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|"The Moving Finger"|
|Published in||The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (1st release),|
Nightmares & Dreamscapes
"The Moving Finger" is a horror short story by American writer 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, capable of attacking him, and smart enough to hide whenever his wife, Vera, would go to the bathroom. Eventually, while Vera's at work, Howard burns it with a bottle of heavy-duty drain cleaner, then chops it to bits with a pair of electric hedge trimmers before dropping the pieces in the toilet. After this is done, Howard starts thinking about the creature and the hand to which it was attached. As he realizes it probably has multiple digits and that there were several openings in an average bathroom, 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 in a bathroom covered with blood. A police officer asks where the body is and he cryptically tells them, "If you have to go to the bathroom, I definitely suggest you hold it." Just then, the toilet lid starts to shake from the inside. The story ends with the officer deciding to lift the lid to "wager it all" after Howard, in a shocked daze, laughs and asks, "Final Jeopardy. How much do you wish 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.