As soon as she got me in the chair, Dr. Jackson and his assistant took off. I was the last patient of the day. She was new and I could tell right away she went about things differently.
It had been a hell of a day. The night before, me and the wife went down to Stormy’s for happy hour thinking we’d have a quick pop or two. But then we ran into Jeb and Linda and decided to go to Nacho Daddy for dinner. The place was packed and we had to wait half an hour in the bar. Jeb said he would get the first one and returned from the bar with margaritas for the girls and beers and double pumps of tequila for us. A few minutes later, with our beers still half full, I ordered another round of shots. By the time dinner was finished, I was sloshed and the old lady was plenty pissed.
Then, as soon as I get into the office, old man Royster calls me in and wants to know why sales are down at my two Safeway’s. Probably because that little prick Frank is fucking me. I slip him fifty every month and he calls me with the beer orders. He’s not doing what he’s getting paid for. The arrangement is supposed to save me the hassle of going in there a couple of times a week. I’ll fix that little bastard.
And now, I got this broad Suzie digging one of those sharp little stainless steel dentist tools into my gums. She’s not fucking around either. She smiles and in her sickly, sweet little voice asks if I’m doing okay.” Yeah,” I tell her. Then she starts in with the “You need to floss more” crap. Just what I want to hear. I ignore her comment. Apparently, the lack of response really pisses her off. She proceeds to go at my teeth like a logger wielding an axe.
She starts rotating the implements of torture. Digging, prodding and scraping with one for a while then slamming it down on the tray before picking up another, all the while continuing to have that phony smile plastered on her face.
At one point, I grimace and again she asks if I am doing okay, like she really gives a damn. I somewhat jokingly respond that she’s pretty serious about her job. She jabs deeper. She switches ends of the pick and the hook that has just come out of my gums is covered in pink tissue and crimson. Susie is working near a back molar and pokes into a place where I know for a fact that there ain’t no tooth.
Fuck it. That hurt, I’ve had enough of this shit. I try to get out of the chair. But she has me laid out flat and has some leverage. Roughly, she pushes me back down. I grab the pick out of her hand then slap the light up magnifying glasses and the smirk off of her face. Now I’m out of the chair and I stick one end of that damn pick right into her left eye. It doesn’t stop until it hits bone, the inside of her skull.
Just that quick, Susie is as dead as a tooth’s nerve after a root canal.
Using a different pick, I gently scrape at the teeth she hasn’t finished. Then, a brush attachment is fitted to the drill. With mint flavored polish, I go over my teeth, flossing when I finish.
Donning a pair of latex gloves, I wipe down everything I have touched. The picks go into the sanitizing solution and everything else is put in its proper place. I pack one of those goody bags they give you- new toothbrush, a small tube of paste and a roll of floss. I grab an extra plastic bag. Next, I rummage through every cabinet and drawer to make it look like some dope fiend was ransacking the place looking for drugs. I exit through the front door, walk around to the back and slip the plastic bag over my right foot and kick in the back door. Then, I head home and pour myself a stiff belt.
The next morning finds me at work early. I go into the warehouse hoping to break Frank’s balls. One of the other merchandisers must have tipped him off so he is avoiding me. I head to my office and finish some quarterly sales reports in hopes of keeping Royster off my ass for at least one day. That’s when the detectives show up.
They grill me pretty hard for a while. I produce the goody bag from a drawer in my desk. One of them dials a number on his cell and steps out of the office. Comes back in and suggests that I go for a ride with them. They take me to the dentist’s office at the city jail where the wife of the cop who made the phone call works.
She checks my mouth, tells him that everything had been done. Funny thing though, she says, the tissue around the last three teeth on the upper left don’t show the trauma that the rest of the gums do.
They drive me back to work, telling me that they will be in touch if they have any other questions.
I tell Royster I need the rest of the day off; promising to hit my two Safeway’s the next morning. If I catch Frank there, I’m liable to hit him.
Then I drive to Stormy’s. It’s not quite nine yet and I plan on spending the rest of the day there, trying to forget about Susie and my aching gums.
Bill Baber has written for alternative weeklies in northern California and
Oregon. His fiction and poetry have appeared in “The Source,” “Literary
Harvest,” “The Flash Fiction Offensive” and the online edition of “The High
Desert Journal.”His stories have also appeared on “Powder Burn Flash” and
“Darkest before the Dawn.” He lives in Bend, Or. with his wife Robin and a very
spoiled dog. He enjoys afternoons at the track, Mexican beaches, tequila and