Be Careful For What You Wish For
“Hey there’s Daniel, let’s go say hi!” I heard someone shout.
I barely turned my head when I felt the first punch.
“Don’t worry,” someone purred in my ear, “you can’t get any uglier, so after we’re done, you’ll look the same.” His friends howled with laughter. That’s when I saw Liam’s black beady eyes. I hate him. Hate him so much that if I could, I’d do what he’s done to me in my life, and do it to him in one agonizing day.
His friends began to kick me with their brand new Nikes and Jordans. I felt every blow with twice as much pain since the bruises they gave me a few days ago were still raw. Tears began to gather in my eyes but I wouldn’t dare shed them here, in front of these monsters. They kicked away, punching, scratching, and pulling every inch of my skin until their thirst for violence was quenched. They left slowly, spitting on my face. “We’ll see you later Daniel . . .” one of Liam’s friends drawled.
After a few minutes, the pain numbed out so I pulled myself to my feet and looked around. I hate this school. I hate the teachers who don’t even blink when I come through the doors with blood running down my arms. I hate the students, who do nothing but stare at me with their empty eyes when Liam breaks my ribs. If I could, I’d make them feel what I had, and do as they did. Nothing.
When I got home the water was running in the kitchen so I had to move my legs extra fast to turn it off. It was the dry season. We couldn’t afford any more bills my drunken father never paid. After I finally shut the water off I hurried toward the fridge, hoping to find some food. Instead I only found ice cold beer.
I grabbed half-eaten snickers and headed toward our living room.
Grabbing the remote I also snatched a small piece of paper off the coffee table. This could be it.
When I found the lottery channel I held the paper closer to my face as the man began his long speech.
“Today is a special day, if you are the winner, you would win a million dollars. Next week, we will be doing . . .” as he talked I analyzed the six numbers. 47 19 12 7 32 28 Oh how rich I would be, and the best part is, everyone would finally want to be my friend, but I wouldn’t let them. I would become someone everyone would want but couldn’t have. I smiled to myself. Yes, that is a brilliant plan.
“. . . So the contestants would finally have their prize. Now, the moment you have been waiting for. I shall now draw the lucky numbers!” the man rejoiced, as if he just found out his wife had a baby son. His small thin hand reached into the bowl and he took out six balls of rolled up paper. “Now, I shall read the numbers. And you must have them in this order. . .47 . . . 19 . . . 12 . . . 7 . . .” my hands began to shake, “. . . 32 . . . and . . .” he paused for effect. My palms were sweating like crazy. “28!!!!!” he screamed.
I nearly fainted. My heart was beating faster than my mind could count. I stood up onto my sore feet and shouted on top of my lungs. I felt free. I finally felt free.
“Now, the person who has these numbers, in order, will be visited tomorrow evening. Good thing we have your address you lucky winner, or we wouldn’t even bother.” The host smiled at the camera. But what I saw was a smirk.
I stayed home the next day and cleaned up. I tidied the couches and beds, cleaned the kitchen, and even vacuumed. It was almost 12:17 pm when the door bell rang. Patting my new bit-too-small-jeans and size-too-big yellow shirt I opened the door.
The crowd stood with balloons and cameras. Lights flickered away at my face. For a moment I was blind.
“Young sir, what is your name?” I recognized the host’s voice, and then saw him. He wore a suit which squeezed his tiny body to an even tinier shape. His smile was even wider but it wasn’t from happiness. It was because he was amused.
“Daniel, Daniel McGlegan.” I whispered. My body was shaking uncontrollably. The host, even though it looked impossible, smiled wider.
“Daniel, I present you with one million dollars!” as he said it, an enormous check was handed to me. The cameras grew closer, the flashes brighter, and the voices louder. “Now son, what do you plan to do with this amazing amount of money?” the noise was silenced for a short while.
“Try and buy some food,” I joked. But everyone stayed silent. The sea of blank expressions began to express pity. Something I don’t want. “I meant better food; maybe even donate a few thousand dollars to charity.” I grinned, trying to hide my humiliation. But it was too late.
“ . . . Well then you must be a very lucky man.” The host said.
“Yeah, I wished for this more than you can imagine.” I breathed.
His smile faded. “A word of advice,” he kneeled toward me. “Be careful for what you wish for. Especially money, it is nothing but paper. But paper like this can destroy you.”
Creep. “Yeah, I know. I will be very careful with what I have, since I know what it’s like to not have anything.”
My comment caused a positive, sympathetic reaction to the crowd. Bingo.
After they all left, I headed toward the bank and deposited my money—bought expensive clothing and food on the way home. When I got home I put everything away, locked the windows and doors and went to bed. In my dream, I was sitting on a pile of gold and beneath me were servants. Each face represented a person who did nothing in my time of need, and because of their actions, I executed them, one by one. It was a good dream.
In the morning I took a bus to school. It wasn’t as bad as walking in the blazing heat but wasn’t better then riding in my own Porsche with air conditioning. I’ll get to that. I thought.
At school people noticed my new clothing, fuller stature, and pissed off face. I may be a millionaire but there are still people I had to talk to. And as I rounded the corner to my locker, I saw them. Liam and his “friends” were laughing and shoving each other as if their lives were made up of sunshine and lollipops. They began to quiet down as I approached.
“Lookie here,” Liam said, walking up to me. “Our new town millionaire. Wow, you must feel so special, huh?” he asked. I knew it wasn’t meant to be answered but I did anyway.
“Yup, now move I can’t be late to class.” I shoved him aside.
But he just snapped right back. “Seems Cinderella hasn’t got any manners.” He hissed. “Maybe we should teach her a few.” As he got ready to strike me I interrupted with a calm voice.
“You hit me, and I will make sure your whole family loses their jobs. I will make sure you will go into foreclosure, and put you through such a hell, that the devil wouldn’t consider.” I pushed him out of my way. “You say anything about me, do anything, or even breathe anything; you will be eating dirt for breakfast.” I got my locker open and put my backpack in.
“You may be rich and powerful but you’re still ugly. You’re a loser too. That’s why your whore mother never wanted you—“he didn’t get to finish before I punched him in the face. His whole body fell on the floor and barely budged. I looked at his friends.
“Any other comments?” I asked politely.
They all fell silent, not meeting my gaze. That’s what I thought.
At school everyone avoided me. Some dared to say hello but I just shot them daggers before walking the other direction. The staff did nothing in order to stand up to me, just like they didn’t stand up for me when I was beaten up every day. What monsters.
I got home and fled to the bathroom. I looked at my face in our cracked mirror. There were bruises everywhere, scars, and patches of dead skin that hadn’t peeled off yet. As much as I hated it, Liam was right. I am ugly. My face has reflected all the years of violence clearly. Something that I couldn’t have changed if I never won those million dollars but because I have, it was time to start changing.
That week I scheduled an appointment at the hospital for body surgery. I didn’t go to school but bought a new home, with my uncle’s permission of course. My dad was nowhere to be found, so I asked his brother instead. He agreed after I gave him five hundred bucks. It was a small house but in those new and rich neighborhoods. Along with it I bought appliances, furniture, and new plants. My life was getting better and better.
Then it was time to go get my surgery.
I had bought a brand new Toyota and drove it to my destination loving the feel of fabric I never knew existed. I parked it and entered the hospital. They asked my name and age, which was thankfully seventeen. My birthday was in a few weeks. They assigned me a room with a nice view of the forest that surrounded this town.
The nurses came in once in a while to give me medicine and to tell me side effects, danger that could occur during the procedure, things I shouldn’t do afterwards, yada yada yada. Finally after a few days of living hell, I was waiting for the doctor to come and take me for the operation.
I heard a knock on the door. Visitors. I hadn’t had any yet. Must be my dad. But no, it was the man who had given me that million dollar check about a month ago. He looked even thinner than before.
“Daniel, Daniel, Daniel. What are you doing?” he asked. He was wearing a new bright blue suit. “Do you know what you’re getting into?”
“Yeah I do, duh! I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t.” I snapped. This guy was really irritating me.
He sat down on one of the brown chairs next to my bed and looked me in the eye. “I am warning you again son. Be careful for what you wish for. Didn’t I say this money would get to your head? Now look at you! You’re not thinking clearly. This is going to backfire more than you know child, if I were you, I’d—“
“But you aren’t me!” I shrieked. “Just leave me alone! Quit being jealous that I have a million dollars and you don’t!” I looked away from his surprised face.
“You think I’m jealous?” he asked, his voice laced with disbelief. “I am richer than any millionaire on this planet and you somehow made up your mind that I am jealous? You are the worst spoiled brat I have ever encountered! Did you even stop to think that I actually cared about you?” He stood up, wiping his pants. “I warned you, when this backfires, don’t run back crying to me.” He left the room. Good riddance.
The doctor came in shortly to give me the same old speech the nurses already went through.
“I know. I know everything that is required, dangerous, and blah blah blah. Just get to my surgery. I didn’t pay you to stand around and be a politician.” I snapped.
His eyes filled with worry. “Are you sure you want to do this? It’s risky to do this change your whole body like this.”
I sighed. “Yes, look at me. Do I even look normal to you? Just do it before I choose to take my money back and use it to sue you.” He nodded and called the nurses in. They rolled me away as the morphine and medicine kicked in.
* * * * *
“Sir?” I heard a voice call. “Sir, can you open your eyes?”
I lifted my eyelids. The light was dim inside the hospital room. The doctor who was responsible for doing the surgery stood there with a clipboard. He looked relieved that I was still alive.
“How did it go? I asked. But the voice was high pitched, probably from the procedure.
When he smiled it seemed a little forced. “Perfectly, you have gone through procedure with new skin and a new you. Congratulations. I will have the nurse check up on you, Mr. Daniels, or should I say, Ms Daniela.” He hurried out the room.
What? I threw up the covers. NO. NO. NO!
This can’t be happening! I rushed to my feet, losing my balance right away. Clinging to a metal table I began to scratch against my new skin. This isn’t what I asked for. I asked for a body procedure that would make me beautiful again, but instead, I’m this female monster now.
Suddenly someone entered the room. I looked over my shoulder and saw him. The host.
“YOU!” I screamed. “This is your fault! You made me this way.” I lunged for him but lost my footing and landed on the ground, next to his feet. I felt tears rolling down my face. My whole body shook with pain.
“No, I warned you. But like a stupid child you didn’t listen. Be careful for what you wish for, but it seems, I came a bit too late.”
“Get OUT! “ I screeched. “GET OUT!” I heard a light whoosh! And looked up. The host was gone. As if he was a fragment of my imagination. But his voice still rang in my eyes. Be careful for what you wish for. Be careful for what you wish for. Be careful for what you wish for.