Chuck stared at the man ahead of him, his snow white beard extending down from his chin to nearly his the middle of his chest. The hair atop his head was equally white, but far more unkempt and heavily curled, looping down to the wrinkles scanning across his forehead. He wore a long, navy robe, with brown leather sandals strapped to his dirty feet. He looked like a wizard, even had a long, wooden walking stick across his lap that was probably his wand. The only thing he was missing was the pointed hat. The last wizard Chuck had seen turned out to be simply an old man in desperate need of a haircut. Still, he was cautiously optimistic.
“Are you a wizard?” Chuck said, tapping the man on the shoulder as he tilted his head slightly.
The man glanced over at Chuck, his eyes growing wider as he scanned him up and down. Chuck wasn’t sure whether or not that was something wizards did upon new meeting people, or if he was simply gauging his sanity. After all, he had just interrupted an elderly man on a park bench to inquire about his wizard status.
“I’m sorry?” the man said, his voice raspy and aged.
“You know,” Chuck said, “a wizard. Like Harry Potter.”
The man smirked and laughed softly, his robe rising lightly as he did so. He shifted forward, his hand tightening around the walking cane strewn across his lap.
“You could say that,” the man said, folding up his newspaper and placing it down beside his cane.
Chuck stared at the man, his eyes growing wide. That was definitely something a true wizard would say. If he had said “yes, I am a wizard,” then he certainly would not be a wizard. No wizard in their right mind would give away their identity. The best case scenario was either a sly “no” or a “maybe.” Chuck had definitely received the “maybe.”
“So you are?” Chuck said, sitting down on the same bench as the wizard. He glanced over at the newspaper beside him. He had been reading some sort of Asian paper, the front completely illegible to Chuck. He did, however, recognize the lettering from his local Chinese restaurant, but couldn’t be sure if it was Japanese, Korean, or Mexican. He just knew it wasn’t English.
“Well, not quite,” the man said. “But, still, I’m amazed you recognized my peculiarity.”
“I’ve seen Harry Potter like ten times,” Chuck boasted. “I know a wizard when I see one.”
The man laughed heartily before glancing left to right, as if searching for someone.
“I’ll tell you what,” he said, “I normally only do this for people I truly know, people that have passed my tests, but I feel like you’re deserving. Mind you, I’ve never said that about anybody I’d just met.”
Chuck leaned forward. He was about to get three wishes—he knew it, that was absolutely about to happen. His first would obviously be for a tractor, which he’d wanted since he was six. The second would be for a can of green paint, which he can use to paint the tractor green. The third was still up in the air, but would likely be keys to his own zoo, or perhaps a can of blue paint in case he disliked the green.
“So I get three wishes?” Chuck stammered, practically falling out of his seat and onto the stone path ahead.
“No,” the wizard laughed, “that would be a genie.”
Chuck leaned back. Right, genies, like in Aladdin. How had he forgotten about that? Wizards cast magic spells. It was certainly embarrassing for a Harry Potter fan of his caliber to forget that. Still, he could probably become invisible or something so as to steal a tractor and paint; all was not lost.
“Here’s the deal,” the wizard continued, “are you familiar with the term immortal?”
“Yes,” Chuck said. He was pretty confident it meant being incredibly unaccepting of moral standards, or simply not doing the right thing. “I am not immortal.”
“Correct,” the wizard said. “I, however, am.”
Chuck leaned back so that his shirt pressed against the cold metal of the park bench. He didn’t understand why the gentleman was telling him about his lack of morality, but the fact he was a wizard made that small character flaw easy to look past.
“I’ve learned a lot in my unending life, so much so that I’ve not got much else to learn. Instead, I go around sharing that knowledge with those whom I deem deserving, those who have proven themselves worthy of a skill of their choice.”
“I see,” Chuck said, growing impatient. He wanted his invisibility now. There were only so many opportunities for him steal a tractor and he certainly didn’t want to waste the rest of the daylight.
“I’d like to offer you the ability to learn one skill, anything your heart desires. Fighting techniques, sciences, languages, economics, anything. I will teach it to you and share my wisdom, making you the best at whatever it is you’d like to learn. I’ve worked with Bill Gates, Bruce Lee, Galileo Galilei, Barack Obama, Ludwig van Beethoven, Adolf Hitler, Leonardo da Vinci, and countless others. If you know their name, I probably taught them their trade. You will become world-renowned and likely incredibly wealthy, I promise you that.”
“Wait,” Chuck said, leaning forward again and staring at the wrinkled face of the wizard, “I thought you could give me invisibility or something.”
“You’re a wizard,” he said. “Wizards cast spells. Harry Potter casts spells. You’re Harry Potter. I want you to cast the spell of invisibility on me so I can steal a tractor, Harry.”
“I never said I was a wizard, nor did I ever say I was Harry Potter,” the man said. “I am simply immortal. I am offering you the once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn any skill you’d like, anything at all. What do you choose?”
“You’re not a wizard?” Chuck said, feeling his face growing warmer. “You told me you were.” He was practically shouting now, even despite knowing they were in public. He absolutely hated being lied to, which was exactly what had just happened.
“I said no such thing,” the wizard said, clearly lying. Chuck was positive he’d said “I am a wizard” at least six times. No, eight times. He’d said it more than eleven times.
“Fuck you,” Chuck said, pushing himself to his feet and flipping the wizard his middle finger. “I can’t believe you’d lie to me like that. You really are immoral.”
Chuck shook his head as he returned to walking down the park path, muttering as many curses to himself as he could. He so desperately wished he knew how to fight so that he could beat the shit out of that immoral bastard. Maybe he’d go get some lessons at the local Karate studio, then come back to the same bench later. Yeah, that’s what he’d do: teach that man a lesson about lying to people. He’d just need to find a good teacher first.