The Hoax

He stands in front of the sea of signs — Born Free, Don’t Tell Me, I’ll Go My Own Way, Another Hoax. The people point to their bared smiles, their disdain for the scientists and politicians unmasked. 

He shouts into the bullhorn. “Does the elephant brush its tusks? Does the king of beasts floss between roars? Did the noble Neanderthal visit a dentist before stalking the saber-toothed tiger?”

“No! No! No!” the crowd responds. 

He drops a match onto the newspaper kindling. As the fire blazes, paste oozes from tubes and splatters like fat, a minty fresh scent perfuming the air. Floss melts like cotton candy. Brushes become plastic globs. 

For the finale he unwraps a chocolate bar. The people cheer. He chomps down the sweet then shouts “And I’m not cleaning my teeth tonight either.” The crowd explodes like a string of firecrackers. 

That evening he presses an ice pack to his jaw and frets dental hygiene’s not a hoax.

David Henson and his wife have lived in Belgium and Hong Kong over the years and now reside in Peoria, Illinois. His work has been nominated for Best Small Fictions and Best of the Net and has appeared or is upcoming in various journals including Pithead Chapel, Briefly Write, Literally Stories, The Metaworker and Gone Lawn. His website is His Twitter is @annalou8.

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