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Zack thought his heart might explode. Could they see his jugular vein throbbing like a bitch? Was he having atrial fibrillation? Didn’t people drop dead from that? His breathing felt inadequate, too, like there wasn’t enough oxygen coming in! Had they upped the nitrous oxide and lowered the oxygen? Was that how they were planning to off him before they ate him? God help him!
And what were they??? Aliens? Of course they were aliens, what else could they be? Talking about scales, fangs, splintery bones! He suddenly moaned, unable to refrain — must have been the gas. Now they would know he was really awake, now it —
“Oh, dear,” said Marcy, “you don’t think he’s awake, do you?”
“Not likely,” said Cramer. “Probably the nerve wasn’t completely deadened and he’s feeling the pain, though unconscious of it.”
Zack felt Cramer fiddling with something and banging softly into his leg as he moved. “I’ll give him another little shot,” he said and jammed the needle into Zack’s already-numbed jaw.
Then more whining of the drill.
Zack expected to shit his pants; he had occasional bouts of irritable bowel, not something he’d ever shared with his frat bros. It occurred to him that it might actually be good to shit his pants — surely, that would turn off any hunger they might be feeling for human flesh?
“He’s a nice specimen,” said the dentist. “Looks to be in good health. Although he smells like a booze factory.” Then, “I’m ready if you want to mix it up there.”
Zack heard Marcy manipulating the tray and scraping at something.
She said, “What do you think they’ll do when we take over?”
Cramer mused, “I suppose they’ll attempt to fight, futilely of course.”
There was a silence while Marcy worked, then Zack felt the despicable fingers inside his mouth again. Why did they bother to fix his teeth when he was destined to be food?
His only goal in life at the moment was to get out of there and tell everyone… wait, it occurred to him that no one would believe him. Not with his reputation of sort of exaggerating things. But even if he was totally honest all of the time, still no one would believe this shit.
“Oh, dear,” said Marcy suddenly. “Did he just make a sound? He’s still under, right?” She sounded slightly panicky herself.
Cramer gave him a rather mean pick with his tool. “He’s still out. Well, I’ll just smooth this out, and we’ll be done.”
Zack felt the tubes being lifted from his nose, and his head quickly cleared.
“That’s a boy,” said Cramer. “Let’s see how your bite feels.”
Zack didn’t give a crap how his bite felt. He’d take a nail file to it himself if he had to! “Uh,” he said, “what time is it?” Only it sounded more like “Uh eye ih ih?”
“Time?” guessed Cramer, glancing at the wall clock behind Zack’s head. “Two forty-three. Gotta be somewhere?”
“Yeah,” said Zack with all the firmness he could muster. “I ah ah aoinen.” (I have an appointment.)
“Oka-a-ay,” said the dentist, unhooking Zack’s bib and technically freeing him. “You don’t want me to check that bite now?”
“It’s fine,” barked Zack, amazingly getting the words out clearly in spite of his paralyzed jaw. He jumped out of the chair and made a dash for the door, banging into a trash container as he did so.
“The receptionist will take your payment,” called the dentist rather forcefully as he and Marcy heard Zack breaking into a run.
“Do you think he heard us?” Marcy asked with alarm. “Maybe we shouldn’t fool around like that! What if someone heard us? We could give them a heart attack. Not to mention losing patients.”
Dr. Cramer was on the verge of a maniacal giggling attack. “But it’s so much fun,” he said. “And it does get dull in here. And we’ve pretended we’re aliens since college.”
Marcy was firm. “I think he heard us, and I think we should stop it, Xerkon,” she added with a tiny smile.
Zack climbed into his car, his hands shaking so badly it took several jabs to get the key into the ignition. While opening a bottle of Xanax he kept in his glove compartment, he half mutilated the lid and swallowed two pills dry. Watching the rear window as he finally got the car started, he laid rubber on the parking lot cement. Probably everyone heard him for blocks around.
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