When You Wish Upon A Chocolate Bar
by Joshua Blanc
For what seemed like the hundredth time that evening, Harry watched
the rake claim his chips and spirit them away across the roulette table.
His hand groped for more, but found only empty space where his reserve
pile had been. With a frown, he looked in his wallet. All he had left
was some loose change -- maybe enough for a few goes at the pokies.|
The croupier called "no more bets," and spun the wheel. Harry sighed, and wandered towards the sparkling slot machines. Just within reach of one, he spotted the bar. He swayed a moment while his lust for money and his thirst for alcohol fought for control of his legs. He looked at the quarter in his outstretched hand, and lowered it to his side.
"A Cherry Twist," he said to the barkeep.
"Coming right up, Sir."
The barkeep began mixing various liquids which looked more suitable for cleaning floors than drinking. Harry strolled over to the snack machine to wait. There was an impressive assortment of chocolate bars lurking within.
"What to have, what to have...?"
"Yo!" said a tinny voice.
"Who said that?" he said.
There was no reply, so he shrugged it off and continued his perusal of the chocolate bars. Upon closer inspection, they were all the same drab peanut-butter bar under an assortment of guises -- Peanut Butter Ultra, Peanut Butter Dream, Peanut Butter Cyclone, Peanut Butter Wonder... He spotted one called `The Mystical Chocolate Bar Of Amazingness.' Harry wasn't sure that Amazingness was even a word, but for the promise of no peanut butter he was willing to overlook that.
"Out you come then, Mystical Chocolate Bar," he said, jamming a dollar into the machine.
He pressed the button and out slid the glorious candy, along with a puff of what looked like glitter. He stooped to grab it, and noticed there were no other Mystical Chocolate Bars Of Amazingness in the machine. Either the chocolate bar truly is mystical, or a lot of other people don't like peanut butter.
He took the end of the wrapper in both hands, with the intention of ripping it open.
"Wait!" said the voice again, more foily than tinny this time.
"Uh... who is it?" he said.
"You're lookin' at me," said the voice.
"No way. A talking chocolate bar?"
"That's right. Not only that, I grant wishes."
"You talk... and you grant wishes as well?"
Harry narrowed his eyes.
"How many?" he said.
"The usual amount."
"Yippy dippity-doo!" said Harry, doing a little dance. "I know exactly what my first one will be!"
"Your first what, Sir?" said a different voice.
Harry turned around to see a waiter holding a tray.
"Your drink, Sir. Cherry Twist."
Harry took the tall glass, almost spilling its contents.
"Thankyou. I was just saying, I know what my first chocolate bar will be -- one of these."
He held up the Mystical Chocolate Bar.
"Hmm, `The Mystical Chocolate Bar Of Amazingness.' That's not even a word."
"I thought that too..."
"And our vending machines are only supposed to sell chocolate bars with peanuts in them. I'll have to talk to the barkeep about that."
The waiter trotted off, leaving Harry alone with the chocolate bar.
"You were saying?" said the latter.
"Oh, right -- my wish. I wish I was rich!"
A little crinkle formed in the wrapper, just for a moment, which gave the impression it had winked.
"There, Sir, you now own this casino."
Harry's eyes widened.
"Oh boy, I'm rich! Rich-rich-rich!"
"Keep it down, you don't want anyone to think you're talking to a chocolate bar, do you?"
"Erm, no. Quite right. I'm rich..."
"Okay, wish number two?"
"Righto. Umm... Y'know, I've always wished I had a fantastic sports- car."
"Okay, a fantastic sports-car has just pulled up outside. You can see it through the window over there."
Harry looked at the sleek red vehicle purring in the parking lot. It was nothing short of the car of his dreams, right down to the mink- trimmed seats.
"Yes! Now, I've gotta be really careful with my last wish. They always screw it up on TV."
"Is that so?"
"Let's see, I've got a fantastic car, and I can get all the women I want now that I'm loaded..."
"You could always wish for something unselfish, like world peace, or an end to famine and disease."
Harry paused to think of all the unfortunates in the world, lost loved ones, people he'd like to meet, places he'd like to go... Then, at last, he had it.
"I wish... I wish I knew what that little dangly thing at the back of my throat is called."
The chocolate bar contorted, as someone would who was taken aback. "It's a uvula."
"Oh. A what?"
There was a pause while Harry took this in.
"That's all three of your wishes. Now, the only string attached to this little deal is that you don't eat me. If you do, all your wishes will be undone."
"But, I wanted to know what you taste like."
"You could have wished to know what I taste like."
"Good point. Okay, I won't eat you. What shall I do with you, then?"
"Put me somewhere cold. I wouldn't like to melt under these harsh lights."
"Consider it done. Er, there'll be a fridge upstairs, I should think."
Harry downed his drink, and set off up the stairs. On the way he passed several burly security men. Each one knew his name, and acknowledged him courteously as he passed.
He beamed with pride when he found the door marked "H. Alabaster, Owner & Manager," and opened it to find the most amazing swivel-chair he'd ever seen, behind a desk like a buffet table.
"Whoa. Now this is classy."
He scanned the room. As expected, there was a miniature fridge next to the water cooler. He put the Mystical Chocolate Bar Of Amazingness in the door compartment.
"Comfortable?" he said.
"Yes, thank you. Enjoy your wishes, and don't forget what I said."
"You got it, Your Amazingness."
Harry frowned. Had he actually said that? With a shrug, he shut the door, and made his way back down to the bar.
He had the time of his life that night. He met loads of attractive women, fed a banquet in quarters to the slot machines, joked with the croupiers, and drank cocktail after cocktail until he could no longer pronounce `nother wunna those,' let alone `Cherry Twist.'
All too soon, closing time came and he staggered back up the stairs. It took a long time to reach the top, what with stopping to hug each security guard along the way, but at last he fell into his office. He steadied himself against the desk, smacked his lips, and went to see what was in the fridge.