by Andrew Wayne Adams
Maggie became a terrorist in the fifth grade. That was the year she read the Manifesto. When she was supposed to be doing her homework, when she was supposed to be drawing hearts around the name of her crush (Mr. Kool, the math teacher), she was instead reading the Manifesto.
Mrs. Winston (social studies) said, “Maggie, come to the front of the class and do something smart.”
“I’m reading the Manifesto, you fascist!”
Mrs. Winston hit Maggie with a nightstick, knocking out most of her hundreds of teeth. Maggie swallowed the teeth before anyone could claim them. She didn’t want her teeth used for science (Mr. Salem) or art (Mrs. Marlboro).
The missing teeth made lunch difficult. She could not eat the diced boots or the shredded belts. She tried the heel of a boiled sock, could only suck its juices toothlessly. The bell rang to end lunch, and Maggie faced a long afternoon on low fuel.
She fell asleep in phys ed (Mr. Camel). Jerking awake, she glanced around in worry, but no one had noted her dozing, even though they were in the middle of dodgeball and she had passed out center court.She found shoe imprints all over her. New bruises.
Also new: a sutured incision running from sternum to pubis.
In science, they dissected teeth. Maggie thought she recognized a stain on one of the teeth. She took the tooth to Mr. Salem and said, “Is this my incisor, you fascist?”
Mr. Salem hit her with a nightstick. He assigned her extra homework.
In art, they made decorative masks—out of teeth. Maggie recognized every tooth.
She threw a handful of teeth at Mrs. Marlboro. “How did you get my teeth, you fascist? I hid them in my stomach, so how?”
“You fell asleep, you fool! Never fall asleep!”
The other children put on their decorative masks made of teeth. Dumb faces looked out through mouths and eyeholes. Maggie refused to complete her mask and received a failing grade on the project.
The last class of the day was English (Mr. Basic). They discussed word choice. Maggie ignored class and read the Manifesto, every word of which she thought chosen perfectly.
She fell asleep again, jerked awake again. Again, no one seemed to notice. But there was fresh pain in her abdominal incision, as if she had been opened and closed anew, and the other children all had on new hats made of intestines.
She turned to her favorite passage in the Manifesto, but it failed to give her strength, and her gathering tears blurred the words. She wanted a hat too.
At home that evening, her father refused to be her father, disappointed in her for all that she had lost at school.
About The Author
Andrew Wayne Adams is the author of Janitor of Planet Anilingus, a bizarro novella available from Eraserhead Press. He was born and raised in rural Ohio. It was formative. He now lives in Portland, Oregon, where he works in a centipede warehouse. He can be found at his blog: andrewwayneadams.blogspot.com.
Fast-Paced Author Interview (at high speeds! Risking dire consequences!)
The Squid: Who would you invite for a roadtrip on SHIELD’s hovercarrier?
Andrew Wayne Adams: Leatherface and Jesus.
The Squid: Now, say you’re a science fiction/fantasy action hero — a pretty sweet gig, by the way. Tell us which one you are most like, and why:
a) Conan the Barbarian
b) Han Solo
c) Captain James Tiberius Kirk
d) Buckaroo Bonzai
e) Rick Deckard
Andrew Wayne Adams: Conan the Barbarian. Why? The lamentation of the women! (Yes, I know that’s from the movie and not the stories; I don’t care, I’m a barbarian.)