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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Oops (01/14/10)

TITLE: Has anyone seen my teeth?
By June Dickie


It was a moment from heaven ... sparkling sands lit by a crimson canopy, the beach quiet and deserted save for a few fisher women dragging their nets through the shallow waters. They moved with a harmonious rhythm, like swans swaying to the symphony of the gentle ripples.

I had brought my three guests down to the bay for a dawn snorkel, their first since they had arrived to visit me in this remote corner of northern Mozambique. The previous day they had flown in from South Africa, laden with cooler-bags of juicy farm-sausage. They had come prepared, knowing how difficult it would be for me to provide sufficient food for them, and we all looked forward to a tasty breakfast after our early-morning exercise.

In the sun-kissed morning haze, we adjusted our masks and fins, and slipped into the warm Indian Ocean. The coral was an easy distance from the shore, and we effortlessly glided through the languid swells to where the underwater castles began. Smiles squeezed through the steamed-up masks. This was a dream embracing reality!

For the next thirty minutes we drifted in and out of the wonderland, mesmerized by the colors and shapes of the creatures before us. There was the Lion Fire-fish, exquisitely beautiful, hovering nearby. Her tentacles constantly wafted this way and that, with the curtsies and arabesques of a Russian ballerina. Then a school of tiny turquoise hatchings flitted by. Their phosphorescence caught the sun and dazzled our eyes with their fluorescent splendor, a flash of fireworks as they darted forth.

Down below a sluggish starfish clung to his fortress. His orange limbs melted into the background as a vivid blue-and-yellow Angel wiggled through an opening in the rocks. Then another starfish caught my eye; this one was silvery-white trimmed with scarlet lace, a decorative ornament on the ocean floor.

My mind full of all these images of loveliness, I lazed back on the white sand to await the others. The last to return was Pastor Dan. An embarrassed smile teetered on the corners of his neat mustache as he hesitantly asked, “Has anyone seen my teeth?” We stared at him non-plussed, and then he explained. "I was already out at the coral when I remembered that I had forgotten to remove my false teeth. So I just slipped them into the long pocket of my shorts. But now they're gone!" Oops! They could be anywhere, hidden in the underwater labyrinth!

We spent the next hour diligently combing the ocean depths, in and out of the cavernous seascape. But they were nowhere to be found. I then dropped in at the Dive Shop and told my friend Pete: "If anyone finds some teeth, they're ours!" He grinned widely, and promised to return them if located.

Over the next days we tried repeatedly, and unsuccessfully, to uncover the missing dentures. As we enjoyed delicious sausage on the fire, Dan watched us wistfully, unable to share in the special treat. In the end, he had to phone his wife to organize an urgent dental appointment on his return. And thus the news got out, and spread through the congregation like the smell of fish in a refrigerator: "Pastor Dan has lost his teeth!"

Awaiting him on his return to the church office, was a large poster of a hungry shark, trying to feed upon some gritty enamel. "This doesn't taste too good" was the fish's lament. Oops! Is some unsuspecting watery-predator suffering major indigestion as a result? Or has a fisherman found himself the new owner of a not-so-shiny set of dentures? What we can say for sure is that one man's teeth won't provide a fish a feast, or, to coin a proverb, "One man's tusk doesn't make another's tuck!"

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This article has been read 344 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Noel Mitaxa 01/24/10
I'm sorry the pastor set you such an unenviable tusk before you all - one that could easily denture pride! But fangs very much for your enjoyable mix of rich, vivid descriptions of the world underwater and your honest humour about church life.
Very well written.
Allen Stark01/25/10
Beasutiful description of the under sea life. Well-written denouement.
Rachel Phelps01/25/10
I love the descriptions of underwater beauty - breathtaking. I confess that the adjectives tripped my eye a few times - perhaps trimming a few would have tightened the whole. Wonderfully elegant humor. Lovely!