The Dentist

(this may be a bit dark, but hell, why not, right? A wee bit of dragon, but not too terrible…just a bit…proddy, as we say in Dragon-speak ~n~)

She stood looking at the careworn building. It was a bit neglected…and then some. The whole place had a somewhat…malevolent look to it. Then again, her imagination often got the better of her. A hard gust of wind up her skirt had her shivering, and with a sigh, she ran up the steps and pressed the buzzer marked “3”. The brass plate was horribly tarnished, but by straining she could barely make out the words “Dr. Abernathy”. There was a click and she grabbed at the handle. It took a hard tug to open it. The hallway was lit by dim bulbs, and the faint tang of musty air hit her. It smelled of dust, mildew, and old French fries. Ewww.

She made her way down to a door marked three, and entered.

The waiting room was more like a living room, one that resembled a sitcom show from the 70’s. Dark tweedy furniture, overstuffed chairs, unattractive end tables. This was not the sleek and modern dentist she had hoped for. Yet, her friend at work, Janice, had recommended him. New to the area, she had to rely on the testimonials of new-found companions to help guide her. Life in the city was different, she mused, no receptionist at the door, and there hadn’t appeared to be anyone else in the building. She buried the sense of unease quickly, as the far door opened.

He didn’t look anything like a dentist.

More like a…mad scientist run amok, she thought with another shiver of dread. Maybe Janice had meant another Dr. Abernathy? But his had been the number she’d been given, this had been the address, and here she was. She tried to calm herself. Sudden nerves had her heart hammering, her palms sweaty. As if going to the denist wasn’t stressful enough. His white hair standing on end reminded her a bit of Einstein, too. Maybe he was a deep thinker. She held onto that thought, a fragile life raft, as he impatiently waved her towards him.

“Come along, come along girl. Haven’t got all day here, let’s move it out!”

She scurried across the room, and with a push to her shoulder indicating that she should preceed him, she led the way down yet another corridor. This place was a labyrinth maze! He pushed on her left shoulder, and she obligingly stopped in front of a door.

“Coat there,” he pointed a gnarled finger at the hook on the right side of the wall. “Then follow me.” Though this was a small room, there was nothing here but the hooks on the wall. The walls were covered in faded rosebuds, and smelled faintly of Chanel no. 9.  Someone else must have been here fairly recently then. She felt a little better knowing that.

Not many dentists kept such odd hours, she thought, but between her work schedule and trying to settle into her new apartment, and shuttling back home every weekend to get more of her stuff- finding time to get here had been crazy. That he was able to take a new patient on a Tuesday evening had been nothing short of a godsend. She needed a cleaning, to be sure, and hoped that there would be no cavities. She wondered if there was a hygienist on staff or if he did it all. She didn’t have time for any further musing, as he opened the door to the dental chamber.

It was the first word to come to mind. It was definitely a throwback to the 70’s here. The walls were dark wood paneling. The floor was old linoleum that had seen better days. And the chair. The chair was old, wasn’t it? Didn’t dental chairs have one solid surface, with that headrest? This one looked like it had been cabbaged from an ob-gyn’s office. Split legs, arm rests. There was a thick pad on it, that looked comfortable, but still, this was like nothing she’d ever seen in her lifetime.

“Up, up in the chair.”

Quickly she sat.

“Rinse this around your mouth, then swallow.” He thrust a small white disposable cup filled with amber liquid at her. Obligingly, and feeling a bit overwhelmed, she did as she was told. The entire time she swished, he watched her, arms folded, a somewhat cross look on his face.

“Swallow. Swallow.”

He was so impatient! Geeze, it wasn’t like there were 50 people in the waiting room clamoring for his services. She almost giggled aloud.

Suddenly she felt very relaxed.