Millicent Makes a Wish

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There was this tree at school.  Everyone called it the Big Maple.  Kids used to spend recess and lunch near the Big Maple.  The boys tried to see how far they could run up it.  Or they’d dare each other to punch it.

The girls used to collect the maple keys that fell all around it each spring.  They’d strip away the pseudo leaf part of those ‘helicopters’ and put the seeds into sandwich bags.  Other girls had brand new Ziplock bags.  Millicent could only envy that.

Millicent could only envy that because she came from a poor family.  Her family was so poor that they had only one really cheap discount brand sandwich bag between them.

There was seven of them altogether, including the parents, so that meant each of them got to have the sandwich bag one day of the week.  It didn’t even close properly by itself anymore.  Millicent’s dad had found a butterfly clip by the side of the road so they used that to keep the bag closed.  The clip was rusty.

Millicent’s youngest brother who was actually called Rusty cut himself on the clip once.  They had to spend an entire Thanksgiving waiting in the emergency room for him to get stiches and a tetanus shot.  It didn’t really matter that they had to spend Thanksgiving at the hospital because they had nothing but some dust and some Cheez Whiz spread on an envelope to eat for their dinner.

But still.

It was around about this time that Millicent got sick to death of being poor.  The final straw was when Michon de Babineau started making fun of Millicent’s sandwich bag and everything else about Millicent that was poor and secondhand.  She got a bunch of her most devoted followers and formed a circle around Millicent at recess.

“Where did you get that sandwich bag, Millicent?”

Michon smiled and cocked an eyebrow.  Millicent nearly died of embarrassment.  Someday she’d get Michon alone and make her eat her own beret.  In the meanwhile, Millicent tried hiding her sandwich bag.

“Oh no!” laughed Michon.  Her followers laughed too.  “We’ve already seen it Millicent!  No use trying to hide it now!  Ha ha too funny.  You’re ashamed.”

She turned to her followers and started a chant which they swiftly joined in on.  “Millicent’s ashamed of her poverty, Millicent’s ashamed of her poverty.”

Millicent was so angry that she threw her sandwich bag at Michon.  The bag that day contained a sandwich that Millicent’s mother had made by gluing a cut-out picture of a sandwich to Bristol board but alas, the bag was so old that the resistance of the air caused it to disintegrate.

The Bristol board sandwich fell about a meter shy of Michon.  There was a moment where she was so shocked that she said nothing.  Then she pointed at the Bristol board sandwich and started laughing manically.  The other girls laughed too.  Millicent hung her head.

That night, as she lay awake under the gaping hole that served as her bedroom ceiling, Millicent spotted a shooting star and made a wish.

“I wish to be the richest girl in the whole wide world.  To whomever grants me my wish I will be eternally grateful and do whatever you want, just so long as it doesn’t get in the way of me enjoying being rich.  Thank you, good night and, er, amen.”

Millicent closed her eyes and fell asleep.  When she opened her eyes the next morning, it didn’t seem that anything much had changed.  Her bed, which was actually a squashed egg carton she shared with her youngest sister, was still a squashed egg carton she shared with her youngest sister.

She’d actually rolled off it or been pushed off it during the night and was now lying on top of the wet and warped floorboards.  She looked up at the hole above, intending the shake her fist at the heavens.  Instead she gasped.  There, poking his head in through the gap, was a winged little man with curly hair and a 1000 watt smile.

“Halloo and greetings,” he said and waved.

“ARGHH,” said Millicent.

“Do not be alarmed, earth child!  I am Anton your fairy godfather and I –”

“Woah, wait a sec.  Fairy godfather?”

Anton bristled.  “Yes, that’s right.  Got a problem with that?”

“Um, no.

Just sort of…unexpected.”

Fairy Godfather

 

“Humph!  I’ll have you know granting wishes is a perfectly masculine thing to be doing.”  Anton took to the air and descended slowly into Millicent’s bedroom.  He had adult proportions but was only about a foot high and wore a bandleader’s unform decorated with medals.  He waved his wand.

“My father was a fairy godfather and his father before them.  Both saw war, I’ll have you know.  Both of them won medals for valor in battle.  Ever done anything like that?  No?  I didn’t think so.”

Millicent lowered her gaze.  “I really am sorry.  I seem to have touched a nerve.”

“I’m having second thoughts about this whole thing.”

“Oh, please no!  I regret very much that I caused offense.  I…I sometimes speak without thinking.”

Anton hovered before her, his translucent wings beating faster than a hummingbird’s.  “Ok,” he said at last, “I suppose you are forgiven.  Now!  Down to business.  You wish to be rich.”

Millicent clasped her hands together under her chin.  “Oh yes, more than anything!”

“But Millicent, you are rich.”

Millicent frowned.  “Are you nuts?  Have you seen my bed?  It’s under my sister right now but I assure you it’s a squashed egg carton.”

Anton laughed.  “Not rich in things or money, my dear.  Rich in love.  You have your family, don’t you?”

“Yes, I suppose –”

“Well, that’s what wealth really is.  Money can’t buy happiness, Millicent my dear –”

“Can too.  It does that all the time.  That’s pretty much what it’s for.”

Anton persisted.  “Let me put it another way.  Would you rather be loved or have lots of money?”

Millicent crossed her arms over her chest and pouted.  “Money.”

Anton’s smile faltered.  “But love –”

“Oh, cut it out,” said Millicent with a scowl.  “What a bunch of crud.  Being poor sucks and love doesn’t change that.  I want money.  NOW.  So, tell me, what’s this really about it?”

Anton frowned and looked away.  At last, with a sigh he mumbled, “Budget cuts.”

“Budget cuts?”

“Yes.  The powers that be are tightening their belts.  There just aren’t the funds available to grant wishes of this nature.”

Millicent harrumphed.  “Well, isn’t that just swell.  Is there really nothing you can do?”

Anton thought about it.  Then his eyes lit up as something occurred to him.  He lifted his wand above his head.

“Sit back my dear…and prepare to be amazed.”

***

An hour and a half later Millicent arrived at school.  People noticed right away that there was something different about her.  Her back was straight for one thing and she was smiling smugly.  That smile remained in place as she sat through the first part of the morning.  Soon the bell was ringing.  Recess.

It was a lovely mid-spring day.  The sun was shining and some of the girls noticed right away that a very large amount of maple keys had tumbled to the ground overnight.  Everyone rushed towards the Big Maple.

Millicent followed at a slower pace.  When she got there, she spent a long moment just watching the other girls picking up maple keys and stuffing them in their Ziplock bags.  Then she smiled, reached into the inner pocket of her jacket and pulled out it.

A girl named Kayley was the first to notice.  Her mouth dropped open and she pointed.

“Wow,” she said.  “Everyone!  Check out Millicent’s sandwich bag!”

The girls quickly dropped what they were doing and crowded round.  Millicent lifted the bag so that they could get a better look.  It truly was a magnificent sandwich bag.  It had a state-of-art locking mechanism to seal in freshness that none of them had ever seen and the whole thing shimmered and shone like oil on an ocean.

A couple of the girls asked if they could touch the sandwich bag.  Millicent shook her head.

“It’s just too precious.  I hope you understand.”

“Has everyone lost their minds?” came a voice from outside the semi-circle that had formed around Millicent.  Everyone turned.  There was Michon de Babineau, standing with her hands on her hips and looking very annoyed indeed.  “It’s just a sandwich bag.”

“But,” said Kayley, “it’s a really cool sandwich bag.  You should see it, Michon.”

Michon waved dismissively.  “Like I care.”

Millicent laughed.  She faced Michon and lifted the bag.  “Are you sure about that, Michon?”

Michon turned red and started vibrating.  At last, she could contain herself no more and ended up shouting, “Yes ok, all right, fine!  I admit it!  That is, without a doubt, the most amazing sandwich bag I have ever seen and yes!  I am extremely jealous right now.  You know what, Millicent?  You can just go and jump in a lake as far as I’m concerned.  I hate all of you and enough!  I’m going home!”

And with that, Michon spun on her heel and marched off towards the school.

“Well,” said Kayley, “that was undignified.”

Millicent laughed.  “I tell you Kayley, it’s a beautiful day in the universe.  And you know what?  I learned something today.”

“What’s that?”

Millicent smiled lovingly at her sandwich bag.  “Sometimes a little bit of something goes a long way.  I’m now enslaved to a flying, tiny, little man who has a wand but it was so worth it.  I tell you, everyone should get in touch with their fairy godf – hello?”

Millicent twisted around, looking for her vanished friend.

But Kayley was already halfway to the road.

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- Total nr. of readings: 97 Copyright © The author [2020] All Rights Reserved. This story may not be reproduced without the express written permission of the author except for personal use.

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