Hands on hips, Jade surveyed the scene, listening to the groans, as she turned around a light dusting of glitter shimmered in the air about her for a moment and then was gone. Signs of carnage were everywhere; splintered chairs, upended tables, shattered glass, and people leaning against walls for support as they gazed around in blank confusion through swollen eyes. Several of those doing the groaning had split lips and swollen or broken jaws. Teeth, blood, and other bodily fluids were sprayed about in a disgusting mural of violence.
With a sigh Jade stepped towards the long, wooden bar, leaving a hint of sparkle, like an iridescent shadow, following her in the gloom of the dirty tavern. She'd never understand why humans thought getting drunk and maiming one another was a fun night out, but she had a clean-up job to do.
Moving carefully, she began picking up the teeth lying in various spots around the room. Some were in easy to reach places, others she had to crawl under, over, or around obstacles to get at. She looked up at the ceiling, having learned long ago that teeth could get into very strange places. Sure enough, one was stuck in a high up tile. A cynical smile spread across her face when she saw it. Bingo!
With a slight shrug of her shoulders a pair of nearly translucent wings unfurled from her back, they gleamed in the half light. She wasn't overly concerned about the remaining, conscious humans seeing her as she lifted off the ground to retrieve the errant tooth. They were still drunk, or concussed from the fight, they would refuse to believe what they saw and in the cold light of day think it was no more than a beer induced hallucination.
Besides, every tooth counted. Expenses forms had to be filed out and these little babies were worth their weight in gold.
When Jade had started as a tooth fairy it had seemed a fairly simple job. A few nights a week she went out and collected teeth from under the pillows of children and gave them a standard fee. Then she returned the teeth to the central office and filled out expenses forms for each one. The central office paid her commission for each tooth and a very small basic wage.
Unfortunately, they didn’t pay her for ripped dresses, when windows she had to climb through, had nails or bits of wood hanging loose, they didn’t pay medical bills if a dog or cat, bit or scratched you, and you didn’t get danger money for the little brats waking up and calling in daddy with a baseball bat or, as she remembered on one scary night, a large shotgun.
She had seen it all and been in many situations that no one would believe. After months of hard work with little thanks and even less money, she had sat down and thought hard about her state of affairs. The office wanted teeth and she knew plenty of places to get them. Bar fights were a good one but funeral homes usually had corpses lying about. A few teeth taken and no one is any the wiser. The same went with morgues and dentist’s offices, all easy pickings after her extensive training as a tooth fairy. Locks were not a problem.
Each tooth gained her a payment and it all helped to pay the rent and hit her quota. Other fairies kept asking what her secret was but she just shrugged and said. “Hard work.” It was true, the cleaning up from fights and even the breaking and entering was all very tiring.
The ‘powers that be’ never seemed to ask why the teeth she brought in were often bigger or more worn than most baby teeth. The girl on the front desk just took them and counted them, before paying up.
Leaving the office, Jade counted her takings for the night and realised she had enough to afford a small meal from her local takeaway. Hiding her wings under her coat she headed towards the exotic smells coming from her favourite place to eat.
As she walked back into the street with her boxed meal wrapped up in a little bag she noticed a group of individuals nearby. They paid her no mind but she watched them enter the local pub and start shouting at someone.
Almost running through her front door, she threw down her coat and grabbed a fork to quickly gobble down her meal, the fight could be starting any minute, she had to time it right. She didn’t want to get questioned as a witness.
Throwing her coat back on, glittering with excitement, she almost flew down the stairs from her small apartment and into the pub next door.
Jade bit her lip in frustration at the scene of pleasant, jovial community that greeted her.
Annoyed at the lack of aggressiveness around her, she almost ordered a drink but stopped herself and let her mind work as she eyed up the punters. Sitting at a table with an elderly man, too drunk to notice her and too busy drinking to care. She looked around the bar and saw a group of men in the corner, maybe the same ones she had seen outside. They were all laughing loudly and seemed to be playing a drinking game. She rolled up her sleeves with a determined expression and headed in their direction.
As the screaming subsided, Jade looked at the blood splattered walls and felt a small smile play on her lips.
She was impressed by her efforts this evening, after she had tripped a guy and stolen another guy’s wallet the fight had started. The men in the corner had been blamed for the tripping and the burly guy in the back had been blamed for taking the wallet of the biker at the bar (he had no idea that Jade had planted the wallet on him after removing it from the pocket of its rather scary looking owner). Jade had hidden in the toilets until the fighting finished, stepping out she tutted at the butchery around her. Blood and teeth everywhere, it was true sometimes it was hard work being a tooth fairy, her small smile turned into a wide grin, she twirled a shimmering twirl, and she started to clean up. Luckily, she didn’t mind a bit of hard work.
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”