Sitting in a periodontist’s office watching patients arrive, fill out forms, read old magazines, and disappear into the back of the office as staff hurry along shuffling papers and tapping tablets. Everyone is smiling. Patients leave the office with little bags of toothpaste, floss, and a toothbrush – a canon of oral hygiene that they’ll toss into a cluttered drawer in their bathroom at home.

Every time a nurse calls a man’s name they look at me like an unmarked square on a bingo card – but I’m just here waiting for my 12-year-old daughter to emerge from the back.

I can’t help thinking about bees.

And the bacteria on those magazines.

And how in fifty years everyone here will be dead.

Except her.


Jim Mitchem

We The Idiots of the United States of America
Somber Solstice

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.