Authors: Ahmet Zappa
Libby stared at her. What in the world was she talking about? “No,” she finally answered. “Pizza sounds good.”
And it was. Very good. Extremely good. “More, please!” she said after she had gobbled up her first slice. She ate four pieces in all. It was crispy, saucy, cheesy deliciousness. It
was deceptively simple-looking, but it was the perfect combination of comforting flavors.
Mission 2, Wishworld Observation #7: Everyone must try pizza!
Ava's mom was reaching for another slice when she gasped. She looked at her watch. “Oops, time to go pick up Jasper!” she cried. “Be back soon, girls!”
Libby looked at Ava.
“My annoying little brother,” she explained.
The girls had finished cleaning up and Ava was turning on the dishwasher (another odd Wishling invention) when a male Wishling about a year or two younger than Ava swaggered into the kitchen. He
had red hair and a smirk on his freckled face. Libby eyed him warily. He flipped open the lid of the pizza box and grabbed a slice. “Good thing you saved me some, Ava,” he said.
“Can't you say hello, Jasper?” Ava asked.
“Hello, Jasper,” he said with a smirk.
Ava rolled her eyes. “Brothers,” she said.
Waverly placed a sheaf of papers in front of Ava. “So,” she said, “I took the liberty of jotting down some ideas for you.”
Ava looked at her quizzically. “Youâ¦umâ¦wrote my speech for me?” she asked.
“Just as a jumping-off point, of course,” said Waverly, raising a hand as if to deflect criticism.
Ava picked up the papers and studied them. She looked up. “It looks like you wrote the whole thing.”
“It's just some ideas,” Waverly protested.
Ava cleared her throat and began. “âGood afternoon, Principal Lefkon, Vice Principal Bergen, faculty, fellow classmates,'” she read. “âMy name is Ava
Cunningham, and I am running for class president. This is a challenge that I accept both solemnly and wholeheartedly. There are some who think that the school government is a laughing
matter.'” There Ava frowned. “âWell, I assure youâ¦'” She lost her place for a moment. “âI assure you,'” she repeated,
“âthat I am ready to accept this responsibility with the gravity that it commands. I intend to lead my fellow students in a manner becoming of aâ¦'”
“It's good,” interrupted Jasper.
Waverly put her hands on her hips and smiled.
“It is?” said Libby. She wasn't so sure about that.
“Yeah,” answered Jasper. “It's good if you want your audience to die of boredom!”
Libby let out a strangled laugh. She had to agree.
“Jasper!” said Waverly huffily. “Mind your own business!”
“Here's what you should say,” said Jasper. He climbed up on a kitchen stool, put one hand over his heart, and pointed a finger in the air. “I am Ava Cunningham,” he
said in a high, squeaky voice that sounded nothing at all like Ava's low, pleasant voice. “And you should vote for me for president because I am so kind and generous. In fact, I am so
very generous that when I was eight years old, I once shared something very special with my amazing little brother. I gave him a terrible case of the itchiestâ¦”
Ava's eyes opened wide. She obviously knew exactly what was coming next. The look on her face was one of pure panic. “I wish you would stop talking!” she shouted, lunging at
Another wish from her Wisher! Libby immediately hopped into action.
Shut up, shut up, shut up,
she chanted in her head, staring at Jasper.
“â¦scratchiest case of head liâ”
All of a sudden Jasper fell silent. His mouth opened and closed but nothing came out. His eyes nearly bulged out of his head.
Ava looked relieved. “Very funny, Jasper,” she said. “Now get out of here, please.”
Jasper ran out of the room, panic-stricken. And Libby probably waited a little longer than she should have to reverse the wish. But she eventually did.
Libby yawned loudly. She was exhausted.
“Keeping you up, I see,” said Waverly. “Now let's get back to the speech.”
Ava gathered up the notes and took a deep breath. She looked at Waverly. “So I was thinking of maybe starting with a joke, to loosen up the audience. Have you ever heard this one?”
She smiled. “What do you call cheese that isn't yours?”
“What?” asked Libby.
“Nacho cheese!” said Ava. “Get it?”
Libby laughed as if she understood, though she really didn't.
Ava smiled. “Then I could go into my campaign promise about improving the school lunch menu selections. What do you think?”
Waverly, looking slightly annoyed, shook her head. “Stick to your message, Ava,” she said. “You are the serious candidate. Leave the jokes to bubble gum girl.”
“Don't you mean
message?” Libby thought she heard Ava mutter. But she wasn't exactly sure, and then Ava shrugged and said, “Whatever you think is
best,” so Libby let it go.
Several hours and one serious election speech later, the girls were lying in Ava's room. Ava was on the floor in a sleeping bag, as she had graciously given her guests her
large bed to sleep in. Ava had recited the speech several times, until Waverly was satisfied. Libby was feeling confident that everything was under control.
“Are you sure I shouldn't start with a joke?” Ava asked. “It just feels right, like it's going to get their attention.”
Waverly yawned. “You're not running to be class clown,” she said. “You're running to be class president.”
Ava rolled over. “Fine,” she said. She stared at Libby for a moment. “I love your hair, Libby. That pink streak is so cool.” She smiled sleepily. “I wish I had pink
hair. Well, good night.”
Libby's eyes opened wide. Pink hair! How many wishes could one Wisher make! This was getting ridiculous. Still, she closed her eyes and concentrated. But she was so very tiredâ¦.
Libby sat up suddenly as a blaring ringing noise shocked her out of a deep sleep. It took a starmin to identify the obnoxious sound. Wishworld alarms were loud
and annoying. Libby much preferred the gentle Starland alarm: your bed was gently vibrated until you got out of it. It was a very pleasant way to wake up. This, not so much. What a jarring way to
start your day. Plus, they were getting up extra early to hang up the new posters. The election was the next day.
Ava was the first to get up. She unzipped her sleeping bag, stood up, and stumbled to the bathroom. Libby heard the click as the light was switched on. And then the scream.
Libby and Waverly ran to the bathroom. Libby threw open the door. Ava was staring at herself in the mirror. Her hair was half brown, half pink. Libby realized she must have fallen asleep in the
middle of her wish.
Waverly shook her head. “No, no, no, no, no,” she said. “No,” she added for good measure.
Ava smiled at her reflection. “It's actually pretty cool,” she said. “But how in the worldâ¦”
“We have to fix this before the election!” said Waverly frantically. “This is not the hair of a serious presidential candidate!”
Libby thought fast. “It's just temporary,” she said. “Don't worry. It will come out in the shower.”
“It better,” said Waverly warningly.
“It will,” said Libby. “I guarantee it.” And she thought,
Mission 2, Wishworld Observation #8: Sometimes wishes are wishes. But then again, sometimes they
aren't. Be careful out there; it's hard to tell the difference.
Ava came out of the bathroom, towel drying her back-to-normal hair. Libby went in next, and she found that Ava had left her a change of clothes, a tube of something minty called
toothpaste, and a brand-new instrument, still in its packageâa toothbrush. Libby stood in the bathroom, staring at the toothbrush. She stuck it in her mouth and moved it around. She
couldn't be entirely sure she was doing it correctly. Was it up and down or side to side? She missed her toothlight.
Libby had been deliberately avoiding mirrors since she had arrived, knowing she would be horrified by her dull Wishling appearance. And she was. She gasped at her plain brown hair, her
flat-looking skin. What she wouldn't give for a little sparkle. She was feeling so tired, too, which made her look extra un-sparkly, in her opinion. Suddenly, she remembered her Mirror
Mantra. She stared at her reflection and spoke the words: “It's all in the balance. Glimmer and shine.” She grinned as her appearance was suddenly transformed and she looked as
she did on Starland. Her eyes lit up and she touched the mirror. How she missed her long, flowing pink hair and glimmery skin! How did Wishlings deal with being so boring and uninspiring all the
Libby's Mirror Mantra had given her the burst of confidence and energy she needed. When they arrived at school, she bustled around the hallway, wanting to get the posters
up before the rest of the students began trickling in. They had an election to win. And the next day she would have some wish energy (a lot of it, she hoped) to collect. She glanced down at her
Wish Pendant, dangling from her neck.
Her wish energy was getting low. Luckily, everything was falling into place. Libby was confident that she wouldn't need her special
talent to make this wish come true.