“Sorry, Mister, I can’t,” I tried to mumble. He wasn’t listening. It was dismal enough being there in any situation, let alone having my wee eight year old mouth opened as far as it could, and being ordered to open it further. I would have cooked supper all summer if Mom could rescue me and take me to the favourite place on the river – the rapid of Calm. The dangerous man in the white shirt my Mother called a dentist was asking the impossible. Besides that, I couldn’t talk, for fear of having another piercing needle jab, the howling drill slip on my tongue, or the grinder hit my lower lip. The collective abysmal sounds of that butcher shop were never drowned by the truth-hiding spooky soft soothing music in the background. That stuff still triggers an urge to run. “Welcome to my Nightmare” or the suspense stuff of impending doom from a long lost B horror show from would have been more appropriate. What kind of a sadistic child-hating creature would take up dentistry as a profession?
I closed my eyes and blocked out his verbalisations for impossible action requests. Suddenly there was silence, accompanied by visions of a helpful yet smirking Father with the crowbar. I’d seen him make things wider, particularly the distance between ground and something heavy. The nutjob in white looked at him contemplatively. “I think we’re gonna need something bigger than that, Man,” he observed, with a conniving sneer.
Then I heard the grumpy rumble of the backhoe I’d watched digging a power line trench a few weeks earlier. One of those attachments was bound to be some kind of reverse vice, a mouth widener tool, built specifically for this specific emergency. It was right outside Doc Payne’s window, rumbling closer. I hoped Doc was a heavy man, for he’d have to hold me down real tight like.
“It’s okay, Son” he said. “Turn your head a bit. I can reach back there.”