Fuck it, you think to yourself. “I wish for the most terrible, the most awful things to happen to me. Do your worst.” The last finger of the monkey’s paw curls down. [Link to post.]
Nothing happened. I wasn’t on fire, or covered in spiders, or anything. The dry paw felt cold in my hand, as if all the magic were gone. But, nothing happened.
“Yeah that’s what I thought, stupid ass monkey. You’re so smart, how come you’re missing a paw?” I knew it was trying to give me a false sense of security, but I knew I could wait it out. I tossed the paw into the back of a drawer and shoved it closed to go on with my life. It took effort, because the fear was always there in the back of my mind. Luckily I was able to bury myself in work. The few friends I made thought I would crack, with as much work as I was doing. Too much for a freshman to handle, they thought. It was a win/win situation for me. I was a patient master of the long con. Work hard all year, establish the positive reputation as a hard worker. Then I can skate by the next three years. It came with the added bonus of distracting me from the paw. After the holiday break I noticed a beautiful woman begin to make appearances among my group of friends.
“That’s Charity,” John said when I asked him while we sat in my dorm one time. “She’s single, you should ask her out. Get your head out of the books for a while.” John was a rock. He was my best friend, and helped keep me together the first time the monkey paw showed me its power. It was thanks to him I had the courage to deal with the paw. If he said I should ask her out, I decided I should ask her out. It helped that he knew about the paw.
“Yeah, I will. But I’m waiting out a thing with the paw.” I shrugged.
“Don’t wait too long. Women like that don’t stay single long,” John said. Later that evening I ran across charity. It couldn’t have been planned better. She was trapped at a bus stop in the pouring rain, without an umbrella. I walked by wearing a poncho, and holding an umbrella. I’d often been teased for walking around with both, but I realized this was the moment I’d waited for all my life.
“Hey, you’re Charity, right? I’ve seen you around.” I stepped into the small space with her. She smiled and extended her hand.
“Yeah. You’re Danny, right?”
“Right. Hey, wanna borrow this?” I handed her the umbrella.
‘Yes! Thanks so much. I have one, I just forgot it today. How bout we meet up tomorrow morning? I’ll give you your umbrella back, and buy you some pancakes to say thanks?” Charity’s eyes sparkled while she asked me out. I smiled. Man, John always knew what he was talking about.
“You’re on.” I agreed. “10 tomorrow morning at the diner.” Walking home in the rain gave me a lot of time to think. I was still afraid of whatever the paw might have planned, but I couldn’t live a life that way. I saw Charity the next day. Then, every day after that for six months. We couldn’t get enough of each other. She was perfect, and she made me completely happy. I’d forgotten all about the monkey’s paw until I was cleaning out my desk one day. I fished it out of the drawer and sighed. I looked at it, then looked around the room. Pictures of Charity and I dotted the walls.
“Well buddy,” I shook the monkey’s hand, “I don’t know if you couldn’t do anything, or if whatever you tried to do didn’t work out the way you planned it. But let’s call it off.” I dropped the paw when it began to shake in my hand. Then I worried about hurting its feelings.
“Sorry!” I reached down to scoop it back up. When I did I noticed a finger had uncurled. “You gave me back a wish! Hey thanks. Though, I’m sure you’ll understand that I’m not in a real hurry to use it.” I smiled at the paw, as if it were a friend now. I placed it gently in the desk and closed the drawer. The desk moved around, but the drawer remained closed for seven years. One night I rushed into my home office and went straight to the drawer. I searched out the monkey’s paw then bolted to the hospital.
“Did you have to bring that thing?” John asked while he drove us.
“As hard as the pregnancy’s been, I figured it’d be nice to have a back up,” I said. It was our first child together. Charity’s pregnancy had been plagued with complications. Each time I came close to calling on the paw for help, but she always managed to recover. This close to the finish line I wasn’t going to take any chances. “The paw and I came to an understanding years ago, when I first met Charity.” They reached the hospital and Danny ran to his wife’s side. She was unconscious, but he held her hand while the doctor explained the situation.
“I’m sorry, there’s nothing we can do,” the doctor said. “We can only *attempt* to save one of them. I say attempt, because it’s still quite risky, and there are no guarantees.”
“Hope,” I whispered.
“I’m sorry?” The doctor leaned in closer.
“My daughter’s name is Hope. Save her.” I continued to stare at the ground. I watched the doctors shoes walk away, then John approached.
“Give me the paw, man. You don’t want to bring it into this.” John stretched out his open palm to wait.
“I’ve got a wish left! I can save them both, I know it’ll work. I don’t care what happens to me, take care of them.” I reached into my pocket to grab the monkey’s paw.
“Don’t!” John stepped forward to wrestle it away from me, but I was too quick.
“I wish my wife and daughter survive and are perfectly fine after this, I don’t care what happens to me.” The monkey’s paw shivered, and I sighed with relief.
“It’s done. Man, I’m hungry. Let’s go get some pizza.” I said while I rubbed my stomach.
“Man your wife and daughter are getting operated on!”
“They’ll be fine, but I wanna go enjoy my last meal. She’s gonna be fine, but it’s not like she’s going to be magically healed. They still gotta do the operation, that’s probably going to take a while. John nodded. It was funny how life worked out. As we walked out of the hospital I chuckled to myself when I had the realization that John was listening to me now, instead of me listening to him.
I’d been to that place dozens of times before, but on that day it was the best pizza I’d ever had in my entire life. I reached into my pocket to cover the tip and found the monkey’s paw again. It still had a finger up.
“Hey, I used up my last wish, and I still have a wish left?” I showed the paw to John. Immediately he burst out laughing.
“You don’t have any wishes left, that monkey’s just giving you the finger.” I stared at it. How did I not notice that. The one wish I had left, the one finger the monkey was sticking up in the air was him giving me the bird.
“Oh no. Charity!” I threw a hundred dollar bill at the waitress then ran out of the pizza place, John right behind me. I drove us to the hospital and immediately walked in to see a nurse running up to me.
“Where have you been???” She panicked. Tears flowed out of her eyes, and her face was red. “Your daughter needed blood, we didn’t have any matches.” She reached out to hug me.
“I’m here! I’ll do it!”I pushed her off and started rolling up my sleeve. She stopped me, and shook her head.
“It’s too late. Hope is dead.” I felt the monkey paw shiver in my pocket.