Crooked Teeth

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
All dentists are sadists, and all parents may be too!

Submitted: March 23, 2008

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Submitted: March 23, 2008



This all started when fourteen year old Mark Kowalski's mom stopped him when he came home from school. Mark was ready for his daily, three hour long teenage afternoon nap, when without warning, his mom stopped him and said, "You don't want to go through the rest of your life with crooked teeth. Do ya?" 
Mark had never thought about it. Truthfully, in the last year, Mark hadn't thought about much of anything aside from the female anatomy and on certain occasions like after a really cold shower, professional sports. He stood there, all limbs and zits, facing his mother and said, "I don't know. I never really thought about it."
"Well you should've thought about it," Mark's mother said as she got up off the couch in the living room and headed into the kitchen. She was always going into the kitchen. It was as if Angela Kowalski lived in the kitchen—not to bake or to cook, but rather to make as much noise as possible. Mark could have sworn that his mom's sole purpose in life was to make a racket in the kitchen. Angela would pace around "her" kitchen, as she called it, like a lioness ready to pounce and rattle pots and pans, open and close cabinets and drawers and make a cacophony of sounds that could be heard throughout the entire neighborhood.
"Huh, he never thought about it," Angela exclaimed in exasperation as she opened a cabinet above the stove and slammed it shut for no discernible reason. "Huh? Ya hear that? He says he never really thought about it!"
Mark could hear his mother speaking to him from inside the kitchen—she only spoke in the third person about him like that when she wanted him to hear—that was the idea, but Mark wasn't sure if he should say something, anything, in response to what he knew that she knew he should have heard. He thought that maybe the best course of action for him to take would be for him to quietly go up the stairs to his bedroom and wait for this whole crooked teeth storm to blow over. 
"Well you're gonna have to start thinking about it, Mark," his mom said as she banged a skillet against a crock-pot inside a drawer beneath the kitchen counter.
"Why mom?" Mark's voice cracked as he whined to his mother from across the house. He sounded like a eunuch. "My teeth aren't that crooked," Mark said in high pitched self-defense.
"Yes they are Mark!" Angela shot back at her son.
"Come on, mom. No they're not," Mark said as he flailed his gangly arms, that he hadn't quite grown into yet, about in the living room.
"You're going to get braces Mark," his mother said. And then Angela rattled some porcelain bowls together just for emphasis.
"Oh come on mom," Mark pleaded, "I can't go to high school with braces." It was bad enough that Mark had to go through that seven hour long hellish teenage ordeal commonly referred to as high school while wearing glasses, but to have to wear eyeglasses and carry around a mouth full of metal—well, that seemed like an affliction that would simply be too great for Mark to bear!
His mom looked from the kitchen and into the living. She stared her son straight in the eye. "Your teeth are crooked," she said. "They're disgusting Mark."
"Your teeth are crooked too mom," Mark said without making eye contact with his mother.
"They're not a disgusting mess like yours Mark!"
"Oh come on, mom," Mark pleaded one last time.
"I already made an appointment," Angela said as she turned her attention back to using the pots and pans as instruments in her one-woman band. "We're all going to see Dr. Franz Reich right after your father gets home from work tomorrow," she said.
Mark sighed. "Who's he? What about Dr. Rubenstein?" Mark asked.
"Rubenstein's just a dentist and not an orthodontist," his mom said.
Mark slung his backpack back over his shoulder and turned to go up the stairs to his bedroom. "This is fucking great," he muttered beneath his breath as he went up the stairs.
"I heard that!" Mark's mom shouted as she began to arrange and re-arrange the salt and pepper shakers. "Your teeth are a mess. They're disgusting! And you need a haircut too, Mark!" she shouted.
"Whatever," Mark muttered as he got to the top of the steps. Then he slammed his bedroom door shut and fell asleep for his three hour long, mid-afternoon teenage nap.
Mark woke up in the late afternoon just as the sun was beginning to set. From his bedroom upstairs he could still hear his mom rattling around in the kitchen.
He could tell that Mark Kowalski Senior had gotten home from work too, by the dull rumble of his dad's snoring from his pre-dinner after work nap that combined with his mother's din of drawers slamming and cabinet's closing to make the house sound like a veritable beehive with a buzz of activity.
Mark looked at his teeth in the mirror above his dresser. His teeth weren't that crooked like his mom had said. And it's not like they were yellow or anything that disgusting, he thought.
He opened his lips like a clown smiling, tapped the enamel on the top row of his teeth with his finger and ran his tongue over all the canines and incisors. The top row of his teeth wasn't bad. Not bad at all, Mark thought—almost straight as a matter of fact. Besides, the big pimple that was popping out on the tip of his nose and sat there like an immovable stone obelisk, was far more embarrassing to Mark than the condition of his teeth.
He figured that girls didn't really notice your teeth unless they got really close to you, like close enough to make out with you, and no girl had ever gotten that close to Mark anyway.
The top row of Mark's teeth was pretty straight, but it was the bottom row—the part that nobody saw that was the real problem.
All compacted and overlapping, it seemed like more teeth were trying to push their way into the lower part of Mark's jaw than nature had provided room for. Mark opened his mouth as wide as he could like he was preparing to say "ahh" to the doctor and attempted to count each one of his teeth on the bottom row.
With all of that overlapping, bunching up and crowding, Mark quickly lost count. He sighed. Normal people have sixteen teeth in both the upper and lower rows for a grand total of thirty-two, but it seemed to Mark as if God had grievously miscounted when he had tried to shove that overabundance of teeth into Mark's mouth. He sighed, took off his glasses, and went back sleep as the sun set outside his bedroom window.
It was a five minute car ride to Dr. Reich's office that took fifteen minutes to complete in all the after-work rush hour traffic.
Mark's mom sat in the front passenger's seat and nervously folded and unfolded her hands in her lap. In Angela's mind the condition of her son's teeth was almost as important to her as the wedding that she hoped he would someday have. She folded and unfolded her hands, blinked rapidly and stared straight ahead at the license plates of the cars in front of them as Mark Sr. slammed on the brakes and jarred the car to a halt in the stop and go traffic.
"Damn it," Mr. Kowalski muttered repeatedly as the Ford Explorer inched along. "Pricks," he whispered aloud to no one in particular as oblivious pedestrians meandered their way out into the street.
"Mark!" His wife would say in a tone that was a cross between scolding and caring every time her husband let fly a "prick" or a "damn it".
Mr. Kowalski lit a cigarette, muttered, "shit," under his breath and drove along—slowly, inch by inch.
Mark sat in the back seat and blankly stared out the window. He did his best not to rub the bulbous pimple on his nose.
"This dentist's great I hear," Mark's dad said to the windshield.
"Yeah dad," Mark said.
"He uses a different kind of method from Europe—not braces," Mr. Kowalski declared.
"Yeah," Mark said.
Angela Kowalski turned her head to face her son. "This is gonna cost a lot of money," she said. And then Mrs. Kowalski abruptly stopped speaking as if she expected her son to answer, but no answer was forthcoming.
Mark thought about his pimple, and thought about it, and thought about it—and then thought about it some more. The thing felt damned near painful, but Mark didn't dare touch it.
"You better take this seriously," Mark's mom said with a stern look on her face that could melt ice.
"Yeah," Mark said. He wondered why he had to take this so seriously when his mom never seemed to take any of his ideas all that seriously.
"I was talking to Dr. Reich's assistant on the phone yesterday," Mark's dad said. "She told me that Dr. Reich even studied in Austria! Imagine that!  Austria! You have to be a big shot to study anything in Europe," his dad declared.
"Yeah, that's great," Mark said.
Ten minutes later the Ford Explorer made a left and pulled up in front of the office of Dr. Franz J. Reich
Dr. Reich's waiting room had a fancy and expensive looking octagonal fish tank mounted on a black metal stand, positioned in one corner. Inside the tank was one dead, brightly colored, tropical fish—an ominous sign when visiting a man who purported to be in the medical business.
Mark noticed the fish tank with the one dead occupant inside right away, but his mom and dad didn't seem to notice it at all. They were too busy looking at, and being engrossed by, the big glossy before and after photos that the red-haired Dr. Reich was showing them.
Dr. Reich had pulled up a cushioned chair with wooden arm rests and now sat directly across from the Kowalski's. In his lap was an enormous binder full of 8 x 12` photographs and he looked like a preschool teacher about to read a story to an eager pair of four year olds.
"As you can see, this is the before," Dr. Reich said as he held up the binder. The picture that he showed Mr. and Mrs. Kowalski was one of misshapen gums and teeth in varying shades of green and yellow.
The doctor then took his long, feminine index finger, wet it with the tip of his tongue and flipped to another photo. "And this is the after," he said as he held up an image that depicted healthy teeth and gums.
"Wow," Mr. and Mrs. Kowalski gasped with awe in unison.
"My teeth don't look that bad," Mark said.
"Quiet, Mark," his mom whispered forcefully as she nudged him with her elbow.
"And all of this comes without braces you said? Mark's dad asked innocently, as if he'd been given a bit-part to play in a late-night infomercial.
Then, like a magician who pulls a rabbit out of a hat, Dr. Reich produced from somewhere within his lab coat, a small device that looked like a cross between a plain old regular retainer, and something from the Inquisition used to extract confessions from would-be heretics.
He held two of the small devices, one for the upper set of teeth and one for the lower, in his effeminately long fingers.
"This is the latest in teeth straightening technology," he said, "invented only two years ago by researchers at the Austrian Institute of Orthodontics and Dentistry in Vienna." Dr. Reich smiled, a big toothy smile, and held the devices at arm's length as he showed them to Mr. and Mrs. Kowalski.
As if spellbound and placed under a trance by a hypnotist's watch, the Kowalski's followed the device with their eyes only as Dr. Reich slowly moved it back and forth in their field of vision.
To Mark, the thing looked ghastly and geeky at the same time. Metal prongs jutted out from the things at haphazard angles, and the whole production seemed to be held in place by more aluminum wire than it took to make a chain link fence.
As his parents attentively listened to Dr. Reich expound the seemingly endless virtues of his new favorite orthodontist toy, all Mark could do was wonder. Am I really going to have to put that thing in my mouth?!
"It's the best technology that I've seen in the field," Dr. Reich said.
"So how does it work?" Mark's dad asked. Mr. Kowalski was always one to get right to the point—breaking it down to the brass tacks is what he called it.
"Mark," Mrs. Kowalski sternly whispered to her husband. It was as if, she thought that there was something wrong with asking an obviously esteemed genius like Dr. Reich, such a simple question. Mark Junior couldn't help but think that the doctor bore a striking resemblance to Ronald McDonald.
"Oh no," Dr. Reich said, "that's a good question."
Then from another pocket on his lab coat, Dr. Reich pulled out a small metal instrument that looked like one of those tiny flat-head screwdrivers that are normally used to fix eyeglasses.
"With a small turn of this screw," Dr. Reich said as he inserted the mini screwdriver into a small hole on one of the Inquisition torture devices, "this teeth straightening system will gently nudge the jaw into perfect alignment, and thereby, straighten the teeth in the process."
"Oh wow," Mrs. Kowalski said with wonder.
"Amazing!" Mr. Kowalski said.
Mark spoke up and asked, "How do you know when you're supposed to turn it?"
Dr. Reich turned around to face Mark. He turned to face Mark with such force and quickness that it wouldn't have been surprising if his head had popped off completely. "That's a good question," Dr. Reich said with a toothy smile. "When you begin the tooth straightening regimen," the doctor continued, "you'll be given a calendar that lists the dates when you're supposed to turn the device. It will be very important that you follow the dates for turning the screw as indicated on the calendar."
"Well, doctor, this whole thing really does sound great!" Mr. Kowalski proclaimed with enthusiasm as he slapped the palms of his hands on his lap.
"You hear that Mark?" his mom said. "It's very important that you do what you're supposed to do."
"Yes, it is very important," Dr. Franz J. Reich echoed.
"Yeah," Mark said.
And so it was all set. Mark would not be using braces to straighten his teeth, but instead, Mark would be subject to the latest in Austrian teeth straightening technology.
The next time that Mark Kowalski went to see Dr. Reich, the dead tropical fish in the octagonal fish tank, was still there. 
This time, a woman called Mark from the waiting room and led him down a short hallway and into a bare white room. She had him sit in the dentist's chair.
The woman had blonde, frizzy hair, and she looked like she hadn't slept in about a week.
She didn't say anything to Mark until she had securely fastened a bib of blue paper around his neck, and then she said, "That's called the blood catcher." Then the woman smiled a yellow toothed smile that matched the color of her hair, and left the room.
Mark was left alone and waiting in the dentist's chair. </SPAN>The chair was enormous! It was raised up on a platform and covered in hard, beige leather. The chair felt like a gigantic baseball mitt—Mark was completely engulfed by the chair. He wasn't strapped into the thing, but one glance to his right and left, and Mark noticed the buckles and straps that dangled from each arm of the chair. If Dr. Reich wanted to, he could definitely restrain Mark's lanky frame immovably into place.
A white TV mounted on a metal arm hung from the ceiling. The TV remained off and Mark wondered if the TV actually worked at all, or if it was just there for show. He stared at the blank TV and waited while his feet hung over the end of the dentist's chair and dangled above the floor.
Dr. Reich entered the room with a flourish. It was as if the doctor had been awoken in the middle of the night by surprise. He even yawned, threw back his big head with its mop of red hair, and opened up his mouth wide as he muttered a drowsy, "hello," to Mark.
"O.K. You all set, buddy?" He asked Mark.
Set for what? Mark wondered. "I guess so," is what he said.
"That's good," Dr. Reich said as he flashed Mark a smile and scurried around the room collecting his tools.
There was a large metal stick with a big hook on the end of it, and a smaller metal stick with a smaller hook on the end of it. There was a small polishing device that had a spherical head on it, and countless numbers of tiny square and circular shaped mirrors mounted on more metal sticks.
Dr. Reich gathered all his implements together on a stainless steel tray and wheeled himself on a small stool in front of where Mark sat in the enormous chair.
"O.K. We all set buddy?" he asked again.
"Yeah, I guess so," Mark repeated.
"Good," Dr. Reich said with a toothy smile.
Dr. Reich raised his hand above Mark's head and pulled down a high powered light that was attached the headrest of the dentist's chair. He shined the light in Mark's face. Mark could see and feel nothing, but the light. He even imagined that he could smell the light and its brightness. Mark remembered that once he had tried to imagine what it would be like to have a near death experience, after watching an old re-run of Unsolved Mysteries, that dealt with people who had legally died, but lived to tell about it. What he had imagined back then, had felt exactly like what was happening to him in the dentist's chair.
Dr. Reich set right to work. He dug his latex gloved fingers into Mark's mouth and immediately started poking around with the little circular mirror mounted on a metal stick. He made a sound like, "tsk…tsk…tsk," as he probed deeper and deeper with the mirror. "Very crooked and compacted," Dr. Reich muttered as he pulled the mirror away from Mark's mouth. Then he took off the latex gloves he was wearing and threw them into a small wastepaper basket that was next to his stool, with disdain. Mark's mouth tasted like a rubber ball.
"So you play soccer?" Dr. Reich asked as he readied his dental instruments for another round.
Mark thought this was a weird question, but truthfully, he felt imprisoned by the bright light and enormous chair, so he answered it anyway. Mark was in no position to bargain. "No, baseball," Mark said.
"Oh," Dr. Reich said as he regarded Mark with the same disdain that he had used to treat his worn pair of latex gloves. "Well, you know, soccer is the national sport of all of Europe," he said.
"Yeah?" Mark asked tentatively.
"That's right," Dr. Reich said, "over there, they call it football."
Mark didn't say anything. Silence reigned in the air as Dr. Reich prepared his instruments for another assault. He wheeled his little stool back over to the dentist's chair, and it seemed to Mark as if the doctor turned the level of intensity up on that overhead light. It seemed to jump from excruciatingly annoying to downright dangerous and burning.
"O.K., we're all set buddy," Dr. Reich said.
"O.K." Mark said.
"We're just going to do a little cleaning, and then I'm going to make a mold of your teeth," Dr. Reich said.
"O.K." Mark said.
"We need that mold so we can see in 3-D how crooked your teeth are, and model the straightening device after the mold," Dr. Reich said to Mark. "Those babies look pretty crooked. They're almost disgusting."
"I know," Mark said.
"We'll fix that," Dr. Reich said with confidence, "no matter how crooked and disgusting they are Mark!"
"O.K." Mark said.
And then Dr. Reich set back to work, this time using all the little metal tools mounted on little metal sticks that were at his disposal. This time, he even used that little polisher thing with the spherical head.
Dr. Reich tugged on the mold that he’d placed in Mark’s mouth. Reluctantly, the mold let go with a loud POP! Mark felt like he’d just finished chewing on a piece of wax candle, and his mouth was filled with a taste that could best be described as stale bubble gum.
"Okay, there we go," Dr. Reich said with glee as he held up the glob of waxy resin that he’d just pulled from Mark’s mouth. "We’ll just let this thing set for a few minutes, and then we’ll have a nice impression of those crooked teeth you’ve got Mark."
"Okay," Mark said as he swirled his tongue around inside his mouth. He wanted to check and make sure that he still had all his teeth, "Can I ask a question?" he wanted to know once he was reassured that all his teeth were still in place.
As he gazed lovingly at the resin mold that he held in his hands, Dr. Reich said, "Sure, that’s what I’m here for."
"Why did we need to take a mold of my teeth?" Mark asked.
Dr. Reich shot around on the little stool where he sat with a look of shock on his face. His red hair seemed to stand on end I’d if he just kissed a wall socket. "Don’t you WANT to see the progress you make the Austrian Tooth Straightening Device?" Dr. Reich demanded to know. 
Mark sand a little bit lower into the hard beige leather of the dentist’s chair where he sat. "Umm….uh, yeah. I guess so," he said tentatively.
"It’s very important," Dr. Reich snapped at him.
"It is?" Mark asked.
"Yes, it’s very important," Dr. Reich repeated.
After that exchange, Mark was given the mold of his crooked teeth to take home with him. Dr. Reich appeared loathe to depart with something that he seemed to consider to be such a treasure, something, like a mold of Mark’s crooked teeth.
After he had looked at the mold for about half an hour , and Mark felt like he was never going to get out of that dentist’s chair—it appeared like those arm straps would be necessary to keep him there and immobile after all, Dr. Reich smiled and muttered, "all good things must come to an end," as he held out a trembling latex gloved hand and passed the mold over to Mark.
"They are your teeth," he said with dramatic emphasis as he placed the mold in Mark’s palm.
Mark didn’t even bother to look at the mold. He simply placed the hardened mass in his lap and got up out of the chair.
"Yes," Dr. Reich repeated, "they are your teeth." Then the Doctor laughed as he tilted his head back and opened his mouth wide. "Get it?" The Doctor asked.
"Get what?" Mark wanted to know as he hopped out of the dentist’s chair.
"The mold. They’re your teeth, but they’re not really your teeth. That’s a joke," Dr. Reich said between boisterous chuckles and snorts.
Mark stared blankly at Dr. Reich. "Yeah, I guess," he said.
"Okay buddy," Dr. Reich said as he got up off his small swivel stool to walk Mark to the door. "The next time you come back, we’ll have your own Austrian Tooth Straightening Device all set up and ready to go for you."
"Okay," Mark said as he continued to back out of the dentist’s office and away from Dr. Reich.
"Yep, and then we can really get down to business," Dr. Reich said with glee.
That night Mark took the mold of his crooked teeth home with him. The resin used to make the mold had completely hardened after only a few hours and it quickly a block of lumpy, baked clay.
When Mark walked into the kitchen of his house, his father snatched the mold from his hand like it was a piece of gold and ran into the living room while holding it up in the air. "Angela c’mere! You gotta see this," he said to Mark’s mother. "There’s are Mark’s teeth!" Mr. Kowalski held the mold up in the air.
Mark’s mom, who had just then been furiously opening and closing the doors on the cabinet under the kitchen sink, ran into the living room, looked at the mold of her son’s teeth and said, "Wow! How crooked!"
They both stood there in the living room and gawked at the mold of Mark’s teeth.
"You see that, Mark," his mom said to him. Mark didn’t say anything. "You see how crooked they are?"
Mark opened up the door to the refrigerator and wondered if they’d be eating anything that night, or they’d been fasting on account of the mold of his crooked teeth.
"Yeah mom," he said, "what’s for dinner?"
Mark’s mom held the mold of her son’s teeth in her hand. "This is why it’s very important to do what you’re supposed to," she said.
"Yeah Son," Mr. Kowalski echoed as he stared over his wife’s shoulder and kept his eyes glued to the mold of his son’s crooked teeth.
To Mr. and Mrs. Kowalski, that mold like as like a piece of ancient antiquity, suddenly brought to light to answer one of the most pressing mysteries of the present—why their Son needed braces, or at least, an Austrian Tooth Straightening Device.
"Look at how crooked," Mrs. Kowalski whispered with awe again, as she held the mold of Mark’s teeth close to the tip of her nose.
Mark went up the stairs to his bedroom for his late afternoon, teenage nap, as the sun was setting outside the window. From down the stairs, Mark could hear his dad saying, "Yeah, I tell ya, that Dr. Reich must be amazing. He said his Austrian Tooth Straightening Device will have Mark’s teeth fixed in only a matter of months."
"Amazing," Mark’s mom echoed.
Right as Mark was starting nod off in his bed upstairs, Mr. Kowalski was sitting down stairs in the living room, with his reading glasses perched atop his nose and closely amazing the mold of his son’s crooked teeth.
By the time that it was completely dark outside, Mark had fallen asleep, and Mr. Kowalski was dreaming about the miracles that had been promised by Dr. Franz J. Reich and his Austrian Tooth Straightening Device in only a matter of months, not years, at and a fraction of the cost of braces.
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"The good thing about this device," Dr. Reich said as he dug around in Mark’s mouth with his latex gloved fingers. "The good thing about this device is that you can take it out."
"Ahhh…arrgghhh…uuuhhhh," Mark said. He just wanted it to stop. He wondered why Dr. Reich insisted on talking to him even while trying to shove that THING in his mouth.
This was the big day. Dr. Reich had taken the upper part and the lower part of the Austrian Tooth Straightening system and told Mark to open wide, while a small hose remained attached to Mark’s gums and sucked out all the air.
"Okay, just a gentle nudge," Dr. Reich said as he pressed with the device and put immense amounts of pressure on the bones in Mark’s jaws. "Just a little nudge, and the device will be in place and we’ll be all set," Dr. Reich said.
Gentle nudge my ass, Mark thought. When the devices actually snapped into place around Mark’s teeth, with metal wires snaking up and under and over his teeth, metal wires everywhere, Mark thought he’d never be able to speak, or close his mouth again. He sat in that big dentist’s chair in an extreme amount of pain, with his mouth hanging slightly open, breathing in an out and making a sound like the fat kid in class with asthma. Huh…uh….huh…uh…Mark breathed in and out. 
Great, now he had glasses, acne, a mouth full of metal AND he would be unable to close his mouth! He wondered if he could speak at all too.
"Like I was saying," Dr. Reich continued in an upbeat mood now that his Austrian Tooth Straightening Device had finally been rammed into place, "but like I was saying, the good thing about this device is that you can take it out whenever you want."
He smiled at Mark from his perch on his little metal, rolling dentist’s stool. Mark looked at Dr. Reich with his mouth open a little and breathed in and out…uh…huhh…uh…huhh. Dr. Reich smiled. Mark looked at him and thought: He does look like Ronald McDonald.
"Isn’t that good news that you can take the device out?" Dr. Reich said as he nudged Mark with his elbow. "You know if you got a date, like gonna guess a girl or something, then you can just take out the tooth straightening device," Dr. Reich said with conspiratorial joy and a wink of one eye.
"Uhh, neeevrrr k’s’ed a girl," Mark said and spit flew everywhere. 
Dr. Reich squinted his eyes, looked at down at Mark and said, "What?"
"Arrrghh nevvr k’ed a girl," Mark said as drool slid down his chin.
Dr. Reich tried his best to stifle a laugh, but almost failed as a smile crept onto the corner of his lips.
Mark tried to spit, but couldn’t. The new device was in there so tightly that all the saliva in his mouth wetted only the Austrian Tooth Straightening Device and not his gums or lips. His mouth felt like a desert, a painful desert. 
"What did you say, buddy?" Dr. Reich asked again.
"Arrgggh I thaid I nevvver k’sed a grrrl," Mark drooled. Vowel and S sounds were the toughest for him to make with that mouth full of metal wires, like having a chain link fence shoved in his mouth.
"Oh, you NEVER kissed a girl!" Dr. Reich yelled loud enough for people to hear as he comprehended what Mark was trying to say. Dr. Reich laughed, smiled and then said, "Well, you know the good news is that you can take off the Austrian Tooth Straightening Device. Did I mention that?" The Dr. Asked.
Mark, who still sat in the dentist’s chair, nodded his head up and down, he didn’t feel like having to go through the saliva soaked effort of trying to speak again.
"Good!" Dr. Reich said as he motioned for Mark to get up out of the chair. "You’re gonna need to be able to take that thing out with the way you’re drooling, buddy," he said as he patted Mark on the bed and led him out of the dentist’s office.
For the next two years, Mark Kowalski would live with glasses, acne, and a mouth full of metal that led him to drool out of the corners of his mouth whenever he tried to speak. The good thing about the Austrian Tooth Straightening Device though, was that unlike regular braces, Mark could remove it whenever he wanted to. 
Of course, when Mark removed the device it couldn’t straighten his teeth at all, but he did stop drooling when he tried to speak.
After two years with the Austrian Tooth Straightening Device (Mr. Kowalski had been right it only took a matter of months—24!) Mark’s teeth were still crooked, would be that way for the rest of his life and he hadn’t yet kissed a girl.

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