Bangor Police were called to an Essex St. apartment in the pre-dawn hours this morning by a frantic parent who reported an intruder in her son’s bedroom. When officers arrived on the scene, they found Charlie White, softball bat in hand, standing over the accused, who was unconscious on the bedroom floor.
Police have identified the intruder as Wally Ridgeway, 44, of Milford. Mr. Ridgeway suffered a minor concussion and was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center for treatment before being released to Bangor PD officers for booking.
The Whites’ son, age 6, slept through the entire incident and was not harmed.
As you can assume, this Modern Philosopher would not be covering the story unless it had a unique twist. What makes this not just a simple crime? I’ll let Mr. Ridgeway tell you…
“I’m the Tooth Fairy!” he told me and had been saying so repeatedly since regaining consciousness. “The kid lost his tooth, I got a text to take care of the job, and that’s why I was in his room. Check my wallet. My license is in there…I am a licensed Tooth Fairy, qualified and permitted to work in the state of Maine. DHHS approved me!”
Calls to DHHS went unanswered, but what else would one expect from a government agency on the weekend? Heck, I wouldn’t expect to be able to get through to an agent even during the regular work week.
Ridgeway’s wallet did contain the license in question, there was a crisp dollar bill in there as well, and the White boy had lost a tooth earlier in the day. Then again, the man seated across from me in handcuffs looked a heck of a lot more like a creepy pedophile than he did the Tooth Fairy.
“Like all businesses, the Otherworldly Creature Industry is dealing with the effects of this bad economy,” Ridgeway explained. “Original Tooth Fairies have a great union and are extremely well compensated, but their jobs don’t bring in any income. All they do is give away money and it was bleeding the corporation dry. Leadership forced layoffs down the throat of the union, some Tooth Fairies were offered a nice retirement package to walk away, while others were simply let go. Those who stayed on had to agree to leave the union, work for a much lower wage, and give up their health insurance.”
Once Ridgeway got to telling this tale, he seemed a lot less creepy and much more the type of person who would just want to make sure a child woke up with a dollar under his pillow and still believing in mythical, magical creatures.
“Clearly, kids were still losing teeth, so something had to be done to cover the routes that no longer had Original Tooth Fairies assigned to them,” he continued.
“Essentially, they outsourced the job?” I asked.
Ridgeway smiled because he could sense I was coming around to his version of the truth. “Exactly. I’m an independent contractor covering Northern and Eastern Maine. I get a text telling me who lost a tooth and where to go. I sneak into the room, grab the tooth, and leave the dollar. I send the tooth back to headquarters to verify that the job has been done, and two weeks later, I get a check for my efforts.”
I was curious to learn how Ridgeway got the job and if there were any special qualifications necessary to be hired.
“I got it through a temp agency,” he told me with a smile. “I had been working at the Old Town Mill and then bouncing from temp job to temp job after it closed. All I needed was a valid license, the ability to walk softly, and I had to pass a written exam. After a couple of weeks, I got a call from the agency that the corporation really liked my work and wanted to hire me on a independent contractor basis. I jumped at the chance for something steady. You see, in Maine, kids are always getting their teeth knocked out playing hockey or from falling when being chased by some sort of monster. So I’m working every night. Some nights, I’ve got 3 or 4 stops to make. I can’t complain.”
Ridgeway said this was the first time he’d been caught in the act of doing his new job. “I’m not happy with myself, but corporate didn’t tell me that the family had recently adopted a dog from the Bangor Humane Society. That thing was adorable, but quite the yapper. Had I’d known there was a dog, I would’ve brought some treats to keep him content.”
Ridgeway explained that arrests do happen from time to time, but corporate sends in a big time lawyer to handle the case and get the charges dropped. “Every cop and judge has a kid or a grandkid that’s going to need my services some day, so they always just drop the charges and apologize.”
Does Ridgeway harbor any ill will towards the Bangor Police Department, or to the man who popped him in the head with an aluminum bat?
“Not at all,” he quickly answers as he puts a hand to the bandage on his forehead. “I’ve got kids of my own, so I would’ve reacted the same way and would want the police to haul off any strangers found in my home. Everyone was just doing what they had to do.”
What do you think, Modern Philosophers? Are you okay with the job of Tooth Fairy being outsourced in the name of rescuing the bottom line? Are you worried that other jobs will have the same fate befall them? Do you want some total stranger coming down your chimney on Christmas? Do you want some minimum wage earner hiding Easter eggs in your living room?
Talk to me, friends, and let me know what you’re thinking. One thing you can always count on is that the task of running this blog will never be outsourced. I promise I’m here with you to the bitter end!