Jeffrey casually flicked the stone wall of the McDaniel’s building. He wasn’t sure why he had done it. It just seemed the thing to do. After, as his finger smarted from the pain it seemed the opposite. He feared his nail had broken off completely. A large piece of finger nail had indeed fallen to the ground. Remarkably it seemed unbloodied.
Forcing himself to look Jeffrey held his hand out in front of his eyes. Strangely nothing. His nail had not flaked off, yet there it lied broken on the ground. Perhaps he had developed super healing powers like Wolverine? No, that was foolish. It was more likely a genetically mutated spider of some kind that bit him. But where would it come from? Jeffrey didn’t know of any major Science laboratories in the area.
His finger was still red. How long did superheroes take to heal? Jeffrey decided he would make the most of it. Approaching another portion of the wall he opted to try more than flicking. Balling his fist he hit the stone at full force.
Predictably he broke a great deal of bone. Even more predictably from a scientific perspective nothing healed any faster than normal. Fingernails however came off again; much more than for which Jeffrey had fingers. This alarmed him. What if his super power was not regeneration but simply producing an abnormal abundance of new fingernails? He’d be the laughing stock of the comic book world.
Who would Jeffrey go to with his problem? The major hospitals could inform the military. They would surely study him, possibly, God forbid… dissect!
Things were moving too fast. Jeffrey just wanted his life back; the life before his mutant fingernails took over! His family would have to understand why he couldn’t go home. Jeffrey couldn’t put them in danger. The criminal underground would surely be after him in no time and use any leverage they could get their hands on. The military, the criminals… they would all take their shots. Who knew what horrible things his flaky nails might do in the wrong hands!
Jeffrey noticed a ring amongst the flakes. Maybe if he slid it on the curse would be lifted. He thought too soon; a finger was in it.
“Gross” he thought. But in the interest of saving the world from the evil forces soon to mass upon him, Jeffrey picked up the severed finger. He tried to shake it off the ring, but it was budged. Stomping up and down was the next logical step.
Jeffrey never got the chance. A black van pulled up as he placed the severed finger underneath his boot. Two goons emerged and promptly grabbed him. He tried to cut them with his nail shedding but the powers must not have worked under stress. Poor Jeffrey; blindfolded, tied up and taken away defenseless.
He awoke hours later in a sort of interrogation room with a long table and chairs. It was largely a letdown for Jeff, who had been expecting more of an evil laboratory motif.
Two men in business suits entered and sat across from him.
“Okay, this has gone far enough,” Jeffrey started, “You kidnap me, bring me in this disappointing room with no beakers and you’re wearing suits…SUITS! You don’t have the common decency to dawn lab coats!?”
“We are sorry Mr. Jeffrey, we truly are,” said the man on the left.
“Now, you apologize!”
“It is the polite thing to do before you kill someone,” said the man to the right.
“That’s more like it,” Jeffrey said, reclining. “How are you going to do it? Vaporize me? Turn me Cyberman?”
“No, nothing like that,” alternated the man on the left “you have been watching far too much science fiction.”
“How are you going to do it then?”
“We’re going to grind you into meat and make a human brick out of you. Then we’ll take that brick and put it on a building.”
“But – but, why?”
“They always ask why, Pete. They always ask why.”
“It’s okay, George, I’ll take this one. We’ve been making buildings out of human bricks for some time now. You could say it’s because quarrying is labor intensive and a lot of hassle. You could say it’s a good way to rid ourselves of undesirable elements in society.”
“Which would you say?”
“Oh, I’d go with the labor intensive hassle.”
“You would. Never the more interesting option with you type.”
“No, it too often isn’t. Which leaves us the issue of what to do with you.”
“I didn’t see anything," said Jeffrey beginning to fear for his life, "this was all a dream!”
“We’d like to believe you can stick by that story. But the truth is you’ve had your share of run ins with the law.”
“So it is the second option!”
“No, no, still more the first. We wouldn’t do this if it cost us more. Or at least, we’d enjoy it less.”
“Honestly, I didn’t see a finger fall out of the wall!”
“Then how would you know about it just then? Your story is already falling apart!”
“Think of it as getting your name on a sidewalk. You will be immortalized… forever. Now if you’d just shave yourself we can get started.”
“Of course. We can’t have hair gopping up the works.”
“But why do I have to do it?”
“You’re grinding me into a brick and you want my courtesy?”
“I don’t see why not.”
“All right, at least I’ll be gentler on my own.”
“That’s the spirit. We’ll get you some scissors and you can get started.”
“Oh, come on, at least spring for a Schick!”
“Fine, if you're gonna be all cry baby about it...”
Pete motioned and five minutes later an assistant returned with a Schick Quattro and shaving cream.
“We did the best we could then. It was a pleasure meeting you Jeffrey. Come on, George, let’s go find our next subject.”
They left, closing the door behind them. Jeffrey took as much time as he could shaving. He was certainly in no hurry. But the more time he had to consider his fate the more it brought him to worry. He had half an arm left to go before he put the razor down.
“Shaving complete” a computerized voice spoke over an intercom.
“This is it,” said Jeffrey to himself. He closed his eyes, just catching the beginnings of a large saw blade emerging from the ceiling. Hearing it was terrible enough. In truth, he hardly felt it. His skull was sliced in such a way to leave him long dead before much pain could be inflicted.
Jeffrey joined the countless others on the wall that week. He was processed and identical; a martyr to the joint goals of profit and control. But, no one passing by would dare to guess. They merely overlooked the souls of those less fortunate until the day that they too were sacrificed and made a part of something sinister.