Jones never believed in wishing wells or fountains, but shooting stars were a different matter. He looked into the night sky, clear of clouds and lightly frosted by stars, and thought of what he would wish for if he saw a shooting star. Someone else to baby-sit for one thing. Sure he owed his sister some money, but working it off via indentured childcare? It rankled him, all but destroying the tiny bit of integrity remaining in his spine. Maybe he would wish for Stacy to come back to him, that bitch. Jones realized having her back would not bring him happiness, but he felt like a dysfunctional relationship was better than the nothing she had left him with. He could wish for his mother to come back from wherever she’d gone to. It seemed like everything had really started to spin out of control after she finally passed. He could wish for his father to walk again, if for no other reason than to knock him back down. How feeble his father had grown in his older years, an atrophied shadow of the man that had terrorized Jones’ entire life. His father consistently claimed that Jones was far less than a man, that Jones was pathetic and would never amount to more than a pile of cigarette butts. Maybe Jones could wish to be a man, in the eyes of his father and the eyes of the world, whatever being a man entailed. Jones wasn’t sure what he would get with a wish like that, but it was a wish that would probably be worth the gamble. He’d mulled it over a million times. What was the one thing that could change his entire life around, the one wish that would make all his other wishes come true? He hoped for a meteor shower, so that all his wishes might be accounted for. Then, from the corner of his eye, Jones saw a streak of light sliding toward the horizon, and for a brief instant it seemed like everything might actually be coming together for once.
He took the pack of smokes out of the breast pocket of his red and black flannel, much lighter than he remembered it. He probed inside with a finger, grabbing hold of the last one carefully. He placed it between his lips and then double-checked the empty pack again, hopeful of some oversight on his part. Finding no more cigarettes he silently wished for another pack, and then cursed himself for wasting his wish.
Shit, how stupid to waste a wish on cigarettes. I should have wished for two more wishes with my one, but what good would that be? Left with nothing but unfulfilled wishes. The people who want one thing more than anything else, they are the lucky ones. They always know what to wish for. What about the people who don’t know what they want or the people who want too much? Wishing for cigarettes, how stupid are you Jones?
Jones realized he had been talking to himself out loud again. He hated when he did it, although he was never sure unless there were others around. Usually, by the time he found out about it, it was already an embarrassment. He should have wished that he’d never do that anymore. He couldn’t even make a wish without fucking it up.
Written for the Daily Prompt: Three Coins in a Fountain