- Published: 1 September 2020
- ISBN: 9780143773825
- Imprint: Puffin
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 272
- RRP: $17.99
Mallory, Mallory: The Revenge of the Tooth Fairy
1. Mallory's Tooth
It all began with Mallory’s tooth.
She wiggled it.
She waggled it.
She pushed it with her finger.
She jiggled it with her finger.
‘What are you doing?’ asked Arthur. ‘I’m wiggling my tooth,’ said Mallory. ‘Why?’
‘It’s loose,’ said Mallory.
‘Show me,’ said Arthur.
Mallory opened her mouth as wide as possible and Arthur peered in. It was not a pretty sight, mainly because Mallory had not finished chewing the Marmite and walnut sandwich she’d been having for lunch.
Arthur pulled back, screwing up his face.
‘No, it’s not,’ said Mallory. ‘It’s just a tooth.’
‘Not the tooth,’ said Arthur. ‘Your chewed-up sandwich! It’s all brown and horrible like the back yard after a week of rain.’
‘You’re horrible!’ said Mallory, swinging at Arthur with her backpack.
Arthur ducked. He was good at ducking. Being Mallory’s only friend, he had to be good at ducking.
Truth be told, Mallory was the horrible one. She was the most unpopular girl in the whole school, and with good reason. She was mean. She was cruel. She’d never met anybody whose feelings she didn’t want to hurt. Even the teachers had to grit their teeth to pretend to be nice to her.
She put up with Arthur mainly because nobody else did. Arthur was a nerdy little kid who rubbed people the wrong way. He’d never learnt the knack of getting people to laugh with him instead of at him, and when he tried, he usually made things worse. Whenever the kids picked sides for a game, Arthur would be the last one picked, and even then reluctantly. Often he was then offered to the other side as a sort of booby prize. (Mallory was never even picked — only partly because she never wanted to play.)
Arthur was like the ten-cent coin on the footpath nobody ever bothered to pick up.
Mallory was like the Scotch thistle nobody dared to touch.
For all that, Mallory and Arthur managed to tolerate each other most of the time — which was just as well, as they lived next door to each other.
‘If you’d swallow your sandwich, I’ll have another look,’ said Arthur bravely.
‘Wimp!’ said Mallory.
She opened her mouth again and fingered one of her back teeth. She hadn’t quite swallowed her sandwich, but this time Arthur pretended he couldn’t see the churned-up remains. Instead, he peered at the tooth as Mallory carefully pushed it back and forth.
‘It’s loose,’ said Arthur.
‘I know that, you fool,’ said Mallory. ‘I’ve already told you, don’t you remember?’
‘Is it going to come out?’ asked Arthur.
‘No,’ said Mallory. ‘It’s going to stay there forever doing its little wiggle-dance all day long.’
‘Bet it’s going to come out,’ said Arthur.
‘Of course it’s going to come out,’ said Mallory. ‘It’s just that I don’t want it to come out quite yet.’
‘Why not?’ asked Arthur.
Mallory gave him a secretive little grin and said, ‘I have a plan.’
‘What sort of a plan?’
‘A secret plan!’
‘What is it?’
‘I can’t tell you that, stupid!’ said Mallory. ‘It wouldn’t be a secret then.’
‘It’d be a secret between us.’
‘I don’t want it to be a secret between us,’ said Mallory, sniffing. ‘I just want it to be a secret between me.’
‘OK,’ said Arthur, shrugging. He did a lot of shrugging when talking to Mallory. It was rather like a dog shrugging off water and insults and disappointment. Like a dog, he always came back for more, though.
He dug into his backpack and found an apple.
‘Want an apple?’
‘What’s wrong with it?’ asked Mallory suspiciously, as she continued to jiggle her loose tooth.
‘Nothing,’ said Arthur. ‘I just don’t feel like it.’
‘How do you feel like an apple?’ asked Mallory.
Arthur stared at her.
‘Red, crunchy and full of pips!’ said Mallory.
‘It was a joke, you fool!’ said Mallory, reaching for the apple. ‘Give it here.’
Seeing that it was a joke and that Mallory had told it, Arthur felt obliged to give a little laugh, but he wasn’t very convincing.
‘You didn’t get it, did you?’ demanded Mallory, with a look of contempt. ‘Hardly anyone gets my jokes.’
Arthur wanted to say that that was because her jokes weren’t very funny and that there was never much to get, but he thought better of it. ‘Anyway,’ he said instead, ‘I’m not full of pips.’
This time it was Mallory’s turn to stare. ‘You really didn’t get it, did you?’ she said. ‘What an egg!’
‘I thought you said I was an apple,’ said Arthur, thinking that was quite a clever reply.
Mallory ignored it. Instead, she opened her mouth and bit firmly on the bright red apple Arthur had offered her. It was highly polished and very large and looked quite delicious.
However, almost immediately she pulled the apple away from her mouth in dismay.
‘Oh no!’ she wailed.
‘What is it?’ asked Arthur.
‘Your stupid apple!’ shouted Mallory. ‘Look!’ She opened her mouth widely.
Where just before there had been a wiggly tooth there was now a gaping gap.
‘Where’s your tooth?’ asked Arthur.
Mallory held up the apple.
Embedded in the middle of a large bite mark, her tooth stuck out like a little white gravestone in a snowy field.
‘It’s your tooth!’ exclaimed Arthur.
‘Of course it’s my tooth, you fool,’ said Mallory indignantly. ‘What does it look like? A vacuum cleaner? Why did you give me your rotten apple anyway?’ She pulled the tooth out of the apple and angrily stuck it in her pants pocket.
‘It isn’t rotten,’ said Arthur. ‘It’s perfectly . . .’
He had no time to finish his sentence, as he had to duck as Mallory hurled the apple at him. It grazed his head and went flying over the playground.
‘Don’t be a wimp!’
‘It hurt,’ cried Arthur, rubbing the sore spot.
‘It’s not the only thing that’s going to hurt,’ said Mallory.
‘What do you mean?’
‘It’s a secret.’
‘Another secret?’ asked Arthur apprehensively.
‘No,’ said Mallory, somewhat more cheerfully, as if she was really looking forward to something. ‘The same secret, and it’s so good!’
Text copyright © James Norcliffe, 2020
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