The Dentist from Hell

The Dentist from Hell“Do you realize where we are, Beck?” Tim asked, looking warily from one side of the street to the other as he drove.

“No,” I answered. “I got this dentist’s name from our insurance website. He was the only one on our preferred provider list for Cincinnati. Where are we?”

“We are in Over-the-Rhine,” Tim announced slowly.

I had noticed that the neighborhoods appeared rougher and rougher as we followed our directions, but I had no idea. Over-the-Rhine had been in the news a lot lately, and not for the best of reasons. It boasted 606 violent crimes and 350 robberies in the past twelve months. One website had deemed it The Most Dangerous Neighborhood in the United States. The police had even created an elite sixty-man crime-fighting unit, code-named “Vortex,” to work the Over-the-Rhine area. And here I was in the middle of it with my husband and two kids, going to get our teeth cleaned!

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PythonI gasped and froze, one foot in front of the other, not daring to complete the step. A reptile was eight feet ahead of me on my walking path! He was black and about three feet long. He was napping in a shallow puddle of water while the spring sun baked his top side. I stood in my frozen position for a few minutes and watched the snake. I couldn’t detect any movement.

Maybe he’s dead, I mused. Or maybe he’s just in a deep sleep.

I wasn’t taking any chances. Some Alabama snakes chase you if you disturb them. I slowly moved far to the left of the path and tiptoed past the snake. He never even noticed me. I rushed home to Facebook about the “python” I had met.

It took two weeks for me to muster the courage to walk on that path again. But when I did, guess who was waiting for me! The same snake in the same position in the now dried up puddle.

“He has to be dead!” I exclaimed to nobody but me.

I picked up a stick, just in case he wasn’t, and inched toward him. I stopped about six feet away and stared—no movement. I inched another foot closer—still no movement. I inched to four feet between me and the snake—I could see something shiny and curvy by his head.

What is that? I wondered.

A few more steps and the shiny curvy thing came into focus. It was a metal “s” hook. And the metal “s” hook was attached to a black, three-foot long, rubber stretch cord… better known as the “python.”

Consider the scary thing that has you frozen on your path. If you inch forward for a closer look, is it possible that it might not be so scary after all?


“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you” (Deuteronomy 31:6 MSG).