Make a Wish!, page 1
Special thanks to Narinder Dhami
Chapter One: Nothing Ever Happens in Cocoa Beach
Chapter Two: Saturday Treasure
Chapter Three: A Puff of Pink
Chapter Four: Snap Your Fingers
Chapter Five: Wish Rules
Chapter Six: Lots of Meows
Chapter Seven: Strong Little Paws
Chapter Eight: Disappearing Chocolate
Chapter Nine: Let's Dance All Night
Chapter Ten: Three More Wishes
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
By Allison Katherine Miller
I bet you're wondering why I'm writing this. Fourth grade hasn't even started yet! I guess I have a lot of time on my hands. Oops! Not that much time. Gran'll be here soon to pick me up. So here it is.
Staying up late ON WEEKNIGHTS!
Riding Splash Mountain with Mary and screaming like crazy!
Fishing with Dad
No homework! (That one's good enough to repeat. No homework!)
Summer lowlifes (Or is it lowlights? In any case, they're low.)
Listening to Jake twenty-four hours a day
Now that I think about it, it wasn't a bad summer. But I wish something really exciting had happened. Something a little out of the ordinary. But nothing ever happens in Cocoa Beach.
“Ali Miller!” boomed a loud voice. “Stop right there!”
Ali nearly jumped out of her summertan skin. She spun around and saw a huge stone statue of a woman holding a vase. It sounded as if the voice had come from the statue itself “Buy me now, Ali,” the voice boomed again. “Pleeease take me home with you!”
“Oh, Gran!” Ali groaned as she suddenly recognized the speaker She turned bright red when she saw that people were staring at her “Everyone's looking!”
Ali's grandma popped her head out from behind the statue. “Isn't this great?” she said, a grin on her face. “Don't worry, I'm not going to buy her She'd never fit in my car!”
Ali laughed. She called Gran the Junk Queen. Gran's house was full of old stuff she'd collected at garage sales and flea markets, just like the one they were at now. Although Ali didn't like it when her grandma did something embarrassing, like wearing that awful floppy hat or hiding behind statues, she really looked forward to their Saturday bargain-hunting trips.
Sometimes the things people didn't want were really weird! And what was even weirder was that other people wanted to buy them! Today Gran had already bought a smelly one-eyed teddy bear, a cracked china teapot, and a carton of musty old books. “Saturday treasures,” she called them.
Ali hadn't bought anything. She still had two dollars tucked inside her flower-shaped change purse. She'd been hoping to find some cool barrettes or maybe a poster of her favorite band, BoyFrenzy. So far, she'd had no luck.
Gran moved on to the next stall and started poking around in some cardboard boxes. Ali hurried after her It was so hot! Maybe after this Gran would find a nice lemonade stand.
“Look at this, Ali!” Gran smiled. “Isn't it wonderful?”
Ali stared at the dusty, dirty object her gran was holding. It didn't look that wonderful to her.
“It's a Lava lamp,” Gran explained.
“Well, it looks pretty ancient,” Ali said. She'd seen Lava lamps at the mall. When the lamp heated up, the colored wax inside moved and stretched itself into fantastic shapes. But this lamp looked as if it had given up long ago. The wax looked hard as rock. The liquid surrounding it was a murky blue, and what had once been bright pink was now the color of old bubble gum.
“That's because it's an original model,” Gran said, brushing off some of the dirt.
She peered at the bottom of the lamp. “I bet it's from the sixties.”
That did sound pretty ancient. But Ali didn't want to point that out to Gran.
“And you know what?” Gran said, her blue eyes twinkling. “My first boyfriend gave me one exactly like this for my seventeenth birthday!”
Ali grinned. She loved looking at photos of her gran when she was a teenager, with her black eye makeup, miniskirts, and big hair Suddenly the dirty old lamp seemed much more interesting.
“Who was your first boyfriend, Gran?” Ali asked. She couldn't picture her with anyone but Gramps. And Gramps sure didn't look like a boyfriend.
“Oh, I had so many, I can't remember!” Gran winked at Ali. “Actually it was Eddie Norris, who lived next door to us.”
“What happened to your lamp, Gran?” Ali wondered out loud. Then she gasped. “Maybe this is the very same one Eddie Norris gave you all those years ago!”
“No, it can't be.” Gran shook her head. “My lamp got broken when your mother decided to play soccer in the living room.”
Ali stared at the lamp and then felt for her flower change purse. It would be great to have something from the sixties that reminded her of Gran. And if she cleaned it up, it would look really cool. She could put it on the desk in her bedroom.
Gran saw the look on Ali's face. “Would you like it, love?” she asked.
Ali's face lit up. “Oh yes, please, Gran!”
Gran beckoned to the man who was working in the stall. “Excuse me,” she said, holding up the lamp. “How much do you want for this?”
The man looked surprised. “That old lamp? It doesn't work, you know.”
Ali felt a bit disappointed. She'd been looking forward to trying the lamp out when she got home.
“But it's an original,” the man went on hastily. “A bargain at six bucks.”
Gran raised an eyebrow at him. “Three?” she said very sweetly.
The man thought it over “Okay, three.”
“Then we'll take it,” said Gran. She whipped out her purse. “Don't worry, love,” she said to Ali. “Your mom might be able to fix it.”
Gran was always bringing her flea-market treasures over to the Millers' house and asking Ali's mom to make them work.
“Or Jake might be able to break it,” Ali pointed out. There was no way she was letting her little brother—otherwise known as Bulldozer—touch the lamp.
Gran handed the man three dollar bills. “You know I'm no good at fixing things,” she went on, wrapping up the cord and giving the lamp to Ali. “Did I ever tell you about the time I took my grandfather clock apart? When I put it all back together again, the hands went backward instead of forward!”
Ali took the lamp and stroked the cold, dusty glass with her hand. She really hoped her mom would be able to get it to work. A Lava lamp that didn't light up wasn't nearly as cool as one that did.
Then again, it had only cost three dollars. “You get what you pay for,” Gramps was always saying.
“Looks like you're my Saturday treasure,” Ali said to the lamp as Gran took her hand and they wove through the crowded flea market, pulling their treasures in a metal cart behind them. If only they could find a lemonade stand, Ali decided, things would be perfect.
“Gran, this one-eyed teddy bear smells disgusting,” Ali grumbled as they pulled into her driveway. She took her Lava lamp out of Gran's carton of books, which was next to her on the backseat.
“He'll be fine after he's had a good scrub-a-dub,” Gran promised, turning around in the driver's seat.
The front door opened and Ali's mom came out. “Hi,” she called as Ali got out of the car “More junk, I see!”
“They're interesting objects, dear, not junk!” Gran scolded out the window. “Don't fill my granddaughter's head with that poppycock.”
Ali leaned forward and gave her a kiss. “Bye, Gran. Thanks for the lamp. And for the lemonade and the funnel cake,” she whispered.
“Hmmm, let me guess,” Mom said. “Doll clothes with missing buttons? Some old board games in dented boxes? Or is it a watch without a battery?”
“A Lava lamp,” Ali replied, holding it up in the sunshine.
“Hmmm.” Mom frowned at the dusty object. “Does it work?” She followed Ali inside.
“Um, not at the moment,” Ali admitted. “Gran said you might be able to fix it.” She smiled hopefully. “You're so good at that kind of thing.”
Mom laughed. “You two are as bad as each other with your junk!” she teased. “I'll have a look at it later I've got some papers to go through, and then we'll have lunch before the boys get home. Okay?” Ali's mom worked in a bank Sometimes she brought work home on weekends.
Ali nodded. That meant she had time to clean up the lamp before her mom looked at it. She went into the kitchen and found a dust cloth and some cleaning spray.
Just as she was about to head upstairs to her bedroom, the phone rang. Ali picked it up. “Hello?”
There was a burst of noise at the other end. Then a familiar voice shouted, “Hi, Ali, it's me!”
“I know!” Ali laughed into her best friend Mary's ear. “I can hear your dad!”
Mary's dad tried to keep up with the music Ali and Mary listened to. He was always belting out the latest song from BoyFrenzy The trouble was, Mr. Connolly's singing voice sounded like a strangled sea lion, and he didn't know any of the songs' real words, so he just made them up as he went along. Mary thought he was very embarrassing. Ali thought he was funny.
“Hey, Dad! Give it a rest! I'm on the phone!” Mary yelled. “Can you believe school starts next week?” she asked Ali.
Monday was the start of a new school year at Montgomery Elementary School. “I know! I'm so glad we're in the same class again.” Ali sighed. “I hope we like Mrs. Jasmine.”
“Have you got your notebooks and stuff?” Mary asked.
“Not yet,” Ali said. Getting new supplies was the best part of going back to school. “Gran bought me this really old Lava lamp today.” She squinted at the glass. “It doesn't work, but my mom's going to fix it for me.”
“Cool,” Mary said. “Maybe I can come over tomorrow and see it.”
There was the muffled sound of Daniel, Mary's thirteen-year-old brother, shouting in the background. “You're not the only person who needs to use the phone, you know!”
Mary and Daniel were always arguing. Daniel was tall, noisy, and dorky Ali's mom said it was because he was thirteen. Luckily, by the time Jake turned thirteen, Ali would be doing something very grown-up and sophisticated.
“Sorry Ali,” Mary said, sounding exasperated. “I'd better go before Daniel explodes. See you tomorrow!”
Ali clicked off and ran upstairs. She put the lamp carefully on her desk She tucked her light brown hair behind her ears and studied the lamp for a moment. Then she sprayed some cleaner on the dust cloth and started to wipe away the dirt.
“Ick!” Ali said as little flecks of grime rained down on her floor The dust on the lamp was so thick it left grubby smears at first, so Ali rubbed harder
Suddenly she stopped. The glass felt warm underneath the dust cloth, and a faint pink glow was coming from the lamp. It grew stronger and stronger Small pink blobs of wax began to float dreamily around in the pale turquoise liquid.
Wow! Ali thought. It does work! The man at the flea market had been wrong. “I bet he'd be mad we only paid three dollars,” she said to herself.
Fascinated, she stood back and watched as more pink bubbles of wax floated upward. Then she frowned. “Wait a minute,” she said out loud. “I didn't plug it in. Did I?”
Ali grabbed the lamp. When she held it up, the plug dangled in midair She froze, clutching the lamp tightly. If she hadn't plugged it in, how was it working?
One of the pink wax bubbles caught Ali's eye. As she watched, the bubble stretched and twisted, and twisted and stretched, until it didn't look like a bubble at all. And the liquid became bluer and brighter Ali peered through the glass, straining to see. She blinked. Then she blinked again.
The bubble had grown arms and legs. And now it was growing a little head, topped with a bobbing ponytail.
There was a tiny girl in the lamp!
She swam gracefully among all the pink bubbles, swooping and diving inside the glass tube. She was wearing wide brightly colored pants, a tight-fitting top, and golden slippers with curled-up toes.
Ali's heart thumped crazily She was seeing things. She had to be seeing things.
Then the tiny girl waved to her
Ali gasped and quickly put the lamp back on the desk. A puff of pink smoke swirled around the lamp, hiding it from view. The smoke made Ali cough, and her eyes watered.
“Hi, Ali,” called a high-pitched voice. “We meet at last!”
Rubbing her eyes, Ali spun around.
Who was that? There was no one else in the room!
“Down here!” the voice called.
It was coming from Ali's desk. As she looked down, the smoke began to clear
Waving and smiling up at her was the girl from the lamp!
“Groovy!” The tiny girl danced up and down on the edge of the desk. “I can't believe I finally got out of that lamp after all these years. What a drag!”
Ali stared. Was this really happening?
The tiny girl smiled. “Hey don't flip your wig. Just snap your fingers.”
Ali stared some more.
“If you snap your fingers, I'll be full size, just like you!” Then the tiny girl frowned. “You do know how to snap your fingers, don't you?”
Ali gave herself a shake. Feeling so excited she could hardly breathe, she nodded.
Instantly the room was filled with a cloud of pink smoke, brighter this time. Ali coughed and spluttered again.
“Out of sight!” The tiny girl—who was now a regular, full-sized girl—waved her hands as the smoke began to fade away. “Ah, much better,” she said, stretching her arms over her head. “I haven't been able to do that in years.”
“How—how long have you been in there?” Ali asked. She sat down on her bed with a thump. Okay there was a girl in her lamp. Okay, the girl from the lamp was now standing in the middle of her bedroom floor Okay, she was crazy.
“About forty years, give or take a few,” the girl said sheepishly. “I was never very good at transformation magic. That's what comes of missing so many lessons at Genie School. But now that you've made me grow once, I'll be able to do it myself.”
Ali stared. The girl grinned at her. “Little Genie, at your service,” she said. “Well, not so little now! But I am quite small for a genie, you know. My friend Genius the Genie is over ten feet tall.”
Ali's mind whirled. Had the girl really said genie?
“I'm very pleased to meet you,” Little Genie went on. She bent over in a low bow. As she did, her long blond ponytail got caught in the curved toe of one of her slippers. “Ow!”
Ali shook her head and closed her eyes. “This must be a dream,” she whispered. “You're not here, and I can't see you.”
“Of course you can't,” Little Genie said, sounding puzzled. “Are you playing with a full deck? You've got your eyes closed.”
Ali opened her eyes. “Are you really a genie?” she breathed.
“Well, of course,” Little Genie replied. “And you freed me from the lamp, so now I belong to you. That makes me your humble servant. Do you think I should call you Lord and Master?” She looked doubtfully at Ali.
“I don't know,” Ali said, surprised. “I've never met a genie before.” She glanced over at the Lava lamp. “That doesn't look like the kind of lamp a genie would live in,” she pointed out.
“Hey!” Little Genie sounded hurt. “That lamp was the coolest thing ever when I first moved in, back in 1964.”
“So that's why you
Little Genie frowned. “Like what?”
“Never mind,” Ali said. Who cared what this girl sounded like? She was a genie!
“It was a real bummer that I couldn't get out for so long,” Little Genie mumbled, looking down at her curly-toed slippers. “Honestly, genie lessons were so boring, Ali. Sorry. Lord and Master,” she corrected herself.
“Just call me Ali,” said Ali. “But why were the lessons boring? Don't you like doing magic?”
“Oh yes, I do!” Genie nodded so hard, her ponytail bounced up and down. “But before they let us do magic, we had to take classes like How to Keep Your Lamp Clean and Math for Modern Genies.”
Ali couldn't imagine fitting a vacuum in a Lava lamp! And math wasn't one of her favorite subjects either Maybe genies had problems with the same sort of stuff humans did.
“But you got to learn magic too, didn't you?” Ali wanted to know.
“Sure.” Little Genie nodded. “But the teachers wouldn't let anyone do magic on their own to begin with. And I was stoked to try out my spells.”
“So what did you do?” Ali asked curiously.
Little Genie looked very embarrassed. “Well, when the Grand Genie came to visit, I decided to give everyone a surprise and clean the school.” Her ponytail sagged. “I did a spell and got all the brooms and dusters working on their own.”
“What happened next?” said Ali.
“I couldn't stop them,” Little Genie replied glumly. “There was soapy water and furniture polish everywhere. The floor was so slippery, the Grand Genie fell over!”
Ali giggled. “Did you get in trouble?”
“Well, it wasn't exactly the first time I'd gotten a spell wrong, so the teachers expelled me from school.” Little Genie sighed. “Everyone else got to start doing magic, but I wasn't allowed to. One of the teachers, Miss Spelling, was nice to me, and she let me choose the Lava lamp to live in. I was supposed to stay in there and learn about magic, to make up for the missed lessons.”
Little Genie stared at Ali, her eyes sad. “I've been in there for ages, because I had to wait for the eleventh owner of the lamp to release me.” She brightened up. “And that's you, O Mighty Lord and Master—I mean, Ali.” She bowed, holding her head sideways so that her ponytail didn't get caught on her slipper.
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