"Double Edged Sword" by Becca Pollack
We’ve all made pretty stupid mistakes right? I’ve had my fair share. I’ve gotten back
together with a toxic ex, once blew my whole paycheck on over 100 boxes of Wendy’s chicken nuggets, accidentally got recruited into a cult; the basic stuff, you know? But all of those idiotic life choices pale in comparison to one that stands out in particular. Let me tell you what happened.
One night, my buddy Richie and I went to a bar with some other friends of ours, and we
all had a little too much to drink. Richie and I were sitting in the booth, half-empty bottles of
lukewarm beer in our hands, when he started to tell me something... interesting.
“Did you know that I’m not a human?” he said to me, his words slurring.
“Oh yeah?” I asked, raising my eyebrows. “Then what are you? An alien? A fairy? A unicorn?”
“No-no-no-no-no dude, I’m a wizard.”
“A wizard? What like Harry Potter or somethin’?”
“Nah man, I’m better than Harry Potter. I’m like... Merlin,” he said, eyes a bit glossy.
I didn’t really believe him. Richie couldn’t handle his booze well, so I just assumed he
was going off on another alcohol-induced, nonsensical tangent. I’ve found from past
experiences it’s best to just go along with his absurdness.
“Okay Rich, if you’re some almighty wizard, then you have to grant me 3 wishes!” I
“Bro, that’s a genie. Get your facts straight,” he retorted, glaring.
“Fine, then grant me 1 wish,” I compromised.
“I guess I could do that. Whaddya want?”
“Uhhhhh,” I paused to think about my wish. “Ooh, I know! Make me immortal.”
He did a clumsy bow. “Your wish is my command.”
Richie started chanting gibberish, and flailing his arms about like an unmanned fire hose.
I assumed this was just crazy-drunk speech, not any actual incantations. After all, wizards and
magic aren’t real, right?
He finished his spell, and looked at me, a satisfied grin appearing on his face. The rest of the night didn’t have any other magical antics. We all went home to prepare for the world-ending hangovers we would have in the morning, and Richie never said anything about wizardry again after that night. I didn’t feel any different. I didn’t feel like I had suddenly lost the ability to age and die. And as the days, weeks, and months went on, I felt normal. Hell, even a couple years went by, and I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary.
It was 15 years after that one drunken night that I realized something. I hadn’t aged. I
didn’t have the lines or silver streaks that my friends had. Even after having two kids, I hadn’t
gotten the Dad Bod. As my kids became teens, I wasn’t showing any sign of age. Eventually, a
few years later, they went to college and started their lives, and my wife had the wrinkles and
gray hair that everyone else our age had. Except for me, that is.
And that’s when it hit me. Richie wasn’t just drunkenly rambling. He was telling the truth.
And he had made me immortal, just like I had asked. I remember desperately calling him, and
begging him to reverse the spell.
“I’m sorry, I can’t,” he replied over the phone.
“Rich, you have to!” I cried. “It’s been over 20 years since I’ve aged. People see me with
my kids and they think we’re siblings!”
“Yeah, that’s what being immortal means. You don’t age.”
“I know what it means! I just need you to reverse whatever magic spell you did.”
“And like I told you, I can’t. I can’t undo a past spell. I’m sorry man, but this is how it’s
going to be now,” he replied nonchalantly.
“So what, everyone who sees me is going to think I’m 25?” I scoffed.
“Yeah, basically,” he said.
Before I could get another word in, he hung up the phone, leaving me to deal with this
earth-shattering revelation all on my own.
Life continued around me, while I was stuck. Soon my kids started their own families,
and they were starting to look older than me. My wife soon passed away, leaving me a widower. I had never felt so isolated. It was like watching my life while I was trapped behind a glass screen.
It’s been over 200 years since that night at the bar. All my friends and family, gone.
Nobody knows my secret. How could anyone ever understand? I’ve seen the world go through changes both incredible and horrific. I’ve seen kingdoms fall, and cities rise. I’ve seen joy and sadness. I’ve seen miracles and tragedies. I suppose at this point, I’m like an ancient relic. A thing from the past that should have been reduced to dust decades ago, but yet somehow didn’t. I don’t know how much longer I’ll live. How many more centuries I’ll see pass before I’m finally allowed to fall into the permanent slumber my loved ones reside in.
If there is a moral to this story with potentially no end, I guess it’s this: Be careful what
you wish for. Nah, that’s way too corny. How about, never underestimate your drunk friend
when he tells you he’s a wizard. Nope, that’s not right either. Don’t wish for crap that could
potentially ruin your life? Eh, maybe. I mean I think that sentiment could be used by almost
every human being that ever has and ever will exist.
Wishes are like double-edged swords. Yeah, you get what you wished for, but there’s
always some consequence that greatly outweighs the good. Just... think things before you
execute them, okay? Or else you could end up like me, stagnant, miserable, and lonely.