Short Story

Published on July 16th, 2019 | by Newt Rayburn


“The Toothbrush”

A couple of nights ago, I had one of those parenting moments that seemed like a scene from a book, movie, or sitcom.

My daughter has a toothbrush with a suction cup on the bottom. She likes to make it stick straight up on the countertop and then she puts the toothpaste on the vertical brush, before she brushes. That’s not easy to do, but because she’s almost four, she “can do it by herself.”

We went down that path again that night, but she dropped the toothbrush this time. I’m not sure what the odds are, but astonishingly, it stuck straight up from the floor with the suction cup.

“Hey,” she said inquisitively. “Look at this, Daddy.”

“That’s great honey,” I replied. “But it’s time to brush.”

She then jabbed the toothbrush against the wall and let go. She stepped back and examined her work.

“Look at this, Daddy,” she said. “It sticks to the wall!”

“Yep. It sure does,” I replied rather tired from the day. “Put some toothpaste on it now, and brush your teeth.”

She grabbed the toothbrush but wasn’t about to start brushing.

“Look at this, Daddy,” she said as she slammed the toothbrush against the door, again letting go. “It sticks to the door!”

“Yes, it does,”I said, in an exasperated inflection of a person who understands suction cups, but is too tired to get excited.

I walked into the kitchen for a towel.

“Come on sweetheart. It’s time to brush and go to bed,” I reasoned, with my back to her. “Pretty please with sugar on top.”

As I arrived in the kitchen, I heard a gigantic SLAP!

 “Look at this, Daddy,” I heard her say. “It sticks to the toilet!”

“WAIT!” I exclaimed as I swung back around. “Don’t brush your teeth!”

“But why?” She now questioned.

Clearly, my parenting wasn’t done for the evening.

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About the Author

Newt Rayburn founded THE LOCAL VOICE in 2006. Previously, Newt was Editor of PROFANE EXISTENCE in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Art Director for Ole Miss' LIVING BLUES magazine. Newt won a National Magazine Award in 1999 for his SOUTHERN MUSIC ISSUE with THE OXFORD AMERICAN. A seventh-generation Lafayette County, Mississippian, Newt is perhaps best known as the leader of the Mississippi RocknRoll band THE COOTERS, but he also has the Country & Southern Rock group, HAWGWASH. Newt is a Photographer, Writer, and Civil War Enthusiast.

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