I know, I know. You came here today hoping to find Monday Diary. I honestly couldn't think of anything today - I think I am suffering from empty nest syndrome - all my priest and seminarians buddies are either back at school or on vacation. BUT! I haven't written a serial short story in a loooooooong time and this one came to me yesterday and was just bursting to get out so this week will be short story serial week! Here is the first installment. (I don't have a title for it yet.)
It was said softly, under his breath, and with the proper sarcasm that meant the situation was anything but. Father Andrews was taking his dog for a walk on the trails through the woods, but where the trail forked as it entered the first stand of trees, there were two young ladies sitting and apparently texting each other for although they were facing each other, neither looked up nor said a word. They giggled but other than that were still as the trees.
“Of all places to sit!” he muttered to himself in his head, “the one spot where there is no easy way around them. It's almost as if they planned it. And now the dog will bark and lunge, probably making them scream. What an annoyingly stupid place to plop down and do nothing. I wonder what their mothers would think. But hey, that’s the way it is so here we go.”
Amazingly, the dog didn’t bark. In fact, he went on sniffing at the plants at the side of the trail as if the silent squatters were not even there.
The priest looked down at the girls whose hair didn’t so much as blow in the breeze. Staring at the top of their heads he said hello back. “Or did I say hello?” he thought, “I don’t actually remember vocalizing it. But I must have. Right?”
“You did,” came a different voice. It was if the voice was in his head.
“So what are the two of you doing sitting here blocking the most awkward part of the trail?” Am I really that rude to say that to them?
There was a giggle. That definitely landed in his ear. But then the queer sensation that a voice was in his head said, “We were waiting for you.”
“Yes. Of course.”
“Why were you waiting for me? Do I know you?”
“We have come to grant you four wishes.”
“Ha! Four wishes did you say?” Fr. Andrews felt the mirth in his chest and his face brightened. “That is very kind of you.”
“Oh, we are quite serious.”
“Are you now? And what kind of wishes do you grant?”
“Any kind of wish that you want.”
“Like a genie in a lamp type wish.”
“Something like that,” said one voice, and then, “Except this is for real,” finished the other.
“How terribly interesting,” the priest said trying his best not to roll his eyes, “but shouldn’t it be three wishes, not four? Isn’t that how it goes?”
“It would if you were in a fairy tale and we were fairies,” said one and then the other finished, “which you are not and which we are not.” The first continued, “In real life, each wish granter,” here the other interjected, “which is what we are,” then the first continued, “is permitted to grant any person they choose two wishes. There are two of us, each of us has two wishes to give you, and that equals four.”
The dog pulled on his leash wanting to go down the trail. Scratching his bearded chin and creasing his brow Fr. Andrew said slowly, “Well, thank you very much. I’ll give it some thought. But it looks like the dog wants to go on his walk now.”
“Wise dog,” said the second voice. “But there is a catch,” said the first voice.
“Ah, there’s always a catch isn’t there.”
“Not a difficult one,” said the second voice. “It’s just that the first wish must be made now.” said the first.”
“I see,” said Father. Wishes started cycling through his head before the thought popped up that he could not believe that he was taking this even mildly seriously. Just the same he wanted to be careful. If fairytales taught him anything, it was that greed always ended badly. It was only when he thought of the most innocuous wish he could muster that he let slip out, “I wish a was a far greater pastor of my parish.”
“DONE!” said both voices together just as the dog jerked the priest down the trail.