Oct/Nov 2008  •   Fiction

Stanley's Lonely Love Song

by Nick Bakshi

Stanley set down his pliers next to the gasoline can and plunged his arm into the jar of red liquid on the kitchen table. He fished around until his fingers met the jagged points of little teeth, and then he corralled a fistful and pulled them out, sopping wet, and held them a moment until the sinewy bits of red gook had dripped off. He clasped his hands and shook the little teeth like dice, splattering his face and clothes in red. He commenced to sing a tune:

This is a song—a rattle of the dice—chah chah chah!

For all the girls—hands beside his ear—chah chah chah!

Who never loved—a hop-step to the kitchen door—chah chah!

My gummy smile—a pirouette into a swooping bow—chah chah chah chah chah chah!

He bowled the handful of teeth onto the glistening living room floor and looked up, peeling back his lips, to reveal a pink, toothless grin. Fourteen electrified eyes glared back at him over seven snotty noses. "Had enough?" he asked them.

A chorus of duct-taped squeals.

"I didn't think so!" he laughed, and turned for the kitchen. He repeated his performance until all 224 teeth lay strewn at his spectator's feet.

The police still haven't arrived, he thought. Why haven't they arrived?

He walked over to the first in his semi-circle of attendants and ripped the duct tape from her lips. She coughed out the backed up blood. He grabbed her chin and forced her gaze into his. "Come on baby. Scream for me. Look into my eyes and scream. Scream like you would have in the bedroom. Look at me like you would have in the street."

He ripped the tape off the other six in turn, releasing a cacophony of toothless shrieks. He orchestrated with swinging arms and, when the sound of sirens finally broke their harmony, he jitterbugged around the room.