“Okay, son, then good night.” “Good night mom,” Fahd replied slipping into bed, grinning.
He had fooled his mom again. He hadn't brushed his teeth. In fact, he hadn't brushed them in the morning either. He had got up rather late and instead of bothering to clean his teeth properly with toothbrush and toothpaste , he had just rinsed his mouth and rushed out of the bathroom. Not bothering to brush his teeth had become a habit now and while his toothbrush looked new and shiny in the blue ceramic mug on the bathroom shelf, his teeth looked yellow and slightly stained.
Sometime around midnight, Fahd woke up with a start. What had just happened?? He saw a small impish creature looming in front of his eyes. It was holding a spear like thing in his hand. The tiny creature pointed his spear towards Fahd, and the frightened boy felt a sharp jabbing pain on the side of his head and cheek.
“Ow, Ow!! Stop that!” The creature laughed mercilessly and danced about in the air.
“Hello, Fahd. How are you feeling?” It cackled. “Who are you and what you doing in my bedroom?” Fahd asked straining to see clearly in the dark.
“I am your guest and you invited me to come here,” replied the creature. “What? That’s impossible. I don’t know you and I would never invite a…a terrible, ugly and cruel monster like you into my bedroom, “Fahd spluttered.
“But you did, dear boy,” replied the cheeky little creature still dancing in front of Fahd’s eyes. “Are you calling me a liar?|”
“I am telling you. I DID NOT invite you, “Fahd replied furiously.
“Well, you are a little liar, aren’t you?”Said the creature slyly. “You lie everyday whenever your parents ask you if you have brushed your teeth or not. You trade your sandwiches and chicken nuggets for lollipops and candies in school and let your mom think that you eat a healthy lunch.”
Fahd felt very ashamed as well as scared. This creature seemed to know his habits quite well.
“How did I invite you? I mean, did I send an email or a letter or call you by phone?” Fahd asked timidly.
“Oh no, you invite me every time you don’t brush your teeth. Whenever you eat sticky toffees, gummy sweets and lollipops and don’t bother to even rinse your mouth, you send out an invitation to me,” it replied smugly.
Just then, the creature lifted his spear and Fahd again felt a horrible pain on the side of his face again. “Ouch!! Stop that,” he yelled.
“Sorry I can’t. You see you have invited me into your life and now you will have to face the consequences. I am not a pleasant guest to have around and it is quite difficult to get rid of me once I come to stay,” the little monster replied.
Poor Fahd was feeling awful by now. His cheek and neck were throbbing and it hurt even to turn his head. “You still haven’t told me who you are, “he cried desperately, holding a hand to his cheek. “Tch, tch. Haven’t you recognized me as yet? I am Tooth-Ache. Children who don’t brush their teeth regularly and do not practice good oral hygiene habits get to know me very well. I am a great friend to bacteria and plaque that live in your mouth. I like to live in cavities in the teeth and today I have come to stay in the home that you have provided for me,” the creature answered and loomed towards Fahd.
Fahd yelled and tumbled out of his bed and rushed to his parents’ room. His parents were very worried to see Fahd’s face which had swollen due to the massive tooth-ache. They all passed a terrible night.
Next day his mom took him to the dentist who gave Fahd a long lecture about taking care of his teeth and dangers of not brushing them properly. He had to have the cavities filled and it was not a happy experience.
“Now remember Fahd. You must brush your teeth twice a day, especially before going to bed. Also brush them after eating sweets, chocolates and toffees etc. or at least rinse your mouth thoroughly with water. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and avoid snacking on sugary food stuffs and fizzy drinks that are harmful for the teeth.”
Fahd listened to the dentist’s advice carefully. After all he didn't want any more unwelcome visitors at night. I am sure neither would you!
First published in Dawn, Young World, March 19th, 2015