Friday, April 10, 2009


Fun in the chair

Missed me?

Like hell you have. You fickle bastards. You f --

be nice. remember the programme. breathe deeply

I went to the dentist a couple of months back. In the waiting room there were these pictures on the wall that were like Edward Hopper's - landscapes soiled by petrol stations - but with clowns cartwheeling across them. Clowns riding giant bull mastiffs. The tooth decay had rotted into my bloodstream, clearly.

The solitary other occupant of the room sat opposite me and glared over his magazine and said 'What?' He looked like Jimmy Destri, the keyboard player from Blondie. I said, 'Lay a question to bed for me. Did you ever shag Debbie?' He replied in an Upper East Side New York City accent: 'What's shag mean, asshole?' I reeled back, too stupefied to speak, my fingers fumbling at the pages of a copy of Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. What the hell was that doing in a dentist's waiting room, I wondered. Except it wasn't; it was a copy of Cosmo. I read about fruit-based orgasms and about a new catwalk sensation named Claudia Schiffer. Hang on, she was new back in 1991.

Priti, my dentist, looms over my face and sticks metallic hooks and probes in my mouth. I try to tell her that my molar is seeding bacteria into my bloodstream and I'm delirious and about to die. She murmurs something incomprehensible and wrenches, violently. A whitish thing pops up and out across the periphery of my right visual field. Her Polish nurse shrieks and then giggles. There's a streak of blood on my collar (I discover much later).

It was burrowing down into my jaw, says Priti. It would have killed me eventually. Well, she doesn't say that, quite, but the implication hangs as pregnant as her distended belly. (Aren't these dental gases bad for unborn children, for X sakes?) I thank and congratulate her and exit, one tooth short for the first time since I was nine years old.

At the desk the receptionist tries to charge me and I argue that I'm leaving with less - one molar less - than I came in with, so she should be paying me. She says I'm a decrepit old shit and as far as she's concerned I can fuck off to the local graveyard where she'll happily lay a brown cable on my patch. No she doesn't, really, but she would if she didn't have to cling to her job in this climate. I take comfort from the fact that I at least have two eyes whereas she has a painted pebble askew in her left socket and one ear missing. No she doesn't, I'm just bitter.

I went home in pain. The superior half and the baby were away visiting on the other side of town and, it being a Friday evening, I cracked open a bottle of Cape pinotage and watched Nosferatu the Vampyre, the 1979 Werner Herzog remake. Klaus Kinski's count has a perfect pair of rat-like incisors in this film.

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