Hands on


So, hello, hello! This is me, Bins. I have to write for “Her” today, because she has hurt her hands. Well only ONE hand. The other one is all right. But she says she can’t type using two fingers of her left hand. I think this is very strange. Me, I can type using two toes of my left foot! But then, I am Bins, and she is not-Bins. *shrug* It is difficult to be not-Bins.

Of course, she is sitting in her corner of the room and telling me what to write. However, I am not writing what she wants me to write! Why should I? We French are very independent-minded! We never do what anyone wants us to do! But... well, now she is asking me to promise to write what she tells me to write and I have to be a little bit polite and a little bit kind so: she wants me to say what happened to her hand.

It starts with the idea she has for setting fire to a strawberry. Do not ask me why she wants to do this. I tell her she is mad. She tells me that it is just like making a “banana flambé” which is with bananas and cream and rum. I repeat, “You are mad. Because a banana is very different to a strawberry. It has a very different personality, that fruit.” She says, “But I want to try! I’ll place a big hollow strawberry in an egg-cup, fill the interior with brandy, spray on some cream and set the whole thing alight. It will look SO PRETTY!”

She puts it all together. At least she has some sense to do this chemistry experiment in the kitchen. I am standing a safe distance away, watching carefully. She has indeed got a giant strawberry from the market. It is the size of a pumpkin. I say, “That is a Godzilla strawberry! Stand back! It is made from nuclear waste!” But she pays no attention. First she pours the brandy inside Godzilla, then she uses a spray can of whipped cream and goosh! she sprays out a pile of cream. Then she uses my lighter to heat a teaspoon of brandy and — BOOM! Her hand is on fire! Because she was cleaning her brushes with turpentine this morning and forgot to wash it off.

“AAAAAAgghhh!” she cries. “Put it in water!” I scream. BEEP-BEEP-BEEP! says the fire-alarm. But she holds her hand under the tap in the sink and the crisis is over. The first three fingers of her right hand are black however. “We must go to a doctor,” I say. “No,” she says. Because she has not signed up for Obama Care yet. “These Indians are crazy,” I say, tapping my forehead, like Asterix. “Pooh!” she says. “It’s only a minor burn. No need to run to a doctor and go bankrupt!” She washes the fingers and covers them with cream. Of course it hurts. A lot. She can’t bend her fingers. “Godzilla has punished you,” I say. “I hope you took everything down correctly,” she says. “Yes,” I say, “of course.”

Manjula Padmanabhan, author and artist, writes of her life in the fictional town of Elsewhere, US, in this weekly column

Last episode: Force field

Next episode: Tongue cramps

Published on January 08, 2016


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