Call the Doc | Iain D Chalmers

When it comes to fame,  Doc Holliday wants to be the king.


Call the Doc

Iain D Chalmers

Black Tooth of Destiny


Extracting a tooth from a living Tyrannosaurus Rex, live on TV, is not a trivial matter. For the renowned Dr Reginald Holliday it would bring world-wide acclaim not only in eyes of the public but amongst his compatriots in the field of veterinary dentistry.

He starred in his own TV series ‘Call the doc’ where he would jet all over the world; casually extracting a molar from a lion or performing a double tusk transplant on a broody elephant. The office was the outback and exotic animals were his speciality. Recently however, working on lions and tigers, rhinos and elephants was becoming rather old hat, so when he was invited to perform a tooth extraction on a living dinosaur at the recently opened Cretaceous Park this was as an opportunity not to be missed.

The opening of Cretaceous Park, with its real live prehistoric animals, although thrilling for the public was a serious challenge for vets. They had scant knowledge of the biology and anatomy of such exotic creatures which after all roamed the earth millions of years ago, and although their knowledge was growing every day, treatment was still a bit hit and miss.

The parks star attraction was ‘Tiny’, the biggest, ugliest, meanest t-rex you could ever imagine. Initially, when the park first opened, the public could see Tiny at work catching live animals. Tiny would tear a cow to shreds or catch a goat before biting it in two. But feedback from the sponsors found that this put families off. Traumatised children were not good for business so they decided to let Tiny feed off big lumps of meat which would be dangled temptingly from trees. Suffice to say Tiny wasn’t particularly impressed and had taken his frustration out on one of the game keepers vehicles chomping down through the metal work right into the engine and cracking a large tooth in the process. It had become infected and needed to be removed. As such, the doc was called.

Tiny stood was about 6 meters high and weighed a good 7 tonnes and the obvious solution would be to tranquilise the animal and lay it flat on the ground and cut out the tooth. But the doc was a showman and knew this was not what the public wanted. They wanted danger and spectacle; they wanted a bit of pizazz; so, he dispensed with that idea and had a special dinosaur frame constructed for the operation.

After tranquilisation, when Tiny was sleeping and the cameras were rolling, a giant crane manoeuvred Tiny onto the frame. The crane suspended Tiny’s head and held open its wide gaping mouth. In a dramatic flurry, the doc would get the giant crane itself to pull out the tooth; like pulling out a child’s tooth with a bit of string-but only on a much larger scale.

The world-wide audience figures were through the roof, and as the doc appeared atop the big frame children clung to their parent’s legs in fear. This dentistry at its wildest and most exciting. The doc danced in and out of the dinosaurs mouth theatrically, pushing aside its great lolling tongue, and listened to the gasps of the audience. He smiled casually and chatted away to the awe-struck crowd as he began attaching the special carbon fibre strap to the base of the infected tooth as if this was an everyday occurrence.  As he lay on the mouth, half in and half out the crowd gave an even louder gasp. He was still smiling at what was surely his greatest success when without warning the great jaws snapped together and there was heard a sickening crunch of bone. The audience stood transfixed as the doc disappeared down Tiny’s throat, and true to form the tooth popped out, smooth as silk, and dangled tantalisingly in mid-air. There was uproar.

There were calls to have Tiny destroyed but after public petition, that was quietly dropped, after all Tiny was simply doing what dinosaurs did. With such a tasty morsel in its mouth who could blame it?

Understandably, the sponsors were horrified. This was beamed live round the world and cost them big bucks, however this was easily offset by the record number of visitors who visited the following season.

As for Doc Holliday, he got his greatest wish. He became truly famous; known throughout the world as the most illustrious dentist in the world; the man who was eaten by a dinosaur live on TV.

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