Helliotosis

By now he knew that his breath was not exactly something to be desired. There was all of the teasing in grade school, all the fighting in middle school and all the dateless nights that defined his high school years. And somehow, deep inside, he knew that suffering through all those sad and lonely moments was a direct result of his horrendous breath…his God-awful breath. Yes, he could have lived a normal life. Were it not for the fact that his breath smelled like the fur surrounding the rectum of an incontinent camel. His breath was heinous. And, in telling his tale, I intentionally chose a word that rhymes with “anus.” We’re talking a smell that nature itself could not duplicate. No decomposing manatee carcass smelled this terrible. A mutilated small intestine of a skunk, with all its contents served up on a hot plate, could not smell this bad. His, my friends, was the breath that not only makes sailors blush, it causes them to have recurring nightmares. His breath was sinister. It

was evil. It was as if his lungs were attached directly to his colon. But he could never figure out what made his breath so unbearable. He didn’t smoke, nor did he drink coffee. He steered clear of anything garlic and all things onion. He didn’t have gum disease or dry socket, or any oral bleeding that festered in his mouth until it turned into pus-ridden mouth polyps. He brushed after every meal just as his hygienist had suggested. He also flossed quite frequently. Why did he have such awful breath? Why had so many of the dentists, he had visited in his youth, closed their practices after treating him? Why did his parents force him to wear that uncomfortable surgical mask at the dinner table? Why did the plants die so easily in his home? Why did his small, private college demand that he attend his classes over closedcircuit television? He had not the answer to any of these questions, as he wept uncontrollably and continued eating his shit sandwich.

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