Tag Archives: random act of fiction

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Random Act of Fiction

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I wrote this for a writing group I’m in a couple of weeks ago.

The prompt was to create a scene in which two people wanted the same thing.

This tale is based on a true story…names have been excluded to protect the innocent.

Cocaine Rolls

There I was, at the Texas Roadhouse, having dinner with a friend.

I’d known this woman since kindergarten, so we’d had an easy conversation and lots of laughing about stuff from high school, her silly husband and crazy kids, my slightly more than insane job, and her sixth pregnancy.

That’s right, I said sixth. Basically, this woman was making up for my lack of marriage and children. I’m pretty sure I’ve thanked her for that more than once.

We’d both ordered steak with loaded mashed potatoes as a side, and were enjoying the last of our meal, when something bad happened.

If you’ve ever been to Texas Roadhouse, then you know that they serve you perhaps the most delicious rolls on the planet.

I realize that’s a steep claim, but I swear that they put cocaine or something in there that makes you want “just one more.”

And they’re not like the breadsticks at the Olive Garden, which are also delicious. Olive Garden loads their bread with salt and spices, and while I can eat a whole lot of them, especially with a boat of their alfredo dipping sauce, I notice when I’m almost full.

The rolls at Texas Roadhouse? Not so much. They’re light, smooth, fluffy, and just sweet enough that I can eat them like candy.

Spread some of that amazing honey butter on there and I turn into a bona fide glutton. Who cares if Texas Roadhouse is luring me into a diabetic coma? I’m a willing participant.

Considering how many baskets of rolls the waitress’ carry by, I’m not alone in my compliance.

Back to my dinner. My friend and I both looked up from eating at the same time. Our eyes meet, and then drifted to the basket of rolls on our table.

No, not to the basket, but to the single roll left in the basket.

I swear to you that the noise around us dulled. And considering the Tetris-like way the servers pack people into a Texas Roadhouse, that’s a literal impossibility. An unnatural silence settled between us, and that music that plays in old westerns when the good guy and the bad guy are facing off at opposite ends of a dusty block sounded.

You know, the music, right?

My friend looked at me, and I looked at my friend, and we may as well have been gunslingers, ready to draw and fire on one another.

The unheard music warbled.

We both narrowed our eyes.

In the back of my mind I knew I shouldn’t take the last roll from a woman who was eight months pregnant. What kind of a jerk did that make me?

But the cocaine had kicked in, and I wasn’t exactly in the right headspace for making rational decisions.

Also, there’s the fact that my friend has elbows as sharp as knives—my ribs knew this from personal experience—and that with five kids already she had enough mom superpowers to throw said elbow over the table and knock me out.

I’d learned a lot about motherhood from watching my friends, and I understood the danger I was in.

But I didn’t care.

I was going to fight for that roll, no matter what.

My friend shifted, likely so I’d be in range of her attack.

I leaned the other way, ready to feint while grabbing my prize. My friend might have superpowers, but I had a black belt.

I could beat her to the basket, and possession was 9/10ths of the law, right?

Her swollen belly would slow her down enough that if she crawled over the table, I’d be able to get away.

With the roll.

And the rest of the honey butter.

I couldn’t leave that behind. It wouldn’t be right, I…

A cheery voice broke the tension shimmering between us like a bucket of cold water dropping on you in July.

“More rolls?” our waitress asked.

It wasn’t really a question. She grabbed the basket my friend and I had been eyeing, dumped that roll into the new basket, dropped that on the table, smiled, and walked away.

My friend chuckled.

I chuckled.

We each snatched up a roll.

Once again, a single specimen sat on the gingham paper, but that battle could wait.

For now.

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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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