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Critic's Picks: HUMOR

For the longest time, my family used to tease me about trying to scam the Tooth Fairy. Once, they did it while company was over, and the guests thought it was pretty funny. That prompted me to put my experience down on paper, using a style that would compliment the anecdote. I tweaked the draft based on when people didn't laugh, then submitted the final copy.

Editor’s Comments:
Ben Schwartz takes a hilarious look at the economics of tooth loss. Deciding that he’s been getting the short end of the stick, he sets out to deceive the Tooth Fairy.

How I Scammed the Tooth Fairy (or tried to)

by Ben Schwartz
age: 18

Upon the loss of my first incisor and, coincidentally, the day after my fourth birthday, I began, or so I am told, a quiet obsession with the institution formally known as the tooth fairy. Following the advice of my older brother and sister, I warily inserted the wrapped tooth underneath my bed pillow and unsuccessfully tried to thwart the pixie’s efforts by refusing to shut off my lights or go to sleep, refusal met with marked opposition from my mother and father. I awoke the next morning to the horror of discovering that indeed this fairy had gained access to the very place where I slept and exchanged the cusp for currency which, at the time, had no value to me. Deeply disturbed, I recommended to my parents we install a security system of some sort, but more importantly, I began habitually sleeping underneath my bedcovers with an arsenal of stuffed animals to ward off any other impending magical beings. With the loss of more teeth came increasingly complex machinations to stymie the sprite’s intrusion, including sibling patrols and K'NEX security systems, both of which the cunning fairy managed to elude.

However, as time eased on and needs for toys and candy gradually increased, I began to welcome the trading of lost teeth for cold, hard cash. And so a period of uninhibited, amicable trade with the tooth fairy continued until my seventh year, when I began once more to grow suspicious of the bedside barter. After the painful extraction of four teeth, I inquired as to what the tooth fairy’s policy on oral surgery was to ensure that my surgeon was not involved in any sort of embezzlement. He responded that more often than not, the fairy would simply pay on good faith and pick up the teeth from the doctor, an exchange which I found unlikely as I discovered my teeth were deposited as “Biohazardous” waste.

The suspicion grew into compulsion, a compulsion which manifested itself in the checking out of all of the library’s books key-worded ‘tooth fairy.’ Having carefully researched the topic and polled classmates I deduced that somehow I was being cheated by the imp. Although I lacked the mathematical abilities to prove so, I figured that the tooth fairy had 31 hours to travel across the globe and pick up teeth at every home necessary, a physical improbability.

However, as youth is impressionable, specifically to the influences of an older brother, I was easily convinced that the tooth fairy traveled in a state of the art spaceship, similar in design to the USS Enterprise. Regardless, the technology for dealing with biological waste and traveling at 500 times the speed of sound would certainly not be inexpensive, and so I figured that the tooth fairy was running her swindle at a considerable profit. Although I was unable to discover how she derived profit from the teeth, my ideas included jewelry, mineral extraction, or black market trade. I grew to resent her monopoly and informed my parents of her sinister acts. They seemed dispassionate.

Not one to be swindled, I began to construct a plan, a plan to regain an equal playing field with this fiend and to partially recover my losses to her. The plan required first a missing tooth, and more importantly, a trusting emissary to the fairy, a post I deduced my parents filled through the following simple experiment:

After I finally extracted an unstable bicuspid, I made sure to deposit the tightly wrapped tooth under my pillow. Then I carefully told my mother that I had lost a tooth without her visual confirmation of that fact. I returned to my bedroom and slept, waking the next morning to find two crisp bills neatly tucked underneath my pillow. The fairy could only have known of the loss by magic (being the parsimonious seven-year-old that I was, I refuted this suggestion) or by using my parents as informants. I was correct; somehow the fairy had turned my parents against me. They were all about to see who would have the last laugh.

A week later my plan began its execution. I wrapped a tightly rolled spitball into a tissue, a con looking very similar to the package of my lost tooth constructed eight nights earlier. I reckoned that the added time of unwrapping every package and more importantly the biohazardous exposure the fairy would face would prevent her from identifying a false package from a real one. I told my mother that once again I had lost a tooth. Surprised, she congratulated me and I headed to bed with malicious grins cracking across my face until I finally fell fast asleep.

The next morning I leapt out of bed, but to my dismay instead of George Washington underneath my pillow I found a carefully printed note on expensive stationary, only furthering my belief that the fairy’s trade extraordinarily lucrative. The note read:

“As a result of your trying to scam me, I have decided to terminate our financial relationship. You would do well not to partake in such acts again, as they will undoubtedly land you with coal in your stocking or a lack of Easter candy. Sincerely yours, the Tooth Fairy.”

I stood with ashamed bewilderment that fermented into absolute rage. I informed my mother to pen the following and to see to it the fairy received the notice:

“Lucky for me, I lost my last baby tooth nine days ago.”

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