First of all let me make one thing crystal clear — clearer than the huge windows on my new fancy assed apartment that are cleaned every Tuesday and Thursday whether it needs it or not — I love my wife. I can hear you chuckling. And now you’re probably waiting for me to say, and that’s why I killed her. Sorry, that’s where I go to after all those years behind bars.
Ever since I got out, I’ve been going to the dentist once or twice a week the way other spoiled New Yorkers go to their shrink. They excavate their psyches. I get root canal. Same degree of pain, but I know the last day of my procedures will fall on a Tuesday mid-January. And those psyche excavators will be at it forever. After that, I’m supposed to be pain free. I’m supposed to be able to bite into a bagel (who knew that if you lived in the South you weren’t getting the real deal) or an apple. A honey crisp apple, my new favorite. Even the idea of having a favorite apple cracks me up. So pretentious. But now my life revolves around such big issues as choosing a favorite apple, sitting through root canal and deciding whether I prefer an everything bagel or plain. Toasted or warm with cream cheese. Don’t even get me started on sushi.
I’m a bit lost as you can imagine. For years, let me be specific here, twenty years, I’ve been fighting for my freedom. And now that I’m free all I want is to do is veg out. Go to the dentist. Deal with the sorry ass shape my teeth are in and then go home and veg out some more. I don’t want projects. I don’t want people to know about me.
My pathetic life story.
I spit on it.
But my wife won’t let it go. I get it. She’s laid her life on the line for me. Gave up her big ass job (note to self: why am I so stuck on the “ass” word?) and moved to be closer to me. And marry me. And campaign for me. And raise money to hire lawyers to get me out.
I couldn’t be more in her debt. So what if she can’t stop telling my story to anyone who will listen including my dentist.
Here’s what happened: I go in for a first check up. I want to hear the bad news. After all those years behind bars, imagining the worst, picturing it, the decay, the sugar attacking the enamel, the soft stuff underneath, working its way down like hot match heads until it reached a nerve and tucked in. Smiling. Pleased with it’s new home. I want to know exactly how far the evil mouth creatures got. I gave it a name. Bob. Because Bob is pretty much a go along kind of guy. Wouldn’t really hurt anyone. But underneath, when no one is looking, Bob goes at it. Chewing up my teeth. My gums. And finally the nerves.
For the last fifteen years I’ve been in pain thanks to Bob. I chewed aspirin cuz that’s all they offer you in prison. Being exonerated meant I could get my teeth fixed finally. Yeah, there was the other positives like having sex, smoking weed, drinking, watching TV and going for a walk whenever the mood struck me. But first it was all about my teeth.
So maybe I’m being impatient. Maybe when my wife, who I owe everything to wants to tell her story, even to my dentist while waiting for the Novocain to hit I should step back. He was so caught up in the sorry ass tale (there I go again with ass) that he just sat down and listened. My mouth goes from numb and back again and still he’s not fixing me.
I could kill her. I left in a rage. Let the two of them chat it out. Maybe he’s gonna write me a check. She’s good at that. Old habits die hard. I don’t need a check. I just need my teeth fixed.
I’d like to say, honey how about I go to the Dentist alone. Not even state it as a question but more like a demand. More like myself.
A guy with backbone.
A guy who spent twenty years on death row and didn’t break.