Written by Matt Taggart aka –M. Taggart
Flash Fiction – A short story about a boy who loves his grandfather.
Copyright 2015 Matt Taggart 12/11/15
Three Wishes for Grandpa
He laid them on the couch cushion while on his knees. He was small for his age. He faced the couch and looked as though he were praying. Twelve of them had a picture of George Washington and one of them had a picture of Alexander Hamilton. He layered the dollar bills so they overlapped and were perfectly aligned. He placed the ten dollar bill an inch behind at the end of the row showing its full design.
He liked his collection and needed more. He knew twenty two dollars was a start but wasn’t nearly enough. On the floor next to him was his green leather wallet. It had been given to him. It was old. The zipper was broken. The wallet had a flap that closed over the zipper with two silver buttons that snapped everything in. The buttons worked so he didn’t care that the zipper did not. He dug his fingers into the corners of the wallet and found two quarters. He took them out and placed them on the couch with his paper money.
His grandfather was a large man. His right leg from his knee down was badly injured. It was difficult for him to walk though that didn’t stop him from walking or working. It seemed to him that his grandfather never stopped working and somehow still had time for him. It was summer time and he had just spent the entire day with him. He’d watch his grandfather build in his workshop. He always wore green work pants with a light colored button down and suspenders. He had massive hands and forearms and he’d ask to please grab the hammer or to please find a piece of wood about so long. He watched as his grandfather limped.
‘Grandpa, if I had three wishes, I’d first wish to fix your leg.’
‘That’s sweet of you honey. I love you for saying so. But, that would take a lot of money.’
‘I have three wishes. The second wish would be for lots of money.’
His grandfather looked over his shoulder at him. ‘I did to my leg what it is today. It isn’t for you to worry about.’
His grandfather had injured his leg while serving in the military overseas. He was in some kind of conflict he didn’t fully understand. He knew the story well but didn’t understand why his grandfather would place blame on himself for the injury.
‘I’d still wish to fix your leg and for lots of money to do it.’
‘But why do you wish for those things when you’re so young and you could wish for yourself. Don’t waste your wishes on me. I’ve lived well.’
The boy knew the answer to the question. It was his third wish. He was unable to speak now though. Instead he hid his growing tears and walked out of the shop. Outside it was mild for a summer day with a breeze that helped dry his face.
His brother rushed into the living room to announce he was headed to the ravine and wanted him to come. ‘What are you staring at that money for?’
‘I wanted to look at it.’
‘Well come with me and let’s look at the brook.’
‘Are you going to fish?’
‘Yea. Want me to get your pole too?’
‘No. I’d rather watch you fish. I’ll be right out.’ His brother turned and walked down the hallway and out the door. He slid his money back into the old green wallet then he dropped the two quarters in. The quarters gave him an idea. He knew how to make more quarters. He could ask the old man with the woodlot if he’d let him stack the wood after he split it. Sometimes he’d run over to the old man because he liked to watch the wood splitter. Then he started to pick the pieces up and stack them for the old man and when he was done he’d give him a quarter. He’d even given him two quarters a few times. Now, he’d ask if he could work for him a few times a week. He also combed his mother’s hair for 50 cents before. She said it helped her to relax. She gave him 50 cents for a half hour. If he split the wood and combed his mother’s hair he’d have another dollar. If he did that a few times a week soon he’d have another ten dollar bill.
He jumped up, put his wallet away, and ran outside to meet his brother who was waiting for him across the street at the top of the ravine with his fishing pole.
He walked back into the shop to find his grandfather exactly where he’d been as though time had stopped and something needed to be finished to start again.
‘Could you bring me that piece of wood over there in the corner? It’s just about the right size to finish this.’ His grandfather asked. He was building a bird feeder for his grandmother.
He brought the piece of wood to his grandfather. He wouldn’t let him have the piece when he reached for it. Instead he held tightly to it so his grandfather would look at him.
‘I know the answer to your question.’
‘I’ve been waiting to hear it.’
‘I wish that you live forever.’ His third wish was that his grandfather lived forever. He needed him.
Note: If you enjoyed this you might also enjoy my self published short story found via the amazon link below. Thank you for taking time to read this. Matt.