“Ouch!” said Cali.
The dentist shook his head and did his best to hold her still.
“Now Cali,” said the dentist. “You have to sit still. I know it hurts but if we start the procedure without the injections it will hurt much more.”
The dentist pulled the needle away from her mouth and Cali caught another glimpse of the massive syringe in his hand. The thing was so big he needed to hold it with both hands. She hated every minute of being in the dentist’s office, and all because of an infected tooth. Her upper anterior incisor had been bothering her for weeks and she ignored it until it became unbearable. When she went in to get it fixed, the dentist explained to her that her chain-smoking had caused an infection in her gum which effectively killed the nerves in her tooth and a root canal was her only chance of relief. What he conveniently forgot to mention was that it would involve a series of injections and pressing the pus out of her gum. By the time she left that office her top lip was so swollen it felt like she was hiding gummy-bears underneath.
The threat of cancer was never enough to keep her from smoking but that root canal was the most painful thing she’d ever experienced. No way she would ever go back to smoking but even her dentist didn’t believe her so he suggested that she pick up vaping instead. With none of the harmful chemicals that cigarettes have, vaping would be the perfect alternative for Cali to keep her nicotine addiction without further messing her teeth up so he suggested a shop nearby that specialized in vaping.
Cali didn’t think that she’d need to switch to vaping but as soon as she left the doctor’s office she felt that familiar craving for nicotine start to itch the back of her throat. Across the road from the dentist’s office was an off-license shop and she nearly went in for a pack of smokes but then she ran her tongue on the inside of her teeth, felt the holes that the dentist had drilled into them and shuddered. The vape store definitely sounded like a better idea.
According to her dentist’s directions, it was right around the corner. She walked over there, willing the pain killers that the dentist gave her to kick in faster and save her from the agony. When she walked in she saw a wide variety of smoking equipment from pipes to connoisseur rolling papers and a few exotic brands of cigarettes. The cute guy at the counter saw the confused look on her face and waved her over.
“Hey there,” he said. “Don’t look so confused. Come on over and I’ll help you out.”
The way that he smiled at her made her feel giddy, but that might have just been the drugs finally checking in. She just wished that her face didn’t look like she’d stuck it in a hive full of bees. If he noticed, he was too much of a gentleman to mention it.
“Hey,” she said. “Um, so I’m trying to quit smoking and my dentist suggested that I come over here and find a decent alternative.”
The guy at the counter chuckled.
“Yeah, we get a lot of referrals from dentists. Smoking does all kinds of damage to your teeth and nicotine patches are an okay alternative but they’re pretty boring and do nothing to help you with the oral fixation. Have you ever used a vaporizer before?”
Cali shook her head and the guy at the counter smiled even harder.
“Then I have the pleasure of showing you the ropes,” he said and took out a see-through pipe about the length of his hand. “I’m Bruce by the way, and this us my little baby that I call Jenny.”
“Hi Jenny,” Cali tried to say but her swollen lip made the words came out like she was speaking underwater.
Like a true gentleman, Bruce ignored her swollen lip and started to show her how the vaporizer works. He pulled the pieces apart and showed her all the constituent parts as well as how to put them together again.
“…and the best part is, it’s just water-vapor so you don’t have to worry about any of the nasty stuff associated with tobacco.” He pressed the button on the outside and took a long drag then exhaled slowly towards the roof. Cali noticed that the vapor he blew out was brilliant white like the exhaust coming out of an steam engine, with none of the blue tinge that cigarette smoke usually has. Bruce took in another puff and this time he let it out in rings (he obviously knew his vape tricks).
“That’s so cool,” said Cali. “Can you teach me how to do that?”
“Sure,” he said and passed her the vape stick. “All you have to do is pull your tongue back like this,” he opened his mouth and showed her how to position his tongue. “Then flick it forward.”
Cali took a pull on the stick and the first thing that she noticed was that the vapor was a lot lighter than cigarette smoke and tasted way better too. She needed a few more puffs before she got it right and the rings came out fully-formed.
“You’re a natural,” said Bruce. “You can keep that stick. I’ve got another and you can even have an extra refill. If you like it as much as much as I’m sure that you will, you can bring it back and we’ll give a great deal on a brand new one in your favorite color.”
Cali thanked Bruce and reluctantly left the shop. She wanted to spend the rest of the day with him but he gave her a reason to come back so she took it and ran. Her follow-up appointment with the dentist was three days later. When she went in she told him that she hadn’t had a single cigarette since their last appointment and he was proud of her. She intended to go back to the vape store for her own vaporizer right after the dentist appointment and get her own vape stick. The dentist nodded, pulled out that massive syringe again and told her that it the jab wouldn’t hurt as much this time since the infection had gone down.