The filling in Joe’s left maxillary second molar abruptly spoke to him. The voice sounded like Cary Grant.
Joe had been shaving, his face all lathered up. He looked around his bathroom and nothing seemed unusual except the voice, saying “Careful around that mole, Bud.” He knew he had to watch the mole on his cheek when he shaved. He had always thought he lived in a crazy world, but never thought he, personally, might be crazy. Cary Grant added, “Important day today; you don’t want to go out with blood on your cheek.” Joe’s eyes opened wider.
Joe stuck his finger in his mouth. He found the molar when it vibrated a little as Edward G. Robinson said, “All right, wise guy.” Joe jumped.
Joe had heard of people receiving shortwave transmissions in tooth fillings, but this wasn’t that. This voice was commenting on his mole, and he didn’t see how a tooth could know anything about a mole on his cheek. Then there were the accents. They sounded exactly like Grant and Robinson.
Joe wasn’t aware of anything important happening that day. In his kitchen, he had a calendar on his refrigerator. A small magnet that was a model of the Star Trek Enterprise kept it up. 2070 June Mo 2 was blank.
Joe suspected his buddy Alex. Alex worked as a private investigator. Alex was always telling Joe about new devices for observing people without being observed, and there was a computer program that could replicate anyone’s voice. Alex would already know about Joe’s mole, also when he got up in the morning, so that made sense. This was just more intrusive than Alex’s usual work.
Joe turned around in front of his refrigerator and called out, “Alex! Is that you? Fooling around with my tooth?”
No answer. Joe decided to call Alex during his lunch break.
“Alex. Joe here.”
Alex, “Yo. Sup?”
Joe, “Say, Alex, you wouldn’t have anything in your spy-kit that could make a tooth speak, would you?”
Alex, “Ha. Funny. Why do you ask? Do you have a use for a talking tooth?”
Joe, “Serious. One of my molars spoke to me this morning. He sounded like Cary Grant at first. Then he sounded like Edward G. Robinson.”
Alex, “You know, those characters are kinda dated. We wouldn’t be using them. Did either of them tell you anything interesting?”
Joe, “Nope. Dull as nuts. Both of them. I’d just as soon they got out of my mouth.”
Alex, “Can’t help you there, Joe. If this were insanity, it’d be your own. I wouldn’t get involved.”
When Joe hung up, Edward G. Robinson said, “You ever played online poker, Joe? Try it. I’ll tell you what to do.”
Joe thought, “I hear voices but I don’t think I’m crazy.” He opened the poker site as suggested, and found that Robinson was a great poker player. It was a good thing that Joe had his own office, but of course there was no privacy at work anyway, and he would have to work past his usual hour to make up for this.
In 45 minutes, with Robinson telling him when to hold and when to fold, Joe had a big pile of chips representing more money than he took home in a week. He wiped away a bead of sweat from this brow. After another 20 minutes, he was sweating profusely. He whispered to his tooth, “Should we be quitting? I don’t want to get noticed.” Joe’s eyes darted around his office, but it was all quiet on that front.
Robinson said, “That’s right, kid. That’s right. Cash in your chips. We’ll think of something else, maybe.”
Joe worked an extra hour before he left the office. He decided not to take the bus, but was walking. The streets were darkening. Grays with neon lights. He saw a bar on the corner and thought about grabbing a beer.
John Wayne, from his left maxillary second molar, said, “Don’t know about you, but I’d be a bit dry.”
Joe thought, “Maybe I could get used to advice from my tooth, but the character-acting is unsettling.”
No comment from the peanut gallery. Joe went in, sat at the bar, and ordered a pint of lite.
John Wayne, “Kid, that’s not real beer.”
Joe didn’t reply. He didn’t want to attract attention, hoping that no one else could hear Wayne.
Cary Grant, “He’s right, Bud.”
Joe thought, “Why me? Maybe I should see a dentist and have this filling out.” Joe gulped down the last of the pint and called for his tab. Around the corner, it seemed darker on the street and no one else was around.
Joe, “Give me a break, guys. What do you want?”
Joe, “I could go to a dentist and have that filling out.”
Cary Grant replied, “Wouldn’t do you any good, Bud. You’ve got more than one filling. Want them all out?”