Hitching my purse up my shoulder, I push open the doors to Taco Bell. The restaurant, for lack of a better term, is filled with vampires, mummies, skeletons and an extremely short Chewbacca. Everyone seems to be in costume, except for a group of guys at a corner table.
My bell bottoms swish as I take an immediate right to the ladies’ room. Inside, I grab the spare skirt and shirt I stowed in my bag earlier and drape them over a stall door. “The coast is clear.”
“What do you mean ‘the coast is clear’? This is a bathroom, not the beach,” a small voice says near my right ear.
Giselle, my BFF for the last two years, steps onto my shoulder from where she’s been hiding in my hair.
“It’s a saying, G.”
“You humans and your sayings.” She shrugs. “But it looks like no one’s here, so let’s do this.”
She kicks off from my shoulder and flutters toward the empty stall, growing as she goes. By the time she reaches the clothes, she’s my height—five foot nothing. Short for an eighth grader, but ginormous for a tooth fairy. With a grin, she latches the door.
I re-tie the psychedelic scarf in my hair. I’d originally wanted to go as Princess Leia for Halloween, but decided against it because I needed a costume where my hair could be down to hide Giselle. Tie-dyed shirt, bell bottoms, peace necklace all spell total hippy. And the headband’s a plus for fairy transport.
Giselle bursts out of the stall with a ta da. The pink T is awkward on her until I cut a couple of holes in the back for her wings to poke through, but otherwise she looks every bit a teenager with an amazing fairy costume. Pointy ears. Wings. Glittery hair. For a moment, jealousy twists my insides. She’s so beautiful, and I’m just me.
Then she links her arm with mine and pulls me to the door and the ugly feeling vanishes.
“Stop flying!” I laugh as I tug her backward. “Walk.”
“Sorry.” She flashes her perfect, pearly teeth at me. “Forgot.”
“One more thing.” I hold out a pair of dangly star earrings. “I thought these would look cute on you.”
She lifts them from my palm, sniffs them, and hands them back. “Sorry, Sophie, but faeries don’t do metal. We’re allergic.”
I drop the jewelry back into my bag, and we head out for Giselle’s first outing in the normal human world. My world. I wish I’d thought of it last Halloween.
We wait in line with a couple of Stormtroopers, some Hogwarts witches and wizards, and more than a few superheroes before it’s time to order.
“What should I get again?” Giselle nudges me.
“A guy in my class said we have to try the Cool Ranch Doritos Taco Loco.” I point to it on the menu.
“Cool Ranch Doritos Taco Loco.”
“Is that another human saying? 'Cause it sounds like a bunch of words that don’t go together.”
We order them anyway. I open my purse to grab money, but I’m too late. Giselle pays. In quarters. Pulled from the pockets of her skirt—no idea when she put them in there—one at a time.
“Quarters, seriously?” I ask as we slide into a booth with our trays. “Haven’t you guys ever heard of inflation?”
“Of course.” She unwraps a taco. “That’s why we have so many leftover quarters.”
We toast each other with our tacos and each take a large bite. Crunchy, tasty, flavorful. Not too bad.
Ka-choo! Giselle sneezes. It’s not a Tinkerbell sneeze either. It’s more like a Mount Saint Helens eruption. Steam, literal steam, belches out of her ears, and her face turns a violent shade of violet.
Green pustules break out across her cheeks and forehead as she scratches at her throat like she can’t breathe.
A cup of water smacks down on the table in between us. Then three white sugar packets.
Giselle rips the first one open and pours it in her mouth. The second and third follow. She gulps down the entire cup of water.
Slowly, the steam reduces to a final puff. The green fades from her complexion, and her face returns to its normal shade of not-violet.
The knot of worry in my chest loosens and I slump back in my seat.
Giselle’s savior waits next to our table, all six yummy feet of him. He’s not in costume, just wearing a T-shirt that reads This is my costume. Must be one of the guys from the corner table.
“Better?” he asks.
She nods and wipes away tears. “Thanks,” she manages, though she sounds more like a bullfrog than a fairy.
“It’s the way they wrap the tacos. Foil on one side, paper on the other. Sprinkle it with sugar before eating, and you’ll be fine.”
“I’m never touching a crazy taco again.”
My gaze can’t help following the hunk as he leaves us to return to his non-costumed friends. “Do you know him?”
“He’s a troll,” Giselle rasps.
I snap my attention back to her. “Like on social media?”
She shakes her head. “The billy goat and small child eating kind.”
I risk another glance at the group of guys in the corner. Hunkalicious cheers me with his taco while flashing a smile full of pointed teeth.
My last bite of taco threatens to reemerge. Apparently Giselle isn’t the only creature masquerading as human this Halloween.
I can’t believe I thought he was cute.
“Let’s get out of here.” Giselle doesn’t look any better than I feel. Even her poor wings are wilted.
“Do you want to go trick-or-treating?”
As I explain about going door-to-door asking for candy, her brow furrows. “That sounds too much like collecting teeth.”
In the end, we go next door for ice cream. The sugar rush perks Giselle’s wings and lifts both our spirits.
When my parents come to pick me up, G is tucked safely back in my hair, and my mind is already plotting what we’ll do next Halloween..
Last year I taught a high school fiction writing class. For fun, the students and I all wrote urban fantasy stories that had to include a specific Taco Bell taco. These are characters I've worked with before, but haven't yet appear on the site. The original story, The Dental Troll, is published in Mythic Orbits v 1 (Bear Publishing). The Tooth Fairy's Revenge, a sequel, is in progress. This is a side story about two of the characters from those stories.
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