Here’s my flash story from Angry Hourglass this past week. It didn’t win any prizes, but it’s still one of my favorites. The photo prompt was a close-up of pumpkins.
A Simple Wish
Merryweather stood surrounded by my pumpkins. Their rows stretched as long as the wishlists of teenaged girls.
She waved a device at me. “Look, Rowan! It’s a new kind of apple! I can accept wishes by text.”
I glanced skeptically at the box labeled iPhone6. “You’re better off with your Gravensteins.”
“But this will help me compete with plastic surgery. I can grant more complicated wishes.”
Merry’s business had slacked off. She specialized in physical appearance wishes, and modern girls had so many other options. Merry flitted back to her own bower.
My requests—I did carriages and transport—arrived as pumpkins. No new apple contraptions for me.
Such exorbitant desires nowadays! Nobody wished for a carriage-and-four, a velocipede, or even roller-skates. Now the girls wanted Porsches or Teslas. Teslas! That battery gave me fits. Someone should turn Elon Musk into a frog.
“Bibbity bobbity,” I muttered, rejecting a pumpkin requesting a BMW-M1 and an Icon Sheen Motorcycle.
A tiny, forlorn pumpkin sat at the row’s end. I flicked my wand to hear its wish.
“Please, I need a bicycle. Papaji heard the boys Eve-teasing me on the way to school, and he will ban me from school or marry me off if I cannot make them stop. I need a bicycle to ride away from them. Anjali in south Delhi.”
A bicycle! I arranged two pumpkins side by side.
“Bibbity bicycle!” Sparks shot from my wand, cascading over the pumpkins. Their stems grew, intertwining to form frame, handlebars, pedals, crankset, drive train. The pumpkins became wheels with thick tires lest the roads Anjali traversed were rough.
I perched in the Delhi slum, waiting. Anjali emerged with her school bag, checking both shoulders for taunting boys. She froze when she saw the green bicycle with its fat orange tires. She pulled at the tag on its handlebars.
“For Anjali, so that she may ride safely to school,” she read aloud. “And leave those boys in the dust.” Tears of joy spilled down her face.
I tucked my wand behind my ear. Merryweather could keep her new-fangled magic and her complicated wishes. The simplest wishes were often the most important.