Doc Spearmint frowned. “I told you to trim your bangs or you’d injure yourself.”
Rathair frowned right back. “Easy for you to say. You don’t have nerves in your hair.” The rat tails that grew out of his head continued to writhe. One particularly long, thick tail kept slapping down into his face, hitting his left eye several times. “Ow.”
“It’s the tails or your vision. Figure out which one you like best. I only have so many eyeballs left.” He turned to his wall of jarred confectionaries. “Cinnamon this time?”
Doc reached up to a jar of cinnamon jawbreakers. “All right. Hold still while I take the old one out. By the way, did you ever tell your father about this problem? Maybe he can tell your hair to stop hurting you.”
“Heh. The King of Rats has more important things to do than comb his kid’s hair.”
“Hold still please.”
“You’ll feel some serious pain while I remove the old one.”
“Yeah, I’ve done this before.”
The rat tails continued their surging dance on the boy’s head. Doc Spearmint sat on a shiny stool and gazed into the boy’s eyes. “All right. Here we go.”
The tails jerked still for a moment, and then began flinging themselves with all their worth. Rathair groaned.
“It’ll be over in a moment. You’ll feel some stinging.” The Doctor’s calm voice slowed the boy’s hair.
The boy smelled cinnamon. “Is everything supposed to be tinged red?”
“Your nerve endings will get used to it after a short while. Now, if you don’t either trim your bangs or train your hair, I’m not replacing your eye again. Candy’s hard enough to get around here; I don’t want to waste it on a child who won’t do what he’s told.”
“You sound like you’re giving a moral.”
“Maybe that’s the type of story I was rejected from. I just wish more candy would get rejected, but no dreamer rejects a good candy. Except maybe a dentist.”
Rathair’s mouth slid into a grin. “Well, thanks, Doc. Even with the moral, it’s nice to be able to see again.”
The doctor nodded absently. “You may go now. Make sure you pay at the front desk.”
“Uh-huh.” The boy jumped to his feet and swayed front and back a moment. He smiled. “You forgettin’ something, Doc?”
“Hm? Oh, yes. You were a good patient. Here.” Doc Spearmint reached into his mouth and tugged at one of his front teeth. After a moment of pressure, the gums yielded their prize, and the doctor offered it to the boy.
Rathair seized the white candy and tossed it into his mouth. “You grow the best stuff in your mouth, Doc! See ya round!”
This is a Barrelbottom Tale.
Doc Spearmint returns in The Medicines of Doc Spearmint.
Rathair next appears in Heavy Lies the Crown.