“Dr. Pavlovich”

Flash fiction under 250 words

Photo by Umanoide on Unsplash

here was no time to wait. The pain reached its highest pitch and the damn thing had to come out. My wife recommended I visit one of her old boyfriends, Dr. Pavlovich, reputed to be efficient, board-certified, and even PhD-ed; in short, Pavlovich was one of the best orthodontic surgeons in town and promised my wife a fair price for extraction. He said it was the least he could do for the woman who once held his heart — by the cusp of her delightful teeth, no less. He still thought of Milly from time to time, remembering those “pearls that passed for teeth” as he put it.

Now, I wish Pavlovich hadn’t returned my wife a favor. Because I’d also be damned if he wasn’t trying to start a conversation mid-extraction, hacking away at my stubborn tooth. You see, I was numb and unable to answer then — really, did someone as experienced as Pavlovich think I could answer How is Milica, these days? Are you happy in Serbia? Have you learned the language yet? What, you haven’t?— and so forth.

Ah, powerful stuff, that anesthetic was! He promised me I wouldn’t feel a thing.

He wasn’t wrong.

I didn’t feel a thing as I heard the CRUNCH of the wrong tooth pulled out of my skull. The hell that orthodontist wasn’t bitter after all these years!

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Allen Bauman

Raconteur and essayist with a funny bone. Educator by profession.