UNITED STATES—Today was the day. Allegra Newton (nee Scruggs) had had enough of dental profiteering, and she was going to hold the dentist at gunpoint till he performed emergency work on her son. In preparation, she went to the living room, which had been overtaken by all her son’s toys in the trophy house they moved into after leaving West Hollywood, partly to vouchsafe young Kyle a Beverly Hills education. The Newtons were immediately branded as south-of-Sunset dwellers by Beverly Hills residents, who covet addresses north of Sunset, rather than those south, and Allegra felt the snub as keenly as a scarlet letter cauterized on her breast.

Now that she was going to extort emergency dental services, Allegra regretted discouraging Kyle’s instinct to dress as GI Joe or Pablo Escobar last Halloween. He kept forcing plastic M-16s, Kalashnikov AK-47s and faux munitions belts into her hands, in a doomed effort at persuasion, and she finally wrestled him to the ground of the Halloween store and sat on his face, while clutching a Louis Vuitton handbag, managing thus to guarantee a non-violent choice of costume. As a result of trauma related to trick or treating as the Dalai Lama, Kyle later saw a therapist.

The sole service that the therapist seemed to provide, aside from reinforcing to Kyle that everything was mommy’s fault, was relieving the Newtons of loot. Allegra was busy volunteering and and her husband Joey was so busy grabbing the loot, Kyle was often the only person enjoying the house south of Sunset, now in foreclosure. They had bought at the height of the market. They were on the edge now, behind on mortgage payments and bent on keeping up appearances. All their plans to buy north of Sunset had crumbled, the bumper of the silver Mercedes—de rigueur for those in the Newton’s class—was held on by duct tape, and, quite frankly, Allegra was having trouble affording the bottled chemicals that kept her in the ash blond crowd at the PTA.

On the eve of procuring dental relief at gunpoint, Allegra thought about using a staple gun, but thought better, and finally settled on the old finger gun on the pocket trick.

Of course something had to be done. Kyle was in pain. As six-month dental check up revealed galloping tooth decay in molar number two, under the large porcelain crown, and now it had turned into an abscess. Kyle was in so much pain the tears came to his eyes.

Kyle moaned about walking the two blocks from the free parking to the dentist office. He called on his cellphone to get an Uber while his mother walked. While she walked, she rehearsed the crime in her mind. Where was her finger, so necessary in lieu of a toy gun to carry out the heist? She was seized by panic and thought she had lost her index finger—between juggling the two-hour free parking zone, her carkeys and Vuitton bag. Oh yes, her finger was where it belonged, on the end of her hand.

She met her son getting out of the Uber about the same time she reached Dr. Feyz’s office. Neglecting to hold the door open for his mother, Kyle blithely walked into the Beverly Hills Institute of Dental Beauty and Anti-Aging. Allegra blithely mashed her nose into the closed plate-glass door. The receptionist looked grim, perhaps from dealing with all the annoying neurotic folks, while Dr. Feyz could always stick his fingers in their mouth and shut them up.

“Can I sit in and watch the procedure?” Allegra asked when Kyle finally reached Dr. Feyz’s chair.

“Shut up!” the fourth grader said. “I don’t want you here, Mom.”

“Considering all the work you’ve had done in the last year,” said Dr. Feyz. “I’d say your mom’s entitled to set up living quarters here. And certainly she can take all the toilet paper she’d like because, from the way you talked to your mother now, you are full of sh*t.”

To be continued…

Grady Miller is a humorist and author of “Lighten Up Now: The Grady Diet,” and the upcoming “Later Bloomer.” (both available on Amazon).