My dentist, who looks exactly like Donny Osmond, is yanking my tongue around back and forth in my mouth. He always does this, and I'm not sure for what purpose, but he's been my dentist since I was four, which means he personally yanked most of my baby and a few of my adult teeth out of my mouth. In comparison, the tongue thing is not a big deal.
"Close." he says, and I close my jaws, only to have him slip his forefingers between my cheeks and my gums and hold my mouth open around my closed teeth in what I can only imagine is a completely undignified expression.
But like I said, I'm used to it. The only thing that really bothers me is that I'm trying to keep my eye on the Sox game, which is playing on a plasma flat-screen TV mounted near the ceiling at the front of the room. It's a new addition to the office, one that I enjoy because it not only means I don't miss any of the game, but I have the additional pleasure of boring the shit out of the receptionist by reciting Curt Schilling's statistics as revenge for the way she's scraping at my gums with a wickedly sharp little hook.
Even as he's inspecting me like I'm a racehorse, he's ragging on me about the Sox. "How are they doing?" he had asked when he first came into the room.
"We're up 4-1", I had answered, and the teasing began.
"No. We are not anything. The Red Sox are--" he started in on me, and I narrowed my eyes at him.
"You're a Yankees fan, aren't you?"
"No, I just don't give any credit to the Red Sox anymore. They're a bunch of overpaid bums, and they're never gonna--"
"Say whatever you want," I said. "You know my father. Did you think I'd be a fan of anybody else?"
Then he'd grabbed my tongue and started yanking my cheeks around.
Now he's running the tip of one finger along my gumline. "Open." I obey, and he pushes my face away from him so he can get a glimpse of my esophagus, or something.
"Nope, I'm not putting on my prom dress for the Sox anymore," he says into my right ear. "Cause they're not comin'.
"You can put on your dress and get all ready and then in October you'll be standin' at the window cryin', cause they're not comin'. They're not even comin' to pick you up. It happens every year."
There is no worse rage than the impotent kind. With my mouth not free for speech, I choose instead to glare at him.
"Ooh," the hygienist says from behind him. "She's gonna get violent."
"Nah," he says, still peering into my mouth.
"Quit talkin' to her like that, she's gonna slash ya tires on her way out."
"You know, the stock mahket stays the way it was today and I won't have any tires to slash."
"I know..." And then they're off discussing the stock market. Now it's my turn to be bored, while straining to get a glimpse of the game.
The dentist finally sits back. Stripping off his gloves, he turns things back to the Sox. "I'm just tryin' to help her out," he tells the hygienist. "Look at her. It's obvious she's possessed wid 'em."
"Possessed? Don't you mean obsessed?" she asks.
"No," he says, looking down at me the way only someone who's known you since you were four years old, has personally yanked most of your baby and a few of your adult teeth out of your mouth with pliers, and who has just finished handling your tongue can look down at you.
"I think 'possessed' is exactly the right word."