UNDERGROUND VOICES: FICTION
JASMINE SWANEY

Snickerdoodle

Dear Tooth Fairy,

My name is Victor Ripple and I am 60 years old. Don’t ask me how I got your address; I literally had to pay $37 dollars for the privilege and now I’m a little worried that I have perhaps wasted my money.

You see, in 1957, I took the time to write Santa Claus a lengthy request for a Hula Hoop but instead he brought me a Slinky, which my drunken father subsequently unraveled and used as a wire to bind my mother’s wrists. Then he emptied an entire rack of cooling blueberry muffins into a paper sack and sped off in our Nash Rambler. We never saw him again. Needless to say, I stopped writing to Santa.

I am not trying to imply that you are of the same ilk as Santa Claus. You are…cousins? In my mind, you all look like cartoon characters, especially Jesus. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you have some sort of supernatural ability that might help solve a current and pressing problem of mine.

The problem goes like this: I had a passionate love for mediocrity and for my wife’s Snickerdoodle cookies. I’ve never been a big dreamer; I’m the kind of guy who gets excited when he finds a dirty dime. So imagine my surprise when I was told by my wife that this wasn’t good enough after more than thirty-five years. I first met her sometime between my insignificant existence at a subpar accounting school and my similar insignificant existence at a subpar accounting firm. At the time, she was gentle and cherubic. She called me “safe” and we got married. I was greatly relieved to find someone who could embrace my timidity. The years went by. Until one day I woke up and my wife was skinny and severe, and my whole head was bald. My wife left me for the man who put in our Anderson Windows. It was hard for me to watch him install those lovely double-paned glass panels without wanting to run to him, weeping liking a child. Could he not, for godsake, be quite so handsome? My pink flabby fingers were crushed in his handshake. As they tore out of the driveway - not in a Nash Rambler, but in my own sleek sedan - my wife threw out the car window, “You want to know the real problem? You could never make a decision.”

Two days later, one of my back molars fell out. Five days later, and an incisor fell out. I have lost all my teeth; they simply leaped out of my head. I lost one chewing toast. I lost one on my walk to the office. It fell out of my mandible and straight into my shirt pocket, which was fortunate, like finding those dirty dimes. It’s been exactly six months and four days since my wife took off and I am wearing a pair of dentures and staring at all 28 of my permanent teeth as they rest inside a glass jar on my desk.

Last night, I had a dream. In the dream, I saw myself with gargantuan hands. They were the size of my lost, sleek sedan. As the dream unfolded, I began uprooting whole trees. It was as easy as uprooting carrots with those hands. I awoke from the dream and very much wanted to use my hands in new and constructive ways. The first way I wanted to use them was as weapons to strike the face of the Anderson Windows Man. This I did in a parking lot as he and my wife were leaving an AA meeting together. He looked amused and she was clearly high on some sort of illicit substance or just pure hatred at the sight of me. I hit him square in the teeth and one lodged in my skin near a knuckle (there are actually 29 teeth in the jar; I kept his). I’ll call anyone a liar who tries to claim that he felt the lion’s share of the pain. My wrist hurts like an incredible bitch and a dollop of salve sits in the little pothole where his tooth so savagely punctured me. I’m sure I yelped when I hit him. My wife did a sort of dance on the spot while he rolled around. She looked so smug and delirious in her green pants suit. It made me wonder what kind of dreams the Anderson Man had beyond window installments. My parting words to her were in the shape of a question. “How was that for a decision?”

The second way I wanted to use my hands was as tools to write you this letter. Although I feel almost giddy after slugging someone in the face, I am pretty sure they are going to show up very soon and press some sort of charges. The charge I most fear is the one that will shoot up my spine if Mr. Window decides to smash my face into our marble countertops. I had a little surge of adrenaline in the parking lot, sure, but I am no warrior. I breathe heavily when I bend to tie my shoes; a bout of sustained violence will surely kill me.

So I guess what I am proposing is this: I am going to end this letter and then tip all 29 teeth under my pillow before lying down for a short nap. You will appear from wherever you inhabit, wearing whatever it is you wear (I see you wearing a short, pleated skirt). As I sleep, you will use your wand to prop open my jaw before carefully yet efficiently (they could arrive any minute) placing all 28 of my teeth back into my head where they once belonged. The 29th tooth – the Anderson Man tooth – you will keep for yourself at a price of one million US dollars plus one old, dirty dime. (Put the million in a briefcase by the bed and the dime under my pillow.) You will also replace every single hair I ever lost back onto my head and return them all to the color they so vibrantly exhibited when I was twenty-three years old. Additionally, you will restore my bodily appearance to that of its twenty-third year but allow me to retain every bit of knowledge that now resides inside my brain after 60 years. Next, you will fly down to our kitchen and place the entire batch of cooling Snickerdoodles into a paper sack and set it next to the briefcase. Finally, watch over me – feel free to do a little naughty dance in that pleated skirt – until you hear my sleek sedan pull into the driveway. Then, rouse me with a kiss and I will courageously breeze down the stairs and meet them in the foyer. So stunned will they be by my youthful appearance that they will neither move nor say a word. With the sack of cookies and briefcase in one hand, and a dirty dime in the other, I shall spin on my heels and flip the ten cents to my wife. “Some hot dish in a pleated skirt just gave me this,” I will say in a voice similar to John Wayne’s. “Oh, and by the way,” I will add, “I made these Snickerdoodles myself. Any asshole could do it.” Then I’ll climb into that sleek sedan and ride it downtown and out into the countryside until I die from exuberance. I’m looking forward to your utmost cooperation, and to a lifetime full of hindsight encased inside the skin of a young man.

Sincerely,

Victor Ripple

Jasmine Swaney is a freelance writer who resides in Montana. She is a graduate of the Creative Writing program at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. When Jasmine is not writing, she enjoys hiking and fly fishing in the Rocky Mountains with her husband and St. Bernard/Labrador mutt, Gracie.







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