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Now Spit


Patti Dinneen

So I put off my annual cleaning this year. Not the cleaning of my home, which I generally put off entirely, but the cleaning of my mouth or more precisely, my teeth. I hadn’t intentionally put off my cleaning, but sometime around December 1st , when I was taking stock in my life, I realized that I hadn’t used a bit of my dental coverage since paying my deductible in January. Hence, I scheduled a cleaning. I know now why I postponed visiting my dental friends for so long. It’s because dental hygienists are pawns of the Devil himself.. 

I arrived at the dental office around 9:00 a.m. and was quickly escorted into the "Pain Room." After I was seated, the x-ray technician flung a 30-pound vest over my chest and came at me with a plastic contraption. I knew what that plastic contraption was for…x-rays! 

"B-but I just got x-rayed a year ago," I stammered.

"Oh those were the bi-gludial cupids and the endorphinizer plagras. What we need to take today are your wing-tip maximers, and Jerry Garciasizers.” With that, she jammed the plastic contraption into my mouth and managed to get an excellent picture of the gash she created in my cheek. We repeated this process approximately 1,850 times. Apparently she wanted pictures of my laticular embolisms to send to her family for Christmas. 

It turned out the x-ray fiend was not the hygienist. The hygienist arrived next, wherein she immediately began the most important of her duties, filling me with the requisite amount of guilt. 

"Hi, I’m Hagatha. I’ll be doing your cleaning. Hummmm, seems it's been almost a year since your cleaning."


"You really shouldn't wait so long… I hope I can finish it all today."

"Well, I've been really busy, I just haven't had the time."

"Well you're going to be a lot busier when you have to gum all your food!"

"I know, I should have come in sooner b-b-but…" 

"Are you flossing?"


"Don't you know that if you don't floss you can get gum disease which will erode away the bone in the mouth at which time all your teeth will loosen and fall out and you'll be LEFTWITHNOTHINGBUTBLOODYNUBSWHEREYOURTEETHUSED

"Yes… I mean no… I mean, flossing good… me VERY BAD!"

She immediately started asking questions about which teeth hurt, waving her little hook of death in front of my face as she questioned me. Here's a little tip, if your hygienist asks you which teeth hurt, always, I repeat, ALWAYS say “Everything is fine!” Even if all the teeth in your mouth have turned electric blue and black stuff is oozing from your gums you must say to the hygienist “Everything is fine!” 

Why? Why you ask? Because once you identify a problem tooth it is written in the dental handbook it must be poked, prodded and scraped at, until it's singing like Roseanne at a baseball game! I forgot to take my own advice.

"Do any teeth hurt?"

"Well, the bottom right has been kinda sensitive."

With that, she charged at the bottom right tooth with a hacksaw and a pair of pinking shears. She scraped, she yanked, she dug into the entire gum area surrounding that tooth until tears were streaming down my face and I was screaming "Uncle!! Good God Man… Uncle!" 

After which she turned to me and asked, “Did that hurt?”

I immediately ceased trying to slash my wrists with my car key and responded “Not really.” After she finished attacking my back teeth, she went at my front teeth. The procedure for my bottom front teeth went like this: She secured her hook of death in between my two lower front teeth from behind. She then began to pull up on the hook. Sweat began to bead on her forehead and she bellowed for her assistant who scurried over and stood behind her. At the count of three Hagatha yanked on the hook and the assistant yanked on Hagatha; with that they were successful in removing my jaw from my skull. 

After everything was jammed back in place, I made the mistake of looking down at my chest. It was then I realized that everything my hygienist was ripping out of my teeth was being lovingly placed onto a little napkin strapped on my chest! 

I looked up at her and asked: “What are you doing?”

“Removing a year's worth of old food from you mouth and wiping it on your chest. Why?”

“Oh, no reason.”

So after we were done with the cleaning Hagatha said, “You can spit if you like.” Now there’s a phrase you’ll only hear in the dentist’s office. 

“Why thank you Hagatha, don’t mind if I do!” I responded. Spitting during a cleaning is far simpler than spitting say, after a filling. When you try to spit after your mouth has had all feeling removed you discover that your “spit” muscles just sort of seize up. What ends up happening is that you open your mouth and try as you may to spit, stuff just sort of slides out. The “stuff” of course always misses the bowl and ends up running happily down your face.

Anyway, after the cleaning Hagatha sent the dentist in for an evaluation. “Hey Patti, how’s it going?” asked my cute, yet somewhat hairy dentist. 

“Never better!” I responded, between pulsating jets of pain caused by Hagatha’s incessant digging. 

“Great, let’s have a look!” With that, he slid his hairy fingers into some gloves and began probing my mouth. After he filled my mouth with cotton, suction, plastic devices and both his hands, “Brad” decides it’s time for some conversation. 

“What’s new?” 

“Ot oot uch ahhh al, oww ouuut ooo?

“Yeah, me neither. Your perfume is nice, what is it?”

“Ot ott uch ahh al, oww ouuut ooo?”

“Yeah, my wife likes that too. What’s the chemical compound for that fragrance?”

“Ot ott uch ahh al, oww ouut ooo?

“Oh I thought they used ethyltrybuytl alcohol in that too, my mistake."

Afterward the dentist looked down at me and shook his head. “Well Patti, looks like you and I are going to be seeing quite a bit of each other. There seems to be some decay under filling three in bilateral six and I see some gum erosion which could indicate a crack in the interior incisor, which left unattended could lead to further decay and eventually… death. Or it could just be some plaque under the gum line that Hagatha missed. I think we should schedule an appointment as soon as possible. If I’m right, this could cost about $569.00. If I’m wrong, it will only cost $568.00. I really can’t afford to have you wait on this.” 

With that, he sent me to the receptionist who detailed for me the next treatment.

“I’ve broken down your bill for you so you can know what to expect next time.”


“I have $200.00 for stepping in the door.”

“Ahh, okay.”

“$100.00 for earplugs to drown out your screaming.”

“Ahh, okay.”

“$269.00 for the bloodletting.”

“Sounds fair.”

“And, $100 for smelling salts.”

“A bargain at twice the price!”

“When can I schedule your appointment?”

“How’s February 29, 2003?

“Great! Next Friday it is, we’ll see you then! Have a great day!”

“Yeah, you have a great day too” I said. I walked away wishing a plague of locusts on the office. I looked over and noticed for the first time the address on the door… 666 Main Street. 666? Nah, just a coincidence I thought. Yeah, that’s it, a coincidence.

I was vowing to work on my overactive imagination as I bumped into Hagatha on the way out to my car. She was dressed in a red coat, red boots and a red hat. She jumped into her car and sped past me. In the distance I noticed her license plate. It read “LUCFR.” 

Scream... fade to black.

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