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THE DENTIST (edited version - prose )

by Graeme Fielden

     I’ve always feared the dentist. I can’t pinpoint why. I can’t remember when Mother first made me see one. Perhaps I was three. Perhaps it was a childhood trauma, the type your memory blocks like a dam. Do you know the ones? Where you live your life normally. No recollection of the event - happened way back - until you’re fifty. Bam. You’re cold and crying in the foetal position. It’s then you remember what the bastard did. Yes. Perhaps that’s exactly what’ll happen to me some day. Perhaps then I’ll understand why I’m so damn scared. Because that’s all I know now, I’m scared!

     I’m in this waiting room. It’s two-fifty-nine and my appointment’s at three. My heart’s beating a million miles an hour as I pretend to read this issue of Time. Yes, Time makes me look intellectual. Reading Time no one will notice that I’ve chewed my nails so bad they’re bleeding. My breath’s catching. Yes it’s catching on each intake. Now I’m sounding like an old steam engine and I’m shaking as I watch that second hand tick fatefully forward reading Time.

     Maybe I’ll be rescued. There’ll be an accident. Makes that clinical bitch, busy filing her nails and talking on the phone, rush over.

     "Excuse me Sir," she’ll say. She calls me “Sir” because she’s noticed that I’m reading Time. "There’s been an accident. I’m putting this lady before you. I’m sorry but you’ll have to come back tomorrow."

     She’ll look deeply into my eyes as I lower a corner of the magazine. I stare with cold indifference.

     "You see it’s an emergency," she continues.

I’ll smile slightly. It’s my tight-lipped, James Dean, smile where I curl my lip on the outside and wink as I stand up to leave.

"Sure Babe,” I say as I collect my jacket. I walk toward the door, slamming it behind me. Yes! I’ve just escaped the chair – a last minute phone call from the Governor. I’m walking free. Free into the street.

I grin as I replay the scene over and over.

"Mr. Hernandez? Doctor Lair will see you now"


I contemplate movement and it feels as though my legs are glued to the seat. Every muscle has frozen so I rock forward, attempting to throw myself out. Out of the chair. The chair’s made from fake leather. It’s steaming hot and sticky because that damn fan is plain useless! Useless! I fall forward but my legs stick to the chair. There’s a sucking sound from it as gravity takes over. Phew. It feels as though a layer of my skin has been left behind.

She walks before me with a clipboard, into the consulting room, toward the chair, which she caresses like she’s a hand model. She lowers its arm. Clips it into place. Clink. I’m locked inside.

     The chair reclines and she reaches across me, secures that little green bib into place. Clip. She rubs a breast onto my shoulder, leaving it there for a moment. Kinky bitch!

“The weather’s lovely.”

She’s making small talk as though we’re in a bar.

“Yes,” I say as I nod with a faked smile.

She hands me a cup of foul pink liquid, telling me to swirl it round and round. I feel a spasm as my whole body convulses in protest to the taste.

"Now spit it out", she says.

She’s a dominatrix. She points toward the drain which gurgles like a goddamn cappuccino machine.

He’s in the background. I can feel his presence. I can’t see him but I can sure feel him because the temperature's dropped ten degrees. My skin’s developed goose bumps. It feels as though an army of ants is crawling across me.

I know he can sense the fear. Predators can smell it. It’s Darwinian. Survival of the fittest, all that shit. I hear his voice, feel the vibration of his stuttered footsteps. I smell his breath.

It’s soaked with mints that mask the smell of heavy Monte Cristo's I see him smoking in the street. Thirty bucks a piece. And on the street he looks normal, small, regular: standing on the corner smoking those cigars. Very innocent and small. A thin frame, dressed in black. Old suspenders, which sag like his eye-bags. Red pigment stains his cheeks. Black-rimmed-spectacles sit upon that nose. Those nostrils.

It’s about all that I can see from down there. The nostrils. Gulp. The Goddamn nostrils! The nostrils envelope me. They drill at me, sticking me with needles. They nostrils that talk to me in nightmares, catching me with their mucous covered tendrils.

"Nice to see you Mr. Hernandez. It's been a while!"

He sticks a mirror and a scraper into my mouth.

I look up into those nostrils - the hairs that sway with each hypnotic breath.

"Oh no, no, no," he says as he prods at the molars. "Still grinding I see."

The question is rhetorical. I shake my head up and down for fear of retribution. He pokes at the molar. Snap. His body seems to giggles with amusement. 

“We’ll have to re-do that filling,” he says before a pause. "Oh no, no." He he leans in further.

     The nostrils swallow me. I’m trapped inside with the mucous sticking to me. It’s like a spider web. I lash out but he’s got me. I’m suffocating. Something grips me. Everything's black.

     I’m not sure what happened next. I fell asleep, maybe, but it’s nice now. Quiet and calm. I'm awake and the bright lights are soft and soothing. People stand over me, with clipboards, shaking their heads. Machines beep in the distance. There’s echoed sounds of footsteps. I try to move but my arms and legs are restrained, even my head. They’re his tendrils, I guess, those long hairs.

Faces appear above me from time to time. They speak to me slowly, softly as thought I'm in a dream. "Why?" they ask. "Why?"

I don't know what it is they're speaking of. I've a feeling there's something wrong. Maybe it’s their tone that tells me this? I think it’s funny that they’re here at all because I never even thought that there’d be other’s living in Dr Lard’s nose. Well, I’m just guessing they’re other patients like me. And it’s not so bad a place. From what the voices tell me, I’ll never see Dr Lair again...

Living in his nose isn't so bad.


Author's Note: An old "Scorpian's Tale," edited...it's a little strange...

Posted on 02/19/2005
Copyright © 2022 Graeme Fielden

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Quentin S Clingerman on 02/20/05 at 01:36 AM

Description and suspense are superb in this tale of fear gone berserk!

Posted by Kate Demeree on 02/21/05 at 12:14 AM

I can see the difference from the first edit, which I also read. lol.... you do have a way with the irony.... Good read Graeme

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 02/21/05 at 05:22 PM

LOL! Imagination put to good use. Going to the dentist has never bothered me, but after reading this piece I'm not so sure. ;o)

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