Quinton Ghumme liked being a dentist. It was a simple existence, he felt, catering for just one part of the overly complex human body. Well paid with regular hours, he enjoyed the prestige and the recognition. But, today, 9th March, it all felt a little too much like a burden. For today Quinton became the Queen’s dentist and had his first appointment with Her Majesty.
In one way, he knew he had made it to the pinnacle of his profession but Elizabeth was now a spit away from 100 so it wasn’t likely to be a long relationship.
He had been briefed on protocol and preferences – no polishing, minimal scraping, bad news kept to himself and shared with the Private Secretary after – but still felt nervous.
However the sun shone, his wife and children were excited and he knew he could cope with whatever was thrown at him.
She was smaller than he imagined, rather hunched. He couldn’t be sure but he detected a smile on her lips.
‘How do we pronounce your name? There’s been some debate.’ The Queen waved vaguely to the Equerry.
‘Goome, your Majesty. Rhymes with Loom.’
She nodded and walked into the royal dental room, taking her place on the couch with practiced ease. She handed the hygienist her glasses. ‘We did wonder. I imagine people do.’
He nodded and glanced at Karen. ‘Can you get another extra X ray set up? I think we should redo these.’
The Queen relaxed. ‘Be apt though, don’t you think?’
‘If you could open wide?’ Inside, her mouth was a craggy, stained mess evidencing too much plaque and too little flossing. He tapped the third molar that looked a little dark. No reaction.
‘Mind you. I suppose if it was you’d need a different rhyme. Gum rhyming with…’
Quinton Ghumme and Queen Elizabeth II, the world’s longest serving and oldest monarch shared a moment before the Queen began to giggle. The giggle took hold as tears popped out of the corners of her eyes. She struggled to say the word that had occurred to her. Placid one minute the royal complexion began to go through a rainbow of changes.
‘Your Majesty? Are you…?’
It is, of course, well known that the plans for the Queen’s eventual death are well laid. ‘Project London Bridge’ will gear into action as soon as the Queen’s doctor certifies her gone. Given her role and need to travel, the dossier caters for a death at Buckingham Palace, Sandringham and Balmoral (where the local sensitivities make things a mite complex) as well as across the globe. All main broadcasters and organs of government rehearse what they will do in the minutes and hours that follow the announcement.
But one person not primed for the demise of the sovereign a short period before her 100th birthday was Quinton Ghumme. As it became clear the Queen was no longer breathing Quinton panicked. Had she swallowed something? Maybe part of the tooth he had tapped had come loose? Calling for Karen and, indeed, anyone who might be lurking nearby, Quinton pulled open the Queen’s mouth and peered inside.
His mind raced then went blank; hands pulled him away and sat him down. Frantic attempts at revival were undertaken but sooner rather than later she was pronounced deceased and the long prepared machinery of death ground into action.
When Quinton returned home that night his wife sat him down. She was solicitous, given his shock. But even she couldn’t break him out of his malaise. ‘Darling. It wasn’t your fault. You were just unlucky to be the one there when it happened.’
Quinto shook his head sadly. ‘It’s not that.’
‘What is it?’
‘After, when I was having a cup of tea this man came up and asked me if I was okay. I thought he was a Palace official.’
‘He asked about Her Majesty’s last words. So they had a record of them.’
‘What did she say?’
Quinton explained about the rhyme.
His wife essayed a smile. ‘Well, they’ll decide how to cover that up.’
‘That’s the thing. The man was from the press, the Sun. Imagine the headlines.
‘Queen Elizabeth’s Life Ends On A Bum Note’
This is written in response to Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt