All Your Wishes
“I knew there were magic spells for THAT. I just never imagined buying one off of Ebay.” She ran her fingers through her graying hair and sighed. “To tell you the truth, I didn’t even know Ebay existed until I was told I could get everything I wanted off there. But that was a long time ago.” She stood up and started to make coffee. Her hands were steady and she moved gracefully around the coffeemaker as if she’d been dancing with it all her life.
“You want some coffee? It’s what keeps me alive…” she hesitated, laughed and then corrected herself, “actually no, that’s not true obviously but it does keep me sane I believe.” When the coffeemaker started to purr in its corner of the kitchen she sat down again opposite me and started to shuffle tarot cards that had been lying on the table. She moved her hands easily, despite obvious arthritis and the cards played with her hands. It seemed to be an unconscious move, like it was something she did a lot without thinking about it, perhaps to calm herself.
“My mother didn’t drink coffee, bless her soul. She claimed she didn’t like warm drinks. My father drank coffee though and I learned it from him. As bad habits go I guess drinking coffee is better than most. It’s not bound to get you into too much trouble with other people, just with yourself and that’s fine. That’s ones own right I suppose. What we do to ourselves is our own business…”
She lay four cards down on the table in front of her. “Nine of Cups” she whispered and smiled. “It’s the only constant. The others vary, obviously, but I always get the Nine of Cups.” She hesitated, looked at me and sighed. “Do you believe in tarot readings?”
I shrugged my shoulders, not knowing what to tell her. “I believe in magic” I then said, diplomatically. She smiled.
“These days I get the Death card more and more. I used to think it was a good card, I saw it as a sign of new things, new beginnings but I know this card is the sign of an ending and nothing more.”
She picked the cards off the table and put them aside “Forgive me” she then said, “I digress. I was telling you about the spell. Once I knew what I was looking for and where to look it wasn’t that hard. What was hard was paying what was asked. I have all I need” she said and looked at the coffeemaker. “But money has never come easily to me and I’ve never had much need of money. We can say we tolerate each other but we don’t like each other. I managed to come up with the sum finally asked though”
She seemed like such a regular grandmother in so many ways. The way she kept her hair bundled in a knot in the back, the way her dress flowed over her body concealing whatever knots and wrinkles might be there and the way she made things come alive in her language. There was something about her though that wasn’t very grandmotherly although I couldn’t put my finger on what that was.
“I first heard of the existence of this spell many years ago. My mother didn’t believe in such things but she had a friend who did. She was called Raven and she was a free spirit if I ever saw one. Free as a bird. The life of a bird isn’t easy though and hers wasn’t either but she made the most of it. She was telling my mother about something once and I was sitting there quietly in the corner listening to them talk like I had done as a little girl. I was half grown but this was a habit I had. I liked listening to them talk and they always forgot I was sitting there, listening.”
She got up to check the coffeemaker but as it was still grinding away she sat down again.
“Raven was having a crisis of some sort that I remember little about and she said that this spell would solve all her problems. She said these spells would make all your wishes come true.”
The old woman sighed and smiled a rather sad, yet not unhappy, smile. “If we only knew what our hearts wish for, if we knew we wouldn’t be so keen on …” she stopped herself, looked at me and cleared her throat.
“I do think mine is the last one left though. I haven’t heard of others for a long time at least but back when I bought mine there were a few circling the sites. I didn’t think much of Raven’s words at the time, mind you. A spell… the thought was a bit silly. I wanted to believe in magic but I felt it was wishful thinking, that I had my head too much in books and fairyland and not in the real world. Later when I met your grandfather…” she looked at me as if to check if the mention of him made me flinch or upset me somehow but when she saw it didn’t she continued. “when I met Joe my whole world turned upside down. What I had thought was just fiction and fairytales was real, some of it anyway, and I had to rethink my whole life.”
She got up and started to pull coffee cups and spoons out of her cupboards. “It’s not like you automatically know what’s real and what’s not just by being sucked into this… this kettle of black and white and gray”. She laughed.
“It’s not like reading Harry Potter will get you anywhere”.
She served coffee in two black cups silently. She put sugar and milk on the table along with a well organized tray of biscuits.
The coffee was bitter but had a nice brisk aroma that served to keep me alert.
“I don’t know how long you’ve been poking around in this” she said, looking straight into my eyes. “And I don’t much care. The spell is yours for the right price. However…” she hesitated and I saw a glimpse of something wake in her eyes.
“However” she repeated and looked down into her coffee, “I don’t want the money you’ve already coughed up through Ebay. The money is just to make sure that the one who wants it the most gets it. I’ll return it to you when the time comes…” she looked at me. At this time I was obviously gaping with surprise.
“You see I bought this spell many years ago from Ebay, back in the days when it was new and magic slept for the most parts. Your grandfather, or is he your great grandfather? I loose track. Anyway he had had it for a very long time. He was gray and …” she laughed. “As gray as I am now I guess”.
She took a large sip of her coffee cup and looked into my eyes again. “What I need from you instead of the money you paid is a favor. It’s not something easy but it is something I have to insist upon. It’s none negotiable.” She sighed and grabbed a Magdalena cake from the plate.
I didn’t say anything but urged her to go on with a hand gesture.
“Right” she said, “you’re too the point, that’s fine.” She smiled and ate the cookie in one bite.
“I’d like for you to kill me” she said looking me in the eyes. “It’s a simple request. It isn’t easy though and I will understand if you back out. I’ve had young men come here before looking for luck … or for their wishes to come true but when push comes to shove they weren’t ready to pay the price. The question is, are you?”
I broke the eye contact and turned my gaze into my cup. I hadn’t expected this. I had expected something, something that was out of the ordinary. I had expected that I’d have to do something for the spell of the Genie.
“I bought the spell in 1998” she said, “long time ago. Times were different, sure there were people who believed and practiced but it was different back then.” She smiled at me and continued speaking, to give me time, obviously.
“I was lucky to get the thing when I did. When the pharmacies started to sell spells things changed. I lay low. I advice you to do the same, if you’ll become the bearer. It’s bad enough that the word got out, the world is not ready for this spell to become official and if it does it does not benefit you at all. I hope you are selfish enough or selfless enough to understand that.”
I nodded my head. She smiled and was silent for a while.
“Well…” she then said, “I know this isn’t what you came here for but you can think about it if you like. You can go and come back tomorrow. Not later. I don’t want to feel like there’s a piano falling on my head for too long but you can think about it until tomorrow.”
I shook my head.
“I don’t need time to think about it” I told her, “if you are sure that this is what you want I can do it”.
“Quick and painless” she said, “that’s all I ask for, then the spell is yours, the scroll is yours, you do the ritual with a bit of my blood in the mix and you will be singing and dancing for the rest of your long life.” She sighed.
“Three hundred and fifty years, do you believe that?” she shook her head.
“But now I want it over with. I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough.” She smiled sadly.
“It’s not easy, having all your wishes come true so be careful. You don’t have as much power over what you wish for as you might think.”
I nodded my head.
“I don’t have many advices to give you. With the scroll you’ll get there is a diary. It’s not just mine but kept by people who have owned the spell, the scroll, before me. You will keep a journal about what’s important too if you know what’s good for you and it comes with the territory. I suppose you can keep whatever you’d like from the apartment as well. I don’t have any relatives left alive. Few friends and certainly no will. I have a cat and I would appreciate it if you took care of it, either by adopting it yourself or by seeing to it that he belongs somewhere. He’s sweet and cuddly, my Tiger. And when you’re finished with me, burn what’s left. The chances that you’ll get caught aren’t great but your conscious might catch up with you”.
I nodded my head, it felt heavy, like I’d been holding it, nodding for three hundred years. I felt a sting of sadness come over me, tears formed in my eyes and spilled down my cheeks.
“It’s as simple as this?” I asked her and she nodded.
“It’s all yours, for the price of your soul” she laughed, it was a bit of a cackle. She handed me a pistol. It was an old fashioned one. Made long before the gun laws came into being, before they became obsolete.
“One shot in the head should suffice, the rest is up to you” she said.
“And you’re sure?” I asked her one last time. I held the gun, my hand was shaking.
“I appreciate your concern” she said, “but I don’t need sympathy. This is what becomes of us. This is where you’ll be in time…”
“All my wishes?”
“All your wishes. But be careful what you wish for…” she stood up and placed the chair she’d been sitting on in front of the stove. Then she sat down in it and sighed.
“One last cookie” she said and smiled, and then she stood up and took a cookie of the plate. She ate it in one bite, cackled and sat down again.
“Just pull the trigger, don’t think too much off it. Everything you need is in the kitchen and you have all the time in the world. It’s a messy business having all your wishes come true.”
“And if I wish it undone…” I asked.
“Then I’m back on square one” she said, “now let those be my last words”.
I pulled the trigger.
I cried through the entire ritual but I did what I had to do. It was easy enough once the shock of the grotesque woman lying on the kitchen floor subsided. She soon looked nothing like the old woman I’d talked to. She slowly morphed into a black skeleton, like the one I suppose she would have been had she not been in my shoes many moons ago.
I cried as I said the words on the scroll.
And I felt the wishing power run into my veins like a drug. The feeling in my gut, in my heart grew and swelled and I realized that it would soon run over its brim… the first wish would soon be out there in the world, in the making.
How do I harness this power? How do I keep from spilling over? There are so many wishes in my heart. So many … and yet there is one that keeps me on the edge. Keeps me alert, sleepless, listless…
I shall not have it undone. I whisper to myself as I go to sleep at nights. I shall not have it undone I tell myself as I go through sleepless nights. I shall not have it undone and I keep myself in check.
And in the meanwhile all the wishes of my heart flow into the world.
Become one with it.
And are fulfilled.
What a world I will make. What a world…?