“Grandmonster” by Sasha Janel McBrayer

June 13, 2010

Grandparents can seem very strange. They come from another time, after all. The scariest part about staying in my grandmother’s house was her dentures… or so I believed. [6min]


Gram kept her teeth in a glass at the sink. The water inside the glass distorted them. I never could look at them directly. When I had to pee, I’d pass them on tiptoes. Gram’s mouth without her teeth inside frightened me, too. She wasn’t Gram without her teeth inside her head. She was someone small, white, lined.

Gram would put her teeth back in her mouth on Thursday nights even though it was close to bedtime. She put loud yellow heels on for playing shuffleboard with her friends. Those high heels were loud on the eyes and loud on the old wood floor. She’d leave me home with the TV and with homework. She’d tell me “behave” but I’d steal from her secret hoard of baking chocolate the moment I heard her tires finish crunching the gravel outside.

Gram told me I mustn’t steal. She told me to sit still at school and not to bring no attention to myself.

“You don’t want to be no criminal,” she used to say. “You don’t want to wind up in jail like your father.”

Gram’s oldest son—my dad, he didn’t steal nothing. He killed my mom.

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