, severing it in half. Yuck.

You will be pleased to know I am much more aware of my body in relation to the car door now. And Darrin has learned that five plus four equals nine. It took six months but my fingernail did grow back in, but there’s still a divot in it.

And there you go. How close have the four authors of Four Fantastical Ways to Lose Your Fingers come to losing a finger? Varying degrees of “sorta kinda.” That totally makes us experts.

Here’s a bit more about the short story collection, available exclusively from Amazon:

Shooting off hands with lasers. Gambling fingers in a supernatural poker game. Poking a bear. These are just some ways to lose a finger that are not covered in this anthology.

This collection of fantastical stories follows a theme of “ways to lose a finger,” so you can bet someone is having bloody, handy trouble in each one. From comedy to creepy, from heroics to hopelessness, these light fantasy nibbles will entertain and enlighten about the human condition, even if that enlightenment only consists of “don’t stick that in there.” So settle in for some mythological comedy, cyberpunk, ghostly horror, superhero satire, and a big, fat, trans-dimensional cat!

Featuring four all new tales from Seattle authors Z.D. Gladstone, Michael G. Munz, Tiffany Pitts, and Janine A. Southard, Four Fantastical Ways to Lose Your Fingers is a brilliant short story collection that’s guaranteed to waste at least 30 minutes of your time. Maybe even 3 hours, depending on how fast you read.

To prevent physical injury, please keep all hands and fingers inside the book.

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Janine A. Southard is a Writer & Editor for narrative projects. She's a proven talent when it comes to mimicking voices and crafting content for videogames, articles, & fiction.