What time is your next appointment?
Tooth : Hurty
The picture in his head was different from reality.
Richard saw himself as a dead-man-walking; prisoners screaming behind rusted bars as he shuffled his way down the green mile to meet with Mr. Sparky beyond the ominous metal door. The smell of burnt hair and fried flesh thick in the air of those who had gone before.
In reality however, the door he faced was wooden, the golden plaque on its front read not of Mr. Sparky but of Dr. G. Davenport, Dental Practitioner. And the smell that surrounded him as he took the long walk down the hallway to the dentist’s office, was not one of charred flesh, but of medical-grade-cleanliness; a tangy, chlorine smell, like a pool filled with lemons.
Almost too clean.
Richard hated going to the dentist. Not because of the dentist himself. He was in fact close enough to be on a first name basis with Dr. Davenport; Richard calling him Greg, and Greg calling him Rick. No, it was more the place itself that caused the current palpitations in Richard’s chest and the flip in his stomach – either that or the joint he smoked on the drive over in an unsuccessful attempt to quash the nerves. Dentists seem to hold an almost mythical, unseen dread for Richard, like feeling a draught on the back of one’s neck in a windowless room.
The golden knob of the door seemed to vibrate as he put his hand upon it. His tingling fingers adding to the nervous vibrations it conducted from its anxious predecessors. He couldn’t help but notice the peculiar transparency of his hand upon the handle, as though he was an apparition haunting the halls of this ominous, too-clean place.
As he opened the door, a strange sense of déjà vu washed over him, as though he had already performed this terrifying ritual.
The door squealed open upon creaking hinges.
‘Look Greg, I’m a ghooossttt!’ Richard almost wanted to yell having caught his nebulous reflection in the mirror opposite. His words taken from him however, when he noticed the peculiarity of his friend’s office.
It was like he had just walked into a sepia dream. The only flash of true colour in the dingy room was from a digital clock sat next to an x-ray machine in the far corner. Its display flashing a perpetual green, except instead of numbers, it blinked the words ‘Tooth : Hurty, Tooth : Hurty.’
Everything else in the room was awash of black and white. From the too-bright walls to the onyx black chair. Even Greg Davenport sported none of his usual blue-overalls; instead his uniform was a solid black, right down to the hygienic mask covering the mouth of his pale, corpse-like face. He looked more like a zombie priest than a dentist.
‘Take a seat please Mr. Harriot,’ said Dr. Davenport, his voice muffled behind the dark mask.
Mr. Harriot? Richard thought, as he found himself strangely lured to the black seat in the centre of the room. No, Hi Rick, how’s it going buddy?
Sitting down in the chair, he realised that music was playing from the stereo-system overhead. Loudly.
The song was: ‘Sympathy for the Devil,’ by ‘The Rolling Stones.’
Strange choice for a dentist, Richard thought. Though he was not complaining, this was his kind of music after all.
The type of song I’ll have played at my funeral. The morbid thought came to him seemingly out of nowhere, as he once again looked down at his ghoulish hands.
‘Now, what seems to be the problem,’ Greg said standing over him. His pallid face and dark mask mercifully shrouded in shadow from the bright light shining down into Richard’s eyes.
Richard was about to explain his aching molar when a surge of pain fizzed through his chest. ‘Ooh, sorry,’ Richard said. ‘Indigestion.’ Daring not mention the earlier weed to be the likely culprit.
‘Common problem,’ Greg said, reaching behind the dentist chair and pulling out a six-foot rubber mallet painted in red and white spots, befitting to a circus clown. ‘I have just the solution.’
Richard winced from the excruciating pressure, as Greg began repeatedly ploughing the circus sledgehammer into Richard’s chest.
Shaking uncontrollably, Richard felt thick foam oozing from his mouth.
Opening his eyes, the room returned to full colour.
Greg Davenport was laid upon him, pressing firmly and repeatedly into Richard’s chest. He was in his usual blue gown, the white mask dangling below his reddened face.
There were more people in the room now. Some stood over him, wiping the foam from his mouth and trying to restrain his shaking limbs. Others where frantically fiddling with the faulty nitrous oxide machine; the dial maxed out to the red.