The long version.
With an extraction looming, the pain would be severe. I hate them.
I also hate the mechanical voice on speaker systems.
I entered the mysterious inner sanctum, sat down, filled in a medical history form, and waited. The backs of three people, all dressed in a nice shade of jade, greeted me. No one moved. All was quiet. I'd never ventured into a morgue before.
The nurse slowly turned her head. Lying on the couch and seeing such a visage of menace, I shuddered. My hands were shaking as I looked at the white mask covering most of her face. Only her eyes were showing. Dark grey, red-rimmed and empty they were scanning me up and down. Bile ignored gravity and rushed upwards. I forced it back, burning my throat. I felt like a chained up sheep awaiting the slaughter.
She moved closer. Was she finally going to speak?
I was incapable of understanding nurse–speak through a tight mask. But I quickly understood the meaning of her hand on my chin trying to prise open my lips. I opened my mouth wide and received several painkilling injections.
Once the left side of my face was numb she stupidly asked me questions.
Alas, all I managed was, ‘wot suu say’ and ‘sil urts.’
The dentist moved closer, his hand hiding something silver. My mouth was wrenched open once more. I tried to scream as a pair of silver pliers were pushed into my mouth.
With all his strength the dentist pulled; the nurse pulled. I felt my face coming away in their hands. The tooth extracted, fresh crimson ran freely. The echo of my bloody tooth hitting the stainless steel bowl made me jump but strong hands speedily pushed me down in my seat.
The nurse offered me a tissue. I nodded; she smiled like a viper after the strike. I hated her smug look as she watched me wiping the blood from my chin.
"How are you feeling?" Her voice had as much sincerity as a politician seeking votes.
Not wanting to open my stretched mouth again, I shook my head. She grimaced, turned around and whispered to the dentist. A sly look in my direction and the man in the gown turned back to his computer.
My eyes were stinging. I tried to wipe away the sweat with my right hand. With the chair now in an upright position, I searched for the emergency exit. It had to be nearby. The nurse moved sideways and there it was; the elusive door of salvation had revealed itself.
I pulled myself from the slippery plastic chair and ran for my freedom.
“Stop! You haven’t signed the consent form.”
Not a chance.
I hadn’t paid either.