's 2014 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Sorbus

It's probably been a year since I've been able to taste anything.

My tongue was the first to go, of course. But you have taste buds on the rest of your mouth as well; on your hard palate and the inside of your cheeks. They're all scraped up now, the lining is rough and raw and bleeding. It hurts a little, but I've gotten used to it. At first I would taste the blood, sweet and coppery. Now I don't taste it anymore, I just choke it down like saliva.

I read an article once, about a man living in India, or maybe Nepal, who was born without a tongue. He would use the muscles of his lower jaw instead, somehow, to move his food around in his mouth. I wish my situation was like that. At least my mouth would still belong to me.

My teeth have almost all fallen out. I've got a couple molars left, and my canine on the upper left side. They're all going to fall out soon too, I think. My gums are constantly bleeding, irritated by my new tongue.

At first, when I went to the dentist, she didn't see it. She just told me I had gum disease, and I should floss twice every day. She's always told me that, in fact, she always told everyone that, but this time it was worse. I was irritated, upset that she didn't understand. But I couldn't really afford to shop around for a new one, since money was tight and my workplace only provided us a pretty crappy dental plan. I came back in a year for another checkup, having forgotten how incompetent she seemed. When I got into the chair and opened my mouth for her, she turned white as a ghost and told me to get out of her office. I tried to call back but the receptionist wouldn't pick up. They never even billed me for the visit.

Every other doctor I've seen since had one of those two responses; either they didn't think anything was wrong, or they just flipped as soon as I tried to show them, shooed me from their office, stopped answering my calls, the works. I even had a nurse vomit directly in my open mouth. I'm not even sure it's a medical problem anyway; after all, I can still eat and drink just fine and I haven't been losing weight or anything. And not to sound like a huge flake, but I think this is the sort of thing that Western science and medicine don't really have an answer for. I've tried a few complementary treatments: acupuncture, reiki, yoga. They made me feel better about the situation, but my mouth is exactly the same as it was before.

I don't get out much. My friends don't like to be seen with me because I look like a toothless hobo who just swallowed broken glass, and my gummy smile tends to repel strangers. But no one comments on my tongue. Except for one kid, I remember her really well. She was probably about 5, wearing a shirt with a blue morpho butterfly on it, and she saw me at the Natural History Museum. She looked at me, laughed, and said, "Mister, what's that in your mouth? It looks like a roly-poly!"