Dennis Brent and the Dental Mystery
I am not, as you know, a man who throws money away foolishly. I am prudent, sensible and cautious at all times as you never know when something fascinating and rare will present itself to either the specialist or open minded market and demand to be bought. So it may surprise you to learn that I do not visit Bendaton’s free dental practice – run by Mr Blakkendaeker – but rather the sumptuous surgery of Mr Lovett-Wetleigh, the private oral specialist. He even has qualifications in dentistry – that’s how seriously he takes his art. And it is an art the way Mr Lovett-Wetleigh does it. He once not only gave me a false tooth (to replace one that was unavoidably lost when a moment of greed tempted me to eat Ian Devine’s dummy pie (an extremely sensible security measure to deter anyone who has broken into his hectare of the pantry)), but he sculpted the tooth so it exactly resembled the equivalent tooth in Peter Davison’s mouth. Many is the admiring glance I’ve had when showing off the tooth in public. It’s in rather an inconvenient place so I have to strain my jaw to do so but I do get some fascinated looks.
But I digress, I was visiting Mr Lovett-Wetleigh for my regular check up one Monday morning. I took with me three old copies of Mucky Devastation to leave in the waiting room. I do this every time I visit but the proles will insist on stealing them. That is literally the only explanation for why they disappear between visits. I was just enjoying again an article I wrote about David Daker when Nurse Simian – Mr Lovett-Wetleigh’s rather rough handed assistant – said that the dentist would see me now. I placed the copies of Mucky Devastation in prominent places in the reassuringly polished magazine display and followed her into Mr Lovett-Wetleigh’s consulting suite.
"Good morning, Mr Brent" said Mr Lovett-Wetleigh, washing some blood of his hands and chewing the remains of a chocolate bar. "How are we today?"
"I’m in reasonable health, thank you Mr Lovett-Wetleigh, though Doctor Flapjack has put me on an extremely high fibre diet and I am passing approximately six pounds of faeces each day. At this rate I will disappear by Christmas." That last part was added as a joke and it made both Mr Lovett-Wetleigh and Nurse Simian smile. They didn’t technically laugh but the remark clearly pleased them.
"Sit yourself down and roll up your sleeve" said Mr Lovett-Wetleigh.
"My sleeve, Mr Lovett-Wetleigh?" I queried. I wasn’t used to such displays of wanton nudity.
"For the injection" he explained.
"I’m only here for an inspection" I insisted.
"Really? Are you not my ten o’clock who is here to have his teeth pierced?"
"I am not."
"Shame – I was looking forward to that."
"That’s tomorrow, Mr Lovett-Wetleigh" clarified Nurse Simian. "Mr Brent is here for his usual assessment."
"Oh well – I’ll still give you a quick jab just to be on the safe side."
"I’m not terribly keen on needles" I said.
"That’s ok – you’ll be unconscious before the injection goes in."
"Ah – that’s all right" I said and before I’d worked out his clever trickery he had stuck a hypodermic syringe into my arm. I felt my entire body melt away as though I were an ice cube placed in a drink I’d ordered in a local restaurant only without the insect corpse which usually ends up floating to the top of my beverage once the cube has completely dissolved.
The next thing I remember is waking up and feeling Nurse Simian’s rough hands slapping me around the face.
"Wake up, Mr Brent" she said.
"Where am I?" I asked and immediately regretted it as it is such an appalling cliché and I am a man who avoids clichés like china shops with bulls reported to be loose inside them. Nurse Simian cannot have heard me as she continued to vigorously slap me around the face. I thanked my good fortune that my predictable reply had obviously not been heard and that my reputation as a witty man was not in danger of being spoilt.
"I’m wide awake now" I said with greater volume. Still Nurse Simian beat me about the face. Her open handed slaps had now been replaced with really quite fierce closed fists and she was in danger of damaging my spectacles. "Please stop hitting me" I said with emphasis. Eventually she grew weary and climbed off my chest and went back to her duties. I was a little surprised when he place at my side was taken by Mr Bator from the green grocers. He started slapping me and it was only my quick witted use of my sensible satchel which saved me from this apparently insane fruit vendor. And the other nine people in the queue. I swung the bag about my head and raced down the stairs to reception.
"See you in six months, Mr Brent" said the receptionist.
"Mmm" I replied, my mouth too swollen to articulate actual words.
A couple of hours of pressing cold meat to my face (in this case it was the torso of Richard Hurndall as I didn’t want to risk the freezer in case Ian Devine had laid more traps) meant that the swelling had reduced to a point where I could once more converse with people and drink tea. I sealed my cryogenic unit and went over to the Elk and Bush to see if any of my acquaintances were there.
I reached the bar in a little under twelve minutes. That’s twelve minutes from Brent Towers to the Elk and Bush not twelve minutes from the doorway to the Elk and Bush to the bar. I wouldn’t want anyone to think that Dennis had grown infirm. I’m as firm as ever I was and anyone who says otherwise is a h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l.
"Dennis Brent" beamed Ian Devine, "we were just talking about you."
"That’s nice" I said before noticing that he was conversing with six off duty police officers who were now looking at me in a suspicious manner. I decided to be ingratiating. "Would you gentlemen like a drink?" I said.
"Pint of lager."
"Pint of lager."
"Pint of lager."
"Pint of lager."
"Pint of lager."
"Pint of lager" came the six replied.
"Very well – landlord, a pint of lager please. And presumably six straws."
"Um… Dennis Brent" began Ian Devine, drawing me to one side with a little too much physical contact for two gentlemen who may share a house and occasionally a tent but who are nothing more than acquaintances.
"Yes, Ian Devine?" I queried.
"You appear to have forgotten something" he said cryptically.
"Happy birthday, Ian Devine" I said sincerely.
"It isn’t my birthday, Dennis Brent."
"Are you due to repay some money I lent you at a generous rate of interest?"
"No, Dennis Brent, I am not. Never a borrower nor a lender be. That has always been a firm motto of mine."
"Then prey hurry along and don’t keep my in suspense. My nuts have been exposed to the air for quite long enough and I am keen to begin eating them." I pointed to the small bag of peanuts which sat beside my half pint of bitter.
"That is a rather witty summation of the problem at hand, Dennis Brent" said Ian Devine. He laughed a rather coarse laugh and pointed towards my trousers. Upper trouser to be exact.
"I’m not with you" I told him.
"You have left undone that which ought to be done."
"I’m still not with…" began and suddenly my instincts told me to place my hand on my upper trouser. "Good lord!" I exclaimed. It was true – my z-i-p had been left ajar. I had been wandering round Bendaton exposing my underpants to all and sundry. The one redeeming feature was that I now understood why two separate people had made remarks to me about how they hadn’t seem Tom Baker on television recently. I grasped the zip hastily and pulled it upwards. To my dismay it rose easily and remained securely in place. The explanation of trouser malfunction wouldn’t hold water. There were only two possible explanations. Either I had neglected to fasten myself that morning or my trousers had been undone while I was unconscious in Mr Lovett-Wetleigh’s surgery.
I explained my concerns to Ian Devine and, once he’d stopped trying to conceal his laughter behind a beef and onion piegette (his own invention – a pie that is the size and shape of a baguette), he agreed we needed a sensible plan of campaign lest Mr Lovett-Wetleigh be allowed to get away with whatever it was that he was doing.
"Can you be absolutely sure you were securely fastened, Dennis Brent?" said the voice of doubt.
I showed him that morning’s dressing chart and there was quite clearly a double tick next to trouser fastening – both parts (a) and (b). The first tick indicated the initial dressing, the second was my morning trip to the lavatory. I was, in short, certified as being fastened.
"Perhaps I should counter sign that chart when I complete your bowel chart" suggested Ian Devine.
"That would be silly" I chided. He blushed and took another mouthful of piegettue.
"What is your plan of action?" he asked once he’d chewed and swallowed.
"I prose to take advantage of the loose teeth I gained as a result of Nurse Simian’s rather brusque method of awakening me. I will make an appointment to see Mr Lovett-Wetleigh tomorrow morning and this time I will take photographic evidence of my trousers before and after."
"How wise of you" beamed Ian Devine.
"They don’t call me Dennis for nothing" I said proudly.
The next morning I had Ian Devine firmly tug my zip for several seconds to prove beyond all doubt that it was as sturdy as it was the day I bought it. He then took some photographs of my lap, including several where I pointed to the definitively northern zip. I then had the idea to hold up a copy of that morning’s Bendaton Bugle to prove the date that my trousers were fastened. This proved complicated as I had to hold it in such a way that my zip was visible and yet the date of the newspaper was readable. Ian Devine had to adopt a very curious position so as not to block the beam from the spotlight and still capture all the aspects of the snap. By the end of the session we were both rather exhausted (I now know exactly how "super models" feel after a day on the cat walk <G>). Mr Gurgle, the window cleaner, gave me a wink when we’d finished. He had apparently seen the whole thing and drawn some kind of smutty conclusion.
"Don’t be pathetically stupid" I quipped once I’d opened a window. "Ian Devine is photographic my trousers prior to visiting the dentist. It is for evidentiary purposes and nothing else."
"Why? Are you planning to wet yourself in the chair and then sue him for the cost of new trousers? Aye? Are you? Aye? Hahaha." He laughed so hard that he fell off his ladder. Serves him right for being on a ladder while cleaning ground floor windows.
I would’ve told him that you simply cannot buy trousers like these anymore – they stopped making them fifteen years ago but I felt him being unconscious was enough of a repost.
I sat in Mr Lovett-Wetleigh’s chair and eyed him suspiciously.
"Are you having a stroke, Mr Brent?" he asked.
"No no" I said hastily, "I just have malicious eye lashes."
"Ah I see. Well, I’m afraid I’m going to have to give you another injection. Repairing the damage that you suffered when you fell down stairs is going to be rather painful." I had told him the stairs lie as I didn’t want to get Nurse Simian into trouble. She was not a woman who I felt would have a great number of alternative employment opportunities owing to what I can only describe as her face. Aesthetic pollution, some might call it, is harshly dealt with in this shallow world. All I can say is that some of us are born lucky, others like Nurse Simian are not.
"That’s ok, Mr Lovett-Wetleigh" I said pleasantly.
"Just a little prick" said Mr Lovett-Wetleigh.
"You could only know that if you had unzi…" I began before turning it into a lengthy sneeze.
"Would you like a box of tissues?" he asked kindly.
"Thank you, no. I find an alarming number of modern tissues have accidentally been tainted with bleach or other caustic substances. I make it a point only to use handkerchiefs I have washed myself."
I blew my nose and settled back for my injection. I gave my c-r-o-t-c-h a final pat to make absolutely sure everything was in place and was asleep inside thirty seconds.
I awoke with my hands over my face in an instinctive effort to protect myself from Nurse Simian. However, the hands that were slapping me were softer than Nurse Simian’s. Softer and larger. I made a small gap with my fingers and saw that it was Ian Devine who was attempting to smack my face.
"Ian Devine!" I said through my hands.
"Dennis Brent, Dennis Brent" he said, breathing hard from the effort of slapping me. "Your trousers…" he began.
"Are they still sealed?"
"I fear not."
"Gadzooks" I exclaimed. "Quick, take a photograph."
I would later think of a humorous quip about it being the first time the person flashing wasn’t the one with his trousers undone but since the remark came to me six weeks later during the funeral of Mr Gurgle the window cleaner I felt it would’ve been inappropriate to have said it audibly. I confess I did snigger but was able to turn it into a sob before Mrs Gurgle could hear it. I sent her a note of apology by the next post just to make absolutely sure.
"What are we going to do about it?" I said at my usual table in the Elk and Bush.
"The only thing we can do is catch him in the act" said Ian Devine. "I have a supply of tiny video cameras if that would help."
"Why do you have a supply of tiny video cameras?" I asked.
"Gentlemen do not ask other gentlemen such questions. I have a supply of the cameras and that is all I am prepared to say on the matter" he said haughtily.
"I understand, Ian Devine" I told him. "You think I should place on of these cameras about my person and record Mr Lovett-Wetleigh interfering with my trousers?"
"That would be an extremely sensible way of securing incontrovertible evidence."
"Then I would ask you to strike me about the face to give me reason to visit Mr Lovett-Wetleigh without arousing his suspicion."
Ian Devine was reading his fist when we were interrupted by the barman.
"Excuse me" he said, "did I hear you asking your colleague to strike you?"
"You did" I said.
"Well, firstly, S&M night isn’t until Tuesday and secondly I would consider it an honour if you’d let me do it."
"Certainly not" I said. "There are certain men I would trust to use their fists on me and the rest I wouldn’t."
"I’ll give you a free bag of pork scratchings."
"Very well. Bring the scratchings first though. It’s not that I want you to think I don’t trust you but I don’t."
"Fair enough." He brought over a small bag of the stated snack and smacked me in the eye.
"Don’t be pathetically stupid" I said crossly. "You’re meant to hit me in the mouth."
"Sorry" he said. "I didn’t understand that bit. Can I have another go?"
"It’ll cost you another bag of pork scratchings."
The man was clearly either hard of thinking or very myopic as it took him seven attempts before he managed to hit my mouth. But to his credit when he did he gave it a good whack. I heard the sound of a tooth hitting the table (luckily avoiding my small glass of sherry).
"Ian Devine – telephone Mr Lovett-Wetleigh and let him know I will be calling to see him at nine am tomorrow morning."
"Yes, Dennis Brent".
"Then meet me in the sitting room of Brent Towers and bring one of your special devices. We’ll see how best to secrete it in my trousers."
"Yes, Dennis Brent."
"It sounds as if you gents should come back here on Tuesday" quipped the landlord. I gave him a sour scowl and put all my bags of pork scratchings into my satchel.
We had everything sorted out. Ian Devine would hide himself in a horse box outside Mr Lovett-Wetleigh’s practice, armed with a video monitor and study the footage from the camera. We decided to place it on the front of my underp-a-n-t-s so as to get a good look at anyone opening my zip.
"Can you see anything?" I asked just before leaving the box.
"Nothing – it is total darkness in your trousers, Dennis Brent."
"Then I shall be off."
"Thank you, Ian Devine. I think I might need it."
I underwent treatment at the apparently deviant hands of Mr Lovett-Wetleigh and rejoined Ian Devine in his horsebox an hour later. He was ashen faced.
"Did you see what happened?"
"I did, Dennis Brent."
"Well tell me."
"I cannot put it into words, Dennis Brent" he stammered. "I can only clamber out of the horse box, get a safe distance away and then operate the video cassette recorder via the remote control."
"Very well, Ian Devine, be peculiar if you so choose" I said tartly. He did as described and I watched the whole ghastly business unfold.
Ian Devine and I marched into Mr Lovett-Wetleigh’s surgery with the sort of manly purpose that can only be achieved by sensible gentlemen with a point to make firmly.
"Mr Lovett-Wetleigh, I need to discuss something with you" I said.
"Can it wait? I’ve got to find a way to squeeze Mrs Lapdance’s jawbone back into her face before she wakes up."
"That can wait" I said.
"She would disagree" snapped Mr Lovett-Wetleigh.
"This is a serious matter."
"Oh very well – Nurse Simian – take over."
"Yes Mr Lovett-Wetleigh"
"Now, what can I do for you, Mr Brent?"
"I have incontrovertible evidence that my trousers were tampered with while I was unconscious in that very chair."
"But, but, but" he stuttered.
"It’s no good claiming otherwise. I videotaped the entire sordid episode."
"I assure you that I…" he began.
"Don’t even try to deny it" I said victoriously. "I know full well that Nurse Simian has been interfering with me while I slept."
Nurse Simian gasped.
"Barely an hour ago you unzipped my trousers and performed an act of gross indecency upon me while Mr Lovett-Wetleigh was tending to my teeth in the prescribed manner."
"It’s true" she sobbed.
"I should’ve realised what had happened when I found friction burns upon my g-e-n-i-t-a-l-s but I failed to put two and two together. What I want to know is how you can possibly justify this disgusting act?"
"I can’t tell you" she said defiantly.
"Then I shall put it in the hands of Constable Forkwitt."
"He doesn’t deserve it."
"I meant the evidence."
"Ah right. Please don’t – it would ruin me. I’d never dental nurse in Bendaton again."
"You don’t deserve to. Do you do this to all your patients?"
"No – just you."
"Because I love you and want to have your babies."
"I beg your pardon?"
"I love you. I want to bear Dennis Brent’s children. It’s just that I find you so obnoxious when you’re awake that I could only get what I wanted by secreting it while you were unconscious."
"This is shocking" said Mr Lovett-Wetleigh.
"Surely you noticed what she was doing" said Ian Devine.
"Well yes but I thought it was just a hobby. I had no idea she was serious."
"What have you done with… the material you collected?" I asked.
"It is amazing what you can learn how to do on the internet" she said cryptically.
"You don’t mean…" I began.
"You cannot mean…" added Ian Devine.
"Yes, Dennis Brent, you might be about to become a father."
For the fourth time that week I lost consciousness in Mr Lovett-Wetleigh’s surgery. The only difference was that Ian Devine’s presence meant that my trousers were in safe hands for once.
Nurse Simian didn’t attend Mr Lovett-Wetleigh the next day. Nor the day after that. Indeed, she hasn’t been seen since that day. I wonder what she meant about me becoming a father. To this day I can’t see the relevance of the remark. Oh well, she was obviously insane <shrug>.