"But I saw the damn dentist last month!" he complained. "I ain't made of money."
He tried to hold out another day, but it just got worse.
"How much will you charge to take the tooth?" he demanded.
The dentist told him. It was too much.
"You could sell me the pain, instead," suggested the dentist.
Tom had heard about such things, but he was wary.
"You won't go taking nothing but the pain?" he asked. He had good memories he wanted to keep, strawberries in the sun with Lisa, and his mother's voice when he was a lad, and the feel of his son's hand in his own. Technology wasn't perfect. Mistakes had been made.
"Not a thing," promised the dentist. He strapped Tom in and put the induction helmet in place.
THRUM! Went the machine.
And, "Wow!" said Tom, sudden relief flooding his mouth. The pain had vanished. Where it had been there was just a silky, blank whiteness in his mind.
"All done," said the dentist. "A clean extraction."
Tom nervously prodded his memories. Everything seemed in order. And after all, there was no pain.
The dentist paid Tom the agreed price for a grade III toothache. When Tom had left, the dentist logged via secure server to the Department of Corrections and uploaded the pain, for which he was paid twice as much as he had paid Tom.
"Ow!" shouted the convict the next day, when the toothache was applied. "Stop! Please, stop!"
"And you won't ever do it again?" said the Judge.
The convict swore he would not.
He left whistling. The first thing he did was buy a whole basket of strawberries.