Prompt: A boy puts a quarter in a gumball machine and a human tooth comes out.
The Gumball Caper
Timmy stood there staring at his hand. Tears streamed down his face. He snuck away from Mommy while she was in aisle six so that he could sneak back without her knowing. He’d gotten two cavities, whatever those were, last week at the dentist and now mommy wouldn’t let him have candy or gum.
Raiding the change in the sofa, he’d found a quarter. Daddy always let them have any change found. Usually they didn’t care because Mommy gave them quarters.
He’d better get back before Mommy realized he was gone. Turning he saw mommy rushing towards him. Oh, no!
Tears rushed down his face now.
“Timmy, what’s wrong? What happened?” Mommy yelled across the store.
Timmy couldn’t speak. His face felt hot, everyone was staring at him.
“Did someone hurt you?” Mommy asked dragging Dylan by the hand, pushing Ida Marie in a cart.
A crowd gathered. He was scared. When mommy reached him, Timmy opened his hand.
The yellowish/white tooth received a round of “uh, gross” from the crowd.
Mom’s eyes narrowed, “Timothy, where did you get that?”
He pointed to the gumball machine two steps away.
She reached down into Little Ida Marie’s diaper bag, pulling out two wet wipes. She took the tooth out of his hand with one.
Thrusting the other into his hands, Mom ordered, “Here wipe very, very good.”
She watched him carefully. It scared him. When he finished, the wipe was reddish brown.
“When we get home, you and I will have a long talk.” She turned to the crowd. “He’s okay. I will go talk to the manager regarding this matter.” Her comments didn’t stop the crowd from following them to the store’s office.
Mommy pushed him with her body towards the door. Why were they going there? He hadn’t done anything wrong, like last year when he was seven and had taken . . . no, Mommy said, stolen a candy bar. She made him pay the manager. The manager scared him. He fought her for months to get out of grocery shopping.
The manager eyed him but asked, “Mrs. McCole, what can I help you with today?”
“This is what you can help me with!” Mom shoved the tooth at the manager, her voice high pitched.
The manager finally seemed to notice the crowd.
Cough, “I see,” coughed again, “I see you found the fake tooth we use to . . .” he coughed again, “to scare the kids into eating less sugar.”
Mom’s eyes narrowed. “So, it’s not real?”
“Of course not,” The manager said.
One of the regular cashiers walked up to the manager, “Oh, great. Someone found my missing tooth.” She reached out and took it from mom’s hand popping it into her mouth.