Almost no one called Tammy by her name when she was a kid; she was always Snapper. People called her that even independent of one another, because it was the only nickname that made sense after she displayed her special talent.
Whenever Tammy snapped her fingers, something would suddenly appear nearby. A balloon animal or bowl of Pad Thai or miniature golf club. She could never predict what that thing would be, and it never seemed to be the same thing twice. A baking sheet or an aquarium or a scale model of the Eiffel tower.
Whether the objects came from somewhere else, or they just sprang into being, it was never clear. At some point Tammy heard of the idea of “hammer space” – the source of all the knives and baseball bats and, obviously, hammers that cartoon cats and mice seem to produce out of nowhere. That seemed to be the best explanation. But the objects’ timing was so often inopportune that it seemed better to ignore them. A canoe at the school dance, et cetera.
When she was a kid, the snapping trick was lots of fun. Even if she got an anthill instead of the toy truck she wanted, it was still exciting. The years passed, and snapping seemed childish, so she scaled it back to special occasions. After failing to pacify a child she was babysitting when she unluckily produced a rattlesnake, Tammy had to make the definition of “special occasions” much stricter.
The fear of what might happen if she snapped caused Tammy nearly to forget that her fingers could make such a noise by the time she was in college. Then one day she felt particularly triumphant when realizing the answer to a difficult test question, and a mariachi band appeared in her lecture hall. While this seemed like the perfect opportunity to ask where they came from, she spoke practically no Spanish, and, on top of that, campus security quickly removed them from the premises.
At the age of eighty, Tammy discovered that people sold things on the Internet, and she paid for her grandchildren’s college tuitions by snapping while keeping a fire extinguisher ready. Just in case.