I’m an ordinary tooth.
Not tall, not short, not flat, and definitely not sharp. I’m inconspicuous as my senile grandpa used to say.
It was one of those dry mornings at Red School when our class was preparing for a test for test’s sake. One of the front teeth bent down to the red board and wrote some cribs under the hooting of the class. My fellows from the last row and I were not participating in that circus. We had an unspoken agreement with our old and chubby teacher, Mr. Blue Toothbrush. He did not bother us, and we mutually did not disturb him. While he was polishing and adoring the front teeth year after year, we were quietly watching Foodball on an ipalate under the desk. Or playing with parsley, pieces of caramel, and other treasures that Tooth 26 occasionally revealed from his backpack.
This time Mr. Blue Toothbrush was running late. I imagined him somewhere outside moving with the speed of an anesthetized tongue, trying to remember his duties. How long had we known him? For ten years I assume. His smooth blue skin was tinted with brown pigments, and all but one of his hair fell out of his rectangle head. Sometimes we were waiting for him the whole evening, and he would tell us that he had forgotten to come to class. And sometimes, instead of two productive minutes of hard work, we had less than twenty seconds as he had fallen asleep in the hallway.
We did not know what kept him so long this time. Tooth 27 claimed Mr. Blue died but I did not believe it. Teachers do not die, they are replaced. Our ex-teachers, Mrs. Purple, was accused of having an affair with another man’s mouth. Her reputation died, though she did not.
My buddy Tooth 25 had another theory. He remembered the time when our Lord kissed a Lady. We were invited into her White Palace that day. Even though our principal Mr. Tongue blocked the view, we eavesdropped on the conversation between the front teeth and a cute little fang of the Lady. She told them that her teacher. Mr. Electronic Toothbrush, was genius. The guys and girls from the last row, as she claimed, were as bright as the front teeth. Those sweet speeches made poor Tooth 25 hope that our Lord would hear our prayers and send us a substitute teacher. Again, I did not have high hopes for that. Our Lord is not powerful and definitely is not capable of doing rational things. When I was in the fourth grade, he guided fingers from another class directly into the power socket. That was a big fire on their floor that spread up to us. Sharp waves of electricity cut our enamelled bodies to pieces and gave us post electric flashbacks whenever we smelled iron. But Tooth 25 was one of those for whom a mouth was always half full.
In fifteen hours’ time, our teacher was still not in the class. The fog of voices changed from a whisper to the seagulls’ screams. The front teeth were slowly turning into Munch’s paintings with each second of the teacher's absence. I opened a history class book from extreme boredom and scammed the pages until the images of ancestors stared at me. They were sharp, giant, and able to tear the flesh apart in a glimpse. Do you know what we can do? Eat boiled broccoli. When our Lord gives us BBQ, we eat it for half an hour in the best-case scenario.
We are bunch of sissies. I would never…
Tooth 26 dropped a piece of caramel. Tooth 25 squealed like a boy who saw one of the BTS singers in the crowd. The avalanche of the mint aroma filled the class as an angel came down to us. In the vibration of Tooth 25’s pitchy voice, we were rubbing our eyes. A new teacher, Ms. Pink Toothbrush, entered the class. Her tiny white feet were not touching the ground as she was walking. Our Lord had heard our prayers indeed! I winked to Tooth 27 but he did not notice me. He was busy taking pictures of her and creating a fan club on the ToothBook.
Her graceful fragile movements made her swim to the right and left. She gave a smile to the white front teeth and to us. Her pink eyes straighten my ever-frozen-in-boredom posture. She paused and posed a question about our ancestors. The class was silent. They had never read the class book ahead, but I did. First time in thirty years, I raised a hand up in the air. Was it the moment the Fang of the Lady had told us about? The equal opportunities? Was it…?
She glanced at me and flinched. I noticed it. Every muscle on her pink neck wrinkled, revealing small dark circles. Her warm lips turned into a hot, tense blood line.
- How dare you talk? – the devilish voice crawled inside my ears and echoed there like in a giant empty temple. - And what's with your clothes?
What is wrong with it? I panicked. All twenty-nine teeth stared at me from the amphitheatric rows in silence. The rare sound of caramel crunch was heard from Tooth 26's direction.
I froze in the upright position, watching the exaggerated reflection of Ms. Pink in the saliva. Her predator pink eyes were scanning my tiny body. She heavily headed toward me, pushing other teeth aside, spreading the stiffing mint scent. The closer she came, the more intensively I tried to rub the black holes off. She made the last leap and stretched her sharp bristles to my chin. They grabbed me in the suffocating cage, lifting me to the light, in which my skin was yellow, almost orange.
- Dis - gus - tin - g. – Her whisper bruised my enamel, shaking my whole calcified body in convulsion.
She laughed and waved hands like a director in the orchestra. The rest of the class played along nervously, filling the red classroom with malicious ridicule. Tooth 25 avoided my eyes. Tooth 27 was covering his black spots, while streaming my face on JawTube. The white hands of the teacher were moving faster, forcing the class laughing harder. Her giant pulsing body was fluctuated above me like a pink punching bag.
It’s not fair! I have never chosen sitting on the last raw
The wave of tears covered my cheetah skin.
It’s not my fault I have patched clothes!
Sudden camera flashes from phones of my classmates blinded me.
It’s not my fault I have another skin colour!
I made a motionless leap and punched Ms. Pink in her rectangle smiley face.
The laugh dissolved in the scream of falling teacher. The blinding white spots disappeared from my sight as the classmates dropped their flashy phones. I saw Ms. Pink, who was convulsively moving on the floor. A shiny tip of caramel protruded from her breast and shimmered in a gloomy red light. The stinky mint bloody slime appeared underneath, covering our roots. Swearing and sweating Tooth 26 poured the sweet crime evidence in the rivers of saliva. The front teeth took pieces of teacher’s body, made a Xena’s cry, and threw a pink chakram to our direction. I could not dodge that though I dodged the Fate.
The monotonous husky voice of Mr. Blue Toothbrush took me away from Morpheus' arms. I cautiously rubbed and opened my eyes. The bold head of Mr. Blue was jumping up and down in front of the half empty class. A cold bitter calcium ball arose in my throat.
- Where are Teeth 26 and 27? – I desperately shook a chair of Tooth 25
- Lower jo voiz down, man – Blue-faced Tooth 25 turned around.
- What happened? – I interrogated, staring at Tooth 25’s blue wounds.
- They jo all dead, man – his voice trembled - The police arrested the 26th when they found the caramel, man. The 27th was accused of complicity or something. They were drilled to death, man. The blood was everywhere – he pointed at the front teeth with iron handcuffs – those are in prison for two years and we’ve been sentenced to penal servitude. – he paused, observing the body of mine - How did jo escape, man? Wasn’t it jo who killed Ms. Pink?
- I don't...
- Who could tell me the definition of an algorithm? – the remote voice of Mr. Blue interrupted me.
- If they did not notice me that time, - I slowly whispered, looking at the helpless figure of the teacher, - there is a chance they would not catch me again, don’t you think?
- Don’t smile like that, man – Tooth 25 moved further from me and looked at other teeth for help. Nobody glanced back.
- You know what my wise grandpa used to say? That I am not tall, not short, not flat, and not sharp. He thought it was a curse. But you know what? - He just didn’t know how to use it as the advantage.
- You should know the answer! It will be on the test - Mr. Blue Toothbrush petted one of the front teeth with a fatherly love.
- You’ve always wanted to meet Mr. Electronic Toothbrush, right? - I moved the chair of my buddy closer to me and whispered - but the only one way to get him is to kill the ones that are on our ways.
- I don't like it, man - Tooth 25 nervously shook his head - I thought you did not believe teachers can die.
- They don't. They are replaced. - I raised my arm.
- All right, young man – the lack of other volunteers convinced him to talk to me - What is an algorithm?
- Come closer, teacher – I smiled. – I’ll show you an example.