Random Act of Fiction

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Random Act of Fiction

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Pearly Whites

“Young lady?” the perturbed voice asked from behind me.

“Almost finished,” I maneuvered the dentures into the corpse’s agape mouth and held them as the glue set.

“Where am I?”

“You’re in the mortuary.” I always found that the truth was the best place to start.

“But I died.”

“You did.” The body on the dressing table could be anyone’s grandma. From what little I knew this woman had enough people attending her funeral that the family had had to rent out the entire building. She had to have been something special. Special, but not interesting enough to have an extended conversation with.

“Shouldn’t I be in, I don’t know, heaven?”

I smiled. So many people assumed that. “That will come later.” I lessened the pressure on her dentures then wiggled them a bit.

Nothing moved.

The woman’s voice sounded like it was now coming through the wall. “What do you mean, later?”

A scent that reminded me of the dentist’s office filled the air as I picked up the bottom teeth and squirted the adhesive into place.

“Goodness, is that me?” The woman appeared beside me. She wore her hospital gown. Some people appeared wearing their finest, others their most comfortable. Then there were those who were still stuck in their death moment.

“Yup.” I tilted my head as I pressed the teeth into place.

“I look ghastly!”

Most people did when they died. Eyes wide and mouth stretched in a scream was a far cry from the serene body in the coffin. “Don’t worry, when I’m finished with you, you’ll look amazing.” I turned to the woman and smiled. “What’s your favorite color of lipstick?”

The woman blinked. “Oh, I don’t know.”

I only had a few seconds. “Bright red? Blush pink? Burgundy?”


I nodded. “Perfect.” I let go of the bottom teeth and the woman disappeared. I took a breath and cleared my mind, which released her back to wherever she’d come from.

The mortician had left the wires in the woman’s jaw ready to be tightened, so I wound them together like a bread tie and her mouth slowly shut.

Most morticians did this themselves, but Kevin had trained me to do it because teeth grossed him out.

How you could be grossed out by anything when you dealt with dead people was beyond me.

Under normal circumstances it took a great deal of concentration for me to pull someone from the realm of the dead, but if I could touch their teeth, then it was as easy as breathing.

The whole teeth thing came from an unfortunate incident involving my grandmother and her dentures. Minutes before she’d died she’d asked me to get her dentures so she wouldn’t look bad when she passed.

There was a great deal of narcissism there that I’d rather not go into.

Unfortunately for me, death had taken her as I’d been holding both her hand and her teeth. Something about that combination had cracked my medium powers wide open. I’d watched my grandmother’s spirit climb out of her body, jump onto the floor, then look straight at me and say, “You better put those in before anyone else comes.”

Yes, I was scarred for life. Who wouldn’t be? I’d been thirteen.

Now, if I’m touching their teeth or their dentures, I can talk to anyone.

Mostly I just say a quick hello and let people get back to whatever they were doing, but once in a while I dove deeper.

A few years before, I’d started collecting old dentures, just to see if I could talk to the owners.

I could.

The most disturbing conversation I’d ever had, had been when I’d touched a set of false teeth from the 1820s in London. The dentures had belonged to a countess, but the original tooth had been extracted from a soldier who had died at Waterloo.

I’d learned way too much about regency period hygiene, or lack thereof, as well as the astounding lack of education of a soldier. Plus, the guy wouldn’t stop looking at my cleavage.

The countess had shared a juicy tidbit that had led me to an old journal of hers that I’d sold on the dark web for a whole lot of money.

A few more of those and I’d never have to work here again. Unfortunately, right now, I still had to maintain the day—or in this case night—job to make ends meet.

My eyes traveled to the baby blue coffin in the corner.

Bert Cooper had died of natural causes—a stroke—at the age of eighty-nine. His daughter had found him a few hours later, and the ambulance had brought him here. The six siblings had seemed tight, until I’d caught one of them arguing with two others about their father’s antique shotgun. The two had accused the one of taking it, and the one claimed she hadn’t seen it in years.

This was the sort of information that might be valuable—hey, a girl had to eat and pay rent—so I walked over to Mr. Cooper, gently peeled his lips back, and pressed the tip of my finger to his stained dentures.

“What the hell?” an ornery voice demanded.

I turned and found a tall, broad man wearing golfing clothes standing to my right. A white glow surrounded him, and if I looked really close, I could see through him to the wall beyond.

“Hello, Mr. Cooper,” I said.

“Who are you?” Suddenly there was a nine iron in his hand and he brandished it at me. “Where am I?”

“You’re in the mortuary. Your funeral is in the morning.”

His bushy eyebrows moved together like a cartoon. “I’m still dead?”

I pointed at his body. “Quite dead, sir.”

The man lowered the club, walked over to his corpse, and looked down. “Huh, I look good.”

You’re welcome, I didn’t say.

“What do you want?” he asked me.

Some people didn’t like giving family secrets to a stranger, but I’d perfected my approach. Step one, give them the facts. “Sir, your two oldest boys are convinced that your youngest daughter has taken your antique shotgun.”

Mr. Cooper glared at me.

Step two, appeal to either their sense of justice or their sense of chaos. “The boys are threatening to pull her out of your will if she doesn’t give it back.”

The man’s ethereal lips pulled into a line.

Step three, tug on his heart strings for his favorite child. I knew she was the favorite because the others all complained about it. I gestured toward him. “I thought you would want to know; your daughter is very upset.” Give that a moment to sink in before striking. “If you want, I can pass along a message.”

His nostrils flared—I’d always thought it was odd that dead people’s spirits still did things their bodies were responsible for, like sigh and even cry. “You tell those two idiots that I sold the shotgun two years ago to a collector.”

“A collector?” I asked.

“A man from South Africa.”

“I see. I can tell your boys.”

Mr. Cooper’s gaze flickered from my face to my hand. “Why is your finger in my mouth?”

“To make this easier.” I gestured back and forth between us.

“Do you do this often?” he asked.

“Pretty much every night.”

He scoffed. “Many would call you a freak.”

I broke contact with the man’s incisors and let out a breath. The ghostly form disappeared. Then I shook my head. “People would call me a freak, if they knew what I could do.”

The End

So, should I make this into a book? A series?
Haha, that only means that I’ll add it to my list of things I someday want to write. 🙂

In my research I found that after the battle of Waterloo people went onto the battlefield and took teeth out of dead soldiers to make dentures with. Also, here’s a picture of George Washington’s dentures.

You’re welcome.

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