ants under my teeth

I wrote this from the numbed comfort of a dental chair.

So do you crack the teeth?

Crack them?

Yeah, like crack them into little cubes and break em out like an ice tray?

No, we don’t crack them.

Hmm, I remember a cracking or a popping sound last time.

No. I’ll be back in 10 minutes. Spit, please.

10 minutes later I was drifting off staring at my toes and thinking about a colony of ants my brother found under a garden rock in our front yard. He stuck a cherry bomb in the hole, lit the wick, and walked away laughing maniacally. I giggled a little as the doctor returned and asked his assistant for whatever grisly instrument was about to reshape my dental architecture. As the swishing and cracking culminated in a pop, I shouted from the back of my throat aha a’s a ah-ing! I ol’ ou!!

I felt a tingling on my chin, thinking maybe I had drooled or dribbled blood, but the doctor suddenly paused and started repeating

No. Oh my god.

Louder and louder as the ants started pouring out of my mouth and marching over my body. An army of them, carrying my teeth out to 7th Avenue. I closed my mouth and looked up at a man paled by horror, those once confident hands shaking in disbelief.

Hah! Popping! I told you!

Then I remembered my brother’s attack on their mound so many years ago. I thought: you win. Have them, wise things, they’re yours.

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