The Best of Times Short Story Competition

Spring 2008 Results

The Tooth Fairy

Copyright © Gloria Anderlini 2008

The Tooth Fairy never came to Cecil Ramsbottom, not once, not even though he had lost several very good teeth over the years. Each tooth had been cleaned, wrapped in tissue and placed under his pillow... and was still there in the morning. No shiny coin, nothing!

Once, on a school trip to the Paleontology section of the Museum, Cecil filched a perfectly good tooth belonging to the extinct sabre toothed tiger, but even this splendid offering had been rejected and no reward was offered. Cecil was devastated. Other children came to school with their pieces of silver, even for the smallest. bloodstained tooth. It wasn't fair. Cecil felt betrayed.

He bored a hole in the tiger's tooth and hung it around his neck, hoping the Tooth Fairy would notice. She didn't, but it was much admired by the other children in his class, one of whom, smitten by envy and spite, revealed the awful truth that there was NO Tooth Fairy! ...It was your own mother.

That was the last straw for Cecil. He was an only child and knew his parents didn't like him much, but they could have played the game, pretended. Over the years his resentment slowly grew and when he lost his only wisdom tooth at the age of twenty three, he told the dentist to keep it. He was totally disillusioned.

So angry was he with his parents that he changed his name to Cyril Dentine and it was about this time that he discovered that his mother had altered her will in favour of her niece, a toothy young orthodontist. Poor Cecil decided to end it all. He wrote a suicide note, signed it Cyril Dentine, took a lift to the tenth floor and jumped!

But, as he plunged downwards, his passage was interrupted by a shotgun blast coming from the window on the ninth floor... which killed him instantly. Poor Cecil! He had no luck at all. He couldn't even commit suicide properly. But neither the shooter nor Cecil knew that a safety net had been placed below the eight floor to protect building workers there, so the suicide attempt would have failed anyway. But... Cecil was dead.

Now we come to the court case. Was it murder, suicide, or an accident?

People living on the ninth floor were interviewed and an elderly couple were produced. Neighbours testified that the pair were always fighting and often, to stop her nagging, her husband would sometimes threaten her with the empty shotgun. It was never loaded. Their arguments were a kind of charade, something to do, a habit which invariably came to a head once a month when the moon was also full. But when he pulled the trigger this time, pellets flew straight past his wife and into the head of the passing Cecil.

Investigations turned up a witness who had seen their son loading the shotgun a few days before. When asked, the son said he was going duck shooting at the week-end.

"I did tell him he should only load a gun when he was ready, on site, like. But, well, the poor bloke was a bit short of a quid, if you know what I mean, always was a bit funny."

The judge now had to decide if it was an accident or if their son was guilty of murder, even though he had not pulled the trigger himself. Had he really intended to go duck shooting and forgot the gun was loaded? Or could he be guilty of attempted murder in one case and/or accidental murder in the other?

A hunt went out for the son. The old people had not seen him for a month or more. Because of the witness's suspicion that the lad was not 'all there', the hunt was extended to mental Institutions and psychiatric help was included in the search.

Meanwhile what was left of poor Cecil Ramsbottom lay in the morgue awaiting identification. No one knew who Cyril Dentine was. Dental records were of no use, as now there were no teeth... oh yes, there was one, a very large tooth on a cord around his neck. That, together with a tattoo of a fairy on his wrist led Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom to identify their son.

The case was closed, the judge resigned, the Ramsbottoms went back to live on the ninth floor and the verdict was that the son had actually murdered himself!

The moral of this story probably is...don't ever tell your child there is no Tooth Fairy!