Flash in the Pan


A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

Things That May Happen With Teeth


by Zac Locke

Often, while my wife performs her pre-bedtime rituals in the bathroom, and I am lying in bed either reading or absently flicking through my phone, I imagine, vividly, my front teeth chipping hard against the sink's copper spout. Sometimes in these daydreams I am falling forward uncontrollably, hands pinned to my sides. Other times I purposefully lean in to knock my incisors against the cool metal. I do not know why I would do this and, consequently, have never mentioned this to my wife.

Less frequently, in that moment before wakefulness and sleep, while my wife breathes softly next to me, I imagine that I am lying supine on a street or in a driveway, while the tires of a heavy vehicle crush my face. This does not kill me, but it does shatter all the teeth in my mouth. When this happens I usually cry out and jolt upward into a sitting position. My wife then comforts me, but falls back asleep again before I lie down, as she is accustomed to these nocturnal paroxysms.

Sometimes, toward what my father called the witching hour, just before the gray light starts peering through the gaps in the curtains, I dream that my teeth, usually my canines, have come loose, and even fall out. I am told that this is a common dream, and that it signifies the feeling of guilt for something you have done. When this happens, I wake quietly and rest with my head on the pillow for a while before falling back asleep. On these nights my wife does not console me, but she is awake, and stays awake even after I am asleep, long into the morning.

Zac Locke’s novella, "Beverlywood: Sex, Murder, and Existentialism (a Tuesday in Los Angeles)," is available on all Amazon platforms. He lives in West Hollywood, CA, and still has a full set of teeth.

Twenty-ninth Flash


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