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Baby Doll’s baby teeth didn’t fall out; they just dissolved in her spit, so she swallowed the sludge and kept on growing. Acid in the mouth, she guesses, from her mama before her or the rain these days. Anyways, now there’s a little mouth in her stomach that she can’t feed though it’s always hungry. While she’s singing or drinking coffee or burning her lovers with licks and wet kisses, it moans some secret longing all through her guts. It craves so deeply. It’s a concept she made up as a toothless eight-year-old freak, but might be the only thing that makes her a woman. She wishes she could pull out her hard big grown teeth and dissolve her whole self inside, so self-contained, so that all she’d have to do is want, want, want.



The job perks these days being disgusting! and REDACTED, everything is coming up Health Inspector. He’s flirting; he’s horrified; he’s gagging on the question of the bugs in the salad cooler, to which the girls answer: Oh, my boyfriends? Don’t worry, they wash their hands. Waitress jokes aren’t getting him off like they used to—he swears these girls are getting younger every year and grosser, too. Where he used to give them a slap on the thin, avian wrist, now he has to push so far as to wet his pen on their plump, open mouths and tick off boxes that they’d really rather see unticked, watch them scramble to explain to their managers the hair extensions in the soup, the ungloved manicures dipping into raw meat and ranch dressing. They’re not scared of him anymore, or salmonella, roaches, rats. No, only their boyfriends and the downward slope of their tip percentages year after year as they start to wrinkle around the eyes. A younger girl may take their bed and their bar, but Health Inspector knows he can do worse than replace the bitches.

The bitches, meanwhile, are hotboxing the beer cooler. The owner’s new girlfriend looked younger than his daughter. The bartender poured the spill mats into shot glasses for Bar Johnny last night. There are no sisters in food service, just money, mess, and men everywhere you turn. The girls finish the joint and get back to hating each other. Health Inspector gets back to not knowing for sure what weed smells like and being too embarrassed to ask.

Everything is coming up Ugly, and he knew it would one day. He watches a girl wrap her apron twice around her waist, pull so tight he cannot believe it. He almost gets it up, but her mascara starts to flake off in black chunks over the sweet tea when her eyelashes clash. He goes soft again. Goes angry. He scratches under his stomach and takes the freezer temperature with his most phallic thermometer, smirks at the girls: their smooth armpits sweating in the kitchen, fake tan running in orange stripes down their arms into the ice bin. He’s going to find a rat in the deep fryer, its feces in the fries. Shut the whole place down. The girls don’t tell, but they’ve always eaten the rats and made easy money doing it, and they’ll eat the damn health inspector, too.


Emily Tracy (she/her) is a law student and incredibly proud lazy waitress living in Athens, Georgia. Her work has found a home or is forthcoming in VIBE, Susurrus, Stillpoint Literary Magazine, and The Corvus Review. You can find her on Twitter: @emtrac_

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