He could see the whole city from the roof terrace. The wind swept away the pollution and noise, and it was just the two of them up there: his cigarette smoke and him. He liked going up there to relax. He took a look at his hands, in pain, and saw a small drop of blood on his shirt. Right away he tried to hide it, as if somebody up there would see and ask questions. It was an occupational hazard.
He inhaled the smoke and remembered he didn’t like smoking. He had taken it up as an excuse to go upstairs. Alone, without a single voice within earshot, for a few minutes he could be what he wanted even though he was still the same person.
He would’ve liked to have been a pastry chef. The sweet aromas, waking up early to go to the bakery to make cakes. He couldn’t stop thinking about Sundays with his grandmother in a small café in the city centre. He had tried to relive that experience once, but it was a disaster.
He came back to the present when he heard the door open behind him. The crippled man approached him lighting a cigarette. When he reached his spot, he lifted his jacket collar and turned his back to the views.
“Damn, it’s freezing, man. I don’t get how you can like being up here.”
He gave him a sideways glance without answering. Even though he didn’t like working with people, sometimes his assistant was necessary. But he had ruined his fantasy, and now he was going to be in a bad mood all day.
“You already have one waiting for you in the saddle.”
“The saddle.” That’s what they called the chair. He had seen tough men, tougher than him, double over when he entered the room. Then everything would turn red, and their eyes could only see the blood among his finely sharpened tools. You had to be ready to see that type of stuff and maybe a man was believed to be tough, but it wasn’t true; he was only how they’d told him he had to be.
He flung the cigarette end from the terrace and watched how the December wind blew it away. Traffic could be heard from up there and there was no more cake.
“Let’s go,” he said and nothing more.
It wasn’t a very big apartment, just the right size to work comfortably. He went in and saw the room was ready. His assistant went in first and started to joke with the man. It was his style, he liked starting like that. Deep down he knew he did it because he liked it.
He took off his jacket before going in and put on a jacket so as not to get dirty. When he entered the room he saw that everything was ready.
There was a man in a chair and a big light focused on him. He didn’t look scared, but his body language gave off his fear. It probably wasn’t the first time he had been in one of these, so he knew what was going to happen next.
He sat down on a stool next to him. He didn’t even have to ask, he knew exactly what had to be done. The cripple, his assistant, had left everything prepared. He picked up some enormous metal plyers and put them in the man’s mouth.
Some people would tilt their head or close their mouth, but this guy did nothing. He grabbed a tooth forcefully and pulled it. The man bucked and tried to resist, but he pinned him down by his shoulder and pulled more. The enamel broke under the pressure of the plyers, the flesh tore and the enormous root opened leading to an eruption of blood.
Under the light of the enormous lamp, the man saw a giant broken tooth. The man peered at it through eyes half shut and with tears streaming down his cheeks.
“Fankth Doctor,” he gurgled.
“Dentist,” he thought as he dropped the tooth in a glass. If only his mother had let him go to catering school. He took a breath and started thinking about cakes once again.
“My pleasure. It’s my job, after all.”