TITLE: Wishes to Nowhere
GENRE: Magical Realism
Birthday parties made her nervous. Itchy. She didn’t mind the screaming kids, puddles of melted ice cream or even the clowns who twisted dogs out of skinny, colored balloons. It was the birthday candles and subsequent wishes that did it.
Wishes tended to complicate life for Olive McCallie.
Too bad that excuse didn’t fly with four year olds. So there she sat, sideways in a plastic booth, next to a pile of discarded plates and crumpled, pizza-sauced napkins. Lip prints and finger smears coated a barrage of disposable cups. One lay on its side leaking orange soda from the straw hole. It crept across the table toward her, millimeter by millimeter. She couldn’t find a clean napkin to mop it up with so she let it continue its slow attack.
The party room smelled of pepperoni and dirty diapers. She could just make out the melody of some teeny-bopper song over the clanging, whooping, and beeping of the games from the arcade on the other side of the door.
“Ol-lee!” her best friend’s daughter yelled from across the room. “Cake! Cake! Cake!” Violet waved her twiggy arm, beckoning Olive over.
Olive scooted out of the booth but stayed a safe distance from the birthday girl and her unicorn-shaped cake with four candles protruding from its back. The ice cream cone horn was slathered in white icing and silver sprinkles. “I’m not hungry,” she called. She avoided looking at her best friend, Maybe Foster, who was no doubt rolling her eyes at Olive’s wariness.