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By Robert Lynch

Work stress had been building up, I felt drained, my skin and hair were dry and uncomfortable, but it was my fingernails that had taken the brunt of it. The nails were so worn down that it hurt – just a little bit – every time my fingers hit the keyboard.

The room full of cubicles was empty except for me, which is why I jumped when I heard from behind me: “You need a little help reaching that deadline?”

I turned to see 5’7’ man with shiny black hair and olive skin sitting on the bench behind me.

“Who are you?” I asked.

“I am Helvius, god of fingernails.” The man said. “Your offering to me of late has been tinged with the taint of stress.”

“I’m asleep.” I said.

“Alas, I cannot be brought forth by Morpheus,” he said, “not after that unfortunate misunderstanding with Pasithea.”


“This dream is getting weird,” I said.

“Ok,” Helvius said, “let’s say this is a dream. I’m a god. I have cool godly powers, and I can bestow them on mortals should I wish to. I’m offering to complete your proposal while you get some sleep, by the time you wake the work will be completed.”

“What’s the catch?” I asked.

“I only have power over you if you continue to sacrifice to me.” He told me.

“Sacrifice?” I asked.

“Biting your nails is a kind of prayer to me, if you pledge to continue to do it and you tell others of my powers then I shall grant you this boon.” He told me.

The look of disbelief on Max’s face was reaching incredulous levels. “And that’s why you bite your nails?”

I nodded. He turned and walked off in a huff.

I turned to see another progress report completed on the computer.


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