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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

From the SHOWCASE archives...

Fiction • “The Wishing Hour,” by Romie Stott •



Nira was indeed pregnant, belly an albino watermelon and nipples like dormant volcanoes. When she walked, she waddle-stomped, and when she walked, she burped. She waddle-stomp-burped down the stairs and up again to collect a package from Omaha.

Congratulations on your purchase of auction lot 74, the note read. We hope you find satisfaction in this antique brass teapot, and we hope you will rate us highly in your online feedback. The pot was lightweight and slender and smelled of salt. Nira buffed it with a dry palm and sure enough the kitchen filled with purple smoke and a genie appeared.

“Three wishes,” said the genie.

“Ah, but I’m two people,” said Nira. “Six.”

“One and a half people. Four and a half,” said the genie.

“Ah, so half-wishes can be wished,” said Nira. “And since a wish could encompass the world, to ask for a working toaster would be such a small fraction of the universe it would be almost no wish at all; a thousand such wishes would still round to zero.”

“If one were inclined to think so,” said the genie, who loved haggling as all genies love haggling. For what is wish-granting but a negotiation with the world as it is, convincing the world to sweeten a bargain?

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