At Science School a few who know may say
There is a wondrous place to laugh or pray,
A place where one with teeth can come and spend
An oral afternoon that has no end.

There one can, open-mouthed, on cushion lay
And watch lithe, linen'd angels at their play;
And where, as you recline, a sweet girl comes
With soft, red lips to probe your tender gums;

There one can lie and tremble with the thrill
As soft young fingers brush your mandible,
Or sigh and languish like a dromedary
As large brown eyes observe your maxillary.

"And where," a teacher asked, "is this retreat,
Is it the body shop across the street?"
"Not there," a bubbling co-ed softly purrs,
He means the place they hide the janitors."

"Heck no," the super-jock rejoins at length.
"He means the gym where I build up my strength."

"I doubt that utterly." a scholar snorts,
"He means the lab where I write my reports."

"No, sadly children, you're all wrong," I smile;
"For you have but mistook me all this while."
Nor gym nor body shop nor lab nor green
Can fill the gap of sweet dental hygiene.

Nor teacher, scholar, cheer leader or sport
Can give this labyrinth a good report
Save I, who, having been there now return
To tell you all like Lazarus from the urn,

Or Ancient Mariner whose curse impels
That he to all the world divulge his hells.

Of course one must go down to find this spot;
You find your way by tracing small blood clots
Until you find a vestibule quite glum
Deep in the bowels of the auditorium,
There, turning right and turning left again
Your eyes alight on Mrs, Ness, quite trim

Who, with a smile of reassurance tame
Says "My you're early, but we're glad you came."
Just have a chair and month-old magazine
And just in case of pain, some benzedrine.
This really doesn't hurt you know, but still
We've heard you have a mouth like Bunker Hill;
Shell-craters, trenches, swelling knolls and wire-
In fact, we've heard your mouth may well expire,
Now just relax. Miss Boeler's washing up
And sharpening her knives. Please, don't up-chuck!
"Who, me?" I burbled, looking nonchalant,
It's just my tie: it's tighter than I want.
I made a sudden bolt to reach the door,
But someone tripped me, and I reached the floor.
Where, looking up like carp before the scaler,
I met the steady gaze of Audrey Boeler.

Now, let me here confide, I had been frightened,
But seeing her sweet smile, my terror lightened
No girl, thought I, with countenance so kind
Could ever hurt me. I made up my mind
And rising to my feet with studied care,
I resolutely sought the dental chair.

The room she moved in where the work was done
Was bright with lights that glistened like the sun,
And padded chairs of blue were carefully placed-
Strategically, one saw no patient's face.
Beside each chair it seemed, an angel stood
With garment while as snow-except where blood
Gouts flecked them, and each girl, each smiling lass
Held in one hand a shining silver glass;

And in the other, like Macbeth's crazed wife
She held a keen and shrewdly bladed knife.
"Just sit you here." the sweet Miss Boeler said.
I sat, was bibbed and tilted back my head.
"Not yet, good sir, I won't start cutting yet;
We can't begin until your history's set.
Now tell me Mr. Pinkney if you please,
Have you contracted any new disease?"
"New now to who?" I jested, acting cool.
"The one's I've got pre-dale the Golden Rule,"
"Quite funny, sir," she said, "but let's be frank-|
TB? Bronchitis? Asthma? Jungle Rank?

Dropsy? Cantankaritis? Double Chin?
Milk fever? Bangs? Any that come from sin?"
"I'm clean." I lied, casting a glance of pride.
"I didn't tell her I was sick inside.
You see, the sight of blood qute makes me ill;
Kind people fear the knife that seeks to kill."

"Now open up," she said. "Let's look inside."
I did. She gasped. And, with a smile, she lied,
"Nice teeth you've got there, moving to and fro;

All ten are fine; but your gums will have to go."
"Go?" gurgled I. Her hand was on my throat.
"Yes. sir," she soothed, "like old Bill Grogan's goat.
You see, you have a rare and dread disease
That first infects the mouth and then the knees;

If those gums aren't removed, I dare to say
Your knee caps could grow molars any day!"

"Teeth in my knees? How strange!" I mildly frowned
"Then. when I kneel, I'll have to bite the ground!"
"True, answered she, with knowing look and nod,
And no one likes his knee teeth full of sod.
So to prevent this horrible distress,
We'll take your gums and let God do the rest."
"Bless Him," I cried, "Who in this hour of strain
Has sent me you to scrape away my pain-
I'll fear no more; my gums are yours to slice.
Who needs a mouth when toothed knees will suffice?"

And as I turned to offer up my gums,
I saw cute Jean Fredeen turn down her thumbs.
"Come, Look at this," squealed Audrey to the rest,
"A real life case of kneecap rendipest.
I'll get an A for this as sure as shootin'"
And, in a second, all the girls came scootin'.
I fell important; never in all my days
Had so many women offered me such praise.
About me swirled a dozen lovely honeys
Like old Hue Haefner with his Playboy bunnies.

And I had friends among their patients too.
My small distraction was their dream come true.
Some leaned back in their chairs and bloody, sat,
While others scampered out the door like cats.
"My hell is Heaven." I to them admitted.
And to a hundred knives I then submitted.
And, opening up my mouth like a treasure trove,
I waited, but nobody made a move.

This puzzled me, I thought they'd all dive in
Like teeny hoppers bent on their first sin,

I couldn't for the teeth of me decide
Just what it was that slopped that flooding tide
Until a voice above the rest cried out
"Stand back, " "This is a job for Super Scout."
I raised my eyes, and nothing did deplore
Till I beheld the form of Mrs. Moore
Descending like a harpy from the sky
With sword full five feet long and glittering eye.

"Show me those gums'" she thundered from above. "And fetch my studded forehead-gripper glove."
I shrank. She slid it on, all fringed with nails
To better grip the forehead it impales,
Then brandishing her steel about the room,

" Order hot coals to cauterize the wound."
They came as she instructed. "Now watch this-
It only takes a quick twist of the wrist.
And as those lovely maids looked on with glee.
She sliced the bloody gums right off of me!

Then filled my mouth with coals and taped it shut
So fast not one girl ever saw the cut.

I'm better now, and if you think this spoof,
Just cross the campus; there you'll find the proof,
All those of you who wish to see my gums?
They're mounted in the auditorium.

Revised 7/08/03

Gene Pinkney