The First Horseman

“Buddy?” a stout fellow at the sink next to me said, “ya gonna wash your other hand, too? – it’s not lookin’ so good.” He glanced over the rest of me – my clothes were immaculate – not a touch of lint, nor dust. My face and right hand were as clean as to look like fresh-cut alabaster. My black hair had not a flake of dander, nor a mote of grease; it was cut short and fine. I was the picture of perfection – save my left hand.

My left hand was filthy, blackened in parts, puss-covered, with open sores all over it – in short, it was paradoxical to the rest of my appearance, so I was used to such comments.

I looked at the stout man, and realized that truth was the best response. “Nay, it is as it is. It is the hand with which I shake the hands of the damned.”

The stout man’s eyes widened some, then he grimaced. “Fine, buddy, I was just sayin’, that’s all.”

As I left the washroom, I thought to himself, perhaps I should have extended my hand first? He’s surely damned, I could feel it in my fingernails.

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