“What are you looking at me? I guess you want to
see if I’ve been dealt a full hand?” Two-Fingers
Finnigan spat blood, warm and salty on the snow as
he pulled off his heavy gloves.
Young Tom didn’t get too close. Old Two-Fingers
may be hurt and pinned under a rock-fall, but he
came with a fearsome reputation for evil doing.
“See, I’ve still got my ten fingers, handy that,” said
Two-Fingers waving a large hand at the boy. He
reached deep inside his winter furs to pull out a stub
of a pencil and a cigarette pack to draw a map on.
“And lucky you came along, with me like this and
you lost and going round in circles in the
“I wasn’t very lost. So where did you get the name
then?” said Tom, pulling his scarf tighter against the
sting of wind-driven snow.
“Cos I’m not afraid to do this to the whole world.”
The old man grinned and held up two fingers to the
world, to his injured legs, to everything.
“Take this, it’s all I’ve got,” said Tom. But he bit off
half the chocolate bar for himself first. After all, even
with scribbled directions he would still need his own
strength to get all the way back down through the
“Don’t go away,” said Tom. He laughed rather too
loudly as he set off down the valley.
Two-Fingers shouted after him through the wind.
“Don’t get lost, you got a map now. Just get back on
the trail and stay on it this time. And remember boy,
you’ve got to come back for me.”
Young Tom stumbled off. Soon the daylight was gone
but a little of the light of a full moon was now
pushing through the swirling snow. He cursed the
cold. He cursed the snow but most of all he cursed
himself for coming out here on his own and getting
lost. He thought of finding old Two-Fingers, alone in
the wilderness, injured and helpless and depending
on a young lad not yet finished school to bring help.
This ought to make him famous on Facebook, the
local papers, even the TV.
The boy saw the lights of the logging camp first.
Then there was the smell of wood-smoke carried
along in the wind. He quickened his pace throwing
up a flurry of cold drift-snow with every forced step.
And then there was shouting and he know he was
safe and warm.
“Tom, don’t talk, just rest. Thank Goodness you’re
safe. We’ve just heard about the prison break-out on
the radio.” The voice of the logger sounded far-away
and dreamlike to the exhausted boy.
“Escape?” said Tom.
“Yes, Two-Fingers Finnigan escaped. He used to live
around here before he got locked up, so the word is
he might be heading back to familiar territory.”
“But ...,” Young Tom started to speak and what a
story to tell. He was interrupted.
“But nothing. He’s dangerous. By the way, you don’t
suppose they ever told you it was him about that
thing with your mother all these years ago?” said the
Tom didn’t reply. He paused for a while at the warm
stove and then went over to the window and held up
two fingers in the general direction of the winter
“Two-Fingers?” said Tom. “Didn’t see nothing. Just
snow, lots of snow.”
Two Fingers Finnigan
was published in