Larry Hodges, an Odyssey workshop grad, has sold more than one hundred stories. His four novels include Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions, published by World Weaver Press, and When Parallel Lines Meet, a Stellar Guild team-up with Mike Resnick and Lezli Robyn.
“In the beginning,” said the Dentist before the huge congregation in the Great Church of Dentalogy, “the Tooth Fairy created teeth. They were without form, and useless, and so the Fairy said, ‘Let there be incisors, canines, and molars.’ But they were still useless, so the Fairy said, ‘Let there be jaws and heads and bodies,’ and she put them together to make animals, and then she created food, and the teeth were useful for biting and tearing and grinding this food that the animals ate. Then the Fairy reached into her own mouth and pulled out a wisdom tooth, and as blood dripped down her chin, she gave this tooth of knowledge to one of the animals, the weakest and most helpless one of all, a human. And so, because of this great sacrifice by the Tooth Fairy, we are alive and wise today. What do we say to the Tooth Fairy?”
“Bite me!” the congregation shouted.
The Dentist in his great white lab coat turned and pointed at the huge symbolic black satin pillow on the wall. “I can’t hear you!”
“Bite me!” they cried, even louder.
And then, in the short silence that followed, one person rose to his feet and cried out, “Bite off!”
The congregation gasped.
“Who speaks such insolent words?” asked the Dentist.
“It is I, Reverend Lester Graham, and what you preach is nonsense. There is no such thing as the Tooth Fairy, and teeth were not created as you say. Human teeth were created along with man by God on the sixth day of creation.” There were shrieks from the congregation and a woman fainted.
“You must be a Christian,” said the Dentist.
“Yes, I am.”
“I read about them in Dental Seminary School when they covered ancient theology. I knew there were still a few around, but never thought I’d actually meet one. Didn’t there used to be billions of you?”
“You don’t judge truth by popularity,” said Graham, fingering the cross he wore about his neck.
“Billions of people can’t be wrong,” said the Dentist. “Why do you reject the Tooth Fairy, who gave up one of her four begotten wisdom teeth so that we may have everlasting knowledge?”
“Your Tooth Fairy is just superstition, unlike the one true God. Even if she existed, wouldn’t she be only three-fourths as wise as before, and so following her might not be the wise thing to do, since cumulatively we have far more wisdom teeth than the three left in her mouth?”
“That is well explained in the Quadrilogy of the Three Wisdom Teeth and the Holy Spirit One.”
“Yeah, you worship a Fairy with an invisible tooth.”
“Your entire silly god has been invisible for how many thousands of years now?” the dentist said. “Should we also worship Zeus and Thor and Brahmah and Allah?”
“They are also false gods, unlike the Christian one.”
“And would that Christian one be Yahweh, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit? Never mind. If there is no Tooth Fairy—as ridiculous as that would be—then how do you account for the disappearance of teeth left under pillows, and their replacement by candy and stock market certificates?”
“Dentists like yourself are responsible, as part of a scam. The Dental Union has a monopoly on candy sales and uses this to promote dental decay. They also maintain the legal ban on,” and he hesitated for a second, “toothpaste and dental floss.”
“Watch your language!” cried a mother, putting her hands over her small daughter’s ears. “There are children present!”
“Then, when people have toothaches,” Graham continued, “you charge huge sums of money to pull them. You then give them the holy painkillers so they sleep better that night, but they are actually sleeping pills so they will sleep soundly. Then you sneak in at night, take the teeth, and replace them with more cavity-producing candy and stock market certificates whose value is insignificant compared to what you charged for pulling their teeth.”
“And how do you know all this blasphemy?”
“Because I too was once a Dentist, but was cast out when I called out my colleagues for their scams.” He turned to face the congregation, some of whom had stood with their backs to him. “And I can prove it is a scam!”
“How would you do that?” asked the Dentist.
Graham reached into a pocket and held out a tooth. “I too eat too many sweets and had to pull this tooth last night. I have brought a pillow, blanket, and video equipment, and will spend the night right here, on these benches, with the tooth under my pillow, with video and members of your congregation as witnesses. We shall see if the Tooth Fairy can magically replace it, as you claim, or if you will try to do so yourself.”
“So,” the Dentist said, “you are trying to use reason to argue against faith? How does that apply to your religion? Does it tell you to believe based on faith or reason?”
“Well…” Graham stammered.
“Can you prove with reason the existence of your god, right here, right now, with all of us as witnesses, just as you hope to disprove our fairy?”
“Jesus died for our sins!”
“Prove it, or begone, disbeliever. Until then, your dead faith is just that, and you will spend eternity ground between the molars of Hell. Ours is the faith of billions as we scream from rooftops everywhere the Holy Words of the Tooth Fairy.”
Then dozens of true believers in the congregation began pulling out their teeth, one painful yank at a time, and pelted the Christian until he finally got up and raced for the exit, never to be seen again.
The Dentist smiled to himself. He had plenty of candy and cheap stock certificates, and hoped he had enough sleeping pills. He’d be busy tonight.
Copyright © 2020 by Larry Hodges.