It’s never easy pulling teeth, it’s certainly not like in them gangster films. For a start those roots really don’t wanna give, so when you combo that with trying to grip a tooth with pliers – it’s like threading a needle holding a jackhammer. Nope, it sure ain’t easy, and when ya couple that with the struggling and being your wife and child and all, well it’s just plumb impossible.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I like a good serial killer yarn as much as the next guy, but this ain’t that.
I started to work it out when I got back from work one day. In I walked to the sound of moaning coming from one of the bedrooms. My heart skipped and I ran down the hall to find my wife bending over, tending to our little girl Layla. Layla was crying and holding the side of her face. Mel held an ice pack to it ‘you’ll be fine, baby’ she said, ‘daddy will fix it when he’s home’.
Mel heard me and turned her head, ‘it’s her tooth’ she said, ‘I can see that’ I said.
I calmed Layla down, stroked her hair, reassured her. Then I asked her to let me look – the problem was clear. One of her back teeth was all askew. I got her to wiggle it back and forth, back and forth, then out it came. With a whimper and giggle she handed it to me, black it was, rotten right through.
I handed it to Mel who looked shocked. ‘The dentist gave a clean bill of health’ she said, I shrugged. But it ate at me all evening and night. We’d been strict, no sweets or cake, juice or soda – curious.
By the time lunch came round the following day, I’d forgotten the tooth. I was sitting and eating when in walked Tim and Nick, chatting away all chummy. They walked right up to me, sat down and Tim asked, ‘how was your evening, Mervin?’ How my evening was? How was my evening! I couldn’t believe it, for a start, Tim and Nick hated each other – for the full 7 years I’d been working at there. Now, they sat right down, all chummy and asked how my evening had gone.
That revelation was not the brain freeze of the situation – that came when bold as brass Nick stuck his finger in his mouth and began picking at something at the back of his mouth. Gawping like a monkey on heat, I could see the black cavities in his teeth. They knew, they must have, but how? who told em?I got up and walked away, walked home, called in sick for the rest of the day – while I figured out what was happening.
When I got back, Mel and Layla were yabbering away to each other, so fast that I could barely keep up. Mel had the phone and seemed to be talking to someone else at the same time, whilst Layla drew with crayons and chatted about god knows what. I left em to it and went into the kitchen, there must be a reason, must be a cause. I turned that place upside down but found nothing.
For days, I wracked my brains, but the more I looked, the more I saw – all over town, people picking their teeth and babbling. At work I watched people eat, starred as they munched, their teeth – little black marks. It was all in the teeth.
A parasite, an alien, something slowly taking over – I’ve seen the films. It all made sense – it’s how they knew, how Tim and Nick had known, known to ask. The yabber and yammer – it was them. Talking in code, plotting.
Tim approached and I took my chance – I rose and smacked him clean in the mouth. Two went spiralling onto the floor and there was silence. SILENCE. That was it, get rid of the teeth.