Root Canal

By on Apr 13, 2010 in Humor

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Dentist with reptilian skin

Could he have possibly heard that right?  Zack held his eyes shut, though he felt he was thoroughly awake.  Well, not totally, but he had definitely not gone into la-la land like he usually did under nitrous oxide.  It could be due to his heightened anxiety or the fact that he felt like a  corpse somebody dug up, then dragged for ten miles behind a garbage truck.  That’s what a savage frat party’ll do to you.

It was one sweet orgy with a bazillion people there.  He was so annihilated he’d passed out in a Dumpster.  Or someone put him in it; who knew?  His  bros were still wasted this morning, so there was nobody he could ask.  Maybe he was still shit-faced, and that’s why he  thought he heard Dr. Cramer say to his assistant, “I often worry about my scales showing if my collar slips too low or my pant leg rides up.”

“He’s asleep, right?” said Marcy, the assistant.

“Oh, definitely,” Dr. Cramer chuckled.  “Zack here goes out like a light even with a low blast of gas.  Got him numbed up good anyway, so there should be no pain and he can doze away.  I usually have to shake him awake.”

Marcy sounded nervous.  “Are you sure?  I mean, we wouldn’t want him to hear…”

Zack’s stomach lurched. He’d already barfed more than once since the Dumpster.  Should he just open his eyes and cut this weird shit in the bud?  Did Cramer suffer from some bad skin affliction?  Psoriasis, eczema? Really, it was too gross to think about.

“And you know how I enjoy walking around naked,” continued the dentist.  “That does present some risks.”

Oh, god, were they going to talk about sex?  Were the two of them, both married as far as Zack knew, having some sordid affair?  Wasn’t Cramer in his late forties, maybe even fifty? And Marcy there was about the same and not too attractive.  Imagining those two naked was not exactly appetizing.  

He went to open his eyes but for some reason couldn’t.  What was going on? It was like the time that girl down at the shore hypnotized him.  Normally, this would have set him into a panic.  He felt numbed, not just in his jaw but somehow overall, like in one of those terrible dreams where something is chasing you, but your feet are stuck in mud.  

“He’s cute,” remarked Marcy.  “Long eyelashes.”

Oh? Zack thought.   This was getting weird.

Dr. Cramer opened Zack’s mouth wider, and he felt him inserting something huge.  Now he couldn’t talk if he tried.

“So, you were saying,” said Marcy.  “The scales.”

“Oh, yeah,” said the dentist.  “What are we expected to do if someone sees them?  They never have an official answer for this at home.”

“They have an answer for it,” said Marcy.  “It’s just that it’s difficult to implement — at least for me, maybe not for some of the others.”

“Oh, that,” said Cramer.  “I don’t know that I could do that more than twice.”

Zack heard, as if from far away, Marcy gasp.  “You mean you’ve done it more than once?”

“I hate to admit it,” said Cramer without losing a beat.  Zack could sense him reaching for something that Marcy must be placing in his hand.  Then he felt the pressure of the drill and couldn’t hear anything for a moment.

When the noise let up, Cramer continued.  “It was an old man with a big mouth, the neighborhood gossip.  He let himself into our house, no knocking, just opened the door and walked in, and there I stood in the buff.  Pat was in the kitchen, and we were heading for the hot tub, you know, in that little side room we have.  It’s private and I should probably have waited to strip down in there, but hey, you don’t expect some neighbor to just walk in your front door unannounced.”

Zack felt digging in his tooth but no pain.   He was anxious to know what happened next.  Marcy asked for him.

“The old human got an eyeful, that’s for sure.  You should have seen the look on his face!  First shock, then terror.  I didn’t think twice, just went for him and that was that.  We had him for supper.  Tough old bird; I don’t usually enjoy human meat, but what else can you do with the body?”

“Were the bones any good?” asked Marcy.

“Too brittle; they splinter between your fangs.  Young is so much better.  But then you know that.”

“Well, yeah, but it’s been a long time.  Once you get involved with a particular arena of study and see the sentient species as individuals, it’s harder to view them as food.”

“Except when they’re a certain stage of plumpness,” snickered Cramer.

Marcy laughed.  “You mean that young female in California?”

“I am not naming any names,” said Cramer.  The drill whined.

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Margaret Karmazin’s credits include 140 stories published in literary and national magazines, including Rosebud, Chrysalis Reader, North Atlantic Review, Mobius, Confrontation, Pennsylvania Review and Another Realm. Her stories in The MacGuffin, Eureka Literary Magazine, Licking River Review and Words of Wisdom were nominated for Pushcart awards. Her story, "The Manly Thing," was nominated for the 2010 Million Writers Award. She has had stories included in Still Going Strong, Ten Twisted Tales, Pieces of Eight (Autism Acceptance), Zero Gravity, Cover of Darkness and M-Brane Sci-Fi Quarterlies #2 and #4, and a novel, Replacing Fiona, published by