The 7 Deadly Sins Series – The One-Thumbed Sloth

Thumb and bullets (Illustration by the author)

Jimmy “One-Thumb” Valenti didn’t know where the hell his cousin Nicky was, but he knew where he wasn’t.  He wasn’t at the freaking club dumping chlorine in the baby pool or putting more toilet paper in the womens’ bathroom.  The kid was usually there and busy long before One-Thumb rolled in.  Jimmy had no intention of getting out of his office chair and doing any of those jobs; Nicky could just work that much harder when he got there.

He rocked back in the squeaky chair and looked at the paper.  He found no joy in the sports section, only betrayal and disappointment.  It would take more than ten fingers to get One-Thumb out of the mess he was in.  He got carried away after winning a couple of bets early in the basketball playoffs.  Now he owed the fat guy $1800 plus the vig.  Mr. Light had been more patient than most bookies.  Once the Celtics got eliminated, the round man had had enough.  Light cornered Jimmy in the snack bar and told him that he better come up with the cash or maybe he’d be kissing his remaining thumb goodbye.  Jimmy glanced at the sweating hot dogs as they rolled on the grill.  He promised Light the cash.

Jimmy spun slowly in the chair and opened the bottom desk drawer where he kept the .45, but reached for the pint of Old Grandad instead.  He twisted the cap off with the flat of his palm, and poured a snort into his coffee.  It seemed lately coffee didn’t taste right without some Kentucky in it.  He put his feet back on the desk and looked out across the swim club, absently hoping to spot a money-tree back by the fence.

He was just 12 when he reached his hand under a lawn mower and got his nickname.  They told him how important the thumb was, but Jimmy knew that he still had a thumb on his other hand, plus a brain.  Push the right buttons and people will do the work for you – thumbs are over-rated.  He wasn’t much for cutting lawns anyway.

The snack bar register couldn’t have more than five or six hundred in it, even on a good day.  He’d already emptied the petty cash box back when the Celtics were still alive.

He couldn’t hit Mom up for another loan, she knew him too well to fall for that.  Her house probably had a couple thousand worth of Disney knick-knacks and jewelry.  He’d have to take the stuff to Philly to pawn it.  Pennies on the freaking dollar.  These days even the dumpiest pawn shop had some kind of camera recording every transaction anyway.

Jimmy thought about the gun.  Nicky’d said that the bowling alley had big money in the bar register.  He could wear a mask and a hoodie from the Lost-N-Found.  He’d wear winter gloves so it’d look like he a had two thumbs, then toss the hoodie and gloves down by the railroad tracks afterwards.  Maybe he’d just put a couple of bullets in Light’s fat head.

He reached into the back of the drawer for the gun, but found nothing.  He rocked forward in his chair and pulled the drawer all the way out, but all he found was a couple of Playboys and a useless box of bullets.

There was no going to the police about a gun that was hot to begin with.  He glanced down at his remaining thumb and wondered how much it mattered to him anyway.  He rocked back, sipped his coffee and looked back out across the pools.

43 thoughts on “The 7 Deadly Sins Series – The One-Thumbed Sloth

    1. I just posted the link for people who enjoyed the post to vote for me in the competition. Please keep my literary aspirations alive so I don’t consider becoming a dairy farmer.

        1. Every vote counts! I realize you’re somewhat new to following me, you might enjoy reading my first two installments in the 7 Deadly Sins series, “Willie Prader, Private Eye – A Glutton for Punishment”, and “Nick Valenti – Swim Club Gigolo”

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. Feel free (it is a day about freedom after all) to vote daily on k8edid’s site – I put the link in the comments already.

      I’m trying to do all 7 sins within the same overall story setting. Collect all 7 !!

  1. Where’s the link to vote? Also this drawing is awesome. I know you talked about art class before, but I’m impressed.

    1. I like my Easter Rabbit and Pig in a Dress drawings better. You can see them all on my contest/update/whatever page. There’s a link in the comments section of my post. If it was a snake, it woulda bit you.

      1. Ha! I knew I wasn’t that blind! Voted sir! And you’re killing it by the way, which I’m already sure you knew.

        1. I don’t want to sound shallow, but I really want to win. The little silly victories make up for the lack of meaning in my life. If there was a trophy involved, I’d probably have to cheat, rather than just beg for votes.

            1. Most of my bottles are pretty full. After my week at the beach, I’ve decided to give my liver a well deserved vacation, although that’s like giving Willie Loman a week off right after he dies.

    1. Aww shucks! Drawing hands can be tough for those of us who don’t draw every single day, but with a title like “The One-Thumbed Sloth” I really didn’t have much choice.

            1. That particular drawing took 45 minutes or so, but I did a ton of sketches till I finally was reasonably satisfied that it looked like a hand with a thumb and not an aroused hippo or something.

    1. You didn’t see Beulah in 47 Shades of Gray?!…or the Easter Bunny in True Stories from the Trail?

      Glad you liked it in any case. Be sure to vote – winning contests validates my very existence.

    1. Unlike some of the other participants, I’ve actually woven each of my deadly sins chapters into the same story. The first was Willie Prader, private eye in glutton for punishment, the second was Nick Valenti – Swim club Gigolo in envy, and the third was the one thumbed sloth, in sloth. Next up is lust. If you’ve read all three, you can probably guess who’ll be the focus of that chapter.

            1. He’s 5’3″….very few people know that outside of the industry. Also he’s known to have quirky habits. I know you’ll love him anyway, just giving you a heads up.

    1. I’d like to thank the academy, of course, and sloths everywhere. I’d also like to thank Katy and Lenore Diane for their generous contributions. It’s always easier to give to charitable causes when someone else is footing the bill and doing the legwork – true sloth-style on my part!

  2. Congratulations, Dave. A well deserved win. This has been a fun bunch of challenges. I am looking forward to the next one from you. You are keeping us all on our toes with your great writing. Go easy on us next time – it’s getting tougher and tougher. LOLOL
    Really – Congratulations – you had my vote.

    1. Thanks Izz…it’s been a lot of fun writing these, and getting a win is icing on the cake. I’ve already written the lust entry, but I don’t know how good it is…thanks again, looking forward to what the next chapter brings.

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