Dreadful Dentist and the Grouping of Blood - Cadiz, Spain, 1973 USE FOR EBOOK

One thing I've always hated to do is to visit a dentist. Bad luck would linger around my mouth like a mass murderer about to pounce.  So many odd things and mistakes had happened any time I was in the clutches of a dentist. Therefore, it was with butterflies in my stomach and sweaty palms that I ended up at a dentist in Cadiz. It's not that I had actual toothache, it was more a dreadful feeling that something was not quite right with a tooth on the upper jaw.

"Open your mouth."  The dentist looked like a band leader conducting his orchestra, or a lion tamer goading his long-suffering animal to perform.

Now, opening my mouth wasn't the problem. It's what happened next that caused me great consternation.

He picked up long, thin, pointed instruments and proceeded to poke and probe.

"Aha. Senorita, you need to have the tooth pulled."

"I do?"  I'm surprised, for I'm not in too much pain at all.

"I can pull it now, if you like." He grinned down at me.

Before I could nod or shake my head he injeced the tooth, presumably with anaesthetic. In fact, he injected all around the tooth maybe three or four times.

Guess what?  He was injecting the wrong tooth! He was sticking the needle into a tooth on the lower jaw, not the upper jaw.

He placed the needle down, picked up the pliers and pulled and pulled. The pain was beyond any pain that anybody had ever experienced in the whole of the whole world's life. Believe me. There was no time for the anaesthetic to work.

I heard a crack.

"The tooth has broken, senorita. Don't worry I'll get it out."

He then yanked on a drill and drilled deeply to duly remove the remainder of the tooth.

I'm dead. I have to be dead. I can no longer feel the pain. When there is so much pain, you reach a point where everything goes numb.

Or, maybe it was the anaesthetic finally kicking in.

"Here, take this."   He offered me some cotton wool and added, "Goodbye,senorita."

He was dismissing me.

I couldn't even think of any Spanish. Not a single word came to mind as I nursed my bleeding mouth. I wanted to yell at him for pulling the wrong tooth. I waned to kick him in his fat ugly face.

He grinned widely at me as he ushered me to the door and played with his moustache.

"If you have any more teeth problems, just come back, any time. Ah, one moment.  Do you want to take your tooth with you?  A little keepsake?"

I would love to take my tooth with me!  I would love to still have it, you idiot of idiots!

I had to tutor two nurses at the local hospital, the Residencia Zamacola. They were  beginners who were really keen to learn English and I didn't want to disappoint them.

I arrived in pain, sharp, searing pain.

"What's wrong? You look pale."

Both nurses looked at me with concern.

"Sit down and relax.  Tell us what happened."

I related to them the best I could about the inept, unprofessional, stupid, moronic, dreadful dentist.  I don't think I made much sense as I struggled to speak in Spanish, all the while, spitting blood onto the cotton wool.  The best evidence was in my mouth which they both gazed into with huge eyes.

"You need to be careful when it comes to dentists. Some of them are doctors who have only done six months of dentistry."

"The pain will go away.  Do you know your blood group?"

I stared at them both, not believing for a second that the pain would go away. I had never ever thought about my blood group, and I didn't really care what it was.

"We can test your blood group, if you'd like."

I don't know why they offered this. But they did, and I got my blood group tested.

It's AB positive.

"It's quite a rare blood group. That makes you special."

Both nurses smiled down at me.

I didn't know how to smile. The pain was too deep. I still, to this day, don't understand why doctors could do just six months of dentistry and become a dentist. It's simply was not right.

The Secret Police and the Striptease - El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain, 1972 FOR EBOOK

When people found out that I was moving to El Puerto de Santa Maria in the Province of Cadiz, a region of Spain where 'nobody ever goes', they were more than surprised. Advice flourished as they warned me about the fact that Spain was ruled by a dictator with the name of Francisco Franco, and that it would be far, far better to go to Torremolinos or Lloret de Mar where you get a nice suntan as well as fish and chips.

"Where did you say you are going?!  Never heard of it!"  People's nostrils would flare open when they asked this. It's as if they were chastising me, as if they were utterly appalled.

"You're giving up your teaching job?!" At this stage of the conversation not only did people's nostrils flare open, their eyes opened wide too. I think even their ears burst open. With the flick of the wrist they would increase the volume on their hifi as if to add to the admonishment.

"I hear there's the Secret Police!" The people who said this aren't the same ones whose nostrils flared open. No. The people who mentioned the Secret Police are the ones who know that I'm up for adventure. It's really a major character flaw of mine, to feel bored easily. Secret Police? What do they do?  Why are they secret? Who are they? I wonder what they look like?

Now, I must confess that I have been wondering of late about these Secret Police People. I think I've seen one, at least one. I could be wrong, but there again...

There's a man I've noticed  in the Bar Central. He wears a cape, and looks very dapper and dramatic. He could easily be one of the Three Musketeers.  Any time his garment slips off, even a teeny tiny bit, he grabs it then, with the flick of his wrists places it back on his shoulders. He certainly is in control of his cape. He has a long pointed nose, thick dark hair that seems to float over his ears, and he wears black leather gloves.

I find it quite a performance each time he removes said gloves. It's like a striptease act. He pulls on each finger of the gloves and slowly, seductively reveals naked hands. He then smacks the gloves together and slaps them on the counter.

One of the barmen rushes over to serve him obediently, head bowed, even although it's my turn.

Oye, sunshine. I was here first!  I feel like yelling, but the Secret Police Man who just performed the striptease with his gloves might lock me up in jail, or something.

I've learned to say 'oye' just like the locals do. Then, when nobody pays me any attention, I call out, "Oiga!" I haven't quite mastered snapping my fingers as it does seem a bit rude. Anyhow, usually the barmen pay me too much attention. They love to flirt and leer at me as they lick their lips. They say things that I don't understand. But, as long as I get my cafe solo and bocadillo de jamon york, then I can put up with their preposterous antics.

I glare at the Secret Police Man who's getting served even although it's my turn. I think I'm good at glaring. I glare and glare and try to convey to him that I know he's a Secret Police Man.

Really, doesn't he realise that everyone knows who he is ? Even if he hadn't performed this ritualistic striptease dance with his gloves, the very fact that a barman practically kisses his feet is a dead giveaway. His naked hands are pale compared to his tanned face and neck. That's another giveaway, I have deduced.

There's another man I've noticed hanging around the bars. He's the matador Galloso. He's very dramatic, too. But, you can tell he'd never be accepted into the Secret Police, for he wears his hair in a little ponytail at the back. Ponytails are quite possibly simply not accepted in the secret world of the Secret Police. They're just too ostentatious.

The barmen grin like buffoons any time Galloso swaggers in and glides on to the bar stool. They welcome him with a huge embrace. Galloso's hands are always naked, so they're brown, brown like his eyes. He's never alone. Rather he's always surrounded by a group of people any time he enters the bar. They're the hangers-on, I suppose. I guess he can't manage to order a coffee or sherry on his own? He can kill bulls, but sipping on a drink all by himself is just too scary a thought?!

I think the Secret Police Man with naked hands and I have some things in common.

We are both independent. We can both go into a bar on our own. We don't need to be in a group. Absolutely not. We both stand when we could sit down, and we both observe everyone and everything. His eyes squint as he gazes around him, just like mine as I inhale the strong odours of garlic, olive oil, stale wine,  black coffee and that je ne sais pas aroma of something clean, yet festering.

Gosh, maybe I could become a Secret Police Person? Wouldn't  Franco welcome me to his coterie of spies and sycophants?

I'm certain I could master the art of stripping my hands of black leather gloves. And, I don't mind wearing my coat like a cape. Hmm. It's quite possible that Franco would buy me a real cape! There's probably a budget that he's set aside for his Secret Police. I wouldn't say no to a trip to Madrid to get myself a cape made of the very best of materials and a pair of soft black leather gloves.  I'm one hundred per cent sure that I can learn the skill of removing them seductively.

I think, after all, like many things, it's all in the wrist. Ha ha.