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Bertie Makes it Worse (2011)

Bertie Makes it Worse (2011)

©2011, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas. (2013). Bertie makes it worse. Unpublished short short story.

About the Thumbnail Photo: If I said this story wasn’t influenced by Mark Twain’s Mrs. McWilliams and the Lightning, I would be lying.




 Bertie Makes it Worse

By Dallas Denny


Upon rising, Bertie McGrath asked his wife Dolly how she had slept. He expected, and got, this:

“I hardly slept at all.”

“You were worrying?” he asked. Dolly was always worrying.

“It’s my tooth. It has a brown spot.”

“It’s probably just a cavity trying to start,” Bertie said soothingly.

“Just a cavity!” Dolly wailed. “Just!”

“It could be worse,” Bertie said.

“How?” demanded Dolly.

“Err,” said Bertie.

“I could lose the tooth!” Dolly wailed. “Dr. Marko will pull it, I know he will. What could be worse than that?”

“I’d rather not say,” said Bertie, who too many times had made the mistake of telling Dolly how things could be worse.

“You think it’s tooth cancer!” Dolly said, accusingly..

“I don’t think there is such a thing as tooth cancer,” Bertie said. “I can look it up!”

“So you do think it’s cancer!”

“I didn’t say that!” said Bertie.

“But you think it!”

“If there’s such a thing as tooth cancer,” Bertie said haltingly, “and I’m not saying there is, mind you, I doubt you have it.”

“There’s nothing worse than tooth cancer!” Dolly cried.

“Oh, I’m sure there are worse things!” Bertie said. He immediately thought, “Oh, dear, now I’ve put my foot in it!”

“What could be worse?” Dolly demanded.

“Gangrene? Amputation? Death?” Bertie ventured.

“I’m going to lose my jaw to gangrene of the tooth!” fumed Dolly. “I’ll die of fright!”

“I slept well,” ventured Bertie.