Yet Another Heartbreaking Cut from the Novel

What can you do? It’s for the Good of the Country.

“…A story about dentures: My grandfather, my mother’s father Charles Henley Clark, had a serious car accident when he was fifty years old. He survived but his teeth didn’t. And so, for the last two decades of his life he wore dentures, dentures which he kept at his bedside when he slept. Some nights, he immersed them in Efferdent, the tiny silvery bubbles rising from the center of the glass and forming a white sheath of foam near its rim. But some nights he forgot. And this fact, this forgetting, turned out to be crucial—because one fine Sunday morning in August of 1992, my grandfather awoke to missing teeth. They were nowhere to be found. What had happened to them?

Another fact about my maternal grandfather, the second and last fact you’ll uncover in this book: He loved purebred English bulldogs, bulldogs that he imported from Walton-on-Thames for thousands of dollars apiece. At any rate, on the morning of the missing dentures, the dogs—all three of them—had also disappeared. My grandparents searched everywhere in the house to no avail. No teeth. No dogs. Until, of course, my grandfather heard a grinding, crunching sound, and then discovered his pets in the living room—all three of them—crouched behind the sofa, licking the food particles off of his false gums, happily gnawing his dentures down to a set of white stumps…”


This story, by the way, is true.


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