The best part about going to the grocery store with Mommy was that I got a gumball when Mommy was finished shopping. I pushed my tongue against my loose tooth, wiggling as I waited in line beside Mommy. When it came out, I’d put it under my pillow and get a whole dollar from the Tooth Fairy. I could buy four gumballs with that.
“Can I get my gumball now?” I asked. This line was so long and boring. Blowing bubbles would make waiting more fun.
Mommy gave me a quarter and I ran to the gumball machine by the door, ponytail swishing. I looked into the glass orb that held brightly colored gumballs. I hoped I got a red one. Those were my favorite. I inserted the quarter and twisted the handle.
Something clattered from the glass orb and into the slot, but it didn’t sound like the clunking sound of a gumball. It was a tiny clinking sound.
I lifted the flap and put my hand in. My fingers wrapped around something small and hard with sharp angles. It definitely wasn’t a smooth round gumball. I turned my hand around and in my palm lay a tooth.
How did a tooth get in in with the gumballs? It was ugly. All yellow.
I opened the slot and stuck my hand in it again. I wanted a gumball, not a tooth. But there wasn’t anything in there.
I was about to run back to mommy and ask her for another quarter when something sizzled in the air in front of my face.
A tiny person with wings hovered in the air between me and the gumball machine. She was wearing a sparkly pink dress like the one I wore for Halloween, and she had silver wings. Her hair was in bouncy curls that made me want to pull one down just to watch it spring back up.
I was staring so hard my eyes hurt. She was a real live fairy!
“What are you doing?” the tiny fairy asked. Her voice was so small. She was like a talking doll. I wanted to hold her. “Do you want your teeth to look like that one?” She pointed at the yellow tooth in my hand with the wand she held. It had a glossy white tooth on the end of it. My eyes got even bigger. This wasn’t just any fairy. This was the Tooth Fairy. “If you keep eating candy like this, you’ll end up cavities, plaque, rotting teeth. And who do you think has to deal with your nasty teeth once you lose them?”
“You?” I asked.
“Yes me.” The Tooth Fairy gave a shake of her head, making her curls look like springs. “And I can’t use rotting teeth. Consider this a warning, little girl. If you ruin your teeth, you won’t be getting any money from me when you put them under your pillow.” Then she crossed her arms and disappeared.
I blinked, but it was just the gumball machine in front of me. It looked a little scary. Like all of the brightly colored balls were going to spill out and get into my mouth and make my teeth look yellow and nasty like the one in my hand.
I ran back to Mommy.
“Didn’t you get a gumball?” she asked.
I wiggled my tooth with my tongue. “I don’t want any this time.”