WHEN THE FIRST TOOTH FELL OUT, Leonard was in his boxer briefs. They were the ones his mother gave him two Christmases ago. They were forest green with red block letters that read, "HO HO HO!" in a repeating pattern. He liked them because they were flannel and very warm against his genitals.
He spit the tooth into his palm and fingered it with his thumb.
Strange, he thought, running his tongue along his teeth line like a roll call.
Leonard didn't taste any blood.
He put the tooth on the bathroom windowsill.
When the next two teeth fell out, Leonard was wearing a white button down shirt, with a dark blue tie, and navy slacks. He did not have any particular feelings about these articles of clothing as they were just the regular things he put on in order to go to work. Sometimes Leonard wished he could just go to work in his Christmas boxers. His girlfriend always told him he needed to put more thought into his wardrobe if he wanted to get ahead at his company. Leonard thought she probably was right.
Leonard was in a staff meeting so he rolled them around on his tongue for a while and then nonchalantly spat them into his hand when he thought nobody was paying attention…like discreetly dispensing of a sliver of bone into a napkin during a formal dinner. He put them into his pocket and tried not to smile the rest of the day.
When he got home, he put them onto the bathroom windowsill next to the first one.
Whenever he used his bathroom, he’d see them sitting there. The teeth. He would refer to them as, "The Three Toothkateers".
He wondered if he could find them some tiny swords and plumed hats.
Leonard was naked when the next three teeth fell out. He was in the shower, washing his armpits, belting out Led Zeppelin to his bathroom ceiling. He almost choked.
After he coughed them up, he counted them, and put them on the soap dish and finished showering. When he was dry, these three joined the ranks of the Toothkateers on the windowsill.
Leonard was now getting a bit angry at his escaping teeth. He felt maybe there was something wrong with him, that they were abandoning him after 26 years together. What did he do to deserve this? He felt rejected. Let down. He stared at them sitting on the windowsill. Their silence felt like judgment. But I took care of you, he thought, dejectedly. Nothing. Just quiet condemnation.
For breakfast Leonard had oatmeal or eggs. Lunch, soup or egg salad. Dinners were mostly potato based; mashed, baked, shredded, with butter and cheese. Sometimes fish.
When he smiled at himself in the mirror, he looked like a broken window pane. The smiles weren’t real, they were reality checks. Leonard did not feel very happy.
When teeth seven, eight, nine and ten fell out, Leonard was wearing a black t-shirt and blue running shorts, the song on his iPod was, "Sympathy for the Devil". He slowed his run to a walk and spat a mouthful of gummy runner's spit and teeth into the dirt. He counted them. "FUCKING SHIT!" he yelled to nobody. Except, with the lack of teeth, it came out sort of like, "fhuthing thit". He walked until his breath returned to normal, and eventually, made his way back to where his teeth lay, and picked them up like pretty stones amongst the dust…Mick Jagger singing, “But what's puzzling you…is the nature of my game…” in his headphones.
Poem of the Week
who have experienced
on a large
i tell raif
i think my
might be dead
haven't seen her
& her car hasn't moved
for two weeks.
you would smell it
passing me a plate
of triangular shaped bread
slathered in jam.
Story of the Week
DARLEEN SQUEELED into the empty spot as soon as the gleaming white Mercedes pulled out. "We got lucky," she told Montana. "Even on a Monday night, this lot is killer."
Montana rolled her big blue eyes. "Whatever."
The eleven year old had better things to do, like text her friends. Incessantly, as if she had a tic. The kid hadn't wanted to shop tonight, but Darleen insisted. This was their first Christmas without Paulie and the girls needed to stick together. Darleen's ex had been nasty lately and mediation had hit a cement wall. Montana wasn't aware how dangerously close they were to losing access to Paulie's vast and unreported wealth.
Montana sighed dramatically as she yanked open the door of the Porsche Cayenne and tumbled out. She didn't pause in her texting.
Darlene checked her face in the rearview mirror. The most recent fat transfer had been wildly successful. She loved her new lips. Grabbing her Gucci bag, she hopped out of the front seat.
Her daughter trailed her into the mall, thumbs flashing on her phone keypad.