A Brief Defense by Tyler Isaacs-DeJong

Daddy taught me all that I should know
long before I started losing teeth.
So by tender age of five or six,
I sincerely held in my belief,
the “Tooth Fairy” in name, was quite benign:
A friendly capitalist, market-wise.
So when I lost my molars, round age 9,
well wasn’t I the model of surprise?
The friendly fairy who collects my teeth,
came to me in a dream that eerie night.
Her body stitched from several slimy beasts,
a Tinkerbell or godmother, not quite.
She told me “Now, my child, you’ve come of age,
and pretty teeth you have not in reserve,
but other treasures have you in your cage
which my colleague wishes to preserve.”
Now, understand I didn’t want to lose
the profits that our business had incurred.
So when she gave me agency to choose,
I nodded at her, never said a word.
The motley pelts which constitute her face,
Curved upward at my gesture of consent.
I felt her take my molars, and in place
Now I suppose that here I’d leave a note
to preach at you the moral of my tale,
but frankly every consequence invoked
was consented and repaid quite well.
So rather than risk boring you with pity,
I’ll leap ahead to when this colleague came:
And while she never said a word, I knew
The Organ Farming Fairy was her name.
It was eleven thirty on a Wednesday
when my watch began to spin like mad.
I heard a creeping coming from the foyer,
a raspy cough I knew wasn’t my dad.
And while I lay awake in bed that night,
I knew that I could simply thrash or scream.
The creature that crept almost into sight
was singing, and while hearing it, it seemed
that I could not so much as murmur.
My body was as stiff as is a corpse.
I couldn’t lift my head to view the singer,
but strained my eyes to glimpse the singing’s source:
The creature’s eyes were watery and black.
Its head was long and covered in grey sores
which leaked and quivered, and the skin was cracked.
Its hands were more like surgeons’ instruments,
all bent and shiny metal, flecked with rust.
My bed became an operating table.
Then, as the creature cut me, like the crust
of a warm pastry spilling open,
I started oozing and emitting steam.
About this time I really started hoping
that this was all a rather awful dream.
But then, before my eyes, the creature grabbed
a writhing, wriggling thing from in my guts,
put in a mechanism made of brass—
a watch, or compass—and then stitched me up.
On waking, there was no sign of incision
except a tiny kidney-bean-shaped scar
faded past the point of recognition.
I got out of my bed feeling bizarre.
I wasn’t weak, as if I’d just been cut.
The strain of surgery had not been great.
You’d think that losing organs from my gut
would leave me more or less inanimate,
but frankly I felt better than before.
My clockwork organ kept me right on time.
I never missed a bus, not anymore.
So officer, you asked me if I killed him.
Personally, I think it’s vile to lie.
I only wished to make him more productive.
I didn’t think that he would have to die.
But if we measure life in time well spent,
I think you’ll find we humans waste a lot.
To make the human race more efficient,
we must reduce the dirty sin of sloth.

And I do find I value time the most
when I remember I don’t have much left.
So yes, I know it sounds a little gauche
when I tell you, not the least in jest,
the curse of long life that we humans have
does not encourage productivity.
So if it’s wealth and power that you crave,
replace your organs. Or better yet, let me.

About the Author

Tyler Isaacs-DeJong is a singer, learner, teacher and 6,000-year-old bog mummy living on unceded Ktunaxa and Sinixt land. He lives alternatingly with his partner and with a whisker-wearing creature fond of Faustian bargains. He sometimes feels that his organs have been rearranged by his employers, prompting him to measure his own self-worth in terms of his potential for generating wealth. He wonders, do you sometimes feel that the news or social media have rearranged your organs? Do you feel an odd compulsion to defend celebrities, billionaires, or politicians you’ve never met? If not, would you like to?

NB: The text version is the most recent iteration as of November 02, 2020.

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