He had a scar on the back of his hand, it was “u” shaped and bone white and it itched whenever he sneezed. Bram Listerfield , who sneezed when he was scared, or angry or laughed was always scratching the “ U” shaped scar on the back of his hand, he did it so often that he didn’t even realize he was doing it anymore.
And then one day he was at the Magnolia Mall trying to return a radio that had only worked for about five minutes and cost him fifty dollars.
“ Look, “ he told the salesman “ I could have made a long distance phone call to a Country overseas and talked for 5 minutes and it would have cost me less. Give me a break here, this thing was expensive.”
“ Well… you don’t have a receipt but give me a second. Let me see what I can do.”
The salesman took off and Bram was left at the counter fretting over his lost money and the thought of getting another lemon of a radio in exchange when he looked down and expected to see his left hand working the scar on the back of his right hand.
His left hand was on the counter, and his right hand was next to it.
He picked his hand up and looked at the scar- it was bone white and the little red patch that his scratching caused wasn’t there.
Bram turned his hand over, looked at his palm and turned it back over and looked at the scar and that’s when he noticed it for the first time- his fingers- they looked a little longer and thinner than the ones on his left hand.
He thought about this for a minute and wondered if maybe his left hand was swollen- he held his hands up side by side and shrugged. Maybe it was an old age thing he thought.
Then the salesman came out from the back room with a smile on his face and Bram figured he was going to get his money back forgot all about the hand thing until a week later.
There was a storm that night- one of those ongoing thunder and lightning storms that don’t happen very often in Seattle- storms in Seattle roll in and then break apart but this time it went on for hours and Bram who hated lightning storms ever since he had been electrocuted at work many years ago was stressed and ready for this act of nature to clear up realized his scar- which should have been surrounded by a welt from all the scratching Bram assumed he had been doing since the first crackle of lighting was
Bone white and the flesh around it a nice healthy pink.
Bram went into his bathroom, flicked the light switch on and held his hand up and looked at it- just as he thought- there was something different about his hand.
The fingers on his right hand were longer, the nails neatly trimmed and the flesh on his hand was tanned.
He held his left hand up, his pale worn out hand and smiled at it- that was a hand that had built model airplanes in his youth and had been worked harder when his right arm had been broken when he was sixteen.
He looked at his right hand and he knew for sure- no he was positive- that pampered , coddled right hand with the Florida tan on it- and no “ U “ shaped bone what scar
That was not his hand.
So he wondered, as he flexed it and watched as the imposter hand responded to the message from Bram’s brain just a tad bit too slow – where was his own hand?
Now there’s a question not to many people have found themselves asking Bram thought to himself.
Bram tried to not do anything to draw attention to his right ( Ha!) hand.
He was afraid people would begin to notice, that they may ask questions, worse what if they thought he was some kind of freak? Because not only was this hand not his but one morning Bram woke up to find his left eye had been taken.
It was the same color, but it looked brighter than his right, younger maybe.
He sat on hard on the edge of his bathtub and screamed into his left hand because he wouldn’t put the right one anywhere near his body if he could help it. When he was finished he brushed his teeth, got dressed and went out to look for missing hand and his eye.
It took a month but he found his hand on a man at the train station.
Bram, who never liked the idea of trains or train stations for no real reason, thought on the day he was reunited with his hand that it would be a great idea to walk through the one down the street from where he caught his bus home.
He was halfway across the lobby when he saw the man, sitting on a bench and hanging at his side was Bram’s hand.
Bram didn’t know what to say.
He walked up to the man, cleared his throat and said “ I think you have something of mine.”
The man looked up at Bram and then he looked at Bram’s right arm and his eyes traveled down to Bram’s hand. “Well. That was easy…this time.”
The two men sat side by side on a bench in the middle of the Prefontaine Station and watched commuters and travelers running and walking to and from their gates. Some were smiling others were frowning and some of them wore dull flat blank expressions on their faces.
“ So what do you mean…it was easy this time?” Bram asked Jed- Jed being the man who now had Bram’s hand attached to his wrist.
“ About a month ago I was shaving and I noticed my ear- it was sitting wrong on the side of my head. It was bigger to. It took me a few days to figure it out. And then I got it, it wasn’t my ear. “ Jed touched his left ear. “ I mean, it was a shock you know? I’ve heard of people getting their kidney’s stolen and the like. But who the heck steals an ear and replaces it with another one ? Aliens? Psycho Doctors? Who? Can you answer me that?”
Bram shook his head.
“ So the short version is this- I was at a ball game and I’m going to my car when I see this guy, and he’s got my ear stuck to his head like it was no big thing. I mean, he didn’t look like he woke up one morning and found his ear missing. Come on, it freaked you out when you noticed your hand was gone, didn’t it?”
“ I’ll say.”
“ Well, I follow the guy to his house and the next day I come back as he’s leaving for work and I try to talk to him. He was in complete denial of course. I figure the shock was too much for him. I couldn’t reason with him. I couldn’t even get a word in edgewise. So I took matters into my own hands. If you get what I’m saying.”
“ I think I do.” Bram said.
“ Hey. It was my ear. MINE.”
Bram nodded. “ I’d say you handled it pretty good Jed. “
They both looked at each other and then they started to laugh.
It had been one of those home improvement accidents Bram and Jed told the Police and the Doctors, sure it looked weird- both of them getting their hands cut off on that table saw in Jed’s basement like that. But they had both watched the same show about making bookshelves and it had looked so easy.
They were sticking to Ikea Furniture from now on they promised.
So Bram figured he could live with that imposter eye in his head after going through all the physical therapy and the endless questions about the saw and Jed and the both of them cutting their hands off but then one morning as he was walking out to his car he stepped out of his shoe.
He looked down at the foot in his black sock, he went back and stepped into his shoe and then he got into his car and instead of driving to work he drove straight to the hardware store.