The Wish-Granting Issue
Quick as a Flash - Week 10
Fact and Fiction
Hello and welcome to today’s issue!
It is said one should be careful with what they wish for, since it might just come true. I’d throw the caveat out there that it also heavily depends on who or what is granting the wish. For every monkey paw or other cursed relic, there’s undoubtedly a wish-granting djinn looking to just be left alone. And for every vengeful, human-hating spirit, there’s probably one that’s just… really bad at their job. We’ll be looking at those two latter cases today.
I decided I’d do something different with the microfiction and tie them together under one plotline. Hopefully, you find this experiment to be interesting. I may do more if the response is good. “Week 13,” in particular, went through a lot of iterations since I wanted to be careful in how I presented the quiet optimism in so few words.
In any case, please enjoy the Wish-Granting issue!
A Merry Little Group
Leon, their de facto leader, stood before the ethereal mass.
“Great spirit, we have traveled far to each have our three wishes granted.”
“Actually, you get four—”
“Total. And there’s four of you, so that’s one each. Make it quick.”
Leon frowned. This spirit was a jerk.
Back from the Dead
I owe Leon an apology. When I got home, the scent of sizzling bacon and freshly brewed coffee invaded my nostrils. I turned the corner into the kitchen, and once again, I was a little girl hugging her father for the first time in a decade.
Guess he wasn’t full of crap, after all.
I Hear You
Disappointed looks and sighs of discontent plagued Adam’s conscience. So he wished for a “happier marriage,” whatever that ultimately meant.
If only he had known earlier that all it took was listening more and writing things down. He could have asked for a trip to Cancun instead.
Nora watched the clock strike midnight. Her husband squeezed her hand, eyes alight. A new milestone. Unlike the other times, this was unlikely to end in painful tears. Though they were going to wait another month to come up with names, the middle was settled: Leon or Leona.
Leon opened the fridge and pushed the pickle jar aside. Ugh! How had it gotten there? He really was a dingbat. He huffed and grabbed the cold, abandoned TV remote.
An hour later, he was eating takeout and watching TV with his feet on the coffee table, celebrating a job well done.
Jakaar was a wish-granting spirit living in an antique clock that invariably changed owners on the tenth of every month. Like his fellow spirits, he had his own thoughts on how wishes should be granted. Some felt it was their duty to fulfill the dreams and whims of the one that fate had assigned to them. Others thought that humans were wretched, selfish beings and sought to poison their desires until either their selfishness or its vessel failed to exist. Jakaar liked to think of himself as the former type, but he had his doubts.
Every action of his was full of good intent. But he was clumsy with his execution. “I want to be rich,” said one of the clock’s owners. The next day, he awoke to his three cats lapping at him uncontrollably. Stepping outside doomed him to be followed by stray dogs, pecked at by pigeons, and harried by rats.
“I wanted to be financially rich, not rich in flavor!” he yelled on the ninth of the month. Or at least he tried to yell around the fingers he had stuck in his mouth. Regardless, he took the clock off the wall to throw away in the next day’s trash.
Spirits were allowed to grant any number of wishes they wanted. Jakaar only allowed one for this very reason.
"I thought long and hard about it," one of his clients had confided in him. "I want to find true love," He nodded and wove an opportunity for them in the quilt of fate. The next day, his client received a last-minute invitation to a distant friend's wedding in the mail. They had attended, met who they thought would be the love of their life, and gladly sold the clock to someone else. A sign of goodwill. Last Jakaar heard, though, his ex-client was going through a nasty divorce and custody battle. The distant friend and her wife, however, were still going strong and were soon going to be mothers for the first time. "Find" and "have" were two very different things, Jakaar was sad to learn.
This most recent one was one of the worst. “I want to be famous” was uttered by a bubbly twenty-something with an optimistic outlook on life. She could have brought joy as a pop sensation, hope as a political activist, or laughs as a YouTube celebrity and spokesperson. But instead, she was victim number three of the Slumbertime Strangler. Her bruised-covered neck and glassy stare would haunt him, maybe for the rest of his existence.
He stared at his reflection in the mirror that hung within his dwelling. His eyes were bloodshot. The bags under his eyes sagged almost comically low. His hair and beard were a tangled mess. This wasn't like the time a man had asked for a full head of hair and woke up the following day looking like Cousin Itt. Someone was dead.
"I wish I was better at my job," he said. That's when the clock struck midnight on the tenth of December.
“Wake up,” said an unfamiliar voice. “No sleeping on the job.”
He flinched, realizing he was no longer in the clockwork bed he had made for himself and instead was seated at a desk. He looked up at the voice’s owner and found a stereotypical beefcake demon with horns. It was hot, almost unbearably so.
“It’s time to get to work. There’re lots of souls to torture.”
“Torture,” he said. “I don’t do that.”
“Funny,” the demon said. “That’s all we demons do. They beg and wish for mercy, and we give them anything but.”