I poke and jab at the boy’s teeth, scraping hard on the enamel. Stop squirming, you horrible little sod. The overhead light doesn’t blind me from the look of pure hate in his eyes. With my back turned to his mum, I give him a grin. We both know what’s going on here. We also both know there’s nothing he can do about it.
‘I’m afraid Tom needs another filling, Tina,’ I say, straightening up, pulling aside my mask and aiming my best smile at her.
‘Another one?’ sighs Tina. ‘That’s the fourth this year. Tom, I can’t believe you’re still eating sweets after everything I’ve said, after all those fillings.’
‘But mum, I’m not! I don’t need another filling! He’s lying!’
‘Tom, how dare you! You are in so much trouble!’
You lose, kid.
‘Oh, I’m sorry, Glenn, this really isn’t the place for us to be arguing like this.’ God, that look makes me go weak at the knees. ‘I’ll get to the bottom of this, don’t worry.’
Nod politely, another smile. I can see it working. She smiles back. Is she blushing? ‘Oh, it’s no problem, Tina. Besides, it’s always lovely to see you. And Tom too of course.’
It’s not really lovely to see Tom, the horrible, spotty little tit. Once me and his mum are together, I’ll have to get him out of the picture. Maybe he could live with his dad or, better still, be packed off to some godforsaken boarding school at the other end of the country.
‘Make another appointment at reception and we’ll get this new filling sorted out.’
Off she goes. Even when she’s shouting at Tom, she still looks incredible.
I should feel guilty. I think I did, at the start. Not now, though. Okay, so Tom doesn’t need any of these fillings. Yes, his teeth are perfect, or at least they had been until he met me. But I can’t let Tina go. If this is how I get to keep seeing her, this is what I’ll do. Eventually it’ll be time to ask her out to dinner, but not yet, not yet, not until I’m sure she’ll say yes. It’s just a pity I’ve drilled and filled nearly every tooth in her blasted son’s head.
Enough daydreaming. Time to get back to work. I push my intercom buzzer. ‘Pam, send in the next patient, please.’
While I’m waiting, Tom’s pimply adolescent face floats back into my head and I grimace.
Maybe it’s time to start on extractions.
David Cook’s stories have been published in a number of places, online and in print. You can find more of his work at davewritesfiction.wordpress.com. Say hello on Twitter at @davidcook100. He lives in Bridgend, Wales, with his wife and daughter. He has a few fillings, but is pretty sure they were all necessary.