Mr. Gray Teeth

In the summer of 1996 I was 20 years old and living in the northern end of Prague. I was young and living it up, working in bars, spending them on beer. Around the corner from my workplace — which closed at 3 a.m. — was this cheesy, crowded bar called Le Chapeau Rouge where you could hang out all night and watch German guys hit on Czech girls, and Czech girls hit on Italian guys, and Italian guys hit on American and British girls, and so on. One night I stayed until closing time — about 7 a.m. When the bar let out it was light outside. As I walked to the subway, across Old Town Square, this guy who was at Le C.R. approaches and starts talking to me. He was French and he had gray teeth. He was shorter than I am (5’3″).

The conversation started off rather blase: “Where are you from?” “US … you?” and so on. Boring boring boring small talk. Until the guy says: “I would like to come home with you.”

“Oh, you can’t,” I said.

“Oh, come on.”

It seems to be a joke on his part. Then we get to the subway station. He tells me that his hostel is at such-and-such a place. It’s in the direction opposite from where I’m going. He continues talking to me and following me along the platform.

“You should get on the other side of the station — your train’s going that way,” I tell him. Rien.

When the train comes I get on … and so does he! That freaks me out. When we get to the next stop, I get out of the car and run like hell to the next car. We get to the next stop and I run into the next car after that one. My getaway is successful, and I get home alone.

Almost ten years later, I can still see that guy’s creepy gray smile.

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