Two Little Magic Words
by Headley Hauser
I’d signed on as the quest’s conjurer. It’s true I had no experience in magic, but that didn’t matter. A decade’s worth of participation trophies and good attitude ribbons told the tale. I would excel in my task because I was special – just like every other kid in my neighborhood.
I also had one other advantage – magic words, two of them to be exact, and I had great confidence in these magical utterances. They had never failed me in the past, and even the possibility they might fail me on this quest was beyond my comprehension.
Together with my band of common adventures, we struggled through hardships and battles. They did all the fighting and climbing. Being the conjurer, I demanded that they carry me through the rough spots, and protect me from the dangers.
I also let them do all the cooking and cleaning, but I praised them for their work so that they could feel good about themselves.
They never gave me credit for that. Actually, shortly into our adventures I caught a number of dirty looks.
“That’s not good attitude,” I warned them.
“Well you could help out more,” they grumbled.
“You forget that I am special,” I warned them. “I am somebody because I was made for a special purpose. There is nothing I cannot do if I want it badly enough.”
“You mean like turn us all into banana slugs?” one asked.
“If that’s what I wanted to do,” I answered.
Their attitude improved somewhat after that. While they worked to dig us out of mountain goblin prison, I made little ‘improved attitude’ trophies for each of them out of chips of rock and stale biscuit. They didn’t say thank you, but I think it meant a lot to each of them.
“Maybe you could conjure us out of this prison,” one of them asked.
“No,” I replied. “My magic words are too special. I better save them. And you are doing such a wonderful job digging us out with your hands manacled like that. Good job! You are each so special!”
Yes, that was a lot of praise for such common work, but I figured they needed the pick-me-up.
Later in the snow wastes I demanded an extra cloak. It was far colder than I found acceptable.
"If one us gives you his cloak," they complained, "he will freeze to death."
"Not if you share," I told them. "Sharing makes every task easier."
One of them - I never learned his name, grumbled, "Maybe we should share in getting rid of you."
"Now, now," I said patiently, "remember my two magic words!"
They shared, but not with a co-operative attitude. I made a note in my book that each of them should lose one gold star when we finished our quest.
Days later, the food ran out. I knew it was gone because I ate the last of it. The ration they had given me was far too small, and I've always been helpless against the late-night munchies.
"Alright," said the leader guy. "This is it. Even if we won't have your magic later, it won't do us any good if we starve to death. Use your magic words."
"You're certain?" I asked.
"Yup!" he said.
"Then hand me your largest food container." The container turned out to be a poncho, which isn't exactly Tupperware and was far from sanitary. I decided to be generous and ignore their negligence and poor hygiene. I held out the poncho as my fellow adventurers backed away in fear. I took a solemn moment before I uttered the two words that I knew had never failed me.
Nothing happened. No food appeared in the grubby poncho. I wondered if its lack of cleanliness was the problem for I knew it couldn't be my magic words. All during my childhood I had gotten anything I wanted each time I spoke those two words.
The other adventurers came closer. Once again I held up the poncho.
No food appeared, though the adventurers looked ready to eat. Each pulled out his knife and fork. Why did the leader have that funny look in his eye?
"Mom?" I called. "Dad... Grandma? I SAID YES, PLEASE!"
And that's how I came to haunt this scruffy pack of adventurers. I can accept that they cooked me and ate me...
But they didn't even say, Thank You!