Flash Friday 09/08/2013: Tooth Ache
“I’m sure you know why I called you into my office,” Thompson said. He was a rotund man in a pin stripe suit, the cigar he was smoking making his bowling ball-like head none the cooler. “Actually, now that I think about it, we never did tell you, did we?”
“About what?” The Tooth Fairy said, taking a seat in the chair opposite Thompson.
“Oy yoy yoy. You hold out on telling your kids the birds and the bees story, and then they hit eighteen and there’s no hiding it any more. Okay, so here’s the run-down. You have this gig, right? And it’s been going for, what, ten? Twenty years?”
“My origins go back a few hundred, but we’ll go with twenty.”
“And, see, you’ve been doing this real sweet gig where you supply us with teeth for use in fairy dust. Even go so far as to pay the kids you take them from. What’s with that, anyway? I don’t go around giving apple trees a pension scheme.”
“It’s birthed purely from compassion and respect,” The Tooth Fairy said, her tone tense. “Losing a tooth is a big moment for a child.”
“Whatever,” Thompson said, wafting the quickly-thickening cigar smoke from his face. “Point is, this gig is real good and all, but we really can’t afford to keep buying the teeth off of you. We’ve had a bit of a change in the business plans, so to speak. Did a chart on it and everything.”
The Tooth Fairy raised an eyebrow. “You’re telling me I’m out of a job?”
“No! No, of course not. Not at all. Except yes, you are.”
“But you need teeth for the fairy dust. It’s required.”
“Now, see, this is where the good bit comes in,” Thompson said, pointing his cigar. “The rival company we got going? Figured out their secret. All by myself, I did. See, we’ve been stuck in this world of using magical conch shells to communicate and enchanted libraries to get information. You seen what those guys are up to? They got themselves hooked up on this thing called the internet. It’s really amazing stuff, you gotta check it out sometime. Our competitors found a supplier that can get it in cheap from other countries. Something like six copper a bag, instead of the two silver we pay. Just one click of that mouse thing and it’s at their door in one to two days. It’s amazing, it really is.”
“Six copper fairy dust?” the Fairy said, a hand to her mouth. “But you can’t buy that. They substitute the tooth dust with chalk. It’s horrific.”
“It’s also an absolute killer when it comes to profit margins,” Thompson said, with a glint in his eye. “They did lots of tests, you know. No health-related side-effects to blessing people and animals with chalk substitute. Well, nothing immediate, anyway. It’s cheap as hell, and we don’t have to run about the human world trying to collect this stuff. More importantly, I don’t have to pay you for it. That’s the really good bit, I hope you agree.”
“But what am I supposed to do?” The Tooth Fairy said. “I have an entire resumé that’s useless in every other career. I can’t exactly apply for a data entry position with centuries of work experience of taking teeth from children.”
“I’m sure you can find a great spot in the dental industry. In marketing, or even as a dentist. Hell, you could even find a new market for the teeth you collect, like one of those toys where it’s the shape of a dog, and there’s all those teeth in him, and you gotta press them down and snap! It comes down on your finger! Except the teeth are real this time. Kids love danger, you know.” Thompson nodded as if he knew what he was talking about. It only worried The Tooth Fairy more.
“I have a better idea,” she said, keen to change the subject. “You have a picture of the front of our product?”
“Sure,” Thompson said, diving into a drawer on his desk and withdrawing a piece of paper, the packaging of the company’s Dust-U-Like product printed on it. “Sometimes when I get depressed, I take one look at this baby and it reminds me why I do what I do. So, what’s your idea?”
The Tooth Fairy didn’t say a word. All she did was draw a red pen from her pocket, took the lid off, and wrote ‘ORGANIC’ under the logo. She passed it across the desk to Thompson, who was busy looking like he had just witnessed the invention of time travel to bother saying anything. Eventually, he locked eyes with The Tooth Fairy, extending a hand towards her.
“Welcome back to the company,” he said.
“Thank you,” The Tooth Fairy said, shaking the hand. “It’s like I never left.”