The Arm

A few blocks from here, along Wilshire on the way to Third Street, there’s an empty unit in a commercial building. I walk past it whenever I head down to Barnes & Noble, or the Apple Store, or whatever. It looks like it’s not been occupied for some time — black roller-blinds cover the huge glass frontage, but through the gaps I can see that the place is completely clear.

Except for one thing. On the inside of the glass, down by the floor, there’s an arm. It might catch a passer-by who wasn’t paying attention by surprise and make them jump, but on closer examination it’s a crude fake. It’s a gruesome one, though. It has a bloody stump, as if the arm was ripped off at the elbow, and a broken bone sticks out. Every time I go past, I wonder what the arm used to be. A film prop? Part of some elaborate practical joke? In any event, it seems to be the only thing that was left in the unit when it was cleared. The place is dark, deserted and lonely now.

Except for one thing. Every time I go past this place that looks as if it’s been untouched for months, the arm is in a different position. Sometimes it’s lying flat. Sometimes reaching upwards as if scraping its fake fingernails down the glass in a pathetic attempt to escape.


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