The dentist’s office was like any of the others that Martin had stepped foot in. He never spent long in them, but he’d stepped into many. There was the clinical white décor, the chair with various limbs jutting off it to provide lighting or trays of tools, and the arrangement of pictures of fish and Escherian landscapes on the ceiling. The makers of such pieces of art were probably thankful for their dentist client base. Still, this one had said that it specialized in work on those who panicked under the bright lamps and nasal-sounding drills of the trade.
He had been ushered in by a prim looking dental nurse, her blue blouse and black trousers partially concealed by a thin, tear-away apron. She took her place on a swivel chair by the computer, sterilization units and machines plastered with ionizing radiation hazard signs flanking her little alcove of the room. Then there was Doctor Redecker.
Doctor Redecker sat on his swivel chair by the centrepiece of the room, the hecatonkhires of the medical chairs, a big beaming smile on his face. The smile was surrounded by a wiry ginger beard that was certainly fuller than the receding wisps on his head, baldness gleaming under fierce fluorescent lights. The thing that struck him the most was the small pair of goggles the man wore, lenses black as night. They would look more in place on an arc wielder, even if they did have the flip down magnifiers that would be useful for taking a closer look in the mouth.
‘Sit down, sit down!’ The Doctor beckoned towards the chair, still smiling brightly. ‘Make yourself right at home Martin, and we can talk before I work.’
Forcing his weak legs into motion, Martin tried to ignore the feeling of jelly limbs below his hips as he took a seat on the chair. Beads of sweat gleamed on his forehead as he settled down into it, looking up at the smiling face of his fourteenth new dentist for reassurance. ‘This… isn’t quite what I was expecting from the advert…’ He managed to gulp out before being shushed.
‘But you’re in here and sitting, so that is something, is it not?’ Redecker laughed. ‘And besides, we have Gloria here for if you start to panic and fear.’
The dental nurse gave a curt nod and a small smile. Martin did not feel reassured.
‘Now! What is it you fear? Is it the drill? People fear the drill a lot, but it’s such a friendly little thing.’ Redecker smiled, patting his tools of the trade as they lay suspended on one of the multitudes of arms.
‘Not quite.’ Came the reply.
‘Well, is it the suction device?’ Redecker gestured to the small device used to keep an area clear of saliva. ‘That can be a common culprit.’
‘It’s not that either.’ His voice trembled ever so slightly, feeling the fear creep up from his stomach to numb his arms.
‘It can’t possibly be the mirror, it’s such a friendly little tool.’ Came the next suggestion, holding it up to reflect some of the light onto a spot on the wall.
‘It’s not, it’s… the little scraper pick.’ Martin blurted his fear out.
‘The dental explorer?’
‘But, it’s such an important tool, one we have to use.’ Redecker proclaimed.
‘I can’t help it! The noise, the sensation… I don’t know why you all have to use it!’ Martin explained before blinking as Redecker leaned in close. The smile had fallen from the dentist’s face. Martin shrunk back against the chair as much as he could. He watched as the once-smiling doctor removed his goggles, steel orbs sat where his eyes should have been with tiny pick heads coming out from the middle.
‘We scrape so we can see.’