Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Twilight Years of Life (07/02/09)
TITLE: Sweet Gummy Love
By Bryan Ridenour
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Decidedly doddery, Hervil shuffled to the bedroom, leaning on a hand carved walking stick for support.
“What’cha hollerin’ about?” Hervil huffed, out of breath.
“I found y’r chompers,” she shouted, holding on to a porcelain molar.
Hervil’s gummy grin nearly met on the back of his head. He grabbed and inspected the dentures, shoving them into his empty mouth. Clacking his teeth together, Hervil smiled, satisfied with the results.
“Thank y’ honey,” he gushed. “I ain’t been this happy since the Piggly Wiggly ran a special on Depends. Now I don’t have to gum m’ Bran Flakes.”
“Shakes?” she questioned, cupping her ear. “You’ve got th’ shakes?”
“No,” he thundered. “Flakes!”
She examined her stooped shoulders, brushing each twice. “I washed m’ hair this mornin’,” she informed with a firm nod of the head.
“Never mind,” he shouted.
“Herval, I ain’t lost m’ mind,” she responded coolly.
Herval padded to the bathroom and rifled though a drawer crammed with amber colored pill bottles. Shaking one, he smiled at the little yellow pill responsible for putting a spark back in his marriage. He withdrew the bottles, arranging them by size on the bathroom counter. He counted the pharmaceutical wonders. Twenty-three pills a day, he thought. Every morning before a ritual cup of coffee and morning date with a magnifying glass and the Cameron Daily, almost two-dozen pills of various colors and a myriad of sizes, slid down his throat with the aid of a tall glass of prune juice, chilled. He understood how a Pez dispenser must feel.
He resumed rummaging. “Aha,” he announced to himself in the mirror.
Hervil wrapped his aching fingers around the fragile devices and delivered them to his wife.
“You forgot these,” Hervil announced.
“Oh,” she groaned, feeling her ears.
Within moments, a high-pitched squeal and a minor adjustment awakened her hearing. Tears filled her eyes as she patted the bed, inviting Hervil to have a seat. He thumped down, both knees aching and creaking.
“What’s wrong Bea?” he asked, wanting to know.
“We’re getting’ old,” she wailed.
“I’m not sure I’m ready for the alternative,” he said, wrapping an arm around his frail beloved.
“Hervil, I can’t hear, I can’t see…I can’t remember what I did ten minutes ago…”
“You can still drive,” he encouraged.
“Well…,” she said sniffing
Hervil pulled his wife close, wiping away a trail of tears, dripping and dampening the front of her bathrobe.
“I love you Bea,” he soothed, “just the way you are. Besides, you ain’t married to a spring chicken either.”
She glanced at her husband, brightening.
“Anyway, you ain’t totally useless,” he crowed. “You found m’ teeth, and I’m glad about that. I want to be buried in these teeth.”
“Buried…? In those?” she asked, shocked.
“Yep. When I meet m’ Maker, I want to Him to know I’m His indentured servant,” he smiled, tapping his incisors.
Bea chuckled then erupted into a raspy cackle. “Oh Hervil, come her y’ big lug,” she invited, winking.
Hervil blushed bright red and dropped his cane on the floor, stashing his dentures under his pillow. "Now y'r talkin'..."
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