The Crystal Poodle Barrette by Andrew J. Hogan

Andrew J. Hogan's glimpse into the mind of a kleptomaniac dentist.

"I steal."

Lindsay's brain froze. Why would her dentist steal a barrette from Gleason's Gift Shop jewelry counter? "Why didn't you just pay for it; it's only $9.50?"

"I have no use for it," Dr. Pendergast said.

"That doesn't make any sense."

"It doesn't make sense to me either. I just had to steal it."

"What for?" Lindsay said.

"Not what for, but why. I steal, it doesn't matter what."

"And Mr. Gleason lets you?" Lindsay said.

"Mr. Gleason wouldn't have let me in the store. I'd have to tell him what I needed and wait until he brought it out to me."

"You thought I would let you steal something?"

"You're inexperienced. I didn't think you'd catch me."

"You waited for Mr. Gleason to leave for lunch?" Lindsay said.

"A half an hour."

"I'm your patient, and you stole from me."

"You're not my patient here, and I stole from Mr. Gleason, but as soon as my wife finds the barrette, she'll call Gleason and pay him twice what it's worth."

"Your wife knows you do this?"

"Sure, I steal her things all the times, but she knows all my hiding places."

"Aren't you embarrassed to act like this?" Lindsay said.

"I was, but everybody's used to it now."

"What about Father Mulvihill? He wouldn't let you get away with this."

"I steal from the Church all the time. Who do you think paid for the rectory's shrine to St. Nicholas, the patron saint of thieves? My wife has been very generous."

"Well, I don't like it, and I don't like you because of it. I'm going to tell my mother that I want to go to Dr. Singer from now on."

"Oh, no. Don't do that. You're a high school senior now. Dr. Singer is well known as a groper. Haven't your girlfriends told you how he insists on using nitrous oxide?"

"Sure, they think it's fun."

"It is fun, for him," Dr. Pendergast said. "Do you know any boys in your class who've had the laughing gas?"


"I'd feel terrible if anything happened to you."

"Stop stealing, then."

"I tried, but I couldn't." Lindsay could see tears in his eyes. "I'll tell you what. I'll promise to never come into the store again when you're working."

"I don't know. It's like I'm saying your stealing is okay."

Dr. Pendergast looked pitiful. He shrugged and left the store, with the crystal poodle barrette in his pocket.


  1. A mordant and ticklish tale! The great and the good no better than they should be and with the twisted logic to justify their actions. An amusing read, thank you,

  2. Hi Andrew, I'll watch out for this dentist, just in case he steals the gold from my teeth. Amusing conversational piece, any longer it may have lost it's impact as it did lack a certain meaningful purpose - unless - you intend to metaphorically, say that all dentist's are thieves because of the price they charge?
    all the best - James McEwan

  3. A laconic but moving story. Well done!

  4. A truly bizarre but an enjoyable read! A hint of the Spike Milligan about it. Thanks for sharing.