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A Letter From Tooth Fairy Rita

Our Tooth Fairy is very forgetful. And since she only gives 50 cents per tooth, we've learned over the years that she is also very "frugal" compared to other families' fairies.

Still, the kids seem to accept our Tooth Fairy in stride with all her idiosyncrasies. Sometimes the Tooth Fairy will forget to pick up the tooth for a couple of days and then bring money and some candy to make up for the delay. Sometimes she will leave a note under the children's bed explaining that she is "in training."

This time around, it was very interesting. Isaac, our second child, lost a tooth in May over Mother's Day weekend and proceeded to lose it. We were in Boise at the time. Isaac looked for the tooth everywhere, but to no avail.

We explained that if he would write a note to the Tooth Fairy, all would be well. He, like his father, promptly forgot about this for the next three months.

Then, three days ago, Isaac remembered and he wrote a note to the Tooth Fairy, leaving it by his pillow. Then the unthinkable happened: no Tooth Fairy appeared for two whole days! Happily, last night, Zac's Tooth Fairy sent a letter explaining the whole thing:

"Zac,

I must tell you of the amazing adventure I've just had arriving at your house tonight.

It began May 9th when the Global Untoothing Mobilization System (GUMS) alerted me to a tooth that had just fallen out of one of my childrens' mouths. Your mouth. It was one that I'd been monitoring for a few days now, making my plans to collect the tooth to add it to the picture frame that sits above the mantlepiece in my front room. There was a gaping tooth-sized hole in the picture frame from a tooth that had fallen out, and I thought "Zac's tooth is just the one I need to repair it."

I was out the door immediately, kit in hand. I, of course, had all the items required by the Tooth Fairy Federation (TFF)--rubber gloves, tweezers, platic bags, fairy dust--but about half way there, GUMS informed me that no tooth was under the pillow.

You see, tooth fairies typically leave their homes in anticipation of the tooth being placed under the pillow. If we waited until the tooth was actually under the pillow, we wouldn't be able to get all the children visited in one night who had lost teeth. So the TFF built GUMS as an early-alert system to help keep us on schedule.

When your tooth got lost however, GUMS started beeping at me with a fury indicating that the desired tooth was not under the pillow. As you know, rules are rules, so my trip was cancelled, and I was reassigned to other children for the remainder of the evening who had followed protocol.

My life as a Tooth Fairy went on as normal, though there was still that little gap in the picture frame. GUMS showed that you, Zac, still had several teeth to use and I was going to use the very next one that came out to repair the picture frame. Well, unless the next tooth were a wisdom tooth. Those are *way* too big, and it would probably poke out from the frame, creating a spot where things like coats and shirt sleeves would catch and people walked by. Fortunately for me, you are only 9, so I wasn't too worried about the next tooth being over-sized for the job.

And then, a few days ago it happened. GUMS happily chimed that Zac had just lost a tooth. As you know by now, I was out like a flash, your tooth among the many on my list to go collect. You hadn't placed it under your pillow as yet, but I had to leave right away with my list to get everywhere I needed to be in time.

When it came time to check your pillow, I saw your note. Up until this point, I did not know that your tooth had been lost. All I knew was that GUMS said that it wasn't under your pillow and that was that. This letter clarified a very important point about the whole thing.

Boy, oh boy, though, did it cause a *stir*. You see, your request was obviously very sincere. We fairies can see into children's hearts, and I know that you are a good and sincere boy. Besides, that was the tooth that I had always wanted for my picture frame! I phoned an old roommate from Tooth Fairy University that lives in Meridian and asked if he could go to your Aunt Laurie's house to check things out.

Of course, Carlisle, the tooth fairy in Meridian, was a bit put out, claiming that it wasn't his area of jurisdiction, it wasn't one of his children, and that he had a whole list of his own to take care of. I reminded him of how I'd helped him out in Fairy Physics class and that he owed me one. Grudgingly, he complied and did a brief fly-by.

He came back with bad news--he couldn't find the tooth anywhere. Now Carlisle is not the brightest dew drop on the morning flower, if you know what I mean. I asked him if he'd checked under the couch. "Yes." "In the couch cushions?" "Yes" "In the microwave?" "Why would it be there?" "You never know, its been a couple of months." "Okay, no I didn't check the microwave, you want me to go back?" "No, it's a long shot. Alright, thanks."

I realized that if I was going to get that tooth back, it was going to have to be me. I called the Tooth Fairy Federation Western United States Regional Chair to ask for my route to be redistributed so that I could make an emergency trip to Boise to get an LT (long tooth), or in other words, an old tooth that was never picked up. Old teeth are given some level of priority since they decay and if they aren't collected in time, they can become useless. On occasion, exceptions are granted, like when a very important person like Diana Ross loses a tooth, or a kid has an especially bad day and really needs the coins to cheer him up, or like when the Tooth Fairy is new and has missed a particular kid on his or her route for a couple of days in a row (I'm not naming any names, by the way, but I'm pretty sure that happened a couple of times with the Tooth Fairy assigned to your sisters. Just sayin...).

Calling for an emergency route transfer for an old tooth collection was a long shot. The regional chair said, "Nah, we'll just dispatch the Long Tooth Collection Squad like we usually do. Get back to your route." I persisted. This was for my child, Zac! I mentioned your note, and I made sure to speak of you in the highest regard. The character of a child is very important in the eyes of Tooth Fairies, you know.

"So, you want me to redistribute your entire route of 100 children across the entire Salt Lake Valley so you can fly up to Boise to collect one measly tooth?" "Yes, for a boy who is very important to me. He wrote this note, and he has a good heart." It was also because this tooth would be *perfect* to fix my picture frame, but I didn't want to mention that. Especially because it was the middle of the night and regional chairs tend to get pretty crabby when asked to make a change like this mid-route.

The chair sighed. "Look, Rita, just let the squad take care of it, okay? We'll deliver the money by courier like we usually do."

I was undeterred. "What if we didn't redistribute the route to other fairies? I will do the 100 I have tonight over the next two days along with my other stops so that I can head up to Boise tonight to find the other tooth. No other fairies need to be inconvenienced."

There was a brief pause on the phone as the chair considered it. "This boy is that important to you?" "Yes, sir." "Okay, have a good time."

Yes! I thought as I zoomed up to Boise as fast as my fairy wings would take me. Fairies can go fast, but, as you can imagine, Boise to and from is definitely an all-night job. I got to your Aunt Laurie's at somewhere around 2 in the morning and began my search.

It wasn't under the couch nor in the cushions. At least Carl was right about that. I checked the carpet within a 10-foot radius to no avail. I sat on the armrest on the couch to think. Where was Zac's tooth? I thought that maybe what had happened was that it got caught in a fold in your clothes, so maybe you carried it around with you for a little bit before it fell to the ground somewhere. So, I searched the carpet in the entire basement area. Still no luck.

I decided to start searching on the main level. My hope of finding your tooth was fading, but there were still many places to look. Maybe the tooth was picked up by the dog or something. Or maybe it got stuck in the grooves of someone's shoe as they walked across the carpet.

After searching for an hour, I flew into the kitchen to check the time on the microwave. It was 3:23 in the morning. I had been searching for nearly an hour and a half! The tooth just *had* to be here in the house somewhere. I decided it was time to go with my last resort. I pulled out my tool kit, snapped on my rubber gloves, and put on my safety goggles. I opened my knapsack of fairy dust and used it to open the cupboard, pull out a cup and quietly fill it with water from the tap. (This has to all be done very carefully so as to not wake up anyone in the house.) Then I mixed a small amount of fairy dust into the water and whispered a magical incantation that made the water glow blue. The last step was to heat it up.

Again with a small trickle of fairy dust, I opened up the microwave to place into it the cup of water, now glowing blue. I never actually heated it up, though. To my utter amazement, as I placed the glowing blue cup into the microwave, it shone against the back side of the microwave, and what did I see? Your tooth!

Defying all reason, your little tooth had waited at the back of your Aunt Laurie's microwave for who knows how long! I picked up the tooth, placed it in my knapsack, dumped the glowing blue fairy water down Aunt Laurie's drain, and flew back towards home.

The next two days were a blur of work, trying to catch up on all the missed little ones who had lost teeth. It was worth it, though!

And now, after two days of hard work, I'm happy to place money for both teeth under your pillow. Tonight, I'll be using your tooth to fix a picture frame that sits above my mantlepiece, and it is going to look perfect! Enjoy your quarters and keep taking care of your teeth! (Oh, and if you ever run into Carl, don't mention to him that the tooth *was* in the microwave after all. Okay?)

Sincerely,

Your Tooth Fairy"

Well, I'm glad that's settled. :)

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