Three Wishes (okay, one)

“Hi Chloe!” Sally exclaimed as soon as she heard the door opening, rushing forwards and hugging Chloe’s leg.

“Hello,” Chloe responded with that combination of annoyance and fond amusement she reserved for people under the age of six. “Um,” she added after a few seconds passed and Sally showed no sign of moving, “You might want to let go so I can, you know, get out of the doorway…” Sally’s dad was still holding the door open and not looking the least bit annoyed about all the air conditioning escaping into the warm evening, an attitude which Chloe thought demonstrated nearly superhuman patience.

“Thanks, Chloe,” he said as Sally reluctantly let go of her leg and she slipped indoors. “We’ll be home around ten, and you know where we keep the food.”

Chloe nodded and waved goodbye as he closed the door. She would have said something in response, but Sally had already gone off to grab a drawing from another room and was now demanding that it hold Chloe’s full attention. “Yes, it’s very nice,” she was saying. “Uh— what is it?”

“It’s a cow, Chloe!” Sally responded as if it were obvious.

“Oh, I see,” said Chloe, though she didn’t. “It’s very… pink.” It also seemed to lack some important organs and two of its legs, but Chloe thought it best not to mention that. “Does It have a name?” she added, trying to make conversation.

“I don’t know.” Sally looked surprisingly troubled about this. “I wish it could talk so I could ask it.”

Depending on how you look at it, this was either exactly the right thing or exactly the wrong thing to say. Unbeknownst to Sally (and, in fact, to Chloe), Chloe had the magical ability to grant the first three wishes a person made in her presence. Sally had used her first two wishes months ago on extra pizza, but she had one left for her cow drawing.

So Sally asked, “What’s your name, cow?”

The cow proceeded to open its mouth and answer. “I don’t know,” it said, in much the same tone of voice Sally had used earlier when answering the same question. Sally looked delighted, while Chloe, terrified, began to frantically search the room for a third person.

“Then you get to think of one,” Sally told her drawing excitedly.

“First tell me what I look like,” the drawing requested. “I want a name that fits.”

Chloe, accepting that the drawing really was talking, walked back over to Sally from the cupboard she had been searching (you never know). “You… well…” Chloe felt slightly dizzy.

You’re an anatomically incorrect cow.


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