By Ken Poyner
He had been curious about the Society of the Left Hand for as long as he could responsibly remember. Born ambidextrous, he wondered if his experiences were all that segregated from those of the truly left handed, from those with a weakened right appendage, and what in their collective commonalities would drive them to fathom and maintain their own identification society. His hands dangled equally beside him, and that, perhaps, is all the difference in the world; or, perhaps, it is nothing.
He had nearly turned back at the stoically massive entrance—its hinges on the right and its lock laboring on the left. When he had pressed the severely lavished visitor announcement button, he recoiled like cold from hot iron as the two-tone herald rang the lower note first and the higher note second, reversing the pander of all the summoning heralds he had heard from all the houses he had ever visited: houses with owners of either handedness. The noise baffled him like the bittersweet howls of prisoner angels. He stood, shifting balance equally between his feet, ready to call the affair off, to wrap his curiosity back into the flap of his handkerchief and stuff it again into his pocket—to wait until he were safely down the road to take it out and inspect it again, when the liberty to physically experience it had securely passed and there would be no cost to his unmeasured puzzlement.
He had begun to think that ‘left’ was not a matter of merely the favored hand. The concept of ‘left’ had been turned around, spirited over the left shoulder of some meticulously scheming brute, and made into a way of life—something the great mass of the left handed would never take to heart; but which, among the believers, plodded stealthily along, ostensibly in the unknowing left handed good names. There would be secrets to keep; scores to settle; a howling, incendiary narrative that demanded a join of forces. Those of the left way of life would manufacture their shadows differently than did others; their house pets would counter-rotate.
As he fondled his options, the door opened.
The dark stood un-menacing. At the far end of the revealed hall, he could see a lighted rendition of God passing life to Adam: he recognized the copy. This painting was on the wall, not a ceiling, and it spread out like its mission were the wall, and the wall suckled it. Yet, in this rendition, God lazily reached out with His extended left hand. The painting was as dull as the sex of water clinging to the underside of basalt—but it was unmistakable, reverent, matter of fact, and come-hither all at the same time. It insisted. It told its story like a left-handed stripper at a peep show. It instructed. He was its subject, and he drew in the spectacle as if it were perfume on the tongue.
He started to twist away, back to the busy city street and its lack of mysteries, but already from deep within the richly intermittent dark someone with the voice of tinfoil was demanding, slowly and beyond challenge, that he hold out both hands: that he let the assembled gray voices of the Society review each set of digits to see which hand revealed the most wear. His toes curled under him. What could he do? He had those hands—neither of them favored nor ill-favored, neither of them friend nor a birthright enemy—safely at his side. But he unthinkingly raised his suddenly blood drained extremities together, extending them away from his growing, unruly confusion; and into the unbendable cause of the magnificent entryway. He spread his fingers and he felt, not unkindly, the light at his back, the dark at his face. And he waited. The weight of the horror of his inexcusable balance collecting on his back like the sons of single handed scarecrows, he waited.