When Braces Bite Back


A little over two months ago, I got an email from my writing teacher that told me about a KET Young Writers Contest. I immediately grabbed a notebook and pencil and began my short story. This story is loosely based on my real experience with my tongue getting stuck in my braces. It wasn’t Veteran’s Day and I didn’t have to give a speech, but I definitely will never forget that day.

When Braces Bite Back

When Braces Bite Back

By Natalie Williams

Today was the day. I hadn’t seen my cousin Danny for three months due to Boot Camp for the Marines. However, today was Veterans Day and Danny was coming home. My cousin and I were like “Dorritos and peanut butter”, so different, but got along so well. He would arrive within the hour to hear me sing and speak about his branch.

I had had braces for approximately four months, and if you have ever had to deal with bitter sweet braces then you know that sometimes wires stick out, poking and prodding you. This is what was happening today. Being the germophobic that I was, I attempted to apply the wax to that bracket with my tongue instead of my hands. Suddenly pain shot through my tongue. I tried to move it, but it just wouldn’t give. I turned to Bell, my best friends forever, and with great effort, began to jabber. “My unge is uck n my aket!”

“What?” Bell hissed.

I repeated it again and that time she understood.

“Your tongue is… STUCK!!!”


“What do I do?”


That’s when I had a brilliant brain storm. I flipped over my index card with my speech and snatched the #2 pencil from the dirty gym floor. This is what I wrote first to Slick, the boy to my right who was eavesdropping on the conversation. “Slick, whenever you finish leading the Pledge of Allegiance, I would like you to faint.”

“You’re kidding me.”

I shook my head. Then begged him with my eyes. It looked as if he was considering the consequences then nodded. Next, I turned to Bell and wrote “If I’m not back yet, stall for me.”

“I’ll do anything Carla, but what will you be doing?”

“I’ll go to see my dentist up in the bleachers,” I scribbled.


Right then Principal David Johnson took the mic and welcomed all the Veterans. I scanned the crowd looking for Danny. There he was wearing his graduation uniform. I bit my lip. I hope this works.
Mr. Johnson ended by saying, “Slick will now be leading the Pledge of Allegiance.” I braced myself. Here goes nothing.

Together the gym chorused. “Liberty, and justice for all.” At that moment, Slick crashed to the floor like a boulder falling from a cliff. With all the commotion swimming around me, I made a beeline to my dentist. When I reached her, I tugged on her sleeve and pointed to my mouth. “Well, it’s a good thing I bring tools with me wherever I go!” Quickly she led me to her vehicle, pointed to the passenger seat and ordered “Sit.”

Meanwhile, Slick was seated, sipping water while Bell was resisting giving Mr. Johnson the mic, while explaining how wonderful the weather was that day, stalling just like she promised.

Back in the car, my dentist was coming at me with a numbing shot! My eyes were the size of golf balls as she told me to open wide. I flinched for just a second but then I could no longer feel my tongue. I felt a click and my tongue was free.

I literally flew from the car into the gym, back to the stage, to the mic, caught my breath, and pointed to the lady running the computer to start the music.

As I began to sing the Star Spangled Banner, I was finally able to contemplate the day. Both Bell and Slick would get in trouble, but right then, I was glad that I still had a tongue.

After the program ended, I went to thank my dentist. “Dr.Violet! Thank you so much! I didn’t even know you were a veteran.”

“No prob Carla,” Dr. Violet smiled, “and I usually forget to tell people cause I haven’t served since I was twenty.”

With one last smile, I ran to find Danny.

Later that night I told the tale to my family plus my cousin over supper. Believe me, they were shocked!! After supper Danny had to leave.

“Bye Dan”. I could feel a tear stinging my eye.

“Bye Carla!” Danny saluted. He always seemed to have a joke up his sleeve.

“See you again soon, right?”

“Not as long as last time that’s for sure. Oh, and by the way, I’m glad you still got your tongue.” I slapped him playfully. “Me too!”

Thanks for taking the time to read my story. Have you ever written a short story? If so I’d love to hear about it.

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