“Don’t put your hands in the pockets!”
Jimmy looked at his sister. It was just a winter coat, a used one. It was all his parents could afford. But it was his. He picked it out. Now he stood proudly before the store mirror admiring the blue denim coat with the thick, soft fleece lining that reminded him of grandma’s comforter. But it was the many zippered pockets with their long fancy fobs that caught his eye among the other used clothing on the racks.
He toyed with one of the chrome fobs, “Why not?”
“Because, silly, that’s where people keep their wishes. And you’re not supposed to let the wishes out.”
That winter saw endless days of below freezing temperatures and long, bleak nights of snowfall. The blue denim coat with the thick, soft fleece lining and many zippered pockets kept Jimmy warm on his mile long walk to and from school. It kept him dry as he sled down steep hills and built great forts and engaged in heroic snowball fights with other ten year olds. And it kept him company as he brought in firewood and performed his other daily chores.
Late one afternoon, while he played alone in the woods, it began to snow. Jimmy knew he should hurry home but within minutes the snowfall became a blizzard.
Everything turned white.
Then it grew dark as night folded over the forest. Try as he may, Jimmy couldn’t find his way. The snow continued to fall. Jimmy became frightened and cold and hungry.
Huddling under a fallen tree, Jimmy cupped his hands and breathed into them. “I wish I hadn’t forgotten my gloves,” he cried. Without thinking, he unzipped the right side pocket and inserted his hand. He felt something soft, familiar. It was the woolen gloves he left sitting on the mantle. They were warm and dry and felt good around his freezing fingers.
“I wish it would stop snowing,” Jimmy said, idly unzipping the left side pocket. Seconds later the blizzard stopped.
His sister’s words came back to him: That’s where people keep their wishes.
The boy smiled broadly.
Carefully tugging on the zipper which sealed the breast pocket, he called out loudly, “I wish I wasn’t lost!”
As the metal teeth on the zipper parted, the thick cloud cover opened. Soon a bright full moon lit the snow blanketed forest. Jimmy jumped up and laughed and began to run about. The old blue denim coat with the thick, soft fleece lining and many zippered pockets had saved him.
As he rushed through the dense brush in the direction of his home, one of the coat’s long fobs caught on a branch. It pulled the large zippered bottom pocket open. Jimmy stumbled, landing in a deep snow bank. Digging himself out, he heard a loud growling.
He looked up.
A huge, hungry wolf with burning red eyes and long sharp teeth stood over him.
Jimmy tried to think. What else had his sister told him? You’re not supposed to let the wishes out.
The great wolf leaped.
Jimmy reached for the zipper and tried to pull it closed.
But it was too late.
BJ Neblett is the author of Elysian Dreams, a romantic fantasy adventure available in paperback and e book form. His newest work is an historical memoir about his growing up during the Kennedy administration. Ice Cream Camelot was released earlier this year as an e book to very positive reviews. It will be available in paperback shortly. BJ also hosts two blog sites: www.hereforaseason.blogspot.com for poetry, and www.bjneblett.blogspot.com where he posts his short stories. BJ’s writings have been compared to that of Haruki Murakami and Isaac Asimov.