Listen officer, kids die all the time, you know. Trust me. And seventeen isn’t that young. But his blood tasted like mine, that was a surprise. So was his walk; wobble really. Monnie told me he needed a few more, “Get it girl,” that’s what she said, and she said it just like that, like her lips were dripping with sticky spit and she was slurping it back up. I couldn’t, not just then, couldn’t give him what he need.
It’s that kind of place, like. Where I live, we’re plastic playgrounds, sun bleached like they been covered in curdled milk, and those rough gray walls, you know, the ones that rip the backs of your arms when you’re making out against them, they’re the ones, and they’re all covered in tags, pretty ones, oranges and reds, sometimes yellow. Art, but white trash. No sir, I think it’s kind of a cute term. We got lawn chairs in the front yard next to broken motor boats and American flags. But more than that, in my neighborhood, we’re pit bulls on rope leashes, gnashing wet teeth at each other. Those bright shiny teeth. They don’t give women something like that, something sharp. Women, we’re stuck all round and curved and softy you know? Nothing slick, slicey, nothing deadly to flash. We gotta find fake ones. That’s what Monnie said. And she runs things. She does. Tawny, blonde. She’s a queen in a Jeep Cherokee. What I mean is, she’s real smart, knows about everything.
That’s why she carries a gun. The one she gave me. At the party on the stomped grass soccer field near our old middle school. Lit blazing orange between the night dark and the fire light, smoke swirled around her, the thick of it nestling into the strings of her hair. She pressed that silver metal into my hand and it gave me superpowers. The butt was ivory and engraved with a rose and it was shiny, in a way that looked wet and I pointed it at his chest. ‘Cause he got too close. You know what I mean too close. Yeah, I bet you do. No sir, only that you can get as close as you want ‘cause you got a gun. Men like you always have a gun sir, even when you’re not armed. You could do what that kid did, slide your hand round the skin on my belly, push down near the zipper of my jeans, you could make any girl like your dolly. And it wasn’t that. He was already doing that, all boys do that before they even meet you, before they even touch you, they’ve been doing that.
It was that I’d given him a few snaps, telling him to go to hell, makin’ a show of him, but he kept gnawing at me. “Don’t tempt her boy” Monnie said behind my ear and her breath smelled like wintermint gum and old Budweiser. And he laughed. Stepped towards me on the wet grass, wrapped his hands around my hips with his mouth pressed into my neck. I shoved him with my shoulder and lifted the gun. “What? You goin’ a shoot me?” he said and I understood why they keep them dogs on ropes; because on that grass my spine bent, I lowered to all fours, hot drool clung from my silky ivory teeth. Covered in thick, fatty muscle and quivering short hairs, my muzzle rounded and I was a dog. A dog. And Officer, sir, my bloody teeth bit.
Now, a gun’s a weird thing, hollow metal, but it’s not the metal that make it deadly, it’s the emptiness.
It wasn’t how I thought. I thought it might burst like the Fourth of July or squish like a strawberry Gusher between your teeth, but it didn’t. It was a momentary black hole and a spiral of gray smoke from the singed edge of his Ed Hardy T-shirt. Still, the initial blow was enough to spatter a few specks of blood and skin on my lips. I felt the flesh and blood between my teeth. I licked and it tasted just like mine. It was just like mine. And for a few beats, he tried to talk, but it was nonsense groans. He stepped towards me, his eyebrows all earnest and he coughed. His hand was out and then he started bleeding out. It was the color of box wine and the thickness of blackstrap molasses. That’s when Monnie said he needed a few more, but when I looked down, I saw I’d been turned back into a girl. A girl in jeans and a blood soaked shirt from Forever 21. I froze. So it was Monnie. Monnie and her set of teeth who ended his suffering, put him down.
6 thoughts on “Fake Teeth Yarn by Kiersen Clerkin”
The great tempo and fantastic language make it sorrowful when the piece ends. But it does close at the exact right place. Excellent writing here.
A great piece loaded with shape shifting ambiguity and horror. Fantastic use of language!
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I agree with Leila – beautiful, descriptive writing. I also love how you juxtapose the everyday with such rich writing, for eg. ‘shirt from Forever 21’. Superb piece of writing.
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Gritty, intense and bizarre … all wrapped in an excellent package. Very nice.
I really did enjoy this!
What I really thought was clever was that when you read it you always believe that she is playing with metaphor in a vampire / werewolf story type of way. But it is reversed, the metaphor is an actuality and it is more a comparison which many try but very few do well.
Well thought out and very well done.