I hope you enjoy the accents, the many bloopers and typos as much as the story as here is this week’s Queer Tango.
Episode 26: Sparkling Conversation
Miriam was in a good mood. She’d had a healthy, nutritious breakfast with the most beautiful woman in a bicycle helmet; walked to work with gentle sunshine bathing her face and the crisp air tickling her nostrils; she’d stopped by to get a trim in Diane’s salon, and waved to Hedges as she dashed into her van with an accordion in hand. Then, she’d turned into the off-road parking in her dental surgery to find two men in suits with severe expressions on their faces.
‘Do you have an appointment?’ she asked hoping they just wanted a filling.
‘Are you Miriam Dentedly?’ one of the men asked, his tone serious.
‘No, I’m Miriam the Dentist,’ she said with a polite smile. ‘Hence the large tooth logo on the wall.’
The other man looked at the tooth logo as if it was evidence of a crime. ‘So, you deny being Miriam Dentedly?’
Miriam glanced down the street wondering if the Bumblethorpe Bee had opened earlier than usual and two of its punters had wandered off intoxicated. ‘The word denial implies that I’m presumed to be someone I’m not in the first instance.’ She’d learned from her ex-husband, Neil, how to waffle when official people were impolite. ‘Is there a reason you’re so keen to find this woman?’
‘If you’re not Mrs Dentedly then we have no further business with you. Good day.’ The first man strode off followed by the second and Miriam stared after them wondering if she should call Lanie’s mum who was a psychiatric nurse and ask if they’d lost some in-patients.
Instead, she opened the door and smiled at the scent of strong disinfectant and mouthwash. She was delighted Lanie encouraged her to go back into dentistry.
‘Mrs Dentedly,’ one of the men said from behind her. ‘You have shown yourself up.’
Miriam half turned sure they were talking to her… and, yes, they were. ‘I’m not Mrs Dentedly, thank you. I’m Miriam who is a dentist but there are no other dents unless you count the top bar on my bicycle.’
‘You own this premises do you not?’ the second man asked, striding in and surveying the reception with suspicion.
‘Yes.’ She folded her arms. Janis and Ceri were due back in work but she’d given them the morning off to sort out the admin that came with marriage. ‘This is a dental surgery and I’m a dentist… as I said.’
‘Mrs Dentedly, we have reason to believe that you are selling medically controlled substances to your patients.’ The first man said and tapped his clipboard.
‘Do you mean prescriptions?’ She tapped the noticeboard with her name on it. ‘These are medical qualifications… so as a dentist… I prescribe or perform dental surgery… but I’m not Mrs Dentedly.’
‘I ask you to accompany us down to the station for questioning.’ The second man tapped his clipboard.
‘No.’ Miriam folded her arms. ‘But you can tell Trevor that if he’s going to send pretend policemen, he needs to find better actors.’ She pursed her lips. ‘And it’s illegal to pretend to be a police officer.’
The two men exchanged a glance. ‘We’re the dental police.’
‘The what?’ Miriam asked with confusion.
‘The DID,’ the second man said. ‘Dental Investigations Department.’
Miriam pulled her phone out of her pocket. ‘Then, as you’re such slick investigators, you’ll understand that I’ll need to call my legal representation, Plimsole.’
They exchanged another glance.
‘You can call them when we get to the station,’ the first man said.
‘Or not,’ Miriam said and dialled Paulette’s number. Hopefully, she’d play along. ‘Hi, it’s Miriam,’ she said to Paulette’s answering machine like Paulette wouldn’t know who she was. ‘I’ve been accosted by two men saying they are the dental police… I need your legal representation… um hum… yep… no… they haven’t even given me their names… police matter, you say… severe penalty?’
The two men exchanged another glance and hurried out.
Miriam chuckled. ‘Thank you, Plimsole, for your assistance. I’ll fill you in when we’re in class.’ She pocketed her phone as Ceri bustled up the driveway, checking her step monitor. ‘Didn’t I give you the morning off?’
Ceri let out a breath. ‘Our appointment was cancelled and the registrar asked why we were filing for an annulment.’
Miriam rolled her eyes. ‘How well did he know Trevor?’
‘He didn’t, thankfully, and when I explained, he suggested I get an injunction.’ She smiled an exasperated smile and placed her handbag in the staff room and changed into her nurse’s scrubs. ‘He tried to block my application for training too.’
‘I know, I rang my friend at the dental college and set it right.’ Miriam put on the kettle as Ceri buzzed around cleaning the already clean surgery. ‘Did you have a nice honeymoon?’
‘Yes, we visited Janis’ family in Wales. Lovely people but they do talk very fast.’ Ceri chuckled and set up the examination room, checked her steps, then scrubbed the counter. ‘The girls were glad to see us come home.’
‘Did they stay with Trevor?’ Miriam sat on her chair and sipped at her tea.
Ceri picked up her tea then smiled. ‘No, they stayed with Glynnis.’
‘Explains why he sunk her boat then.’ Miriam flicked through the files on her desk. ‘Shame Janis can’t fix it with gum… she’s good with gum.’
Ceri smiled a doting smile. ‘It was lovely just to spend time with her. I took her rambling and it was lovely to see her relax. She’s always so busy.’
Miriam nodded as Ceri washed the floor, double checked the schedule, cleaned the counter again, sipped her tea, checked her steps then texted the girls to check they had lunchboxes. ‘Yes, some people find it hard to relax.’
Janis poked her head in. ‘You need the toilet fixed?’
‘Hi, Janis, how was your honeymoon?’ Miriam said with a gentle smile then nodded to the cup she’d left on the counter. ‘Why don’t grab some tea before you work?’
Janis stared at her with the usual disbelief that someone was talking to her. ‘Ta.’ She grabbed the cup and gave Ceri a shy smile before clearing her throat. ‘That ceiling needs a touch up.’
Miriam looked up. It was pristinely white and flawless… how Janis had left it. ‘You’d be a wonderful cosmetic dentist.’
‘Ta.’ Janis stared into her cup.
‘Did you enjoy rambling?’ Miriam asked as Ceri swished about, tidied the reception desk, swept the reception floor, adjusted the chairs, checked her steps then texted the girls to remind them that she loved them and they were going on holiday together soon… to Wales… again.
‘Was alright, yeah,’ Janis said keeping one eye on Ceri and the other on the ceiling. ‘Girls would have liked the walking which is why we’re taking them back.’
‘They would have liked it,’ Ceri chimed as she bustled by.
‘Don’t think they’d have enjoyed how my feet looked when I took my shoes off.’ Janis chuckled then stared into her cup. ‘Good kids, they are.’
‘They are,’ Ceri said as she dusted the wall, then started on sanitising the surgical utensils.
‘But it was nice to be alone… together… yes?’ Miriam tried to hide her smile.
Janis blushed. ‘We rambled.’
‘We did.’ Ceri was blushing too.
‘You got married. It’s okay to ramble.’ Miriam smirked then turned to her notes. ‘Or in Lanie’s case, cycle.’
Ceri chuckled as she re-sanitised the already sanitised equipment. ‘I feel guilty that I went off an had such a wonderful time and they were stuck at home.’
‘With Glynnis who most likely spoiled them and enjoyed getting to be around them,’ Miriam said then checked her patient list. ‘Right?’
‘Yes,’ Ceri said as she set up the equipment. ‘They went to theme parks and did adventure activities… they were thrilled.’ She sighed. ‘I still feel guilty. Janis is very patient about it.’
‘I feel guilty too.’ Janis eyed the ceiling again then finished her cup and studied her toes. ‘Took them for a walk earlier. They like walking.’
‘They do,’ Ceri said and took Janis’ cup. ‘We all enjoyed the walk up Bumblethorpe Hill but the ice cream van hadn’t set up yet.’
Miriam smiled. ‘Then you should call up there at lunchtime.’
‘Can’t,’ Janis said with a grunt. ‘Have to go fix Glynnis’ boat.’
‘I don’t think gum will work no matter how much I appreciate your skill with it.’ Miriam flicked to the file of her first patient: George.
‘Did some work in the docks one summer,’ Janis said as if that wasn’t out of character. ‘My dad had a friend who made fourteen footers.’
‘I’ve no idea what that is… but I’m delighted.’ Miriam tried to catch Janis’ gaze but Janis cleared her throat then looked back up to the ceiling. ‘Okay, I’ve made you talk long enough… go play with tools.’
Janis grinned then headed out.
‘Strong and silent type still, huh?’ Miriam asked as she flicked through George’s tooth x-rays. Fried food wasn’t good for his molars. ‘Or did you manage more conversation?’
‘Only if it was about the girls.’ Ceri dusted the file then headed to the doorway. ‘But… when she does talk, it’s very worthwhile.’ She thumbed in the direction of the window. ‘Unlike Trevor who never shut up and never said anything useful.’ She hung her head out of the door. ‘George?’
‘I can’t believe Trevor is still trying to cause trouble,’ Miriam said then swirled on her seat as she grabbed some new gloves.
‘He’s been like it since I won the court case,’ Ceri said then ducked her head out of the door again. ‘George, you have to let go of the seat before you can move.’
‘For custody?’ Miriam’s phone beeped and she removed her gloves and checked it. Lanie was on a training day about a new type of fabric fastening and she clearly was riveted by the snoozy face and plea to rescue her and take her for ice cream.
‘No, I won that years ago. This case was him claiming that I’m harassing him and stealing his property.’ Ceri tapped the doorframe. ‘George, you can’t hide behind Mrs Thomas, and please put the coat stand down. I can see you… you need to come in for your check up.’
‘Stealing?’ Miriam texted Lanie back telling her George was dancing with a coat stand without inhaling anything medicinal.
‘He said that he owned Janis’ house and I’d forged the documents to say otherwise.’ Ceri folded her arms. ‘George, put the coat stand down.’
Miriam leaned onto her desk. ‘Tell him, I’ll give him a root canal if he holds me up any longer.’
George and coat stand appeared in the doorway. ‘Hi.’
Ceri wrestled the coat stand off him and handed it to Janis who grunted at George and carried it back out to the reception.
‘Hi,’ Miriam said and motioned to the chair. ‘I take it that honeymoon didn’t relax you then?’
George grinned. ‘We had fried food, good drinks and…’ He cleared his throat. ‘We went on a paddleboat.’ He blushed then shrugged. ‘I like the paddleboats.
Miriam nodded. ‘You’re married, paddle boating is allowed.’
Ceri smirked. ‘Take a seat.’
George held onto he doorframe.
‘You really need to sit down, Dentist can’t fix your teeth standing up… health and safety says so,’ Ceri said with a furrowed brow.
‘Yes, the Dental Investigations Department might accost me,’ Miriam said reading over his notes. ‘Root canal is looking good.’
George jumped onto the chair and stuck his glasses on.
Miriam disinfected her hands, put her gloves on and wheeled over. ‘Diane said you were wincing when you ate on your right side.’
‘She did?’ George said like he’d been grassed on.
‘Yes, and you yelp when you clean that side.’ Miriam smiled then tapped her mirror to his chin. ‘Open.’
‘We only got back early this morning,’ George mumbled then closed his mouth everytime she tried to look inside. ‘How’d you know?’
‘My hair looks lovely, thank you,’ Miriam said then held up her pick. Diane had filled her in on their paddle boating already. ‘I can start poking your chin.’
He opened his mouth. ‘I..sh… no… th… ain…ful.’
‘Well Diane says it’s that painful so you’ll have to put up with me looking,’ Miriam said as George tried to bat her hand away. ‘I’ll get Janis to pin you to the chair again.’
George’s eyes widened. ‘Sh… ron…g.’
‘I know she is. It’s all the rambling,’ Miriam winked at Ceri who blushed then fanned herself with her face mask. ‘Your back molar has a cavity… I’ll need to put a filling in.’
George’s eyes widened.
‘A tiny one… but we’ll tell Diane it was massive and you were brave.’ Miriam wheeled to her counter as Ceri prepared the injection. ‘You know she’ll dote on you.’
George wiped his glistening brow. ‘I dunno.’
‘I’m giving you a filling or it’ll get worse and I’ll have to wrench the tooth out with Janis’ help.’ Miriam smiled knowing she looking like her aunt who had been a dentist… and probably an interrogator on the side.
George swallowed and rubbed at his chin. ‘You will?’
‘Yup.’ She took the injection from Ceri hidden under a cloth then wheeled back over. ‘It’ll be all numb so you won’t feel it.’
George clamped his mouth shut.
‘I can just jab your lip first and it’ll open by itself?’ Miriam smiled and she really must look like her aunt. She used to make her patients scream just by smiling at them.
George opened his mouth and Miriam injected his gum.
‘Did you fix it?’ George asked, wincing.
‘No, now you go and wait and we’ll call you in when the anaesthetic has worked.’ Miriam placed the needle away. ‘Without violating my coat stand.’
George shot out of the chair and into the reception room.
‘Do you think we need Janis to man the exit, again?’ Miriam asked as she turned back to her files.
‘I don’t know, he’s fainted across three of the seats,’ Ceri mumbled peering out of the door. ‘Mrs Thomas?’
Mrs Thomas shuffled in, confusion and panic in her eyes. ‘George doesn’t look very well. Was the procedure unpleasant?’
‘He’s only had the injection,’ Ceri said with a roll of her eyes. ‘Hopefully we won’t have to pin him down again.’
Mrs Thomas’ eyes widened with alarm. ‘Is it that painful?’
‘No, he’s a baby,’ Miriam said then disinfected, changed gloves, then took fresh equipment from Ceri and wheeled over. ‘And you needn’t worry, Mrs Thomas, you don’t have any teeth for me to work on.’
Mrs Thomas nodded. ‘Had them all taken out… easier.’
‘I’m sure it is.’ Miriam checked over her gums then placed the mould into her mouth. ‘But I think George might need more than an injection if we try removing his teeth.’
‘…u…no… hy…,’ Mrs Thomas said around her mould. ‘…shn’t… ha… ain…ful.’
‘George thinks me looking inside his mouth with a mirror is painful, that’s why,’ Miriam said then glanced up at the door. ‘I hear the coat stand, where is he?’
‘Unless your coat is going out for an early lunch then he’s taking the coat stand toward the door,’ Ceri said then left the room. ‘Jan… will you sit him down?’
‘Course,’ Janis grunted from the direction of the toilets.
‘We needed a toilet seat replaced,’ Miriam said as Mrs Thomas sat there patiently with goop in her mouth. ‘Janis is fantastic.’
Mrs Thomas flexed her mouth. ‘…hy… let…eed… ix?’
‘Oh, it needed fixing because Stan tried to escape through the window when he had a check- up… got stuck in the window halfway and the firemen tried to stand on the seat to get a better angle and broke it.’ Miriam checked on the mould.
‘ot… ike… eed…es?’ Mrs Thomas asked glancing at the doorway as scuffling sounds broke out.
‘Stan’s fine with needles but he has a phobia of the polishing tool,’ Miriam said then removed the mould. ‘Is he trying to tango out there?’
Janis poked her head in. ‘He won’t let go of the stand… and he’s wedged himself in the hallway.’ She rolled up her sleeves. ‘I’ll sort it.’
Ceri bustled in, took the mould, ran the paper work, polished the counter, polished Mrs Thomas’ glasses, her handbag and her shoes then helped her off the chair. ‘The teeth should be ready to pick up in a week or so.’
Mrs Thomas nodded and popped her old ones in. ‘Thank you, dear,’ she mumbled then wandered into the reception area. ‘I know you’re busy fighting Janis, George, but would you mind passing me my coat?’
‘Sl…uuu…re,’ George slurred.
‘Janis, you can carry him in now, his mouth is numb enough,’ Miriam called as she read her text from Paulette who was wondering why she was legal representation.
George shrieked then something clumped.
‘It’s almost like being in class,’ Miriam said with a shake of her head as she responded to Paulette. ‘Is he trying the waltz?’
Janis hauled a flailing George in over her shoulder. ‘He nearly took out the plasterboard in the porch.’ She slumped him down onto the seat. ‘You need me to pin him?’
Miriam peered over her glasses. ‘If Ceri closes the door maybe he’ll behave long enough to get his filling.’
Janis nodded. ‘I’ll get back to the toilet.’
George shivered. ‘ayyy… ooo… onng…’
Janis raised an eyebrow and walked out.
‘She is strong but like I said, it’s the rambling.’ Miriam yanked down his jaw and started to clean out the decay. ‘You waltzed okay at the wedding though.’
‘…ied… an… iane… add… eel… ohaps.’ George’s panicked eyes flicked to and fro as she filled the cavity and smoothed it over.
‘Ah, I thought her shoes looked different,’ Miriam said as she set the filling. ‘Steel toecaps… good idea.’
He nodded. ‘oou… illin… et?’
‘I’ve done the filling, don’t eat or drink anything for an hour or so and I’ll see you for a check up in a few months.’ Miriam turned back to her desk and pulled off her gloves.
‘…ooou… al…dy… un… it?’ George stared at her with hope.
‘Yup.’ Miriam nodded to him. ‘Please try not to harass the coat stand on the way out.’
George leapt off the chair and sprinted out.
Ceri shook her head. ‘We should have a slipway for those exiting at speed.’
Miriam leaned back onto her desk and smirked. She did so love being a dentist. ‘Yes, it must down to my sparkling conversation.’