THE SMILE AND MR. LOCK
by Orlo Yeahblip
He doesn't understand school. Exiled from the chess table and forced to sit with you know who, Mr. Lock waits, knits brows thinking up a way to pluck out all his classmates' teeth and glue them to a smile.
His scheme needs plenty laughing gas and all those dental assistants that hang around the mall to pull in quick, quick slow succession and yank and pump at jaws. He wants needles and all kinds of kidney dishes. He scribbles this down, gazing across the canteen. He imagines them all with gummy grins, spooning mash and no more whistling. He extracts through walls, swallowing the whole school, its staff, past the gates and into the streets, all over town expanding, glowing. How he'd like that. He wants to cross his legs to hide something, but the table is too low.
How many daydreams have been wrecked by the lunch bell? Mr. Lock pads off with the class and crams himself between desk and stool, waiting for the peak to plateau. There he etches a smile into his textbook, putting the great wall of China in for scale, looking up, picturing today's supply teacher being vigorously de-teethed. Without this hope, Mr. Lock's life is barely one sock on and one sock off.
Mr. Lock wants one way ticket time travel. Not because of acne or science fiction awards, nor the nodding dogs of physicists, but simply because things tend to be less wrong, less illegal there. He wants to be in the future where his achievements will be recognised. Benevolent creatures will hold out their evolved thumbs, they will thank Mr. Lock for his dreams. They will look down on the once shocking smile and speak of canons that don't fire.
Another bell ruins his line of thought, he shuffles off to the library building. That huddled smell, the ghosts of books, reminds him of the incontinence back home. He longs to be asleep, nestling beside Grandpa's 50 gallon catheter bag, listening to the murmurs and plumbing. But the clock on the wall won't shift, he is stuck here, librarified. He pretends to research, bouncing off the school's access barriers. A ricochet of hyperlinks ends him up in something truly magnificent: The Europe. Across that vast ocean of bile and cables, Mr. Lock discovers that woeful dental hygiene has led to molar stacks that line the avenues, boutiques and restaurants, a kaleidoscope of decay wrenched from their citizen's jaws. Paintings made from glints of mercury prop up gallery walls. His clicks reveal the truth, The Europe will appreciate his plans. They will hail him, carry him aloft to meet their kings and queens, who will inevitably demonstrate skills inherited by hundreds of years of toothless inbreeding. Again, Mr. Lock is unable to cross his legs underneath the console.
On the bus home, Mr. Lock confides his secrets to the window pane. His onion breath lists the wonders he has seen today. Soon he will be home and Grandpa will be waving spoons and shouting at the spectres in the punctured flatscreen. The caravan will rock and rock until the lights go out and Mr. Lock will have to go out back and gently milk some prostate glands until the bucket's full again. He breathes on the bus window, making enough mist to write Grandpa's name in fingerstrokes. Everything falls in place with The Europe. He knows they are sleeping, their clocks are forward, a glimpse of the future. But they will wake, and they will be ready for a sign. Mr. Lock rubs his gums against Grandpa's name, drinks in the onion-diesel smell and imagines, waiting for a smile that will beam across the world.
Orlo Yeahblip is thumbsdown for the faked third person.