Short Story Blurb:
A trip to the dentist has never been so… interesting…
JUST LIKE PULLING TEETH is also a part of the BOLLOCKS! Anthology
“BOLLOCKS,” I groaned, failing at my attempt to chew on the wedge of pickle-covered cheese. It was only Tuesday, and yet, as I sat at the end of the bar at the Thistle and Lion, whining and moaning with every bite of my ploughman’s lunch, this particular week had already begun to drag. I’d had the mother of all headaches for two days, and throbbing gums for three, the pain so bloody awful I’d been driven to take some long overdue time off work. My bite had been out of alignment for weeks, thanks to the swelling in the back of my mouth, and everything above my shoulders hurt.
Even my sodding hair.
The ibuprofen I was taking was no longer helping, and I hadn’t slept well in days. Luckily my sister, Rachel, was able to secure an appointment with a new dentist near where she worked. Dr. Anderson had been looking after my teeth ever since I was a young lad, but retired earlier in the year. As much as I felt awkward around new people, I figured I’d give this new bloke a shot, considering my dear sister had been gushing about how wonderful he was non-stop for the past few weeks. It wasn’t as though I had much choice, anyway. The other dentists I’d contacted, including every one of them at the Holistic Solutions Clinic, were booked solid for months ahead.
Unable to finish my meal, I downed the rest of my pint to help sate my hunger and perhaps give me a little Dutch courage before I left a tenner on the end of the bar and headed for the men’s to carefully floss and brush.
It was torture, yes, but no sense in grossing out the new dentist with my recently acquired mustard pickle and beer breath.
I made my way across the cobbled alleyway that was a stone’s throw away from the city centre, the London sun shining and the air brisk with mid-October winds, until I found myself standing in the lobby of the two-storey building. Quickly checking the directory located next to a small cafe, I made my way up the single flight of stairs, passing by everything from chiropractors to physiotherapists, acupuncturists to hypnotherapists.
I was certain the name on suite door number ten, Acacia Dental Spa, was a contradiction in terms.
The premise seems dubious at first (especially if you're a squeamish type): Aiden goes to a dentist for toothaches caused by impacted wisdom teeth, and is immediately smitten by handsome dentist Sebastian. Luckily, this straightforward plotline proves to be effective and endearing. The undercurrent of British humor (reminiscent of JL Merrow or Josephine Myles) makes Aiden a sympathetic character, even in his most neurotic moments. The dental scenes had me wincing in sympathy, but Harris keeps them from being too graphic. (Some may find Aiden's laughing-gas confessions a strained plot device, but I have personal anecdotal evidence that these do indeed happen.) Sebastian is quite a charmer, and I admit to swooning a bit when the half-Brazilian heartthrob started speaking Portuguese. Harris also includes entertaining side characters, such as Aiden's sweet but meddling sister and brother-in-law (whose tattoo parlor figures in to the story), as well as Sebastian's sister-turned-nurse Ana. The relatively slow buildup to the final clinch undercuts the "insta-love" factor here, which I thought was wise. This is the first published story by Harris, and I'm eager to see more of her work. It originally appeared in the BOLLOCKS! anthology published in June, which I definitely want to read now.
About the author:
L. J. HARRIS is a mother of teenage twin boys who she loves with all her heart. Her family is her life, her soul, and the very reason she gets out of bed every day. Coming a close second to her family is her writing.
She only just discovered a passion for writing in the past five or so years. She’d always written little poems in birthday cards for family members, but that was as far as her writing aspirations went...until she decided to write poems and give them to family members as homemade gifts.
It was then a spark was lit, and ever since, she hasn’t been unable to switch off the urge to write.
After a close family member fell ill, she began questioning what she wanted and searching for answers. Unable to sleep one night, she sat up and typed out her feelings on the laptop. Her husband read what she’d written and encouraged her to write more. It was then she knew she wanted to share her thoughts with others. She began with writing what she knew—her life story, but couldn't get into it. Instead, she decided to write about something not based on fact, but fiction, and wrote a dream sequence which she showed to her family. They encouraged her to expand on it, and she hasn’t stopped since.
L.J. Harris discovered that as much as enduring pain, loss, betrayal, or any other negative thing in our lives can be devastating, if she hadn't experienced them for herself, she not only wouldn't have found some lifelong friends, she doubts she would have been able to write the feelings of anguish and loss that some of her characters have had to endure.
L.J. has been previously published and has shared several online stories and looks forward to continuing to share her work.
L. J. Harris can be found at: