Judge Eunice & her journal
“Me nervous? Not at all” I snapped. The receptionist continued with her little smug stare, with a flick of attention to her nails. They had obviously just been done with the attention they were receiving. “It’s only a check-up you know.” I stated sarcastically. How dare she ask, I thought. Or was it so obvious I was in fact petrified. For as long as I could remember, a visit to the dentist had a stronger reaction on my intestines than half a packet of dried figs. I don’t even ever remember getting this apprehensive in court. “In that case Mrs er…” I wanted to say just call me your honour, instead I watch her glance down at her appointment register to check my existence – whilst I admire the nails. A little bottle of varnish sat on the side, that red would really go with my gown. “Oh here you are, can you just take a seat at the far end of the surgery.” My private dental practice had obviously been remodified from an old house, well mansion if you want to get technical. I strolled past white leather sofas and a gallery of teeth sneering at me from all directions. I finally got to another set of white sofas with a large window facing the main road out of town. The courthouse was less than half a mile away, I resisted the urge to jump in my MG, don’t judge me. Made myself giggle there, when you get to a certain age you remember all the things you wanted when you were younger but put it on hold. I picked up an outdated edition of Tatler with Harry and Meghan on the front. At least they were taking my mind of the desire for another trip to the loo. Nervous, it was laughable, ok so we all have our own private little anxieties.
I pondered on a traditional recipe of fruit cake as I thumbed the well worn mag, a comment for the customer satisfaction box I fear and for a moment I thought of mummy. Now she was one nervous woman. She would run a mile at the sight of a spider even if it was on the backside of David Attenborough being streamed from outer Mongolia. On one particular occasion the children, Aggie, Ben and my husband Big Ben. Well ex-husband now, he could never quite handle a successful woman and when I became Judge Eunice Thorn it seemed to tip him right over the edge. (A little side note, he is named Big Ben purely for parental reasons only. I can assure you) Myself and my mother who at the time had only popped in for an hour and was still living with us three weeks later were seated in the garden. The children were in their summer break so naturally one was well supplied with Valium and other self-medicating products such as gin. I think I would be tripping off my tits under the current circumstances of home teaching! I would like to think of us a normal family, well normally massively successful if there is such a thing. I mean there were times I could happily bound and gag the children, then dose Big Bens specially prepared veggie burger with a dash of cyanide. But doesn’t every mother and wife, I mean ex-wife.
Well anyway I digress, there we were drinking a home-made blackcurrant Pimm’s with extra botanicals prepared by Big Ben. Which tasted like Black death I hasten to add, he had obviously been too busy shagging the bar person from the Cock Inn rather than listening to the recipe of the drink. The children were obviously up to no good at the far end of the garden, I could tell by their hideous cackles. My mother was wearing one of her sensational dresses, which looked as though someone had vomited the Black Death all over it, but she was happy in her own private little way. Little Ben in his own caring little boyish way, crept up beside her. Which I would call mercenary and really did mean to give him some extra attention but never quite got round to it. He had rescued a spider and decided to place it on my mother’s Vivienne Westwood outfit. I sat motionless, my mouth agape. Its bulbous body sat elegantly on eight legs sprawled across the print, looking very comfortable in its new environment I must say. Words ceased to fall from my lips, as I scowled at Aggie and Ben who stood silently holding their sides to keep the laughter within. Big Ben was now busy scrolling through his Iphone, no doubt organising another meet up with said Bar Person.
In those moments it felt like everything had compressed into a time bubble floating delicately in air ready to violently pop, the spider crawled slowly up towards her neckline escaping the hallucinational environment. It obviously had a migraine coming on, no doubt a side effect of staring at the same print. I know I did. I knew I had to do something before skin became the next frontier. “Hey Granny, what you got on your dress?” Ben squealed like a little piggy. My mother looked down at her dress “No, Granny its near your neck” Aggie joined in. I could only watch mortified, clinching my pelvis thinking I had actually brought these beings into the world. Obviously taking after his father’s side of the family. It was too late to do anything now, my mother was screaming and throwing her arms into a frenzy slapping at her body. She resembled a member of the Mojave Red Indian family gloriously asking the gods for rain. I didn’t want to think about that time, it brought nice memories of Big Ben and I travelling across Northern America. He had now begun to get his clock wound up by someone else. My mother finally recovered. Without a word to anyone, she gathered her things calmly. I put my hand out expecting a drop of rain to fall from the blue sky above, her moves really were rather splendid. I did try to get her to stay, well I asked once. She glared at Big Ben who was still scrolling down the phone. I wondered if there was a way you could measure how many calories phone scrolling used.
“Mrs Thorn, Mrs Thorn” Miss Smug stood over me. I hadn’t heard her walk down though the passage of white sofas and sneers, which now looking back resembled a set of teeth. “It’s your turn, in you go.” “Alright I’m not a sheep, that didn’t mean to come out of mouth.” I said, half apologising. I took a deep fearless breath as I replaced Harry and Meghan on a new spot of the table being symbolic of their move to the other side of the Atlantic. I pushed my shoulders back and gingerly followed her in. Drills and elongated pieces of metal sat in a tray of various sized needles, waiting for an opportunity to pierce my gums. “Hello Mrs Thorn” the dentist turned and greeted me revealing a row of luminous white protruding teeth. Subconsciously I pulled my own teeth back in. “Please be seated” he said. In a very similar way to the clerk of the court I noted. With his hand he gave a flamboyant gesture to the chair. It beckoned me, I couldn’t help myself but look for any electric cables. “Ok Mrs Thorn, just relax” he muttered. Not reassuring me at all. I closed my eyes tight and made a mental list of the shopping, anything for some distraction. “Any discomfort?” he asked. I replied with a muffled “No”. “Going on holiday this year?” Now why do they do that, for a start I don’t think anyone is going on holiday this year and how the hell can I have any kind of conversation. At least, I wouldn’t have to endure any of Big Bens camping holidays in the Pennines. “That’s smashing” he said, reminding me of an eighties Dj on radio one. I felt the back of the chair rise up and I could imagine the drill coming closer as my eyes remained shut. I anticipated the sound of the drill being fired up whilst perspiration oozed from the base of my neck, now really wasn’t the time for a hot flush. I was thankful for my new deodorant; I had treated myself this month to an aluminium free product. If you don’t know why, look it up. I opened my mouth to get it over and done with, why were they taking so long. I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder “Mrs Thorn, you can go now.” I opened my eyes with my mouth still open. “You don’t need any treatment dear.” Miss Smug actually had to audacity to look bored of me. I sprang into action and felt a new lease of life once my feet hit the floor. “Let it go Eunice” I could hear my self sing, another moment that should of stayed in my head. I waved cheerio leaving Miss Smug and the teeth far behind me. Calling back “Don’t worry I will call for another appointment and pay obviously.” A little nervous relieved giggle escaped just as I swept up the little bottle of red nail varnish, it really will look superb in court.