Tooth Fairy

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She loves me now, but when the Dental Insurance kicks in...

I was six when I bit into that crispy red apple. Even before the juice ran over my taste-buds there was a brief, sharp stab of pain. It was a taste of things to come.

“Oww! Mommy!” I cried. “I got a hurt.”

And as Mom ran in from the kitchen I stared at that pain-apple with a mixture of hatred and awe.

“Mommy, my wobbly toof felled out!”

It was the high-point of my life to that point. Mom smothered me in a thousand perfumed kisses (in a nice way) and hugged me so tightly I thought my ribs would burst.

“Who’s my clever little boy?” She said again and again as if I’d solved the Schroedinger equation on my Etch-a-sketch.

I looked round the room to see if there were any other candidates. But she was talking about ME! If I’d died then Heaven couldn’t have offered anything better. Maybe I should have done.

“We’ll put it under your pillow tonight, for the Tooth Fairy!” She said.

And, noticing the doubt in my eyes as I wonder why the only woman in my life wanted to give away the prize possession I’d waited so long for, she added:

“The Tooth Fairy will give you a shiny quarter.”

And so, as I indulged my candy daydream, Mom went back into the kitchen unaware that she’d just entered me into a lifetime of pain.

Early days

If you stayed up all night, maybe you could negotiate a better rate.

Next morning the sun streamed through the blinds at 7 o’clock but I didn’t mind. I put one hand under the pillow, then the other one; half-excited, half dreading the loss of my first tooth. For a second there was the cold touch of real money! And suddenly I didn’t care about the tooth because the gob-stoppers I’d been chewing in my dreams were one step closer.

Mom made me eat sugar-coated sugar flakes but I knew what I really needed. The instant she said I could go out on my bike I pedaled my way to the corner-store with only one thought on my mind.

Gob-stoppers, Gob-stoppers, Gob-stoppers, Gob-stoppers, Gob-stoppers, Gob-stoppers, Gob-stoppers, Gob-stoppers, Gob-stoppers!

The kindly old man behind the counter greeted me as a friend, but I didn’t need friends. I had money.

“So what’ll it be?” he asked.

Gob-stoppers, Gob-stoppers, Gob-stoppers, Gob-stoppers, Gob-stoppers, Gob-stoppers, Gob-stoppers, Gob-stoppers, Gob-stoppers!

I hesitated. Why? It made no sense. I knew what I wanted; it was Gob-stoppers!

“Taffy.” I croaked, unsure what was happening to me.

The old man weighed out a quarter’s worth of taffy and I pedaled home, subdued, confused.

“What did you buy, Honey?” Mom asked.

“Taffy!” I muttered, when all I wanted to do was cry.

“Oh, I thought you didn’t like taffy,” She smiled. “Still, if anything’s gonna pull out your other teeth.”

The scales fell from my eyes and now I understood. Somewhere deep inside, my inner self had realised that this is the only job I’d ever need. I had a head full of teeth and Mom said I was already growing more.

“Don’t eat it all at once,” Mom called after me as I went back up to my room.

“Sure thing, Mom.” I muttered. “But I don’t need you to look after me now. I have the Tooth Fairy!”

A Deepening relationship

Why wait? No Fairy wants British teeth.

The sun streamed in at 7 again but I’d been awake for hours. My intestines were still complaining but I was triumphant – it had worked. After an hour of effort I’d extracted a pre-molar. Sure, the sugar-coated sugar flakes made me wince but it was worth it. I had another quarter.

I pushed past my so-called mother and pedaled furiously to the corner-store.

“Taffy, please.” I said before the door-chime had even stopped reverberating.

And then it was home and back into my room to try again.

“Are you all right in there, Honey?” Mom called but I didn’t have time for her.

None of my teeth were even slightly wobbly and I wondered just how much it was going to hurt to bang my head against the bedside-table and dislodge one. But, what was this? She was in my room! She took the remaining Taffy and dragged me downstairs. God damn the woman, what did she think she was doing?

Later I crawled into bed after two straight hours at Wal-Mart and another four at her stupid sister's. I was so tired I even let her tuck me in. I had no tooth to trade and “Mom” gave my remaining taffy to cousin Megan. It was too late to do anything for the Tooth Fairy. I drifted into a restless sleep, dreaming of quarters raining down on Meg, the Bitch.

Cold Turkey

Sure, I looked cute but take a closer look and you'll see pain etched into my brow.

By the morning I was desperate. No tooth, no quarter, no option. It took ages to tie a thread around the wobbliest incisor. I took a deep breath and swung the heavy door with all the strength my six year old frame could muster. The thread snapped, but not before it lacerated my gums.

Play nicely, dear” Mom shouted up the stairs.

“Play?” I spluttered through bloodied lips.

She thought I was playing! Was I even related to this woman?

I took a fishing line from Pop’s tackle-box in the garage, the line he used for landing fish bigger than me. There was a brick in the corner of the garage. I took that too, and sneaked back to my room.

Eventually, I managed to tie the brick to my front tooth, took another deep breath and launched the brick through the window towards next-door’s cat in the backyard. I nearly joined the cat on the porch, but the tooth remained firmly anchored to my bleeding jaw.

I tried again and again with different teeth until Mom confiscated the brick and dragged me to hospital. A doctor stitched the wounds and told Mom I was psycho. Me! He was the one who stuck needles into children.

Later, I sat in my room still without taffy or money. I rocked back and forth on the carpet, sweating despite the cold. I shivered, staring at the white walls, trying to summon the courage to steal a quarter from Mom’s purse and sneak away to the store until eventually tiredness, stress and the effects of the anaesthetic overwhelmed me and I crashed into fevered sleep.


The sun streamed in again, assaulting my eyes. What was this? Another quarter had appeared beneath the pillow. I ran my tongue across my teeth and found a new gap still smarting sharply. I hadn’t remove a tooth, had I? Surely I’d have remembered that. But no, the Tooth Fairy had taught me the meaning of pro-active. To Hell with the sugar-flakes!

Even Fairies get impatient.

“Taffy!” I demanded before the old perv could waste my time in pointless ‘How’s your dear old Grandma’ conversation.

This time I didn’t make the mistake of going home. I crawled beneath the big laurel bush near the gate to the park and settled down among the condoms and beer-cans.

Hours later the cops dropped me home and I waited a short age for Mom to calm down. She was half-crying, half-laughing in relief, caught between grounding me for eternity and hugging me to death. Either way, I wasn’t bothered. I had a pocket full of teeth, a head full of dental abscesses and a bellyful of pride.

I knew then that the Tooth Fairy is a psychosis that dwells within all of us. A blood-psychosis deep within marking our journey from innocence....

....Damn the Tooth Fairy!

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