Writing Prompt Time

by w3woody

Prompt: [WP] you can make wishes by keeping a neutral level karma. When you make a wish, you have to do good deeds till your karma is balanced again. One day you make a wish, you you find out your karma is overflowing in good. Now you have to do bad deeds to bring it back down.

“I didn’t mean to do it. Now, I really have no choice.”

It started when I discovered the sphere. Covered with ancient-looking runes, I discovered that by rubbing it I could wish for whatever I wanted. There was a catch, however. There is always a catch.

Wish for a million dollars? No problems; the money mysteriously shows up in your checking account. Want a gigantic mansion? The deed somehow shows up in your name, and keys show up in the mail. Wish for anything you want–and somehow it happens, but happens in a way that simply appears like it was just going to happen.

But the catch is that for every thing you wish for, you must then “work it off” by doing good. That first million dollars I wished for? I must have spent a year working at a local food bank working off the karma. Of course it took me another year to sort out what I needed to do; for the first six months all I knew was that every time I picked up the mysterious sphere, it glowed an angry shade of red.

The mansion–well, it was more a modest house in a nice neighborhood–I had to pay off in a soup line feeding the homeless. The nice car took less: a trip down to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina distributing blankets to people who lost their homes.

But after a while I got into the groove of things.

“You see,” I explained, “after a while you start feeling empathy for those you are required to help. The happiness in a small child’s eyes when he gets his first Christmas present after so many years without will warm even the coldest heart.”

I considered the man sitting in front of me. “I think it’s why I made my mistake.”

You see enough hungry, homeless, needy people going by asking for a small cup of broth or a piece of stale bread, and it’s hard not to wish for something to help.

Of course I had no idea that the karma associated with the wish didn’t come from the thing you wish for, but how you intended to use a thing.

So when I heard about the regional Food Bank in my area undergoing a massive shortage thanks to a flood which caused a third of the people in my state to go homeless, I wished for ten million dollars.

To help them.

“I had no idea,” I explained. “I wish I understood what I know now.”

The check was made out to the Food Bank, and then I went back to feeding the homeless in the food line, figuring that sum of money would require a lot of effort on my part. After a few months, I went home to see my progress by checking with the sphere.

But this time, instead of an angry red, it glowed a bright baby blue.

And I knew how I screwed up.

“You see, if it weren’t for the tornado that swept through downtown causing a massive influx of homeless people, I wouldn’t need to balance the scales. You understand, right? That I have to do something monumentally bad in order to balance the scales?”

The homeless man sitting in front of me was tied to a chair, a cloth stuffed in his mouth. On a table next to him was the sphere. And a knife.

“I know this will hurt. But in the long run, how many thousands of people like you will I be able to help?”