Sherry the hygienist scraped along my gumline. “I did this funhouse for Halloween last year,” she said. “They had me dressed up as the little kid in that Freddy Kreuger song.” She hummed a few notes of the movie’s eerie minor-key version of the old “one, two, buckle my shoe” rhyme.

“That’s freaky.” I didn’t use any consonants, because she had a gloved hand and a dental pick jammed in my mouth, but she understood me anyway. In the background, the dentist’s drill whined as he filled another patient’s cavity.

“I know. It completely flipped this one woman out. She like ran back to the entrance.” Sherry giggled and adjusted the sunglasses protecting me from the bright light shining in my mouth.… Read the rest