I’ve spent a lot of time in dentist offices. A lot. Yes, I brush. I floss. I go for my checkups, and yet rarely do I leave without something being uncovered. There have been plenty of run-of-the-mill cavities and decay, failing old metal fillings, chipped teeth and damage from stress grinding. Then there were the root canals and crown lengthenings, the abscesses and gum tissue grafts, the bone grafts and problematic extractions, the implants that went in crooked and had to heal and be refitted more than once. (I never did have braces through. Maybe this is the tradeoff?)
One of my dearest friends, Jerry, is the only other person I know who shares a similar tooth curse, and we often commiserate while pondering which God of Oral Hygiene or Patron Saint of Tooth Woes we have offended in this or a prior life.
So I’ve spent a lot of time in the chair, and to make myself feel better (by focusing my attention elsewhere to escape the sounds of drilling and grinding in my skull), I started writing stories in my head that I would continue on subsequent visits. “The Tooth Butcher” is one such story that began with meditations on the tooth fairy and attempts to answer the question, “What happens with all those teeth?” I’m so happy that it found a home in The Horror Library Volume 7.
You can read an excerpt from “The Tooth Butcher” on the publisher’s website here. Maybe I’ll publish another excerpt here on March 1.
Until then, may the tooth trolls pass you by.