A Story by JDM

“My tooth hurt.”

That was my mother’s suicide note: “My tooth hurt.”

There was no letter explaining any other reason why she chose to take my father’s 9mm and blow off the top of her head. There was no “I love you”; there was no “I’m sorry”; there was no “My bad.” Instead, I got “My tooth hurt.”

They let me see her body. Or rather, I pushed my way past the EMT’s and stormed into the room. She was perched upright at the head of the kitchen table. She was all neck and torso and legs. Not much of a head though. That was splattered all over the walls, all over the floor, the stove, the ceiling. The chalkboard that typically held notes such as “buy milk” and “dinner @ Cathy’s"8pm” was surprisingly blood free, save for a few pieces of bone and hair. The words “My tooth hurt” remained delightfully untouched.

It was a mess. A mess I was going to have to clean up.

Only my mother could be manipulative enough to make me do chores from the grave.

Much to the EMT’s chagrin, I lit a cigarette over the gas stove and sat across the table from what was left of my mother. “You couldn’t just go to the dentist like an ordinary person, huh Ma?” I asked. Head or no head, some part of me expected her to respond. “It never occurred to you to take some aspirin? Maybe throw back a shot a whiskey to dull the pain a bit? Nope. YOU had to go ahead and blow off the top of your head.”

“Miss, we have to take the body now. Is there someone we can call for you or…?”

I let the “or dot dot dot” hang in the air for a moment while I put my cigarette out on the table. The blood that seeped through the wood had already ruined it, so it would have to be tossed anyway.

I wasn’t ready for them to take her. She hadn’t had a chance to yell at me about maxing out my Visa, yet again. She was supposed lecture me about my dating choices. She needed to tell me what to do about that annoying orange light that kept flickering on the dashboard of my car. She had more “bitching” to do. She had more “loving” to do.

She had more “mothering” to do.

The laughter escaped from my lips before I had a chance to stop it. The laugh was shrill, uncontrollable and seemingly never ending. The EMT’s stood there, not knowing what to make of me. Stupidly and still laughing, I tried to stand up but slipped on congealed blood and fell flat on my a*s. This made me laugh even harder.

That’s how my father found me"laughing heartily on the blood covered floor, tears running down my cheeks, snot flowing from my nose. His first instinct was to lift me up and pull me into his arms. He rocked me back and forth, holding me so tightly I could hardly breathe. Once the laughter had ebbed from my lips and the tears had subsided he let me go to talk to the police officer who’d escorted him into the house.

My cell vibrated and on impules I picked it up. I immediately swore out loud and dropped the phone when I felt a sharp prick of pain on my right hand.

Part of my mother's tooth was imbedded into my palm.

I called for my father. He was obviously distracted and held up a finger for me to wait.

Well, this couldn’t wait.

I stomped over to him and held my injured hand up close to his face pointing to the tooth protruding from my palm. “You’re the dentist,” I said. “Can you remove this?”

© 2013 JDM

Author's Note

I'm writing a series of flash fiction stories...that are kind of dark. Let me know what you think. (Be honest!)

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Am I the only one who found it funny? I guess I've always been a bit sick in the head...

Posted 8 Years Ago

I get a Kafka-meets-Poe feel from this story. It's so dark, but the narrator finds a way to make their mother's death feel annoying to them. I feel a few different ways to interpret this as well, from panic and hysterics to bitter feelings or relieved aggravation. Very interesting - I love this dark stuff.

Posted 8 Years Ago

It was short but possibly one of the best short stories I've read in a while! It has lots of hidden meanings and symbols and I love it! Keep them coming :)

Posted 8 Years Ago

Love this ending! Makes the reader think. Again very well written, and great description of the character's range of emotional turmoil.

Posted 8 Years Ago

You're great. It's dark, but slightly funny. Good job.

Posted 8 Years Ago

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Wow - good writing. This is really well put together - flows effortlessly. It's dark, slightly scary and quite real in the hysterical, confused, and mixed messages we get shown. The last line is a great one - opens up all kinds of subtext. Clever and compelling.


Posted 8 Years Ago

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6 Reviews
Added on March 13, 2013
Last Updated on March 14, 2013
Tags: Flash Fiction, Dark Humor



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