The Coming Forth of the Ruthless Tooth
Notes: The characters are not mine and the story is! I wrote this utter silliness on Livejournal several months ago, using the prompt Huge ruthless tooth. I decided to put it up here now as a Halloween fic. I know in context the prompt is more serious (it's from a Tolkien poem), but I couldn't help it; as soon as I saw it I started giggling and this utter nonsense began to develop in my mind. I think this is one of the silliest things I've written in years. Not to mention the first humor fic I've done for Perry. Beware my strange mind. The time period is the present day, as always. And I altered or removed several brief lines that referenced the bigger project this piece was originally part of on Livejournal.
Hamilton sighed wearily to himself as he drove through the busy streets of Los Angeles. He had lingered at the office far later than he usually did; one of his current cases was tearing at his heartstrings. It was a tragic family mess, unlikely to ever reach a solution that would not hurt less than a few of the members. Some cases haunted Hamilton long after they were officially closed. He had the feeling this would be one of them.
That was when something very bizarre and strange happened. It was so bizarre and strange that he slammed on his brakes and looked to the sky, unable to believe that he had really seen what he had thought he had seen. For a moment all appeared normal and he was ready to concede that he had been imagining.
But all of the drivers of the other cars had stopped around him and were gazing into the sky too. They could not all be imagining.
Suddenly it swung into view again. Hamilton's mouth dropped open.
"What is that?!" he heard one guy exclaim somewhere near him.
"It looks like a giant tooth!" a woman declared.
And, Hamilton had to admit, that was exactly what it looked like. A giant tooth with arms and legs and white and blue Spandex, wildly swinging between buildings on a very thin, almost invisible rope. A rope that looked like neon-pink floss.
"Never fear, citizens of the fair city of Los Angeles! The Ruthless Tooth is here to protect your beloved streets from the most foul denizens of the underworld—plaque, gingivitis, and gum disease! Oh, and robbers and murderers, too."
Hamilton could only stare. The tooth had more surprises. It talked. Now he could make out a human head poking out of the top of the tooth, covered by a dark-blue bandanna.
The traffic seemed to be backed up for several blocks. When it became obvious that it was not going to move, Hamilton got out, heading in determination to the flashing lights of a police car at the head of the line. It was parked horizontally just to the side of some of the stopped cars. Lieutenants Tragg and Anderson were standing and staring at the spectacle. The mysterious limbed tooth was still swinging back and forth between the buildings, unable to get a foothold on either side.
"That ridiculous fool's floss is going to break," Tragg declared.
Andy cringed. "I called the fire department, but I don't know how they're even going to get through."
"Oh yeah. Everyone wants a glimpse of our newest vigilante." Tragg shook his head. "I can't decide whether to laugh or cry."
Andy wondered, "You don't suppose he has any connection with that madman back East who dressed up like a piece of toast?"
"At this point, I wouldn't be surprised." Tragg looked weary. "That fellow was supposed to be a supervillain, wasn't he? Maybe they're arch-enemies."
"What's going on here?" Hamilton demanded as he approached.
The Homicide officers whirled. "Oh, Mr. Burger," Tragg greeted. "I suppose you've seen that we have a problem here."
"More than one, from the looks of it," Hamilton retorted. "Who is this nut?"
"We don't know," said Andy, both apologetic and bewildered.
"He keeps prattling on about fighting the evil criminals responsible for tooth decay," Tragg said. "We figure either he's a daredevil wanting attention or he's a dentist that cracked up."
Hamilton gaped at the sight. "Is he really swinging on a piece of floss?"
"We can hope and pray not," Tragg growled.
"Bank robbers!" the Ruthless Tooth howled, pointing at the street.
Everyone turned. Two gunmen were just emerging onto the block from an alley, guns held high. They surely had no idea of the chaos they were already intruding on. The crowd panicked, some scattering while others dropped to the ground. At the same moment, a bizarre shadow swung out overhead. "Keep calm, everyone! The bad men will be vanquished!"
Hamilton looked up, mostly out of instinct. The Ruthless Tooth was trying to jump the criminals. And they knew it.
"Look out!" Hamilton yelled.
One of the gunmen fired, trying to shoot the piece of floss. The Tooth swung to the side, panicked. His rope, while not severed, was now wrapping around him. He was becoming hopelessly entangled in the mess.
Several people in the crowd, having looked up as well, were now laughing. Others were concerned.
"Someone get that poor man down from there!" a woman cried. "He must think it's already Halloween!"
"No, I'm afraid he thinks he's the next Clark Kent," a man quipped.
"This is better than the Toastinator," smirked a teenage boy.
The Ruthless Tooth was now upsidedown, hanging by his stranded feet. "Never fear," he called, the awkwardness obvious in his voice. "I'll . . . have this solved in just a moment. . . . See, folks? This is the power of floss."
Tragg and Andy were rushing the gunmen. The criminals fired. The Lieutenants ducked, diving behind two cars to continue the shoot-out.
Hamilton tried to steer people away from the line of fire. "Come on, don't panic," he said. "Just get in your cars and get out of here. This isn't any place for you."
In the distance he could hear the sirens of the fire engine and of other police cars. They were probably trying to figure out how to get as close as they possibly could before parking. And with the sheer numbers of the crowd, that would be a difficult task.
"Hey," someone exclaimed. "Where did that Tooth guy go?"
Hamilton—and everyone else—spun around to look. The floss rope was hanging empty. The Ruthless Tooth had somehow managed to extricate himself from the mess.
"Did he fall?!" someone burst out in horror.
"No; there he is!" A man pointed to the building right above where one of the bank robbers was backing up. His partner was lying wounded on the ground, but he cared only for his own safety and escape. As Tragg rose to fire, the Ruthless Tooth was jumping off the building to tackle the criminal.
"Lieutenant, wait!" Andy yelled, noticing it a split-second before Tragg did.
Tragg's eyes widened. He was already pulling the trigger, but he managed to jerk his gun away, shooting out the tire of the getaway car. The Tooth, meanwhile, had dragged the astonished robber to the ground.
"Another villain caught and bagged by the Ruthless Tooth!" he crowed. He stood, pressing his foot down on the other man's back.
Tragg stormed out, furious. "Now see here!" he exclaimed. "You've interfered with police business. Catching these people is our job. You could have gotten yourself killed!"
"The Ruthless Tooth is protected against all such attacks," was the reply. He stepped off the robber's back, patting the huge, tooth-shaped, enamel armor around his torso.
"Oh yeah?" Tragg said without skipping a beat. "Surely you know that teeth can easily be chipped or broken by bullets. Or by a harsh fall. You're under arrest, same as him."
Andy started to come over to assist. But before either of them could do a thing, a mysterious and oddly familiar churning sound began to echo around them and the building.
"What's that?!" Tragg demanded.
Andy gaped. "It . . . sounds like gargling."
And a huge foam of bubbles surrounded both the Ruthless Tooth and his downed prisoner. "The Ruthless Tooth remains free to fight decay another day!" the outlandish vigilante cried. "Don't forget to floss!"
Tragg pushed forward, not about to give up. "Get back here!" he ordered.
Andy gave chase along with him. The bubbles surrounded them and he gasped, covering his nose and mouth.
The robber was gasping and sputtering too. "Get me out of this!" he whined. "I hate the taste of mouthwash!"
The foam began to disperse as Tragg and Andy waved it away. The gunman was still on the ground, tied up with what looked like floss. And the Ruthless Tooth was gone.
Hamilton made his way over to them. "What was that all about?" he exclaimed.
Tragg was hauling up their prisoner. "I wish somebody would tell us," he grumped.
"I have this terrible feeling we're going to be seeing that character again," Andy said.
"I have the same feeling," Hamilton frowned.
A kid standing near him was laughing. "That was nuts," he said. "I recorded the whole thing on my phone. I'm going to put it on YouTube!"
Andy sighed. "How much do you bet it will go viral in a few hours?"
"I won't be taking that bet," Hamilton said, shoving his hands in his coat pockets.
Tragg snapped on the handcuffs. "And we thought things were strange when Vivalene used that ancient magical box to take over Los Angeles County," he said. "Now it looks like all the kooks will be coming out of the woodwork."
"He's probably some nut who stays at home and reads too many comic books," Hamilton said.
"Probably," Andy nodded. "But . . ." He frowned as he and Tragg began to unwind the weird rope from around the crook's shoulders and arms. "I never knew floss could be so strong."