Back to the Past

He has always been crying. At first, when he was a baby. Then, he continued the tradition in the primary school, crying, ‘I want my mum and dad.’ Now, he was roaring like an adult. With the exhaust of his sporty vehicle. The roar was the opposite of that from childhood as if he wanted to make up for those lost years, as he regarded them. He wanted to forget but also to remember a little. He was listening to Artur Rojek singing ‘Beksa’ [Crybaby] to the roar of his probably illegal damper. He was sick and tired of his memories, but at the same time, in moments like this, he celebrated them masochistically.

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Yes, he wanted them to look. He was not a crybaby anymore. His car was special. Not some shipshape car, glossy like a certain body part of dogs, nor with some mat wrapping with ordinary paint showing through it, as if laughing at the owner. Released from a factory in Houston in the United States when the martial law period started in the Polish People’s Republic. It was De Lorean, whose body was made from genuine brushed aluminium. Once, he joked that he got the shell made from a few thousand old APPLE laptops, which are covered with this elegant material. ‘Keep yours for me,’ he said, knowing that the Lady bought a new, better or less used ‘Apple’ every six months. The funniest part was that she believed him!

Now, he was driving to his dentist. Not some random dentist but HIS dentist. When he got accustomed to something or someone, he liked to personalise it. He was accustomed to his wife the most, contrary to a strange trend when all his friends would exchange their spouses with new models. ‘Don’t get younger, let’s get older,’ he was singing out of tune at the breakfast, jealous of Paweł Domagała that when it seemed that everything had already been done in music, he released such a song and curved the space and time.

He started slowly like a turtle, like the locomotive in Tuwim’s poem, when his right leg had to press the 38-year-old brake in a split second. A white, high BMW squeezed between his car and the vehicle ahead of him. ‘What the! What a jerk!’ He pulled level with the nervously going car with a propeller logo on the bonnet. They met at the lights, and he was going to tell the carter that he was hopping from one lane to another like a single on a TINDER, but he was struck dumb.

‘He..Hel..Hello,’ he mumbled as if he had drunk lots of MAMROT wine. Behind the wheel, there was Marcin from They knew each other because Marcin published his dentist stories in one of his magazines.

 ‘I absolutely must see it up close,’ shouted Marcin. ‘Follow me.’ They went down Grunwaldzka Street in Gdańsk Wrzeszcz, BMW leading the way like an airport vehicle FOLLOW ME and De Lorean after it like an aeroplane going to the right parking space.

‘Hey, but you’ve already seen my wheels,’ he patted the car tenderly on the rear left wing. ‘I’m going to lie for a while on the dentist chair with my mouth open.’

‘What I wanted to see up close wasn’t your scab on four wheels. I meant the thing you have in your beautiful, happy mouth, mate’ Marcin patted the patient.

‘Fine, you can look, you can even touch if you want to,’ the patient chuckled. ‘Unbelievable, it looks awesome, I want that, too. Wait, let me shoot a story for Instagram.’

Marcin started to talk while shooting a video. ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, Gdańsk isn’t only the world amber capital. From today, its new showcase is a man with teeth from BRUSHED ALUMINIUM.’ The patient joined in, ‘My friend didn’t tell you the whole truth… Look!’

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On Marcin’s phone, he showed a small, electric rotating toothbrush. It differed from the original only in terms of one detail. Instead of soft hair, its bristles were made of sharp, thin wires, similar to the ones in a wire brush used for scrubbing off the rust from an old balustrade. He turned on the device, set the max power, and brushed the self-made tool along his teeth. It was as if he was brushing his teeth; the only thing missing was a toothpaste, a bathroom, and a sink.

After that brutal procedure, Marcin, who suddenly wished to be a cameraman and director at the same time, struck the aluminium teeth hard with his mobile and announced triumphantly like a Roman emperor.

‘Nothing, absolutely nothing. No cracks or scratches on the surface, no chips apart from the smashed screen of my phone. But,’ he chuckled, ‘I’ll send him a VAT invoice for that.’

‘Give me at least a 30-day payment deadline,’ the patient joined in, shouting after Marcin, who was already driving away.

He started his De Lorean, roared with the exhaust as if he wanted to announce he was going to merge with traffic and rolled slowly along recently reconstructed Grunwaldzka Street. Oh, ‘my publisher’, he thought about Marcin from Anywhere, paraphrasing an old album by Kult. He’s completely different from the one Kazik sings about. Marcin, who publishes storytelling for dr Zarański is a good guy. He could only reply text messages faster, he chuckled.

Again, he was the crybaby from ‘Beksa’ by Artur Rojek for a while. He looked at Manhattan. In the 90s, on the site of the shopping centre, there was something like an estate of holiday houses with large shopping windows. Those were shops selling goods which had been unavailable in Poland for years. He sniffed like a hunting dog catching the scent – I can still smell the coats, which were kitsch but at least were made from genuine leather. Not some ECO stuff like today. He looked at the tall structure of the ‘dollar building’, which housed a Pewex in the times of the Polish People’s Republic, where one could become intoxicated by the smell of Western products.

He turned into Konopnicka Street, an extension of Jaśkowa Dolina Street, and saw HIS DENTIST, dr Tomek Zarański, waiting for him on the street. ‘Look, look, there are memes about your teeth on the Internet. Mate, we’ve taken this to another level.’

All characters and events depicted in this story are entirely fictitious. As opposed to Perfect Smile Clinic Wrzeszcz, which is absolutely real.