It was a lovely day in the neighbourhood when Mortimer Snert bounded out of bed, scattering sleeping cats all over creation, and made his way downstairs to have breakfast. Mort, being the health freak that he was, always had a truly nutritious breakfast, and today was certainly no exception. Taking a huge bite out of a chocolate covered doughnut, he grabbed a bottle of Dr. Pepper to wash it down. Chomping merrily away, with no intentions of sharing with the cats, he was greeted with a loud crunching noise. Spitting out a large piece of silvery metal, he thought, “My goodness, this is mighty strange.” At that exact second, a bolt of lightning struck the back tooth on the left side of his mouth, made several complete trips around the inside of his head, and continued to the top, where it ripped his skull off and splattered his brain on the ceiling. Or at least that was a close approximation of how it felt. Screaming in pain, he dropped the remains of his breakfast on the floor and bolted to the sink, where he spat out pieces of doughnut and metal. The pain was beginning to subside now, and gathering his courage, he looked in the mirror at the inside of his mouth. All he could see was chocolate doughnut, so grabbing a glass of water, he rinsed his mouth out. Which was not a good idea. After he recovered from the second lightning strike in two minutes, he again looked in the mirror. The one tooth that had been hit by lightning was in shambles. Most of it was gone, and blood and guts were hanging out of it. Mort knew he was in serious trouble. He also had, at an earlier date, sworn upon his mother’s grave that he would not go to the dentist as long as he lived. To say that Mort hated dentists might have been the understatement of the century. He would rather be skinned alive and soaked in alcohol than go to the dentist. Maybe he could suffer it out, after all, eventually the feeling would go out of the nerves, and it would probably be ok. He could just chew on the other side of his mouth from now on. Mort had almost convinced himself of that. Getting ready for work, he was feeling relatively little pain. That is, until he stepped out onto his front porch in –20 degree weather. The brisk wind hit him in the face and caused him to inhale quickly. Instantly another lightning bolt hit, and Mort decided that Something Had To Be Done About This. Retreating to the inside of his house, he dredged out the phone book and looked up dentists. There were several pages of them, but try as he might, he could not bring himself to call one of them up for an appointment. Doing so was the same as committing suicide in his eyes, and if he was going to get killed, he would rather it not be at the hands of heathen dentist. So after much consideration and several more lightning strikes, he hit upon a compromise. Picking up the phone, he called his mother, and told her the story, knowing that she would know some lovely dentist to go to, and she would not hesitate to call and make an appointment for him, being painfully aware of how he felt about dentists. And in his present state of mind, Mort found this to be acceptable, after all, he would not be doing this to himself, it was his mother who had made the appointment, and if he died in the dentist’s office, then it would all be her fault. And so, it was done. He had an appointment for that afternoon, which did not give him much time to think about his past experiences, so he ate a huge handful of aspirin and went back to bed. Setting his alarm clock for 30 minutes before his appointment took place, he drifted off into an uneasy sleep. In his dreams, he was walking down a deserted street when suddenly he was aware that someone was following him. He quickly ducked into an open doorway and turned to see who was back there. Following him was a person in a surgical scrub suit. Mort tried to get a look at his face, when a gust of wind blew the person’s hat off, and he was left face to face with a skeleton. Mort backed up as the skeleton raised its arm and pointed a bony finger at him. “You should see your dentist every six months” said the apparition. Mort started to protest when a bolt of lightning shot out of the spook’s finger and struck Mort in the tooth. Reeling back in pain, he struck his head on the door frame and passed out. He must have been out for quite some time, because when he came to, he found himself fitted with a straight jacket, and strapped to a chair. He was surrounded by all his former dentists, who were dancing slowly around him chanting something Mort could not understand. One by one they broke out of the circle and went to a large white cabinet. The first one returned with a huge syringe, and with an evil grin on his face, said “This won’t hurt a bit, trust me.” Clamping his mouth tightly shut, Mort turned his head to see the next one returning with a jackhammer, and the one after that had a chain saw, and so on. Suddenly, something fuzzy was clamped on his face, and he heard millions of birds chirping madly. Mort began to struggle now, and awoke to find that he had become entangled in the sheets, and the cat, having finished a lovely breakfast of chocolate covered doughnut, had decided to take a nap on his face, and the alarm clock was chirping madly, trying to get him up so he would be on time for his execution. All of this overloaded Mort’s little brain, and dragging himself out of bed, he got that feeling that one gets right before one woofs one’s guts out. This is great, thought Mort. First my tooth breaks, then I have these wretched dreams, now I’m going to wail. What’s next? Heading back outside, Mort decided to go to the dentist store and get it over with. Arriving at the store, he went inside. The first thing he noticed was that it didn’t smell like normal dentist’s offices did. In fact, it smelt surprisingly normal, no disinfectant, no cat litter odour, no heavy perfume, nothing. Good, thought Mort, because one of the things he could not handle about dentist’s offices was the smell. Approaching the desk, he was greeted by the office lady. Somehow she already knew him, probably from a description given them by his ever efficient mother. Having a nice seat in the chair, he dredged up one of the eternal dentist’s office magazines. Settling in for a long wait, he began reading how Oprah had lost 3000 pounds in 3 weeks on this new miracle diet plan. Just as he was starting the second paragraph of such a lovely article, the office lady called his name, which was another surprise. Mort was used to sitting in dentist’s offices for days on end smelling the Dentist’s Office Aroma, reading deadly boring magazines, and listening to hoot music which they played at excessive levels to drown out the screams of pain from the patients. Which was another surprise to Mort. Up until now, he hadn’t realised that the eternal yahoo music which one was assaulted with in every store in his town was not playing in this one. Mort was grateful for that, because he certainly was not a big cowboy music fan, and the fact that every other store assaulted his ears with it, and usually at excruciating levels, did not do his sense of humour any good at all. So he was led to the Chair, and given a seat, and promised that the dentist would be with him shortly. It was no sooner than the nurse lady had gone that the dentist appeared. Mort was again surprised by the efficiency of the place. And on top of that, the dentist looked vaguely familiar. Racking his brain, Mort soon realised that the reason he looked familiar was that he was in fact Mort’s cousin in law. So at least Mort knew the person who was preparing to kill him, and somehow, that made it a little more acceptable. So to spare the rest of the gory details, we shall suffice to say that Mort had his canals rooted, or was the proper term having his roots canalled? Who knows. Anyhow, he ended up with one tooth which registered no feelings at all, and another which was in need of the same process. So Mort was still alive, in spite of the visit to the dentist’s, and most of his teeth were happy also.