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Friday Fiblet: Harmless Lies

“They won’t get in each other’s way, will they?”

Her eyes were green, solemn, and large. She looked almost like one of the characters in the anime cartoons she loved. I’d never understood those, they seemed utterly lacking in humour to me, but then my daughter was a very serious little girl.

“No, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are on completely different schedules. It’s very unlikely they’ll even be here at the same time, and even if they did cross paths Santa would be delivering presents or coal downstairs while the Tooth Fairy was picking up your tooth in here. Neither one will come while you’re awake though, so just tuck your tooth under your pillow and settle in.”

She obeyed, tucking the tooth carefully under the very center of the pillow. “What does the Tooth Fairy do with them anyway? It seems a weird thing to collect.”

She had a point. “She sells them on wholesale to the Easter Bunny. They’re used in Easter basket manufacture.”

She looked faintly revolted. “My Easter baskets are made out of teeth?”

“No, they’re just part of the machinery. Shredding the grass, that kind of thing.”

She fetched the molar back out from under her pillow, examining it critically. “This one doesn’t really have any edges. It’s not sharp.”


Unlike her… “Well they’re not used as they are, of course. First the Halloween crew puts little holes in them, using an industrial strength candy solution. That basically makes them like little cheese graters, perfect for shredding Easter grass.”

“Sometimes Christmas tree ornaments are packed in that same kind of stuff. The grass stuff, only it isn’t green.” She was getting sleepy, I could tell, though not quite there yet.

“Yes, but if you’re hoping for a bidding war forget it. Santa actually subcontracts with the Bunny. She provides the machinery, pre-studded with Halloween-treated teeth, and he supplies the elf workforce. In fact the first several runs are devoted to tinsel manufacture, since that metal stuff is harder on the teeth.” I pointed out the window, which had a delicate filigree of frost growing in the corners. The night was mostly clear but quite cold outside. “If you listen carefully you can sometimes hear the pinging of the machinery as it starts up, it really carries a long way.”

Her eyes were definitely drooping now. Descriptions of industrial processes usually have that effect. “I couldn’t hear the stars scraping on the sky like you said last night. I listened really hard but I couldn’t hear them.”

“Well, there were some clouds in the sky. The cotton probably absorbed a lot of the sound. Maybe you should listen again, you might hear it tonight, if the sleigh bells don’t drown it out.” I pulled up the My Little Pony blanket around her neck and fluffed the matching pillow, surreptitiously moving the tooth further outward for easier retrieval as I did so.

“Okay Daddy. I’ll listen until I fall asleep anyway.” She yawned and shut her eyes. She was practically gone already. “You’ll be here to let them in?” We didn’t have a chimney, so I’d kept that part simple.

I kissed her slightly sweat-damp forehead, breathing in the fleeting scent of childhood. She was still my little girl, though she was growing up so fast, and getting so smart. I knew that soon I’d have to stop telling her these harmless lies, but not yet, not tonight.

“Of course, honey. Daddy will always be here,” I told her.

“Daddy will always be here.”





~ by BT Murtagh on November 15, 2013.