I have this reoccurring dream. It’s the middle of a dark and stormy night. I’m straining to tiptoe into my son’s bedroom to cover him, fluff his pillow and ensure the envelope containing his baby tooth is within easy grasp for the tooth fairy. Sensing an intruder in the house, the dog begins growling. Suddenly, from beyond the third star and straight on from morning, Tinker Bell kicks in the bedroom door, cuffs meand dramatically declares, “You have no rights. Anything you say will be held against you forever.”
The dog licks her.
Before I can mutter, “I don’t believe in fairies,” she whisks me off in a flash of fairy dust and I’m flown to the nearest mom detention center.
Since I floated the tooth fairy a loan, I don’t have change for my one call. For the next 24 hours I’m incarcerated in a dentist’s waiting room surrounded by unruly leprechauns and ill-tempered dwarves. On the magazine rack are several back issues of Mother Hubbard’s Digestion and torn Highlights for Munchkins. I spend the evening commiserating with my fellow jailbirds. I learned that Mary was on the lam for taking her kid’s 4-H lamb to show and tell. The infamous wicked step mother claimed she’d gotten a bad rap for enforcing a curfew, not allowing daddy’s little princes to cavort around town in a low-cut gown and for forbidding her stepdaughter to cruise the village drag in a hot rod pumpkin. Patti complained that she hadn’t fallen off the wagon; she was simply driving under the influence of her kids ... .
The next morning I’m led over the river and through the woods into a crowded courtroom. My children and grandchildren, a special investigator for the IRS, Dr. Know It All (a psychologist), Dr. Fang D.D.S., and a social worker are the jurors. My third-grade teacher, Mrs. Spellerman, is the judge. The courtroom is filled with people who have never had children and the room is very hot.
Barney Fife, the bailiff, advises me that I’m on trial for committing crimes against reality.
Porky Pig, the court clerk, reminds me that I’m under oath. I must tell the tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth, so help me S-s-s-anta.
The Big Bad Wolf is the prosecuting attorney and because I can’t afford an attorney, I’m appointed a -- you guessed it -- intern fairy godmother.
Everyone starts talking at once. Mrs. Spellerman pounds her ruler across her desk demanding, “Order in the court! We must mind our manners and take turns. If we want to share you have to put your hand up.”
Me: “Your Honor, you’re grammatically out of order.”
Honorable Spellerman: “Overruled.”
(Mrs. Spellerman writes my name on the board and I am forced to sit in the corner and eat curds and whey with some guy named Jack.)
My godmother steps out to fetch a latte. Everyone else has their hand up. Mr. Wolf is called on first.
B.B. Wolf: “Have you ever cheated on a game of Candy Land just to get it over with?”
Me: “Objection. Relevancy Your Honor?”
Honorable Spellerman: “You didn’t raise your hand and I saw you roll your eyes. You’re in contempt, young lady! Answer the question.”
Dr. Fang, D.D.S: “Did you use real candy? In fact, isn’t it true that you’ve regularly given your kids sweets and are thusly responsible for the heinous demise of their enamel and therefore all their ensuing cavities?”
Me: (Interrupting) “I ... .”
Honorable Spellerman: “That’s it! You’re to remain silent for the duration of this trail.”
B.B. Wolf: (Huffing and puffing -- apparently he inhaled when he blew the little pig’s house down) “We have evidence that you (cough) harbored the Easter bunny’s eggs.”
Eldest daughter: “Mom, you are also charged with 52 counts of impersonating the Tooth Fairy, falsifying responses from Santa and tampering with reindeer prints in our front yard.”
Granddaughter: “No-no geabunninecannie! Huh?” (And why did the bunny bring toothbrushes and socks instead of chocolate bunnies?)
Grandson: “Gh-aah!” (I second that complaint!)
IRS Investigator: “The defendant is also suspected of money laundering, not reporting tips found in the washing machine and attempting to deduct cash contributions to fictitious characters as ‘wages paid.’”
Porky exhibited the allegedly forged documents and crime scene photos to the jury.
My three sons: (Somewhat in unison) “Mom, really, reindeer prints don’t look like ski pole tips, we always wondered what happened to the eggs once we decorated them, and Mom, we have reasonable doubts that you paid the Tooth Fairy off with the change we lost from our own pockets! By the way, you never read the ending to Sleeping Beauty or Snow White right. How come the princesses always woke up, looked at their watches and announced they were late for medical school? What’s with that?”
Dr. Know It All: “No doubt you worked and went to college during their formative years, thus causing them separation anxiety. Tell me, how do you feel about your mother?”
Social Worker: “Your youngest daughter reports that you constantly belted her.”
I was going to say I was acting in the best interest of the children, I belted all my kids! After all, it’s the law to use seat belts -- but just then a little cat fiddled a tune about the cow jumping over the moon as the cup cut through the courtroom, while loudly demanding full custody of the dinnerware, cutlery support and alimony from the plate, as she ran off with the spoon.
Right before the sentence was handed down, I clicked my ruby breakup boots together and pleaded, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like ... what’s that?” I hear wedding bells that sound very much like an alarm clock. I cover my head with my pillow, hoping to catch a few more Zs and a happy ending. “Oh, Lilly quit licking me!”
Feeling guilty, I wake up, remember the tooth under my son’s pillow, check the clock and exhale a sigh of relief. Five a.m., April 13. I still have time to fill in for the Tooth Fairy (she’s currently doing five to 10 for tax evasion) and since the 15 falls on Sunday, I have three more days to get my return postmarked.
All I need is 39 cents for a stamp and someloot for the fairy.
I better go check the dryer ... .
Jacki Michels is a wife, mother and grandmother. Currently she’s serving life without parole. Recently, Mrs. Michels was awarded time off for mediocre behavior and was allowed to write this column for the Clarion.
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