Caroline’s New Teeth

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Caroline came into the kitchen the while I was making dinner.

“Mommy, my tooth feels funny.”

I had her open her mouth and I told her to point to the one that felt different. She did. It was one of the bottom incisors. I touched it with the tip of my finger. It wiggled.

“That’s normal, honey. Remember when I told you you’d get big girl teeth? You’re gonna lose your baby teeth and the Tooth Fairy will give you a dollar!”

Caroline smiled. “I’m a big girl!” she announced.

“You can wiggle it with your tongue if you want,” I suggested. I’d read that helps the process along.

Caroline worked her tongue around inside her closed mouth, then scampered back into the living room.

A couple days later, as she munched away on a chunk of apple, she dropped the piece and gasped. I glanced over. There were a few drops of blood on the plate.

“Was that your tooth, honey?” I asked.

Caroline nodded, then drooled a teaspoon of blood and saliva onto her snack, followed by the tooth.

“Congratulations!” I said. “The Tooth Fairy is going to visit tonight!”

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The Secret Doctors of NASA: A Dentist’s Discovery

“The Secret Doctors of NASA” is a series of memoirs, diaries, and reports from actual doctors employed by an undisclosed arm of NASA between 1970 and 2001. These writings contain true accounts of the unusual and often highly-classified medical conditions experienced by astronauts during and after their space missions. Following the defunding of the clandestine medical program after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the majority of these accounts were left, forgotten, on tape drives in a NASA storage facility. In 2016, a former intern, whose job was to clean out one of these facilities, discovered them. Two years later, he is ready to release what he found.

A Dentist’s Discovery

Arnold F. A*******, DDS
August 4th, 1989

I met the astronaut after a half-year mission on the Russian space station. He’d gone through his preliminary post-landing physical but complained about pain in his jaw and gums. His health, aside from those complaints, was fair.

It was my job to find out what was wrong with him before moving him on to the next specialist. The urologist, I think. The order always changes.

The patient was in decent spirits when we met, although I could tell something was on his mind. We chatted for a little bit. It turned out he’d been working on the Feng-Lee Discovery. My heart sank. Continue reading “The Secret Doctors of NASA: A Dentist’s Discovery”

Lippy

For most of my life, I’ve been self conscious about the appearance of my inner labia. It didn’t come out of nowhere. I think I first noticed I was unique when I was 13 and saw my first few porn scenes. The women there looked different from me.

Still, I didn’t feel uncomfortable until I was 16 and my first boyfriend made a hurtful comment. “What’s wrong with your pussy?” he sneered, and giggled to himself. That was all it took for me to develop a complex.

That relationship, thankfully, didn’t last very long. But the embarrassment and insecurity remained. I didn’t seek out new boyfriends or sexual partners for the rest of high school. I didn’t say anything to my mother, who’d noticed I’d grown depressed and self conscious. All I did was hate myself and wish I could change.

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A Case of Hives

My ex-wife, Janie, died. I was happy to see her go.

I regained custody of our beautiful son, Barry. He’s four years old. For the last two years, I’d been out of his life. Janie kept him away from me. God only knows what poison she filled his head with; all her hatred of me spilling out of her lying mouth to make Barry despise his old man. But all that’s over now. He’s mine again. And he’ll love me soon enough.

It was clear she’d said some terrible things to influence his perception of me. “Daddy’s bad,” Barry informed me one night. Tears filled my eyes and I clutched my son to my chest and whispered, “your Daddy is a good man, Barry. Your Daddy will take care of you.”

I meant it, although I hated him when he squirmed to get away. He was afraid of me. His mother’s poison still coursed through his veins.

In early April, Barry seemed under the weather. I checked him out. He’d developed hives. I was overjoyed. This would be my opportunity to redeem myself with him. Once he saw how well I could take care of him, he’d love me again. I thought back to his tiny hand clutching my finger moments after he was born. He’d loved me from the start. Then Janie ripped it out of him. I seethed.

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A Gifted Chef

I was lucky enough to be the next-door neighbor of a world-class chef. Like, legit world class. Like, Michelin star class. Yeah. The real deal. Stewart Therriault. Maybe you’ve heard of him.

One of the benefits of living near Stewart was getting to try all the sumptuous, creative dishes he’d make whenever he was home. Seriously, the guy cooked all the time. As soon as I’d see the lights go on in his house, it was only a matter of time before thick, luscious aromas wafted into my home. And, because he was a great guy, he’d often bring over a plate or two for me to try. “It’s all practice for the restaurant,” he told me. Continue reading “A Gifted Chef”

Under My Teeth

Something’s living under my teeth. Whenever I chew, it screams. I had to stop eating. Now I blend everything up and drink it so I don’t have to hear the sound anymore. Brushing my teeth is out. More screaming; bloodcurdling shrieks stopping only when I don’t apply pressure. Even when I sleep, if my mouth closes and my teeth click together, my ears are pierced with the sounds of agony. Continue reading “Under My Teeth”

Tiptoeing the Line of Consent

“No,” I insisted. “Absolutely and unequivocally. No.”

I studied his face. It looked like he was prepared to accept what I was saying, but somewhere in his eyes I saw what I’d been hoping for. Something I barely wanted to admit, but nonetheless what I wanted most of all: he understood that behind my protestations was a plea to be convinced.

He opened his mouth and I studied his tongue. It was pink and firm and marked with tastebuds. The sheen of saliva on the muscle was both inviting and repelling; I loved how it felt inside me. I enjoyed the sensations it produced. But it left things behind. When he pulled away, I would feel the air on the wetness it deposited. It was cold. Discomforting.

I met his mouth with mine and let his tongue slip between my lips. It brushed against my own and I tasted his saliva. His mouth was still salty and slightly bitter from our earlier acts together. Not altogether unpleasant, but still noteworthy. I assumed mine tasted similar. Continue reading “Tiptoeing the Line of Consent”

I’m still traumatized by what happened when I answered that Craigslist ad.

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The ad wanted a male companion for 6 hours. No sex, nothing illegal, and, get this: it paid $10,000. Who wouldn’t jump at 10k?

We met at his house. His handshake was firm. He seemed solidly middle-class; modest home, basic decor, nothing ostentatious. A suburban bachelor pad. After our hellos, he asked if I’d like something to drink. His fridge was stocked with microbrews. Good stuff! I grabbed a Dogfish Head 90 and he guided me to the basement. “That’s where we’ll be working,” he said.

The basement was sparsely furnished. Most prominent was what looked like an old dentist’s chair with a table next to it. The table was covered in a gray cloth. The man handed me an envelope he’d been carrying. $5000. “You can have the rest when we’re finished,” he told me. “It’ll only be a few hours.” Continue reading “I’m still traumatized by what happened when I answered that Craigslist ad.”

Caviar

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I’ve gone all over the world to find the best food. Six continents, thousands of regions, countless dishes; all in search of the perfect meal. For a while, I thought it may never happen. There was always something a little off; salt, freshness, temperature – tiny, niggling complaints that, to anyone else, would be meaningless. To me, though, they were the difference between perfection and mundanity. My quest went on.

During my travels, I’d learned about an “underground supper club” in Moscow which met once a year. While “underground supper club” sounds mysterious and illicit, it’s just a place that operates casually, aka: without a food license. Chefs all over do it all the time for their friends. I’ve been to many.

This one was supposed to be different. They had the best caviar.

Caviar is a luxury item, but even in luxury-obsessed Russia, it’s started to fall out of favor because of sustainability issues. It’s still widely available, but the good stuff is getting harder and harder to find. The “best stuff” is nearly impossible to get a hold of. It’s locked down by the oligarchs and heads of state; if you’re not one of them or in close company, you’re out of luck. So when I heard that supper club would be serving the best of the best, I knew I had to get in there.

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The Squirming Man

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Don’t pretend this is anything other than a suicide note. You are reading the words of a dead man whose body may still be warm.

For the last 40 years, I’ve been terrorized by the squirming man. At this moment, his name means nothing to you. If you wish for that to continue, stop reading now.

The squirming man first visited when I was six. I was in the shower. When I’d finished and pulled back the curtain, he was standing there. Waiting. Before I could scream, my mouth was filled.

To describe the squirming man is to revisit decades of trauma. Regardless, I need to be strong and write about him. I don’t want him to be a mysterious figure. I want my knowledge of him to be out there. I want people to know he exists. People should be ready if he visits them; I have no doubt he will once I’m gone.

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