Chattery Teeth (short story)

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"Chattery Teeth"
Author Stephen King
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) horror
Published in Cemetery Dance (first release)
Nightmares & Dreamscapes
Publication type Periodical, Anthology
Publisher Cemetery Dance Publications
Media type Print (Magazine)
Publication date 1992

"Chattery Teeth" is a short story by American writer Stephen King. It was originally published in Cemetery Dance and was later collected in Nightmares & Dreamscapes.

Publication history[edit]

Stephen King had been a regular reader of Cemetery Dance, a horror magazine, and sent an unsolicited short story to be published there in 1992. The resulting publicity helped to raise their profile.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

In the story, salesman Bill Hogan notices an odd pair of walking "Chattery Teeth" (odd due to their unusually large size and the fact that they are made of metal) in a convenience store display. The clerk ends up giving Hogan the teeth, claiming they had been dropped and no longer work.

Hogan reluctantly (having been robbed by a hitchhiker once before) gives a ride to a hitchhiker outside the convenience store; his fears prove prophetic when the hitchhiker tries to carjack him and then kill him. During the struggle, Hogan wrecks the van, and before the hitchhiker can recover and kill him, the teeth come to life and gruesomely dispatch the criminal. Hogan passes out to the vision of the Chattery Teeth dragging the hitchhiker's body off into the desert.

Nine months later, Hogan stops again at the same convenience store, where he is unexpectedly reunited with the "broken" teeth again. He decides to buy the teeth again, realizing that instead of trying to kill him, the teeth want to protect him. His theory is proved correct when a dog snarls at him as he leaves and the teeth stir in his pocket, ready to attack anything that means him harm. He says also that he will give the teeth to his son, so his son is always protected.

Reception[edit]

George Beahm called it "quintessential King" and "a horrific little gem of a story".[2] Wiater et al. called it "a bizarre tale" and said that it is reminiscent of "The Monkey", a story collected earlier in Skeleton Crew.[3]

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations[edit]

The short story was turned into a short film in the television movie Quicksilver Highway.

Reception[edit]

See also[edit]