This is a short story.
Philip's teeth began to speak to each other, or rather the pink roots inside the teeth began to speak, and not speak in the literal sense, but with flows of blood which contained messages that would be shared by the whole mouth. "Gentlemen, it is time to face the grave danger that our fathers spoke of so long ago" said the front left tooth, one of the biggest in Philip's mouth. Front left was rectangular and often appeared in conversations with other mouths. He was an a figurehead; the ambassador, if you will. "Before they pushed their way to the freedom, breaking the brutal enslavement inflicted by the primitive gums, our fathers were nothing but roots beneath the surface. They synthesized enamel and fought for our liberty. Now, they have all fallen out, but we shall not forget them, condemned to their watery graves."
"Get to the point", said the bottom small tooth, second from Philip's left front tooth. "You're taking all day to tell us what we've been thinking all along...The Prophecy was right. The Wise Teeth would one day appear."
"Settle down, bottom second-from-left. I was only delivering an impromptu lesson on our glorious fallen fathers, the roots of our past. I got a little off track, I admit. Let us..."
Just then, the pushing came again. Primordial pressure, like the constant lurch of time, pushed inside the mouth. From the back rear teeth and pushing forward, the force was immovable, and the teeth began to shriek in confusion. "God! The Pain!" said the rear teeth on top. The flesh around them was red and battered, like the inside of raw salmon, stretched taut as the skin of a drum. They were pushing so close together that the gums all around them looked as if they would bleed at any minute. The crisis was nigh.
"Please! Ignore it. Block it out! Let the pain roll away, and stand firm. Don't let the Wise Teeth push us further together! The integrity of the mouth DEPENDS on it," said the top left, dominating the situation as usual. The pointy left front tooth snickered. "This guy makes everything sound like a Winston Churchill speech or something..." he commented. A laugh erupted through the whole mouth, with hundreds of messages floating through the veins happily.
"I propose a solution", said the usually silent front right tooth, the insider, who always hid behind the front left. He was a mysterious character with a mystical reputation. Many considered him the shaman of the mouth. "It is a hard one, but the only way that the Wise Teeth will settle with us peacefully. We have to push one of our own out."
A gasp pulsed all throughout the mouth. Even the enamel seemed to shake. Push someone out? That would mean death of the root and considerable pain for the enamel, which would probably float downstream to the ocean with common rock trash and seashells. Gone it would be from its rightful place within Philip's mouth, a position inherited since birth, after its father root had broken a hole to the surface and given him a place to exit the fleshy womb of the gums.
Second from-the-left-bottom-tooth voiced his disapproval with Top Right Front's radical idea. "It means elimination of the remaining symmetry of the mouth. When this mouth started, it was with the intentions of making a perfect half-moon shape, with equal space for each tooth and comfort for everyone, including the cheeks and gums. Granted, the way we were unable to control the growth of our enamel was unexpected. I wish that our fathers had left us a clue on how to ensure each tooth grew to the same size, but anyhow...we're in this mess. I think we have to find a way out of it, without causing one of our own to fall clear out!"
Many of the teeth agreed with his statement, but nearly all of them were scared to admit it. Most didn't want to stand out from the group. They were embarassed that the front bottom and top teeth couldn't agree on anything. Some of the back teeth actually believed that the front teeth had made themselves crooked on purpose, just to give themselves distinct appearances to attract attention and denote importance in Philip's mouth. Of course, they never revealed this to the front teeth, and spoke in code, because they feared the front teeth, who generally were far more outgoing.
Middle-Front-Right tooth laughed at the leftist little bottom tooth. "Your ideas are pink and fleshy. I am telling you...the only way the wisdom teeth will stop pushing is if we make room for them in this mouth. They need their own place to come out."
"Traitor! Traitor! Conspirator!" shouted the top right tooth, a large corner tooth that used to be pointy like the top left, but had been humbled by a bicycle accident when Philip was 8. Philip had fallen off his bicycle and had chipped off the tip of Top Right Corner-tooth. Since the accident, he had never been the same. He now rarely celebrated or admonished the other teeth's exploits. Until this moment, he had been mostly a recluse, perhaps only a shade more outgoing than Top Right Middle. "You are crazy to even think about letting the Wise Teeth out. They're pushing the back teeth as we speak. You know how the prophecy goes. They shall cause massive upheaval, pushing their way until we all crush into each other and our enamel shatters into dust. Our roots will dry up and Philip's mouth will be empty."
"Except for me", said the tongue. The rest of the mouth ignored him.
"I am no more a conspirator than you, Top-Right-Corner. After all, it wasn't my enamel that happened to come within contact with common pavement. I bet you enjoyed being chipped by that sidewalk. You probably got an illicit thrill."
"LIAR!" shouted Top Right Corner tooth angrily, losing his composure quickly. This isn't at all uncommon for corner teeth, who carry the enormous responsibility of guarding the integrity of the inner teeth and blocking the entry of would-be intruders, such as baseball bats and red brick walls. The corner teeth, although brave, were also in great danger every day. That may be why they are such patriots, willing to sacrifice themselves for the inner teeth that depend on them. For this reason, the other teeth remained silent during the exchange between Top Right Corner and Middle-Front Right.
Second-from-the-right-top spoke up. "What if we had another way around this problem?"
"What do you mean? There is no way to reason with madroots like the Wise Teeth. They have but one perogative, and that is to extinguish all teeth within the mouth except themselves," said the Top Left Middle.
"No, you misunderstand my plan. What if we were to all succomb to pain, give up our resistance, and stop pushing back when the Wise Teeth push us? Perhaps the pain would be so great that Philip would notice our plight and find a God to get them removed, instead of us."
Second-from-the-right-top was one of the most unpopular teeth. He was believed to be vain, and his enamel had a curve which was visible to other mouths. He could be said to be somewhat of a glory hog, although this idea was probably the best one yet.
"What if he doesn't do anything about it? We don't know how long he'll stay at the job where he is now..." said Top Left Middle. "Who knows when his 80% coverage of Gods runs out? And we know that removing the Wise Teeth would be a costly proposition. One thing is for certain-- Philip would never finance the operation from his own pocket. He would never pay that kind of fee himself. Our hope is doomed!"
"It doesn't mean that we shouldn't try," said Second-From-The-Right-Top, obviously enjoying the attention. His words began to resonate among the other teeth. "Our rootfathers once gave us freedom, and now we shall fight to maintain that freedom. I am not asking us to surrender...I'm asking us to believe. To believe in whom? Philip, the keeper of the mouth, slave of the Gods. It is to Philip that we owe our creation, but our Gods preserve us. With their green lab coats and those hygenic masks over their faces, they repair us when we are damaged, and they clean us when we are troubled and covered in plaque. And they shall save us, because Philip shall fill out the insurance form and go and get that operation done. The Wise Teeth will be removed. This smile will remain intact."
The other teeth applauded this statement by varying their blood flows to one another gradually. One of the wealthy, arterial back teeth put in an order for some adrenaline and a whole bunch of endorphins. A celebration was at hand! The teeth rejoiced, renewed by their new plan, and confident that they would remain free and intact, however crooked, until the Gods decide to remove them, or until Philip gets hit by that bus when he reaches 85.
~Jeremy Brendan, ©2000, All Rights Reserved.