© Mark Souza | Horror Writer
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Where’s Waldo – uh, Souza

Posted on October 17, 2013 by in General | No Comments

I am so bad about blogging. For those who check in here once and a while to see what’s going on, I apologize and just want to say, you are the most patient and wonderful people in the world. So what have I been doing over the past few months that kept me so busy that I couldn’t take a few minutes to write a blog? First of all, I’m lazier than a well fed cat. Second, I really have been busy.

As I wrote earlier, I started writing screenplays as well as books. In June, I was in L.A. pitching my first screenplay. I did get some interest and my screenplay is still under consideration – I think. A lot of times you learn the answer is no when they never contact you again – I dated a few girls with the same policy.  I met a lot of other creative types in the movie industry during the past few months. I also converted a couple of my short stories into screenplays for movie shorts. One, Second Honeymoon is slated to begin shooting in February. I wrote another short based on the concept of a director I made contact with in September, and am waiting to hear back as to whether or not he’ll shoot it.

I am still working to complete my next novel, Zombie-saurus Rex. I announced earlier this year that it would be released this fall, and when I wrote that, I thought it was true. Well, that isn’t going to happen. So now I’m shooting for the spring.

I’ve also had a few medical issues crop up over the past few months. When I was thirteen (yes, take a trip with me in the way-back machine), I took time off from my paper route to play on an awesome rope swing suspended from the limbs of a massive maple. At one point I jumped off at the end of my arc, then turned to track the return swing of the rope which had a plywood disc attached to it for a seat, lest it whack me in the noggin on its return – idiot. That plywood disc caught me square in the puss and broke one of my front teeth off at the gum line. I had a great dentist who fashioned me a crown anchored to what remained of my tooth and no one was the wiser. Every thirteen years of so, that crown would give up the ghost and pop out. This last time, my dentist informed me that what remained of my tooth would no longer support a crown. I needed an implant. The process goes like this. They pull what remained of my tooth. Then they drilled a hole into the roof of my mouth and implanted a metal socket that will support my new artificial tooth.

To say I was worried about the procedure would be an understatement. I hate dental pain. The dentist went into great detail describing the whole procedure and what could go wrong, including that they planned on using nitrous oxide, which I’d never had before. Now I’d been told nitrous isn’t really a pain killer, it just renders a person incapable of fighting back. The other anesthetic being used was Novocaine, which sometimes doesn’t work for me. Anyone who said nitrous isn’t a pain killer was way wrong. They put this mask over my nose and turned on the gas. I started inhaling the stuff like it was free and felt my consciousness recede. I wasn’t out, but it was as if I had stepped a few paces back into myself and was witnessing what was going on from deep in some dark hallway. I became so detached, at one point I made the decision to breathe through my mouth to take in regular air afraid of what might happen to me if I went so far back into the rabbit hole that the little prick of light at the end of the tunnel went dark.

The procedure was a breeze and over in less than an hour. Now I get to wait four months for the bone to heal around the metal socket before I get the permanent implant. In the mean time, I have this thing called a flipper, a ceramic tooth attached to a plastic retainer thingee. Now I was lucky growing up, in that my teeth grew in straight and I never needed braces. Until I got my flipper, I never realized the love affair that exists between the roof of my mouth and my tongue – never really thought about it, until the flipper came between them. I am not a huge fan of the flipper. Nor am I a fan of looking like a gap-toothed yokel. Quite a quandary. To those of you who have had to suffer through wearing a retainer, I feel your pain and empathize. I have an agreement with my family that I don’t have to wear the flipper at home, and they promise to keep the jokes to a bare minimum.

Part of the instructions that came with the flipper was that I was to avoid crunchy foods. Soon after I started wearing it, a co-worker brought in treats from China, one of which looked like pretzel sticks. Not the thick need-a-hammer-to break-through type, but thin, snap-between-your-fingers-at-the-slightest-pressure type of pretzel sticks. As I was chewing, I hit something hard. I spat it into my hand. It was the ceramic tooth part of my flipper. I rushed to my dentist. He has all manner of dental adhesives at his disposal, surely he could fix this. No. That’s not the way it works. I was told I needed to take it to my oral surgeon and he would mail it to the lab that made it. And in a couple weeks I’d have my flipper back and everything would be right as rain. I was pissed. I was not fond of the idea of walking around like Bubba the bare knuckle boxer. I went to the nearest 7-11, bought a tube of Super Glue, and put the thing back together myself. Easy peasey.

So, no crunchy foods. Lesson learned. Not so fast, Bubba. About two weeks later, while at work, I bought a breakfast bar – very soft and chewy. While eating it, something didn’t feel right. My tongue, still longing for the roof of my mouth, found something else to occupy its time – a gap where my flipper tooth used to be. I pulled my flipper to confirm the obvious. Yep, she was gone. I did a quick search around my desk before coming to terms with the truth. I’d swallowed my tooth. Super Glue wasn’t going to save me this time. I called the lab that made my flipper, all the while afraid that what they would tell me was, once my tooth – uh- reemerged, to bring it into them and they would reattach it. I couldn’t think of what I’d done so wrong in my life that I’d have to fish through my poop looking for a tooth, only to have to wear said rectal nugget for the next three months. For even if they steam cleaned it and sterilized it with acid, I’d know where it had been.

Fortunately, this was not the scenario they offered up. I went to their offices and two hours later my flipper was fixed. My old tooth was allowed to be jettisoned down the household torpedo tube like a dead goldfish. New lesson learned – no eating with the flipper.

The other health related thing that happened was I incurred some kind of lower back injury. This sucker really hurts, to the point that I can’t sit for more than a half hour, couldn’t sleep, and had to buy a new bed. You can see how that might have a detrimental effect on writing (and blogging). People (including doctors and insurance people) asked what did you do? I tell them that I encountered a horrible car accident near my home. A young girl was trapped beneath the wreckage. And as I lifted the car off her, I felt a twinge of pain. That’s what I wished happened, because at least then I could understand it. The real story? I was sitting on the couch doing nothing, and it felt like someone poked a hot needle into my lower spine. It was just a twinge and I thought it would pass. It didn’t. It just kept getting worse. I play a lot of golf – or I used to. But golf really aggravated it, sending jolts of pain down both legs, and I realized if I wanted to heal, I’d have to stop. In my desperation for relief, I’ve seen chiropractors (the first time in my life), massage therapists, and am now in physical therapy. If nothing works by the end of the year, it’s back to the doctor for an MRI – they really make you run the gauntlet before they’ll agree to an MRI – like they think the machine was made by leprechauns and anyone who uses it gets a pot of gold. Wish me luck.



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