Shiloe makes his way over to the chair and hops in. At first he sits straight up, then slides down some, then scoots up a little, then rocks left and right, adjusting his clothing, before sitting down in the exact spot he started in. He slides his elbows down the armrest until they touch the seat, griping the ends of the armrests firmly. He squeezes the padding a few times.
Why does the dentist make me so nervous? He lets the rhetorical question pause for a few seconds before a small voice in the back of his skull answers.
Looking to avoid that thought, he glances to his left, looking at the instruments laid out on the tray next to the chair. He looks at them one by one, remembering the hook and the mirror but not recognizing the others. Not wanting to dwell on the coming experience too long, Shiloe turns his attention to a photo on the wall.
It’s not bad, he thinks, I guess. The contrast is okay. No real focus, though. A lack of focus really kills any piece.
He looks to his right. He focuses on a box of non-latex rubber gloves on the counter. Why do rubber gloves come in a rainbow box?
He looks out the window and reads the signs. Ford. Jewelers. Escrow. Jack-In-The-Box. Jack-In-The-Box sounds good right now. Maybe I should get Jack-In-The-Box for lunch. But that’s right, they said last time I have to wait two hours before eating after I leave. Dammit.
Shiloe digs in his pocket again for his cell phone. 1:21.
A nurse walks in and wordlessly starts preparing. She places something on the counter Shiloe doesn’t see, then turns to him and ties a bib around his neck. She leaves the room as soundlessly as she had entered.
Shiloe stares at the wall in front of him for a little while longer until the doctor comes in and sits down on a stool next to the chair, smiling the same empty smile as the raven-haired receptionist.
“Hi Shiloe, how’re you doing,” she says, looking Shiloe in eyes.
“I’m good. And you?”
“Just fine, just fine. So, you’re here today to get some work done on your gums–”
“And we’re going to give you a few shots of local anesthetic to keep you from feeling any discomfort–”
“So, let’s get started on that right now to give it time take effect, okay?”
“Okay,” Shiloe answers, looking right back into her eyes.
She looks down and presses something with her feet, lowering the back of the chair down until it’s almost horizontal. Shiloe watches her out of the corner of his eye. He focuses on the syringe she places onto the tray.
“Open wide please,” she says. Shiloe opens his mouth as wide as it will go, and the doctor swabs his gums with a q-tip covered in a reddish gunk. As she reaches for the syringe, Shiloe looks up at the ceiling and notices for the first time a strange ceiling panel. Who the hell would put a kitten, a puppy, and cockatoo looking down at you from a blue sky on a ceiling panel?
“Now you might feel a little discomfort.”
The doctor stabs the needle into Shiloe’s gum, though Shiloe only feels it as if it’s happening from far away.
“Now we’re just going to wait a little bit for the anesthetic to take effect, okay?”
“Okay,” Shiloe says. The doctor stands up and walks out of the room. Shiloe digs into his pocket and glances at his cell phone. 1:39. He returns his attention to ceiling panel.
It must have some purpose. It has to be more expensive than a regular ceiling tile. But why would you put a kitten, a puppy, and a cockatoo on a ceiling panel?
The doctor reenters Shiloe’s field of view. He closes his eyes and tries to relax, to force himself to forget he’s there. Through almost the whole procedure he keeps his eyes closed, but occasionally he’ll pop open his eyes and try to get a peek at what’s going on. Whenever he does his eyes inevitably drift to the ceiling panel with the animals.
Is it supposed to help you relax? Make you feel better? It really just kind of creeps me out, he thinks. Why would someone put a kitten, a puppy, and a cockatoo on a ceiling panel?
The doctor hits another sensitive spot and Shiloe snaps his eyes shut, gripping the armrests tighter, though he tries not to change his facial expression.
“Are you okay,” the doctor asks, sounding slightly uninterested.
“Yeah, I’ll be fine,” he garbles through the instruments in his mouth.
Finally, the doctor starts taking things out of his mouth before returning the chair to an upright position. When everything is out Shiloe rubs his sore jaw and pokes his cheeks, marveling at the numbness. The doctor fills a Dixie cup covered in little pink and yellow flowers with water and hands it to him.
“Spit,” she says, pointing at a little cone attached to a hose. Shiloe puts the cup to his lips and takes a mouthful. He tries to swish the water around his mouth but after squirting it out of the numb corner of his mouth and almost hitting his shoes decides to just spit into the cone.
The doctor leaves and the same nurse from before comes back and starts cleaning up as wordlessly as she prepared. She takes off Shiloe’s bib and gives him a reassuring smile before once again leaving. Shiloe digs into his pocket and glances at his cell phone. 2:14. He replaces his phone and turns to the window, watching the few clouds in the sky slowly move east.
“Mr. Morrison?” Shiloe glances one last time up at the kitten, the puppy, and the cockatoo before jumping out of the chair and facing the same receptionist that led him there. “Follow me, please,” she says, smiling at him warmly. Could it be someone actually finds me attractive?
He follows behind her and glances down at her ass. Not bad, he thinks. Not bad at all.