The Vanishing Editor And Other Mysteries

I know you’re just dying to know if the EDL got finished last week. I know I am. I phoned Answerphone Editor just now and she told me that Alistair–the editor with access to the all-important Avid Film Composer–has disappeared. Much like my Gieves & Hawkes collection of formal wear, Kirstie Alley’s svelte figure or the Taliban’s luck. There is no sign of any of them. Apparently several messages have been left with Alistair but he has not responded so is presumably out of the country with the Major Motion Picture that currently pays his wages plus my EDL (which does not).

There is much rolling of eyes and shaking of fists in the Ascalon household although I don’t quite feel like wearing the hair shirt just yet. Nevertheless, split infinitives aside, until this little project is finished, I remain stuck in the proverbial rut. All those dreams of getting a top-notch super-dooper dope-fly agent have to stay on the shelf where they gather dust and a team of industrious spiders liberally applies cobwebs. Still, there’s no flies on me. Ho ho ho.

To add to my Yuletide joy, I went to the dentist yesterday morning. This is my new dentist who I’ve only seen once before. The previous one–the nice woman dentist with the cornflower blue eyes peering into my yawn over her surgical mask–moved on earlier this year. I liked her and not least because she never gave me a filling in seven years but simply polished my teeth a little whiter each time. Bleem bleem!

Anyway, I have a deep mistrust of dentists and the reason isn’t to do with pain or fear or things like that. It’s to do with the fact that they get paid for the actual work they carry out. I always suspect that fillings are a way of earning a little extra cash to pay for a holiday in the sun or installments on a new sports car or Christmas. Blue-eyed Diana never succumbed to these temptations.

Imagine my delight then when Mr New Dentist–who peers into my yawn through something resembling a compact telescope–tells me it is time for new X-rays and these should be taken every two or three years. I actually find that hard to swallow (pun intended) as X-rays cause cancer, or so I’ve always been led to believe. Anyway, he’s the qualified one with all the letters after his name so I chew on some film for a few seconds–the closest I’ve got to having celluloid images in my hand this month–and he takes his snaps.

Then he discovers a chipped filling and a tiny amount of decay. “Nothing to worry about. We’ve caught it early,” he quips with the same casual tones as a man who’s just netted the crocodile that ate his mother-in-law. Nothing to worry about for him, he means. He doesn’t have to endure some wild-eyed technician sticking a small vacuum cleaner in his numbed mouth while he drools unattractively for twenty minutes. He’s just paid for his kids to get that all-important PlayStation2 system (or maybe he wants it for himself). And I don’t have insurance.

Oh, happy happy joy joy.

Yes, ’tis Christmas, folks, and still no sign of Fate & Fortune. My teeth are gleaming and perfect, however–which despite my complaints I’m actually extremely grateful for–and my larder is stocked to bursting point with goodies, nibbles and seasonal beverages. The shopping is done, the cards are sent, the decorations are out of the attic (where do all those old cardboard boxes come from?) and I’ve only to get the tree.

I feel ready.

Bleem bleem!

December 21st

Still no EDL. Still no returned phone calls from vanishing editors. Still no second film. Still no earth shattering move forward in my career, merely the same kind of delays you’d expect if it was run by a French trade union. I practice my meditation. Apart from that, this…

…I always suspect that fillings are a way of earning a little extra cash to pay for a holiday in the sun or installments on a new sports car or Christmas…

I turned up early at the surgery today and listened in to various conversations between other patients and the receptionist. These were along the lines of, “Why has my monthly insurance gone from �21 to �55? When I haven’t had any treatment done?” and the receptionist saying, “Well, I just work here but lots of people have been complaining.”

Mr New Dentist, the faux-jolly receptionist elf confided, has actually been doing a LOT of work on nearly every patient. Then satan’s little helper smiled sickly sweet as she charged someone �7.50 for painkillers and put the boot in by saying the previous dentists used to give them for free. Luckily the reading materials on offer were still free and I buried myself in something suitably deep and intellectual. Deep in the pages of a story about the effects of food colouring on eating habits, I continued my covert listening activities.

Further eavesdropping revealed that the previous two dentists had been seeing many many patients for the past five years and longer and doing very few fillings. Just check ups and teeth polishing. (Bleem bleem). Mr ND has been catching up with what he thinks is a backlog. Now how come two dentists give a clean bill of health and another one tuts and doubles his income overnight? Very very suspicious, if you ask me.

My filling is done. My mouth aches from being injected, drilled and filled and my bank manager winces from this month’s cash hemorrhage. I sign myself up for various overtime stints over the Christmas period (in accordance with the latest Motley Fool directive for staying sane and solvent).

Meanwhile, having had the nice dentist for seven years, I am wondering if Mr Entrepreneurial Dentist is actually a real dentist with real qualifications and stuff. I once had a dentist told me that stealing dental equipment was actually surprisingly common because it’s worth so much money. Erk. My suspicious mind has conjured up this scenario where a dental school dropout sets up a bogus practice with stolen kit. Surely only a deviant would have ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ in their waiting room?

Bleem bleem anyway. Now I must dash to find somewhere to trash this stash of chocolate wrappers from the cache of Christmas goodies I’ve just raided. Back in a flash.