This scenario ran through my head as I drove to work.
They both stared at the severed finger on the kitchen table.
“Well,” Daniel said, “that’s not what I was expecting.”
“I can’t imagine any scenario in which a severed finger is what you’d expect,” Heather replied.
“You lack imagination.”
The two were silent were a few moments. The finger didn’t speak or move, but Daniel pretended it did. He couldn’t quite make out what it said.
“Look,” Heather said, “we just need to decide what to do. I vote we put it on ice.”
Daniel stepped closer to the table and inspected the finger. It looked to be an index finger, rather tanned, not terribly wrinkled. A youngish finger. “It depends on who it belongs to,” he said.
“Why does that matter? If someone lost a finger, we should save it for him, right?”
“Or her. Unless she’s a horrible person. Then we might be doing the world a favor by depriving her of the finger. Maybe she couldn’t get up to as much evil if she was a cripple.”
“Missing a finger doesn’t make you a cripple,” Heather said. “Besides, that’s not a nice term.”
“I guess so.” Daniel scratched his chin. He was grateful to be in possession of all his digits. “Do you know,” he asked, “what a polydactyl is?”
Heather thought and then said, “Someone with an extra digit.”
“If the person that lost this digit is a polydactyl, then he doesn’t need this finger.”
“Or she doesn’t need it, as you pointed out. I find it funny that you’re concerned about the gender of this person but you’re quite cavalier about using the term ‘cripple.’”
Daniel smiled. “I’m a mystery wrapped in an enigma.”
“Something like that.”
The two continued staring at the finger, no close to deciding what to do than when they first entered the room.