"Under my thumb, Well I can still look at somebody else"
- The Rolling Stones -
In the beginning there was a cardinal-red satin sky. Plenty of it. Large streams of the stuff pouring over the darkness and the four Fingers and one stump who nestled within its clouded slump. Then there was the patchouli and ylang-ylang oil. Plenty of that, too, in a small amber chamber held between two soft swollen rivulets. Finally, there were the prurient memories, hectoring each member of the four-Fingered council to escort them to the back of the mind and tame the snorting wet beast whose muscular soul beat life into every pore.
Ring-Finger, with all her finery, approached the meeting with Pinky, her undersized assistant peeping round each gold, silver, and diamond belt. Already present were Index-Finger, Middle-Finger and Thumb, who was to be put on trial for opposing and breaking the 'Rules of Thumb'.
"After much contemplation upon this matter of Thumb's continuous employment in the Palministry," spoke Ring-Finger, "I have reached several conclusions that do not bode well for Thumb". The other three Fingers fidgeted in anticipation for the ruling which they were certain would see the fifth resident of Palministry joining the Aisle of Foot or, even worse, being imprisoned within the accursed pulp of Plum. Poor Thumb was even more nervous than the last time, when his punishment for not conforming to the general rule was being ruled out from his distinguished duties of measuring up the proportions of nude figures, his scepter of clay and graphite promptly exchanged for a digitizer.
"Firstly, I have reasoned that Thumb is not Handsome, and if he is not Handsome then he can only be Thumbsome and, thus, he is all Thumbs; and if he is all Thumbs he is unbecomingly clumsy. We do not succumb to clumsiness here, Mr Thumb!" Ring-Finger's reasoning was well received by the other three council members, and a hardening of each nail set upon the reverse of their prints as they exclaimed, "Scrutiny, scrutiny, have him walk the emery board!"
"Secondly, Thumb sucks. This has been sufficiently proven by the degree to which he had been sucked during the early stages of our Palministry's history. I must therefore only conclude that despite his attempts to redeem himself through ingenuity he is essentially a dummy and should not be trusted." This second remark almost gave way to applause by all Fingers, as well as the mirrored jury on the left who, although having no right to act independently of its opposite in thought, was quite able to create a collision of loud slapping sounds to signal a positive response.
"The third and final conviction for Thumb's banishment is his lack of enthusiasm for participating properly in the many rituals performed by the four-Fingered council; and that includes the festival of applause, thrumming of hard surfaces in the event of impatience, and slackness of contribution to the manual stimulation of the clitoral hood (of which he is almost always encouraged to do). This last point won the vote of each Finger, hands down. Thumb was to make his last defence to all four Fingers.
Thumb stood as straight as he could; in doing so, he cocked the Fingers into a fan formation which naturally irritated them somewhat. "As you may all know from the very beginning, it was I, Thumb, who enabled the universe around us to be cluttered with many physical and material distractions, which has helped our planet occupy its mind to full effect during its many multiple-parallel incarnations of the same self. I am shocked that such prejudice could surface after so much that I have achieved in alliance with the Fingers, but I suppose these days you lot can pretty much get along just fine without me. I have built you remote controls, sensors, prosthetics, touch screens and other such devices that obviously put my usefulness to question. I must, however, propose one last testament to my invaluable use here at the Palministry."
All the Fingers curled into private council. Then, one by one, each Finger straightened.
"One last testament?" asked Index-Finger, craning its lanky form awkwardly in the direction of Thumb.
"That is correct," replied Thumb, giving a confident nod from his paunchy knuckle.
"Very well," sighed Ring-Finger, who was clearly unimpressed by Thumb's lack of willingness to be ostracised and forever banished from their council.
Thumb scanned each Finger's print and then this is what he said: "I know that as a Thumb I am not often noticed in the Palministry. Yes, it is true the cameras I helped build are used to take pictures of the Fingers and I find myself not always in frame. It is also true that the Fingers get painted in finery and manicured regularly. But I have seen something that will tower above all that. I have seen the most glorious idol of worship ever designed to mirror the beauty of all Fingers. You will, of course, have to allow me to be your guide otherwise there is a possibility you may be woefully butt-knuckled by the crimped maelstrom of excreta."
Each Finger wiggled a little bit, wondering what Thumb was planning by this way of diversion from his banishment. Then as if by the power of will from some higher order with a lot of nerve, the whole Palministry was drawn towards an almost barren surface, pock-marked with tiny potholes from which some had soft curly vegetation sprouting. Thumb stretched his way across the supple surface as the other Fingers crept cowering in case of potential hostilities. A small pink bud was discovered perched upon a raised pectoral peak and Thumb explained to the Fingers that this was one of the special keys that would awaken the astounding statue, it was Index who had at many times used Thumb to operate machinery such as Chopsticks, Pencils, and Cigarette Lighters, who was now required to assist Thumb in squeezing this posy suction cap like cherry.
"Just squeeze and rub," whispered Thumb, and soon enough a nice even combination of squeeze and rub was attained; enough for Thumb to feel that sufficient succulent sensations had clicked. It could only be described in universal terms as knowing that a bus was coming to take you to a destination that you are anxious to reach where so many delicious ticklish things would occur but if you happened to look in the wrong direction for an instant and miss the bus, it would drive right on past and you might pee your pants.
The Palministry wended down across the rolled six solid slabs of slightly moistening wolds to a crater with a pug-nosed stud in the centre of its dimple.
"Middle Finger, we have arrived at the second key, and it is your duty to nip on down there and delve around its hollow until you have activated another sensation," Thumb commanded.
Middle Finger reluctantly dipped his tip into the crater and began twisting and turning gently, searching the depths for some kind of switch. No obvious lever or plug was to be found, it was all the twisting and turning that brought to the surface excitable feelings, a deep seated prickling. A kind of erratic comforting stabbing that sparkled somewhere beyond the horizon of the grumbling ground ahead. A thin trail of volute vegetation shot out from the rim of the crater and disappeared into darkness.
"This is the last leg of our hard slog. They call it the Trace de Escargot," said Thumb.
The Palministry once again snaked its way through the dense growth, until it reached a mountainous slumped turban surrounded by a crassitude of shiny bristles. A saggy mound dangled from the underside.
"We must all work together with this one for it is the last of the keys," said Thumb. "We must knead these two horny pips greasing the inside of their drooping scraggly jackets." So, with all their bony strength, the Fingers mashed the baggy sacks and saw, in awe, the titanic totem rise to full effect, fully erect.
A delightful deity, it swayed and swung, and each Finger trembled at the Fingerness of this fine swinging symbol of Fing.
"Quickly!" shouted Thumb. "Grab it and help me wrench it from its roots so that we can deliver it to the Palministry proper."
The Fingers gripped the towering totem and Thumb clamped himself around its curvature.
"Faster, Fingers! Faster!" shouted Thumb, beneath the din of some panting monstrosity coming from the heavens above. The whole universe seemed to be rocking as the Palministry shuffled the ever stiffening pod, the outer surface seemed to easily slide along its core, but the Palministry couldn't budge it from its socket. "C'mon, you've got to really pull in tight and yank with all your might," bellowed Thumb, over the embrued slap of perspiration. The Fingers tensed and tightened, straining even harder and faster in the hope of loosening the giant totem.
Then it seemed as if the whole world was going to boil over and vaporise in an explosion of sweet, salty steam. The inflamed totem went completely stiff, froze for an instant as if it had forgotten something, then its little mouth grinned from reddened jowl to reddened jowl. Each Finger snapped back from its grip and Thumb recoiled. It was the first time they had experienced snow, especially such warm, viscous flakes as were pouring down upon them now, and they felt dizzily beautiful. The entire planet was enticed into tranquility and the Fingers treasured its every sigh with a stupefied pleasure.
And this was how Thumb was retained as an invaluable member of the Palministry. Indeed, it wasn't long until he was promoted, and so the saying, "Thumbs up," became a remark to state approval, because that is what each Finger would shout each morning the giant totem needed a sheen.
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