R • flash fiction
The dentist is not your friend. (WARNING: come on people it is in the horror category and there is a dentist involved, that should tell you something)
The walls were papered with pictures of teeth. Crooked teeth, rotting teeth, broken teeth, teeth bound with wire and rubber bands; everywhere he looked, there were nasty teeth. Even on the TV suspended over the chair his wrists and ankles were strapped to. That showed him a mouth held open with miniature jacks, with a needle as wide as a coffee stirrer approaching tender pink gums. His own, of course.
“All righty, Mr. Hart, just a liiiiiiittle pinch here–”
Something in the tip of the needle revved, God’s honest, and he felt something that was to “a little pinch” as the Mississippi was to “a little creek.” Something warm and wet dribbled down his neck and onto his paper bib, and he was fairly sure it wasn’t drool.
The needle retreated with an audible wet pop, and now the dentist was reaching for pliers. Pliers. Not the sort of sparkling clean mouth-sized steel pliers one would expect to see in a dentist’s office, either. More like the kind of greasy, rusty slip-joint pliers one would expect to see hanging out of a plumber’s back pocket. “Now hoooooold still for me!”
As if he had any choice!
The good news: his view of the TV was completely blocked by the dentist and his implements, and he was spared the sight of whatever was going on in his mouth.
The bad news: his other senses told him exactly what was going on. He smelled and tasted oil and metal and blood. He heard the crunch scrape of the pliers taking hold of the tooth, the fingernails-on-blackboard screech of the tooth grinding against its neighbors, and the soft slurping noise of the root slowly pulling free from its socket. He felt cold rusty steel against his tongue, then pressure, then a white ripping pain as the tooth began to give, nerves and tissue tearing free microns at a time until finally, blessedly, there was another wetter pop and the tooth came free.
The dentist withdrew the bloody pliers, tooth clamped in their jaws. “There!” came the triumphant bleat. “Now, that wasn’t so–”
The dentist frowned.
“That’s funny,” he said, turning the tooth this way and that, “I can’t find the cavity here, where’d…”
The dentist eyed the X-ray film hanging on the light box behind him. “Oh dear…”
The dentist seized the film… and flipped it over.
“Whoops!” chirped the dentist, and he reached for the needle again. “No charge for that one.”