Weekend Prompt: Tragically, Hero

Hey writers,

Anyone have an iPhone? I’ve been too attached to my old phone (read: thrifty) to pick one up, but am steadily wishing I would. WD Market Books Managing Editor Alice Pope gave me a heads-up about this: featherproof Books’ TripleQuick Fiction iPhone app. In a nutshell, the app will serve up stories that are 333 words long (three iPhone screens). Writers can also pen (thumb-type?) their own pieces on the phone, snap a photo of themselves with the on-board camera, and submit it all on the spot.

Staring wistfully at my antique, offering a random prompt and wishing you the best of weekends,


PROMPT: Tragically, Hero
In 500 words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring:

Write the story of how your hero came to be missing a tooth.

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11 thoughts on “Weekend Prompt: Tragically, Hero

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  3. Patricia A. Hawkenson


    She pulls on her dark hosiery and then her shoes,
    adjusting her blouse to cover her ample cleavage,
    putting lipstick on her slightly puff-pouty lips,
    she checks her reflection in the mirror once more.

    Katey was understandably apprehensive
    going to see a new dentist for a needed root canal,
    but that didn’t stop her from wanting to look nice
    as she drove to the clinic without looking back.

    The dentist eyes her tooth and more as she relays her fears
    of needles and pain, so he tells the assistant to knock her out.
    Stepping out to read the x-rays, he thinks the drugs are given.
    But the drug case is empty, and the nurse leaves to get more.

    Seeing her eyes closed with the assistant gone, he can not resist
    slipping a hand under the bib, he fondling her breast, just one.
    Then a surprise hockey check as the tool tray hits his jaw
    connecting with a satisfying pop, sending his front tooth flying.

    Katey stands up, removing her bib to reveal her cleavage,
    smiling a still painful smile, she picks up her purse,
    not bothering to glance back, strutting her Pradas out the door,
    understandably appreciative of the damage she’d done.

  4. duane sosseur

    “Streetfight Keegan”

    …..Just two days on the docks, I had fifty bucks left and it wasn’t even midnight. It must have been past eleven and we’d been drinking along the bars past Chinatown. A crowd was up and people filled the streets, along with fireworks crackling constantly. Three of us came off ship, the talk was about another run but me I thought about skidding it to the goldfields. I’d been board ship too long and I needed to walk solid ground.

    …..At the last port I saw some knife fighting and didn’t like it. If three or four come at you with blades it’s a good bet that one will put you away. Pays to keep watch for trouble. Ahead there was a commotion then suddenly the crowd parted. It was Crunch Craddock, eyes mean and headed my way. We’d tangled before and I had been winning until his Malaysian pal clocked me with a wood pulley. Craddock thought he was something now and he’d seen me. Well I didn’t care if he was bigger and heavier. I wasn’t gonna run from no two bit deck hound no way.

    …..Ol Pete and Scotto seen him too. Ol Pete nudged me once, “Watch it Keegan. There’s that puke dog.” I had a couple of drinks already so I just grinned some. Crunch came up close. “Where’s yer backup, Craddy?” I asked. He let a growl to come after me and I stepped left. Crash swung on Ol Pete, knocking him down then he turned to swing his meat hooks at me. Well I blocked one then caught him with a straight right as he was coming in that stopped him. He still managed to clout me one and ring my bell.

    …..Shaking it off I put my chin down and we slugged it out. He closed my left eye and I broke his nose. With all that blood on him he looked like a maniac. He charged, right into my favorite uppercut then dropped like a rock. Out cold. Ol Pete kicked him once. “Lights out Crunchy.” He chuckled. Popping, crackling fireworks surrounded us and a long shiny parade dragon danced by… jangling bells, brown legs and bare feet under it.

    …..We left Crunchy lay there and went to go drink. I had fifty bucks left and it wasn’t even midnight.

  5. Jason Dougherty

    “Ah! A Lincoln Continental.” Jimmy knelt backwards on the couch and peered through a crack in the curtains with his tactical military surveillance binoculars. The car rolled by slow enough for him to see the license plate. “U.S. Exempt, it says. No registration.” Jimmy smiled and nodded, allowing a chuckle to escape.

    He traded his smile for a practiced look of concern and returned his attention to the window. The Continental turned at the corner. Jimmy watched until it was out of sight. “Maybe going to hide somewhere,” he said, scratching his chin even though it didn’t itch. “A place to watch people.”

    Jimmy rolled around and untucked his legs from beneath him. “They’re always watching someone.” He scratched his backside with one hand and rummaged through wrappers and newspaper clippings on the coffee table with the other.

    “If they are trying to be inconspicuous, why don’t they pay for registration? They would blend in better.” He shook his head, annoyed by the foolishness of the government.

    He moved a stack of National Star magazines off the table and on to the floor. A glance to his left revealed the remote tucked half-way under the couch, a solidified drop of chocolate syrup hanging from one edge.

    He licked the chocolate. It wasn’t as sweet as he’d imagined it to be.

    Jimmy didn’t bother clearing the coffee table before putting his feet up; they landed on crumpled hamburger wrappers and used napkins.

    The doorbell rang. Jimmy froze, knowing who it was.

    He tossed the remote aside, leaned forward and stood with a grunt. “How did they find me?”

    A knock at the door.

    “I know how. I know.” Jimmy moved to the back hallway. “They watch people. Keep tabs on them.” He threw a finger in the air, making his way toward the bathroom. “I should have known!”

    He opened three drawers before he found pliers. “It’s no wonder they wouldn’t let me chose my own Dentist.”

    He heard another knock, louder this time.

    “Appointed by the HMO, they said. Ha!”

    Jimmy thrust the pliers to his upper right molar.

    “I should have seen it coming,” he managed to say in spite of the intruding instrument.

    He clamped down on the tooth and pulled. “Ahhhh!” It was more painful than he had expected. He pulled harder.

    The phone rang.

    He took three deep breaths, a tear running down his cheek. His jaw trembled.

    He pulled again, hard and fast. The tooth came free.

    “Ha ha!” He held the molar up in the mirror, boasting his victory. His mouth filled with blood. “You can keep your tracking system, Big Brother!”

    Jimmy felt feint. He put a hand on the counter to steady his balance.

    There was a crash and an unmistakable sound of splitting wood. Footsteps rushed toward him. At least four sets.

    “Too late…” he started to say, but his vision became blurry, then dark.

    Jimmy fell to the floor.

  6. A.D. William

    The dental receptionist, Flora, if that even was her real name, leaned close to her intercom. She spoke in a hushed voice. He could still hear her. They always spoke quietly around him, but he always heard them.

    "Doctor Levine," she said, "Jesse is here to see you."

    He knew the next part by rote. They went through this every time, so he just waited for her to say her next line.

    "Please have a seat Jesse," she said, "the doctor is busy with another patient, he’ll be out to see you shortly."

    "But I need him now," Jesse replied. He said that every time, and every time she had the same response.

    "I understand, Jesse. Why don’t you have a seat and read a magazine."

    It was always the same with her. She had no soul. Or maybe it was just her training. She was one of them, he knew it. The people that watch him at night. He fooled them sometimes, but not often enough. They always got to him eventually.

    Jesse walked back to his normal seat in the back corner of the office. He rifled through the magazines on a small desk next to him. He took the top magazine off the stack, then placed it under the fourth. Government agents always placed the top magazine as a means of social control. He then took the third magazine in the stack and opened it. He never read from it, that’s what they wanted.

    On occasion, Jesse looked up from his magazine at Flora. She just looked back at him, and faked a smile.

    After a couple an hour, Doctor Levine emerged from a doorway, and called in Jesse. The doctor was a good man. It was a real pity he had that receptionist keeping an eye on him.

    Flora looked from the doctor to Jesse and faked that smile again.

    Doctor Levine sat Jesse down in a dental chair, and stuck a few instruments into his mouth. "So, another tooth bothering you, Jesse," he asked.

    "They implanted me with another radio transmitter. This time in Molar number thirty."

    "And you want it to come out?"

    "Yes. But be careful, they’re watching me right now. They can’t know what you’re doing."

    The Doctor looked around the office. "Are you sure you want it to come out? This is your third time."

    "They keep catching me when I sleep. But I’ve outsmarted them this time. I set a trap."

    "OK, Jesse. Just relax." The doctor placed a couple instruments into Jesse’s mouth. A moment later, he pulled a tooth out.

    "There you go, Jesse. I hope I won’t see you again until your regular check up."

    "Doctor Levine," said a voice emanating from the tooth. "Please place the tooth back into the subject’s mouth."

  7. Mark James

    Tooth fairies think they own the world, know that?

    When I was ten, I put my tooth under my pillow. Next day – nothing – just a tooth, a day older, and smelling a little ripe.

    I tossed it.

    Next night, there’s this little light in my room, dive bombing my face. When I swat it, I hear “Ouch!” in the tiniest voice you ever heard.

    Then there’s this fairy sitting on my nose and she looks pissed off like a wet hen. “Where’s my tooth?”

    “You mean my tooth?”

    “It was under your pillow. That makes it mine.” And now her wings were really going, making a mini hurricane on my nose. “Give it.”

    Like I said, I tossed it; I wasn’t gonna tell her that. “Can’t. Lost it.”

    She stomped on my nose. “You’re in big trouble.”

    “Yeah?” I said. “You ain’t bigger than a second. I’m shakin’ all over.”

    She glowed so bright, my whole room lit up, like when you take a picture with those old fashioned flash bulbs.

    “You’ll need a wish one day. And it’s gonna cost you.”

    She pulled out these teeny pliers that made me laugh so hard, I blew her off my nose.

    “You’ll see,” she said. Then she was gone.

    Twenty years go by and I’m a private investigator. You know – the guy who takes pictures outside hotels with hourly rates and names like ‘Lucky Boy’.

    I was in my office this morning when Lester Prathen comes high balling through my door, like he’s Gabriel and I’m about to hear the last trumpet.

    “Gimme the picures.”

    “Nice to see you, Les. Wanna sit down before you fall over and wreck my furniture?”

    He was swaying, way more than three sheets to the wind.

    “Only thing I’m gonna wreck is your face.”

    Oh man. Hate it when Mondays start like that. “I’ll give you all you want, but the pics of you and the little sweet thing – they’re uploaded.”

    He hung in my doorway, leaning one way, then the other, like he was on a ship, and he didn’t wanna fall over.

    “Okay,” he said.

    That was easy, right?

    “Guess I’m gonna wreck your face and just be good with that.”


    I wished I’d kept that sawed off shot gun under my desk, instead of stowing in the closet where it was doing me absolutely no good.

    Lester stopped swaying. In fact, he froze. My office filled with light, like an old fashioned flash bulb went off. Then a fairy was sitting on my nose.

    “You can have the shot gun back under your desk. It’ll cost you one tooth.”

    I hate dentists. “No way.”

    She crossed her tiny legs, blew fairy dust on her nails, polished them on a wing. “You sure? ‘Cause Lester, he’s gonna take more than one tooth.” She glanced at him. “And probably rearrange your face for bonus points.”

    Oh Christ.

    “Ready?” She held up her little pliers.

    “Make it fast.”

    She dug into me good, and yanked my front tooth right the heck out.

    I screamed.

    “Screaming already?” Lester rolled up his sleeves. “I ain’t even touched you yet.”

    I slid the sawed off out from under my desk. “And you’re not gonna, Les. Get out. Or you’ll be in Hell, thinking about how a hole in your head the size of Texas is gonna affect your future.”

    He wasn’t stupid drunk, backed out of my doorway real slow.

    First Les, then the fairy, now my dentist.

    Freaking fairies.

    Think they own the damn world


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