It was 8:05 a.m. He was the only client, and his dentist was the only employee. The lights were off. The dentist emerged from the darkness. She smiled. She said she'd be with him in one minute. He watched her disappear back into the darkness. He poured "ambient" temperature water from a specialized, countertop machine into a compostable cup. The dentist seemed to wander at random, turning on lights. He stood in the darkness, drinking the water, considering the feeling of it in his mouth, which was minimal, due to its temperature, maybe; it felt like he was somehow drinking air. He swished the water in his mouth and swallowed. He thought about his teeth and his mouth. He had cut a part of the roof of his mouth two days prior while eating popcorn. He had felt a slight irritation and assumed it was due to a popcorn kernel stuck between his tooth and gum. He had worked at the area diligently, yet pointlessly, for ten minutes with floss, a toothpick, a Waterpik® flosser, his fingernail, and then by vigorously swishing off-brand mouthwash. He had shone a flashlight into his mouth while hunched over the sink. He had seen a shadow near the gum, which was actually a lesion; he had picked at it thoughtfully with a fingernail then alarmingly pried the skin back. The cut had been surprisingly deep and gnarly. He had decided to leave it alone and only uneasily ate his potato chips the next day. He imagined the dentist discovering the lesion and gluing it shut, or something, and charging him two hundred dollars. The dentist called him over to the front desk while turning on the final light, the light above them, while he walked to her. He gave her his new insurance card. She picked up a laptop and held it above the card to photograph it. He followed her down the hall and sat on the adjustable chair/bed thing. She sat on a large wooden crate and smiled. He enjoyed the calm, reflective nature of the room and setting. He had never had a dentist's appointment so early in the morning. He looked through the window. He saw a robin eating a worm. The robin flew away. The dentist cleared her throat. She asked if he used TikTok. He said he didn't use TikTok. She said that a video had recently gone viral on TikTok about how dentists could tell when a patient had recently sucked a dick, because sucking a dick almost always results in what's called a palatal hematoma, which is a minor, painless bruise on the soft palate, that people usually suck a dick by thrusting their head onto the dick or by applying suction to the dick, and that both can cause palatal hematoma, that she sees patients with palatal hematoma, clearly from sucking a dick, every day, that sometimes every patient who comes in has a palatal hematoma from sucking a dick, and that she was upset about the TikTok video, about it going viral, because the dentist's office was already a place of shame, that people hated going to the dentist, hated having to admit they don't floss or brush enough, that dentists already struggle to get people to even show up, and that if people knew about how the dentist could tell someone had recently sucked a dick, then people would not go to the dentist as much, because they would not stop sucking dicks, no, they would choose to keeping sucking dicks over going to the dentist, clearly, sucking a dick being one of life's few harmless pleasures, one of the very few, unlike eating candy or potato chips or stealing things or hurting people, which all harmed someone, if you thought about it, they would definitely keep sucking dicks if faced with the choice, clearly, that she had even sucked a dick that morning, for example, as she usually did every morning, trying to suck a dick as often as she could, like anyone else, like most people she knew, not that her husband had wanted her to, that morning, she could tell, or most mornings, really, but she had insisted, as always, as she always had to, and she had gotten her way, like every other day, as always, as she insisted, despite their daily struggle, always her wanting to, always him not wanting to, every day, it seemed, even though she always gets her way, yes, like she did today, as it should be, she insisted, and she did, as she should, she felt, as almost anyone else would, and does, really, often every day, every morning like she did, even though our society shames people, yes, shames them for wanting to suck a dick, and, even worse, our society celebrates people for not wanting to go to the dentist, it's like a joke, going to the dentist, isn't it, yes, going to the dentist as a punchline, really, the worst thing you could do is go to the dentist, society tells us, and we believe it, because it isn't so fun going to the dentist, is it, no, it's not, unlike sucking a dick, which society also tells us not to do, but which we do not believe, no, because we know the truth, that it is fun, that it is fantastic, really, unlike going to the dentist, which is not so fantastic, is it, no, so it was obvious what would happen now, isn't it, that the video has gone viral, yes, she was already dealing with cancellations, endless cancellations, all from clients she saw regularly, all from clients she saw regularly and who always, always came in with palatal hematoma, always, yes, clearly from sucking a dick, always the same palatal hematoma, some different, sure, but always still the same, markedly different from a palatal hematoma caused by eating, say, or anything else that might cause a palatal hematoma, so clearly different, so she was worried, clearly, and that she had been worried ever since dental school, worried this would happen, and it did happen, didn't it, it is happening, isn't it, the secret is getting out, spreading, and the patients learning about it, they're worrying about it, they're feeling shame about it, and she was right to worry, clearly, wasn't she, now, with the cancellations, the clients refusing to come in, refusing to see her, the dentist, of course, she had worried and here it was, wasn't it, the ruination of dentistry, effectively, that was what it was, really, the ruination of her field, of her dental practice, the end of ignorance outpacing the end of shame, yes, the palatal hematoma caused by sucking a dick being an insurmountable schism, a devastating split between her two great passions in life, between dentistry and sucking a dick, of course, a great and specific irony, one seemingly befit only her, one designed to ruin her, not just ruin her dentistry but ruin her specifically, yes, and that she was overwhelmed, really, she was depressed and worried, about all of it, about her business, about paying the bills, about keeping her practice, all of it, all of it was falling apart, wasn't it, her calendar had been nearly wiped clean, nearly entirely empty, the days endless, empty, only a few appointments here and there, just a few, a few, sure, but not enough, not enough to sustain her business, definitely not enough, in fact his was the only appointment she had that week, she had been coming in as a matter of routine, but that no one else came, no one else kept their appointments, no one wanted to come, no, she sat in the dark and waited, every day, and she thought, and worried, and waited, and thought, and worried, and waited, didn't she, she did, yes, and she assumed he too would cancel, yes, she believed he would, she had just been waiting for it, for him to call and cancel, but no, no, he had come in anyway, hadn't he, yes, and she didn't know what to say, she was astounded, she was surprised, confounded, really, as to why he was there, why he came at all, maybe he hadn't seen the video, she thought, and he hadn't canceled, no, so she confronted it directly, this schism, this ruination, and she asked him about the TikTok video, which he hadn't seen, had he, no, of course, he hadn't seen it, which was the only reason he was there, wasn't it, he wouldn't have been there otherwise, no, just like every body else, no, she wouldn't be surprised if he wanted to cancel the appointment right then and there, even, no, she wouldn't, she wouldn't be surprised if he just got up and left then, no, instead of having to open his mouth for her and show off his palatal hematoma, which she knew was there, of course, she knew it was there, wasn't it, he was just like everyone else, wasn't he, he had been sucking a dick just the other day, he was thinking, wasn't he, yes, he was thinking that, wasn't he, yes, he was thinking that, wasn't he, surely, why wouldn't he be thinking that, worrying about that, worrying about how she would know he had sucked a dick that week, that was what worried him, wasn't it, it worried him more than the end of her practice, the end of dentistry, maybe, the ruination of the field itself, the end of dental health, the end of it all, clearly, because why would he care, he wouldn't, would he, and all because he didn't want to show her he had sucked a dick, which everyone does, which she had done just that morning, but no matter, wasn't he thinking that, worrying about that, yes, surely he was, why wouldn't he be thinking that, and yet none of this would change anything, wouldn't it, no, of course it wouldn't, she could tell him everything and it wouldn't matter, would it, it wouldn't matter at all, no, he would still get up and leave, wouldn't he, yes, he would still leave, yes, leave her there, alone, wouldn't he, yes, he would, right then, she knew it, wouldn't he, yes, no, he would, wouldn't he, just get up and leave, yes, no, the dick sucker, that's right, the dick sucker would leave, wouldn't he, yes, no, he would, and she would be alone, alone, ruined and alone, wouldn't she, because he would leave, wouldn't he, the dick sucker, yes, no, he would, yes, no, of course, he would, she knew, she knew he would, of course, he would, yes, no, yes, any minute, wouldn't he. She was breathing fast. Her eyes were wide. He tried to remember the last time he had sucked a dick. He looked out the window. He looked at the dentist. The dentist was breathing fast. Her eyes were closed. He looked out the window. The dentist was breathing more slowly. He looked at the dentist. The dentist was asleep. He looked at the television screen attached to the ceiling. The television was playing an episode of The Great British Bake Off. He watched someone holding a cake that looked like a bird. He hadn't sucked a dick in fifteen years, he thought, maybe, or maybe even a little longer.