Embittered Dentist Riven By Crackers

Concentrate, look carefully, and you will see an embittered dentist riven by crackers. The crackers are of a circular, unsalted variety, sealed in a cellophane package, itself further packaged inside a cardboard carton. The carton is primarily red, but has upon it a hyperrealist illustration of several circular unsalted crackers executed, for a hefty fee, by the noted hyperrealist Rex Hyper.

The embittered dentist bought the carton of cellophane-wrapped crackers when, one morning, he popped in to his local corner shop. The shop was not actually located upon a corner. Nonetheless, in its ownership, size, opening hours, and range of items stocked, it fell so close to the common understanding of a corner shop that we may as well call it a corner shop, as most of its customers did, including, neatly, our embittered dentist.

Along with the carton of crackers, the embittered dentist made purchase of a (plastic) bottle of milk, a newspaper (The Daily Embitterment), and a keyring to which was affixed a small rubber toad with a jewel embedded in its forehead. It was not a real jewel, but it sparkled brilliantly in the sunlight, or would, when the sun shone. But this was Hooting Yard, forever overcast, with drizzle threatening to become a downpour.

Upon leaving the corner shop, clutching a paper bag in which the shopkeeper had placed with care his crackers and milk and paper and toad, the embittered dentist turned to his left, and pranced for perhaps five or six paces, before wheeling about and prancing in the completely opposite direction, to his right, towards ruins.

These ruins were ancient, the ruins of what once had been a grand palace, much of which had crumbled as centuries passed. At the time it was built, so solid, so new, there were no dentists, as we would understand the term. Nor were there any hyperrealist illustrators, for the techniques of hyperrealist illustration were yet to be devised. It was a very long time ago.

In the lee of a ruined nook, affording some shelter from the drizzle, the embittered dentist sat down upon a fragment of ruined wall. He took from the paper bag the newspaper, The Daily Embitterment, and read that day’s main headline.


Inside the bag, the small rubber toad with a false jewel embedded in its forehead suddenly twitched and squirmed. It had come to life!

NB : This is not part of the planned scheme of interconnected prose pieces to which I referred the other day.

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