160. If the tooth be known
© Bruce Goodman 19 March 2014
Nolan worked in the Palaeontology Department of the university. Don’t get me wrong, he was a valued member of the staff, as caretakers are. More specifically, he kept the place tidy: swept the floors, dusted the shelves, cleaned the glass cabinets.
The pay wasn’t that good, but what a privilege it was to work among human skulls that were hundreds of thousands of years old! It was like a sacred trust. These were the bones of real people. Perhaps one was a direct ancestor of Nolan himself.
Nolan viewed with awe the healthy teeth in the skulls of the ancients. He himself had bad teeth. Too much coffee, and sugar, and soft drink, and candy. In fact, Nolan had no teeth at all. His teeth were false. One of his front false teeth had wiggled its way out of the dentures just as he bit into a sandwich. Nolan had swallowed his tooth and now it was sitting somewhere at the bottom of a sewerage pond. He had a large gap in the top front. He couldn’t afford to get it repaired. Not on his income.
He fixed it himself with a bit of glue. After that he had a lovely smile. Sort of mysterious. Sort of Cro-Magnon.