Monday, November 28, 2011

The Beaver, the Lie and the Dentist's Office

The Beaver, the Lie and the Dentist’s Office

As she noticed people starting to glance their way, Nan hissed, “Would you please keep your voice down?  I can’t believe you are so upset about this, it’s not like I did it on purpose.”  Ted, ignoring her request, shrugged his shoulders and thrust his hands out palms up, asking sarcastically, “So, that makes it okay, you didn’t do it on purpose?”   
Nan and her husband Ted had arrived at their dentist, Dr. Trimble’s office for their six-month checkups.   She had arrived just a few minutes after Ted and had slipped into her seat next to him. The large waiting room was full of people and as she began to explain what had happened, more and more of them flicked covert glances their way.

She was stunned to see Ted’s familiar face morph from its usual open and friendly contours to a warped red glowering face with bulging eyes.  Through clinched teeth Ted ground out, “Are you blind? Did you not see it behind you when you backed out? It’s been setting there for two months, how could you not remember it was there?” His voice was incredulous as he said, “You know how long I worked on that beaver, how much it means to me. How could you be so careless?  How bad is it?”
At these words the people in the waiting room, who had valiantly tried to disregard Nan and Ted’s conversation, began to titter and glance at each other with compressed grins. 

Nan, in a state of shock, could do no more than stare at him open mouthed and speechless.  Ted, usually the calmest and quietest of people, had never in their ten years of marriage spoken to her with such venom.

When she finally found her voice she said, “Ted, Honey, please calm down, it’s just cracked a little and the head is missing, but other than that it’s fine. I’m so, so sorry, really. It was an accident, really!” Ted, finally realizing people were listening and commenting, began taking deep calming breaths to regain his composure.  He couldn’t believe Boris--he had always secretly thought of the beaver as Boris--was gone.  He had loved that beaver.
Three months ago Ted’s college football team, the Clark University Beavers, had won the Gladiola bowl, beating their arch rivals the Dover University Jackals by a decisive 35-0 victory. The last time they had beaten the Jackals had been twenty years ago.  To commemorate the momentous occasion Ted had constructed, in his garage, his homage to the Beavers.  With a zealot’s fervor Ted had constructed a seven-foot-tall paper Mache beaver.  Its broad flat paddle of a tail and its ample haunches served to steady the towering, snarling rodent.  It was posed rearing, its mighty front paws raking the air and its grizzled muzzle gaped wide.  Between its enormous incisors it held a flailing jackal desperately trying to free itself.  Ted dotingly painted the beaver in realistic shades of brown and black and of course added a bright Clark University orange “C” in the center of its massive chest. It had been a labor of love for Ted and as nicely done as a seven-foot-tall beaver can be done. With bursting pride Ted had placed the enormous beaver at the end of their driveway where it had set until today.  

Nan, feeling guilty, made one last attempt to explain what had happened. “I am sorry Ted!” but even as Nan reaffirmed this she knew it wasn’t true.  She had deliberately backed into the brown monstrosity, not once but twice.  She had hated that beaver from the moment she had seen its beady little eyes.  Her hatred had only increased when she drove home from work one day to find her driveway full of people.  Ted was proudly standing next to the thing; arm wrapped around its wide butt as people with cameras and camera phones snapped pictures of the crazy man and his giant beaver.

 It was then she knew that something had to be done.  The beaver had to go, but how?  She had thought of hiring someone to steal it away in the night. Then she remembered what her Mother had always told her,” simple is always best”.   She would run over the beaver as she was leaving the house today. It would be an accident; he couldn’t be upset if it had been an accident, could he? She now knew the answer to that question.  Yes, he could.

So they sat waiting, not speaking, trying to ignore the glances and hushed whispers of their fellow dental waiters. Each of them deep in thought, remembering the seven-foot-tall paper Mache beaver with a jackal clamped in its teeth who was secretly known as Boris. 

Diana for the Poplar Grove Muse 


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  2. Wonderfully absurd, Diana. Love it. (And the DDS's comment fits right in...!) MKP

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