AKA - The Dentist's Chair
I’m sitting in a dentist chair in the heart of Budapest. A dentist with a thick Hungarian accent, who looks uncannily like the insane, evil surgeon from The Human Centipede is just about to drop a bombshell on me.
“Dead. It is dead.” he says nonchalantly.
“Are you sure?” I respond.
“Yes. Your tooth is dead. Pretty sure, I am.”
I didn't even realise it was ill.
I'm taken aback by his matter of fact tone. He sounds like a heartless, Eastern European Yoda! Where the devil is his bedside manner? Does he not realise how close my tooth and I were? He was one of my favourites! Undoubtedly in my top thirty two! We’ve spent nearly thirty five years together since he first tore his way through my infantile, gummy mouth. We’ve shared so many good times, so many meals out together. So many gastronomic adventures! He was there when I first kissed my wife! Right in the thick of it, the pervy little bastard! Am I just meant to let him go? Just like that?
Hang on a minute. He said “pretty sure”. Maybe he’s wrong. Maybe he has been wrongly pronounced dead, just like Tom Hanks in the film Castaway?
“Only pretty sure?” I ask.
At this, the dentist picks up the liquid nitrogen drenched piece of cotton wool that he was only moments earlier applying to my sadly deceased tooth with tweezers, and presses it against one of my other teeth.
“Aaaaaarrrrggghh!” I respond. The pain is excruciating!
“If still living it was, the same pain you would have felt.”
Fuck you Yoda!
“So what now?” I ask nervously.
“Now holes I will drill in to the tooth, treat the root with tiny needles and then next week we will meet for a new tooth.”
He wanders off and returns a few seconds later holding a drill. He holds the drill ominously, leans over me and peers at me over the top of his glasses. He smiles.
“Now, I will drill you. If pain you will feel, raise your hand.”
Fear is rising. What if this is all a horrible mistake? What if my tooth isn’t completely dead? What if it's just in a coma? What if it wakes up just as this animal is about to drill in to its living nerve?
The dentist thinks for a moment.
“Although to be fair, you won’t actually need to raise your arm if you feel pain. Scream you will! Agony it will be!”
I hear the whirr of the drill and I am afraid.
The drill connects with my tooth and the process begins.
“There is a film. An old film. A film with Dustin Hoffman.” The dentist says over the excruciating sound of the drill boring in to my poor tooth. “The name, I don’t remember. But there is tooth drilling with no pain killer. Excellent way to get information!”
The drilling stops.
“Using a series of tiny needles I will now treat your tooth.” he proudly claims.
I decide that I need to climb in to my ‘mind-bungalow’, which is very similar to Sherlock Holmes' ‘mind-palace’, but more homely and without so many levels. I clamber in and begin to write a short script in my head. It’s a about a police officer named Tim who’s on a raid with his partner, Steve Guttenberg (‘star’ of Police Academy, Cocoon and Three Men and a Baby). In this script Steve Guttenberg is playing himself. They're chatting in a police car about the breakdown of Tim’s marriage. Then they're entering a drug den in an attempt to apprehend drug lords. A shoot out ensues and the baddies are shot. Suddenly other police officers arrive and arrest Tim and Steve. We discover that Steve Guttenberg is imaginary, the shot people aren’t drug lords and that Tim is simply a civilian having a mental episode following his divorce. Tim gets sent to prison, but he doesn’t mind, because as luck would have it, he’s put in the same room as his dear friend and hero, Steve Guttenberg.
The dentist puts his tiny needles away. He’s finished. I’m thinking about my script idea and wondering if he’s sneakily slipped me any psychedelic drugs.
“Next week, same time?” he asks.
I nod sadly and head home to organise a memorial for my beloved tooth (RIP). I will give him the sea (aka wine) burial he always dreamt of.