The Moving Finger (short story)
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|"The Moving Finger"|
|Published in||The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (1st release),
Nightmares & Dreamscapes
"The Moving Finger" is a short story by Stephen King. It was first published in December 1990 in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and three years later in 1993 was included in King's collection Nightmares & Dreamscapes.
A very ordinary man named Howard Mitla, who has a strange aptitude for Jeopardy!, is confronted by the bizarre sight of a human finger poking its way out of the drain in his apartment's bathroom sink. He tries to deny the reality of what is happening, but the solitary digit eventually proves to be infinitely long and multijointed, and capable of attacking him. Mitla burns it with a bottle of heavy-duty drain cleaner, then chops it off with a pair of electric hedge trimmers. Howard, after cutting up the finger, starts thinking about the creature to which it was attached. He realizes it really had multiple digits and that there were several openings in an average bathroom, and an ominous sound is heard from the toilet. Investigating reports of noise coming from Howard's apartment, the police arrive to find him lying in a daze next to the toilet. He tells them, "If you have to go to the bathroom, I definitely suggest you hold it." The toilet lid pops up. The story ends with the officer lifting the lid after Howard asks, "Final Jeopardy. How much do you want to wager?"
Gilbert Cruz ranked The Moving Finger at number twenty-four out of twenty-seven in a list of King television adaptations. In a negative review, Cruz said that the internal monologue of King's characters does not translate well to television.