my wishful thinking
WHAT WOULD YOU WISH FOR?
Birthday candles, dandelions, turkey bones or shooting stars– seventeen-year-old Logan Carter never passes up a chance to make a wish. But there’s nothing magical about her life until the day a genie goes poof and promises to grant her every desire.
Can she finally bring her father home? Help her mother? Find true love?
It all seems possible–if she can figure out one little complication. She has to share the genie with her best friend Emily, and their desires only come true if they wish for and receive the exact same thing. It’s time for Logan to compromise, because no two people–no matter how close–can agree on everything.
FOR AS LONG AS I can remember, I’ve been a wisher. It never mattered if it was shooting stars, birthday candles, dandelions or turkey bones that I used in an attempt to bring the magic. The wishes were always the same: for my dad to come home, to have my mom back to the way she was when I was little, to find true love.
Impossible. Yeah, right. I’d pretty much figured that out by seventeen, but it didn’t stop me from wishing for all the things that would make my life better.
Right now I don’t have any of the special equipment for making wishes, but that’s never stopped me before.
I wish life were sunnier. That I didn’t always end up soaked.
I glance out the display window at the front of the store. Judging from the way the clouds are piling up, I’d guess there’s ten minutes—maybe twelve max—before the sky opens up and pukes all over us.
“How long do you think the storm’s gonna last?” I ask Mannequin Betsy as I struggle to wedge her impossibly stiff foot into a pair of white Nancy Sinatra these-boots-were-made-for-walking go-gos.
Predictably, she’s mute.
Once I have her zipped into the boot, I set her smack in the middle of the retro display and position her arms, hands on hips. In addition to the boots, she’s wearing a bright yellow micro-mini with a wide, white patent belt and a top with daisies.
“There you go. Cool and retro.”
But she doesn’t look happy about her new outfit. More like disgusted.
“Aw, eff you, Betsy! I think you look great.”
It’s sad—pathetic, really—when my only hope for conversation is with Betsy. I mean, she’s not even my favorite mannequin. Trudy is.
I wish someone, a customer, anyone, would show up.
More thunderheads roll in from the west, turning the sky completely black. It rains like this every summer afternoon in Orlando, so why should today be any different? But when it starts, nobody will say to themselves, Oh! I’d better make a stop at Rags to Ritzy! There’s a gently worn cocktail dress I simply must have.
The store, which is always dreary, grows dimmer without sunlight. So I stroll between racks of clothing and turn on every fringed table lamp and every art deco floor lamp. Trying to hold back the dark.
When the downpour comes, I cozy into an armchair at the end of the counter and grab the box of SAT vocab cards Em lent me two weeks ago. She won’t be needing them, since she crushed the test last year with a 1450 math and verbal. Over 1900, if you count the writing. With a score like that, she’ll have her choice of colleges. Still, she plans to take it again and again. Total overachiever. When she gave me the cards, she said, “Hey Lo, if you study these maybe we can end up at the same school and be roommates.”
Right. It’s pretty unlikely that Logan Carter is going to college at all.
But I suppose I could at least try, even if it is only because the weather sucks.
Pick a card, any card. I open the box and eeny-meeny one from the center of the deck: lagniappe.
“What the hell is a lagniappe?” I ask Mannequin Betsy.
She doesn’t smile, giving me her half-lidded look.
“Hey! Don’t get haughty with me. You don’t know the answer either.” I flip the card. It reads, an unexpected gift. Okay, sure. If you say so. It’s not like it’s gonna come up in everyday conversation.
The little brass bell over the door tinkles. There’s a guy—maybe late twenties—standing in the doorway. Water drips down his face from short, curly black hair. He’s got a goatee-type beard. The kind that’s supposed to make guys cool but always makes me think creepy or professor.
No corduroy elbow patches on this guy. All black clothes, head to toe. Definitely sinister.
He’s so wet he looks like he stepped out of a swimming pool, or a ride at Neptune’s. What’s weird is the feeling that I’ve seen him before.