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When you first notice that your right hand has turned an unusual shade of purple, you stop whatever it is you were doing up until that moment of realization and focus all of your attention on your inexplicably discolored extremity because the truth is, unless you somehow horribly crushed it in a warehouse door or between pallets of house paint or something similarly gruesome, and managed, miraculously, to feel no pain in this strange process of not noticing that you were acting terribly negligent to one of your important body parts, you must have surely done something out of the ordinary to earn your new skin pigment, though as you rack your brain to recall just what outside influence could have brought on your condition you come up empty and decide to share your current perplexing physical state with your manager hoping that another mind set to the task will help, but based on the strange look on his face as he tells you to wait where you are, it’s starting to appear that there’s more to your predicament than a discolored hand; the fact that the store owner, your boss, is now ordering you into a small metal folding chair in his office isn’t helping matters any, nor is the fact that his concern seems to be centered on something much more important than your damn purple hand, and now you know, you know exactly why this man is burning a hole through you with his eyes as you slouch, guilty and panicked in your little chair and the blood drains from your face as quickly as it would have pooled in your hand had you actually gotten hurt and now you wish you really had gotten hurt because then you wouldn’t have used that hand to take the three dollars from the box in the back and the undetectable powder that coated those bills—powder that you later learned had done the job it was designed for and reacted with the oils in your skin to produce an indelible dark-colored dye—wouldn’t have turned your hand into the bright purple beacon of guilt that it had now become, exposing you as the employee responsible for weeks of merchandise and cash theft in the store, but it’s much too late for wishful thinking and now, busted by three dollars and a purple hand, your heart pounds and you radiate every free ounce of perspiration your body can produce as you wait for the police to arrive, the sweat only further activating the powder covering your hand, turning it so richly purple that even much later that night, alone in your bathroom, scrubbing your hand so hard with a bleach-soaked rag that you start to bleed, you still can’t remove the stain.
I do what I can.
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