Eerie Root Canal

Sunday is Father’s Day and I sure miss mine. My favorite quote about Fathers is from Mark Twain. “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

Both my children are now in their early thirties and still waiting for their old man to gain some wisdom. Hopefully, I’ll get a little smarter before it’s time for them to make that coin-toss decision on whether to send me to a nursing home or insane asylum.

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, the person who inspires us with her wit and wisdom every week is The Kansas City Sage, Margaret Twain Wisoff-Fields. If you’d like to participate in this exercise in madness, head over to her blog for step-by-step instructions. To view the FFF Hollywood Squares Authors Block click here.


copyright - Ted Strutz
copyright – Ted Strutz

“You really shouldn’t wait so long between cleanings.” Debra’s tone was stern. “It makes this job harder for both of us.”

Mack slumped in the chair. He hated these damn lectures.

“Turn this way and open wide.”

He closed his eyes and blindly obeyed. Vibrations from the jackhammer shook his entire body. She flushed his mouth with water, vacuumed the chunks of fibula, and repeated the procedure over and over again.

“Try flossing—like I asked you to.”

Tears streamed down his cheeks as Debra whisked the thick cord back and forth between his teeth.

“A Great White with a pretty smile,” she said, admiring her handiwork.


*disclaimer – this is a work of fiction. Any resemblance between the dental hygenist in this story and Debra at Dr. Grace’s office is purely coincidental.


59 thoughts on “Eerie Root Canal

  1. Russell, Have a Happy Father’s Day! That was great! I wondered about the flossing with the “cord.” I now have this picture of a Great White flossing his teeth that’s going to stick with me for a while. 😀 —Susan


  2. Here we go again … I have a dental appointment in a few minutes. Your timing, once again, is impeccable.
    I’m glad you said the reference, since I would have had to think and research on Mack The Knife (which I knew anyway — took me awhile).
    Again, another gem of a story. Keep ’em coming, Russell!


  3. It does, indeed, feel like a jackhammer and a thick cord at times. But I’m sure Debra at Dr. Grace’s office won’t try to get even when you go for your next appointment —– or will she?


  4. That’s quite a shark tale about the som (grandson?) of Jaws, Russell. I would not want to be in the line of fire of that cleaning. I hope Debra was wearing the latest in haz-mat fashion.


  5. Russell, this is a delight1 You don’t know how many of our patients actually referred to the hygienists as sharks – using cord and jack hammers. This was a whale of a good story. Happy Father’s Day.


  6. Dear Mack,

    Now Bobby Darin’s voice singing about you is ringing in my ears as is the jackhammer. Now I’m really putting off that dental appointment.

    I miss my dad, too. I’ve always loved the Twain quote. How true it is.

    In less that two weeks we can discuss this silliness in person. 😉




  7. Dear Russell,

    I was cruising along quite nicely until I read the word ‘fibula’ and burst out laughing and I still am chilling. A perfect description of how it feels to be under the ‘knife’ of the hard hearted hygienists. Excellent work.

    Now spit.




  8. Clever work! Loved the introduction of fibula. What is it about hygienists… I swear I expect to find my teeth laid out on my chest by the time they’ve finished gouging, picking and sawing.


  9. Ingenious as always. English not being my mother tongue, I had to re-read to tie in the tools with who Mack really is. Debra the Orca dentist was scarier than poor Mack! 🙂

    Greetings from Greece!
    Maria (MM Jaye)


  10. Happy Father’s Day, Russell. I enjoyed the quote. I’m sure you have all sorts of wisdom for your sons. I got it that he was a shark! Very funny. Yikes, a jackhammer. Poor thing. He could always use seaweed to floss I suppose. 🙂


  11. First off… I don’t think they will need to flip a coin… just look at that title! But then, I guess they are used to it by now.

    Clever story, I didn’t know you knew Bobby Darin.


  12. Man, did I feel stupid for a few minutes… trying to figure out how to politely tell you that the fibula is not in the mouth! Duh. It took me longer than the average reader, I think, to figure out the the shark bit. Of course, with you, I should have known better! 🙂 Much funnier the second read… I love that it read well both times.


    1. I sprinkled clues throughout, but it was a little tricky communicating that Mack was a shark without just coming out and saying so. Don’t feel bad. You weren’t the only one who had trouble picking up on his identity.


  13. You really had me the ‘fibula.’ I was thinking, man, she’s really digging deep. I’m a little (ok a lot) slow today because even the “Mack” didn’t switch on the lightbulb. Now I’m not going to be able to get that song out of my head all day. Another twisted and beautifully humourous (or should that be humerus) tale, my friend 😀


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