Irony of Wishes

by C.A. Kelly

I am having a bad day. The classical clich bad day. My girlfriend dumps me as I walked out the door, trying to get to work. I have to catch the bus because my car is in the shop. Once I get to work I get fired, and now I don't know what to do with myself. Here I sit, on a bench, the steady beat of the fountain next to me and the laughter of children calm my nerves. It will be okay, I tell myself. A mother's voice grabs my attention.

"Just throw a penny into the fountain and make a wish." She tells her toddler. The little boy tosses a penny overhand into the fountain. Once the penny sinks to the bottom with a "plop" he erupts in laughter once more. The mother and son walk off hand in hand. Nice family. I sigh, knowing that I have to find a new job. I can't just sit around wishing for better things. I reach into my coat pocket, searching for my bus pass. Instead, my fingers touch a slick copper penny. I pull it out. Abraham Lincoln seems to be looking at the fountain. I did as well. I probably shouldn't be doing this, every penny counts, but I make a wish and toss it into the fountain. Turning around, I mentally prepare myself to make a run for the bus, when all of a sudden I am sitting in my car. I don't know how I got here. The engine is running smoothly, and not a thing seems to be out of place. Still in a daze, I turn the key and shut the engine off. How can this be? Am I so mentally unstable that I have been sitting in my car all along? No, I am not crazy. Then how. . .? No. Certainly not the penny. I look over at the fountain. My hands shake. Grabbing a handful of pennies from the change holder in my car, I make my way towards the fountain once more. Again I make a wish, and again I am skeptical. What is going on? I wait a second. Nothing happens. I turn around, ready to see that my car never existed in the first place, when all of a sudden I am holding papers in my hand. Startled, I hold them up to read. A new client, and the paper is dated today! My wish came true! I have my job back, and my car! Even if this is a dream, a very real dream, I love it. I turn around to the fountain and make another wish. The penny lands with a splash and I wait. A few more seconds, and my beautiful girlfriend is in my arms. Oh thank god. This is a miracle. I lead her to my newly working car, and enter it. Placing the new client list into my briefcase, I start the engine and prepare to pull away. Suddenly, my car shuts down. I try starting it again and nothing happens. Then the car disappears entirely, I look at my girlfriend, shock smeared across her face, then she too, disappears. No! How? I pick up my briefcase that lay on the ground. Opening it up, I pray. The papers are gone. This isn't happening to me! The fountain worked! The fountain. . . I glance at it. Three children have rolled their pants up and are wading around. One picks up a penny and puts it in his pocket. They are taking my wishes! I jump out of the car, prepared to throw my remaining pennies in. I make five quick wishes and toss them into the water. The children stare at me. I wait. Nothing happens. I give it a few more seconds. Still nothing.

"Why isn't this working!" I screamed.

The children stare at me, then one of them speaks up.

"Have you already made three wishes?" He asks.

Three? "Yeah. Three." I said. Barely paying attention to him. How can I make this work?

"You can only have three wishes." The boy said, in a know-it-all voice.

Three? That's it? I thought that was just fairy tale facts, not real life. Ha, real life! I can't talk about wishes coming true and real life at the same time. I had everything back, and then I lost it again. Laughing, I run to catch my bus. I barely make it on. Well, at least not everything is going bad for me today.

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