Docc’s practice had improved since we last met him.
He was now an expert in aromatherapy, clearing his patients’ sinus problems by getting them to sniff small bowls of sloth-poo. He used faith-healing, with his catch-phrase “trust me, I’m the Docc”. He used reflexology, rapping people sharply on the knee with his club, though he did use this only on people who hadn’t paid him for the aromatherapy.
He even dealt with womens’ complaints, learning as he did so that most of their complaints were about the lack of help with the cavework that they got from their menfolk.
And he had moved into dentistry, which is why we find Ugg once again walking hesitantly into Docc’s cave.
“Ah, Ugg,” said Docc. “What seems to be the trouble?”
Ugg pointed to his mouth.
“Your ugliness?” said Docc. “Can’t do anything about that, I’m afraid. I don’t do cosmetic surgery.”
Ugg shook his head, which elicited a sharp stab of agony that caused him to yelp in pain and slap his hand to his cheek, which caused him to yelp again.
“Toothache?” asked Docc.
Ugg went to nod, thought better of it, then simply raised one thumb.
“No problem,” said Docc. “Sit up onto this slab and open your mouth.”
Ugg did as he was asked, and Docc held a torch up to his mouth while he looked inside. Ugg began to sweat, which is what usually happens when someone holds a flaming torch a few inches from your face.
“I see the one,” said Docc. “I’m afraid it’s going to have to come out.” He handed Ugg a small stone goblet. “Here, take a mouthful of this.”
Ugg looked into the goblet, which contained a luridly pink liquid. He poured some into his mouth, and discovered that it had a tangy, metallic taste.
“It’s just water from the stream behind the cave,” said Docc. “I’m not sure why it’s that colour, I think some dying animal might be bleeding into the water somewhere further upstream.”
Ugg spat the liquid violently across the cave.
“Very good,” said Docc. “I was just going to ask you to do that.”
He started to work in Ugg’s mouth. Ugg could feel poking and tugging, had Docc’s fingers in his mouth and had his jaws open so wide that they were beginning to ache. Clearly, he was in no position to speak.
“So,” asked Docc, “how’s the wife?”
“Hiii,” said Ugg.
“Fine, eh?” said Docc. “And what about work?”
“Hay ho hay ho,” said Ugg.
“Same old same old?” said Docc. “I know how you feel. Going anywhere on holiday this year?”
Ugg came out with a long unintelligible sound that Docc guessed was a probably a village in Wales. “Very nice,” he said. It was only many hours later that he realised that Ugg had said “oh, for feck’s sake”.
“Now,” said Docc. “This isn’t going to hurt a bit.” He stepped away from the slab and thrust his right hand towards the cave mouth. Ugg roared in pain.
“See?” said Docc. “It actually hurt a lot.”
Ugg opened his mouth to shout at him in anger, then stopped in surprise. He realised that the pain in his mouth had gone, as had one of his back teeth. “That’s amazing, Docc,” he said. “What did you do?”
Docc went outside the cave and returned a few moments later holding Ugg’s tooth, which was attached by a piece of string to a small round object. “The idea,” said Docc, “is that you attach the tooth to a door and then slam it, but since I’ve no idea what a door is I’ve come up with this.” He showed Ugg the device. “I’ve made it circular so it will roll. I throw it out of the cave and it runs down the hill, taking the tooth with it. I called it a ‘wheeeel’, because of the noise it makes when it’s rolling.”
Ugg was almost hopping up and down in excitement. “This is an incredible invention, Docc,” he said. “We could put it on the sled that we drag carcasses back from hunting with.”
Docc stared at him. “Nah,” he said. “Sleds don’t get toothache.”