Tooth Fairy Chronicles, Part 4: Riddles Three, a Photo Essay.

While I’m away, on vacation, I thought it might be nice to revisit some old friends. Or rather, old enemies. This post is Part Four of the Tooth Fairy Chronicles, originally published on Snickerpants.com.

***

Soon after the Gentleman’s Duel was proposed, Catfish and his father came home to this on the front porch:

Say what you will, that Finkmeister can set an atmosphere.

Say what you will, that Finkmeister can set an atmosphere.

Upon inspection, they found it was the first riddle from Finkmeister!

Seriously? This guy spells worse than the cat.

Seriously? This guy spells worse than the cat.

Their immediate response was to grab the flash light and run wildly into the front yard, inspecting every tree the came across.

En Garde, You Scoundrel!

En Garde, You Scoundrel!

When that didn’t work, they tried a little bit of cogitation. As Catfish pointed out every tree in the yard, Brian realized that one of the trees was a potted ficus. It lives outdoors during the summer and it goes back inside for the winter. It ‘walks’, Get it? GET IT?

Catfish did too. He soon found this:

Fancy compass!

OooOooo – a fancy compass!

He celebrated this first triumph by building an elaborate trap out of rope, three bungee cords and the rock-string-grappling-hook device Finkmeister used on an earlier trap. All in all, it was a very successful evening.

He didn't bait this one though. Apparently, it was just a victory trap

He didn’t bait this one though. Apparently, it was just a victory trap

After the trap building, Catfish went back outside to leave the lamp and compass (though he was sore to let them go) as he was instructed. It was hard to go to bed that night.

At six am the next morning he was dressed and waiting for the slowest parents in the world. When he was finally able to coax them downstairs, he rocketed outside. Where the lamp and compass had been, he found yet another scroll:

PS !! DESTROY!

PS !! DESTROY!

Well, of course we could not let him search alone! In a snap, we were all outside hunting for the next token. The sea and the stone part was confusing until someone pointed out it must have something to do with water and rocks, both of which could be found in the patio fountain.

Catfish enlisted his father’s help to pick up and search the rocks around the fountain. I can’t say I blame him, those rocks tend to harbor large hairy things with too many legs.

After much wincing and turning of stones, they found this:

It breaks my heart to think from whom Finkmeister may have stolen this.

It breaks my heart to think from whom Finkmeister may have stolen this.

That day, it started raining.

If you live in the Pacific northwest, you know that “rain” this early in the season really means “120% humidity with a chance of puddles”. Catfish worried that there would be no dry place to leave the token for Finkmeister. And, in turn, no dry spot for him to leave his next riddle. I thought that was nice because, even though he’s dueling an imaginary goblin for thieving rights to our house, he still wants to be polite.

Brian suggested they build a small shelter to stash the stone. Maybe Finkmeister will get the idea to leave his note there. In case he still didn’t understand, Catfish left a note:

Poot the note under the oreng thing. PS Don't steal my stick!

Poot the note under the oreng thing. PS Don’t steal my stick!

Riddle solved for the day, Catfish returned to his victory trap, rewriting the laws of physics with every added string until the entire room was a morass of kitchen twine and impossible gravitational pull. Putting him to bed that evening was a treacherous endeavor.

Bright and early the next morning (again, six am) Catfish was alive and straining to get outside to check on the Finkmeister situation. He was not disappointed.

Sooo...Finkmeister can't spell 'could' and yet, he knows what a Thrall is. How is that possible?

Sooo…Finkmeister can’t spell ‘could’ and yet, he knows what a Thrall is. How is that possible?

This one was the hardest yet! The riddle, if there is one, is just a bunch of gibberish about how great Finkmeister is, so how do we solve it?

We read through the whole thing three times. Each time, cutting out more and more lines that clearly had no meaning other than to taunt. In the end, we studied the first two lines:

My last you will never find /It is forever one step, behind.

Catfish pointed out that “It’s probably behind a step. I know where there’s a step!”

That’s how he found the last, and grossest token:

Finkmeister's napped-out hat.

Finkmeister’s napped-out hat.

That hat was so dirty that Catfish insisted I wash it. (I finally figured out that he wanted to  bring it to school the next day and show all the doubting Thomases.) His problem was that in order to win the duel, we needed to leave the token for Finkmesiter that very night.  How could he leave the token, but also be able to take the hat to school the following day?

Easy peasey Lemon Squeezy! We left the laundry pin as the token! It showed that he did actually find the token, but it also allowed for his plans with the hat. It was a good plan.

But, like all well laid plans, it encountered a fatal snag: When Catfish picked up the hat in the morning, it was still too dirty to take to school. (For the record, I did try.)

Finkmeister wasn’t very happy with the jiggery-pokery though. In fact, he wasn’t happy with the way things had turned out at all!

I'm pretty sure he meant 'soap' there.

I’m pretty sure he meant ‘soap’ there.

Flipping the scroll over, we see he is not finished being a jerk…

We beg to differ with you, Fink.

We beg to differ with you, Fink.

What would happen now? The third riddle made mention that Catfish will become rich if he returned all three tokens. Would that happen? How? Did Catfish really win the duel?

All valid questions! But, by the looks of his angry writing, it appears we wouldn’t be getting any useful information out of Finkmeister in the near future.

If only there was someone that could tell us what was going on…


Don’t miss out on the rest of the story!

Part 1: Finkmeister is a Jackass
Part 2: The Overnight Finkmeister Trap
Part 3: A Gentleman’s Duel
Part 4: Riddles Three, a Photo Essay.
Part 5: End Game.

Tooth Fairy Chronicles, Part 3: A Gentleman’s Duel

While I’m away, on vacation, I thought it might be nice to revisit some old friends. Or rather, old enemies. This post is Part Three of the Tooth Fairy Chronicles originally published on Snickerpants.com.

***

Wow.

I have seriously underestimated my kid.

You know the part about the Tooth Fairy not being able to visit because of Finkmeister trying to steal the money. And then came the Overnight Finkmeister trap. Which, as you see here, could not contain him.

Clearly, cardboard is an inferior material.

Clearly, cardboard is an inferior material.

By this point, I figured it would be over.  I don’t know why I thought this. It is not over. It has, in fact, gone so over the top that is halfway down the other side and shows no sign of stopping.

The first thing Catfish did after discovering the trap in disarray wasn’t cry. He didn’t even pout. He simply turned to his father and said:

“Now we know to make the next one not out of cardboard.”

He spent the next day dreaming up another trap. It follows the basic principle of the upside-down-box-with-a-stick-propping-it-up trap only this time, instead of cardboard, he decided to use metal because…you know…Finkmeister is afraid of metal. Anyway, it’s actually quite ingenious, here take a look:

What we did not know at the time is that he also spent the day trying to convince anyone who would listen, that the Finkmeister is real and he was stealing our money.

It wasn’t going so well.

When we picked him up from school he was quieter than usual. After a bit of hinting around he broke down and told us that none of his friends believe him about the Finkmeister and that he really needed to catch him to so he could bring him to school and show everyone that he was real.

Oh dear.

This is venturing into emotionally charged territory. What have I done? All I wanted to do was create a little magic for him. Instead I conjured up a magical fiend fire that has grown out of control. We need to put an end to this as gently as possible.

That’s why Catfish woke this morning to find the metal Finkmeister trap pried away with a jury-rigged grappling hook and some strategically placed garden stones. Inside the yogurt box we found the following note:

Man, that Finkmeister is terrible at spelling.

Man, that Finkmeister is terrible at spelling.

On the back we found this:

WTF? He’s Stealing our magazines now too?

WTF? He’s Stealing our magazines now too?

Here it is for you, transcribed into something that doesn’t look like someone wrote it with their feet.

Now, don’t judge me too harshly. I am not trying to string him along. It is part of the plan I have concocted. It includes the following elements:

  1. Riddles left by candle light
  2. A treasure map
  3. Buried treasure
  4. Chocolate pop tarts

The chocolate pop tarts are there to smooth things over if necessary. I don’t think I’ll need them though because somewhere deep within his heart, Catfish knows the truth. He just doesn’t want to see it. Frankly, neither do I. That’s why this plan has been specifically formulated to give closure to each party involved.

But, this closure will not come without a measure of sadness. I have had a great time with this adventure. I love that Catfish is so deep within his imagination that Finkmeister is real for him. I love that each iteration of Finkmeister’s trap has been thought out in finer and finer detail, forcing me to outwit him with fancier footwork. And I love the amount of effort required of me to out-think my six year old son.

The past week and a half has taught me many things. I have learned that Catfish is a creative thinker who can use logic to his advantage. And that, when presented with an invisible foe, his first reaction is not fear but natural curiosity and a desire to trap and study it.

And then, of course, feed it to the cats.


Don’t miss out on the rest of the story!

Part 1: Finkmeister is a Jackass
Part 2: The Overnight Finkmeister Trap
Part 3: A Gentleman’s Duel
Part 4: Riddles Three, a Photo Essay.
Part 5: End Game.

Tooth Fairy Chronicles, Part 2: The Overnight Finkmeister Trap

While I’m away, on vacation, I thought it might be nice to revisit some old friends. Or rather, old enemies. This post is Part Two of the Tooth Fairy Chronicles originally published on Snickerpants.com.

***

Oh dear lord.

Currently, I am chewing my way through a 7PACK! BuBBLE GUM (the vaguely orange/diabetes flavored one) from Marukawa. I am not happy about this but it appears, I have no choice.

Remember way back, when I was a complete ass and forgot about the Tooth Fairy? And so I tried to make up for it by inventing a secret scroll with a message in invisible ink and hidden treasure?

Well, after Catfish came home that day (but but BEFORE he found the secret scroll) he ran to his room to see if the Tooth Fairy finally remembered his tooth. But he didn’t find anything, and by “anything” I mean “his tooth” I also mean “any money either”

His tooth was GONE and that thieving fairy hadn’t left a single red cent. Nothing.

Na. Da.

This time, he cried, big fat crocodile tears.

He was so sad that I almost told him to go check the mail with his dad – in order to get the ball rolling on the whole explanation thing. But I resisted. I knew that if I urged him then, I would endanger everything I had worked for, he would become suspicious.

He is a very suspicious kid.

So I sat there and watched as he was heart-wrenchingly disappointed, yet again, by the stupid Tooth Fairy. Brian and I pretended to look for his tooth and then (this was the hardest part) refrained from making a big deal over the fact that the Tooth Fairy was being a total jerk. We blamed the missing tooth on Katzu and changed the subject as fast as we could.

“Hey! Who wants to open up that sidewalk paint set?”

That worked, depending on your definition of “worked”. Our front stoop is now covered in a half-assed pattern of Spongbob-Squarepants-Yellow blobular anchors. Whatever. At least it took his mind off his disappointment.

(Excuse me while I switch over to the Strawberry gum. I think the Orange flavor is making my tongue go numb…)

Finally, enough time had elapsed. I jumped at my chance (slyly though because, as I have said, Catfish has been known to be suspicious of his mom. I cannot imagine why).

“Brian? Have you got the mail yet?”

Amazingly enough, he had not! Catfish jumped up and asked if he could go get the mail too because, when you’re six, it’s a huge deal if you’re allowed to get the mail and your little sister is not.

Thirty seconds later, Catfish came screaming up to the front porch.

“IGOTACHINESESCROLL! IGOTACHINESESCROLL!”

We read it together. Well, Brian read it. I was actually a little embarrassed and didn’t want to read it out loud. Because I’m like that. He’s six and I was worried he wouldn’t like the damn story.

(The Strawberry kind was actually sort-of okay, until now. Excuse me once more.)
Yep, still in his boxer shorts.

Yep, still in his boxer shorts.

Then something happened that I did not foresee. This is a failure on my part because as I have said before, our house is in a constant state of Red Alert: Code GET-DOWN-THERE’S-A-NINJA-BEHIND-YOU!

Not a day goes by that we aren’t knee deep in ninjas, skeletons, aliens, bad guys and (for some reason) Strawberry Shortcakes. It’s a miracle we can go from one room to the next without being detonated, decapitated or defenestrated. There are bad guys literally everywhere – and that evening, one of them threatened to rob our house.

Clearly, this was a call to action.

(I could have gone my entire life without tasting the FUSEN GuM flavor. It tastes like a vanilla soap dish. Seriously, what the hell is that supposed to be?)

For the past 48 hours we have been in lock-down. Catfish has told everyone that will listen about Finkmeister. He’s not picky. Anyone willing to look at him for half a second has been informed about Finkmeister and just exactly what he is going to do in order to catch him.

[Our dear Admiral Sparkle-Punch, on the other hand, has been demonstrating what she intends to do if she ever lays her hands on that Finkmeister. Let me just say that it is both adorable and somewhat disturbing to watch her pummel her little fist into her palm like that.]

Catfish must have been planning his revenge on Finkmeister all day long because as soon as we got home this evening, he set to work building a trap “just like Fred”

As in Fred Jones…from Scooby Doo. Because apparently, my kids think they are in an episode of “Scooby Doo Ninja Fairy Goblins – with Traps!” Or something.

He went about his business diligently and, in a short while, had a basic box trap set up, complete with a stick and a really long piece of string to yank it away. It’s blurry, but here is the only picture we could get without arousing suspicion:

 

Finkmeister Trap

Is it wrong that I find this HILARIOUS?

Please note that the trap is baited with $0.45 – two dimes and a quarter – because Finkmeister loves to steal money.

(OMG THE GREEN APPLE IS HORRIBLE. WHY WOULD ANYONE CHEW THIS GUM?!?)

Admiral Sparkle-Punch lost interest in the Finkmeister trap early on and wandered in to help me make dinner – but Catfish stayed. It was dark by the time he finally finished his overnight version of the trap. He made it so that it could be set off by the motion of Finkmeister’s nefarious dealings.

This is what he came up with:

Behold: the Overnight Finkmeister Trap

Behold: the Overnight Finkmeister Trap

The money ($0.45) is in the back of the yogurt box. If Finkmeister tries to go in there, he will jostle the box, causing the stick to fall and the box to drop. I’m not entirely sure what the wooden sword is for – either to chop off Finkmeister’s head or to make enough noise to wake Catfish up so that he can spring in to action.

(Wow, grape tastes kinda chloroformy.)

Every ten minutes or so, until bedtime, Catfish snuck up next to me and whispered:

“Mom, can I go outside and check my trap?”

FYI: The answer was always a subtle ‘yes’ with a nod.

I cannot let things go on like this.

As the responsible parent, I must do the right thing. I need to teach my child the value of… stuff and how to be compassionate and…stuff. Which is why, after I chew this last piece of bubble gum (the dreaded peach flavor) I am going outside to ruin my son’s trap by punching a hole in it. Then I’m going to steal my son’s money ($0.45) and leave tell-tale signs of that dastardly Finkmeister in my wake:

Chewed up bubble gum and spiders.


Don’t miss out on the rest of the story!

Part 1: Finkmeister is a Jackass
Part 2: The Overnight Finkmeister Trap
Part 3: A Gentleman’s Duel
Part 4: Riddles Three, a Photo Essay.
Part 5: End Game.