Wish Day

So what was your wish?

Oh, come on. Everyone asks that, especially on the first date. It’s the best way to get to know one another — I mean, I already know your job and zodiac sign and favorite food and all that. That’s all in your dating profile.

I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.

You must have been, what, ten? Yeah? I was seven. So, old enough to have some idea of what was going on.

Yeah, it was weird. All the adults were freaking out. I remember my first grade teacher, Mrs. Stringer, just completely flipped out. We all thought it was funny, at first, when Jimmy … uh, Crichton? Crawford? Something like that. Anyway, Jimmy wished that he was an elephant. He’d just read a book about elephants and he thought they were cool. He said, “I wish I was an elephant.” And then, suddenly, there he was: an elephant in the middle of the classroom.

I guess we were lucky that nobody got seriously hurt. Trina Something-or-Other … Henderson? When he changed, he knocked over a bunch of desks. She fell and sprained her wrist. But some of the kids in the other classrooms, in other schools …. Yeah, Boston. That was bad.

So … um ….. How’s the shrimp? Mm, yeah, the cream cheese wontons are pretty good.

Yeah, that’s true. Some of the wishes were good. It’s cool that the pyramids are intact now. And it is pretty neat to have Archaeopteryxes flying around. And, yeah, definitely, no more cancer. That’s a big one. You can tell they really put some thought into those wishes. Planned them out. Worded them right. Not like those idiots who wished to rule the world. And then the next idiot wished the same thing, and the money kept changing, and all the statues and the pictures hanging in the post office …. Suppose we were all lucky with who finally ended up on top. Could’ve been worse.

The smart ones. They were careful. Made their wishes as literal and exact as possible, so there was no room for misinterpretation —

Your Dad?

Oh. Oh, geez. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

I mean … I mean, lots of people wished that dead loved ones would come back. Lots and lots of people. It just — it just took a while to figure out, well, to figure out … yeah. How to say it. How to word it just right, so that the wish came out … um … yeah … not off.

So, your Dad, he’s at, like, one of the institu — oh. I’m sorry that’s how your Mom spent her wish. I’m so sorry.

… dessert? Sounds good.

*ahem*

Me? Yeah, yeah, I used my wish. At the last minute, it turns out. You know, not that anyone realized that right away. Twenty-seven hours eighteen minutes and just … bloop. Done. No more wishes.

I always kinda liked the theory that someone found a djinn. Got around the no more wishes rule by giving everyone in the world one wish of their own.

Or maybe it was the super-collider.

Ha! No. No, I was not one of those people who wished for immortality or eternal life or whatever. Badly worded. It was the smart ones who figured out that they needed to wish for eternal youth or to no longer physically age.

Or maybe they weren’t so smart. I wonder how that eternal youth is going to feel in a thousand years, or two thousand, when everyone — everything — is gone. Long gone.

… yeah, definitely. I could really go for some chocolate. Ice cream. Chocolate ice cream with whiskey.

Oh, me?

*ahem*

Well, I was seven. And my best friend in the whole world was … okay.

My cat. Ruckus.

I wished for my cat to have nine lives.

… I wonder what that says about me?

[Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine, Eternal Haunted Summer. A complete list of her published works can be found there.]