By Laurie @Dashelamet, Inspired by @karlalucia and her list, LI.ST Magazine
  1. The last thing I remember is standing at Knott's Berry Farm's Zoltar machine making a wish, and now I'm in a barren desert next to the mouth of a large, wondrous cave.
  2. Before I can get my bearings, the ground starts shaking. Then hot sand is flying everywhere.
  3. Through the sand I can just make out something large and colorful. Coming out of the cave is a huge carpet. A huge FLYING carpet! And it's coming right at me.
  4. The carpet comes to an abrupt stop, and I see there are people on it. And cartoon characters. Cartoon characters‽ I must have hit my head on the Zoltar machine.
  5. Winnie Cooper! Cheshire Cat! Bambi!... no, Bambi's Mom! (She's alive!) Betty Rubble, Chuckie Finster, and Katy from Animal House.
  6. Behind the carpet, one more figure emerges from the mouth of the cave. She is fierce. She is determined. She is the Clover's head cheerleader. It's Isis! And she is carrying something shiny in her hands.
  7. She steps forward and hands me a shiny, golden lamp. "Happy birthday, Valley Girl," she says with a smile.
  8. "What's happening?" I ask.
  9. Betty Rubble steps off the carpet, and with a melodious giggle says, "It's a gift. From all of."
  10. "It's an adventure," says Chuckie Finster. You've been so loyal watching all of OUR adventures, we decided to give you one of your own."
  11. Bambi's mom steps forward. She nudges my hand holding the lamp with her nose. "Rub it," Isis says. "Then make a wish; it's magic."
  12. "What should I wish for?" I ask.
  13. Katy and Winnie answer in unison, "Anything your heart desires!"
  14. "Just rub the lamp," Isis says; clearly the one in charge. "and make a wish. Keep 'em coming! That three wishes nonsense is just in fairy tales. When the lamp decides you're done, you're done."
  15. I give the lamp a shine with my sleeve, not knowing what's to come. As smoke starts to pour from the lamp, I ask Betty Rubble what she'd wish for.
  16. "I'd wish that people would stop comparing my husband, Barney, to Ed Norton from The Honeymooners show. It's so insulting."
  17. Poof! Standing next to Betty is Nikolai Tesladactyl, noted prehistoric genius.
  18. I rub the lantern again, and say, "Katy, what'll you have‽"
  19. "I've always wanted a last name. Everyone else at Faber College has one."
  20. A driver's license falls to her feet. "Katy Maloney," she whispers. I like it. I've heard it somewhere before, I think."
  21. I continue to rub the lamp and ask my new friends to call out wishes. Poof! Poof! Poof!
  22. Finally, I look at Isis. "What's your wish?" I ask, as I give the lamp another swipe on my sleeve.
  23. "Nope, you'd better use this one on yourself. The lamp is nearly out of wishes; you saw how the smoke puffs are nearly gone.
  24. "Besides, I've got what I want. You know, Jasmine left Aladdin last year. He sulked for months ... until he met me. He's waiting for me now. Cave of wonders, indeed," she said with a wink.
  25. "So, what do YOU want?" she asked.
  26. "Well, it's my birthday. I'd just like to go home and have some cake."
  27. Poof! My toes lift from the ground just as the sand starts to blow. The lamp falls from my hand and disappears. Isis steps onto the carpet, she gives me a wave, and just like that, she's whooshing back toward the mouth of the cave.
  28. The last thing I see is Cheshire Cat, hovering in the air. As the wind pushes me northwest, his body fades into the darkness ... all I can see is his grin.
  29. Static
    My cake is vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, and pineapple jam filling. It's from the divine Knott's Berry Farm bakery.
  30. I now know what I SHOULD have wished for ... the return of drafts. 🤦🏻‍♀️