94.WishWishes were only a penny, judging by the content of the fountain. Seemed like a fair enough price.

He was torn about what he should wish for, though. Should he wish that everyone, somehow, would just get the hell along? Should he wish for some miraculous out-of-control bus to do the work for him? Wouldn’t wishing for two competing things rip reality a new one?

Families were supposed to make life easier, not harder. The entire social construct of family was built around that; otherwise, what was the point? He loved his wife, and his wife loved him. His parents and her parents, however, hated each other. People throw around the word “hate,” but in their case, it seemed appropriate. Through misunderstandings, slights both real and imagined, and just an unhealthy love of finding things to fight over, the quality of family life had descended quickly and descended hard.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were so close together, he thought, to avoid spreading angst across the entire year. Both sets of in-laws refused not to come; their absence would be considered surrender by the opposing side.

That he and his wife were going to announce to this collection of “family” that they were expecting their first child would only add fuel to the fire.

He put the penny back into his pocket. Wishes, he thought, were for people without spine enough to make the future happen.

It was time to become head of the family and enforce some order.