Escape! Feat. Floss. (2020 Winner)

By Natalie (Arizona)

“Bite the bullet, Oaklynn. Get it over with!” Mom said.

“If I do that, Mom, I won’t be able to ever bite again. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even die.”

“We’re here!” Mom chirped. “Hurry up!”

“But Mom, don’t you love me? You’re sending me to my death.”

“Come on, honey, this isn’t the time to fight.”

I brightened up: “Will there be a right time later on?” She glared at me.

Dragging my feet through the door, I was greeted by a wrinkly, old woman. She smiled, but that didn’t fool me. “Are you ready for your appointment, dear?”

“Nope,” I turned to leave. Mom grabbed my shoulders and marched me to a chair.

“Come on, Oaklynn. If you don’t get your cavity filled, it’ll get worse.”

Well, I was officially on my own. I scanned the waiting room, and started plotting my heroic battle and epic escape.

My eyes wandered over to the bowl of stickers on the counter. Stickers! I had a brilliant idea.

“Oaklynn Summers,” a voice rang out.

Oh no. I wasn’t ready yet. Panicking, I grabbed my chair and curled up like a toddler. Heroic? No. Effective? Maybe. Chuckling, the dental hygienist came to my side. “That’s you, honey. You’re our final patient for the day. Just take some deep breaths and follow me; we’ll have you back here in no time.”

My Mom joined in: “Oaklynn Mae Summers, get up right now or you won’t have dessert for a month.” Ouch. My Mom and the dental hygienist left the waiting room and went deeper into the dentist’s lair.

I turned around and headed for the parking lot. My battle had not been epic, but I figured that if I walked fast, I could be in my tree house in half an hour. Unfortunately, Dr. Trout, the dentist, caught up to me. “Oaklynn, try to be reasonable. If we don’t fill that tooth now, you’re going to be in a lot of pain later on, and blah yadda ya blah blah…” My Mom came over and steered me back toward my doom.

I slipped free of my Mom and dashed to the sticker bowl, grabbing dozens of princesses, fluffy animals, and superheroes. Stunned by my weird behavior, all three adults stopped dead in their tracks and watched as I peeled the stickers. I jumped on a chair and slapped princess stickers over my Mom’s eyes. “This has gone far enough!” my Mom thundered. Before anyone could do anything, I did the same to the hygienist and the dentist and ran for the door. Glancing back, I giggled at the commotion that filled the hallway.

Grabbing the doorknob, disaster struck. How could I have forgotten the wrinkly old receptionist? “Missy! You aren’t getting away on my watch. Not if I can help it.” Sputtering, I cried, “Oh yeah! Well, you… you… I’m sorry. You know, I’m not normally like this. I just, well, you know.”

“Yeah, we know,” Dr. Trout sighed. I was trapped. The receptionist blocked the door and the three others surrounded me. But I wasn’t done fighting. Sometimes you have to give a little up to win, and I had a plan. “You know,” I said in my most exhausted voice, “maybe we ought to call it a day.” The hygienist disagreed, “We still have time. If you’ll just come on back–”

I ran back to the procedure area, and climbed onto the counter. To the horror of all the adults, I climbed on top of the cabinet — the ultimate place of refuge! My Mom yelped: “Oaklynn, you are eight years old. Stop acting like a baby.”

I smiled. “Not until you promise to let me go home right now and never ever see a dentist again.” All three adults blabbered on like earlier about the importance of maintaining good dental health. I started rummaging through a box of toothbrushes and floss that was next to me on the cabinet. One of the floss labels read: “Strong floss. Won’t break.”

“That’s perfect!” I shouted. “So you’ll come down, then?” pleaded Dr. Trout.

“Just a second!” Quickly, I ripped open a new toothbrush and floss onto it. I hurled the toothbrush around the swinging arm of the dentist’s adjustable light like a grappling hook.

“Look out below!” I jumped off that cabinet like a great explorer. As I sailed through the air, clinging to my floss, visions of heroism and victory filled my head. Mom screamed, the hygienist fainted, and Dr. Trout stood there stunned.

Freedom was amazing. It was also short-lived. Crack! The toothbrush snapped in half. Smack! My two front teeth chipped after I landed face first on the polished, grey floor tile. Ironically, the floss didn’t break. It really was that strong!

Waiting in the hospital to be checked out for concussion, I overheard Mom talking to Dad on her cellphone, “We’ll go back tomorrow so Dr. Trout can fix Oaklynn’s chipped teeth and fill her cavity. Can you take some time off to come to the appointment with me?”

I wasn’t too worried. I had a plan. Before I left the dentist’s office, I had grabbed the bits of my broken teeth and shoved them in a pocket. I know where Dad keeps the superglue at home. I can fix my own teeth. No problem.

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