“I’m home,” Isaac said.
“Dad, Dad, guess what?” Charlie said. He ran to the door waving his fist in the air and grinning. He was missing one of his front teeth.
“Wow! Did you lose a tooth?” Isaac asked. “Let me see it.”
Charlie opened his hand and held it out, palm up. A little tooth was resting in his palm. Isaac picked it up and looked at it closely. It was so small.
“It’s neat, huh?” Charlie asked. “Do you think I could save it?”
“If you put it under your pillow tonight, maybe you’ll get a quarter,” Isaac said.
“I think I’d prefer to keep the tooth,” Charlie said. “You can’t go buy them in stores after all.”
“It’s up to you,” Isaac said.
Charlie held up his tooth and squinted at it. “Is there really a tooth fairy?” he asked.
“What do you think?” Isaac asked.
“If I put my tooth under my pillow, I can make a tooth fairy trap. Then I’ll know. I’ll save my next tooth,” Charlie said. “Do you want to help me make the trap?”
“Sure,” Isaac said. “What did you have in mind?”
Together they built the trap. Following Charlie’s directions, Isaac tied the tooth to a stick with a short string and then used the stick to prop up a box. Charlie wrote “FREE TOOTH” in marker on the box.
“I can’t put this under my pillow,” Charlie complained.
“You might have to leave a note under your pillow just in case, telling the tooth fairy where the tooth is,” Isaac said.
“Good thinking,” Charlie said.
That night, Charlie went to bed early. When Isaac heard snoring from down the hall, he went in to check on the trap. A little man dressed in green with a bushy red beard was standing under the box. He snipped the string with tiny scissors and put the tooth in his pocket.
Then the little man looked up and frowned. “It’s mine, and you can’t have it,” he said. He disappeared.
Isaac was confused. That looked like a leprechaun. Did leprechauns turn teeth into gold like tiny little Rumplestiltskins who worked with teeth instead of straw? Why hadn’t anyone told him? Parenthood really needed a manual for all of these sorts of things.
Isaac looked down at the empty trap. Charlie was going to be so disappointed. No tooth, no fairy, and no quarter. Isaac pulled out his wallet. He shined a quarter on his shirt and put it under the box, while holding it in the corner of his shirt. Charlie might think of looking for fingerprints, after all.
The next morning, Charlie was a little disappointed. He brought in the snipped string to show Isaac. “The tooth fairy is smarter than I thought,” he said.
“Well, I guess no one has caught one before, so they must be,” Isaac said.
“That’s true,” Charlie said. “Luckily, I have lots more teeth to lose. Maybe next time I’ll catch one. I should probably start thinking of ideas now.”
“Let me know if you need any help,” Isaac said.
“I will. Thanks, Dad,” Charlie said.