Oct/Nov 2009 Nonfiction

False Teeth

by Don Webb

Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

My grandfather once accused me of stealing his false teeth. Or more specifically, the bottoms of his false teeth. Alzheimer's had a good hold on him by then, and every day was something. I was twelve between elementary and middle school, and I had become his care-giver because no one was ready to take a good long look at the old man. The family thought me cold because I said he was crazy. In truth I loved him more than them.

I'll never forget the rage in his eyes as he tried to chase me down the street. "My teess, my teees," as though crying out the name of a French impressionist. Later, I broke into the house and found the missing bottoms under his mattress. After his afternoon nap all was well, my crime forgotten.


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