Comfortably Numb / by Courtney Mehlhaff

When I was about 12 years old, I had to have four teeth removed in preparation for getting braces.

After the dentist unceremoniously yanked my molars, my mom put a slightly groggy Cotonee into the car and headed home. She made one quick stop at a convenience store, leaving me to wait.

I was lolling heavy-lidded in the passenger seat when two younger kids walked by the car. I turned slowly to look at them. They stopped, stared, appeared fairly horrified, and promptly ran in the other direction.

Even in my addled state, I knew this was a weird reaction. So I pulled down the visor and checked the mirror.

And that's when I saw that, unbeknownst to me due to novocaine, two rivulets of blood were running slowly out of the corners of my mouth and down my chin. Like the scariest, most gauze-packed vampire ever to venture out in broad daylight.

When my mom returned, I had to assure her it wasn't residual nitrous oxide that had me giggling.