Root Canal Secret Mission

You’ve scheduled a root canal and the dentist finishes up. You pay and head to your car. Once in your car you hear a voice (from the tooth) that informs you that the dentist inserted a government device in your mouth and you’re needed for a secret mission. What happens next?

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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139 thoughts on “Root Canal Secret Mission

    1. Pete

      I cleaned it up some, without the italics…

      How did I not see it coming? That Dad would do something like this? I mean, it’s Dad after all, the same guy who blasted a search light from the backyard at 22:09 every Saturday night to warn me I had twenty-one minutes until my absurd curfew.

      Dad is why I don’t have friends. A boyfriend? Forget it. Being the daughter of a special forces intelligence sergeant was hard, being his mother was worse. Being both was impossible.

      It burns me up thinking how he must have been watching all along as I pulled into the gravel drive of the “Gentle Endodontics” office for his little procedure.

      I entered the low-slung government building just off the base, shrugging it off to Dad being cheap again. Even as I walked into the windowless waiting room and fanned through the Guns and Ammo magazines, sitting on a bench lining the bare walls under the inducing calm of flickering fluorescent lighting, I never thought he would slink to this new low.

      A nervous looking thug in nursing scrubs waved me back. He was tall, with hairy forearms that did little to hide the scars on his arms. Black eyes and cauliflower ears. Yeah, Igor might have spent some time in people’s mouths, but it was too extract answers, or teeth, in whatever order necessary.

      I rolled my eyes at his small talk, something about Beirut. A quick scan and I noticed he was packing a Glock on his hip as he laid out his tools.

      It’s not that I’m brave. Only that I’ve never known a human with working parts. Mom took off when I was three and Dad’s buddies came hobbling over to the house to raise me. These were guys with more experience with IED’s than diapers. A leg gone here, missing fingers, mangled ears, scars, burns. My tea parties were something out of a Stephen King Novel. They changed my diapers until I could change theirs. Needless to say, there were no women around.

      So Igor didn’t exactly set my hair on fire. I took my seat and closed my eyes. I quickly fell into a dream about Tyler Inge and his dimples and the way he might have smiled at me yesterday. Igor grunted and mumbled but the lug had the touch of a pianist. I woke up an hour and a half later and he did the scariest thing he did that whole day: he grinned.

      I rubbed my jaw and cursed Dad and his thriftiness. Sure enough when I got home, the interrogator asked zero questions about the whole thing. That should have flagged me something was up.

      The next day Tyler asked me out to a party. And that’s when I found out what my dad was up to.

      Tyler picked me up at the address two streets over (what? I’ve been raised by Jason Bourne. I have trust issues). I hopped in his car around eight and we went to this party over on Riverdale. I knew it was sketchy before we even went inside, and yeah okay, t I should have known Tyler was sketchy. But I’m only human and those dimples.

      Only now it was like a voice inside my head was telling me this was a bad idea. Probably because a voice inside my head was telling me this was a bad idea.

      “Come in Eagle Wing, this is Fox Blast. Exit now. You don’t want to be here. Over…”

      I stopped and scanned. Dad was right, even if he was using our stupid nicknames. People on the roof, drinking. Liquor bottles in the lawn. The smell of weed pluming from the screen windows. Neighbors were outside. This party was a bust waiting to happen. But that Dad was talking to me only made me want to enter.

      Tyler was a few steps ahead of me when he turned, looking hot in his confusion. “You okay?”

      Nope. I’m a girl with a freaking two-way radio in my tooth. A quick count of the so many ways I was going to kill my Dad.

      “…Eagle Wing. I know you’re upset with me. But listen, Do not enter that building. Use your head!”

      That he would do this. Just when I met a nice boy, too. I jammed my tongue in my tooth and took Tyler’s hand. ”Yeah, I’m fine.”

      We took the porch. Tyler offered me a drink. That little voice in my head calling after me “Eagle Wing! Report back to base immediately…Eagle Wing!”

      Sorry Dad, but it was time for a little radio silence. A girl needs to make some bad decisions once in a while.

  1. Pete

    How did I not see it coming? That he would do something like this? I mean, it’s Dad we’re talking about, the same guy who blasts a search light from the backyard at my absurd curfew—20:09 every Saturday night—like I’m freaking Batman to tell me I have twenty-one minutes to get home.

    People thought my dad had been that way since Gitmo. But I knew Dad was Dad way before that. Because I’m his daughter. And Dad was probably watching all along as I pulled into the gravel drive of the “Gentle Endodontics” office, a low-slung government building just off the base..

    I shrugged it off, thinking Dad was merely being cheap again, even as I walked into the windowless waiting room with the Guns and Ammo magazines instead of People. A bench lining the bare walls. The inducing calm of flickering fluorescent lighting. The nervous looking six-foot-four thug in nursing scrubs who waved me back. .

    He had hairy forearms that did little to hide the scars on his arms. Black eyes and cauliflower ears. Yeah, Igor, might have spent some time in people’s mouths, but it was too extract answers, or teeth, in whatever order necessary.

    I rolled my eyes at his small talk, something about Beirut. A quick scan and I noticed he was packing a Glock on his hip as he laid out his tools.

    I’m not brave. It’s just that I’ve never known a human with working parts. Mom took off when I was three and Dad’s buddies came hobbling over to the house to raise me. Thing was, the guys had more experience with IED’s than diapers. A leg gone here, missing fingers, mangled ears, scars, burns. My tea parties were something out of a Stephen King Novel. And the ones who had thumbs were missing bits and pieces of their brains–drooling or staring listlessly at the walls. Others slurred from drink or war. Needless to say there were no women around.

    So Igor didn’t exactly set my hair on fire. I took my seat and closed my eyes. I thought about Tyler Inge and his dimples and the way he might have smiled at me yesterday. Igor grunted, mumbled that things shouldn’t take long.

    And I didn’t. The lug had the touch of a pianist. I woke up an hour and a half later and he did the scariest thing he did that whole day: he grinned.

    I rubbed my jaw and cursed Dad and his thriftiness. But when I got home, the interrogator asked zero questions about the whole thing. A sure sign something was up. The next day Tyler asked me out to a party.

    And that’s when I found out what my dad was up to.

    Tyler picked me up at the address two streets over—What? I’ve been raised by Jason Bourne. I have trust issues. I hopped in his car around eight and we went to this party over on Riverdale. I knew it was sketchy before we even went inside, and yeah okay, t I should have known Tyler was sketchy. But I’m only human and those dimples.

    Only now it was like a voice in my head was telling me this was a bad idea. Probably because a voice inside my head was telling me this was a bad idea.

    “Eagle Wing, this is Fox Blast. Exit now. You don’t want to be here.”

    I stopped and scanned. Dad was right, even if he was using our stupid nicknames. People on the roof, drinking. Liquor bottles in the lawn. The smell of weed pluming from the screen windows. Neighbors were outside. This party was a bust waiting to happen. But that Dad was talking to me only made me want to enter.

    Tyler was a few steps ahead of me when he turned, looking hot in his confusion. “You okay?”

    Nope. I’m a girl with a freaking two-way radio in my tooth. A quick count of the so many ways I was going to kill my Dad.

    Eagle Wing. I know you’re upset with me. But listen, Do not enter that building. Use your head.

    That he would do this. Just when I met a nice boy, too. I jammed my tongue in my tooth and took Tyler’s hand. ”Yeah, I’m fine.”

    We took the porch. Tyler offered me a drink. That little voice in my head calling after me “Eagle Wing! Report back to base immediately…Eagle Wing!”

    Sorry Dad, but it was time for a little radio silence.

    To be continued…

  2. snuzcook

    This is the continuation to my submission below that Kerry requested. Enjoy!

    A school bus felt its way along the narrow street past a black sedan with darkened windows hanging out of a driveway. A lime-green Volkswagen blocked the rest of the drive next to an old house. A large man and athletic-looking woman stood on the tiny porch. Their identical navy blue slacks, windbreakers and dark glasses clashed sharply with the eccentric gingerbread Victorian façade.

    “Not home?”

    The female partner scanned the street as the school bus passed by. “There she is.” The two hurried across the street toward a middle-aged woman in a housecoat and slippers, keeping tabs on a small dog in a grassy parking strip.

    “Ms. Martin? Avery Martin?”

    “I don’t have to talk to you.” The woman turned away, following the dog, who had shifted its attention to an azalea bush at the edge of the green patch.

    “Ms. Martin, we’d like to talk to you, if we may.” The man said in a friendly voice.

    “You must be freezing out here in the wet grass,” the woman said. “Let’s get you inside where we can have a nice chat.” The two positioned themselves as if to herd her back toward her house. The woman looked from one to the other, then shrugged and led the way across the street.

    At the door to her house, the man asked, “What about your dog, Ma’am?”

    “Oh, that’s not my dog. It’s my neighbor’s dog. He stole my garden glove and I have to keep an eye on him until I find it.” She opened the door and led them inside. “He’s always stealing things.” She led them down the narrow, cluttered hallway to the kitchen. “Last week he stole my car keys. I finally found them in the mailbox. Before that it was my gun.” She turned and looked at her two visitors. “Where do you suppose I found it?”

    The two shook their heads. “In the freezer. Now tell me, how do you suppose he managed to put it up there?” She looked from one to the other expectantly.

    “I can’t imagine,” the woman offered.

    “He couldn’t have. That would be impossible.” She pulled down two mugs from her cupboard and placed them on the formica-topped table. “Please sit down. Coffee?”

    “Ms. Martin, we’re from the Government. We’ve been assigned to assist you in carrying out the task you’ve been given.” The Avery busied herself putting out sugar and cream.

    “We know you’ve already been contacted. You failed to obey instructions. This is not something you can ignore.”

    The woman put napkins on the table, and poured coffee into their cups, then turned and went back to the counter and fussed with a line of canisters there. “It is imperative that you retrieve the documents from wherever you hid them.”

    “I don’t have to listen to you.” Avery started humming softly to herself. “My doctor told me that I don’t have to do what you say.” She picked up a round, cat-shaped cookie jar and carried it to the table. “I know who you are.”

    The man rose and towered over her. Suddenly he didn’t look at all like a government agent; he just looked like a thug. “Look, lady. We’re not fooling around. You go get us what we want. We don’t want to play rough with you, but we will.”

    The woman raised herself up to her full height and faced him, with her nose right about even with his solar plexis. “You think I’m just a senile old lady and you can fool me. If that doesn’t work, you think you can bully me. Well, Darryl and that wife of his are NOT going to get their hands on my money. I’ll die first!”

    She quickly lifted the lid of the cookie jar and reached inside. In a quick, practiced motion, she pulled out a hand grenade and pulled the pin.

    “Want a cookie?” She lobbed it across the table to the woman, who reflexively caught it, realized what it was, then bobbled it like a hot potato to the man. He put up his hands, palms out, as if to block it from touching him and it bounced off his shirt and onto the floor. Both of them launched themselves out the kitchen door, the screen slamming behind them.

    Avery calmly bent down retrieved the grenade from under the table. She replaced the pin and held it in one hand as she went to the kitchen door and bolted it. She reached into the pocket of her housecoat with her other hand and pulled out a handgun reminiscent of a prop form a cold war movie. She then walked to the front of the house. The black sedan was already gone.

    Putting both weapons into the pockets of her house coat she stepped out onto her tiny porch. At the edge of her flowerbed, the little dog was busy digging a hole. She sat down on the top step, wrapping her housecoat around her knees, and watched him.

    “Now, Tiny, remember, anything you find in there’s probably mine.”

    1. snuzcook

      Somehow, my middle-aged Avery transformed into an old lady along the way; I think she was channeling Kerry’s wife’s aunt. If I rewrite this one, I think she will have to be about the age to have been an operative of some kind during the Cold War.

  3. thirstycactus

    You’ve scheduled a root canal and the dentist finishes up. You pay and head to your car. Once in your car you hear a voice (from the tooth) that informs you that the dentist inserted a government device in your mouth and you’re needed for a secret mission. What happens next? ….Well, that’s entirely up to you. You consider your options, each one being more ridiculous than the last, but you remind yourself: you deal in the ridiculous. It’s your thing.

    You turn the key and step on the gas, the Ferrari slips into first with precision, each gear more vicious than the last. You need to get to your beach-front Malibu home and pack a bag because you’re heading to Egypt. Secret treasure. Government conspiracies. World domination. Total cover-up.

    You’re in third, the engine screams at you for approval.

    The bastards can’t know you’re coming. Complete makeover. Multiple passports. Become a myth. A legend. You’re the man, and you know it. You notice your reflection in the rear-view mirror and admire your mustache because that’s what real men do.

    Push the beast into fourth and hold on.

    The Ferrari glides through traffic and you’re only now noticing your tail, but that’s okay, you have two more gears and six hundred horses.

    The problem will be getting through customs with all your guns, but remember, you’re trained for this sort of thing. Since you were four years old you’ve traveled the world, you know twenty different languages, been trained extensively in the art of war, and love making. Both a deadly skill set to have when it comes to global terrorism.

    Plane tickets are booked under the name, Ian Remington. First class. Carry a silver briefcase handcuffed to your wrist. Eye patch. Total badass.

    Your tail is catching up. Black SUV’s. Tinted windows. Slip it into fifth and punch it. You can’t lead them back to your Malibu home or the mission is canceled. Total bummer.

    When you land in Egypt locate a pyramid with a giant eye carved into the side of it, and at the very top, hidden within the tip is the biggest diamond you’ll ever see. It’s nuclear so be prepared. Designed to power the biggest bomb you’ll ever see. Total annihilation. Game over.

    The black SUV’s are still behind you so fire off a couple of warning shots to let them know you mean business. The gun shots echo, blasting into the wind, but slowly, the sound is replaced with, “Pew, pew, pew.” The roar of the Ferrari changes to, “Vroom, vroom.” You’re making squealing sounds and holding your hand out of the window pretending to shoot a gun into the air. You’re still sitting in the dentist parking lot living out your fantasy while the effects of the gas fades. You glance at the rear-view mirror and see a pasty, white, hairless face. Wake up man. People are looking at you with concerned eyes. Total loser.

  4. typewriter

    “From A Talking Tooth”
    by Randall Lovejoy

    Once I got in the car, which was a Datsun that ran quite well over the years. I knew I was away from Dr. Scissors, my informal dentist, who later had done a root canal. I fired up the car and drove on down the street. I pained, and my tooth ached a bit, I was uncertain about how long the procedure took. It felt more than six hours. I had stopped at a fueling station to purchase an orange drink and a cheeseburger, I was drained and quite hungry. My operative tooth was throbbing, so I needed something. So, I had gotten the things I wanted, and when I came outside I placed the drink and burger in the car and saw someone strolled into the store wearing a pink ski mask.
    My tooth felt as if a 500lbs tooling stowed through my side of my face, or as if something was hatching inside. I pained and looked glumly. That’s when I heard a voice (from the tooth) and it informed me that the dentist inserted a government device into my molar. I knew something was wrong from the minute I left Dental World, and seeing Dr. Scissors looking at me with mere discernity, which was only the suspicious interpretation of a conniving man. He waved me on as I left and followed with “drive safely” afterwards.
    The tooth says, “audible activation confirmed”
    I palmed my right side of my face, the tooth talked to me, and was saying I was on a secret mission. I wasn’t ready to face what was given to me. I pumped fuel and sat in the Datsun, I could slithered the key into the switch, but I wasn’t going to leave just yet.
    I heard three shot in the store followed by screams. I knew there was a robbery as soon I saw the person walking in wearing a pink ski mask.
    Was this the secret mission?
    No one came out of the store. I waltz right in the middle of a held-up, the cashier was holding both hands up, the masked criminal was pointing a handgun at the clerk, and asking for the safe. By that time, I grabbed the masked gunman in a headlock and tossed him into the adjoining wall, knocking over a rack of potato chips. Meanwhile the clerk phoned the police. I grappled the madman with steel arms. I twisted both arms in a lock-arrest position. I had a piece of rusty wire, I coiled the wire around the pink-faced’s wrists.
    The police came and apprehended the masked man. I saw suited men standing near the opened doors of black Limos with I.D badges hanging from the lapel of their overcoats. All of them broad-shouldered and wearing mirror sunglasses. There was something kind of mystical about the way they looked, perhaps strange in every shape and form. Not even the government. These people looked rather shady, and have been for a long, long time. Like something out of this world.

    1. Rene Paul

      Typewriter, I’d like to suggest using an online editor. It’s my understanding that this site – Writer’s Digest – is to help each other improve our writing skills. With that said, you might consider a program like prowritingaid.com. It has helped me improve my writing. It’s simple, you paste your story and it will recommend numerous improvements. I believe you can utilize the basic editor for free. It will help you in all aspects of writing and help develop your skills. I look forward to your next submission. This is a great place to learn.

  5. beachgirl78

    That was some serious anethesia, I think to myself. Wouldn’t that be a trip if my tooth was talking to me and I really did get to go on a secret mission. Although, with the political discourse happening right now, I think a secret mission is the last thing I want to be on.
    “Repeat, the device in your…”
    I stop just in front of my car door, staring at the roof, holding my breath, listening.
    “..being drafted for a secret mission by the U.S. government. Please drive to the Starbucks on the corner of 5th and Main for further instructions.”
    I can’t move. Maybe I don’t respond well to anesthesia anymore. Or whatever it is they used. Canibus, maybe? This is a legal state. Maybe they blended the anesthesia with some amazing, trippy marijuana.
    “This is the last time the message will be repeated. If you do not get into your car immediately and report to Starbucks, we will need to dispatch and pursue you.”
    I snap my neck. “Oh hhhells no.”
    Instead of jumping into my car, I walk into the neighboring tattoo salon, ‘Ink Runner’, and see a couple of tattooed artists kicking back in their chairs.
    “Hi.” I plop into the nearest chair. “I’ll pay you $100 to find a pesky piece of metal that got stuck in between my teeth.” I lie my head back, pulling an overhead lamp to my face.
    “Sure. I can find a lot of things for $100.” Says one of the guys, jumping up to clean his hands.
    I crane my head over and watch him put on a pair of bifocals before repositioning the lamp and peering into my mouth.
    “Where am I looking?” He asks.
    “Left upper molar. Last tooth.” My jaw is still sore from the root canal, but I have secret agents “pursuing” me, so I’ll deal.
    I hear rubber gloves snap on and his fingers start moving around my mouth, stretching my chapped lips. He tips my head this way and back, moving the light around.
    “Oh here.” He says.
    Thank freakin God. I exhale out of relief.
    He grabs a metal object off the table, widens my jaw, and in an suddenly I am choking and gagging and clawing at my throat to breathe.
    I hear laughter from the other guy, and this guy’s chair pushing back against the floor. I’m panicking while he stares down at me, shaking his head.
    “You’re the dumbest agent that has ever walked in here.”
    My throat is on fire. I can see the tip of the object jutting out of my mouth, lodged down my throat, choking and bleeding me to death. I am trying to pull it out, but there is something jagged pulling at my flesh inside. He ushers me across the studio toward a back door.
    “I mean, really?” He chuckles. He opens the door and shoves me. I stumble. Black spots in my eyes, and hear the door slam shut.

  6. Chereda

    “What!?”
    “Agent .007, please stay calm and hear me out. You have been randomly selected to…”
    “What do you mean randomly selected?”
    “A computer program picked you out of a population of 18-35 year old citizens at random to be recruited for this mission. Once it is complete you will be released from our bonds and will retain no knowledge of what has transpired in the process. It is a common practice and has been in place for many years.”
    “For years?! Are you f***ing nuts?! Have you people ever heard of human rights?!
    “No rights are being violated. As a recruit you are performing your duty to protect and promote the interests of your nation, the one that has raised you and made you what you are now.”
    “Cut the cr@p. Nation raised my @ss! My mother raised me with no help from any of you, people! Who the h£ll are you, anyway?”
    “You can call me N?”
    “What the f**k kinda name is that? Listen up, N. You better tell me what is going on and why I shouldn’t pull out whatever sh*t you put in me right now!”
    “I can’t disclose classified information that is not necessary for the completion of this mission. You’ll only be briefed on the next increment of the operation.”
    “Well what is the next excrement, my @ss?!”
    “I need you to go jump into the river.”
    “What the h£ll?!”
    “It is crucial for you to stay calm and act swiftly on your assignment .007. I’ll be there to support you along the way.”
    “A f***ing voice in my head is telling me to go jump in the river and stay calm to boot! What’s there to worry about? All I have to do is to follow your orders and my life is set!”
    “Not like it was all that satisfying before…”
    “What does that mean?!”
    “Nothing. Please concentrate on the road, .007. We do have your motor function under control but we need your sensory input too.”
    “What road? What mother functions?! Wait, I’m driving?! What the…?! Where am I goin?!”
    “.007, please calm down. Your heart rate is going up. We don’t want you to expire prematurely, now do we?”
    “Prematurely? Where are you taking me?!”
    “You are going to the East Side and descending into the river.”
    “Why the river? What are you trying to do to me?”
    “You’ll be submerged and taken to a classified location under the city where you’ll be prepped for the mission and dispatched.”
    “Wait! Slow down. How am I going into the water? Are you going to give me any diving gear?”
    “Negative. Diving gear is not necessary.”
    Hey, I haven’t sprouted gills just yet! Better snap out of it and get me an oxygen tank quick. The water is up to my neck already!”
    “…”
    “Hello!! N!! What are you trying to do, kill me? What good am I to you dead, anyway?”
    “Affirmative, a living body is not necessary for the completion of this mission…”
    “… An unidentified male was seen walking into the East River near the Hell Gate Bridge earlier this week. Allegedly the man was shouting obscenities and screaming just before he went down under the water. No body was found by the police and no missing person reports were filed. His identity remains unknown.
    And now, onto world news: North Korea has experienced an embarrassing missile launch the next day after a military parade held in honor of the nation’s founder, Kim Il Sung. The missile exploded seconds after launch sparkling suspicions of American sabotage efforts to thwart North Korean missile development program…”

  7. Beebles

    Right second time lucky?
    —————-

    He felt r@ped.

    Patrick lay on his side in the dark of the bedroom. He couldn’t lie on his right side; the pain from his mouth was like resting his head on a set of iron railings. He had to lie on his left, facing the bedside table with the picture of Samantha. That hurt even more. So he had lain the photo face down and stared at the beech laminate while his tears fell onto a pillow already stained black with mascara.

    Everything smelt of her: the pillows, the sheets, the clothes she’d left in the fitted wardrobe. Nothing had moved since Samantha had come home early and found them lying on the bed, Patrick’s hand inside her tights. There had been no way he could explain. No way to soften the blow. The screaming, the silence, the packing, the door, the reverberation.

    The remorse.

    The root canal work a week later had been a penance, a crucifixion. He hadn’t even complained when his papers were mixed with those of the chap before him and he wasn’t given the sedation, only the local. It hurt like h£ll. Now it was like white noise in his head, preventing him from sleeping. He couldn’t eat, couldn’t think. Only remember and feel. How long had he been lying there?

    Patrick?

    His eyes flickered at the sound of his whispered name.

    Patrick, the voice came again, the sweet angelic voice of a young woman. It came from every part of him. He rolled onto his back, a move that seven years of marriage had nudged out of him.

    ‘Who’s that?’

    I’m inside you, Patrick. You need to listen to me. There’s been a mistake…

    The tears started again. He nodded and smiled, a lump in his throat. ‘Yes, yes there has. There has,’ he whimpered. ‘And you are here to put it right?’

    Yes, Patrick. Now list…

    He sat bolt upright in the bed. ‘I knew it. I knew it. I knew you were there. I knew you were there and it’s taken all this pain to find you.’ He threw off the sheets and put his stocking feet on the floor.

    Patrick, I’m from the gov- What do you mean you knew? He didn’t notice the hard edge.

    He was beside himself, a child at Christmas, a puppy off the lead. ‘All this time you were inside me…’ he was on his feet, throwing off his gown, grabbing at the wardrobe door.

    Now, Patrick, you need to understand-

    ‘But I do. I do understand.’ He burrowed into the wardrobe. Was it here, was it still here? ‘Aha!’ He dragged it out. ‘I understand who you are. You are me, you are my voice, my real voice. The voice that’s been screaming to speak. The voice that was too timid, too scared, the voice that has found its … er … voice.’

    No, Patrick –

    ‘You’re right, no, not Patrick.’ He looked into the mirror and pressed his wife’s red c0cktail dress up against his short hairy frame.

    ‘Call me Patricia!’

      1. pvenderley

        Well, I liked it. I did get confused by this line: “found them lying on the bed.” It seemed incongruous as the rest of the story leads us to a singular crossdresser reveal.

        1. Beebles

          Yeah, i tried to get a bit too clever, the ‘them’ was supposed to be her clothes but in the search for brevity i failed to provide sufficient explanation. Ho hum. funnily enough it struck me as i was lying in bed.

  8. pvenderley

    I shouldn’t have agreed to this. With my husband out of town, I should have rescheduled the dentist appointment until he could drive me home. Now, one root canal later, I’m parked on the shoulder of Route 142, leaning back in the front seat of my car, eyes closed, fighting a panic attack.

    “Agent Childs. Come in, Agent Childs.”

    I look at my car radio and shut it off.

    “I don’t know if it’s working. Are we sure they activated it? Come in. Agent Childs.”

    There’s nobody around me. Outside, a semi gives off that loud farting noise as it slows for a downhill turn.

    “Hello?” I ask.

    “Contact acquired. Good evening, Agent.”

    “Who is this?”

    Silence. I check my phone. It’s off. Radio’s off. There’s nothing in this car that should be communicating with me. Unless the boys left a walkie-talkie under the seat…

    “Hello?” that voice again. Not coming from under the seat. It’s in my head. “Please provide the code
    word.”

    “Uh, no, buddy. You called me. You tell me who YOU are.”

    More silence, then: “I’m afraid I can’t do that, ma’am.” I can’t make it out completely, but there’s shouting in the background. Something about entrusting a security operation to civilians.

    “OK, then. I guess we’ll never know.” I turn on the car and drive away.

    Three exits later, the voice comes back. “Ma’am?”

    “Jesus!” I shout and slam on the brakes. “Where the hell are you?”

    “Can’t tell you that, ma’am. What I can tell you is that you received hardware meant for an agent in the service of your government. It’s meant to serve both as a communication and a listening device.”

    “Holy frak,” I mutter.

    “Now, ma’am. This was done in a rush. We’re at the dawn of a new cold war, and the agent in question was meant to infiltrate a suspected sleeper cell embedded in your city. We need you to go in his place.”

    “What? No!” I think about what the voice in my head is saying. It was the dentist. The root canal. They stuck this listening device in my mouth.

    “This meeting’s going to be held in a public space. You won’t be in any danger.”

    “You want me to walk around with my jaw hanging open, is that it?”

    The voice chuckled. “Well, no, ma’am. We’ll hear just fine with your mouth closed.”

    “Listen, you. I’m not your agent. I’m a mother of two young boys who is late for a PTA meeting. I’ve no intention to hop on some crazy train and get myself killed chasing down terrorists.”

    “Again, ma’am: Ms. Hendrix? May I call you Ms. Hendrix?”

    I utter a string of curse words, including several dredged up from my college days. The voice doesn’t miss a beat.

    “We’re not looking to make you an agent. We just need ears at this meeting tonight. Get through this, and we’ll schedule a follow-up procedure to get our device out of your head.”

    “Golly, that’s tempting. But no.”

    “What’s that?”

    “I said: no.”

    “Oh, not you, Ms. Hendrix. Sorry.”

    “You better be sorry!” and I begin a lengthy remonstration about invasive government practices and my human rights. It takes a few minutes before I realize I’m shouting at what would effectively be a disconnected call.

    I’m two blocks from the PTA meeting when the voice comes on again.

    “Ms. Hendrix?”

    I scream again and lay on the horn this time. In the car in front of me, Mrs. Sadler, our PTA president, flips me the bird.

    “I’m sorry. You’re not used to this. I’ve been conferring with command on this and would like to apologize for this mix-up. Obviously, we’re not in the business of putting civilians in danger, even in the utmost matters of national security. We’d still like to schedule a follow-up appointment to remove the device.”

    “You bet.”

    “Thank you. You’re still headed to … um … your PTA meeting?”

    “Yes.”

    “It’s at the Sycamore Elementary at 405 Rocklea Lane?”

    “That’s a little unnerving.” Since that’s exactly where I’ve just parked.

    “OK. Excellent.”

    In the silence of my car, I faintly hear background office chatter.

    “Have a nice evening,” I say.

    “Oh! You too, Ms. Hendrix.”

  9. igonzales81

    “Finished?”

    “All done,” confirms the dentist, straightening with a sigh. “The numbness will wear off soon, after which I imagine you’ll be in a bit of pain. We can provide you with a prescription…?”

    “No need,” I say, snatching off the bib and climbing to my feet. “I’m used to pain.”

    I’m out the door and climbing into my car when the voice starts speaking. “Testing, testing.”

    I sigh. “Yes, I can hear you. It’s working perfectly.”

    “Good. I apologize for taking it this far, but you’re always losing phones and shaking spotters. This should let me keep batter tabs on you for the director.”

    “Well, we’ll see about that,” I mutter, starting the engine and pulling out of the lot.

    “One of the good things about your new transmitter is that I can hear you even when you mumble.”

    “You may not count that as such a blessing when I forget you’re always listening in. And if you hear a woman’s voice very close, turn the sound off. Anything else more pressing, or do you have my briefing yet?”

    “Right, then, to business. Budapest, target Nigel Sans. He’s selling secrets that need to stay secret. Eliminate him within forty-eight or your bonus is forfeit.”

    “I never jeopardize a bonus,” I take the ramp for the freeway, heading for the airport. “Have my reservation and kit ready?”

    “Of course. Sans will be at the Corinthia for tonight, at least. After that, his trail may be hard to pick up.”

    “No worries. I’ll probably forget your briefing and improvise as I go. Like usual. You know, it would be so much easier to have all this on paper.”

    “Helpful as that might be, we couldn’t quite fit a printer in your mouth. Not enough room that close to your ego.”

    I smile. “You’ve been practicing, haven’t you? Well, I suppose it doesn’t come as naturally to everyone.”

    “Just remember, there’s no more going off the grid for you. This new device can track everywhere from pole to pole. Short of encasing your head in lead, there’s nothing you can do about it.”

    “That’s only a problem if I don’t know who’s tracking me. Just one more thing, though.”

    “What’s that?”

    “When the dentist was installing this thing, I hope he didn’t move my cyanide tooth. That’s not the sort of thing I want to misplace.”

    “I’m sure you’ll find it if you need it.”

    “Hmmm…well, nothing to be done about it now. Talk to you soon.”

    1. RafTriesToWrite

      I can picture a James Bond scene as your MC finishes Mr. Sans. Also, loved the banter between your MC and the voice speaking in your tooth. Wonderful story igonzales!

    2. snuzcook

      Very clever, igonzales, and a good read!
      I had not thought of the wandering cyanide tooth concern in this prompt, and it was a provocative addition. But then, considering his job description and devotion to the job, I’m not sure that I am entirely sympathetic to your MC anyway.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I like your hit man a whole lot, being a gentleman with the ladies. Improvise a kill? He sure enjoys his work. The ya ya back and forth is quite amusing as if they might be best friends. However, I feel either one would take the other out just for the fun of it. Great minds think alkie, don’t you agree?

  10. Kerry Charlton

    THE OSS, May 1944

    Col. Jonathan Wedgeworth left Walter Reed in Washington with a jaw that ached like sixty. Two hours he sat in the dental chair just for a root canal. He felt a vibration in his jaw and the familiar voice of Major General William [Wild Bill] Donovan, chief operative of the OSS, [Office of Strategic Services]. .barked a command his way,

    “John, get here on the double, the Nazis have captured one of our agents in France. They’ve tortured him and we’ve lost two cells of resistance so far.”.

    John hailed a Yellow Cab and as it made it’s way through the city, he noticed how much that had happened to him since he was persuaded to join the OSS in 1942 by the general. In his late twenties, he had been a star tennis player as he worked his way through Harvard Law School. His practice in Washington has just started to fly when the general convinced him he would personally draft John into the army and send him to the front if he didn‘t join the OSS. .

    The OSS dealt in spying, military training for guerrilla activity, sabotage, deception, and penetration of Germany itself, including the German diplomat Fritz Kolbe.
    The operatives were trained to kill quietly using knives, not guns. Rarely were the operatives captured alive for they knew well a quick death with a cyanide pill, was a determent to extreme torture.

    All these thoughts flew through the mind of the former attorney and he wondered what damage he had caused himself dealing in death, lies and femme fatales, including Marina Lee, whom he personally tracked across Europe after she smuggled British battle plans to the Nazis. He walked with a slight limp from being stabbed by Marina in the thigh and shoulder as she escaped her capture by him.

    The OSS was located in a national park close to Washington, rather ordinary looking buildings with no identification. As John reached an area about five miles away, he departed the cab and made a phone call. Twenty minutes later, he sat in “Mad Dog’s” office,

    “Do you like my new gadget?”

    :“If you weren’t wearing two stars I’d give you an idea, General.”

    “We’re off to Europe, England to be exact, we’re going on a little boat ride“

    “You‘re talking invasion General?”

    “I‘m finished talking, go home and pack, be back here at 0400“

    Forty operatives along with General Donavan and his aide .Col. Wedgeworth made the trip on a troop ship in eight days. A week later they embarked on the largest fleet of ships ever assembled and headed to France. The weather treated the ships and troops with high seas, driving rain along with the darkness. General Donavan ran his own war and wanted to be in the first wave to hit the shore.

    As they followed the troops that moved inland they advanced until a Nazi nest of machine gun fire pinned them to a small rise in the earth. As bullets whizzed by the two, General Donovan spoke, ‘

    “If we need to use our pistols, I get to fire first.”

    “:But general, what good are two 45’s against armored machine guns?”

    “You don’t understand John, what I’m talking about is I am your superior, I get to
    shoot you first.”

    Footnote: “Mad Dog Donovan survived the war despite advancing past his own troops as they made their way through France. Col. Wedgeworth is a fictional character.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks, igonzales for your kind words. The general was a loose cannon in the military and appointed in 1942 to build a spy and information network. Not like the British who had already done this year’s before, the US had no central command for a secret service. The stories on the OSS are fascinating.

    1. snuzcook

      A compelling slice of history, Kerry. As I read it, I could see everything in black and white and military green. Great ironic last line you gave the General.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Snuzcook. There are so many weird and unusual bombs, gimmicks and gadgets the OSS used. Some worked, a great many didn’t
        We didn’t have girl spies dealing favors like the British and Germans.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks Reatha, I couldn’t get into much detail of what the OSS was doing during the WWII
        There were 20’000 people under general Donovan and what he needed was a personal keeper!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks Beebles, the general ran the OSS as if he owned it, reminds me of our president. My youngest grand daughter also has her birthday on June 6th. Her name is Josephine. She is beautiful fourteen going on twenty five.

  11. dustymayjane

    I’d been going to Doctor Richard Vandyne my entire life. I always thought of him as eccentric and odd, but he was a good dentist and friend. Both of us were overdue for retirement and after my last root canal I was certain of it.

    “Enjoy your new crown. It’s a very special one.” Doctor Vandyne patted my shoulder as he stood to leave. “See you soon Chuck.”

    His assistant unclipped the bib and cranked the chair up out of the reclining position.

    I wondered what he meant by ‘special’ but didn’t give it another thought as I paid my bill and left the office. My mouth was a little sore but I was glad the procedure was over.

    My tongue automatically went to the new crown and worked back and forth. It was smooth with the exception of a tiny bump in the center. When I got to my car I looked into the rearview mirror and opened wide. A small black spec in the center protruded just enough that I could catch it with a fingernail. Humph, that was going to bother me. Maybe I should go in and ask to have it filed down. I pondered the decision for a bit and that’s when I heard the voice.

    “Hey Chuck, it’s me Richard. Can you hear me?”

    I jumped and looked into the back seat and out the car windows. “Where are you?”

    “I’m in my office but you’re hearing me through a device I implanted in your new tooth.”

    Shocked, I screamed. “You did what?”

    “Hey, relax. It’s just a little receiver speaker combo. I thought you and I could work together to you know, make some money.”

    I looked at the tiny speck and tried to pick it out but it wasn’t budging. “You’ve been inhaling too much nitrous Richard.”

    “Listen Chuck. Aren’t you tired of watching all that wealth cross your desk and not getting your share?”

    “I’ve been a broker my entire life Richard. Not once have I considered other people’s wealth my share.” That wasn’t completely true but I wouldn’t voice it out loud to anyone.

    “I don’t believe you Chuck, not for a minute. Next time those rich bas**rds sit across from you, looking down their noses, know that I can hear and see everything that goes down. Together, we could scam them for all they’ve got. And by the way. Check out your new ear piercing. It’s a camera.”

    “What?” I spied the small stud in my left ear in my reflection. “What the h*** Richard!”

    That was six months and twenty million dollars ago. Richard and I are celebrating our retirement on a yacht in the Mediterranean. Life is good.

    1. snuzcook

      Very appropriate response to the prompt, despite deviating from spy stuff. Greed is always compelling, and unfortunately makes this all too believable. Well written, dustymayjane.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Hello Dusty, With what little knowledge I possess, I would call this a perfect 500 story. Anything that makes me laugh on a Monday morning is much appreciated. Thanks for writing.

  12. Jay

    Note: Part 4 and 5 are below, and parts 1, 2, and 3 are in the previous prompt for “Finish This sentence #4”, they are under the title Flight 213.

    Darkness Comes, Part VI

    It was the angry a**hole form the plane. He was who I remembered, anyway, except there was something different about him. He was drenched in sweat, and so pale it seemed otherworldly. His clothes were slightly torn, and he had giant lacerations in his left arm that were too deep to survive. The most frightening part, though, wasn’t any of that or the gun. It was the large black web of spidery veins starting at his cheek and spread out across his face and down his neck. There was nothing natural about it, and I knew at that moment he was a danger in more ways than one.

    “I told you we were f*cked,” he said, and jammed the barrel into Nina’s head. She winced, and I nearly attacked him, but that wouldn’t have been smart. I needed to remain cool until either we were dead or I was given the opportunity to do what needed to be done.

    I said, “Let us go.”

    He let out a dark laugh reserved for the insane and the deranged and every psychopath in between. The black node at the center of the veiny webbing on his face pulsated. He smiled, and his teeth were blackened by some kind of ooze that dripped from the corner of his mouth.

    He said, “You’re not going anywhere.”

    “Why?”

    “I want to kill you,” he said, and then looked and Nina longingly. “Truth is, there’s a lot I want to do, but I really…” He paused for a moment, and winced as if in great pain. He leaned to the left, and vomited. Nothing but a thick blackness came out of him. “…I really want to hurt you.”

    Nina said, “We didn’t do anything to you.”

    He tapped the hard metal against her skull. “Shut up, bitch, or you’ll die first.”

    His words suggested he planned to kill me first. I said, “Why don’t you just let her go, then you can do whatever you want to me.”

    “Cause I don’t want to do nothin’ to you,” he said, and then coughed up some more black stuff.

    I said, “Look around, man. What are you doing? We literally just crash landed, and you’re acting like this?”

    He nodded indifferently. “So?”

    “Unbelievable,” I said, and walked in a circle. I didn’t think he would hurt Nina just yet, but I wanted to make sure all his attention was off her. “You’re a sicker f*ck than I thought.”

    Nina said, “What are you doing?”

    I couldn’t answer her, but I felt like I gave her the universal face for run your a** off when the time was right. She didn’t really nod or let me know she interpreted my silent language, but I couldn’t stop now. I was on a roll.

    “Figures, though, right?”

    “What? What are you talking about?”

    “I’ll bet you grew up alone. People always picking on you, am I right? Now, you’re just a sick old man who has nothing better to do than to hurt people.”

    “F*ck you, a**hole.”

    I smirked. “Hey, maybe I’m an a**hole, but at least I have someone who loves me.”

    I motioned to Nina. I was taking a big risk lying about her feelings for me. He could either snap, killing her or he would turn his attention fully on me. I didn’t know which, but his tipping point was nearing.

    “All you got is a gun and a boring old life.”

    He screamed, seemingly for no reason, though I’m pretty sure he had a good one. He pointed the gun at me and pulled back on the trigger. Nothing happened. He looked at the gun and pointed it at Nina, pulling the trigger again. I fully expected this time to see and feel Nina’s brains splatter all over me, but instead, by the grace of something divine, Nina’s life was spared.

    He looked at the gun again to see what had happened, and I took the opportunity to lunge at him. Sedentary or not, I wasn’t going to stop until he was no longer a threat to either of us. That was my split-second, silent promise to both me and Nina.

    He looked up at me with surprise, and pointed the gun at my head. He tried to fire again, but the weapon continued to be useless. I continued, though still slightly intimidated by the gun, but finally made contact with him. We both went to the ground, and the gun fell from his hand.

    “Get off me!” he screamed, and tried to push me off.

    Fight or flight. Obviously I had taken the former. He was stronger, but I had adrenalin on my side. Realizing he wouldn’t win against me like this, he flipped over and tried to go for the gun. Now, I didn’t know enough about guns to know if there were bullets in it or if the safety was on, but I couldn’t take either chance. I had to stop him, no matter what it took.

    Grabbing a nearby rock, I slammed it against his head. He flipped over again to try to shield himself, but he didn’t work. Once more. Twice. Three times and more until he stopped moving. His face was not red with blood but rather black and slimy. The rock, too. It seemed that something had infected him to the point that it replaced his blood with this strange mess.

    Now out of breath, I rolled off him. I laid there for a while staring up at the sky. It was June, but I thought for sure I saw small snowflakes floating languidly from the sky. These little snow flurries landed on me, and I felt a cold chill rise in my spine as if the bone were a spider’s web as it softly plucked it with its tines.

    The last time I had been in the snow was over ten years ago. I went there with a buddy when I was eighteen, and were there to ski and snowboard. It was a moment that only lasted a day, but the experience stuck with me a lifetime. It was the first time I felt free. Living at home was like living in a prison. I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything without feeling like something I did would trigger a bad time. After my mother died and my father went to an actual prison, I was placed in a care facility by the state until my eighteenth birthday. I was basically a prisoner my entire childhood, and so going out there and finally experiencing a small part of the world felt amazing.

    That was how I felt seeing that snow drifting from the sky. At least, that was how it seemed, anyway. Lies take many forms and shapes, and this one was small and white.

    I sat up, and Nina was staring off into the distance. I joined her and looked out as the bitter scent of burning arrived with a thin trace of smoke. In the distance, the forest burned, sticking from the trees was the tail of a large jetliner.

    Nina said, “Do you think anyone survived?”

    I looked down at my hands. The black, sticky blood still covered them. I looked out again into the distance, and sighed.

    “If they’re not dead, they will be.”

    She looked at me and looked at my hands, too. “You think that black stuff is bad?”

    “Yeah, I do,” I said, and tried to wipe it on my pants. It was too thick and sticky. I didn’t know how bad it was, but I knew it couldn’t be good.

    In the distance, we heard a woman scream. It was long, drawn out. The woman sounded like she was in pain or someone was hurting her. Each belt ended in a slight pout, but then after a short pause for a breath, it started again.

    “She sounds hurt,” Nina said, and looked out into the surrounding forest. Ashes continued to fall around us like snow. “Should we go see?”

    “No.”

    “What? We can’t just let someone suffer.”

    “You’re right, but I don’t think she’s suffering the way we think.”

    “She sure sounds like she’s in pain.”

    “She does, but something bothers me about it. We should leave.”

    “We should at least see if you’re right.”

    I always had a poor ability to spot danger so I always back away from any situation that seemed even remotely dangerous. Just then, I wanted to run. However, Nina seemed insistent on checking on this woman.

    “Okay,” I reluctantly agreed.

    The woman screamed again. Nina started to walk toward the wooded area, and I said, “Hold on.”

    Running back to the man I had just killed, I stooped down and picked up his gun. After fidgeting with the cold metal weapon, I found there was no magazine in the base of it. The air marshal had two of them clipped to his belt. I took both, and also his radio.

    I joined her, and said, “Just in case.”

    She nodded. After I tucked the gun into my waist band and stuffed the magazines and radio into my front pockets, Nina took my hand. Squeezed gently, and we headed toward the forest.

    In there was a darkness we could not see into, and where a woman called out with pain and what seemed to me a dark malevolence we could not yet understand. We would soon learn exactly what had happened to the world, and neither of us were prepared for the truth.

    1. UnclePizza

      I went back to the beginning and started there, and glad I did. You’ve got a nice level of suspense going, and some good hooks at the end of each piece to bring the reader back for more. Speaking of more, bring it on!

  13. ketchupgirl

    In my dental phobia, I’d read up extensively on the side-effects of root canals and the variety of ways in which my dentist could mess up and leave me in extreme pain for weeks. I stocked up on pain killers and updated my knowledge of malpractice law. What I mean is, maybe I should have seen this coming. After all, the esteemed Dr. Brochtrop had mixed up my records last time and given me a filling meant for somebody else. Excessive painkiller was not that bad, really, though I hadn’t heard of it ever causing auditory hallucinations. Weirdly detailed hallucinations at that, of secret agencies and being chosen for a mission somewhere in Asia. I think.
    “Stupid novocaine,” I muttered, slapping my cheek and finding it still numb.
    “This is no time for jokes.” The sound from my left molar was a little grainy and I could feel the vibrations travelling through my skull, as if I had a tiny bumblebee hidden in my gums. If she keeps talking, I thought, this will hurt like hell once the anesthetic wears off. “Will you or will you not accept the mission? President Trump is waiting.”
    “He’ll have to wait a bit longer,” I snapped, and it came out comical, the numbness on half my face slurring the words. I started the engine, hoping that the sound would keep passerby from noticing I was talking to myself in a parking lot. “I have to get back to work and fax Reed my progress report. It was due four hours ago and anyway, I don’t have time to travel to… where was it?”
    “Uzbekistan.”
    “Yeah. That place.” (Where is Uzbekistan, anyway?) “Find somebody else to infiltrate their government for you, and leave me alone.”
    “Agent Velazquez, are you saying you are backing out of Operation Flowerchain?” The voice had taken on a note of alarm that my inner monologue only ever used when looking at bank statements. Strange. “This is unacceptable. You clearly agreed to help out at last week’s meeting with the Chiefs of Staff. Your cooperation is absolutely necessary if we want to maintain stability in the regio-”
    “Wait, wait, hold on a second,” I interrupted. “Who is Agent Velazquez?”
    The vibrations stopped. I groaned.
    “Don’t tell me, are you actually the CIA?”
    “We can neither confirm nor deny that statement.” The voice had switched to a stiff professionalism that couldn’t have been more of a giveaway.
    “Wow, this is rich,” I laughed. “You really messed up this time, didn’t you? I wonder what the president will say when you tell him you implanted the listening device in the wrong person. You think he’ll fire you?”
    “We apologize for the inconvenience, Miss…?”
    “Vega.”
    “We apologize for the inconvenience, Miss Vega.” the voice repeated. “We would, however, like to clarify that the mix-up was not on our side. Dr. Brochtrop is entirely at fault and we suggest that you direct all future complaints to him.”
    “Yeah, that’s for sure,” I switched off the engine and began getting out of the car, fuming. Cleanings that left my teeth bleeding and unnecessary fillings, I could handle. Getting me unnecessarily dragged into some James Bond shenanigans in Wheretheheckistan- that was where I drew the line. Dr. Brochtrop would be seeing the mother of all malpractice suits, after he removed this damn microphone from my tooth. “I’m gonna give that asshole a piece of my mind.”
    “You will have to hurry,” the voice suggested helpfully, “because the microphone in your tooth will explode in thirty seconds.”
    My heart skipped a beat. “What?”
    “The existence of Operation Flowerchain is top-secret and all listening devices are equipped with a powerful explosive in case of a leak.” The information was delivered with as much passion and excitement as the average weather report. “If you wish to say good-bye to your loved ones, please do not tell them about the CIA involvement in your passing.”
    Forget my loved ones. Dr. Brochtrop would hear from me if it was the last thing I did.
    I threw open the door to the waiting room violently enough to leave a small dent where the doorknob hit the wall, and one of the kids waiting even managed to pull his gaze away from his ipad.
    “I’m sorry, ma’am, you will have to wait for your turn to-” began the dental hygienist standing in the doorway to the office, clipboard in hand, but I pushed her out of the way and stormed down the narrow hallway lined with posters of teeth. I found Dr. Brochtrop at the end of the hall, sipping coffee and examining some x-rays.
    “HEY, ASSHOLE,” I shouted, and he looked up, expression unreadable in the dim light of the x-ray room. “YOU’RE A TERRIBLE DENTIST.”
    “Wha-” he managed to get out before I tackled him. I shoved him into the white screen holding the pictures, shaking a couple to the ground, and pinned him to the wall. He made a feeble attempt at struggling, but I was fueled by rage and he was flabby and weak from twenty years of working out of a chair. From the hallway came the hurried footsteps of the hygienist.
    My second to last thought was, I hope she doesn’t have to clean all this up later.
    My final thought was, God damn it, I’m going to die because I ate too much chocolate.
    Under normal circumstances, it is extremely painful to have your head explode violently enough to leave a sizable hole in the wall. Fortunately, the novocaine hadn’t worn off yet.

    1. snuzcook

      I love the premise here, ketchupgirl. I hadn’t considered the possibility of this particular variety of malpractice, but it is brilliant here. Well done.

  14. ReathaThomasOakley

    Secret Mission

    (True story from about 1997, except for imagined “prologue” and final two paragraphs. Names and tiny details were changed.)

    In a small California bungalow a woman sits, notebook in hand, staring intently at a television set, the only light source in the room. Newspapers, yellow with age, cover the windows.

    “I knew it, I knew it,” she shouts, as she frantically copies something from the screen. “I thought they were lying just to make me stop calling, but they did rerun the program.” She laughs and clutches the notebook to her chest. “Thank you dear Lord, oh, thank you.”

    ***

    It was a miserably hot day in Central Florida; I was glad my only scheduled outside chore was picking up the mail. In the post office I was surprised to see a hand written envelope with the museum’s physical address rather than the postal box number, but in a small town you get your mail.

    Back in my office, I spent a moment enjoying the view of the perfectly round, sinkhole-created Lake Rose that was part of the city park that also contained the imposing historic house museum. Museum offices, work space, and storage rooms were in the former home of a granddaughter of the man who built the big house. I attacked the mail, opening the letter last.

    “What the…” I said, more loudly than I realized. Immediately my assistant and the curator came into the room, to see what was wrong or more likely to escape the tedium of dealing with unsolicited accessions.

    “Listen to this,” I said as Ann and Wendy sat down. “Dear Miss Thomas, you cannot imagine how thrilled I was when I saw your name and address in the credits for the Bluegrass program taped on your museum grounds. You see I also live on Lake Rose Drive and my father’s name was Thomas. For two years now the voices have promised me a sign. I watch television around the clock, looking, always looking for a sign that will lead me to the person who can help me fight Tom Cruise and Stephen Spielberg. They have ruined my life, and must be stopped. The voices lead me to you. You must help me now. I’ll write more later.”

    As I finished the women were laughing.

    “This must be a joke,” Ann said. “Some friend trying to scare you.”

    Wendy picked up the envelope. “It is postmarked California, but what did she mean about a Bluegrass program?”

    “Oh, that was last year, before you were hired,” I explained. “I got a call from the producer of a show that taped intros to recorded music at locations in the area.

    “Ann, do you know where the tape is they sent me?”

    We fast forwarded through the program until the credits, and there it was, “Special Thanks to Reatha Thomas for welcoming us to the beautiful house and grounds on lovely Lake Rose,” followed by our physical address.

    The women kidded me all day about having a chance to meet Tom Cruise. I told them not to be silly, but when they left I called the City Detective Department, located in another house next to our offices. I knew all the folks there, and they kept an eye out when I worked late.

    “Hmm,” I was told, “I wouldn’t worry much, but why don’t you make a copy of the letter for us.”

    I’d almost forgotten about the California gal until I got a call a few weeks later.

    “I decided to do a little checking on this, made a few calls. Seems she is rather well known there. Story is she got a root canal a few years ago that must have hit some crazy nerve or something. Swore the filling was talking to her, telling her she had enemies in Hollywood, telling her to look for a sign. You’re not the first person to get a letter, but don’t worry, her family finally stepped in, she’s not writing much of anything anymore.”

    (A few years ago I revisited the park. The detectives’ house is gone, the museum looks a bit run down. I wonder if that woman ever made it to Florida.)

    1. Beebles

      What an extraordinary story, Reatha. Feels like you were chatting to us over a cup of tea. Am I right in thinking that the root canal is one of the changed details – cos that would be a spooky coincidence – or a sign …

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Absolutely true, including giving a copy of the letter to the detective, didn’t ever hear from her, or him, again.. Her actual letter was much longer, with more information, so I susoect what I wrote as prologue was close to the truth of her life. Nothing about how or when her voices started. I was wary for a while after. I visited the museum grounds several times in the last few years. Hmmm, what if she is someone who posts here? Never thought of that!

        1. UnclePizza

          Hmmm, what if she is someone who posts here?

          Just because you’re not paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not all out to get you LOL!

          What a great story Reatha – thanks for sharing it with us!

    2. RafTriesToWrite

      I’m absolutely hooked in your story Reatha! I wish there were more. Also, just like what Beebles said, it really did felt like we were all having a cup of tea and just having a quick chit chat of some random event that you’ve experienced.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Hi Reatha, I could even smell the Earl Grey tea you served. It’s always the real stories you write that fascinate me. Everytime you mention central Florida, I either think of Boc Tower or the Yearling, It sure was spooky reading for a busy Friday. I miss Coral Gables and Coconut Grove more than you can imagine. When in highschool, I’d take my girl to Viscaya, park by the boat dock and watch the moonlight. The home then had been abandoned by the two nieces of John Deering who had left it to them. It was s spooky as it’s gets. I’m dying to write a mystery story about it.

  15. cl91

    “ Hello, Mrs. L”

    What the crap? Where is that voice coming from? I just got into my car after having a root canal. My face is numb. I must have butt-dialed someone on my phone. I searched frantically for it…nope. It was in my purse with a dark screen.

    “Hello. Mrs. L can you hear me?”

    “I hear you, I hear you….Where are you?” I get out of the car and open the back door, looking in the back seat. Nothing there. My car, as usual, is pristine.

    “No….Mrs. L I’m not in your car. I’m in your tooth.”

    “What? My tooth? Who is this and why are you pranking me. Reveal yourself immediately.”

    He cleared his voice, “My name is Charley and I have been assigned to you by the United States Government. You have been recruited to work for the CIA.”

    Closing the back door and getting back into the driver’s seat, I laugh.

    “Mrs. L, don’t be alarmed, but you are one of a handful of mom’s who have been selected to help the CIA with various crimes, if you choose to accept.”

    I feel funny talking to myself…my tooth, “Don’t you think it would have been better to ask me before you implanted yourself into my tooth?”

    Charley cleared his throat again, “Maybe, but we have found people to be more receptive if this device is already in place.”

    “Figures. I don’t know. I don’t know if I want to be a part of the government’s anything. You always hear of people saying, I’m with the government and I’m here to help and it goes downhill from there…”

    “Let me also explain, Mrs. L, that should you choose to accept this job you will become one of an elite team made up of mom’s like yourself.”

    “Hmmmm, a group of mom’s talking to our teeth….why are you picking on mom’s?”

    “We’re not picking on mom’s, we’re picking mom’s because there are some mom’s who do better work than the CIA and you happen to be one of them when it comes to tracking down your kids.”

    “Interesting you know that,” I secretly smile because it’s true.

    “Also, Mrs. L, everything you say to anyone is heard in my office and recorded.”
    “What, everything?”

    “Everything, Mrs. L”

    “That’s an invasion of my privacy, isn’t it?”
    “Not if you come aboard.”

    “I can tell you this. I may agree to come aboard, but my husband absolutely does not like the government or anything at all to do with it. He’s not going to like this and when I tell him you can hear everything….”

    Charley cleared his throat loudly, “Mrs. L you cannot tell your husband or anyone else anything about this.”

    “Not tell him?”

    “No. You can’t tell a soul, do you hear me? That is a breach of contract and will put your family in extreme danger.”

    I can feel my fact thawing out from the root canal, “So, in essence what you’re telling me is if I don’t do this my family will be in danger and if I do it I can’t say I’m doing it or they will be in danger.”

    “I’m sorry, but that’s how it works.”

    “No wonder my husband can’t stand the government. You people are sneaky and conniving. You’re going to get your way, regardless.”

    Charley sounds tired, “Is that a yes.”

    I touch my cheek and look at my face in the mirror on my car visor, “what do I have to do? I can’t make rash decisions without knowing something about what I’ll be doing.”

    “But I told you your family would be in danger.”

    “Right. And you also want me to lie to my husband which means you condone lying, which means you probably wouldn’t be above it to get your way. I’m not stupid. You may be able to fool some of the people but….”

    “Okay, Mrs. L you have until tomorrow to make your decision.”

    “Thank-you. Charley, are you on this thing all the time? Be honest.”

    “Not all the time.”

    “But you wanted me to think you were.”

    “Yes, I did.”

    “See how manipulative you people are? I’ll let you know tomorrow.”

    I hear a little high pitched screech and then nothing as I start my car.

    When I arrive home I go straight to my computer to look up the CIA, then stop. If they can plant a device in my tooth and they know about my tracking my kids, then they have access to that. Those devils.

    An hour later Tom comes home from work, “Hey baby, how are you?”

    I give him a weak smile, “Okay.”

    “Just okay?”

    He looks at me, “You’re not swelled. That’s good, right?”

    “I guess.”

    “What’s wrong, you’re acting funny.”

    The man knows me like a book.

    “Am I?”

    “You are. What’s up.”

    I hear the high pitched screech again and whisper, “Charley.”

    Tom looks at me, “Who’s Charley.”

    “Who?” I try to look innocent.

    “You just said Charley.”

    “I’m just achy. I’ll be okay.”

    As he goes into the kitchen I whisper to Charley, “I guess I’m in.”

    “Good girl. Your first assignment will be to infiltrate a website where kids are disappearing. I’ll get you some information on your computer.”

    I smile to myself. This could be okay. My kids always said I should have been a cop. They might even chuckle if they thought I was going to become one of Charley’s Angels. LOL

      1. cl91

        Thanks for the comments, everyone….I had to wrap it up, Uncle Pizza and Beebles. Sorry, I wrote it on my lunch break! I was having too much fun with the dialog and my time ran out!

  16. Observer Tim

    THE MISSION

    I was just driving away from the dentist when a voice sounded in my jaw.

    “Saefert 325, do you hear me?”

    I immediately scowled. The bastards can’t or won’t screen out contaminants in the synth food so everyone averages two root canals a year; my ex-employers used that process to plant a damned radio in my tooth. Again.

    “I hear you, Jamal; didn’t you hear me when I said I quit?”

    “This is an emergency, Saefert; the Board has invoked your reinstatement clause.”

    “I’ve had enough of this garbage; what if I un-instate myself?”

    “Then your next of kin are going to have to clean skull fragments off the inside of the car before they sell it.”

    Bastards. “Okay, what’s so vital it needs my skills to fix?”

    “A junior tech quit Quantodyne yesterday, and now that he’s gone they found out his account hacked the framework and lifted a holocube with the security protocols for the entire hyperspace network. We need that cube back, and the thief needs to be deleted.”

    That’s what I figured; I’m sick of being their erase button.

    The biddy next to me on the Moon shuttle to the Moon can’t shut up about the cruise her kids bought her. After listening to her prattle on for two hours I wish she was on ANY of those seven planets rather than here. And my weapon is in the shuttle’s gun-safe until we land.

    At least the first step of my mission is clear. The kid, Derryn 417, got off his shuttle and didn’t go to the Departures level. Instead his card was last used to take the lift down to Temp Accommodations, a.k.a. the Rat Warren. That’s called proof of guilt in my book. Now I have to find a single piece of manure in a planet-sized pile of crap.

    “So Ryn, what did you do back on Earth?”

    We were shopping for a bodysleeve for me; the high-tech onesie would prevent my body from being cooked by hard radiation if I found myself outside for some reason. That and a breather would allow me enough time to find shelter, provided I was quick about it.

    “I was a level three fabricator at Quantodyne,” I said as the machine fitted the suit to my body, “They make shells for hyperspace beacons, or did until they lost the contract to some outfit in McMurdo. I jumped ship before the company went under.”

    Rina raised an eyebrow, giving me another look at those too-green-to-believe eyes.

    “Went under? They just got the contract for eight new starship hulls!”

    “What? Where’d you hear that?”

    “It was posted it on the news; we’re not provincials up here, Nub.”

    I was just about to pay for the bodysleeve when she grabbed my wrist.

    “Do NOT pay for that, Ryn! Come on!”

    My flailing body described a graceful arc in the air as she dragged me away. By the time I landed we were fifty meters away.

    1. Observer Tim

      HOT

      “Rina, what’s going on? Why did I just steal a bodysleeve?”

      “You can ask that after Earth?”

      “Huh? What are you talking about?”

      “Derryn 417, Terran Scandic, 175 centimeters, 74 kilos, sandy brown hair; observe and report, but do not apprehend. Are you really him, or are you a decoy he sent here to draw the cops off his trail?”

      “What?”

      “You have to be a decoy. Nobody smart enough to pull off a multi-million cred theft would be dumb enough to use his own ID afterwards.”

      “Rina, what in hell are you talking about? I didn’t steal anything! Well, except for the bodysleeve.”

      “Then why is there a mega theft warrant out on you?”

      “It must be a mistake; all I did was quit my job and book a flight here. What am I supposed to have stolen?”

      “The bulletin doesn’t say, just that it’s worth millions. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m still willing to help you, but I’d rather know everything. Especially since that stupid automatic credit transfer you set up to pay me is already on record. I’m in this too.”

      And then she kissed me. I wish I hadn’t been too surprised to respond, especially when the space-tanned girl with a white bob and incredible green eyes pushed me into the wall and tried to eat my lower lip. I was still reeling when we came up for air.

      “What was…?”

      “Shh! We have to find someplace private.”

      “But…”

      She started towing me down the hall again.

      “Put your arm around me like you can’t keep your hands off. There’s some sleep cubbies a couple of corridors this way. Hurry.”

      A couple of minutes later we were in a horizontal room about a meter around and two meters deep with a padded floor for sleeping on. We couldn’t help but lie close to each other and I couldn’t help but notice just how female Rina was. I instinctively reached for her.

      “Stop.”

      “But… in the hall?”

      “Two gendarmes went by, probably checking into the theft from the bodysleeve machine. Now I want you to tell me everything that led up to your leaving Earth.”

      The lunar squatters crowding the Rat Warren knew better than to mess with me; they recognized the bulge under my shoulder. I flashed a holo of 417; a few credits bought the info that he was down here and in the company of a woman, some kind of hooker or something they couldn’t explain. At least the girl was distinctive: lunar build, red-tan spacer skin and white short-cut hair and big green Easian eyes.

      I knew that 417’s account was feeding ten creds an hour to a shell account named Rina, probably his lunar accomplice. Much as I hated the job, I hated the fact that 417 had a six-hour head start even more.

      The local cops were checking out a spacesuit vending-machine theft; I didn’t care except the two involved matched my suspects. I headed toward the scene.

      1. Observer Tim

        In case it isn’t totally obvious, this continues on the heels of last week’s prompt. If you weren’t here for that, Derryn 417 (Ryn) came to the moon on a whim and was taken in by Rina, a sophistute (kind of a rent-by-the-hour life coach).

        Oh, and ‘nub’, while short for ‘newbie’, is pronounced to rhyme with ‘tub’ not ‘tube’.

      2. ReathaThomasOakley

        Great continuation. I’m always amazed how you keep all your characters distinctive and unique. Looking forward to the next chapter.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Boy if I could get you for a day, you could bring into the sci-fi world. What a blast that would be for me. Captivating is the perfect one woed description for the continuation.

      3. cl91

        I love the continued story. I can’t wait for the next installment. I have limited time to be here and there are so many great pieces, but I have got to keep up with this one!

  17. RafTriesToWrite

    I checked the door knob making sure it’s locked, checked my phone to make sure my alarms are set, checked my guard dog inside making sure he’s still alive and last but not the least, confirm my root canal appointment with my usual dentist at his usual place of work.

    “What could go wrong?” I breathed, slightly feeling uneasy and unsure of what’s to come. The call to confirm my appointment with Dr. Ross went swimmingly when his assistant Jenny picked up the phone on the second ring as per usual and confirmed my appointment with Dr. Ross.

    Things are going according to plan, why am I being so paranoid on such a normal regular Sunday? It’s not like people from work are going to call me or something. I mean, I just finished an assignment yesterday after all.

    The drive to my dentist went smoothly, no traffic, no people crossing the street and no red lights as I passed every traffic light with only green thanks to my trusty thing-a-majig. Federal crime shmederal crime, I will not be late on my planned time of arrival for the dentist just because I happen to stop at a red light.

    I arrived at the dentist a minute ahead of schedule. I guess I underestimated my driving prowess.

    “Hey Jenny.” I greeted Dr. Ross’ very helpful assistant as I walked through the entrance. She’s the one who gives out candies to kids who visit Dr. Ross, she processes the forms, checks in on the Dentist, receives the payment etcetera.

    “Hello Ms. Scarlett, Dr. Ross is ready for you.” She greeted me with a cheeky smile as she courteously ushered me to ‘The room’, as the kids put it. Her hair flickered and her heels clicked with every step she took. Inside, Dr. Ross has already his chair and his tools prepared for me.

    “Thank you Jenny.” Dr. Ross said, his mouth covered with a mask. Jenny fled the scene, never setting a foot inside ‘The Room’. May I say, Dr. Ross looks quite different this time for some unexplainable reason. Was it the odd perfume? Was it his new hairstyle? Was it his new watch? Something is off, or maybe it’s just me being paranoid again.

    “Ms. Scarlett, if you please.” His voice muffled, made by his face mask, he gestured me to sit at his torture chair as I like to put it. You sit in that chair feeling helpless as he tortures your teeth the entire time. I humbly obeyed and sat on his torture chair as I waited patiently.

    I had an estimate of 30 minutes for the entire procedure for there isn’t much to do for my teeth. I can take the pain, but not today though, I needed anesthesia, but only a little of it. I do kind of hate when dentists talk to you and you’re just sitting there, mouth wide open, unable to talk, unable to move freely and reply “Just stop talking please.” to their face.

    Thankfully I was on point with my estimate for we finished on time with still a minute to spare overall.
    I paid for my session and head straight to my car. Once I sat on the driver’s seat I suddenly felt a surge of tingling pain coming from my newly root canalled teeth.

    Weird, is that normal?

    “Red, come in red.” An eerie familiar voice came to me. Oh great, I’m so paranoid that I’m starting to hear things. I started my car and made my way home.

    “Is this thing on? Can she hear me?” The voice continued. Why won’t it stop? It sounds like Alfred’s voice, and it’s too irritating. It reminds me of work. I shrugged it off and continued driving, turning on my thingamajig again so there won’t be stoplights to bother me.

    “It’s on sir, she can hear you loud and clear.” An even irritating voice resonated in my head, the kind of voice you hear from a nerd that’s been in front of the computer for too long.

    “Good. Agent Red, come in agent.” I immediately stopped my car. This can’t be. It sounded like Alfred, our handler.

    “Alfred? I swear to God if you bugged my car again I’m gonna-“

    “No need for that Red, this time it’s the tooth. We need you for an emergency mission.”

    “On my tooth?! What were you thinking Alfred?” I can’t believe he did this to me again?! Bugging something I own. I mean, how did I not see that Dr. Ross put a bug on my tooth? I should’ve trusted my instincts back at the dentist!

    “I know it’s short notice, but it’s the best we could do at the moment. Now for your assignment.”

    “What?” I screamed. “Short notice? It’s very much short notice, I mean, with the government funding us couldn’t you at least do something better than put a bug in my tooth?!” I continued yelling out.

    “Yes, but time is of the essence here and we need you. NOW!” Alfred insisted. Oh Lord, why did I get this job in the first place?

    I grunted in disapproval. I was looking forward for my quiet evening with my trusty guard dog, now it’s all ruined just because some idiot forgot to bring bodyguards with them.

    “Fine. Hit me.”

    “All our other agents are dispatched at the moment and you’re our only hope and just so happen to be conveniently located near the area.” Alfred said with a non-reassuring voice. I hate working on Sundays, plus, I don’t care if there aren’t any more agents to do this assignment, I want my Sundays to go without guns firing at me and carrying some supposedly dead person along with me.

    “Just tell me.” I groaned as I impatiently wait for Alfred’s orders.

    “Head east, just a mile from where you are.” I can’t believe he also put a tracker in my tooth?! What else did he put inside my teeth that he’s not telling me? I bolted my car, did a 180 and stepped on the gas as hard as I could.

    “What else?” I asked, half irritated and half angry.

    “Take the next left to the old and abandoned yarn factory.” That old place? What’s in there?

    “D’you mind telling me what I’m doing?” I asked Alfred nicely.

    “Just take the kid being held for ransom, alive, and get outta there.” What? Just a kid?

    “Alfred” I lifelessly said, but got no response from him. “Who is this kid? You can’t be sending me off to get some kid if he wasn’t important or anything.”

    I hear a loud and long sigh before Alfred started talking. “It’s Barron Trump.” He blurted, almost quite ashamed to say the name. I stopped driving as I heard the name.

    “You’ve got to be kidding me!” All this trouble just for that kid? What did the kid even do to get into that position in the first place?

    “I know it’s hard, but we’re under orders to get the kid, to kill the kidnappers if necessary and to not bring the cops.” I rolled my eyes in disagreement.

    “Can’t we just let-“

    “No! As much as it pains me to say this, you need to get him back in one piece.”

    I pondered on it for a brief moment, contemplating whether or not to actually do the assignment even though I’m still going to do it in the end. I gave Alfred a short sigh of discontent as I continued my way to save the kid.

    “Fine.”

    After which, I was given another medal of honor, inside the four corners of the FBI facilities which was the usual drill, together with my bruised hand, twisted ankle, an awful headache and a shot scraping my arm all because of one boy who wouldn’t shut up about him being the son of the president of America and kept touching everything at the back of my car.

    The next time another president’s kid is kidnapped for ransom, you can count me out of it. I’d rather choose infiltration or disarming weapons and bombs over saving a president’s kid any day from now on.

  18. snuzcook

    SHIFTING GEARS

    “Avery.”

    Horns blare as the lime-green Volkswagen beetle suddenly swerves out of a side street. It momentarily interrupts the flow of rain-drenched rush hour traffic funneling onto the crowded thoroughfare. The VW careens crookedly across the bike lane to the curb and stops. Anyone who, in their impatience to squeeze past the car, bothered to look would see the middle-aged lady driver was wild-eyed and disoriented.

    “Avery.”

    “Gaah!” The woman swivels her head in a desperate but unsuccessful attempt to locate the source of the voice somewhere inside the confined space. She releases her seat belt and bolts from the car, causing another chorus of honking as she back-steps into the bike lane and is narrowly avoided by a surprised bicyclist speeding by. She darts around the car, her jacket akimbo and trailing on the wet pavement, peering in through the windows and frantically kicking at the doors as if to frighten her unseen attacker.

    “Avery, stop!” The woman, out of breath now, pauses. “Avery, I want you to go to the curb away from traffic. I want you to stand still and take a breath. No one is going to hurt you.” The woman hesitantly steps up onto the curb and stands with her head down, breathing heavily like a horse that has bolted and worn itself out.

    “Very good, Avery. Now go stand on the sidewalk.” She obediently walks across the sidewalk to safety at the far side. She straightens her jacket, and brushes a wet lock of hair from her right eye. She looks from side to side, shifting her eyes without turning her head. A hooded jogger goes by and avoids eye contact.

    “Why are you doing this?” She says the words with her teeth clenched, as if pretending that she is not speaking at all.

    “Avery, can you hear me?”

    The woman nods her head emphatically.

    “Avery, do you know who this is?” The woman nods again, then stops and shakes her head. “No.”

    “We are from the Government. Your dentist inserted a special radio into the crown he just seated onto your tooth so we can communicate with you.”

    The woman’s face starts to fold in on itself. “Why are you picking on me?” Her voice is still soft, but it is has a pitiful quality.

    “We need your help and this is the best way for us to give you instructions.”

    The woman puts a hand to side of her face, cupping her jaw in her palm. “You’re talking too loud. You’re making my ear itch.”

    “Sorry, Avery. Is that better?”

    The woman shakes her head, then nods. “Uh huh.”

    “All right then. Avery, are you listening?”

    “Yes.”

    “It’s time to get back in the car. You’re going to pull back into traffic and follow my directions. Can you do that for me, Avery?”

    The woman shakes her head, then nods. “Yes.” She reluctantly walks back around the car and gets in.

    1. snuzcook

      SHIFTING GEARS Pt 2

      The woman pauses as she connects her seat belt. She smooths her hair, places her hands confidently on the wheel. Her demeanor has changed. She very calmly and carefully starts the car, straightens it parallel to the curb, then safely merges back into traffic.

      “Avery, at the first intersection, I want you to turn right.”

      The woman starts humming. She calmly drives straight through the intersection.

      “Avery, can you hear me?”

      “Sure, I can hear you.”

      “You missed the turn. Please take the next left and go around the block.”

      The woman continues straight up the thoroughfare.

      “Avery! Stop now. What are you doing!”

      “Oh, nothing. I’m just following what my doctor told me. She said I don’t have to listen to voices like you anymore. Voices made me do things once, bad things. I can choose to ignore you and choose to be myself.”

      “We’re the Government! You have to do what we say!”

      The woman puts her hand again to the side of her face with a slight grimace, cupping her jaw. She calmly steers the VW into the parking lot of a large grocery store and parks. She reaches into the pocket of her door and pulls out a folded combination tool with long, pliers-like jaws on one end. She carefully wipes the jaws on the clean, dry hem of her sweater.

      “Avery! Avery, are you listening?”

      “No, not really.” She opens her glove compartment and removes a small glass jelly jar. Placing it on the console beside her, she unscrews the lid. She then opens the pliers slightly and gingerly works them around inside her mouth. After a quick tug, she removes the tool. It is firmly grasping the pearly crown. The object buzzes faintly as it tries to transmit a signal without the proper bony amplifier to make it heard.

      She drops it into the jar and holds the jar at eye level, admiring the collection of half a dozen other types of miniature transmitting devices mutely nestled together. She screws the lid back on the jar and places it back in the glove compartment. She then wipes off the pliers and stows them back in the door.

      Positioning the rear view mirror, she studies the fresh gaping hole in her line of molars.

      “At least you were able to take it out while your mouth was still numb.” Dr. Elizabeth Sand smiles at her from the empty passenger seat. Lights are just coming on in the parking lot, and they shine faintly through the doctor’s translucent beret, red hair and forehead. “You did very well, Avery. Very well, indeed. I think next time they won’t be able to catch you by surprise.”

      Avery just smiles in agreement. She starts the car, puts it in gear, and pulls back out into safety and predictability of the river of tail lights leading her home.

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Oh, wow! Just went back and read again. I’m not at all certain what is reality and what is not, but it doesn’t matter, it’s great. Description of Avery made me feel as if I knew her. Glad she has Dr. Sand, even if she is translucent.

        1. snuzcook

          Thanks, Reatha. I’m actually not 100% sure if the other transmitting devices that Avery has collected in her jelly jar are really that, or simply things that she suspected had voices: a button, the battery from her watch, something resembling a miniature camera she found on her car visor, a mismatched bead from her the chain attached to her glasses, the little ceramic monkey from a box of Red Rose tea, etc.

      2. Beebles

        That built really nicely Snuz until the wham – takes out the transmitter- wham – puts it in a jar WITH OTHERS – wham – has an ‘imaginary’ advisor, at the end. Good story.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          I find this fascinating by putting my no nonsense Aunt on my wife’s side straight into your story. She was just the type you describe with much detail. I wonder if you are up to part two over the weekend? I sure like to know what happens to her.

      3. UnclePizza

        Very well done. You had my attention the whole way to the end – nothing odd disrupted the flow, everything was connected well enough so as not to make me stop and wonder how this sentence related to the earlier one, etc. And it helped immensely that Avery was interesting as a character!

  19. A.S.P.

    ***As a personal challenge, I thought I’d try to keep Jonah and Sylver’s story going somewhat cohesively, no matter the prompt. Here’s my attempt this week:***

    Strangers fumbling with their luggage pass me by in the crowded airport while I lower onto a knee and pretend to tie my shoe.

    “Where are they?” The voice from my molar, or, more accurately, Agent Doss back at headquarters, asks me.

    I glance over my left shoulder to eye my suspects. After rushing through security, the two men, late twenties, stopped in the middle of terminal A. “On my nine having a chat.” I whisper to Doss. “Looks heated.”

    “Can you make it out?”

    “No.” I recognize Sylvester “Sylver” Hughes from the news. Who the hell doesn’t recognize the infamous bad-guy-turned-good-boy? He’s just standing there, staring at the younger one in the leather jacket. File said his name’s Jonah Morgan. No people pleaser reputation like his counter-part, criminal record’s just as long though. His hands are clenched in shaking fists at his sides. Glaring eyes watering. Shoulders rigid. Jaw locked.

    To Doss, I say, “But if I didn’t know better I’d say there’s about to be a—“

    Morgan’s trembling fist arcs, connecting with Hughes’ jaw in a brutal blow that makes even me wince. Onlookers gasp. Hurry their children out of harm’s way. One teen takes out his cell and starts recording them with an obnoxious smirk on his pimpled face.

    “Problem?” Doss asks.

    “Maybe.” Reflex has my hand inching toward the government issued pistol suspended in my shoulder holster beneath my jacket. A line of blood trickles from Hughes’ lip. I wait for him to escalate the situation before abandoning my cover. But he doesn’t. He just…stands there.

    Morgan’s face darkens. “F*ck this.” Then he leaves, heading for the airport exit.

    “Morgan’s on the move.” I tell Doss. “Should I follow him?”

    “Kid’s nothing.” He says. “Hughes is the real target.”

    “Don’t you watch the news, Doss? Sylver Hughes is a changed man.”

    The voice coming from my tooth implant laughs.

    1. snuzcook

      Nice way to open your story by layers, A.S.P.; first we meet the targets and they are very interesting, then we meet the watchers. Looking forward to more.

  20. UnclePizza

    The last thing I remember is telling Doc to turn the gas up – I hate pain and no way can I handle a root canal without a bit of help. It must have been good gas though because here I am now, out in my car and I don’t even remember the drilling and everything that followed.

    I poke around my mouth with my finger trying to get a sense of what trauma has been done, but with the Novocain still doing its job I can’t feel a thing. I adjust the rearview mirror and take a look into the depths of my mouth, wanting to make sure that I’m not as disfigured as I feel, and suddenly hear a voice. From my mouth. But it’s not mine.

    “Huh?” I said, or rather squeaked as I was a bit startled to hear someone else’s voice coming out of my mouth.

    “Stay calm,” the voice said, soft, quiet, and a little tinny.

    “Huh?” I repeated, a little more coherently this time since now I’d taken my finger out of my mouth.

    “Just stay calm,” the little voice repeated. “They may be watching but if you just act normal they won’t suspect.”

    “Suspect what?” I reply. “That I’m sitting here talking to a little fairy that’s taken up living in my mouth?”

    “Hey, watch it pal!” the voice shoots back. “I may be a lot of things, but I’m no fairy. Why, I’ve killed men tougher than you with my bare hands. Now listen up: We chose you because we need help from someone who has your technical skills, and with your background nobody would suspect you of helping Uncle Sam with his dirty work.”

    “Well, excuse me Tinker Bell, but what makes you think I’ll come on board just like that? I’m happy with my life just as it is – it already has the right amount of adventure and I’m not so sure I need any more.”

    “Adventure! Ha! You call trying to get the nerve up to talk to the woman next door adventure?!”

    “Hey, you mind your own business! Besides, she’s a little intimidating. And…hey! How do you know that anyway?”

    “Oh you’d be surprised what we know. Then again, with your technical skills it should really be no surprise to you what we know and how we know it. Enough of this banter though, we’re wasting too much precious time. We need to talk about getting you in touch with the Russians and…”

    “The Russians! You’ve got the wrong guy – I work for White Castle, not the White House! In fact, I didn’t even vote for…”

    “Mr. Logeman…Mr. Logeman?”

    “Ungh…”

    “Mr. Logeman, we’re through.”

    “Uh…through?”

    “Yes Mr. Logeman. We’re going to raise the chair up now but need to make sure that you’re fully awake first.”

    “Through?”

    “Yes, Mr. Logeman. The root canal was successful. I think the gas was as well – you actually fell asleep!”

    “Asleep?”

    “Da, spyashchiy!”

    Wait, what? And did she just wink?

    1. snuzcook

      I’ll have to check with my Russian dental hygenist about that last line, Uncle. Very convincing halucination for our Mr. Logeman, and I’m a sucker for the ironic, spit-take ending. Fun read!

  21. L. Garcia

    It finally happened. I broke.

    I’d joked around for years saying I’m crazy and weird, but that’s what people do, right? They laugh and go, “Oh my god, she’s crazy”. But it doesn’t Actually mean she’s crazy. Right?

    Maybe I’m still under that gas. Maybe I never even made it to the dentist; maybe this was all a dream……No. If it was a dream I’d have superpowers and I’d be in Paris. No I broke.
    I turned the car off ‘cause, I mean, crazy people shouldn’t be driving.

    “Hailey? Hello? Are you there?”

    I freeze and look around my car. I may have broken, I will not dignify this insanity with a response. Instead, I take out my phone and start googleing how to fight off newly discovered insanity.

    Needless to say, nothing helpful popped up.

    “Hailey, are you there?”

    I’ll admit, I made a face at that question. If I’m crazy, shouldn’t I know that I’m right here? Like, if I have voices in my head, shouldn’t they know I can’t go anywhere without taking them with me? But then again, I’m crazy so how should I know.

    “Look, this isn’t a joke. This is real. Your government has chosen you for a crucial mission, of which must stay unknown to the public. Do you accept?”

    I busted out laughing. It’s not every day the voices in your head sound like something out of Mission Impossible. “Ok,” I say after my laughter dwindles down. “Now do Star Wars.”

    “Excuse me?”

    “Oh,” I clapped my hands together. ”Do Yoda!”

    “This isn’t a joke.”

    “No. That’s not it.”

    “Sir, this isn’t going to work out. No, she’s bat crap crazy. She not taking this seriously. She wants me doing Yoda impressions.” He seemed to having a conversation without me. “Get Anderson on the phone right now. Yeah, I wanna go there.”

    “Yeah you go there.” I backed him up. I figured I’d be backing myself up right?

    “She’s -she’s talking. Shut up. Look Hailey, this isn’t a joke. There is a package being developed right underneath your city and you need to shut it down. That is an order.”

    Hm. That seemed serious. …….. Aw, What the hell. Crazy people have more fun, right?

    “OK,” I start the car, “Where am I going, Bob?”

    “The nearest manhole you can find.” He sighed, “And my name is not Bob. It’s Jake.”

    I made another face as I turned the corner. “Ok. I mean you’re just a voice in My head, but whatever.”

    “I am not in your head.” I didn’t appreciate him using that teeth-clenched kind of tone with me. “I’m in your tooth.” But that embarrassing-admitting tone made me feel better.

    “Whatever helps you sleep at night.” I smile as I parallel park. “Ok,” I turned to look at the manhole a couple feet away. “Now what?”

    “Enter the manhole. I’ll giving you directions once you’ve climbed down. Do Not ask if you’re meeting the ninja turtles.”

    “You’re no fun.”

    1. Observer Tim

      A clever and somewhat strange take, L García. I can see where Hailey might have a problem with the voice in her head, given the personality you’ve painted for her. Now that she’s decided to go for it, I wonder what comes next…

  22. E.C

    “Fifteen hundred?! For the root canal?” Marty garbled, his lips and cheek dropping from the numbing agent. A fat glob of drool dribbled down his face and onto the receptionist’s desk. A murderous glare leaked out from the top of her glasses as she plucked a tissue from the musty box on her desk.

    “Sir, we went over the price with you last week.” She spat, her lip curling up into a snarl.
    “Yes! My health insurance is supposed to cover half of it.” Marty explained sullenly. The receptionist wrung her hands.
    “Sir listen, I’m really sorry about that but the special kind of root canal they did had some extra stuff in it.” The receptionist suddenly seemed sympathetic. “Just, pay and leave.”
    Defeated and confused, Martin Clover pulled out his wallet and laid out his debit card. After the transaction Marty left, a worrisome man. “What the hell would they have done to my tooth?” He closed the door of his old Ford and took a deep breath.

    “Mr. Clover?” A muffled voice rang in his ears.
    “Huh? Who the hell?” He looked around and out the window but saw no one.
    “Mr. Clover, I’m inside you.”
    “In- inside?!” Marty leaned out his window and stuck his face into the wing mirror.
    “Your mouth Mr. Clover.” Marty opened wide and saw a faint blue light blinking on the inside of his mouth. “I have something you ask of you, on behalf of the Pentagon.” Marty said nothing. His mouth was already hanging open, no need for his jaw to drop any further. “Listen very carefully, Martin Clover. My name is Bart McHalle. I run a specific part of the Pentagon, spent five years in the FBI and ten in the CIA. I need you to do something very discreetly.” Martin closed his mouth and sat in his car, staring blankly at his hands.

    “Go on.” He said hesitantly.
    “We know you’re ex mafia.” Marty flinched at the word. “We know, you know Chekovski. We also know Chekovski still has business with you and we know what your purpose was in being in the mob.” Marty gulped pensively. “We know you were the wrangler, a John Wick kind of guy, we know you did jobs for everyone, never sticking to one group for long.” Martin’s head lowered as his body sagged.
    “We know what you did last summer.” His head snapped up, a look of terror flooding his features. His wavy dark hair was still gelled back, and his five o’clock shadow looked darker than usual. His thick eyebrows furled as he clenched his dry and scarred hands.

    “We know what you did last summer, and we want you to do it again.”

    1. Observer Tim

      Poor Marty; one little indiscretion and he ends up as a pawn for the Feds. Okay, maybe more than one (a lot more than one). This is a nice take on the prompt, EC. You’ve got me curious about what happens next.

  23. ShamelessHack

    Whoa, that was some visit to the dentist! My head’s swimming. I pay the receptionist and head for the car.

    Once in the car, I do a double take. A voice coming from my tooth says, “Fred. You’re going on a secret mission.”

    What! I look around, but no one’s near the car. The voice continues: “You know the quarry a few miles out of town?”

    I nod to the thin air, though I know that must look stupid. “Yeah, I know it.”

    “Good!” says the voice. Whoever’s in charge must be watching me. “Be there in twenty minutes.”

    I hightail it for the quarry.

    Once at the quarry I get out of the car and walk to the edge of the rock pit.

    “OK, that’s far enough,” says the voice from my tooth. “Stand there and don’t turn around.”

    “Wait a minute!” I yell. I’m furious. “Who are you?” I pick up a dead fern from the ground and jab it into my tooth. A tiny reptile squeezes out my molar, makes big eyes, jumps up to the bridge of my nose, and sticks his tongue out at me.

    “OK,” the little bugger says, “You can turn around now.”

    I whirl to find my wife standing there. She’s smiling.

    “Surprise, Fred! Happy Birthday!” In her hands, with a big bow wrapped around it, is that new bowling ball I was lusting after.

    “Yeah, Fred, have a good one.” I turn at the sound of another voice to find my best friend and his wife holding out a giant plate to me loaded with a four-inch thick steak, steaming hot.

    “Wow!” I’m almost in tears. I thought everyone forgot my birthday. “I’m such a dope. I’m the luckiest man in the world!”

    I’m about to say something else when Dino comes zooming from behind me, knocking me over.

    Pebbles giggles uncontrollably and jumps into my arms. I look up and eyeball my wife. “Where did you get the little lizard for my tooth?”

    Wilma crosses her arms across her chest and gives me a face.

    “What? You never heard of Geico?”

    1. RafTriesToWrite

      I loved this Hack! Even though one of the downsides of not being a native in your country is the loss on identifying references, I still had fun reading your work. Had to look up what Geico was, all I got was the insurance company Geico.

    2. pvenderley

      I frequently find myself impressed with the myriad of ways a writing prompt can go. You cleverly took this one in a unique and unexpected direction.

  24. Jay

    Note: the previous three parts can be found in the previous prompt for last week (Flight 213). Additionally, this part was finished before this week’s prompt was released, so the NEXT part will have the new prompt in it, and I’ll make sure it’s solidly ingrained.

    Darkness Comes, Part IV (Formerly Flight 213)

    Part 4 can be found below, and parts 1, 2, and 3 can be found in the previous prompt for last week: “Finish This Sentence #4” entitled Flight 213.

    Darkness Falls, Part V (formerly Flight 213)

    Breath, God damn it!

    I thought that as I looked down upon her motionless body. Her lungs refused to move. About all I did was tore open her blouse to allow room for her lungs to breathe in case it was restricting her, but it wasn’t helping. I knew that every moment her brain was deprived of air was another moment closer to either brain death or permanent damage. So, I rallied against my fear of not knowing what to do, and tried CPR anyway. I would rather have had her live and sue me for doing it wrong than her death be the consequence of my inaction.

    I tilted her head back for some g*ddamn reason. I had seen so many movies while lazing about my house that I believed this was something I should do. I don’t know what it did other than make it easier for me to access her lips. I took a deep breath and breathed into her. Her cold lips sickened and scared me, but I had hoped it was worth it.

    Nothing.

    Breathing in her again seemed like something I should do, but then I remembered I needed to pump her chest, but how? Sh*t.

    Using the meaty part of my hand, I pushed on her chest. I counted to six or seven, and then breathed into her again. I wasn’t sure if I was doing it hard enough, so I pumped harder this time. I heard her bones cracking, and I cringed. I thought to give up when suddenly she vomited water all over her face. I quickly pushed her over so she wouldn’t drown or choke on it more than she had already, and comforted her as she coughed the rest of it up.

    Nina was shaking, totally confused about what was going on. Probably she didn’t immediately remember the crash, and was likely wondering why she was coughing up water. However, everything must have come crashing back, and she started screaming and flailing.

    Her hands and arms smacked me a few times, and I had to quickly subdue her. Her wet clothes squished in my tight grip, and she looked up at me as if I was a stranger trying to hurt her. A split second later, she must have recognized me because she struggled to cuddle closed to me and held tight.

    “It’s okay, we’re okay now,” I said, though at the time I had no idea how utterly wrong I was. “You’re gonna be fine.”

    I held her for a long time, keeping her head buried in my chest. I didn’t want to free her because of the carnage surrounding us. Over here were bodies smashed under a seat that didn’t quite land the way it should have. Over there was the flight attendant’s body, sans head, impaled on a large tree. In another area, that small child whose mother protected her from the angry man, lay quietly with a small doll grasped in her arms. Her mother was not in this area from what I could tell.

    At some point, I wept. All of it was just too much. I knew it was the nature of life to begin and end, and no other circle existed. Perhaps there are sometimes breaks, perhaps sometimes that circle doesn’t end when it should, but the inexorable inevitability of life ending was certain. Despite my understanding of that, I wept for these people. Wept for those who weren’t on the plane who had suffered whatever happened while we were en route to Germany.

    After a while, I felt someone warm hand upon my face. For some reason, I imagine I was a little boy again, and my mother was comforting me. I remember a time when she was different. It was a long time before she had died that she was at all motherly to us, but it felt like she was right there to silence my cries and to pick me up through this frightening time.

    Opening my eyes, I expected to see my mother standing above me. Maybe all of this was just a dream and she was still alive and healthy. Perhaps my father wasn’t so f*cked up, and they loved me and my sister enough to protect us from even their own sometimes damaged emotions.

    Instead, I found Nina, but that was perfect. Sometimes I was eager to return to my childhood and live in an alternate universe where my family wasn’t so screwed up, but then I get to remembering that I am who I am today because of them. Truly, it wouldn’t have mattered to me if I had never met Nina, but because I did meet her, I couldn’t imagine going back and not getting the chance. Of that I was more than thankful.

    “Are you okay?” Nina asked, a thin smile on her face. I could tell she didn’t want to have any business smiling, but she did it for me.

    I returned the smile, struggling to keep it together. “I suppose. I just… I don’t know if I can do this.”

    “You saved me.”

    I remained silent. I didn’t think I saved her. I felt like it was my fault she was in this situation even though I knew deep down it wasn’t. I blamed my father for me feeling that way. He was always quick to blame me for everything once my sister left for college. Now I felt obligated to take the blame because if I didn’t, I felt like I was lying.

    “I’m sorry,” I finally said.

    She furrowed her brow. “For what?”

    I shrugged my shoulders and nodded. “All this. I feel like if I hadn’t got on this plane I—”

    She interrupted me. “You would have been down here when everything happened. Maybe we don’t know what it is, but we know it’s bad, right?” She sat up and cupped my chin in her hands. She was surprisingly strong for someone who almost just died. She said, “We’re safe. I would have died if it wasn’t for you.”

    I nodded in agreement, because she was right, but it didn’t make me feel any better. I ran my hand through her hair, and smiled. She was a mess, but nothing could have detracted from her natural beauty. She looked away, shy. I looked away, too, and heard something odd playing in the distance.

    “You hear that?”

    “What?”

    “Sounds like someone talking.”

    I stood and turned my head. I called out, “Where are you, I can’t see you!”

    There was no answer. I followed the sound as best as I could. I maneuvered around bodies and bits of plane fragments. I deliberately looked away from the fallen passengers to avoid getting sick again. It wasn’t exactly simple, but I did pretty well only because Nina stayed close behind me. Looking back at her every chance I got was an easy distraction.

    I paused when I heard the sound again, but this time it was a little louder, as if the person was right next to me.

    Nina said, “What is it? Did you find it?”

    I held up my hand to gently hush her while I listened. The man stopped speaking, but not before I realized from which direction the sound came.

    Looking down, I found a man supine in the muddy earth. He looked up at the sky with his torn face, shattered teeth, and eyes no less creamy than an ivory milk. I knelt down, expecting his face to move, and the sound continued.

    “You are the one we’ve been searching for.”

    Me?

    “Yes, you. You’re our only hope.”

    What the…?

    “We need you for a secret mission to infiltrate his lair. Can we count on you, soldier?”

    There was sound coming from this dead guy’s mouth, and I thought for sure I was losing my mind. I wanted so badly to believe that there was some other explanation, but I could think of nothing else other than the silly notion that this man had a tooth with a radio in it. I mean, with technology today, it wasn’t beyond reach to be able to do something like that, but who were they talking to?

    I looked the man up and down, and he did indeed have a badge on his hip. That might have been enough to make a believer out of me, but then I read the badge, and it turned out he was nothing more than an undercover TSA agent.

    “What’s going on?” Nina said stepping closer.

    I shook my head. “I don’t know. This guy’s making noise over here. Can you hear it?”

    “I did, but I don’t know what it is.”

    “Me either. I thought I was losing my mind.”

    “If you are, then we both are.”

    The voice emanated from his broken face again, and against all odds, I leaned closer. The sound wasn’t as clear as I had heard before, and through the man’s mouth the sound came again.

    I looked up at Nina and shrugged.

    She said, “Maybe it’s a radio. Look under him.”

    “A radio?”

    “Yeah. He’s an air marshal right?”

    I nodded. “I guess so.”

    “So, maybe there’s a radio down there than can help us. Maybe someone on the other end knows what’s going on.”

    “Okay,” I said, somehow fully convinced that it was okay to roll a dead guy over to see what’s under him.

    It wasn’t particularly hard, but it was thoroughly disgusting. He rolled over, and behind his head, there was a G.I. Joe planted in the mud. Probably it belonged to one of the passengers. I didn’t see any children nearby, but that didn’t mean none existed beyond my field of vision.

    I leaned to the side so Nina could see what was making that noise. She said, “Oh, well, it could have been a radio.”

    “I know, I was really hoping we’d find something.”

    As I stood up, my morbid curiosity got the better of me. I looked down his body again, and was thankful he wasn’t mangled any more than the trauma to his head. He clothes were mostly intact, though he had a gun that was missing from its holster. Next to it was a satellite phone. I quickly snatched it up and stood up to show it to Nina. Just as I turned, I saw a man holding the missing Glock to Nina’s skull, itching to pull the trigger.

    1. Observer Tim

      I got a little confused around the events, but that’s as much a result of getting into the head of the MC as much as anything. I wonder if and how he’s going to get himself and Nina out of this, or whether she’s going to return the favour and save his hide…

      This is gripping and engaging, Jay. Keep up the good work!

  25. hc_young

    “All done chief”, Dr. Jefferson DDS exclaimed cheerfully, tossing the bloody drill into the tray attached to the operating chair with a loud clatter.

    “Aww dun mah a**”, I groaned, aggravated. I swore to myself I’d never come to Dr. Jefferson DDS for any type of dental work ever again, much less a root canal. As far as I knew, the DDS probably stood for “Death Drill Surgeon” since it felt like all he did for the entire procedure was lay into my poor, exposed gums with his electric drill like some kind of psychopathic dental school dropout.

    Blood leaked out of the side of my mouth as I pushing myself out of the operating chair. I gingerly continued to voice my displeasure, “Huhts like hell, feel like you stuck someting in mah gums”.

    Dr. Jefferson’s eyes crinkled at the edges, suggesting a big, infuriatingly cheerful smile forming under his surgical mask. This was my first and only time at Jefferson’s clinic, but it was odd to me that he didn’t take off his mask and show his face even once.

    Crinkly smile still plastered on his face, he stood and gestured towards the reception area, “Oh don’t you worry, boss. Pain in the treatment area is very common following a root canal operation. After a few days of rest and a few Advils, you’ll be back to normal.”

    I stormed out towards the reception area and glared at the receptionist (who strangely enough was also wearing an operating mask). She flashed a thumbs-up and a similar fake, crinkly smile, “Sir, your insurance has everything covered. You’re good to go.”

    I grunted in acknowledgment, stumbled out of the clinic, and threw myself behind the wheel of my car, leaving a trail of blood in the parking lot. The pain, the anesthesia, and my rising aggravation were all tumbling together and making my head spin in a big, red, cloudy mess. Such was my delirium that I didn’t immediately notice the vibration in the tooth that I just had filled in.

    “Hello. Hello. HELLO!”, the vibration shouted.

    “Wha- wha the f***?!”,, I shouted back. “Who’s there?!”

    “Aherm. Hello, Mr. Sanderson. I am known as ‘Hamilton’. For all future correspondence with me and my associates, you will be referred to as ‘Patriot’.”

    I was too dumbfounded to speak. My jaw fell slack against my chest, as I listened to the mysterious voice give me orders from my own mouth.

    “You must forgive us, Patriot, for resorting to such crude measures to relay this message to you. Agent Thomas Jefferson is not actually a trained dentist – “

    I f*cking knew it, I thought.

    “But we needed a way to covertly introduce this communication chip into your body; a root canal was simply the perfect cover. You see…”, the voice broke off, trembling, and suddenly burst into laughter.

    “Aw f*ck it man, I can’t do it anymore! I can’t! Gahaha you gotta go outside dude, go outside and tell him!”

    I looked up and saw Thomas Jefferson DDS sprinting towards me, phone in one hand, the other waving wildly. His surgical mask was pulled down around his neck, revealing a college student’s face and an obnoxiously smug grin.

    He ran up to the driver side window and crouched down, holding his phone outwards to capture my bewildered, bloody face in the frame.

    “Ladies and bros, we just pulled off the ultimate prank, the Root Canal Secret Mission prank!”
    He shifted the camera to zoom in closer on my face. “Did we get you or what bro?!”

    I hate the Internet, I thought.

  26. jhowe

    I never should have trusted a Canadian dentist. The pain from the root canal is gone but the tooth speaks on. The dentist has implanted a device of some sort. I need to get word to headquarters, but foreigners abound everywhere. Who knows what agents this dentist has lurking about. I must resist the power of the tooth.

    A black car at the curb, you say? Yes, the same as in the dentist’s parking lot yesterday, I’m certain. Not now, tooth! I need my powers of concentration.

    A pay phone? Hmm, perhaps. But if I exchange my American dollars for Canadian quarters, I’ll be found out. The weather here is much warmer than I thought. I shouldn’t have worn this over coat.

    Hitchhike? Will you quit your incessant blabbering? How am I to think? Yes, hitchhiking might just work. I can use my talent for dialect to put the driver at ease.

    Oh, I see what you’re trying to do. Lure me into a trap. I get in the car and never see the light of day again. Talk all you want, tooth. I’ll not fall for your shenanigans.

    The U.S. Embassy? No, I won’t listen. No, I say! But, yes, that’s the answer. Reverse psychology will not work on me. I will go to the embassy.

    No, I will not tell the guards I have a gun. They won’t take kindly to that. Be quiet and let me do the thinking. There it is, right over there. For the last time, hush up!

    “I say old chaps. I need to get in right away. An evil dentist is on the loose. Pay no attention to the gun in my pocket. Here, let me show it to…..”

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Great story John. You had me nervous all the way through. I kept waiting for the looney wagon from Happty Acres to show up and drag your MC off to various shock treatments. But a fun trip never the less.

  27. Jay

    Note: the previous three parts can be found in the previous prompt for last week (Flight 213). Additionally, this part was finished before this week’s prompt was released, so the NEXT part will have the new prompt in it, and I’ll make sure it’s solidly ingrained.

    Darkness Comes, Part IV (Formerly Flight 213)

    When I woke up, a woman’s severed head was in my lap. The location of her body was unknown to me, but at the moment, it didn’t matter. She looked up at me with this frightened, dead stare that recounted in silence the terrifying details of the last moments of her life. Despite my revulsion, I couldn’t help but stare. Perhaps there was a part of me that was jacked up from the things my father did to my family while I was so young or perhaps it was shock that stirred in my this disgusting curiosity. Whatever it was, I didn’t allow it to last.

    Once alert of my own misaligned interest, I quickly pushed the head off my lap, and while doing it, there wasn’t a second that I didn’t retch or heave. Trying to keep my last meal in my body was no easy task as the head rolled through the mud and rocked to a stop near a passenger crushed under some part of the plane’s exterior; maybe a panel of some sort.

    I looked away, and took measured breaths. For a short while that cold feeling had overcome me as if I might pass out, but the breathing helped to regulate my panic and anxiety. Soon, I was no longer heaving or succumbing to deep guttural retching; however, it still felt as if there were a large number of small creatures swimming violently in my stomach. Of course, there was little I could do about that considering I was sitting in the wreckage of a vessel that carried more than a hundred people. The carnage was vast.

    Looking around at the aftermath was less about the curiosity that stuck me earlier and more about the need to take stock of reality. The plane didn’t crash exactly where I was at, of that I was certain. The debris looked spread out wildly, but many of the parts that were either the same weight or density remained close to each other as the trajectory had likely carried these pieces as far as they could. I was no scientist, though, and I suspected there was much more that went into it, at least more than my layman understanding of this disaster. Mulling it over wouldn’t make a lick of difference, though, and it mattered even less when I realized Nina wasn’t sitting next to me.

    Nina wasn’t just gone. Her seat was torn free from mine. I didn’t know a lot about planes, but I did know that the seats on this particular plane were meant to remain attached to each other, even during a crash. I guess it had something to do with weighing down the passengers from to bottom end so that the weight would shift the center of gravity, which would cause the passengers to land a** first instead of face first. Thankfully, I still managed to land right, but where was Nina and how did she fair?

    I frantically searched the wreckage, hoping to find her safely laying or sitting somewhere. When I didn’t immediately find her, the hard thumps in my skull as my heart pounded in my chest grew louder and louder. Remnants of my past rose in bits of fear that I would once again be left alone by someone I had truly cared about. Maybe I had known her for less than a day, there was a connection deep enough to cut my emotions.

    Ready to give up, I surveyed the area one last time. It was at that moment I finally saw her. She was a hundred yards away hanging limply from her seat near the embankment of the lake. Water lapped violently against the base of her seat as she remained completely motionless. From this distance, I couldn’t see her chest moving to see if she was breathing.

    She’s dead, I thought. Oh, God, she’s dead.

    Fighting the seat belt to get free seemed like an impossible feat. As easy as they’re supposed to come off, this one just wouldn’t release. It probably had a lot to do with the frustration and fear surrounding Nina, and I inadvertently made it more difficult to figure out how the latch worked. Eventually, I mastered it, and it released. I leapt out of the seat and ran to her.

    Having been mostly sedentary at work all these years, I had lost the stamina to run. Probably the crash had something to do with it, but the truth was I had grown lazy. They had forced me to do physical education in school, but once I was out, I didn’t feel the need to continue the torture. However, had I known the kind of torture it would be to try to run when you clearly can’t or shouldn’t, then I might have stuck with at least some form of exercise.

    I had to slow my run halfway to her. Heaving and gasping for air, I kept my eye on her, hoping her seat wouldn’t slide any further and sink into the lake. My hopes were futile, however, because the seat did in fact slip, and she crashed face-first into the water.

    “Nina!” I screamed, though I doubted she heard me.

    I sped up despite my burning chest and my heart feeling like it might explode. With my eyes fixed on her, I couldn’t watch where I was going, and so I tripped on something. I went down hard, my arms not nearly strong enough to catch the fall. My body planted into a bit of debris, and I coughed as the air escaped my chest faster than it was supposed to. Loud hoarse heaves were not nearly good enough to replace the air, but as I did that, I untangled my leg from the disembodied foot that had tripped me. I scrambled to my feet and continued toward Nina.

    The rest of the way there all I could think about was how much time I wasted falling, and I wondered if she was even still alive.

    I nearly fell going down the embankment, but managed to get into the water without taking a dive. She was fully submerged, the weight of the seat pulled her to the floor. It wasn’t particularly deep water, but deep enough to kill her.

    I went under, but couldn’t see sh*t. It was probably the dirtiest water I’d ever seen. Feeling around wasn’t as bad because there were clearly differences between her soft body and the rigid hardness of the seat. Eventually, I found the belt. I had to surface to get some air, but when I went back down, I found the belt again with ease. After releasing the latch, I spared no time wrapping my arms around her soaked body, and struggled to pull her to the surface. The dead weight was hard to manage. When I finally dragged her to the embankment, I was hindered by one thing I never thought I would need. I had no idea how to perform CPR. Nina was as good as dead.

    1. jhowe

      Dang, Jay. You keep ratcheting the tension. I was so glad when the head wasn’t Nina’s, but now there is an equal fear. I have no idea how you’re going to incorporate this week’s prompt, but I’ll be waiting.

    2. Observer Tim

      Okay, that’s an intense beginning to the week. I was worried that the first head might have been Nina’s, but you probably would have mentioned that. I’m looking forward to where this goes from here.

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