This is a piece by guest blogger, Woody Brooks.
I met my friend Ralph again today. We usually meet every Sunday morning at a local coffee shop. We shoot the breeze over a couple of double mocha lattes and donuts. He likes the apple filled, I prefer the chocolate iced.
Ralph’s old and alone. He likes to talk, joke and poke fun at people.
Today, he was proud as could be. He flashed me the biggest smile I can remember. I couldn’t believe my eyes. His rather large lips parted like a stage curtain on opening night, only up and down, not sideways. They revealed a new set of dentures. Not the ordinary kind that you see in ads on television or in dentists offices. These baby’s were authentic Billy Bob teeth. If you don’t know what Billy Bob teeth are, look it up. You may like them too.
“They’re certainly eye catching,” I said.
“You’re right, Woody. I can’t keep the woman away from me since I started wearing ‘em.”
“Cross my heart, it’s true. You like ‘em? I mean the teeth, not the women.”
“Outside of the fact they look like a fence with a couple of boards missing, they’re all right. Do you actually use them, or is this another one of your put-ons?”
He laughed. “Put-on? Dentures? You like put ‘em on? That’s funny.”
“Guess where I got ‘em?”
“I don’t know. Denture World, Dentures R Us? The Bass Pro Shop?”
“No. I got ‘em at the dollar store in the Palmetto Mall. It’s the place with all the abandoned stores, except for that Dollarama, Spencer’s Gifts and Hot topic.”
“I know the place.”
Guess what I paid for ‘em?”
I had to be careful. Ralph had a way with trick questions.
“You mean the women or the teeth?
“The teeth you idiot.”
“I’d say you paid about a dollar seven.”
“Clever boy, I thought I’d catch you on the sales tax. You’re too smart for me. Can’t fool college people.”
“You’d be surprised how often college grads get fooled every day by the government alone.”
“I hear you.”
“What made you buy Billy Bob’s in the first place? You have your own set of choppers from that DDS in Winter Garden.”
“Well just between us, those dentures never fit right. They were loose. They clacked like a duck’s bill. They made my eyes tear up whenever I bit into an ear of sweet corn or a hard nut. But, these Billy Bob’s fit just great. No clacking. No ducks following me around anymore. I can even bite into an apple like they do in those TV commercials about that Polident glue. And, they’re cheap. I bought a dozen of them, just in case.”
“Just in case?”
“In case I swallow ‘em, or sit on ‘em or lose ‘em, or something.”
“You never know. I was a boy scout. I have to be prepared for anything.” He showed me another set of Billy’s still in their blister pack, and his official Boy Scouts of America membership card dated June 1st, 1942.
“Are you sure these are safe to put into your mouth?”
“Why wouldn’t they be safe, amigo?”
“They were made in China. There is a warning on the back which says these teeth should not be put into your mouth. There’s also a choking warning for kids under three. And, the teeth fall apart when wet.”
“Yeah, nice try, but I’m not buying any of that.”
“It’s true. See for yourself. There’s also a warning about lead paint used in the manufacturing of the teeth.” I gave him the package.
“Lead schmed. I like ‘em, and I’m gonna use ‘em. You can’t talk me out of it.”
We sat there for a while in cool silence, eating our sugar laden breakfast treats and sipping hot coffee.
Ralph sprung up from his seat. “Son of a…”
“What’s wrong buddy? You okay?”
“I just swallowed my Billy Bob’s. They dissolved like a sugar cube. I bet the hot java had something to do with it. I’ll probably die from lead poisoning. I’m going to sue this joint for everything they got, like that woman who spilled hot coffee in her lap.”
“Take it easy. Remember the warnings on the package? Your claims wouldn’t have a chance in court.”
“I think I’m going to be sick.” He ran to the restroom. Dozens of curious faces followed Ralph’s roaring rush.
Henrietta, the manager, came over to me. “Is Ralph all right? “
“He’ll be okay. He just swallowed his Billy Bob teeth.”
“Not again. I warned him about them two days ago.”
I laughed. “When he comes out, tell him I’ll see him next week.”