Works of fiction and poetry by friends of Bamboo Ridge Press.


Wishing Well

Published by JIM HARSTAD | Tuesday, November 06, 2018 1:45 AM

300 words for November

Wishing Well

(Part 1)

When you wish for something hard enough, you just might get it. Then
comes the part about how hard you thought about what happens next, as
in being careful what you wish for. Jiminy Cricket says nothing about
which star you should wish upon, nor about possible evil consequences
of choosing poorly. How about the venerable first star I see tonight?
Does that imply a filter, a guarantee against bad choices and evil
consequences? Suppose you say you're bored stiff and wish something
interesting would happen? By interesting you mean? Who cares? Nothing
could be worse than this. Let's give it a shot: I really wish
something interesting would happen. Oh-oh.

(Part 2)

Wisharama in Wishitopia in G-flat minor

How old were you when you realized “I wish I knew” does not
necessarily mean you want to know?

What it more likely means is that you don’t want to take the time to
find out. Or it’s not worth knowing. Or you’re too lazy. Or . . .

Or maybe you do know but telling would take too dang long. Or you
don’t want us to know. Or . . .

How old are you, anyway? What makes any of this the least bit scary? (Isn’t it?)

I wish I knew. I wish, really wish, you’d think hard about it, then
let us all know.

(Part 3)

The list of things people wish for is endless. Ever try to visualize
“endless”? What’d you see?

I see a long, long adding-machine tape with individual handwritten
entry after entry after entry, curling and unfurling slowly out into
dark and endless space, destination infinity, wherever it can be

I wish I could see what Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking saw. Or what
Neil Degrasse Tyson sees.

Elon Musk. Does he really wish to spawn the movement that puts humans
everywhere? Literally everywhere? Would that be wishing well? I wish I

Wait. I know.

Only look at planet Earth. Clever humanstuff everywhere. Everywhere!
Purely natural stuff nowhere. Nowhere! (Hippie stuff, we smugly

Will we learn better over time? Or will we remain too clever by half
until the too-rapidly-nearing end? When the cows come home? When what
goes around comes around?

What do you wish to be when you grow up? An NFL star? Rock star? Movie
star? Media star? Multijillionaire on-line entrepreneur? Maybe a
pussygrabbing USA President? (Or, you know, grab whatever.)

How about alive and well in a shared natural setting? Are we wishing
well? Wish you knew?

You know you know.

(Part 4)

If it’s worth wishing for,
It must be worth working for.
If you wish/work hard enough for something worthy,
Will luck be a Sinatra lady?

“The harder I practice,
The luckier I get.” —Tom Watson, golfer.

“Pray for a good harvest,
but keep on hoeing.” —Future Farmers of America.

Praying. Anything like wishing?
Are they the same?

One sma’keed time I wished for something worthy
and got it.
By praying?
Don’t recall being into prayer yet.

Mom prayed. Both grandmas.
Couldn’t’ve hurt. Could’ve helped.
Working definitely helped.

The desired object was a bicycle.
Arden Farms Dairy and the City of Bremerton co-sponsored a traffic
safety jingle contest for kids, parental help allowed, even

We did seven entries, each one penned carefully, laboriously by my
reluctant second-grade hand. The first six were random shots. Maybes.

The seventh was my own inspiration, the simple idea of connecting
traffic light colors to their one-word directives:

Red is for stop.
Green is for go.
Yellow is for slow.

By then experienced jingleists, we massaged it into something we all
liked, I copied it neatly, and we sent it in. This was the one. We
were sure of it. And it was.

Mrs. Bostrom bolted out of her house clutching The Bremerton Sun to
her chest, shouting my name. “You won!” she cheered, shouting my name
again. “You won!”

In a special box on the front page, on a list of jingle contest
winners, my name.

At the presentation ceremony, the neatly racked boys’ bikes looked
sturdy, solid, and plain. All except for one gleaming red-and-white
tank model, a ruby among agates.

I wanted that very one, of course. Who wouldn’t? But to get it? I
fervently wished it would be awarded to me. And it was.


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