The guy had a black cloak and a big black hat and a pointy beard. He went by the name of Dr. Pingertolian and was, by profession, a dentist. He had a lot of bad habits- starting with a whole lifetime of kidnapping people who were never heard from again. And he dipped into the drugs of his profession- another bad habit. His nurse and secretary Chelly feared him and was thankful every night when she got back into her car unscathed. There were no referrals ever, Pingertolian’s business operated solely on internet marketing and old folks using the yellow pages. When people drove up there was something distinctly unnerving about the building- it had a certain vibe about it- the same kind of vibe you’ll have at a slaughterhouse or a prison. But the patients had already driven all the way out there and tended to ignore their best instincts and went inside anyway. Most of them weren’t the sharpest tools in the shed to begin with.

So when this beautiful, smart-looking girl came in, Chelly was taken by surprise. She dropped what she’d been doing and inadvertently shook her head when the girl asked if they were taking appointments. But the doctor had heard the car drive up and stepped out of his office right at that moment. “Of course we are,” he said. “Chelly, have her fill out the–.” But before he could finish he looked into the girl’s eyes and forgot what he was saying. He forgot for a moment his name and all of his unsavory plans. He forgot how to form words into a sentence and instead smiled like an idiot. The girl turned to Chelly. “So you have some forms…” she began, with a voice sweet as syrup. “… For me to fill out?”

Chelly pulled some files open and dropped out some of the forms. “Sorry, just a moment, hon,” she said, dropping the ballpoint pen on the floor. The doctor went back in his office and she scribbled across the top page, GET OUT OF HERE before handing it over to the girl. The girl took the clipboard and started to read, “Get… out…” but then the doctor returned, taking her hand. “Don’t worry about all the paperwork- you can do that afterwards. Everyone does. It’s just a formality really. Come inside and have a seat in the chair.” And she was led into his office, leaving the paperwork behind. On her way by Chelly mouthed the words, He’s a psycho.

“What?” the girl asked but by then the doctor had already pulled her into the room and slammed the door.

Inside his office Dr. Pingertolian started with small-talk. The girl sat obediently in the chair and answered all his questions. Whatever she said went in one ear and out the other, he was so entranced. “Aren’t you hot in that funny hat and cloak?” she asked. “Hmm–what?” he stammered, coming out of his daze.

“You’re not hot?” the girl asked. “It’s a hundred degrees in here.” “Oh,” he said, laughing awkwardly and he took off his hat and then his cloak. Pretty soon she had him down to his wife-beater undershirt, white, boney shoulders sticking out.

“Now aren’t you going to operate on me?” she went on. “I have a toothache something fierce.” The doctor fumbled with his tools. “Oh, sorry, just a sec,” he said. Now was the moment he was supposed to put her out so he could kidnap her. But suddenly that seemed so barbaric. “Would you, ah,” he began. “Would you, a like a glass of wine to, um, relax? I have a 1983–.” But she cut him off: “No I don’t want a glass of wine! This is a dentist’s office, silly! Give me a shot and fix my tooth, it’s killing me! You’re such a goof!”

So the doctor went back to his tools and filled up the hypo, that familiar evil glint returning to his eye. He had gently embraced her head and was just aiming the needle when Chelly charged in. She held a loaded crossbow she had discovered in the shed behind the building. “Let her g—…” but before she could finish, her finger slipped on the trigger and an iron bolt shot straight in between the doctor’s eyes. He collapsed onto the girl, blood smearing all over her blouse. Screaming a horrific scream she threw the doctor’s corpse off her. She fell out of the chair but was up and running, almost knocking Chelly over in her beeline for the door. A few seconds later she could be heard peeling out of the parking lot, tires squealing and kicking up gravel.

Chelly stared at the doctor’s body lying motionless on the linoleum. Then she dragged him out through the back and opened the trapdoor just like she’d seen him do a hundred times. The smell was so bad she almost passed out but she went ahead and heaved his body down the shaft. She heard it land on the pile of corpses down in the pit and shuddered. She dropped the crossbow into the hole and closed the hatch. Things would be different from now on, she told herself.

She had already hit route 156 when she heard the sirens but she didn’t turn back. She just sang along to the music on her favorite radio station and kept driving, a smile creeping across her face.

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