Just another sunny afternoon at Addicts’ Mansions, my bad fan Frostie sent me a poem about a prostitute he didn’t hire and Crazy K sent me a picture of a bum that wasn’t hers. I pure love change. I’m not one of those people who moans that Soho isn’t sleazy enough. I’m more likely to impulse buy a martini than a sex slave. But when did “does my bum look big in this” become “is my bum big enough”? Seems like yesterday Crazy K was on the tapeworm diet; now she wants me to take her to Brazil to buy a bum.
The manservant was telling me I’m too cool to go to Ronnie Scott’s. “Nobody goes there since the refurb.” Except the joint is always sold out. But that extra row of seats that have been there since before I was born spoils the fun for some weird kants. What I love about Ronnie’s apart from the espresso martinis is that I’m always the youngest one there. Maddie says I could pass for her grannie, but everyone else thinks I’m about 12 because I pure copy the Guru’s skin regimens (no acids, no sunscreen, no knife).
Yes, people laugh at my parasol but it only takes a minute to shout, “Go back to your suburb with your sun-damaged skin, stinky”. I add stinky to the end of my insults whether the person mings or not; just to give them something to think about on the long crowded train ride home. If it’s a really big person laughing at me I shout abuse in Chinese. Then if it gets ugly I can pretend I was only ordering a takeaway.
So like I said, normal day, when suddenly I chipped a tooth! Unfortunately this molar has a massive mercury filling from the olden days when Maddie sent us to bed with a bag of candy balls. My grandfather owned the street we lived in, including a sweet shop and a pub. If only Maddie had knocked us out with a double whisky.
My dad met a dentist in a pub who liked to strap children into the chair and “do his best to save their teeth”. My fear of being toothless was greater than my fear of The Butcher; but my brother vowed never to go to a dentist again. He extracted his rotten teeth with a piece of string tied to the doorknob; a trick Scottish children learned from Oor Wullie. Maddie insisted that he’d have to go back to the dentist sometime; but my brother killed himself instead. His Scottish childhood had marked him; as his suicide marks me.
There’s this myth that I don’t fear the dentist; because I don’t usually need treatment. I keep my David Bowie teeth control freak clean and feel smug when Marathon Woman praises my bones and gums and foams about the new tooth I have coming in.
Me and an ancient German woman are the only people who’ve grown new teeth at an advanced age. But maybe people are sneaking about with new teeth the whole time and just not telling their dentists.
Marathon Woman prides herself on pain-free treatment, and loves her drill as much as I love sniffing Hayo’u de-stress body oil. The sound of the drill transports me back to my last dental emergency; when I chipped a front tooth on vodka ice-cream just before a live television book reading.
I went to a dentist who looked like Tony Blair and lived in the basement of my building. Pincer locked the door so that “we wouldn’t be disturbed” then told me the room was soundproofed.
I tried to leave – it’s not the first time I’ve fled a medical appointment via a window – but Pincer pushed me back into the chair and forced a roll of rubber into my mouth. He did an excellent job on the tooth. The chip is completely invisible. But left me with chronic PTSD.
So I was scared. Very scared. Even though Marathon Woman has never strapped me into her reclining Bond villain chair and tried to choke me.
Mr Shabir prescribed NAC, which detoxes mercury from the body, and advised me with his sage like calm to “go for a walk in the sun”. I always do what Mr Shabir tells me so I went for a walk to the pub next to Marathon Woman’s lair and drank frozen vodka until I could face her tools.
I wanted to ‘Do A Guru’ and have a GA but Marathon Women isn’t allowed to knock me out. “Too many people were dying so it’s hospital controlled.” She did offer the laughing gas mask, but that reminds me of The Butcher’s gas mask which wasn’t funny.
Before I could say needle-phobic, Marathon Woman had inserted the local anesthetic into my perfect gums. I’d never make it as a junkie. A double espresso sends me over the edge. And I’ve already drunk enough vodka to kill the street.
I tensed up waiting for the sound of the drill, thinking about Virginia Woolf whose teeth were extracted because of her “nerves” but it didn’t cure her manic depression; just left her scared to smile.
“All done,” Marathon Woman said before I even had time for a Hail Mary. She doesn’t use her drill on mercury fillings. That causes toxic mercury vapour. She cuts out the mercury then uses a filler that tastes like old chewing gum.
“It’s really quite exciting,” she said. Going to Ronnie Scott’s? Going to Brazil with Crazy K to buy a new bum?
“A new tooth coming in at your age!”
A message from Crazy K, frantic about her shrinking rear, was waiting on my phone; signed off with “expect you’re sailing along as usual”.
“Sailing along”?! For one thing, I don’t have a boat. I say no to woe because it bores me. I am a pure control freak. But I understand that I’m not really in control. Any minute an old filling can crack.
So I clean my teeth with Regenerate, using my silver Nano B toothbrush, then rinse with Power Smile mouthwash, slap SilverSol tooth gel on my gums and go to Ronnie Scott’s feeling smug about being the youngest one there.
Carole Morin’s books include Spying on Strange Men