It was silent, except for the constant smish-smash smacking sound of the gum being brutalized and manipulated between the molars of the man’s mouth. When his teeth weren’t man-handling the Wrigley’s that she imagined had been in his mouth since the day before, his tongue maneuvered around to do the rest. (She hypothesized that he was a terrible, terrible French kisser.) His lips were drawn tightly against his teeth as his jaw jumped up and down like a jack hammer on the loose. The longer he chewed the gum, she swore the sound became more amplified…like there was a microphone right underneath his chin and the speaker was wired directly into her head.
She wanted to punch him to get him to stop. And she was a petite girl. She wanted to jump on all fours across the room and straddle his body as though she were a werewolf in heat and them pummel his head with her fists until that damn wad of grey gum he was slurping was released from the slimy captivity of his mouth.
She knew the more humane thing to do would be to politely ask him to chew with his mouth closed. Or maybe ask him something funny like, “How’s that gum tasting?” Or, “Do you have any more gum because you’re sure making that piece SOUND really good.” But, she knew she didn’t have the balls to say anything.
Instead she sat there and got more and more heated as she turned the pages of her magazine harder and faster and huffed and puffed louder and harder…hoping this subliminal message would get him to shut the fuck up.
But then a miracle happened. His name was called and he left. He took his mouth with him. The speaker in her head melted into nothingingness. Her shoulders relaxed. The lines on her forehead relaxed. A smile returned to her lips. She was thankful. All was right with the world.