one hundred word story #72: Bedside manner

"Open wide," the dentist says. Clarissa hates the dentist. She hates the smell of his gloves and the brusque way he flosses her teeth, see-sawing between molars like he secretly wants to saw them all down. He always asks he questions when his hands are deep in her mouth. One day he asks her to recite the Quadratic Equation, then waits while her mouth fills with saliva. Clarissa takes this as a sign, and studies before her next doctor’s appointment--a pap smear. When the gynecologist says “Open wide,” Clarissa recites the Pythagorean Theorem. “Um, other end,” the doctor says.