THE NEXT ICE AGE • by Paul Friesen

“Your wish is my command!”

Jim stood in a snow-covered clearing where he’d stumbled upon a well.

“… Were you hiding behind there?” he asked.

“I said — your wish is my COMMAND!”

“Green tweed? Aren’t you cold in that?”

“Are you taking me seriously?”

“You look like some sorta Leprechaun standing in three feet of snow.”

“I am a Leprechaun.”

“… Right.”

“Look — you threw a penny in my well. And when a penny hits the magic water at the bottom, I am required to grant a wish.”

“There’s no water in there. It’s all turned to ice.”

“Ice is still water. The physical state may be altered, but chemically the two are inseparable.”

“But that still doesn’t explain — ”

“Will you make a wish already!”

“You want me to make a wish?”


“Fine, I wish I had more money than anyone in the world. How’s that?”

The man in the green tweed coat hopped up and down in the snow. He clicked the heels of his black leather boots in the air three times.

“Done,” he said.


“Yes, done.”

Jim pulled out his wallet, “Let’s see — old button, coupon for Bundy’s Chickenshack, and two of the three pennies I came here with this morning — the other sitting on top of your magic ice. Maybe you’ll have more luck when it thaws.”

“Two more pennies, you say. You are allowed up to three wishes, you know.”

“Sorry, Buddy,” Jim turned to leave, “but I’m broke, and I got to go earn some real dough at my day job. You might consider the same. I think you’ll have to ditch the tweed though if you want to be taken seriously.”

Jim turned back around, but the man was gone. He shrugged his shoulders and headed to work.


“Jim!” Steve exclaimed. “How much money you got in your wallet?”

“Nothing really. What’s it to you?”

“So you were robbed too!”

“Robbed? How could anyone rob me when I don’t have — ”

“Listen. I go to buy a Coke from the vending machine this morning, right. I look in my wallet, nothing’s there. I go ask Sandra if I could borrow a buck. Her cash is gone too. Eric, Renan, Josie, all the same. So we try the ATM machine, right — nothing.”

“Nothing,” Jim said, “what do you mean nothing?”

“I mean no money in anyone’s account.”

“That can’t be right.”

Another co-worker burst through the door.

“Sarah,” Steve called, “how’d it go?”

“It’s scary,” she said, short of breath. “There’s crowds of people building outside the bank, demanding to know what’s going on. One guy working there tried to reason with them and had to crawl back inside. I barely got out of there in one piece.”

“Let’s check the news,” Steve said.

Sarah covered her mouth, and Jim had to sit down.

New York, Berlin, Tokyo — Riots are bursting out all over the world, with angry mobs demanding to know where their money has gone. Mass looting runs rampant as people are trampled in the streets. A banker in Bern, Switzerland jumped from his thirteenth-story office window; another in Houston, Texas was shot in the head.

“Where are you going?” Steve shouted.

“Are you crazy?” Sarah called. “It’s chaos out there!”


Jim threw another penny into the well.

“Your wish is my command!”

“What’s wrong with you?”

“You again,” the leprechaun smirked. “They always say one wish is enough.”

“People are dying! Do something!”

“Didn’t you read the fine print?”

“Fine print? What fine print?”

The Leprechaun wiped away a layer of snow on the well. Jim took a look at the small engraving.

Article 5.1.1 Wishes are the sole responsibility of the wisher. We will not be held liable for any unsatisfied wish fulfillment.

“Well, what the hell do I do?” Jim asked. The Leprechaun wiped more snow off.

Article 5.1.2 Wishers unhappy with their wish fulfillment are encouraged to make a second wish to the effect of negating the first.

“What does that mean?” Jim asked.

“It means you have to wish that you never made your first wish. But remember, you only get three wishes, one penny each.”

“You charge for wishes and still limit them to three?”

“What’s a penny worth these days?”

“Quite a bit, considering there are only three left in the world. Two at the bottom of your God-forsaken well, and one in my pocket.”


“Fine,” Jim said, “I wish I’d never made my first wish.”

The Leprechaun hopped three times and clicked his heels, “Done.”

“Thank God.” Jim breathed a sigh of relief. The frost from his breath slowed to a normal pace.

“You still have one more penny if I’m correct.”

“You expect me to trust you again,” Jim scoffed, “after what you did?”

“You made the wish.”

“I wished to be rich.”

“You wished to have more money than anyone in the world,” the leprechaun retorted, “and you did.”

“What I wanted was lots of money.”

“Then you need to wish for a specific amount.”

“And where’d the money come from? No — I’m not going down that road again with you.”

“Think about what you’d do with the money then. Cut out the middle man.”

Jim blew hot breath on his freezing hands and rubbed them together. He took out his last penny, hesitated a moment, and then threw it in the well.

“I always said if I had the money I wouldn’t live in such a freaking cold place.”

“Sorry, no negatives. Article 3.1.7.”

“For crying out loud. I wish I lived in a place with the same weather as they have at the equator. Like Mexico, or Hawaii, or Jamaica?”

“That’s your wish?”



The leprechaun hopped three times and clicked his heels.

“Done!” he said, and both he and the well vanished.

Jim took one last look at the snow-covered ground. He expected to be transported to a tropical paradise any second now.

… Any second now.

… Any second.

Writing is Paul Friesen‘s passion, and nothing feels better than having one of his stories read. He thanks all those who have found his small smatterings of prose here on the net.

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