by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
The red Honda cut in front of him. Charles hit the brake, afraid he'd be rear-ended. "Hope your car flies straight to the dump," he shouted, face suddenly bright red. Immediately, dark gray leathery wings unfurled, the Accord lurched into the air, and flapped heavily away. "Holy shit!" Charles heard screeching brakes and his car slammed into the space previously occupied by the Accord. "Not again!" He put his face in his hands.
No one mentioned the wings, and the police officer eventually wrote "unknown" for the cause of the accident.
That night, watching The Daily Show, Charles suddenly remembered the curse. Maybe he could get his car fixed the same way! "May all damage to my car be inexplicably repaired overnight," he declared aloud.
At 6 a.m. he looked out the window, but he couldn't see his car. A telephone pole was in the way. "Damn!" He ran downstairs and out the front door. The cumulative effects of 11 years of urban driving were all too obvious. Maybe he had imagined the day before. Everything except being rear-ended in traffic. Again.
He took the subway, got to work at 7:59, and found an inbox full of forms. "I wish these forms were all taken care of," he muttered.
"What?" Lisa asked from the next cubicle.
"I wish it was still the weekend," he said.
He wished for a lot of things throughout the day. Little things (his can of soda magically refilled), big things (a promotion), generous things (an end to war in the Middle East). Far as he could tell, none of the wishes were granted. About 2:30 in the afternoon Mr. Gordon came by and dropped 8 inches of forms on his desk.
"Evangeline is going on a cruise. You'll be doing her work as well as yours for the next two weeks."
"Yes sir," was what he said out loud, but not what he muttered under his breath. When Mr. Gordon got back to his office he went in and shut the door. A moment later he ran out screaming, surrounded by a cloud of furious hornets.
That was when Charles understood that wishes were different from curses.
Charles thought long and hard about world peace. Then he pronounced a long and complicated curse on weapons.
Too bad he couldn't change human nature.
World War III was fought with rocks and sharpened sticks.