By C.L. Beck
One Halloween morning, I decided to wear ghoulish fingernails to work. They had an imprinted skull and crossbones that looked awesome.
Life proceeded routinely on the job—until I needed to blow my nose. And then one of the falsies—you’ll remember we’re talking fingernails here—got in the way and I blew the nail right off.
A co-worker laughed so hard she choked on the pumpkin cookie she was eating and left the room. Probably to search for someone with shorter fingernails to give her the Heimlich.
I should have known I was cursed. But never having worn fake nails before, I had no clue. All I knew was I couldn’t blow my nose in public.
Off to the ladies’ room I went. Once inside, I unwrapped a wad of tissue paper, brought it quickly to my face … and stabbed one of the fingernails up my nose, causing a nosebleed.
Back to the office I went, head tilted backwards to stop the bleeding, hands pointed down to avoid poking anything. At my desk, an itch developed on my neck. Forgetting that I wore projectiles on my fingertips, I scratched. A nail flipped off and flew down the back of my shirt—a shirt I couldn’t pull out of my pants because it would pop off the remaining fingernails.
“Help,” I said.
One of the gals came over. She untucked my shirt and shook the bottom of it, trying to get the nail to fall out. I hopped and shimmied like a skeleton hanging from a tree on a windy night, but it refused to budge.
Laughing, she said, “You’d better go to the ladies’ room to get it out.”
Back to the powder room I trudged. In there, I realized I couldn’t take my shirt off without giving myself multiple body piercings. After twisting like a contortionist, and explaining to every woman who came in that I was not on drugs, the thing finally fell out. I’d have tucked my shirt back in, but was afraid another fingernail would fly off and go down my pants.
Back to the office I scuttled, hands pointed downward and shirt tail hanging to my knees. The gal who’d tried to help said, “Don’t you know how you do this?”
“What? Tuck in my shirt while wearing fake nails?”
“No, how to put on false fingernails.” She handed me a small tube.
Super Glue. That’s how you do it? Silly me, I thought you used the adhesive strips that came in the package.
I wasn’t certain if I was being conned and didn’t relish the thought of wearing super-glued orange and black fingernails until I was 90. I decided to glue only the two most troublesome ones. Not wanting to risk droplets on my desktop, I sat and held my hands over my legs. Sticky liquid dripped everywhere, and after almost gluing my knees together, I finally managed to get the two nails on straight.
Everyone went back to work and an hour later, a customer needed help at the counter. I walked over. We completed the transaction and he handed me the money. I reached for it—and stabbed him with my fingernails.
I apologized. I told him I would have removed them but two were super-glued. And they would probably only come loose by some means of mechanical separation that would include a tractor, heavy chains, and the loss of two of my real fingernails.
Thank goodness it was almost time to go home. I walked to my desk and for the safety of the customers, stayed there until closing.
That night, I managed to get all the fake nails off except for the two that were held fast by glue. The same glue—I now remembered—that was advertised as able to hold a bowling ball to the ceiling.
However, the nails did glow nicely in the dark. Eventually I remembered that alcohol was a solvent and managed to remove them before Christmas.
I’ve learned my lesson. No more fake fingernails for me. This year as part of my costume, I’m going to try false eyelashes instead … nothing could possibly go wrong with them.
(To all our readers—Happy Halloween!)
View C.L.'s other work:
Life is Like Riding a Unicycle by Shirley Bahlmann--story on pg. 70