Altered States Of America

The Night The Mayor Lost (His Hands)

In the Altered States of America, warped perceptions are king and melodrama runs high. In this original series from Brooklyn-based illustrator Mike Reddy and writer Matthew Newton, a new short story is published each day throughout the month of July.

When the store-bought hand sanitizers finally stopped working, a city-wide panic erupted. Hands started falling off at a frightening rate. Home-brewed sanitizers, like those cooked up at Lee’s in Oriental Village, were overpriced and unproven. But there were few alternatives for those affected, and signs of the epidemic were visible all over town. “Pardon me,” said a tall businessman to the woman standing next to him on the Vile City subway, “is that your hand on the ground?” Screaming and fainting became an almost mandatory overnight trend. Decomposing fingers were stacked waist high in piles on street corners, the phantom digits overrun with flies and strangled in steaming green clouds of rotten stink. Stray dogs roamed with hairy-knuckled fingers dangling from their mouths; weak-stomached commuters carried barf bags issued by the Department of Health. When the mayor appeared on television to calm the fears of citizens, the entire city watched as his hands fell off and plopped onto a podium emblazoned with the government seal. By the time the network cut to commercial the damage had been done. Children sobbed, conspiracy theorists wrapped their wrists in duct tape, and one of the mayor’s aides bagged the hands in ice for the paramedics.

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