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).