"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe" ~ Neil Gaiman (A Game of You)


A Business Proposition

The Tooth Fairy sat at the table sorting through the last night's haul.  She picked through the tiny little teeth, the molars and bicuspids, setting those with cavities in one pile, those with fillings in another, and those rare gems, the shiny white ones, in another.  Several were broken in half and useless, thrown into the trash.  Hundreds of teeth later, she looked at the piles in front of her in disgust.  The Grade C pile was huge, the Grade B pile slightly smaller, and Grade A?  Seventeen teeth.  Seven freaking teen.  She pushed her chair away from the table with a screech.

She walked over to her crystal mirror and pushed a button.  Dozens of tiny faces filled the screen, children being tucked into bed, peeking underneath pillows to make sure the teeth were still there, simultaneous kisses on foreheads, and a chorus of, "Get right to sleep so the Tooth Fairy will come."

"Screw 'em, the little peckers."  The Tooth Fairy pushed the button again, and the screen went blank.  She grasped the cigarette hanging from her lips and flicked the hanging ash away, singeing another hole in the carpet.

She thought about when her mother had been the Tooth Fairy.  What a racket that had been.  Kids knew how to brush their teeth back then, or their parents would teach them a thing or two, by gol.  And she only had to pay twenty-five cents a tooth.  The Fairy government had been isolationist in those days; no foreign currency vying for their commodities.

Everything changed with free trade and a globalization of the economy.  The trolls were harvesting piranha teeth -- piranhas, for Gad's sakes! and the human teeth had become seriously devalued against the leprechauns' gold.  Add to that the collective bargaining power of parents, and she now had to pay as much as five bucks per tooth.  If it weren't for a few conscionable parents who were still trying to teach their children temperance and moderation, she'd never make even a measly profit.

She walked back to the table and scooped each pile into an envelope, deposited each into her file cabinet.  The plan that had been niggling at the back of her mind pushed its way forward, demanded her attention.

What if she didn't show up tonight?  The goblins had been looking for a little more muscle to help out with their collections department.  She could moonlight for them for awhile.  They paid well enough; better than this, anyway.  She'd put all these teeth into savings and wait until supply had dwindled and demand shot through the roof.  If she timed it right, she'd have enough for that vacation home in the Bahamas she'd always wanted, and some to spare.

She turned back to her crystal mirror, clicked it on one more time.  A sea of peaceful, sleeping faces blanketed the screen.  She stared for a minute, then clicked it off, chuckling as she made her way into her bedroom to get ready for bed.


Today's prompt:  Why did the Tooth Fairy fail to deliver coins one evening?
To play along, visit Write Anything's [Fiction] Friday here.

For the record, this is NOT the story I told my children when the Tooth Fairy failed to show up at our house.


Laura Rachel Fox said...

Great story.

Sounds like the economy is just as bad for fairytale creatures.

shenee said...

ha, I like this, everyone is struggling nowadays, I suppose : )

Shelli said...

Thanks, Laura -- yeah, we're all feeling the crunch. :)

Thank you, Shenee, and welcome to my blog! I hope you'll visit often.

Newtowritinggirl said...

I'm intrigued – why didn’t the tooth fairy show up at your house?

There’s something I really like about your stories – I always know I’m going to enjoy them. This was no exception. I love that she’s not as white as white – smoking and thinking about money more than kids :-)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I knew she was growing tired, usually showing up at my children's room later and later. I'm not surprised she turned cynical. Maybe she needs a mom to take over the job. Uh....wait a minute....

Nicely done Shelli. As always.

Shelli said...

Newt -- Thank you for the best compliment ever! I'm so glad you enjoy my stories. And I was trying to play against stereotype, see if I could find a little humor in the piece. It was silly and playful for me.

As for why the tooth fairy didn't show up at my house -- do you want the real reason, or the kids' version? The real reason is because she is old and senile and forgets these things. I've come up with a million excuses for the kids.

Carri -- And thank you, as always, for your kindest words, as always. :) By the way, were you volunteering to take over? ;)

Stacey said...

Hahaha this was great! Love the idea of a fairytale creature economy :D. (Hmm don't reckon you can click back to my blog anymore as I've moved to wordpress, so mine for this week is

Icy Sedgwick said...

Aw, everyone gets hit by a failing economy! Poor Tooth Fairy. I once lost a tooth while on holiday in Spain and got 25 pesetas (shows how long ago that was) and I often wondered how she could possibly visit me in the UK and Spain...

Nikki~Down syndrome Storyteller said...

HAHAHAHA Great job!!!!!! The leprachaun's gold indeed!

Shelli said...

Stacey -- Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Icy -- Yes, the tooth fairies (and your parents) are pretty amazing that way. ;)

Nikki -- Thanks! That felt like a belly laugh, and that was fun. :)