The Case of The Clammy Hand
The other night my children were yukking it up about the night of Dad’s hand under the bed. Although none of them was yet alive when it happened, the story has become a part of our family folklore.
It all began when one of my seminary professors asked my wife and me to occupy his house during his vacation. Our duty was largely just to watch the house, which was located on a remote road used mostly as the local lovers’ lane.
We knew of the reputation of the road but not what it would mean practically. The house was situated so that the lights of every car coming down the road flashed into the master bedroom.
I usually find it hard to sleep in a strange place, and my difficulty was increased by the continual flashing of auto headlights.
Finally, I put my arm over my eyes to block out the lights and dropped into an uneasy sleep. Unknowingly, I also cut off the circulation in that arm.
Since there was no night stand on my side of the bed, I had put my glasses on the floor just under the bed. In the wee hours of the morning some sound woke me. I sat up, causing my now feelingless arm to dangle over the edge of the bed, and as I groggily reached for my glasses I encountered my own now cold and clammy hand.
With a shudder of horror I jumped to a standing position in the middle of the bed and shouted, “There’s a hand under the bed!”
At that my wife bolted out of bed and began groping along the wall for the light switch. I joined her in the frantic search. Neither of us could remember where it was located.
Suddenly a thought came to me: “Why am I using only one hand?” Even before I found the light switch, the awful truth had dawned on me, and I knew of the years of total recall my wife would have of that night.1
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