Staring into the recently emptied plastic cup, you narrow your eyes slightly as your focus intensifies. The crackling blue at your fingers sparks more rapidly, as if it knows it’s about to be used. You lick your lips, and reach within your memory to find magic words which can be used to alter the very laws of reality.
“Ummm. Fucking Magic!”
Fucking Magic? Really? Not Alakazam or Abracadabra or even Presto? You watched Lord of The Rings last damn week so… you know what, fuck it. Just fuck it. It is what it is and we’re moving on.
Blue lightning leaps from your palm, striking the red cup and engulfing it in a blinding white glow. When the light fades, you tentatively peer at your work. Sure enough, the cup is now filled to the brim with pale brown beer. You carefully pick it up and take a test sip. It’s good, cold and carbonated like it just came from a keg. You’re so impressed with yourself that you’re less careful putting it down, and the cup tumbles onto its side.
Beer gushes out of it, landing on the floor by the toilet. And it keeps gushing. The cup is sending a never-ending flow of alcohol onto the floor, and within moments the whole place is going to be a sticky mess while you sand there staring like a schmuck. Finally you snap into motion when the expanding beer puddle hits your right shoe. You grab the cup and turn it onto its base. It’s filled to the brim, but no longer overflowing. You stand over the toilet and delicately tilt the cup, spilling alcohol into the open porcelain bowl. Under normal circumstances this would, of course, be sacrilege, but normal seems to have gone out for cigarettes and who knows when it will ever come back.
With some experimentation you learn that the further you tip the cup, the more forcefully the beer comes out. When flipped all the way over, it shoots out like there’s a firehouse blasting it. While a never-ending beer cup is pretty sweet, this wasn’t the spell you tried to cast. It occurs to you that maybe you should be careful with you magic, since it seems you don’t quite have perfect control yet. Big shock, Mr. “Fucking Magic.”
“Dude!” Jim yells, pounding on the door again and nearly making you drop the beer. “I. Need. To. Piss. Unless you’ve been hit with a magic spell and transformed into your costume, there is no excuse for taking this long.”
You stare at the door for several seconds, then let out an exaggerated sigh and reach for the knob.
* * *
You and Jim are sitting in your living room as you finish explaining the events of the afternoon. Jim has put in a serious effort to see the bottom of that magic cup, however so far it has come to no avail. He is straddling a bar stool so as not to ruffle his Bowser costume. Your wizard garb seems to be immune to things like wrinkling, so you are far less concerned.
“So that’s the jist,” you surmise. “Looks like I’m a wizard tonight. Anyway, want to hit the party?”
“Oh hells yeah, but I think you’re overlooking something,” Jim replies. “You said the lady told you the price of your costume was a dream fulfilled or a dream forsaken, right?”
“Yeah, whatever that means.”
Jim shakes his head. “It means that lady is going to take a dream away from you come sunrise.”
“What? How can she do that?”
“Asks the guy who made a never-ending beer cup,” Jim shoots back, punctuating his words with a hearty gulp from the aforementioned container.
“Well shit. I guess it’s not so bad, though. What’s one dream?”
“Sort of depends on the dream,” Jim counters. “I bet you wanted to get hitched one day. Or have kids. Or live past thirty.”
“Fuck,” you say, realization finally setting in.
“Exactly. So it seems like we should go after the other option.”
“There’s another option?”
Jim rolls his eyes at you. “Bro, you act like you’ve never seen The Little Mermaid. She laid it on the table for you. If you make one of your dreams come true, then that counts as payment. Fulfilled or forsaken. Pretty standard magical bargain, really.”
Part of you wonders why Jim is taking this so rationally, then you realize he’s probably so high he thinks he’s midway through a weird hallucination. Oddly, that shit is right in Jim’s wheelhouse, so it sounds like you might want to take his advice.
“So, I have to make a dream come true by sunrise? I still feel like I’m pretty well-fucked.”
“You do have magical powers,” Jim reminds you.
“Oh yeah, that might help. So what dream should I go for?”
“You’ve been trying to break one of your older brother’s records for a long-time now. I’d say pulling that off would count as a dream fulfilled,” Jim suggests.
Ah, your brother, Thad. Older than you, better looking than you, and way more charismatic than you, he’s been a walking legend since he was crawling. Aside from his incredible skills on the football field, which you have zero percent chance of replicating, he was also known as the hardest partier your college ever saw. His frat still has a board full of records he set, from the most dates in a night to longest kegstand to fastest beer drinking. That last one, by the way, he earned while leading your college to victory in the Intermural Beer Olympics. Beating even one of his vaulted accomplishments would definitely give you a warm glow of satisfaction.
“Not bad,” you agree. “But even with magic, that could be tough. What about something I’m actually good at? I’ve wanted to take the plunge on my cooking skills, and tonight there’s a Halloween fair with a pie contest.” Yeah, remember on page one when you eyeballed the teaspoons of gold powder? Told you that you cooked.
“Dude, you want to skip the party of the year and try to win a pie contest? My new dream will be punching you in the face if we do that,” Jim informs you.
“Fine, you’re so smart then what’s another good one?”
“Victoria Dempsy,” he says, giggling to himself as your face immediately flushes red. Victoria Dempsy went to the same high school as you, and like every other straight male in attendance you were more than somewhat aware of her beauty. It was a happy surprise when you saw her in a class freshman year and realized you’d picked the same college. It was a less happy surprise when you remembered she didn’t even know your name. She is definitely a dream, in more contexts than one.
“I don’t know what you mean,” you lie terribly.
“Uh huh. I’m not saying you gotta close the deal or anything, but a kiss or a date would probably be more than you ever thought possible. Knock either of those out and I bet you’re set. But whatever you decide to do, we better get moving. Only so much night to work with.”
Jim’s right, you need to pick a course of action. Time to try and make a dream come true.
You decide to try and find Victoria