Burnt to Drill – a flash fiction



Burnt (it) to Drill (away)


Grrrr swisshshssh grrrrrrrr shhhhh

The shrill swishy sound sent shivers down my spine as I lay stiff on the stretched chair, my eyes squinting from the glary light peeping inside the dark glasses that the doc made me wear.

Grrr Grrrrrrrrrrr…

It was sheer relief every time the jarring drill stopped and I got a chance to sit upright to spit out a mouthful in a little basin.

Each time I did that, my eyes opened wide and my mouth left agog at the sight of an overpowering painting on the facing wall – a flaming red guitar that seemed enigmatic in the focused light of the surgery.

This happened a million times before the doctor finally showed me all that he took out from my mouth.

I looked at the guitar one last time and came out towards the reception.

“Can I ask you something, doc?  Why that picture in your surgery?” I asked hesitatingly

“Oh! That? That was my dream thrill, this is my daily drill”, his voice sounded excited while the laughter was shallow.

“Aww!  May be you can still pursue it in your free time” I suggested,  while hoping I understood his poetic statement.

Hah! A doc with a free time? Maybe one day”

I came out thinking. Next week I’ve my entrance exam for medical college. I’m sure I too do not love medicine.

~~~ ~~~

My last minute story for the weekly challenge Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by Priceless Joy.  The picture prompt from pixabay.


15 thoughts on “Burnt to Drill – a flash fiction

  1. Love how you opened this flash fiction. Certainly the sounds we hear when the dentist is doing work in our mouth. And yes, my dentist does make me wear those dark glasses which always seem to be slipping off my small head 😀

    The guitar painting is an interesting touch to the story and characters. Maybe it symbolised a life that was to the dentist, or perhaps it is there to distract his patients, or maybe both. Don’t we all want free time, time that we can sit back and do absolutely nothing. No distractions and only ourselves to listen to and recharge – sounds like that is what the patient is feeling. Maybe he forsees pain ahead if he goes to medical school, just like he was feeling physical pain in the chair.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mabel! Even though I had young male in my mind, but of course we all can relate to it, we all have heard the grrrr sound while we wait for the ordeal to be over. I once had one root canal that was very scary.

      Your critical analysis is great. That painting, quite an oddity in a somber surgery or a clinic, can be symbolic of any number of things. The dentist (I refer to as doctor) was once passionate about music, his dreams were burnt and that’s why he likes such pics. Or else he uses the pic to distract patients away from their dental anxiety while they notice, admire or even question about this glary pic.

      Here we have a responsible professional who does his duty well but fulfills and dwells on his long forgotten dream by looking at this visual piece. Likewise, this patient could be undergoing any number of sentiments on seeing the painting. Hence after getting a reply from the dentist, he himself is left confused. As if his subconscious mind is guiding him.
      Now…that was a serious discussion about a dentist and his client 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Alka, I like the way your story unfolds and says so much, not just about the experience of a patient but the doctor and the author. Putting so much into few words is an art and I appreciate it.

    I have been blessed with healthy teeth and have never heard the grr..rrrrr sound…touch wood! but I was reminded of a humorous poem by Ogden Nash – ‘This is Going to hurt a Little Bit’ in which he gives a vivid description of his agony in a dentist’s chair with hyperboles!
    Here is an extract :
    And your mouth is like a section of road that is being worked on.
    And it is all cluttered up with stone crushers and concrete mixers and drills and steam rollers and there isn’t a nerve in your head that you aren’t being irked on.

    I like one thing about this profession which is flexibility. Doctors can choose to work as many hours as they want to, go into private practice or slog for long hours. Another advantage is that they never retire! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing a power-packed story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Balroop for appreciating my story and for sharing a poem. It’s good to know there are others who have a similar humorous take on their dental experiences.
      You’re lucky if you didn’t have to experience this grrrrrr…:) Although I’ve heard tales about others’ experiences, my own experience is quite limited…one root canal and one wisdom tooth extraction, and both were equally bad. I didn’t go to a dentist after that and who knows this neglect may get me into trouble. Prevention is better than…
      Doctors are a necessity for any society, and it can be a very satisfying profession for those who care. Sadly, many students opt for med as it gives ample scope of earning money. No offense meant towards anyone.


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