“So I can wish for anything at all, and it’ll appear? That’s crazy. Where’s the hidden camera, chica?”
The jaundiced girl shrugged, tapping one sandaled toe on the pavement and looking anywhere but at the fat man in the too-tight Adidas jacket. “You gonna wish for somethin’, or what?”
“What’s wrong with you?”
A dead stare was her only response, and he began to fidget.
“Fine, OK. Let’s test this shit. I’m hungry. How about you magic me up some food.” He licked his lips. “A cake. A big fuckin’ cake.”
The effect was instantaneous, like a switch being flipped. One moment the cracked parking-lot asphalt was devoid of frilly, multi-tiered cake behemoths, and the next minute it wasn’t. There was a queer popping sound that he felt more than heard as the cake appeared, displacing a wandering cockroach. The fat man took a step backward. Beneath his shock, a distant thought: had the insect vanished, or simply become embedded in a layer of cake and fruit filling?
“Jesus,” he said.
“Whatever,” said the yellow girl. She sat down on the curb. The fat man could see up the sides of her too-short shorts. She didn’t smile, but the glistening points of her small, white teeth showed whenever she snapped her gum.
“If it doesn’t taste good, do I get a refund?”
Again, silence. He began to sweat. Taking a couple waddling steps forward, he reached out a tentative hand toward the cake and, deciding it wouldn’t bite, plunged a couple of plump fingers into the top. A lump of pale sponge came away in his hand and he brought it to his nose, sniffing it.
Snap, went the yellow girl’s gum.
“I wish I knew this was safe to eat,” said the fat man.
Pop. A sheet of paper appeared midair and fluttered to the ground. The fat man shuddered. He snatched up the paper and looked at the long list of ingredients printed there in a webby hand. Flour, sugar, butter, eggs. Raspberry jam. His stomach gurgled.
“Sounds legit, I guess.”
The yellow girl crossed and re-crossed her legs. Her gum snapped.
“I wish for a fork,” he said.
The sky blushed as the sun slipped below its horizon. The fat man continued to eat. His appreciative sounds had subsided into businesslike grunts as he methodically demolished each fluffy tier. Only when he reached the last layer pasted onto the filthy parking lot surface did he set down his fork, leaving the rest as a tithe to passing scavengers. He rose up on unsteady legs and let out an enormous belch.
“You done?” asked the yellow girl. One corner of her lip curled up, exposing more glistening, sharpened teeth.
“Y-yeah, I guess so.” He held his stomach.
“Good,” she said, and pushed up from the curb with eerie grace. Her mouth split in a wide, pointy grimace; her jaw unhinged. “Now I get my wish.”