Three Wishes by Ian Buchan

So last night an angel came to me, as I slept.
She said ‘Verily, you shalt hath three wishes to do with as you will’

I said ‘My first wish is to have infinite wishes’.

She had apparently heard that one before.

We started again. I did not underestimate my new found responsibility to fix all the problems in the world. My first wish was to make everyone think of others before themselves. I was dead proud. I was never blessed with much sense so this one seemed like a slam dunk. The angel sliced the air with her porcelain hand and it was done. Stoked, I looked out of the window and saw a world without success. A world of po-faced mediocrity. A world without big corporations. A world without small corporations. A mob of wet hippies falling over themselves to compliment themselves on their bracelets. Woolworths was still open, mind.

I promised to think harder about my second wish.

My second wish was to rid the world of disease, retrospectively. I was quite proud of that caveat. I tried to look out of my window but there was a pile of elderly spinsters vying for my crotch in the way. I rushed out of the door to find a world over-populated and crumbling. Carpets of people stood shoulder to shoulder passing messages onto each other in Chinese whispers. Apparently I had ‘a nice sense of bubbles’. As everybody was considerate, they accepted their lot like battery chickens, albeit with worse ankles. A world of misery, angst and pessimism. I thought ‘what life is this?’

I had one wish left.

I toyed with undoing everything I had done so far, but the net effect would have been nil and my ego raised a hand. I tried to see the bright side of the world I had created. Nina Simone was still alive, although she wasn’t selfish enough to push herself to do anything. I looked at her as she stumbled down the one sparse street, muttering sweet nothings to her imaginary friend. I whistled some of her greatest songs at her. She dropped her bags and looked at me with pigeon eyes. She felt good, I told her.

I had to make one last decision.

I didn’t trust myself with another grand statement so decided against ridding the world of violence or creationism. So I blue skied it. Overall I was quite happy with my decision to instill automatic knowledge of the capital into all tourists’ heads, so that they would not bother bus drivers for absurdly large amounts of time, or stand on the left of escalators, or speak that funny little language of theirs in Starbucks.

I sat back, thrilled with the world I had created. I tried to forget about the missed opportunities. The endless stunted anger, the rapid diminishment of our natural resources. I decided to do better if the angel returned, and not to rue it too much (although I have to admit that I wish I had worked homeopathy into the equation somewhere).

Driving tips for the hopelessly optimistic by Ian Buchan

I never said I was a good driver. It’s become a bit of a running joke with my mates. They tease me. Joke that they’d never get in a car with me, but, you know, that would be kind of weird anyway. I have enough trouble concentrating as it is.

Take the other month. Early morning, some B road. Keeping an eye out for hitchhikers. Can’t stand the thought of them standing there, so desperate and lonely. So I try to stop if I can – if I manage to spot them, that is! Bloody fog not helping!

That thing where you look in front of you and then you look to the side of you and there are all these trees whizzing past but you can’t take your eyes off it because it feels all spacey and you get mesmerised by the strobing?

Yeah, that.

The image of a middle aged woman being catapulted through her windscreen will stay with me for weeks. Clunk click, my mates joked. But still, it was kind of my fault – in that she was stationary and I went straight into the back of her.

My mates were great. It was foggy. The fact I wasn’t sleeping showed I had a conscience. Showed I was human, they told me. Could have happened to anyone. I had to get back in there. Stat. The longer I put it off, the worse it would be, they said. I thought they were probably right.

It was a bit touch and go for the first few hours, but soon I was wondering what all the fuss was about. I felt strong.

But then the charity muggers died. Oh my days, it sounds bad written down like that!

I haven’t processed it all yet, but it was something like this. I was concentrating. I was on the ball. I don’t remember being distracted. But somehow my car mounted the pavement and made meatballs out of a gaggle of spunky 18 year olds. Their smiles mown permanently into their fleeces. I’ll never forget the image of the one boy bouncing off my windscreen, his forced grin slowly turning to abject horror as he stared death in the eyes.

I’m told two of them will learn to walk again, although they will look ridiculous.

I thought, that’s it. No more driving for me! I was trying so hard and people still ended up getting hurt. It was quite the scene in the pub that night, let me tell you. My mates wouldn’t hear of it. That’s what mates are for, right? You know the routine. I do the deep funk act. They make all the encouraging noises. Mix it with a bit of teasing. Smile, talk about something else. Make you feel like you’re making a fuss over nothing. Yeah, that stuff. Get back out there, they said. Millions of people drive. Millions of people are worse drivers than me, they said, like a Greek chorus. They were probably right.

Back in the saddle. Don’t mind admitting though, my confidence was shot to pieces. I don’t want people to die, no matter what the papers say. As I drove, I started to think about the vicious circle I was in. It seemed to be about the inalienable right for me to exist, against the rights of other people to have unbroken bones. A lesser man might have thought that bones mend. A better person might have thought that buses get a bad press.

I drove past the hospital. Thought of the all the fragile people, cocooned in bubbles of stories too full to cope with my intrusion. I felt crushed by the overwhelming desire to get away from them without hurting them. For a second, I lost it. By the time I realised, I was careering towards a zebra crossing. Typical me! I swerved to avoid an elderly man. Ground to a halt next to a lady with a pram.

Thanked my lucky stars. Got out of the car. As I pushed the door away, I felt a release, as if discarding a coat of pollen. Finally, I could breathe.

I prostrated myself at the feet of the lollipop man. Threw my keys at him. Implored. Told him I couldn’t do it anymore. I was going to sell my car. Post my licence back to the DVLA. Didn’t he see what nearly happened? What could have happened?

And for a moment I thought the game was up. He looked at me like he knew I was a fraud. A charlatan. A chancer whose time was up.

He picked up my keys and placed them in my hand. He gently closed my fingers around them and gave me a warm smile. A little chuckle. I was being silly.

Perhaps I was.

I turned the engine on. Blanked out the shrill call from the base of my spine. Released the handbrake. Swallowed. Rubbed my reddened eyes.

And I continued on my journey. Felt I could make it without haplessly murdering anyone else.

And in fairness, I’m told both the dogs and the dog walker I hit a few moments later are completely replaceable.

The Easter Reading by Ian Buchan

The New Testament is a series of passages passed down through generations. Indeed, it was some four hundred years after Jesus died when synods decided roughly which books should make it up.

Very much in this spirit of retelling the story as accurately and faithfully as possible with the most modern techniques available, I present to you the Easter Story, as told through the power of predictive text. I have tried to keep it as accurate as possible, and felt that it wouldn’t be right to correct any errors which happened naturally.

John 20:1-18 (New International Version)

Early on the first day of the week, while it was stol dark, may magdalene went to the tomb and saw that they stone had been removed grin the entrance. So she came tuning to symon Peter and the other disciple, thee one Jesus loved, and said, “they have taken the Lord out of the trying, and we don’t know whee they have out him!”

So peter sheff thee other disciple started fort the tomb. Both were running, but the other fischer oran Peter and reached the tomb first. He gentry over and looked on at the steps of linen lying there, s well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally three urge straddle, who had treated the tomb first, also went overuse. He saw and believed. (they stol did not understand from scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

then the disciples went back trio their homes, but Meaty stupid outside the tomb crying. As she wort, steer gentry over to look into the tomb and saw two angels on white, states where Jesus’ busy had been, over art thee head sheff thee other at the four.
They asked her, “roman, why are you bring?”
“they haber taken my Lord away-”she said, “and I don’t know where they hand pity h him’”at this, sher turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not teahouse that out was Jesus.
“roman-”he said, “why are you bring? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking ut was the gardener, sher said-”sure, if you have carried him away, trek me where tutu gaff put him, and I will get him’”
Jesus said to her, “may’”
She turned towards him and cried out in aramaic, “rabbi!” (which means Teacher)
Guests said, “do nitty gold on to me, dirt I have nitty yet returned to tyre Farther. Go instead to my brothers and tel then, “I am returning to my Feather and yurt Feather, try my guid and your Good. ‘”
May magdalene went to the disciples with rhett news: “I have sewn the lord!”and she told then that he had said these things to her’

Footnote: I might uninstall Swype now.