Finalists for the April Writing Contest
We have three finalists for this month’s writing contest. The turn-out was a bit lower than past months, so the selection process was not as difficult, but I’m pleased to say all the stories submitted were well deserving of their finalist positions. I want to thank all the participants for taking the time to come up with such creative stories! The following contestant’s are the ones who are up for voting. Please do congratulate them!
Below will be a review of the contest stipulations, followed by the three finalist’s stories. At the bottom will be the instructions and poll for voting. Anyone may vote for the tale they believe is best, but you should take the time to read all three before making your decision. Remember, you may vote only once. Contestants, also note that you cannot use blogs, twitter, Facebook, or any other site to ask for votes. You are allowed to announce you are a finalist on those sites and link this page, but you should only tell people to vote for the best story, not yours specifically.
1) The story should be centered around a visit to the dentist’s office.
2) At least one of the following must occur:
a) an argument over the price
b) screaming from pain
c) a new dental experiment
d) the wrong tooth pulled
3) The story cannot be a dream.
4) The word “crazy” must be used at least three times, but never twice in the same paragraph.
5) Word count: 600-800 words
The Other Side
“It’ll be over quickly!” his parents had said, “You won’t feel a thing.”
That’s the problem with parents – they always try to make up rubbish like that to placate him. They had said the same thing the time Phil had fallen and cracked his head – there was nothing quick or painless about that memory. He had known as soon as those words had been uttered, that today would be everything but a short-lived memory.
“I guess I should be thankful” he mused – he hadn’t had to take a trip past the frosted door into the surgery room before now. Phil had spent much of his young life in fear of the dentist’s operating room, yet up until today, he had only had brief visits with the overweight man who smelled like latex gloves and mouthwash. The dentist had mostly ignored him in the past besides a cursory glance and quick inspection – still, each excursion left him with the crazy, illogical fear that if he ever went behind that door he wouldn’t be coming back.
But today, Phil had a bad feeling. As he rolled the waiting room, he caught a glance of another victim being taken the other way. Their eyes met, and the look of pain was unmistakable.
“I could run. That’s it – I could just make a dash for the door and never look back!”
But Phil knew that his frantic hopes of escape were just that – the dreams of a boy driven half crazy from fear. Besides, his parents were watching from the next room, and the dental assistant looked as though she would have no trouble catching him if he tried. She also wore latex gloves, and Phil had a sneaking suspicion that she did so for a better grip on runaways. No, he would reach the operating room no matter what objections he may have. As they passed the counter he heard someone arguing with the receptionist about the figure on the bill he was waving emphatically in the air – “You think you have problems…” Phil thought as he was ushered past the scene “…I’d trade places with you any day buddy.”
The operating room was bright and clean – sterile. The paintings of rainbows and woodland creatures were almost nauseating – a poor attempt at covering up this room’s real purpose. Many interesting gadgets with colorful screens blinked and beeped at him. Under different circumstances, Phil would have enjoyed inspecting them – if his mouth were working he may have even asked the dental assistant what each one did – but he found little comfort in their cheery chatter today. He knew that serious machines were for serious operations, and the dread of knowing that he was the guest of honor today was worse than any torture. The assistant positioned him facing up towards the bright lights, and went to prep herself at the sink.
The door swung open, the smell of latex and mouthwash riding in on the influx of air.
“…it was crazy, the finger was bitten almost clean off, we saw it! I tell you, the stories we all share at dental convention! I’ll talk to you later, Rita.”
He was here.
Phil listened as the dentist and his assistant went through a rundown of the procedure – he heard many words and terms that he didn’t understand – what he did know however, was that they involved him, and they involved pain. Phil lay there for what seemed like an age, the dentist inspecting and poking around. Every so often Phil would catch mutterings about molars and plaque, but he barely paid attention. The lights above him were blinding – he saw nothing but blurred shapes moving around, the smell of mouthwash making him feel ever sicker. Just when he felt as though he couldn’t lay there any longer, a dark shadow passed over him. With the light momentarily blocked everything fell into sharp relief. It was time.
“Take the scraper, the pick! Just don’t take the drill…anything but the drill!” Phil thought, panic rising within him.
But as the dentist’s hand came down towards the cart, he knew his fate was sealed. As the dentist picked Phil up from the equipment cart, Phil was given a terrible vision of the operating room.
In the chair he saw a young girl, her mouth propped wide open with what was unmistakably an evil glint in her eye,
“I’ll do anything…”
Phil felt the dentist flip a switch behind him – he was being lowered towards that gaping hole of despair.
As he closed in, Phil let out a long, high-pitched scream…
By Sarah Fredricks
She sat there, in the waiting room …… waiting. She’d arrived early to get her fix of celebrity gossip. A glance at the clock told her she still had another ten minutes.
‘Oh good, I’ll get through this ‘Hello’ mag.’
As she finished reading about the latest, crazy, antics of the Rock Chic, she heard a deep, sexy voice call her name.
She cringed at hearing her full name. She hated it. Pasting a smile on her face she looked in the direction of the voice and saw the most perfect male specimen looking across at an elderly lady in the corner.
Dee stood and put the magazine back on the table. If her parents had still been alive, she’d have killed them herself for giving her such a hideous, old woman’s name. Instead, they’d left her orphaned at the age of ten with no family and no one to turn to when she’d been teased mercilessly about her name. As an adult, she’d moved to the north of England where there were at least a few more people with her surname.
The most perfect male specimen looked across at her.
‘Dee,’ she said through gritted teeth.
He looked puzzled, then shrugged his shoulders. ‘I could have sworn I was expecting an older person.’
‘Yeah, so does everyone. Can we get on please?’
He laughed behind her. ‘I guess with a name like that, there can only be one of you!’
Dee scowled at him as she settled into the chair.
The most perfect male specimen was still puzzled though. ‘How come, a beautiful, healthy looking young woman has gum disease?’
‘I’m Matthew by the way. I’ve just taken over this dental practice. I’m really excited to have a look at your mouth today. This is the first one I’ll have seen.’
Dee looked at him in shock. Had she entered some kind of parallel universe? She looked round the room. It looked the same as usual. He was dressed as she expected a dentist to be dressed. No-one at reception had looked at him funny. How could she be his first? Panic started to set in.
‘Er, I think I’ll come ba…’ Matthew stilled her.
‘Okay, let’s have a look then at how well your gums are repairing themselves. How come you’re on this experimental programme? I thought the trials for this revolutionary treatment to reverse the effects of gum disease just included people over sixty. I could have sworn the information I received about you showed you to be in your seventies. Oh well, there must be an admin error.’
Dee tried to speak but his instruments in her mouth made that impossible. He wiggled each tooth, then pricked and prodded her gums.
‘Aaargh, aaaargh. Aaaaargh.’ Her screaming pierced the air, drowning out the noise from the radio. She pushed his hand out of the way and sat up.
‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING? YOU’RE CRAZY!’ she screeched at him.
Matthew looked at her, puzzled again. ‘I’m checking the gum line. They told you what that would involve didn’t they? It is painful but your record doesn’t indicate pain averse.’
‘My God, this is a nightmare! Who are you? Why are you doing this? I’m here for a routine check up.’
‘You’ve had gum replacement treatment. Your diseased gums were injected with liquid gum from cows. It’s incredibly revolutionary and very brave of you to sign up for it. You wouldn’t know from your gums that it had been done. Amazing. Absolutely amazing!’
Dee pulled the bib away from her neck and stood up.
‘You’re crazy! Of course you wouldn’t know from my gums. I HAVEN’T HAD ANY TREATMENT!’ She’d started screaming again. Her heart was thumping. ‘What was going on here?’
‘Did you call my name dear? I’m a little deaf now, you know.’
Matthew and Dee both turned to the voice in the doorway.
Matthew gaped. ‘Delphinia Loveday?’
‘Yes dear. That’s me.’
Matthew burst out laughing. ‘Oh I’m sorry.’ His laugh became hysterical.
Tears streamed down his face as he doubled over and held his sides.
He wiped his face and turned to Dee. ‘I’m sorry.’ Another burst of laughter escaped.
‘Oh God, what must you have thought? I said you were my first!’
Matthew collapsed again. It was just too funny, and the look on the two women’s faces was priceless.
‘Look at you both. You’ve got the same look on your faces.’
That comment sobered him up and he stared from one to the other.
‘Are you related? You could be her granddaughter. You’ve got the same eyes.’
‘Oh my! It can’t be. My Henry died. His little girl…….. No-one knew what happened to her.’ Tears filled the old lady’s eyes.
‘My dear. Is it really you? After all this time?’
By Debra Dunbar
“How’s it going, Sue?” Brenda asked the blond behind the desk as she wheeled her suitcase of dental equipment through the door.
RestorBright reps traveled among dental offices in a geographic area performing the procedure on clients as needed, but Brenda spent most of her time in this huge, multi-practitioner site.
“We’re crazy busy,” Sue told her. “Two clients today. First one is in 105.”
Brenda wheeled the cart down the long series of halls to the room and looked at her chart. Young girl. Brenda grimaced. Auto accident. They’d finished the minor reconstruction on her face months ago, so she should be healed enough for the procedure. Brenda would check though. Sometimes people rushed things and if the jaw structure and pallet weren’t stable, then it was a hundred grand spent for nothing.
“Hi there,” she said in a friendly tone as she wheeled her case into the room.
The dental chair was positioned with its back to the door, but a face swiveled around the head rest to peer at Brenda. She looked to be about thirteen, her dark hair inexpertly straightened into a helmet of a bob, her eyes huge in a dark face.
“Are you ready for a beautiful smile?” she asked the girl. “We’re going to make you look like a movie star.”
“Yuf cwazy.” The girl rolled her eyes, like teenagers do.
She hadn’t seen the miracles that Brenda had. RestorBright had only received FDA approval last month for limited use and was available on a cash-only basis. This girl either had a wealthy papa, or the guy that hit her was a rich drunk looking to cover it all up.
“Let me see,” Brenda said examining the girl’s very numb mouth.
It wasn’t bad for the aftermath of an auto accident, but the girl clearly hadn’t had decent dental care to date. Looked like it was the rich drunk driver scenario after all.
“It’s your lucky day,” she told the girl as she bustled about setting up equipment. “Sometimes good comes out of a bad situation. This machine is going to rebuild your teeth from your DNA pattern, so they’ll be healthy and new. It also follows a template according to your jaw and face shape to produce an aesthetically pleasing alignment and color.”
Crap. She sounded just like the marketing brochures. She looked over at the girl who was thankfully ignoring her rambling and reading an old People magazine.
The procedure went smoothly. The girl was an excellent patient, stoic and cooperative even during the uncomfortable parts. Brenda admired her work. It never ceased to amaze her how beautiful teeth transformed a person. And this girl had the perfect jaw, the perfect teeth. They were a stunning white, showcased by her dark skin.
“Look,” Brenda told the girl, as she handed her a mirror.
The girl took the mirror with a bored expression and looked at her mouth. Her eyes widened and she ran her fingers over the teeth.
“Whaaa? Boofl myn?” she mumbled, drool falling from the corner of her mouth.
Brenda’s eyes blurred slightly. It was crazy for her to get teary-eyed at a dental procedure, but this made it all worth it. She’d worked on snotty actresses, arrogant CEO’s. She’d dealt with halitosis, rotted gums. This made it all worth it. A young girl, at the dawn of her life, marveling over her beautiful new teeth.
She looked up to see Dr. Kirkward, one of the partners, at the doorway motioning to her.
“I’ll be right back,” she told the girl, patting her shoulder.
“Ummm, can you fit in one more service today?” Dr. Kirkward asked her in a hushed tone. “Shawna Grey in one fifty?”
Brenda looked around to the girl behind her.
“But, isn’t that. . .”
“We had a chart mix-up,” the doctor whispered. “She’s one of the pro-bono cases here for an extraction. The practice will cover the cost. We want to keep it discrete, you understand.”
“I assume Shawna Grey has mistakenly had an extraction?” Brenda asked in hushed tones. This was crazy. This was the stuff of bad sitcoms.
The doctor shifted nervously. “Yes, but she had requested full anesthesia. Of course, your procedure will assure that error is quickly corrected.”
Brenda nodded. She would need to hurry; they couldn’t keep this woman under forever.
“Of course, doctor. Both the practice and RestorBright will benefit from the publicity. Such an expensive procedure, done pro-bono on a disadvantaged child is an amazing act of charity.”
The doctor winced, quickly covering it up with a knowing smile.
Brenda walked back into the room and began to pack up her equipment.
“This really was your lucky day,” she said, smiling at the girl.
Congratulations to the three finalists. You all did a wonderful job and I wish each of you the best of luck during voting. The poll will stay open until midnight (EDT) Thursday, May 3rd. On Friday, May 4th, I will announce the winner and runner-up. They will both receive their Amazon gift cards that day.
Once again, the contestants are welcome to announce their story being up for vote on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc. but I require you DO NOT tell people to vote for you specifically. Ask others to simply visit and select the story they think is best. Please make this a fair contest. I really do not want to disqualify anyone.