I double-dog dare you.
Oh yeah? I’m not the one who’s chicken!
I double-dog dare you.
Oh yeah? I’m not the one who’s chicken!
I don’t know why you’re always chasing your tail. Mine stays where I left it.
After a long morning of paperwork, Isaac was ready for a nap. He changed into his pajamas and got into bed in the middle of the day. He had a list of things to do as long as his arm and wasn’t doing any of them. It was marvelous.
Just as he fell asleep, Marianne came in. “Are you feeling sick?”
“Hmmm?” Isaac dragged himself away from the dream where he’d just remembered the secret of how to fly. “Just tired.”
“Okay. Well, you have a nice nap then. Charlie and I are going to the garden center. We want to plant some garlic today.”
“You too.” Marianne left and Isaac slipped back into sleep.
When he woke up sometime later, the light in the room was different. It was brighter and warmer. He sat up and looked around suspiciously.
Usually, a nap during the day meant waking up with a bit of a headache and feeling like his head was packed full of cotton. Or gravel. But not today.
Today he felt like he could leap out of bed and run down the hallway and he’d have energy left over and his knees wouldn’t hurt. He looked down at his hands. They looked smaller.
He jumped out of bed and looked in the mirror. As he’d suspected, he looked a lot younger. He looked Charlie’s age.
It was strange. Being young again, he now realized how old he normally felt. That was a little depressing. He decided not to think about that or about how he was going to manage a grown up life if he stayed looking this young.
Instead, he decided to run outside and play. He put on sweatpants and rolled up the legs, and a sweatshirt and rolled up the sleeves. Then he shoved on a pair of Charlie’s sandals and ran out the backdoor, only remembering to close it at the last second.
Charlie and Marianne weren’t outside. They were probably still at the garden center. However, Miss Marta was out in her yard raking leaves. “Hello,” he called.
She came over and looked over the fence. “Well aren’t you looking young today? It must be the change in the seasons.”
“Do you think it will last long?”
“No.” Miss Marta sighed. “It never does.”
“Do you need help raking your leaves?”
Miss Marta smiled. “What a polite boy you are! I can take care of the leaves. They’re almost already done. But I could use your help with Toby. He needs a nice walk. Let me go put him on his leash, and I’ll bring him to the front gate.”
Isaac met her there. Toby, a fluffy little black dog, was running in circles and wrapping his leash around her ankles. Miss Marta stepped out of the loops of leash and handed the end to Isaac.
Isaac spent the next hour running behind Toby as they explored the neighborhood. It was amazing how a tiny change in perspective made everything seem new and interesting. When they passed by, the park was empty, so they stopped there to play.
Toby was great at fetching sticks and bringing them back. Just like when he was younger, Isaac pretended he was a professional pitcher as he threw the sticks. Every throw was perfect, of course.
And then he felt the first drop of rain hit his arm. When did it get so dark? Where did the clouds come from?
He clipped Toby’s leash back onto his collar and they hurried home. He returned Toby to Miss Marta. “I hope you had fun today,” she said.
“Lots of fun.”
The rain drops were falling closer together. Just as he reached his front porch, it started to pour. The rain was falling so hard that it was like trying to look through a waterfall.
Suddenly, the sandals were pinching his feet. Isaac took them off and went inside. He put them back in the closet. When he looked down again, his feet were their normal size.
Isaac unrolled his sleeves and pant legs with a sigh. Old again. Being young was fun while it lasted. Feeling nostalgic, he made himself a cup of cocoa and sat in the living room to watch the rain and wait for Charlie and Marianne to return home.
This story was originally posted on June 29, 2017. I love writing stories about wishes. There are just so many things that can go wrong. I think we often don’t really know what’s best for us. It’s also easy to overthink things.
Did you know that every dog gets a wish? One day the dog fairy comes and asks what they want most. Then, poof! They get their wish, just like that.
Mostly dogs are pretty happy as they are. So, they wish for extra dinner or a sunny day or that someone would scratch behind their ears. The wishes are so easy that they almost grant themselves.
But once there was a dog that probably spent too much time thinking. He would have been happier if he’d jumped into more muddy puddles or barked at a few more people passing by his yard. But instead, he was sitting and thinking, and that was the cause of his problems.
One day, when he was resting in a patch of sunlight, sitting and thinking and ignoring the squirrels dancing around his yard and making faces, the dog fairy appeared. “What is your wish?” she asked.
“Do you know what would be handy?” the dog asked. “Having hands like a human.”
“Is that really your wish?” the dog fairy asked. “You only get one you know.”
The dog sat and thought for a moment more. “Yes,” he said. “That’s my wish.”
“So be it,” the dog fairy said. And the dog had human hands. He held them up and turned them this way and that.
“Thank you,” he said. The dog fairy smiled and disappeared.
The dog stood up. It was uncomfortable walking on his new hands. He tried to stand on his back feet, like he’d seen humans do, but it wasn’t as easy as it looked.
In the end he carefully picked his way across the yard, avoiding the sharp rocks and prickly weeds. It took him an hour or more to figure out the doorknob. As soon as he was inside, he raced straight to the kitchen.
The dog pulled open the fridge. He knocked down containers and tried to open them. Some things tasted great. Others were terrible. Some containers he couldn’t figure out how to open at all.
He hadn’t even started on the drawers when he began to feel sick. He left everything as it was and hobbled down the hall to Jack’s room.
Jack was his special human, and the dog wanted to curl up on Jack’s bed until he felt better. The dog was grateful that the door was open. He wasn’t feeling up to trying another doorknob.
He jumped on the end of the bed and curled up in his favorite spot. When he looked up, he was facing the mirror on Jack’s closet door. He held up his new hands. They didn’t look right on the end of his front legs.
The dog turned his back on the mirror and hid his hands under his chin. He fell asleep, and while he slept he dreamed.
The dream started out quite nice. Dogs were lining up, asking him to open things for them. Even cats were in line, clutching tins of cat food to their chests and looking hopeful. He used his amazing hands and could open everything on the first try.
But then, they wanted to run a race, and he couldn’t keep up while running on his sensitive human hands. Would he never be able to run again? How would he play fetch with Jack? Did it mean no more walks?
And then he saw the dogs barking softly to each other. When he looked at them, they stopped barking and looked away. A little dog laughed and then pretended it was coughing. His new hands did look strange. Maybe this had been a bad idea.
He woke up when the front door banged closed. Had he left that open? He could hear Jack yelling something in the kitchen. Oops. He’d left a mess in there.
He looked down at his odd human hands. What if Jack didn’t recognize him anymore? What if he didn’t like them? Why did he wish for hands? They were going to get him into trouble.
“Dog fairy?” he barked softly. “If you’re there, please give me my paws back.” Nothing happened. He could hear Jack coming down the hall. “Please, dog fairy.”
His paws changed back to normal just as Jack opened the door. The dog was so grateful, that he told his story to every dog he met, and they told all the dogs they met. The dog spent less time sitting and thinking and more time playing with Jack. And he was happy.
Dogs still pass around the story today. As far as I know, no other dog has wished for human hands.
Do you want to play catch?
Did you really just ask me that?