The Extraction.

A few days later, the dentist rang and said: ‘I rang the dental crowd and it’s sorted now.’
‘What happened?’
‘Someone mixed up your files with a 75 year old man.’
‘I don’t know, but that other man had all his teeth extracted, and you still have most of yours. So that’s where the confusion was…how’re the painkillers?’
‘Call in tomorrow so.’
And he hung up. The next day. The receptionist answered the door. ‘Oh, hello Thomas.’
I was in too much pain to correct her. She led me down a corridor towards the surgery. Green walls. Echo. Stuffed birds. Smell like liquorice. The dentist was in there and ready. Mask, white coat and antiseptic wash. He said: ‘Are you ready so?’
I sat back in the chair. He put on the big light and got a really long needle. He asked me through the mask if I was allergic to any anaesthetics or anything. Sounded like he was talking from the fat end of a traffic cone.  I said no. He asked me if I was sure cos there was a fella here before that said he had no allergies and then he had a fit on the way home and crashed into the wall.
He held up the syringe, like something out of a film about Mind Control, and blinked. I said I was fairly sure I was ok and to go ahead. He shrugged in a way that said: ‘It’s your choice, so.’
As he put it through, and my brain froze in terror, unable to compute the mad agony, the receptionist said: ‘It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it, Ger?’
Soon my mouth was stroke numb and I didn’t’ have any fits so it was time to take out the tools. Pliers, drill, dental angle grinders, scrapers, gum hoover, long metal rod with mirror on the back. I was feeling so positive about it all, I could have sang if my mouth didn’t feel like concrete. Something happened behind me with a tap and a sink and then he floated back into my vision, holding what looked to be a vice grips. “I’ll need you to be very still and relaxed.” He said.
I said ok and then he went at it. Tried to get grip but couldn’t cos the thing kept slipping off. He sighed and grunted a lot. Used the electric saw and a steel apparatus not unlike a shovel. I kept looking at the big light and hoping for the best.  His eyes were huge through the goggles and you could tell he was a fanatic for this sorta thing. Stubborn molars, resistant to the latest technology. There could be a paper on this yet, at the very least, good material for the drinks at the next conference. Then I started wondering if he was qualified at all. The receptionist interrupted my thoughts when she held my head and muttered reassuringly. “It’s ok, Patrick, it’s nearly over.’
And it was. He was mad now. Takin it personal. There was a feeling he’d got to the crux of the problem and it was time for one last all out attack. He bit his lip as he caught it well and grasped with intense hatred and yanked like a man trying to start a broken chainsaw. There was a rupture somewhere in my brain. I saw roots dragged from the soil in the garden of Eden, sequoia’s torn like twigs, molar earthquakes. A crisis somewhere in my consciousness that something huge had happened. He stood back and held it up between the prongs and proudly said: ‘That’s her now! Take a rinse from the glass. Good man.’
Everythin was spinning. The room, the walls, the chair. I felt like a deer that had just been shot. I stood up, shook. They were around me. Him with the mask, her with the lipstick on her teeth. Everything was amplified, like on the cartoons when you’re hit on the head with an anvil. ‘Do you need to sit down?’ He asked.
And I did. So I did. Feeling the emptiness with my tongue. The receptionist said: “You have to be careful, you could fall over. And then you might lose another tooth! Imagine that, Barry!’
He wrote out a prescription then. Said to take these anti-biotics for the next two weeks and I should be fine. Don’t mix them with drink. The last fella that mixed them with drink ended up in the mental.
Outside, the sky frowned. It took a few seconds to figure out where I was. The receptionist walked me to the door. “Goodbye now, Paddy, don’t worry about anything, I’ll make sure your files are up to date this time, there’ll be no more problems. Just keep the teeth brushed, good man, and if you don’t, sure we’ll see you again soon, wouldn’t that lovely?!

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