Category: To Be Young

Little Monster Goes to the Dentist

It was that terrible, horrible, awful, scary time of year again. No, it wasn’t Halloween. That would have been much, much better. It was time for Little Monster to go to the dentist.

“My teeth are fine,” Little Monster said. He smiled a wide, sharp-toothed grin. “See? They’re all there and they work great. Why bother the dentist?”

Mama Monster rolled her large yellow eyes. “It won’t bother the dentist. It’s her job to check on monster teeth so they stay healthy.”

Little Monster coughed a little, unconvincing cough. “I think I have a cold. We’d better not spread it around. We might as well reschedule.”

“Hmmmm.” Mama Monster picked up her purse. “We’ll let them know when we check in, but I think it’ll be fine.”

On the way to the door, Little Monster fell dramatically over a chair. “Ouch! I think I broke both my legs. I’d better go lie down.”

Mama Monster scooped him up and carried him out to the car. “I guess I’ll make an appointment with the doctor as well.”

Little Monster sat up straight in his booster seat, looking worried. “Actually, I think my leg is all better now. I don’t need to see the doctor.”

“Well, that’s good.” Mama Monster started the car and drove to the dentist’s office.

At the front door, Little Monster paused. “Are you sure we need to go to the dentist today? Wouldn’t another day be better? We should think about this. I think it’s a bad idea. Remember my cold?” Little Monster coughed another little cough.

Mama Monster opened the door. “Come in and sit down. I’ll let the receptionist know about your cold.” Little Monster sat in a terrible pink chair with a scowl. Mama Monster walked up to the front desk. “Little Monster thinks he might have a cold.”

“That’s fine,” the receptionist said. “The dentist wears a mask and gloves.”

At that moment, Little Monster knew that he was going to actually see the dentist and there wasn’t much he could do about it. It’s not easy being a little monster. He decided that someday he would get to choose whether or not to visit the dentist. He would choose to not visit the dentist.

All too soon, Little Monster was sitting on an awful dentist chair decorated with horrible rainbows. The dentist came out wearing a frightening people mask and people gloves. Little Monster screamed. Mama Monster and the dentist chuckled as the dentist changed her mask and gloves to something more normal.

Little Monster didn’t think it was funny.

“Have you been brushing your teeth?” the dentist asked, leaning his chair back.

Little Monster smiled widely. “Yes. I brush everyday with my brussel sprout toothpaste.”

“Oh, the green slimey one? I love that toothpaste,” the dentist said.

“So, since I brush everyday, I don’t need to be here, right?” Little Monster tried to sit up.

Mama Monster put a paw on his shoulder. “Nice try.”

“Open up,” the dentist said.

The next twenty minutes weren’t so bad. Unfortunately, after the dentist finished poking Little Monster’s teeth with something sharp, she turned to Mama Monster and said something scary. “His teeth look boring.”

“Oh no,” Mama Monster said. “I was afraid of that. I kept hoping they’d get more crooked as he got older.”

“I’m afraid that if you don’t do anything, they’ll remain straight as straight can be.”

Little Monster crossed his arms and glared. This was hard to do when lying in a dentist chair, but Little Monster was always good at glares. “I like straight teeth.”

Mama Monster shook her head sadly. “The other monsters at school might tease you.”

“I don’t care.” Little Monster turned his head away from the dentist. “They’re my teeth, and I like them. I don’t want braces.”

Mama Monster sighed.

“Maybe we can wait until he’s a little older.” The dentist clicked a few keys on her computer keyboard. “But the later you start, the later it will be until he’s done. I’ll send you home with some brochures. We can customize his look. We have a lot of options for artful, attention-getting crooked teeth.”

“I want to go home,” Little Monster whined.

“Not yet,” the dentist said. “You still need to get your teeth cleaned.”

“But I brush them every day,” Little Monster said. No one listened. Little Monster resolved to catch the flu next time he had an appointment. He never wanted to go to a dentist appointment again.

Flashback Friday: Buckets of Fun

This story was originally posted on May 4, 2017. This is the first of a series about Grandpa and his tall tales and the vaguely scary baby Carrie. They’re a lot of fun to write. I hope they’re fun to read, too.

“Wouldn’t you like to ride that roller coaster?” Jim asked as they drove past the fair. “It looks amazing.”

“I’m sure it would be buckets of fun,” Grandpa said.

“Fun doesn’t come in buckets, Grandpa,” Lynn said. “That’s silly.”

“It did when I was younger,” Grandpa said.

“Oh good, a Grandpa story,” Jim said. He shook his brother’s arm. “Neil, wake up.   Grandpa is going to tell a story.”

Three sets of eyes turned to watch the back of Grandpa’s head. “Is everyone ready?” he asked.

“Carrie’s asleep,” Lynn said. “But she’s too little to really understand what we’re talking about anyways.”

“Don’t wake up Carrie,” Jim said. “She’s really grumpy when she doesn’t get enough sleep. It’s kind of scary.”

“Go ahead and start the story, Grandpa,” Neil said. “Please.”

“All right then,” Grandpa said. “Long ago, when I was a lad and the earth was young…”

“You make it sound like you’re as old as dinosaurs,” Lynn said. “That really can’t be true. People don’t live that long.”

“Well, sadly, I’m even older than dirt,” Grandpa said.

“How can you be older than dirt?” Neil asked.

“When I was young, the earth was still covered in packing peanuts, just the way they sent it from the factory. The dirt came later when everyone got busy and fell behind on washing up,” Grandpa said.

“Where did the dirt come from?” Jim asked.

“Out of nowhere, like it always does,” Grandpa said.

“Dirt is mostly made up of minerals and decayed things,” Lynn said. “And no one is older than dirt.”

“Let Grandpa tell the story, Lynn. We still haven’t heard about the buckets,” Jim said.

“Fine,” Lynn said. “But it’s not a true story.”

“Stories don’t have to be about things that really happened to be true,” Neil said.

“That doesn’t even make sense,” Lynn said.

“Shall I continue?” Grandpa asked.

“Yes,” Jim said. “Please do.”

“So, when I was a lad, no one liked to do anything. We all sat around and looked at each other when we weren’t out poking through the packing peanuts for something to eat. I once spent ten years digging a hole in a rock with my big toe for something to do.”

“And then what happened?” Neil asked.

“And then someone found the fountain of youth,” Grandpa said.

“Is that how you lived so long?” Jim asked.

“No, the fountain of youth doesn’t make you old.” Grandpa said. “Of course not. The fountain of youth made things fun.”

“How did that work?” Lynn asked.

“Well,” Grandpa said. “Fun used to be dispensed twice a month in buckets. You would pour it over the activities that needed it the most.   Eventually it soaked in and people liked doing strange things like being scared or sitting around listening to noises.”

“People don’t like doing things like that,” Lynn said.

“Sure they do,” Grandpa said. “They ride roller coasters and go to haunted houses and tell scary stories. They put together strange contraptions made of metal and wood and people sit around and listen to the sounds they make. They call it music.”

“I guess when you say it like that,” Lynn said.

“Where are the buckets now, Grandpa?” Jim asked.

“They don’t need them anymore,” Grandpa said. “People know how to have fun.”

“Where is the fountain of youth?” Neil asked.

“I forgot,” Grandpa said. “Old people forget things all the time, you know.”

“Grandpa, you aren’t really that old,” Lynn said.

“How old are you, Grandpa?” Jim asked.

“Oh look,” Grandpa said. “We’re home. Everybody out. I’ll wake Carrie.” He never did answer the question.

Grandpa Talks About Money

Carrie had a doctor’s appointment. She would be getting her immunizations, and so both mom and dad went to try to protect all the doctors and nurses. Carrie was scary when she was upset.

Grandpa came over to keep an eye on Lynn and Jim and Neal. They were all a little nervous about how upset Carrie would be when she got home. “We could hide under the bed,” Neal suggested. “I don’t think she’d find us there.”

“That’s no good,” Jim said. “It’s at her eye-level. I think we should hide on the top shelf in the pantry. She’d never look for us there.”

“If we weren’t in the house, she would be guaranteed to be unable to find us,” Lynn said.

Neal sighed and his shoulders slumped. “Yeah, but do you know how much it costs to get a passport?”

“Everything costs more nowadays,” Grandpa said, patting Neal on the shoulder. “I think it’s because young people don’t know the value of money. When I was younger, I could get ten pairs of shoes with a penny, and I’d still get change.”

“Wow.” Jim’s eyes were wide. “How could you get change for a penny? What’s smaller than a penny?”

Lynne rolled her eyes. “Nothing is. And while things cost more now than they used to due to inflation, you couldn’t ever get ten pairs of shoes for a penny. That’s ridiculous.”

“Actually, we used to use leaves as change.” Grandpa smiled. “I’m sure you’ve heard about money growing on trees.”

“I thought money didn’t grow on trees,” Neal said doubtfully.

“It doesn’t anymore. People liked the metal money, because it kept them anchored to the ground better during that unfortunate period of time when gravity wasn’t working so well.”

“Really? Could you jump really high like astronauts on the moon?” Jim asked.

“Of course. The problem wasn’t jumping up, it was coming down afterwards. That’s why people talk about lucky pennies. It would surprise you how many people were saved by having a few pennies in their pockets. I’m sure the moon is full of people who just didn’t happen to have change in their pockets when they tripped.”

Lynne snorted. “Gravity doesn’t change like that. It’s constant.”

“Then why is it different on the moon?” Neal asked. “That doesn’t make sense.”

“Quite right,” Grandpa said. “Of course, I found a real lucky penny once. I knew it was lucky, because it looked like a quarter to everyone else. I was afraid to spend it though, because once it belonged to someone else, it would look like a penny to them. Then they’d think I was cheating them.”

Jim leaned forward. “Do you have it now? Can I see it?”

“Of course I do.” Grandpa reached into his pocket. “It’s right here. See?” Grandpa held up a quarter.

“It’s a quarter,” Lynne said in a bored voice.

“It really does look like a quarter!” Neal looked excited. “That’s amazing.”
Jim held out his hand, and Grandpa dropped the quarter into his palm. He turned it over and over. “It looks just like a real quarter.”

“That’s because it is a quarter,” Lynn said. “Not a penny.”

“Could you give it to me?” Jim asked. “Just for a little bit? I want to see it look like a penny.”

“No, because then it would still belong to me. I’m not really willing to give up my luck just yet.”

“We’ll need it when Carrie gets home. Maybe we could disguise ourselves, like the lucky penny,” Jim said.

“Carrie hates strangers,” Lynn pointed out.

“Good point,” Jim said.

“Back before there was money, we didn’t buy anything. We just traded for what we needed. Of course, you had to find people who had what you wanted. People would put big signs outside their houses listing what they had and what they wanted to trade. You could walk around the neighborhood reading signs. It was hard to be strangers when you read everyone’s signs.”

“That didn’t happen,” Lynn said.

Jim frowned. “I thought there was a barter system a long time ago.”

Lynn took a deep breath. “There was a barter system a long, long time ago. Grandpa isn’t that old. And there weren’t any signs and…”

Grandpa was looking out the window. He interrupted Lynn. “I think your parents and Carrie are driving up the driveway. Who wants to go for a walk?”

Everyone ran for their coats.

 

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