He’s really into teeth. Especially insured ones. He asks how you are without listening for the answer because he is already snapping on a pair of blue latex gloves.
“Let’s lean you back and see what’s going on in here.”
This is your second appointment. You mostly trust him, the professional, to do the right thing by you and your teeth. How could you know that he spends a week each summer panning for gold in California and that every weekend he combs the local beach with a high-end metal detector in search of coins and jewelry? He’s a treasure hunter and he has discovered the mother lode.
His mouth stretches into a grotesque grin, hidden by his mask, as he counts off the cavities with a long, hooked metal instrument. You can only see his eyes behind protective plastic lenses as they sparkle with an unnatural brightness. He glances up at the hygienist who is peering down at you with pity and a furrowed brow.
“Are we ready?” he asks.
“Oh wait, I forgot to…” she trails off as she runs from the room.
At this point, you should be concerned, but you are having a hard time breathing because the runner/hygienist, injected your jawbone with a syringe of foul poison that burned and subsequently paralyzed half of your throat. You want to say something about being too numb to swallow, but you find you also can no longer speak intelligible words.
The dentist revs up his drill like a hotrod car and you squeeze your eyes shut in fear and focus on controlling your breath. You try to remember the litany against fear from Dune, face the fear, let the fear pass through you.
Unfortunately, you are too far gone to reign your panic back in and you resign yourself to a certain death as it seems unlikely you will survive this experience. When you return to your body, you are surprised. Obviously. You are alive.
When the receptionist asks, “Would you like to schedule your next appointment?”
You politely decline. Obviously.