Dental Plan

Contributor: Heather Haven

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Wallace Pitkin had not seen a dentist in 43 years. It was not just that he was a firm believer in if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but as a child, his father had experienced a horrifying incident. A sloppy dentist and a wayward Novocain-filled needle had left one side of Pitkin Senior’s face paralyzed for life.
It was then a family tradition was born. All the Pitkins learned to deal with tooth pain in the same way: aspirin, Tylenol or ibuprophen, washed down with significant shots of whiskey.
During Mr. Pitkin’s end-of-the-year physical the doctor noticed the swollen left jaw coupled with the standard Pitkin foul breath.
“You know, Wallace,” The doctor said, looking into Mr. Pitkin’s hazel eyes, “the health of your teeth affects the health of your entire body. I’ve been telling you for years to see a dentist. Now I can’t okay you going back to the loading dock until you have them taken care of.”
“But I only got one more year and I can retire with full benefits,” Mr. Pitkin replied.
“It’s the best Christmas present you can give yourself. Don’t come back to me until you get your teeth fixed.”
For three eight-hour days Mr. Pitkin had his mouth worked on by a dentist who sweated profusely and cursed under his breath. Mr. Pitkin refused to have Novocain but the laughing gas had done him just fine. Even the crabby and corpulent Mrs. Pitkin, with whom he hadn’t shared a kiss for 15 years, looked pretty good to him at the end of day two.
On day three, Mr. Pitkin was leaving the Gardner, Zucker and Langusto Dental Compound when he realized he was enveloped by the faint sounds of music interspersed with occasional chatter. It was with him wherever he went. If he opened his mouth it got louder. If he closed his mouth and put his hand over his jaw, the volume decreased. This was good for when he was trapped in an elevator or in line at the grocery store. Mr. Pitkin liked the music. It soothed him.
Feeling very mellow, Mr. Pitkin returned home and his wife met him at the door. He grinned at her broadly. His mouth played “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.”
“What the hell is that?” she demanded.
“It’s my new fillings. They’re picking up this 24-hour a day radio station.”
“Well, turn it off. I can’t stand Christmas music.”
“I can’t turn it off. Besides, I like it. Get over yourself, fatso.”
Mrs. Pitkin hauled off and hit him across the face as hard as she could.
He slapped her back.
She picked up a nearby frying pan, swung, but missed him by several inches.
One thing led to another.
Céline Dion warbled “O Holy Night,” while Wallace Pitkin strangled his wife.
The lawsuit of Pitkin vs. Gardner, Zucker and Langusto is still pending. But the music lives on.

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In my career, I have written flash fiction, short stories, plays, comedy acts for performers, and novels. I am the author of the Alvarez Family Murder Mystery series and the 2nd book of the series, A Wedding to Die For, is a finalist in the EPIC best eBook mystery of the year, 2012. Yowser!
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