He directed his focus as best he could as he shook me awake from playground heroics in my sleep. “I have a surprise. Come with me.” He whispered. He smelled of a variety of fermented spirits and his bloodshot eyes wobbled loosely in his head. I never argued when he smelled like this.
The floor was especially cold against my feet as I tip-toed down the hall and into the living room. Several sets of skis, boots and bindings lay across the floor.
“Are we going skiing?” I asked as excited as possible while yawning.
“Shh, your mother is sleeping, but no, we aren’t.” He paused, “Some guy just gave me those.” He closed the door that led back down the hall and directed me with a silent hand gesture toward the table and he turned on a small lamp in the corner. There was something shiny on his hands that became redder as he approached. He sat down next to me.
He reached into his jacket pocket while eyeing to see if the hallway door was still closed.
“Look what I have,” he whispered as he leaned toward me as he pulled his hand from his jacket pocket and emptied the contents onto the table. They sounded thin and inconsequential like a few dimes bouncing lightly on the table’s surface before becoming still as red and yellowing shards. Still sleepy, I tried to focus on what they were. My Father moved even closer to me.
“These are teeth. I wanted you to have them.” I gathered them up by sweeping them into my hand from the edge of the table. I then pulled a stray tooth that was still stuck to Dad’s palm. They were still warm and sticky in my hands, and all mine. Before I went back to sleep, I put them in the clear mason jar on top of my dresser, with the others.
* * *
About the author:
A joyfully dubious childhood has led Devin Galaudet to cross a variety of careers including film, construction, antiques, and gambling. He is currently gambling as a freelance writer, the Editor of In The Know Traveler, an online travel magazine, and an MFA student at Antioch University, Los Angeles.