The Hygienist

Earl and I were watching the new girls dance down at Sterling’s. Well, not really new, but poached from the old place just across.

“Here’s how I ended up dating my hygienist,” Earl started.

“Okay, let’s hear it.” I turned to him just slightly and multi-tasked with my peripheral.

“During the first couple of sessions, I promised her that I’d floss my teeth like every day, the full week’s stretch, but of course, it was just plain talk.”

“So, you basically lied.”

“No, I was just avoiding confrontations.”

“Okay, but you still lied.”

“Let me put it this way,” he looked down as if in deep thought and then continued, “think of me as a weekender Grizzly bear on hibernation.”

“I don’t get it. Grizzly bears don’t floss.”


One of the girls then started climbing up the pole. Both Earl and I cheered her on as she went higher, I thought she strained her neck when it graced the ceiling.

“So, flossing your teeth for just five instead of seven days a week landed a good impression? Is that what you’re saying?”

“I wouldn’t know for sure really, but something about my ‘dysfunctional lifestyle’ sort of got her going somehow.

I mean, that’s what she muttered half-asleep the last time.

Chin resting in one palm, I sat there still rather amused.

“I guess some people feel responsible for broken things, even if they are not theirs to fix in the first place.” He then eventually retorted to my non-committal silence.”




Bad hangovers are made for the weekends, I kept on convincing myself while groping for the eyeglasses hiding somewhere on the nightstand.

Beads of sweat were so overly ripe they must be the size of marbles when they rolled over across my back,

falling like meteors;

sketching warm lines.

I should get up soon, lest the day will be snatched away once again by sleep.

Parched, I feel like a blue whale docked on a tropical beach somewhere in Africa — I’m pretty sure I vomited Jonah out sometime last night.




Twenty-three at the time, standing on a grassy slope, he fixed his gaze upon the sun as it threatened to set, observing how the now diminished lights were gradually tucking themselves at the hems of the horizon. He then stumbled upon an old memory, of his father, as he shielded his eyes from a ray of light that burst after a patch of cloud scuttled past it — a splintered memory in the monsoon rain one evening as they walked home. However old, it was undeniably clear that he could still trace the warm line it once made. But that time is long past, and like a two-minute dream that ended way too soon, the reminiscence was interrupted by a whiff of cow manure that the still air carried. He then climbed down the hill following the animal path, which led him back to town.