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  • Lauren Gotard

When They're Down (Colorized)

Debbie’s gum swelled like an anemone, pink and spongey to the touch. Countless nights of feasting on leftover waffles, home fries, and vanilla milkshakes from the diner left her mouth in a sugary stalemate, unable to accept any of the five food groups with ease. In fact, Debbie was so high on Novocain and nitrous oxide that Bill’s arrival sent her brain into a rather disorientating episode.

“Good-day Deb. Fine morning, ain’t it?”

“Why yes, I uh, I’d have to agree.”

Bill’s face had become kaleidoscopic with dueling geometric patterns. Even his smile seemed to threaten the borders of his face, extending so wide that his chrome fillings became apparent to the naked eye.

“So how are the kids,” he asked earnestly, genuinely curious about Deb’s current state of mind as she slowly teetered rightward.

“Oh Angelo’s always stirring someth’n up and Tina, well- ya know.”

But Bill didn’t. He actually had no idea. And his face seemed to change as Debbie’s eyes were undoubtedly fixated on his canines now.

“So, uh, what are ya in for- “

Bill felt himself now leaning at a forty-five-degree angle to compensate for Debbie’s slow descent to the linoleum tile.

“Hey! Hey! Doctor! Hey, Ms. Reynolds is down! Hey, someone call a doctor!”

However, the humble plumber failed to notice Ms. Reynold’s clear cognitive dissociation. She demonstrated the butterfly stroke across the squeaky waiting room floor, not even flinching when her bare elbows rubbed abrasively against the obtuse purple carpeting.

“Hurry, hey! Can anyone hear me? Am I speaking to a ghost? Ms. Reynold’s is down!”

“No Bill,” slurred Ms. Reynolds. “No, I’m quite alright. No need to fuss.”

“I’m calling John! Or a doctor!”

“No, no,” Deb’s order notepad glistened like a pearlized trophy from her apron pocket. Bill couldn’t help but stare as she sprawled across the floor, clearly out of her mind.

Finally, the dentist scuttled into the room, a cyborg with a perpetually happy expression.

“Hey, doctor! Help! Ms. Reynold’s is down. Ms. Reynold’s is down.”

The cyborg hurried over, programmed to interact with humanoid voices. Hearing the command “down,” his multi-faceted claw initiated its drill control, immediately shaving a hole right through Ms. Reynold’s hand.

“Ahhhh,” she wailed as the Novocain was only so strong. She reeled in pain as Bill shoved the robot back through the glass doors.

“That’ll be 120.69,” it repeated incessantly, not programmed to react to such a service.

Bill lifted Deb upon his back and carried her body into his car, placing her in the backseat along with his basin wrench and saw. She finally rested on the way to the hospital.

Deb’s mind projected images of dolphins and submarines outside the car window while Bill, remembering it was the 7th of August, 3005, realized he was late to repair a leaky faucet.

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