Herb walked into O’Dontal Dental the other day, holding his hand against a swollen face. He hadn’t even made an appointment to see Perry first, and it became obvious why he hadn’t.
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“Good morning, Herb,” said Andrea, the receptionist. “What can we do for you today?”
“Certainly. Have a seat and I’ll let Perry know you’re here.”
In less than a minute, Dr. O’Dontal had Herb seated, numbed and ready for work. Herb’s labored breathing had returned to normal, even if his speech patterns hadn’t.
“At what o’ the clock did the infliction attack, good sirrah?”
“Lfft’ent mmst,” said Herb.
“You should’ve used the phone to let me know, Herb. Oh, that’s right. What was I thinking? Well, you’re here now, let’s see what we can do.”
“You’re welcome. Open wide. Little more. Cast open the gates, Leander! Let us gaze upon the source of woe!”
Perry worked his way through dental school as a Shakespearean actor, and didn’t make it out of there unfazed.
“Aha, brothers of mine on this field of battle today, I glimpse with fearful eye the seat of our alarm. It’s a tooth, by Cuspid!”
Perry dove into the fray with drill and pick. Snicker-snick! GRRRR and fill. Rinse and spit.
“And so, Leander, take these, the pills that weave up the raveled sleeve of pain. Do so in remembrance of this day, this meeting, this sceptered isle of dental chair. Those who weren’t here with us this day will forever cast envious eyes upon us, for they will say this was our finest hour, the culmination of drill and yawn … the grinding and filling of fang for fun and profit. Arise, sweet prince, and fulfill your destiny!”
It’s almost worth getting a toothache.
Brought to you by Home Country (the book). See it at www.nmsantos.com.
Slim Randles, based in Albuquerque, N.M., was sports editor of the Mountain Democrat in 1964.