Friday, June 3, 2011

47/365 -- Playlist Story -- inspired by "Breakable" by Ingrid Michaelson

"I'm not working on that kid!" said Wendy the dental hygienist as she stormed through the hall towards Dr. Thompson the dentist, who was studying another patient's dental x-rays.

"Don't be so dramatic," said Dr. Thompson.

"That is not a child," said Wendy emphatically. "That, is a demon!" Dr. Thompson put down the x-ray and she turned to Wendy.

"Come on, she can't be that bad. You're exagerating," she said.

"Oh, you think so?!" Wendy put her hands on her hips and stood taller. "You go in and see for yourself!" Dr. Thompson rolled her eyes.

"Look, I can't be looking in on all the patients all the time," said Dr. Thompson. "This office won't run efficiently. You have to do your part. We're already just scraping by after the renovation."

"I understand that, but if you make me go in there and try to clean that thing's teeth, and I get my arm chewed off, I'm leaving and I won't ever come back. I will even defriend you on Facebook!"

"What? Come on. It's just a kid!" said Dr. Thompson, laughing. Wendy grabbed her by the arm and pulled her towards the room with the child in question. Then she shoved her on the back, pushing her through the door.

Inside, a small blonde haired girl sat back in the chair. She bounced her feet on the seat with boredom, and held a stuffed unicorn in her hands. She was stroking it's mane. She looked up at Dr. Thompson with big eyes.

"Normal kid," whispered Dr. Thompson.

"Not normal," whispered Wendy back. "Why don't you try to look inside her mouth?"

"Fine," said Dr. Thompson. "I'm just wasting time arguing with you anyway." She pulled up a wheeled stool and sat next to the chair.

"Hello there young lady! I'm Dr. Thompson. I'm the dentist. What is your name?" said Dr. Thompson. The girl looked at her impassively but said nothing. She briefly glanced up at Wendy, and cracked an almost imperceptible smile.

"See?! See that?" said Wendy.

"I think maybe she just likes you," said Dr. Thompson.

"No, no! That's universal villain code for bad things are about to happen to you, unleashed by me, and--" Dr. Thompson turned to Wendy and mouthed, not in front of the patient! She turned back to the child and smiled warmly at her.

"Couldn't you please tell me your name?" asked Dr. Thompson.

"I'm not supposed to talk to strangers," said the child.

"That's a very good policy," said Dr. Thompson.

"Her name is supposed to be Clarissa," said Wendy impatiently.

"Thank you Wendy," said Dr. Thompson. "So Clarissa, I hear you don't want your teeth cleaned. Is that true?"

"Uh huh," she said.

"Are you scared?" asked Dr. Thompson. Clarissa thought for a moment, and looked out of the corner of her eyes at Wendy, who stepped back and pushed herself against the door frame.

"Not really," said Clarissa. She looked down at the unicorn and smiled.

"You like your unicorn, don't you?"

"Yes. She's very pretty, and unicorn tastes good," she said. Dr. Thompson looked back at Wendy with her brow furrowed and trying to suppress a giggle.

"I'm sure you mean she smells good," said Dr. Thompson.

"Yeah, that too," said Clarissa. "But not this one. I mean a real unicorn."

"Honey, when have you seen a real unicorn?" said Dr. Thompson, laughing. Clarissa looked confused.

"At my dad's barbecue last year," said Clarissa. "It was roasting on a stick across a fire."

"Well..." said Dr. Thompson. "Well..." she tried again. Finally, "that's quite a barbecue."

"It was," said Clarissa.

"Um, would you mind if looked at your teeth?" asked Dr. Thompson. Clarissa said nothing, and made no gestures.

"I guess you wouldn't like me to do that then?" Clarissa looked at her feet. "Well, how about I look at the teeth of your unicorn there? And if your unicorn says it was okay, maybe you would like to do it next?" She looked up at Dr. Thompson, staring for a few moments.

"It doesn't have real teeth," she said. "It's just stuffed. Also, unicorns don't talk."

"Okay, I can't argue with that. But I do need to look at your teeth to see if you have any cavities. Would you mind if I did that?" Clarissa shook her head. "Wonderful," said Dr. Thompson. She got up and went to a box on the counter and extracted a pair of exam gloves then donned them. She sat down on the stool again and rolled closer to the chair. She raised her hands towards Clarissa's mouth and Clarissa moved away. Dr. Thompson stood up and leaned over the child.

"Just hold still," said Dr. Thompson, placing a hand on the child's forehead. Her other hand went for the lower jaw. Suddenly, Clarissa's eyes started to glow red. The room rapidly darkened, and a breeze picked up inside the room, ruffling the posters of dental anatomy that were on the walls. Next she spoke in a low, gravelly voice.

"I said NO!" said Clarissa. Dr. Thompson stood back, with her hands in the air.

"Fair enough," said Dr. Thompson. The wind died down, and light returned to the room at it's full intensity. Clarissa's eyes still glowed, and she looked very annoyed. Dr. Thompson left the room quickly, followed by Wendy who made the sign of the cross against her chest, even though she wasn't particularly religious.

"What did I tell you," said Wendy.

"Yes, you're right," said Dr. Thompson. "But someone must have brought her here today." Wendy nodded, and they both walked down to the waiting room. The receptionist Paul was playing Solitaire on his computer. The waiting room contained an elderly man, and a woman who was knitting what looked like a long red scarf.

"Paul," said Wendy, "is that the mother of our patient Clarissa?"

"Hmm," mutter Paul, still staring at the screen.

"Thanks," said Wendy.

"Excuse me," said Dr. Thompson, walking over to the woman.

"Yes?" said the woman, looking up with a smile.

"I'm not sure how to say this, but--"

"Oh no," said the woman, looking immediately dismayed. "She's shown you her true self." The woman leaned back in to the seat. "I keep telling to keep calm, but she just doesn't listen." She sighed. "I assume you don't want her as a patient?"

"That's pretty much it," said Dr. Thompson. "Not that I discriminate, but it's really a matter of safety."

"I understand," she said.

"Could I ask a question though? I hope it's not too personal--"

"Sure," said the woman. "I'm used to questions..."

"Well what is, I mean, who is, er, how did--"

"Oh that," said the woman. A smile shone across her face. "It's a bit embarrassing. I'm normal of course, but I kind of had a wild night in Vegas a few years back. Her father--my goodness..." Her smile broadened as she stared past Dr. Thompson. "And nine months later, she was clawing to get out of me." She patted her stomach. "Yeesh, you should see the scars!" She chuckled.

"I thought that only happened in young adult novels," said Wendy.

"Look, I can give you the number of the dentist that works at the local prison. He might be a better fit for your daughter," said Dr. Thompson.

"Oh really? That would be fantastic!" said the woman. "It's been a total nightmare getting her people that aren't intimidated."

Dr. Thompson wrote the number down on one of her business cards and handed it to the woman. Then she and Wendy led her back to Clarissa so she could collect her. Wendy and Dr. Thompson watched them leave from the waiting room.

"Who would have known," said Dr. Thompson.

"That demons exist?" asked Wendy.

"Oh, actually I was thinking of barbecued unicorn."

"Oh. Yeah," said Wendy. They watched the woman's car pull out of the parking lot. They could see Clarissa in the back seat, strapped to a car seat, smiling malevolently at them, her eyes glowing.

"Hey!" said the elderly man. "How long to I have to wait here! It's been at least an hour!" he slammed down a large print edition of Reader's Digest magazine. Wendy and Dr. Thompson turned to look at him.

"Knowing what I know now, I'd give him a one out of ten on the tantrum," said Wendy. Dr. Thompson nodded in agreement.

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