MR NOONAN TO YOU (J Kane)
You were nine years old you when you woke to find the dentist kissing your penis.
Only he would know the extent of the activities that went on while you were under, as you never asked.
Primarily now you looked back on your years at school as being defined by a strong appreciation of history, both ancient and modern, plenty of cross country running, scoring goals for fun, and crooked teeth.
University was uniformly awful.
You studied dentistry.
No, just kidding.
It was history, of course.
Alone at night you would closely look at the portraits of prominent leaders throughout the ages from around the world and surmised that no smiles were ever present due to the condition of their teeth.
That’s what this age can do to you.
Graduation was never reached.
Some subsequent jobs for the boy: forklift operator in a book distribution warehouse, dishwasher in nine different restaurants, cook in three cafes, digger of holes and ditches, planter of trees, dealer of drunks on a nightly basis, seller of secondhand furniture, delivery driver of pristine furniture, house-painter, within and without.
You tended to move around.
Neighbourhoods undoubtedly would go stale, some quicker than others.
But you never went into debt once, you’d always rather have gone without.
One time, no kidding, while planting the last tree of the day at dusk, you simultaneously saw the sun, the moon, and a rainbow.
Never told anyone that before.
It was during a stint as an express courier delivering urgent papers between boring building blocks that you saw him again, amid the lunch hour office parade.
You chained your bike to a pole, dropped the papers into a nearby bin, and looked up at all the windows and wondered which floor held his surgery.
A week went by before you returned to the area, a slow week, a lot of lying back and staring at the ceiling, no kidding.
But then lots of lobbies were scanned at once, lots of listings of professional services provided, many of which you could still picture yourself one day performing.
Hello, I’m in advertising, you’d picture yourself saying.
Hello, I can help you better manage your money.
Hello, here’s my card, because I’m in the business you need the most at this given time.
Hello, allow me to take you to lunch.
Once you located the dentist’s practice, you started tracking his receptionist.
She drank in the same wine bar most Thursday and Friday afternoons, being particularly partial to the pinot noir of Central Otago, New Zealand.
When you managed to drink a drop from the same Lake Wanaka winery, you loosened, only slightly, your recently purchased red silk tie, and intoned To the weekend! And to all the wonder it might have in store for us, and you raised your glass.
You thought maybe you should consider taking up acting one day.
But for now the role of personal assistant to a renowned London architect was chosen as an occupation, pulled right out of the air.
Another glass was ordered, as you listened to her meander over her daily drill, taking care to avert your eyes from your own reflection in the mirror behind the bar.
The hygienist, she said, is a hoot.
Leaving you to wonder whether you could smell a man’s soul down that hole.
The dentist often travelled overseas to numerous locations, she told you, appointments often having to be rearranged, or passed on to respected colleagues, so he could go and bathe in the benefits of some other part of the world.
Prague, Fraser Island.
Paris, London, London, Paris.
New York, New Haven, Newfoundland.
Lisbon, Lisbon, Lisbon.
She had a slight, cute lisp when she said Lisbon, which suited her slight, cute figure.
The pristine white shirt you wore for the occasion you wished you could have washed first, as it gave off an itching sensation on the inside of your left wrist and all along your shoulder blades.
Maybe the cotton wasn’t as pure as it said on the packet.
The silver necklace she wore resembled a length of dental floss.
More weeks went away and died someplace, but a pattern to the doctor’s movements was finally detected.
Soon enough, on any given day, you knew his approximate arrival time at the entrance to his apartment block.
Everyone had a routine, one way or another.
The silver hammer, the one with the blue rubber handle, was left behind by the maintenance man in the lobby between errands.
It was better suited now, you believed, to the smashing of the dentist’s teeth down his throat.
But he never arrived on the chosen evening.
So you adjusted your plan, at first slightly, then significantly, suddenly abandoning all thoughts of self preservation, and spent every subsequent evening crouched in the corner of the overgrown rosemary bushes by the building’s entrance.
But still he did not come.
A simple explanation was waiting for you when you went to see the receptionist again.
Screw the wine at this point, you were on the browns by now.
Easy, he’d won the lottery.
Ended up abandoning his practice and flying off first class to some unknown destination.
On the brief note he left behind, the receptionist said, first class was underlined, followed by three exclamation points.
She offered you the final glass from her bottle, then ordered another.
Never mix your drinks, that was something you would soon come to know deep in your bones more surely than anything else.
A few days later, you met up again, you and the ex-receptionist, on the same stools.
Her necklace of floss immediately caught your eye in the mirror behind the bar, even before you ordered the first round.
J Kane currently resides in the Blue Mountains of Australia (and at the moment is reading Francis Picabia).