For this week’s assignment, I chose Plan B. For prompt explanation, see below. As you read the story, feel free to click on the links; this will heighten your reading experience.
A "Trip" to the Dentist
I am seated in her reclining chair; it has a tan vinyl covering made to look like leather, but it fools no one. The chair has pneumatic controls that adjust the height and angle. A lamp stares into my face. Its umbrella shade reflects the beam that washes over my forehead, eyes, nose, mouth, cheeks with industrial disinterest.
She walks in and sits on the stool next to me. She smiles. She lowers the reclining chair. I am drawn away from the light. She snaps on the latex-free gloves and busies herself with the instruments of her trade. She turns to me and asks me to turn my head to the right and open my mouth wide. I comply. She sticks the syringe with the long needle into the inside fleshy part of my left cheek. It doesn’t really hurt. Next, she stabs the roof of my mouth with the needle next to where she will be working. This piercing hurts. I moan.
“This part is always sensitive,” she reassures me. Her long, straight black hair is pulled back into a tight ponytail exposing her pale forehead; this expansive plain landscape draws attention to her perfectly trimmed, pencil-thin eyebrows; in turn, these hedges of dark hair frame her dark confident eyes that rest on a classical Spaniard nose. Her features and the tone in her voice soothe me, but the point of entry still hurts. As she leaves me, she glances over her right shoulder and with a playful look in her eyes says, “I’ll be right back.”
Visions of her dancing Flamenco on top of a large wooden table in a dimly lit tavern in Cordoba with me acting like a drunken, ugly American tourist with a cheap instamatic camera hanging around my neck and yelling, “that ain’t no way to kill roaches,” race through my head as the narcotic effects produced by the Novocain slowly numbs the left side of my mouth.
Five minutes later, an assistant walks in. Then the doctor walks in wearing a day-glo orange surgical mask. Despite the mask, she looks different. She looks taller. Her hair is curly and shoulder-length; it is no longer bound in a ponytail; instead, it hangs loosely and carefree around her head. There is a highly-kinetic aura around her. She looks at the x-rays. She gasps! My eyebrows rise.
“What chance!” she says to her assistant, “I have never encountered anything like this before. Yet! Here it is.” She looks at me with scorn in her eyes and in a stern voice says, “están aquí.”
I grip the chair’s armrests. She sticks a little mirror in my mouth. Her eyes widen, so do mine. She pats me on the shoulder to reassure me that everything will be fine. I am not comforted. The assistant hands her a pneumatic drill. She peers into my mouth once more and then she inserts the drill.
The drill makes contact with my tooth. I close my eyes. The drilling stops. I open my eyes. The doctor has a long pair of tweezers in her hand. She inserts it in my mouth. It feels like a wrestling match is taking place in my mouth. I am confused and afraid, very afraid. I grip the arms of the chair even though I am not feeling any pain. She withdraws the tweezers; they are gripping a copper-colored egg. My eyes widen. She looks at me and shakes her head.
The tweezers go in again. This time she pulls out a large red bird with a white head; its wings victoriously flapping as if it is happy to be out of my tooth.
Again, the tweezers go in. This time a pink tree is dragged out of my mouth; its gnarly roots wiggle as the “doctor” draws it away. More objects are pulled out of my tooth. Finally, she says, “no hay más!” She leaves the room. The assistant collects the objects and leaves too. I sit in the chair bathed in sweat.
I close my eyes. I open them to find my real dentist sitting patiently next to me. “I’m sorry it took me so long to get back to you,” she says cheerfully, “did you enjoy your nap?”
Before I have time to reply, she grabs the drill and says, “Let’s begin. Now open wide.”
As the drill makes contact with my tooth, its whirring sound prompts me to think of a sewing machine. Don't ask me why.
"A Trip to the Dentist" by JoeBono ©JoeBono, 2011