On this hot summer afternoon, when I should be doing somersaults in a swimming pool, eating picnic potato salad, and bracing myself for a night of fireworks exploding against a perfect, cloudless sky, I find myself instead hunched over my desk and brooding over deadlines.
Contemplating the bleak prospect of my day (I have no air conditioner, I ran out of peanuts, and when I turn on the faucet in my kitchen sink, ice cream sodas do not pour out), I conclude that reality could be improved upon in many ways.
The thermometer on my back porch – the one in the shade – reads 95° F, and that’s all the excuse I need to start issuing edicts. Here are some of the changes I would make if I ruled the world:
The temperature may never go above 78° degrees.
Fireflies will emit their happy glow, not just in early summer, but all twelve months of the year.
Daffodils, hyacinths, foxglove, azaleas, rhododendron, hydrangea, stargazer lilies, peonies, and lilacs will bloom at the same time, nonstop, from April 15 until October 31st.
Deer will lose their taste for crocuses and tulips.
The baby fawn who leaps into the hedgerow whenever he sees my face will consider me his new best friend, and hang around to pose for pictures.
The skunk who lives under my porch will move to Minnesota.
The cost for a high speed Internet connection will go down to $10 a month.
A relative I don’t know will die and leave me a million dollars in his uncontested will.
Novels as deliciously readable as Water for Elephants and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society will come out once a week, and I will never again complain that no good books are being published.
The telephone company will stop charging tax and my phone bill will be reduced by 50 percent.
The elves in Santa’s workshop will take a leave of absence, come to my house, and finish converting all of my novels to eBooks for me, because I obviously don’t know what I’m doing.
Weeds will cease to grow in my gravel driveway and I will never have to buy another overpriced bottle of Round Up.
Whenever I am about to embark on the arduous task of watering my plants, it will start to rain.
The post office will rescind its stupid rule that you can’t put anything over 13 ounces (or is it 11 ounces now?) into a mailbox.
Reading will be re-defined as exercise, and every book I read will precipitate a weight loss of five pounds.
A new pair of contemporary geniuses, as talented as Rogers and Hart or George and Ira Gershwin, will emerge to write great lyrics and melodies, and romantic musicals will make a comeback.
Male movie stars will stop being baby-faced and short; female movie stars will stop being blandly pretty and anorexic; and stars the caliber of Gary Cooper and Greer Garson will re-inhabit the silver screen.
Companies I deal with will stop asking me for my email address.
There will be thirty-six hours in each day.
The price of gasoline will go down to $1 a gallon.
You will note that I did not raise taxes and that if you read the required number of books, you will have lost a lot of baby fat before it comes time for my re-election.
P.S. And what kinds of changes would you make if you ruled the world?
Shelly Reuben has been nominated for Edgar, Prometheus, and Falcon awards. She is an author, private detective, and fire investigator. For more about her books, visit www.shellyreuben.com.
Copyright © 2012, Shelly Reuben