© KJ Hannah Greenberg
As a child, Mia loved campfire stories. She’d
hold a flashlight under her
chin, shine it onto her face, and try to freak out her bunkmates with tales of
In college, too, she earned an unsavory reputation.
Rather than building
notoriety from telling folk stories, though, she established herself as a
frightening girl because of her teeth. In fraternity houses and in eating clubs
all over campus, hetero boys and lesbians, alike, whispered about Mia’s
Consequently, lots of youths tried to bed her.
Mia acquiesced to none of
them. The world, or even a small part of it, didn’t need to corroborate that
she had dermoid cysts in her vagina. She, herself, hadn’t even known of their
existence until Dave Williams had tried to haze her.
Although she had only been a freshman, Mia had
doubted the necessity of
sleeping with the drama club’s president in order to get her one act produced.
Nonetheless, the influence of cheap wine and of cheaper weed had made her
malleable. She had caved and had allowed Dave to explore “down there.”
His subsequent shriek had broken her druggy stupor.
In answer, Mia had
smacked him across the face, had pulled her covers to her chest, and had
ordered him to leave her room.
Shortly thereafter, the rumors began to spread.
Mia became “the girl with
the teeth.” No amount of social prestidigitation could rein in that drama club
officer. Likewise, references to Mia’s “talent” bloomed all over the Internet.
When she returned home, that
summer, Mia scheduled an appointment with a gynecologist. She scheduled a talk
with her mother, too.
Yes, she had been one of two babies expected that
pregnancy. No, her
mother had had no idea what had happened to Mia’s twin. No, her mother had
never felt a need to tell Mia about her missing sibling.
Mia had shrugged in response, had given her mother
a dirty look, and then
had locked herself in her bedroom. She began to search for support groups for
young women who had balls of epidermis, hair follicles, and sebaceous glands in
their vaginas. She found none. That summer ended.
Back on campus, other students’ jokes about
her body was no longer Mia’s
greatest problem. She began to have horrible headaches, double vision, and
episodes of cognitive muddiness. The former Dean’s List student found herself
on academic probation.
At about the same time that Mia was experiencing
bouts of sudden,
debilitating head pain, it was discovered, and then circulated, that the mother
of the drama club’s president was only fifteen years older than her son. Gossip
about Mia quickly died. Just as suddenly, the school’s fraternity boys lost
their interest in her; discovering “vagina dentate”
had become passť relative to their new game of speed humping.
During Thanksgiving Recess, Mia again sought the
gynecologist. That doctor
suggested that: Mia’s tumors had grown primitive brain cells, Mia’s immune
system was fighting those outworlders, and Mia’s white cells couldn’t
differentiate between bits of tumors and needed ganglia. The doc suggested that
Mia undergo surgery and follow up with medications that would obstruct
Mia complied. Accordingly, these days, Mia goes
out in public wearing
surgical masks. She figures that the stares that she receives are better than
incapacitating headaches. What’s more, she’s dropped the drama club and has
moved off campus.
Nevertheless, occasionally, Mia’s asked
about the fangs that are allegedly
growing in her most private of places. Sometimes, Mia answers factually. Most
of the time, she ignores the questions as she is tires of that bunkum. Once in
a while she considers buying a spiked chastity belt.
Hannah Greenberg captures the world in words and images. Her most recent poetry
collection is Rudiments (Seashell
Books, 2020), her most recent essay collection is Simple Gratitudes (Propertius Press,
2020), her most recent short story collection is Demurral: Linens, and Towel and Fears (Bards
& Sages Publishing, 2020), and her most recent photography
collection is 20/20, Eye on Israel (Camel Saloon, 2015).