A toothache, thought Bad Kitty, is like someone else’s dog scratching at your guest-bedroom door all night.

A toothache is a cold vibrating funnel sucking in the undone chores (the unanswered emails, the phone calls to return, the formalwear shopping to face, the neglected cat, the long drives, parking the car) to pile-drive them on the throbbing nerve.

A toothache is an intercranial memento mori.

A toothache is like watching an elephant crumple over, shot, the dusty earth puffing up: Damned by the ivory.

A toothache thought Bad Kitty is the most overdue bill ever, the interest rate so sharply steep.

A toothache is a stonemason’s chisel engraving a name on a tombstone, chip chip chip.

A toothache when it’s getting less bad is more like a record player skipping.

A toothache, thought Bad Kitty, is a neglected, vindictive daughter—relentless.

A toothache is like a telephone whining under the bed, off the hook, beyond reach: the ultimate misery, until the smoke alarm goes off in the kitchen.

Waking to the stab of a toothache is like wrenching yourself out of your dream just as you fall down an elevator shaft—

A toothache, thought Bad Kitty, is a little poisoned sugar cube.

A toothache is the dark side of the moon of concentration.

A toothache is like being seated between two horrible people at a gala.

A toothache is like having a live hornet taped to your jaw.

A toothache, thought Bad Kitty, concentrates the mind just the way narrowly avoiding a speeding car does.

A toothache is the San Andreas fault opening up the side of your head.

A toothache is  a baby in a tantrum, screaming till it can’t breathe.

A toothache is feeling too much inwardness in your skull.

A toothache is like waking with a hangover, shutting your eyes to the bright light of day, and seeing your terribly red eyelid veins.

A toothache is like a tattoo artist when he’s taken the wrong drugs.

A toothache, reflected Bad Kitty, is like a lot of things.