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by Ross McMeekin

One day we all grew tusks, one pointing out from each cheek. Surprisingly few accommodations needed to be made. Motorcycle helmets, scuba gear—any solid thing wrapped around the face no longer worked. But other than that, we got used to them. Sleep was not a problem because no one really ever sleeps facedown. Blowing one’s nose was difficult, and kissing was shot, but eating was okay.

Soon we began to enjoy the tusks. We shined and buffed them. We illustrated and tagged them. We etched the names of our loved ones through the enamel. We carved religious texts and memorials and celebrity profiles into the dentine. We invented outfits for them, for when we went out to the office, parties, and so on. Soon we imagined our ancestors having them. Then we imagined aliens having them. Finally, we imagined God having them. It was then that we all made a pact and cut them off. It was then that we grew tails.

Ross McMeekin is author of the novel The Hummingbirds (Skyhorse). His stories have appeared in places like Virginia Quarterly Review, Redivider, Hobart, and Green Mountains Review. He’s received emerging writer fellowships from Hugo House and Jack Straw Cultural Center in Seattle. He edits the literary journal Spartan.

Lead image: “Tusk” (via Flickr user Pascal Parent)