The Bloody Knife and Fat Frank
by M. David Lutz
As a youth, one night I was upstairs in my room when I sliced the tip of my finger and it was hanging there by a small piece of skin. I started running around the house howling and dripping blood everywhere. Making it down the stairs, I did a couple of laps screaming around my dad who was sitting in his easy chair in the living room watching TV. On the fourth lap, his arm came out stopping me in my tracks. I thrust my finger with the mortal gaping wound in his face, expecting to see him gasp in horror. He didn’t even blink.
He had hurt himself much worse doing household repairs around the house on the weekends. Dad did not believe in paying good money to have someone else do something he could or could not do himself. He was hammering something once in the basement. Wait, if he had hammered something once in the basement I would not be telling you about this. No, once he was hammering the heck out of something in the basement many times like he was John Henry driving spikes on the railway when he missed and hit his thumb so hard he split it like a grape. Seeing that was enough to make me puke. He grabbed his thumb with his other hand and said, “Darn,” or words to that effect. He acted as if he had just chipped a nail. If it had been me, I’d been dialing 911.
Dad saw my sliced digit with the tip hanging there, grabbed my hand, and flipped the tip back onto my finger. With his massive hand, he squeezed it, holding it like a vice. He did all that without taking his eyes from the screen or moving in his chair. He never said a word but I could tell by the way he never let go of my hand that he wanted me to just stand there and calm down. It seemed like he held my finger in his crushing grip forever, compressing each molecule into the other. When he finally let go, I looked at my finger, and saw the tip had already adhered to the rest of the finger.
I was then transferred to ‘Mom General.’ No injury escaped the iodine. You could walk into the kitchen holding your head in your hands and mom would get the iodine. Actually, for something serious like decapitation she would have also broke out the hydrogen peroxide and bandages. Mother had seen her share of blood and gore and never freaked out either. When she finished bandaging the wound, confident I would recover--she smacked me on the head with a meat-tenderizing mallet for playing with knives in the first place. Now the inquisition would begin with mother turning from critical care nurse to homicide detective:
[Act One, Scene One]
Mom: Tell me what happened in your own words.
Mark: Suffered a cut.
Mark: On my finger.
Mom: I know that.
Mark: Why did you ask?
Mom: Where were YOU?
Mark: On the other end of my hand.
Mom: Where were you, when you cut your hand?
Mark: I was standing right next to my finger.
Mom: How would you like another injury?
Mark: Well I . . .
Mom: That was not a question. Where in the
house were you when you were injured?
Mark: I was in my bedroom.
Mom: What were you doing in your bedroom?
Mark: Cutting my hand.
Mom: Listen funny man, one more smart remark and I’ll
write a new recipe for meat tenderizing on your
Mark: I was demonstrating something for my friend Fat
Frank, who is fat and my friend from school, who is spending the night because you told his mother he could sleep over.
Mom: Exactly what were you demonstrating for your friend Fat Frank, who is fat and your friend from school, who is spending the night because I told his mother he could sleep over?
Mark: I was showing Fat Frank, how sharp the knife was that I got from my Uncle Harry.
Mom: The one that looks like a miniature Samurai sword, that you are only supposed to use as a letter opener or just clean your nails with it?
Narrator: Mark’s mother now moves from her role as homicide detective to her well-known portrayal of a raving lunatic. As the scene opens, she begins yelling.
Mom: You are not supposed to be playing with knives. You don’t have my permission to cut-off any of your appendages until your twenty-five. I didn’t go through two weeks of labor without anesthesia to bring you into this world with ten fingers and toes, just to have you go cutting some of them off.
Narrator: The legal age to cut off one’s appendages happens to be eighteen. In the final act of her one-woman show, Mark’s mom takes on the role of prosecuting attorney, hauling Mark before the judge, (played by his father, thought his father didn’t know it) and proceeds with her closing argument.
Mom: Your Honor, did you know your son was up stairs with his friend Fat Frank, who is fat and Mark’s friend from school, who is spending the night because I told his mother he could sleep over, demonstrating how sharp a knife was by cutting off his finger?
Mark: (Interrupting) No, I was cutting a piece of paper and my finger jumped in the way.
Mom: Don’t interrupt me I’m going for a dramatic effect here.
Dad: [Still watching his TV show and involuntarily grunting affirmations as if he understood what my mother was saying]
Mom: Mark, go get the murder weapon and show it to your father!
Narrator: Mark returns out of breath. Even though Mark
wasn’t as fat as his fat friend Fat Frank, Mark was on the chubby side himself and out
of shape unless the shape he was going for was that of a sausage. Mark was carrying the knife wrapped in a handkerchief in case they wanted to send it to the lab to test for fingerprints.
Mom: Look at this knife, its razor sharp! What kind of gift is this for an uncle to give a boy, who is nowhere near as sharp as this knife?
Mark: But Mom, I’m always cutting things with this knife and this is the first time I’ve ever cut myself.
Narrator: Mark, who wasn’t even as sharp as a butter knife failed to realize he hadn’t strengthened his case with the jury by his last remark.
Mom: Your Honor, I am asking for the maximum penalty here.
Dad: [Without turning his head, he uttered audibly] Son, go put the knife up.
Narrator: Mom then shifted from District Attorney to Marriage Counselor and was about to kick off her two-hour workshop on how men, like Mark’s dad, should become better fathers. Mark figured he’d better get out of there since his mother had more personas’ then Sybil.
Narrator: Back in Mark’s room…
Mark: “Hey Frankie, I’m going to show you how to make a new fashion statement years-ahead-of-its-time with nothing more than some nails, pierced ear rings and a staple gun.
M David Lutz © All rights reserved