Robert Jeschonek is an envelope-pushing, USA Today-bestselling author whose fiction, comics, and non-fiction have been published around the world. His stories have appeared in Pulphouse Fiction Magazine, Clarkesworld, Pulp Literature, and other publications. His novels have won the International Book Award, the Forward National Literature Award, and the Scribe Award.

A Pinstriped Finger's My Only Friend by Robert Jeschonek

Judd the popular 17-year-old jock has it all figured out. He's the star of his school, the top of the heap...but then the world starts changing around him and won't stop. Without explanation, everyone turns into purple furries...then gas-blasting puffballs...then neurotic lizards. Every time Judd falls asleep, he wakes up in a new and crazier world—a world of godlike super-teens, teenage serial killers, duck people, nudists, monsters, and more. It's like a twisted video game without rhyme or reason. The rules never stop changing, and the only thing he can depend on is his talking pinky finger with a major attitude. Together, he and Pinkerton (the finger prefers the name "Killdigit!") fight through the parade of crazy realities, seeking a way to get back to normal. But what if normal just isn't an option anymore?


•As I'm sure you know by now, young adults can be just as weird as their adult counterparts…and the fiction they read is no exception. This novel was written with just such an audience in mind, the kind of readers for whom outrageous fiction can have a staggering appeal. There's no need for grown-up pretense, no need to ground a bizarre story in down-to-earth tropes and serious-minded language. That was why I loved writing this book so much, because it enabled me to cut loose and challenge myself to make it as weird and entertaining as possible in every way. I wrote it for young adult readers and the young adult I once was, craving marvelous epics of the strange and startling…though I've since found I love it just as much when rereading it from the perspective of an adult of more advanced years. If you like offbeat, oddball, fast-paced, high-energy tales, I know you'll love this one just as much as I do. Think of it as an unmade Pixar film…the weirdest, wildest yet. You'll never look at your pinky finger the same way again. – Robert Jeschonek



  • "I highly recommend A Pinstriped Finger's My Only Friend to adults and young adults who are tired of running across the same old story over and over. Jeschonek might have written a story about a teen coming to realize something about the world around him and himself, which is not so strange, but the journey the characters and readers embark on from the very first sentence is like nothing else I have read. I do not want to say anything else about the book, because I want the journey to be as surprising and fun for everyone as it was for me."

    – Sharon the Librarian
  • "Remember the "Simpsons" episode in which Homer has a time machine that moves him through multiple alternate realities, and he tries desperately to get home? Bingo. Judd and Pinkerton, (that's the finger), have to navigate world after world after world, cleaning up Judd's karma and gaining bits of wisdom and insight as they go. The alternate worlds are weird, bizarre, creepy and to varying degrees dangerous. You can just read the story and enjoy the increasingly insane worlds, or I guess you could thoroughly search them for their symbolic meanings. That's sort of a matter of individual taste, since the book can be enjoyed at any level you choose. I got into some worlds and sort of breezed through other worlds, and that worked for me. For what it's worth, the book pulls itself together at the end and has a coherent final chapter that ties everything up and actually packs a bit of a punch. This is not random silliness; there is a sly and subtle intelligence at work here. (The tip-off is the first chapter, which describes Judd waking up in the morning and is a brutally insightful mock on shallow Judd. This is not just a book full of bizarro for bizarro's sake. This book has a point and a message.) So, fun and games and food for thought from a wildly creative but very focused author. A nice change of pace if you're feeling ambitious, or just want a change of pace."

    – Pop Bop, Top 500 Amazon Reviewer
  • " A brilliantly insane tour-de-force, starting right from the dog singing opera. It grabbed me from the first word (the heading "Tomorrow." How can you start a book in tomorrow? Robert Jeschonek can). Killdigit and Judd are honest and hilarious characters. Jeschonek captures Judd's jock world so well, then turns it inside out, sideways, and shoots it into countless parallel universes, including (for me) the scariest one of all, Serial Killer High School. Some of the worlds were a little gross, but the whole thing resonated for me."

    – M. Innes, Amazon Reviewer



Chapter 1


The first thing Judd Ramsey sees when he opens his eyes is...

("Yaaaahh!" Screaming, he scrambles out of bed in a tangle of arms, legs, and bedsheets.)

...something so bizarre, so unbelievable...

(He hits the carpet on both knees, hits it hard, sending a shock right up to his tailbone.)

...that it scares the crap out of him. And that's really saying something, because Judd never scares easy, but holy smoke, what would you do...

(Lurching to his feet, he staggers through the open doorway of his bedroom, out into the hall. His heart is pounding like a nail gun on high speed setting, he has to get away from that thing.)

...seriously, what would you do if you woke up from a sound sleep and looked up and saw some kind of purple, furry creature...

(Run run run run run is all he could think of, all he can do, he has to get away somehow from that freaky monster or whatever it)

...some kind of purple, furry creature hanging from the ceiling, staring down at you...and did I mention...

(Squirming? Are the walls squirming as he runs past, or is it some kind of optical illusion from the panic?)

...did I mention the creature's eyes are bright orange and swirling? What about its breath that smells like gasoline with a hint of bubblegum?

(Oh my God oh my God get away must get away)

That's right! You'd do exactly what Judd does, which is run the heck outta there before this crazy thing can get its...

(Is somebody singing opera?)

...get its tentacles...???

(Go left go left the front door the front door)

...get its tentacles all over you, except what if...

(Oh no, the front door flies open all of a sudden, except it flies open downward, from the ceiling to the floor, and then and then...)

...what if you ran right into the tentacles of another one just like the first...

(...and then a second creature rushes in from outside, just as purple and furry and orange-eyed as the one in his room, and this one grabs him before he can get away, and it says...)

...and it says...

"Good morning, son!" That's what it says!

(And it says it, holy crap holy crap...)

And it says it in the voice of his...

The voice of his mom!

"Where are you running off to this fine morning?"

Judd freezes in the tentacled grip of this freakish monstrosity. His eyes are wide as full moons as he stands there, locked up in the craziest moment of his life so far by far.

Which only gets crazier when Sphinx, the chocolate Lab, saunters in, and Judd realizes who's been doing the opera singing.

(It was Sphinx.)

"What's wrong, honey?" The furry purple thing turns its face all the way around like a pinwheel, so its mouth

(which looks like a green croissant)

is on top, and its swirly orange eyes are on bottom.

And that's when I finally speak up. Because I know how upset Judd is at this point. I know he needs someone to talk him down from the ledge, and that someone has to be me. Because the fact is, no one is more attached to him than I am.

"Hey, Dude!" I shout it as loud as I can. "I said, hey, dude!"

At first, Judd doesn't know where my voice is coming from. He's clueless. So I call out again.

"Dude! Judd!" What I want to do is smack him upside the head, smack some sense into him, but maybe that would be cruel. If I could do it in the first place, of course, which I can't. "Listen up!"

Finally, he looks down in my direction. His eyes get even wider, which I didn't think was possible.

(I feel the tingle of electricity through his nerves, the twitch of muscle, the creaking of bone...)

Then, he lifts his arm, raises his hand to eye level.

(...and I add a little twitch of my own, a little flicker of movement from side to side...)

And this time, when I speak, he hears me loud and clear. He sees me loud and clear.

"That's right, buddy-boy." He sees me, the little finger on his left hand, doing the talking. "Listen up, bro." The deep blue vertical pinstripes running up and down the pale blue length of me

(which isn't very long)

curl as I bend at the first knuckle

(Can I help it if I tend to gesture when I talk?)

and dispense the words of wisdom I've been meaning to say.

"You need to chill out, Judd!"

I still don't know if it's the shock of seeing his pinstriped pinky finger talking to him...

(Like I said, we're attached.)

...or the weird purple furry with its tentacles wrapped around him, or the opera-singing chocolate Lab...

(It could be the walls, come to think of it, which are not only squirming, but crawling.)

...but that's when Judd Ramsey, who has never ever fainted before in his whole entire life...


Can you blame him?