Yellow Mama Archives II

Peter Cherches
Acuff, Gale
Ahern, Edward
Allen, R. A.
Alleyne, Chris
Andes, Tom
Arnold, Sandra
Aronoff, Mikki
Ayers, Tony
Baber, Bill
Baird, Meg
Baker, J. D.
Balaz, Joe
Barker, Adelaide
Barker, Tom
Barnett, Brian
Barry, Tina
Bartlett, Daniel C.
Bates, Greta T.
Bayly, Karen
Beckman, Paul
Bellani, Arnaav
Berriozabal, Luis Cuauhtemoc
Beveridge, Robert
Blakey, James
Booth, Brenton
Bracken, Michael
Burke, Wayne F.
Burnwell, Otto
Campbell, J. J.
Cancel, Charlie
Capshaw, Ron
Carr, Steve
Carrabis, Joseph
Cartwright, Steve
Centorbi, David Calogero
Cherches, Peter
Christensen, Jan
Clifton, Gary
Cody, Bethany
Costello, Bruce
Coverly, Harris
Crist, Kenneth James
Cumming, Scott
Davie, Andrew
Davis, Michael D.
Degani, Gay
De Neve, M. A.
Dillon, John J.
Dinsmoor, Robert
Dominguez, Diana
Dorman, Roy
Doughty, Brandon
Doyle, John
Dunham, T. Fox
Ebel, Pamela
Fagan, Brian Peter
Fillion, Tom
Fortier, M. L.
Fowler, Michael
Galef, David
Garnet, George
Garrett, Jack
Graysol, Jacob
Grech, Amy
Greenberg, KJ Hannah
Grey, John
Hagerty, David
Hardin, Scott
Held, Shari
Hicks, Darryl
Hivner, Christopher
Hoerner, Keith
Hohmann, Kurt
Holt, M. J.
Holtzman, Bernard
Holtzman, Bernice
Holtzman, Rebecca
Hopson, Kevin
Hubbs, Damon
Irwin, Daniel S.
Jabaut, Mark
Jermin, Wayne
Jeschonek, Robert
Johns. Roger
Kanner, Mike
Karl, Frank S.
Kempe, Lucinda
Kennedy, Cecilia
Keshigian, Michael
Kirchner, Craig
Kitcher, William
Kompany, James
Kondek, Charlie
Koperwas, Tom
Kreuiter, Victor
Larsen, Ted R.
Le Due, Richard
Leotta, Joan
Lester, Louella
Lubaczewski, Paul
Lucas, Gregory E.
Luer, Ken
Lukas, Anthony
Lyon, Hillary
Mannone, John C.
Margel, Abe
Martinez, Richard
McConnell, Logan
McQuiston, Rick
Middleton, Bradford
Milam, Chris
Miller, Dawn L. C.
Mladinic, Peter
Mobili, Juan
Mullins, Ian
Myers, Beverle Graves
Myers, Jen
Newell, Ben
Nielsen, Ayaz Daryl
Nielsen, Judith
Onken, Bernard
Owen, Deidre J.
Park, Jon
Parker, Becky
Pettus, Robert
Plath, Rob
Potter, John R. C.
Prusky, Steve
Radcliffe, Paul
Reddick, Niles M.
Reedman, Maree
Reutter, G. Emil
Riekki, Ron
Robson, Merrilee
Rockwood, KM
Rollins, Janna
Rose, Brad
Rosmus, Cindy
Ross, Gary Earl
Rowland, C. A.
Saier, Monique
Sarkar, Partha
Scharhag, Lauren
Schauber, Karen
Schildgen, Bob
Schmitt, Di
Sesling, Zvi E.
Short, John
Simpson, Henry
Slota, Richelle Lee
Smith, Elena E.
Snell, Cheryl
Snethen, Daniel G.
Steven, Michael
Stoler, Cathi
Stoll, Don
Surkiewicz, Joe
Swartz, Justin
Taylor, J. M.
Temples. Phillip
Tobin, Tim
Traverso Jr., Dionisio "Don"
Turner, Lamont A.
Tustin, John
Tyrer, DJ
Varghese, Davis
Verlaine, Rp
Viola, Saira
Waldman, Dr. Mel
Al Wassif, Amirah
Weibezahl, Robert
Weil, Lester L.
Weisfeld, Victoria
Weld, Charles
White, Robb
Wilhide, Zachary
Williams, E. E.
Williams, K. A.
Wilsky, Jim
Wiseman-Rose, Sophia
Woods, Jonathan
Young, Mark
Zackel, Fred
Zelvin, Elizabeth
Zeigler, Martin
Zimmerman, Thomas
Zumpe, Lee Clark

The Finger


by Peter Cherches



          I met Sandi in 1984. She was a dancer in a performance piece I did in collaboration with choreographer Kathleen MacDonald called “Five Women.” I interviewed each of the dancers, none of whom I’d met before, and put together tall tales about them based on their true stories, which I delivered wearing a suit and chomping on an unlit cigar as a prop, like George Burns or Alan King, as the women took their solo features. Little did I know that my tall tales were nothing compared to what would befall Sandi not long after, truth indeed being stranger than fiction.

          Sandi and I hit it off during rehearsals. She was a real wise guy, a great verbal sparring partner. We started seeing a lot of each other.

          One summer evening, when we were heading to dinner in the East Village, Sandi suddenly called out, “Wait!” I waited as she bent down and picked up a five-dollar bill.

          She told me she was always finding money on the street, that the secret was to always look down when walking, especially near parking meters. Sandi found hundreds of dimes and quarters this way, and occasionally even a twenty-dollar bill.

          A few months later, she called me and in a quavering voice told me she’d found a finger on the street—a severed finger with a gold wedding band around it. It repulsed her, but she knew she had to pick it up and bring it to the police. So she wrapped it in a Kleenex and put it in her purse. She took a cab to the police station and handed the finger over to the officer at the desk, explaining where she had found it. The policeman assured her that there would be a thorough investigation and asked Sandi for her address, in case there were any further questions.

          For months Sandi couldn’t get the finger out of her mind. She told me of dreams filled with severed fingers and fingerless men. She had one dream where, at her own wedding, as she was putting the ring on the groom’s finger, the finger fell off the groom’s hand onto the floor. She woke up screaming.

          “I’ve stopped looking down when I’m walking,” she told me. “I don’t want to know what’s on the street; I don’t care how much money I’m passing up.” She was eventually able to put the finger out of her mind.

          Then, one day about a year later, a policeman rang her doorbell and handed her a package.

          Nobody had claimed the finger, so now it was hers.



Called “one of the innovators of the short short story” by Publishers Weekly, Peter Cherches has published seven short fiction collections since 1986. His writing has also appeared in scores of magazines, anthologies and websites, including Harper’sBomb

Semiotext(e)FenceNorth American Review, and Fiction International, as well as Billy Collins’ Poetry 180. His latest book is Things (Bamboo Dart Press, 2023)a collection of experimental short prose and poetry. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he is also a jazz singer and lyricist.

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