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Word of Mouth
by George Sparling

That’s not my mouth you’re using, is it. I’m the only person inside, right. Wrong. I seal my lips shut, clamp my teeth, but still your tongue moves within. But they’re not your lips and tongue, they’re mine. I’ve used them all my life. Your tongue slipped around my eyetooth and couldn’t see what you were saying. Old sayings are eternal.

Though I think the words I speak are mine, outside agitators hijacked them, usurping ownership of my mouth. I seek no wider territory except my mouth. When I say, stop mouthing off, that means you. I heard you tonight as I brushed my teeth; you slid between my teeth as I flossed. I’m not you and have no major complaints in life, but get the hell out of my mouth.

I’m not paranoid, but wouldn’t an invasion, using my mouth as Nazi Quislings and their collaborating mouthpieces, make one approximate paranoia? These are my lips, voice box, tongue, glottal stop, teeth, and palate. You’re foreign: you have no passport or visa, probably you first entered my mouth as the dental hygienist cleaned my teeth. You’ve employed high tech surveillance, hampering my ability to speak my own mind. My mouth’s guerrillas will hit you where you’re most vulnerable.

A dental filling rattled around today and I spit it in the garbage. If you like, I’ll send a suicidal bomber after I can be certain it’s your mouth he blows up. Catastrophes bring out opportunities; the insurgency builds like plaque on my teeth, but not your plaque.

Have you heard me literally speaking in tongues? You moved my lips then, now telling me don’t make puns, the lowest sense of humor. I simultaneously spoke as you chewed me out for being lowbrow, and I said this: Move outta here, you have nothing to lose but my mouth. Russia lost its soviet republics and you’ll also surrender territories you once had.

When you tell the world that I have violent thoughts, you’re an accomplice to murder. It’s not I who has to serve time in a Super Max, but you. Today, when I introduced a fake stutter your mouth wasn’t prepared for, you crept in through my nostrils, not unlike a prisoner force fed by a feeding tube, which is torture.

This morning I gagged, coughed, couldn’t breathe, had an asthma attack, and nearly choked to death. But that disaster killed you, a morsel of food jammed down your throat. Thankfully, a companion administered the Heimlich maneuver, reached from behind and pulled hard on my stomach, and the obstruction ejected from my mouth. My insurgents then rescued me. They lobbed a peach pit into your windpipe, and it choked you to death.

After all, speaking for myself, what are friends for.