• Keri Heath

Teeth


Marian was going to be promoted today. She knew she would. Her boss had been hinting at it for a week and yesterday, she'd seen the paperwork on the corner of his desk while she was leaving. Jim was a good boss, but an organized one? No.

There was some small part of Marian's head that told her that no, it wasn't actually a promotion. She didn't want to get her hopes up only to have the dashed, after all. She was so sure, but she tried to keep her head level.

After she'd eaten her toast, she went back in the bathroom to floss. Huh. That was weird. She hadn't remembered chipping her tooth when she fell off her bike the other day. It'd been a pretty minor fall. Just a slam against the wall after a dog rushed out in front of her. But a chunk was gone from her top canine, as if someone had just cut into it like a cake. Well, now she'd have to get into the dentist.

Marian finished flossing and hurried out the door to work.

She chained up her bike with the fleet outside and climbed the stairs up to the third floor of the office building.

She got right to work. If she was going to get promoted today, she she look the part. Besides, her inbox was full of design requests from clients. Marian frowned. Why did so many people want her to tweak the designs she'd done for them? Maybe she didn't do as good a job at meeting her clients' needs as she thought she did. Marian ran her tongue over her teeth.

What? She could have sworn it was just that one that had been chipped. Now she could distinctly feel two.

She pulled her compact out of her bag to take a look.

"Marian?" It was Jim. "Getting to work?"

"Uh..." Marian couldn't think of what to say.

Jim pushed his glasses up. "Just get to work please."

"But I was just..." He was already gone.

Something squirmed inside her. She ran her tongue along her teeth - was that three of them now? - and got to her inbox.

By lunch, she could swear her teeth were chipping inside her mouth. That didn't make sense. That wasn't possible.

But when she pulled out her compact to look, she was distracted by all the clapping.

"What's going on?" she asked.

Linda leaned forward. "Did you hear? Rebecca got promoted. Isn't that great?"

A pit fell in Marian's stomach. "Yeah, that's great." Something clicked inside Marian's mouth. She put her hand to her face.

Linda pinched her eyebrows. "Are you ok?"

Marian nodded. Then, she rushed to the bathroom.

"Oh, hi Marian." It was Carol from advertising.

Marian sighed and pretended to wash her hands. "Hi, how are you?"

Carol was reapplying lipstick. "I'm just looking forward to Greg's birthday party Friday, am I right? His birthdays are always the most fun."

Marian turned off the water. "What?"

Carol smacked her lips. "Did you not get the invite? I thought he added everyone to the group. Huh." She put the cap back on her lipstick. "I'm sure he'll add you once he knows."

Marian pursed her lips. "Of course."

When Carol had left, Marian opened her mouth. "What?" That couldn't be right. One of her molars. It was gone. "Oh my God." Marian poked the space with her tongue. Sure enough, it was empty. "What?" Marian put a finger inside her mouth to feel, but when the finger knocked against her front tooth, that fell out too. The tooth clattered down into the sink. Marian yelped. "Oh my God. Oh my God."

Marian burst into the office and rushed through the cubicles. On her way out the door, she saw Jim waving his hands. "Marian, where are you going? Marian? Marian?"

She raced down all three flights of stairs. Dentist. She had to get to a dentist.

She stuck a finger inside her mouth. Gone. More teeth gone. Panic bubbled in her stomach. How was she going to get there in time?

She started walking, just started walking. Her mouth was warm and wet. When she put her finger on her lip, it came away red. She realized now she'd left her bike back at the office. The bus. She could take the bus. She sprinted to the next stop, her ears pounding, pounding.

When she got there, she stood under the glass shelter, panting. The timetable was printed on one glass wall and Marian walked over to read it. That's when she saw her reflection in the glass, all frazzled and mouth bloodied.

She was so sure she was going to get promoted today. She'd smiled in the bathroom mirror that morning. Now, when she opened her mouth, she saw no teeth at all.

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