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on loss of tooth and finger

Every time my teeth fall out I could swear it's real life. That after all the dreams in which it’s happened the day has finally come. Somehow they never fall out like you think they should. Every time it happens I try to cram them back in, foremost with denial of what's actually happening. This time it was the back half of my right front tooth. Somehow this time part of my lower lip and chin had also torn free and I was standing in front of the mirror with a roll of masking tape trying to tape it all back into place so that it could heal as much as possible while I went to the store for some super glue. I wondered about the possible effects of a powerful adhesive on my torn flesh but in light of not having health insurance I knew it didn't actually matter.

Eric had come over and was looking at an empty Glock-branded holster he'd found tucked away somewhere by my bunk bed and was wondering where the actual Glock was. I wondered that too. I told him I was going to have to go to the store for some super glue to glue my face back together. Given the situation I was kind of hoping he would drive. I’d also already driven to Walmart earlier in the night for some possibly self-help group also attended by some old acquaintances from high school. Somehow I’d found myself having hijacked the meeting, and fighting to speak through the sobbing movements of high emotion was embarrassing myself by blubbering on to the counselor about everyone's separate journey in life and hidden answers that were impossible to trade without having experienced the same exact circumstances.

Ironically unable to relate the others around me stared at the floor, lightly shaking their heads, in just having to sit through it all and doubly embarrassed for me. I tried to take solace in the fact that I could post about the episode later on Facebook to try and publicly express some form of my knowing how fucking weird both the situation was and I am, as if my knowledge of the fact that I’m crazy ultimately means that thus I can't be. But deep down I knew it didn't really matter, as everyone I know on Facebook also thinks I'm fucking nuts anyway and that really any attempt to pretend I'm not only comes off as some kind of pathetic desperation for acceptance.

A friend stopped by to pick up Eric and I had texted Chelsea who was on her way to get me and drive me to the store. When she pulled up I went outside and climbed on top her concrete Panzer, to my surprise finding her to be driving naked. In mentioning it however I was corrected by her drawing notice to the fact that she was actually wearing a bikini, though in my defense it was dark and the bikini was so small it pushed the boundaries of barely existing.

We stuck our legs in the open top of the Panzer, which I was a bit hesitant to do as my concrete tank somehow had a hole as deep as an empty well in it that I was in constant fear of falling into while driving. Fortunately hers did not, but as we took off immediately lurching into a constant speed of travel I again took some apprehension at the fact that the throttle remained inside the tank where she refused to fold it out, being more comfortable than I at moving at the speed we were while sitting atop such a vehicle while going down the open road at night.

For some reason I must have reshuffled my priorities on the way and had her drop me off at this new startup to see if I could get any help legally clearing some samples Jake had used in some tracks for an upcoming release. Their office was a new building housing nothing but them and the whole operation reeked of too much money. Like the kind of completely non-creative people who were only artists because they could afford to be, unlike the rest of us who were artists because we couldn't not be despite the fact we couldn't afford it at all. But everything has its perks I guess and the notoriety their money bought was one of them, and I figured they could probably help and hoped that maybe they would.

I waited for someone behind a desk to call me over, and when one ambiguously did so I sat down across from him with a list of the samples we’d needed cleared and began to explain who I was, what we were doing, and why I was there. I didn't get far before we were interrupted by some workplace shenanigans I found myself assuming to be prevalent in such a business run by people under the impression that being an artist meant being on a permanent field trip. The brief disturbance culminated in two more joining the kid on the other side of the desk, all of whom then partook in paying no real attention to me as I attempted to continue between their inane interruptions that were never in any way directed at or related to me or my visit.

Ultimately losing my patience I completely gave up and got up to leave, the kid I initially sat down to speak to somehow holding me over just long enough to write me a $90 bill for his consultation. With absolutely no intention of paying it I for some reason grabbed it anyway and crammed it into the pocket of my fur coat as I headed for the door. Either seeing me out or intending to try and diplomatically stop me he shadowed me there, and interrupted by some insult I then made to their business in which I for whatever reason referred to them as a “bunch of Zuckerbergs”, he informed me that Mark actually owned a grocery store in town. Having no idea whether or not this was true and ultimately not caring, I left.

Something about my dejected demeanor rubbed him the wrong way and he followed me out and across the parking lot, initially going on in at least feigned apologetic tone in defense of either himself and/or his collaborators. All but sputtering I gave him an earful of my aggravation about the farce that were his services rendered and the bill I told him I refused to pay, losing some grammatical prowess in my frustration that he fortunately didn't mention. His attitude then took on some strange exhibition of indignation as he began physically lashing out at leaves and trees around him. Only somewhat taken aback by this I was I guess more or less understanding as having been the host of my own eccentric emotional outburst earlier at the meeting. But it was maybe because of this understanding that ultimately my disgruntlement did not sway.

Following me still across the parking lot and toward the road he began to list and stumble dramatically as if massively inebriated as his anger reached full tilt. This strange display occurring now so close to the road, an initially concerned middle-aged woman slowed down in her minivan to investigate his well-being, but collecting my general lack of alarm she deduced the assumption that he was drunk, and having come to a stop on the side of the road muttered out the window to him what I believe to have been “get a life”.

Well within earshot and nearly arm’s reach his anger hit a fever pitch and he lurched toward the woman and yanked her car door open. Retaliating in self-defense she struggled with him for a moment before managing to slam her door shut with a sound that wasn’t quite right, sending her aggressor to retreat in a sudden shout of pain. Peeling out the woman disappeared down the street as fast as her minivan would accelerate as this demented young man turned stumbling toward me in shock, and holding his hand in pain revealed that somehow among the struggle he had not quite lost a finger, but the flesh that belonged around it.

Unsettling as this obviously was I tried not to look at it, and thus failed to accurately witness whether there was any muscle tissue remaining whatsoever or if it was simply just bloody bone. I dialed 911, which took longer than it should have due to the fact that for some reason I was the proud owner of a cylindrical cell phone. I tried to explain the kid’s predicament to dispatch, who didn't sound like she believed me in the slightest, while for some reason in his drunken state of shock he slapped his meat-stripped finger against the concrete facade of some academic building. Trying to make heads or tails of the surprisingly complicated street sign of the backstreet campus intersection we stood near, I used a nearby railroad bridge to help describe our bearings to the police, and being instructed to sit tight until help arrived, I did.
by Theodore Gliessman