TEN DAYS (DAY TWO)
April 8, 2020
they found teeth in my grandmother’s heart. gold teeth, to be precise. four hundred and twenty-eight gold teeth, to be even more precise – christ knows she would have put more in there if she’d been able to find any more. they also found nearly twenty-eight thousand gold doubloons from the sunken wreck of the spanish pirate ship castillo – well, that’s where the doubloons came from originally, of course, but grandmother “liberated” them from an armored truck while they were on their way to a museum exhibit in barcelona, and stuffed them in her heart because “the cops just never check there, you see.” which makes sense: i doubt they teach fresh-faced recruits at the academy that a “cavity search” should include open-heart surgery to check for the goods. and that’s why grandmother’s arrest record was a mile long, but she never had a single conviction.
she had stereo equipment in her heart, some of the finest receivers and speakers you could imagine. of course, it was all still in boxes – a god awful waste of her heart, if you ask me. they found approximately eight tons of diamonds, rubies, sapphires and pearls; fifty-eight tons of gold and silver necklaces, earrings and fancy tiaras; three hundred and nine rare luxury sports cars, none worth less than a million dollars even; hundreds of millions of dollars worth of treasury bonds, banknotes, and unmarked bills; fifty-two pounds of moon rocks; a live unicorn; and the entire state of louisiana. grandfather always used to say that grandmother had no heart, but he was such an asshole.
so naturally they wanted to prosecute, and i can certainly understand why. but then they started searching the rest of her, and things got a lot more complicated. they opened up her pancreas and found four hundred fifty-eight thousand, three hundred and twenty-two refugee children, quietly minding their own business and making new lives for themselves, relying on the nearly eight million tons of MREs she’d somehow managed to steal from the army over the years. they found clothing and blankets and teddy bears to go around; a hundred thousand computers that were teaching kids to read; and thirty-eight thousand robot dogs to keep them all company. and in her intestines, they found the older kids, in training, armed with kalashnikov rifles and hunting knives, prepared to defend grandmother’s innards to the death if necessary.
it got to be a real diplomatic hassle by the time they got inside her spleen. she had nuclear weapons in there, for christ’s sake, and she wasn’t a damn “rogue state” – she was my frickin’ grandmother! where were all these kids gonna go? how’d she steal the mona lisa in the first place? why didn’t anyone notice when louisiana went missing? was she still an american citizen, even with all those foreign nationals running around inside her stomach, developing their own space program, and quietly preparing to migrate to the stars? the authorities bickered and bickered amongst themselves, desperate for an easy answer, terrified of what they might find in her kidneys or her bowels or, god forbid, her womb.
she solved their problems in her own stubborn way, of course. she died in their holding cell, her organs all splayed open like a frog in a high school biology class. the floor of the cell filled up with blood, and then before anyone really saw it coming, the entire prison was drowning in grandmother’s blood. her blood just kept pumping out of that massive heart of hers, and no one could figure out a way to stop it. the population of grandmother’s innards – kids who’d seen their parents bombed and tortured and murdered, scientists who’d had their families disappeared for terrible reasons, the occasional stray idealist who still believed in the promise of the future – all rocketed to the moon, to grandmother’s secret terraformed moon base, leaving planet earth a bloody, tormented sea, wiped clean of its disease and mania and ill-considered fast food chains.
but sometimes i still wonder why she let them catch her in the first place. and i wonder why, of all her many spoils and treasures, the first thing they found were those goddamn teeth.
Series: TEN DAYS on HILOBROW