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TEETH

October 3, 2017

 

He was sitting in a restaurant, on a cushioned chair, with his legs closed so tight the sides of his knees were blistering. He kept his head down, over his soup, his right hand holding a spoon that was about to be used, and his left hand in his pocket, fingers tight around a string of teeth.

His brother sat across from him. They were using a small two-person table, so they could be close to each other. He liked watching his brother eat. He usually felt comforted by watching him chuck food into his mouth, watching it being torn into bolus, and watching the drool slither down the sides of his lips. His little brother could feed himself, could live.

Though his eyes remained on his soup, he could hear that his brother’s slurping was extra loud, but he gained no comfort from listening his brother’s most vicious show of self-reliance tonight. Inside it’s pocket, he told his left palm to engulf the string, but it wasn’t trying hard enough, and a tooth was always slipping out.

He began to shake when his full spoon was halfway to his mouth. When the soup began to spill over the edges and dive back into the bowl, his brother stopped to look at him. “What the fuck is with you? You’re going to make a mess.” He whispered before swallowing.

“I saw the string in my dream last night . . .” He murmured, finally looked up from his food, eyes bulging and hollow, mouth growing wide and shrinking away to the back of his face, “There’s a dead man in my soup . . . I can see his soul swimming between my teeth.”

His brother huffed and spit-food was flung onto his face and into his mouth, “There’s nothing in your God damn soup, now shut the hell up and eat!”

After a small moment of silence his brother went back to eating, and he went back to trying to get all the teeth into one hand.

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