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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Once in a Blue Moon (01/06/11)

TITLE: Minnesota Johns and the Hidden Temple of Colgate
By Joshua Janoski


The coarse desert sand stung their cheeks. Hot cyclones of debris danced in circles around them, making it difficult to make out their surroundings comprised of an endless horizon of sand mounds heated by a fiery ball of sun.

“We’re here.”

Confident he had found the hidden location; archaeologist and university professor Minnesota Johns hopped off the hump of his camel and unfolded the withered map in his hands.

“Yep, my calculations are correct. The temple is right in front of us.”

Minnesota’s protégé Marianna Rivenholt leapt off her camel and tumbled onto the dry desert bed. She stood up and wiped sand particles off her lacy white sundress.

“I still don’t understand why you wore that to a treasure hunt.” Minnesota shook his head back and forth. His head remained tilted downwards and his eyes fixated on the faded parchment. His tan fedora hat shielded his scalp from the sun’s intense rays.

“We’re in the desert so I wanted to try and stay cool, and I also wanted to look pretty in case we run into any handsome ancient gods.” Whether Marianna was joking or not was hard to tell. Sometimes she liked to be sarcastic, but other times she could be a total ditz. Either way, Minnesota paid her no mind.

“Today is an extremely rare day. Only once every 10,000 years can a person speak the secret incantation which makes the temple of Chief Colgate, the ancient deity of personal hygiene, appear to the north of this very spot. Let’s do this right or else we’ll go home empty handed. Read this phrase

Minnesota turned over the map and the two began to read the ancient text scribbled on the back.

“Milk! Eggs! Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes!”

Both paused and looked at each other with puzzled expressions. Minnesota blushed.

“Whoops! That’s my grocery list. Read the text below that.”

They started the chant again.

“We arrived at your temple on camel’s back,
hoping to fight against the plaque.
Without Colgate’s wisdom we would be lost!
We are your people who brush and floss!”

The ground trembled and the temple entrance appeared. Its door was adorned with an open-mouthed smiling Colgate. Minnesota and Marianna shielded their eyes from the whiteness of the image’s teeth as they proceeded up the temple steps. The temple door rose, revealing a small room with a single podium. Magically floating in the air above the podium was a golden toothbrush.

“Be careful.” Minnesota warned.

They slowly approached the toothbrush staying alert for any traps that might spring out, but nothing happened.

“That was easy.” Minnesota said relieved. He reached for the golden relic.

“WAIT!” Marianna batted the archaeologist’s hand down. “Aren’t you supposed to put something in its place? Like a rock or something?”

Minnesota laughed. “You watch too many action flicks. What, you think a big boulders gonna drop into this tiny room and start rolling towards us? Let’s just take this brush and get outta here! Saleem is prepping the jet and waiting for us to get back.”

Minnesota snatched the toothbrush. He paused for a moment and then snickered.

“See? No big boulder. Besides, the rocks never worked in the movies anyway! Let’s go.”

The golden glow of the ancient toothbrush brightened in Minnesota’s tightly clenched hand as he left the temple. Marianna’s eyes widened as she followed behind her mentor. She froze in place and screamed.


Minnesota’s hand uncontrollably jerked upwards and into his mouth as the brush began to scrub away his teeth. His molars, incisors, bicuspids, and canines all brushed away into dust particles. The toothbrush zipped away from Minnesota’s hand and flew out of the temple. Minnesota looked back at Marianna, and with exposed gums yelled a return warning…


Marianna heard the flood of dentist drills buzzing up behind her. Marianna sprinted out of the temple, tripping on the last step and falling in the sand. The drills surrounded her! She tried to scream but couldn’t!

“We’re all done here, Dana. Your parents are waiting out front.”

The voice was that of Dana’s dentist – Dr. Johns. He helped her out of the chair. She had just came to after being put under for impacted wisdom teeth extraction.

“I’m glad you finally made an appointment. It seems like it’s only every 10,000 years that I see you. I’ve been praying to the tooth gods that you would get in here for surgery.”

Dr. Johns chuckled. Dana half consciously shook her head.

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This article has been read 561 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Barbara Lynn Culler01/13/11
WOW! This is awesome!I am going to try that next time I go to the dentist.

I am a big fan of Indianna Jones and saw the parody from the start, but did not see the ending coming.

(I was waiting for the snakes to come in somewhere)
Pam Carlson-Hetland01/13/11
Absolutely loved this. How very creative! You had to me entranced to the very end.
Lynda Schultz 01/13/11
Hilarious—wish I could be as creative in the dentist's chair!
Noel Mitaxa 01/13/11
Why did denture warn me about the twist at the end? Fangs for nothing!
But seriously I loved it for the imagery and wry sense of suspense. This would make a great children's story, though I don't know if the AMA (or ADA) would ever use it as propaganda. Brilliant stuff.
Sarah Heywood01/13/11
Funny, funny, funny! It was fabulous from the very beginning, but then the end had such a fantastic twist. I want to read more!
Gary Mitchem01/13/11
Great little story. I agree with Sarah. The twist at the end was very entertaining.
Henry Clemmons01/14/11
Ha! Very entertaining and clever. The ending didn't take me by complete surprise but I enjoyed it just the same. I like reading a story I wouldn't have thought of in a million years. Great job.
Beth Muehlhausen01/15/11
This gets an extra-credit score for creativity! Very fun to read! :-)
Emily Carlson01/16/11
I loved this short story! Imaginative and clever.
Mariane Holbrook 01/17/11
Very, very nice job. You deserve big time kudos for this one! I should show this to my dentist!
Michael Throne01/19/11
This was just too fun. Well done!
Gerald Shuler 01/21/11
Josh, your writing amazes (and amuses) me. I hope nothing ever stops you from sharing your wonderful humor with us.