Manicure – by Steve Campbell

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I rub a blunt thumb over the tip of my finger to check for any unwanted nail growth and snag the faintest of threads. It stubbornly folds under the weight of every scrape so I move the finger to my mouth, where the familiar sound of gnawing echoes inside my head. Saliva begins to weaken the protruding strip so I nudge it back and forth with my tongue before clamping it between my teeth. I give it a gentle tug to confirm the grip and then I yank my finger free of my mouth.

Spitting out the nail shard, I blow cool air on the freshly exposed skin. Sometimes it tears cleanly, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s as random as peeling wallpaper. This bite has torn up a line of flesh and I lick away the crimson that has risen to take its place. The inflamed area stings like a paper cut and throbs in time to the pulsing blood but the soreness will fade in time. I nurse the wound with my tongue until the bleeding stops and then I hold my hand out to admire my work. Another perfect fingernail.


Established in 1973, Steve Campbell is a 6ft 5 full-time designer, part-time writer and lover of bubble wrap. He’s written articles for design blogs and print magazines and, in a former life, he self-published two coffee-table design books. You can find him online via his website:, Medium: or on twitter:


2 Replies to “Manicure – by Steve Campbell”

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