by Tim Craig
After an hour or so, I decided to ask him about the tooth.
It was dangling from the sun visor on a piece of cotton, and it had a gold filling that occasionally glinted as we passed under the lights.
The lorry driver reached up and flicked it with his fingernail, setting it dancing back and forth.
“It was my father’s,” he said.
Then he grinned.
“The only gold I ever got from him”.
Pavel turned to look at the road ahead, his expression serious once more. All three lanes were busy with traffic heading north for the weekend.
He was quiet for a moment or two, then he shrugged.
“He hit my mother, I hit him. He left. I never saw him again.”
“I was seventeen.”
He flashed the headlights to allow a Sainsbury’s lorry to pull back into the inside lane. The lorry moved across, then toggled its indicators in thanks.
“I found the tooth two days later. It had landed in a flowerpot and I thought I’d better take it with me in case another evil old bastard grew out of it.”
He smiled, and as he did so I noticed a sparkle of gold in his own mouth.
Neither of us said much more after that, and he dropped me off at the next services.
After he’d gone, I stood for a while on the motorway bridge, watching the trail of diamonds and rubies on the wet tarmac.