A black tooth fell out of Lulu Quail’s mouth today. Ms. Quail was watering the garden in front of her house on Summer Street when the tooth fell into the cup of a tulip. The tooth hit a bee who was busy cross-pollinating. The bee fell dazed on the ground before it recovered its senses and buzzed onto the next flower. The black tooth stayed in the cradle of the petals.
The top of the tooth was white. The rest was as black as a slender, short piano key tuned to F sharp. It was as big as a baby’s pinkie nail. Lulu Quail was startled at first. Then she doubled over with pain. Her jaw ached her whole head, down her neck and down to the ring finger of her left hand. She felt like her molar’s empty socket was being ground by a rough pestle. She felt faint but, though she is slender as a sparrow, she is tough as a buzzard.
Lulu Quail walked to CVS, her head throbbing and her eyesight blurry. She bought a box of Anbesol and poured one bottle right onto the sore spot. It brought temporary half-relief. With the pain subsided to a stinging ebb, Ms. Quail walked home and made a dental appointment.
Toothpaste in a tube was invented in New London. So were orthodontic braces. The city is well known as a place full of perfect smiles. New London’s municipal water supply is Lake Konomoc, a reservoir that is infused with the highest quality fluoride allowable under federal law. Lulu Quail is an anomaly in a city of dental health.
New London dentists are never busy. No one knows how they make a living. Ms. Quail easily got an emergency appointment. The doctor examined her mouth and told her he had never seen a case like this. He carved a replacement for Ms. Quail from a slug in his scrimshaw collection. It looks better than the original and it holds an edge.
With a new tooth set snugly where it belongs, Lulu Quail is no longer in pain. The new tooth is the best looking in her mouth. She smiles prettily again.