A Christmas tale: Part II: The Magic Box
Charley Wickenburg woke up at 5:30 the next morning when it was still very dark, took a millisecond to figure out where he was and then remembered the dream he had the night before about a box that he'd stuck his hand into and then three of his w...
Charley Wickenburg woke up at 5:30 the next morning when it was still very dark, took a millisecond to figure out where he was and then remembered the dream he had the night before about a box that he'd stuck his hand into and then three of his wishes had come true. Or was it a dream?
He looked at the dresser next to his bed and on it were two $500 bills, a $260 gift certificate to a local western store and the keys to an automobile.
"Maybe it wasn't a dream," he said out loud, popped out of bed, looked out the window and still parked across the street was the big blue pickup truck he'd wished for and received the night before.
"This is amazing!" he shouted and ran around his apartment in utter disbelief, wondering what he should wish for next, how much stuff he should wish for and why this was happening to him. Then he suddenly had a very sobering thought: What if he was limited to only three wishes like the guy in the genie story, because, if that was the case, he might have already used them up.
He looked for the box and for a moment couldn't find it, so he began to panic and then remembered that he put it in his clothes closet on top of some folded jeans to protect and hide it.
Laying the box on the bed, he once again stuck his hand into it and was about to make a wish but then hesitated and pulled it out, wondering if he should just make a little test wish or a big wish or perhaps the wish of all wishes and if that was the case, what was the wish of all wishes?
He remembered that as a child in Sunday school they told him that Solomon had prayed, God had granted him wisdom and untold wealth had followed. But he decided that "wisdom" was just too generic and boring and he wanted something much more specific like a horse ranch or 50 oil wells or a starring role in an upcoming Spielberg movie.
This he debated for quite some time while watching ESPN, munching on two slices of toast bathed in honey and gulping down three cups of coffee filled with nearly a quart of cream and three spoons of sugar.
Finally, he decided that he'd just try a little wish, a very tiny one as a test and he went back into the bedroom, stuck his hand in the box and wished for a diamond necklace for his new girlfriend Bernadette and immediately felt something in his hand, pulled it out and in it was the prettiest necklace that he'd ever seen.
"She's going to love this," he said and laid it on the kitchen counter next to the big blue pickup truck keys, jumped into the shower and wondered how he was going to explain his new found wealth to his parents, friends, the rest of his family and ultimately, the recipient of the necklace, deciding, in the end, that it was a wonderful problem to have because, after all, he and his family deserved it with all they'd been through.
You see, his father had inherited his grandfather's ranch many years earlier but lost it in the '80s when times were tough and then went to work in the Oil Patch. Now, as an old man, he was broken down and hobbled and on disability and sat around watching TV, drinking beer and whining about Obama most of the day and night. Gone too was Charley's dream of eventually inheriting his grandfather's place, raising and selling roping horses and sitting on the porch watching sunsets.
Oh sure, he'd gotten by OK as a truck driver hauling gravel here, there and everywhere but it sure hadn't been the glorious life he'd expected because he'd seen so little of the country and the world and, oh by the way, absent from his cellphone address book were the names of any famous models and actresses. But that could soon change.
"Yes sir," he said to himself and grinned. "That could soon change."
To be continued December 23...
Holten is a freelance cartoonist and columnist from Dickinson.