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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2198099
Written for the Writer's Cramp Challenge 8/13/19. A story of 840 words.

Tommy was crying; Tommy was roaring. “It hurts, Mommy! Make it stop!”

His mother stood beside him trying to soothe away the wails of Tommy’s baby sister. With the two children in tears she tried to look inside her young son’s mouth but it was a feat that proved to be impossible. It was, she decided, best to make an appointment with the dentist.

When Tommy realized what she was doing, his wails increased even more. “No, Mommy! No! I hate the dentist with his noisy drill and the smells and...”

“Shh!” his mother said. “You want your tooth to stop hurting?”

Tommy nodded. His sobs had decreased but his face remained tear-stained, his eyes huge. “I don’t want to go to the dentist though,” he insisted.

The baby had fallen into a fitful slumber so the woman placed her gently in her bouncy chair and strapped her in securely. Then she turned and squatted down until she was more-or-less the same height as her son. “The dentist is the person that can magic away the pain,” she explained.

“Uh-uh,” Tommy shook his head. “The dentist hurts!”

His mother realized she was going to get nowhere denying it. He’d been before, had had a couple of fillings; this time, going by the pain her son was in, he might well have to have a tooth removed. “Ah, but that’s because it takes a bit of time for the magic to work,” she said.

“What magic? Is the dentist a wizard?” Tommy was at the age where he was fascinated by any reference to magic, and now she had said the words she had broken through his resistance.

“Yes, in a way. Instead of a wand he uses a tiny drill. After he has used his magic mirror, that is.”

“Okay. I’ll go.” Tommy chewed nervously at his lip, then picked up a pencil and chomped his teeth on that. “But,” he added, “it better not hurt!”

* * *

They were lucky to get an appointment that same afternoon. If it had not been for a cancellation they would have had to wait at least until the following day. Tommy sat beside his mother in the waiting room. He looked pale and tearful but he did not cry.

The same could not be said for his baby sister. She grizzled or howled the entire time; the red splotches on her cheeks gave some indication why – she was teething.

When it came to Tommy’s turn to go into the treatment room, the baby was crying in earnest. The poor woman did not know what to do. She could hardly take the sobbing infant in to the room but at the same time she felt that she should be there for her son.

The practice nurse came to her aid. “Tommy, you have got to be such a big boy now! Will you come to see the dentist with me, while your Mom and your sister wait here?”

Tommy nodded and took her hand but he looked back at his mother with a look that told her how scared he really felt.

“Come on, Tommy,” the nurse gently urged him forwards.

“Will he do some magic? The dentist?” Tommy asked her.

The nurse laughed and said, “I’m sure he’ll try his best.” She shared a smile with his mother who was too upset to even notice.

While Tommy was in the treatment room, his mother paced around the waiting room. When the next patient arrived and took a seat she continued to stand and pace around. The grizzling baby gave her an excuse, she did not have to admit she was pacing from nerves.

She was listening as hard as she could. She heard the sound of the suction pipe as it worked away, keeping her son’s mouth dry, but she did not hear the drill. The dentist had to be having a good look around, for even a filling would need the use of the drill.

When the door of the treatment room opened her son stood before her, a big smile on his face. “No drill!” he said.

“Has your toothache gone?” His mother frowned. How could it have been cured?

The nurse came to the door and explained. “It was a splinter that was lodged between two teeth,” she said. “No fillings, no extractions...”

“No drill!” said Tommy.

“That’s right. Now tell me, Tommy, you are not a beaver are you?” He shook his head. “Only you must have been chewing wood to get that splinter, mustn’t you.”

“Pencils,” his mother supplied the answer. “Whenever he’s concentrating he chews on a pencil.”

The nurse nodded. “Do you think you could stop chewing pencils, then, Tommy. Otherwise you might get another toothache.”
“I’ll try,” he said. And then he put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a lollipop. “Look what the dentist gave me!”

The nurse and his mother exchanged looks. Another visit would no doubt be soon on the cards but for now her son was happy.

(840 words).
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