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One Thousand Lollipops

Alone at last…
Sam crept into his bedroom and closed the door tight. Then he listened.
Outside, he could hear the usual Saturday morning noises. Mum was whistling as
she dug the garden. Laura was squealing happily in her buggy. Dad was singing to her
out of tune, as he pushed her down the drive and off to the park.
At last the house was empty. It was Time.
Time for Sam’s secret…
Sam dived under his bed and pulled out the shoebox hidden far beneath. The label
on the lid said:
Sam had stopped collecting toy cars when he was seven. The label was just to put
his parents – and especially Mum – off the scent.
Mum must never know what was inside Sam’s box... because Mum was a dentist,
and she would be horrified.
Sam paused with his hands on the lid. He could feel eyes watching him.
He glanced round guiltily. Tufty Toothbrush was glaring at him from the far end
of the bed. Tufty Toothbrush was, of course, not real, but that didn’t stop him from
being very disconcerting.
Mum had made Tufty herself, out of horrible blotchy orange and purple cloth. He
was like a cross between a toothbrush and a bad-tempered fox. He had stumpy legs,
stiff white bristles sticking out of the back of his head, and a badge saying
“Get lost, Tufty,” muttered Sam. He reached over and shoved Tufty under the
pillow so that only the stumpy legs were sticking out. When Sam was little he had
been a bit scared of Tufty. He had certainly never been very fond of him. Now that he
was older, he couldn’t stand him.
He couldn’t throw Tufty away, though, because Mum was so proud of her
creation. She used to tell Sam Tufty stories when he was small. She’d even had
hundreds of Tufty leaflets printed to give out to all the children whose teeth she