One Story Issue #271: Jenn Alandy Trahan’s “The Freak Winds Up Again”

I’m not what anyone would call a sports fan. I never know who’s in or who won the World Series. I never know who’s playing in the Super Bowl (my ignorance is such that I just had to look up “Super Bowl” to find out if it was one word or two). I was walking through LaGuardia once when a crowd of people suddenly started screaming, and I assumed it was a mass shooting; turns out the World Cup was being broadcast in a bar and someone had just scored a goal. So when I first read “The Freak Winds Up Again” by Jenn Alandy Trahan, I had no idea Tim Lincecum was a real person who used to pitch for the San Francisco Giants. I didn’t even know there were San Francisco Giants.

The narrator in “The Freak Winds Up Again” is somewhat obsessed with Tim Lincecum. She’s also living her life in the shadow of her brother’s suicide. While her fandom serves as a helpful distraction from her sadness, it’s also intricately threaded through her healing process. There’s something of a magic trick happening here, I’d argue, because by the closing words of the story, Lincecum’s stunning achievements feel as intimate and personal as the narrator’s grief, and the pain she’s working through seems to be touched by the pitcher’s healing hands.

This story almost made me care about sports! It definitely made me care about the narrator’s love of baseball. During the editing process, I hopped over to YouTube and found the footage of Lincecum’s no-hitter against the San Diego Padres, and I got goosebumps watching it. An hour later, I’d happily gone down a rabbit hole of baseball clips. So I would say to you, as you embark on our new issue, that you don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy this story by Jenn Alandy Trahan, but you just might be one by the time you finish it. The narrator’s passion is infectious, and Trahan has a pitch that will sneak up on you. One Story is proud to usher “The Freak Winds Up Again” into the world.

Jinwoo Chong and Manuel Gonzales join One Story

One Story is thrilled to announce two new additions to our team: Jinwoo Chong, our new Editorial Assistant, and Manuel Gonzales, our new Contributing Editor.

Jinwoo Chong is an MFA candidate for fiction at Columbia University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in CRAFT, Salamander, Tahoma Literary Review, The Forge, No Contact, and others. He serves as fiction editor for Columbia Journal.

Manuel Gonzales is the author of The Miniature Wife and Other Stories (Riverhead, 2012), winner of the Sue Kaufmann Prize for First Fiction and the John Gardner Prize for Fiction, and the novel, The Regional Office is Under Attack! (Riverhead, 2016), winner of an Alex Award from the YALSA, and he remembers with great excitement, even fourteen years later, the day Hannah Tinti reached out to tell him the editors at One Story would like to publish his story. He currently teaches creative writing and literature at Bennington College and is a core faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars. 

Please join us in welcoming Jinwoo and Manuel to the One Story family!

One Story Issue #270: Yohanca Delgado’s “The Rat”

One Story‘s very own Lena Valencia was just as impressed with this story by Yohanca Delgado as I was, so we decided to edit it together. It was great fun to do so, and Lena wrote a fantastic introduction to the story. Here it is! — PR

When outdoor dining opened in New York City in late June, there was a news item making the rounds: Rats, deprived of their usual diet of pizza and bagels during the city’s lockdown, were harassing al fresco diners. Though the idea of a rat scuttling into my $19 grain bowl is horrifying, there was something about the resilience of these creatures that I found amusing, even, dare I say it, inspiring. It was also a reminder that NYC was back, or, rather, had never left: there is no New York City without its vermin, after all.

In “The Rat,” Yohanca Delgado uses the unofficial mascot of NYC to represent a different sort of resilience. Samanta, a down-on-her-luck door-to-door knife saleswoman, is struggling with the loss of her late mother when she meets an eccentric stranger who not only offers to buy enough knives to vault Samanta out of her financial troubles but claims that she can rid her of her grief. If this sounds too good to be true, it is, and this is what Samanta discovers soon after she consents to the stranger’s proposal and finds herself being followed by a rat.

It’s appropriate that this story is coming out around Halloween, a time when many of us revisit our favorite horror films and books. Delgado is an expert at creating unsettling spaces and making the reader squirm with discomfort. And, like the very best horror stories, “The Rat” isn’t just about a monster—in this case a seemingly immortal rat; it’s about embracing those tough, painful feelings that are so tempting to ignore or push away. Much like the persistent rat of this story’s title, they won’t just vanish. They’re a part of you. As Delgado states so aptly in her interview, “nothing evaporates into thin air, nothing disappears forever.” We’re thrilled to share “The Rat” with you.

One Story Issue #269: Gothataone Moeng’s “Small Wonders”

Our new issue was procured and edited by contributing editor Karen Friedman, so I’m giving her the helm to make the introductions. Take it away, Karen! — PR

In June, a friend texted me that her ninety-eight-year-old grandmother had died. Amid the family’s sadness, there was one bit of relief: New Jersey had just loosened the restrictions on gatherings and they would be allowed to have a small wake with timed entries and a socially distanced funeral service. The family felt lucky.

Rituals are a framework. Stand here. Say these words. There is comfort through the connection to those who have performed the same rites in generations before us. But what happens when tradition feels like a facsimile of the sacred or when it is simply not enough to usher in the promised peace and wholeness?

In our latest issue, “Small Wonders” by Gothataone Moeng, we are introduced to Phetso Sediba, a young Botswanan widow, who for a nearly a year has worn the same midnight-blue dress, cape, and veil every time she leaves the home she once shared with her husband, Leungo. It is a form of penance, of remembrance, but also a warning to others who believe the old superstitions about bad luck following the widow. Phetso has sought shelter in her widow’s clothes, using them as shorthand to keep others at bay while she mourns the loss of Leungo and the life she imagined they’d have together. She is an anomaly, because of her youth as well as her desire to adhere to traditions that others have let go. As Phetso nears the prescribed end of her mourning period, she struggles, unsure of what the traditions have meant and whether she is ready to meet the world without their protection.

We accepted Gothataone’s story before most of us had ever heard of Covid-19 or knew how much our lives were about to change. Still, it feels particularly well suited to a time when grief can no longer take its familiar shape, when we must rely on Zoom shivas and Livestreamed funerals. It is now, sadly, easy for us to understand how precarious our traditions actually are, how dependent on our willingness to believe in their meaning. And yet, I feel compelled to insist that this particular story ends on a note of hope—uncertain, but there. Just as Phetso waits to reenter the world, so we too will face what comes on the other side of grief.

I couldn’t be more delighted to introduce Gothataone Moeng to our One Story family and hope you love “Small Wonders” as much as we do. Please check out our Q&A for more information about how this story came into being.

One Story Receives Whiting Literary Magazine Prize

We are thrilled to announce that One Story is the recipient of a 2020 Whiting Literary Magazine Prize. The $60,000 prize, awarded over the next three years, will be used to build capacity and strengthen One Story’s impact in the lead-up to our twentieth anniversary.

From the judges’ citation: “Over the last two decades, One Story has become a standard-bearer for elegance in magazine publishing; each lithe issue, its design an homage to zine culture, contains a single riveting short story. This form is often likened to the sonnet, being short and perfectible, but the fictions in One Story create sumptuous, almost novelistic worlds. The magazine has assiduously built a warm and vital community of writers and mentors.  Favoring new and untested writers and never publishing the same one twice, One Story is a critical port of arrival.”

The Whiting Literary Magazine Prizes acknowledge, reward, and encourage organizations that actively nurture the writers who tell us, through their art, what is important. Four other journals received the 2020 prize: Conjunctions, Foglifter, Kweli, and Nat. Brut. We are excited to share this honor with them. Read more about the prizes and the winners here.

My Own Third Blended Thing: An Interview with Ayşe Papatya Bucak

Though our 2020 Literary Debutante Ball has been postponed, we’re still promoting the work of our incredible 2020 Debs. We hope you consider supporting Ayşe Papatya Bucak, and all the authors who are releasing books during this challenging time, by purchasing their books.

The Trojan War Museum is a collection of short stories that explores myriad imaginative intersections between East and West, history and memory, myth and fact, and collective and personal identity. In “Good Fortune”—also published in One Story’s issue #255—a birth-tourism destination hotel in Florida is plagued by a series of threatening letters. The displacement and pain of an Armenian refugee is “performed” for an American fundraiser audience in “The Dead,” and in “The History of Girls,” a group of dead girls buried under the rubble of their school communicate with the ones still living. Each of the collection’s ten stories portrays a distinct and rich world, told with both grandness and humility, humor and grace.

Talia Aharoni: Where were you when you found out The Trojan War Museum was going to be published? How did you celebrate?

Ayşe Papatya Bucak: I was at a writing residency, Willapa Bay AIR, which is on the West Coast. My phone rang really early in the morning and it was my agent. My heart pretty much stopped. After she told me Norton wanted to buy the book, I tried to call my mom, but she wasn’t home, so I wandered out of my cabin and over to the main dining room. Another writer, a poet named Amy Sailer, was there and she will forever be the first person I told and the first person to give me a big hug. The other residents, who I consider dear friends now, bought me sparkling soda and a chocolate bar and made me a card. It was actually kind of amazing to be among near-strangers and away from home, yet amongst a group of people who absolutely understood how important it was for me and who made it a big deal.

TA: There’s a fascinating confluence of both East and West in many of these stories—a meeting point between civilizations and worldviews that seem to be very much at odds. How did you attempt to treat the “clash” of cultures in this collection?

APB: Because I’m half Turkish and half American, I don’t consider it a clash, I consider it a blend or an intersection. I don’t have two cultures at odds inside of me; I’m my own third blended thing, so I tried to write stories like that. Each of the story ideas came to me when some moment of Turkishness popped up in my very American life (like when I read a newspaper article about a Turkish girls’ school that had exploded). But as I wrote more and more stories, I started to see way more similarities between East and West than I did differences.

TA: Another major theme that seems to stem from the East-West dichotomy is the idea of displacement—from the Turkish wrestler interrogated by a border official in “A Cautionary Tale,” to the Armenian genocide survivor whose story of misery is paraded around Key West in “The Dead.” These stories seem to challenge the notion that emigrating West, specifically to the U.S., is an inherently fortunate thing, despite its often “desirable” status. (See: the parents in “Good Fortune” for whom the other stories might act as a sort of cautionary tale?)

APB: I think anyone who is the child of an immigrant knows that emigrating West involves a lot of sacrifice and loss. My father was extremely assimilated, and he spoke brilliant English even before he came to the US, but he was still apart from his extended family, he was still held back from pursuing the career he had held in Turkey. And he had a good experience compared to a lot of people. Generalizations are always risky, though. Lots of people immigrate due to circumstances that are far more difficult than my father’s were. And refugees are in a totally different situation, of course. But I don’t think anyone who leaves home considers it to be without loss. Even someone like me, who left Turkey when I was four, I know that I lost something—I don’t know what exactly, but something.

TA: Each story embodies a particular, brilliantly-wrought world—but there are certainly some common threads. For one, there’s a grandness of narrative in which the stories take on a quasi-mythical quality. Can you elaborate on the significance of mythology in this collection, in terms of both plot and form?

APB: At some point I decided to see just how much a short story could fit. And I suspect that desire to write bigger, to make stories that were quite large in scale and scope, led to my embrace of mythology. Myth is a natural way to tell an epic tale in a small space. And the voice of myth—that omniscience—was useful to me. I also recently found a school project that I did around second grade that was a retelling of Greek mythology, so perhaps it’s just something I was always drawn to. Not to mention a lot of the Turkish literature that was first available to me consisted of Turkish fairy tales—those tales have long been an influence.

TA: The stories feel thoroughly researched—from the incorporation of Greek and Turkish mythology and lore, to the artwork of French painter Ingres, and even the history of the sponge diving industry. Can you tell us about the extent of your research, and what you were most surprised to discover in the process?

APB: As someone who doesn’t feel very Turkish (my mother is American and I don’t speak Turkish), Turkey, or my own Turkish identity, has long been my research project. So, to some extent, the research process has been lifelong and cumulative. But the big surprise was that I love doing research. I have some regrets now that I wasn’t a history major. For nearly every story I read dozens of books—Appalachian literature to help me write a story set in Western Virginia, books on carpet motifs, books on modern art, books by genocide survivors, the list goes on and on, but I loved doing that. For a while I had almost 200 books out from my university library. I’ve got it down to about half a dozen now—but only after a librarian looked at my account with one eyebrow extremely arched. 

Talia Aharoni is a fiction writer living in NYC. She completed an MFA at the New School with a focus in fiction, and is the recipient of the Provost’s scholarship and the 2019-2020 Teachers & Writers Magazine Editorial Fellowship. She served as an editorial intern at One Story literary magazine, editorial assistant for LIT magazine, and editorial associate for Teachers & Writers Magazine. She’s at work on her debut novel.

OTS #63: Erika Yip’s “Fifty Square Feet Within”

Erika Yip’s “Fifty Square Feet Within” is a story that gripped me from the beginning with its quiet, claustrophobic atmosphere and then held me at the edge of my seat right up till the end. Tian is a teen girl living with her mom in the Sheung Wan area of Hong Kong. They share extremely cramped quarters in a subdivided apartment, and her mother works long hours at two different jobs to pay for their food and lodging.

Because of her mother’s work hours and her own school schedule, Tian usually only sees her mother for the duration of a single meal a day: dinner. But one evening her mom doesn’t come home. And Tian has to figure out what to do next.

“Fifty Square Feet Within” reads like a mystery. It builds suspense as Tian takes matters into her own hands, and it conjures a feeling of claustrophobia that it maintains even when she steps out of her confined living space and ventures out into the larger world. Erika Yip’s story is one of the winners of our Teen Writing Contest, and we’re excited to be putting it into your hands. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

To read an interview with the author, please visit our website.

One Story Issue #268: Jenzo DuQue’s “The Rest of Us”

In the same way you listen to Willie Nelson sing and pluck his worn-out guitar and know he was meant to be a singer plucking a worn-out guitar, when you read Jenzo DuQue, you know he was meant to be a writer. His prose has an urgency to it, a forward lean, and his voice is fluid. He blends sounds, words, languages. He writes with his ear.

“The Rest of Us” tells the story of three boys growing up in a melting pot that refuses to melt. José, Cristian, and Frail Boy (as the narrator is known) are street-smart kids pumped up with their own ambitions and tamped down by societal expectations. They have to figure out how to stand their ground while taking their cues from others, and the older they get, the more cues there are to sift through.

“Suddenly,” Frail Boy tells us, “we were young men.” And there they are, stepping out of childhood and into a dangerous adult world that has been right under their noses the whole time they were growing up. What unfolds does so easily and brilliantly—or so it seems, until nothing about it is easy or brilliant, until everything about it is complicated and, at times, dangerous.

I don’t want to tell you too much. I don’t want you to read this story with any expectation other than to be blown away by its narrative drive and its wonderful blend of languages. We’re thrilled to be publishing Jenzo DuQue’s “The Rest of Us,” and we look forward to what he does next.

Click here to read a Q&A with the author.

Use Your Writing to Subvert, to Inform, to Speak Truth to Power: An Interview with Christina Hammonds Reed

Though our 2020 Literary Debutante Ball has been postponed, we’re still promoting the work of our incredible 2020 Debs. We hope you consider supporting Christina Hammonds Reed, and all the authors who are releasing books during this challenging time, by purchasing their books.

In Los Angeles in 1992, race relations are reaching a fever pitch. As riots roar through the city in response to the police beating of Rodney King, high school senior Ashley Bennet is facing her own reckoning. The school year is coming to an end, she feels as though she’s losing everyone she loves to other priorities, and a rumor she starts reaches a fever pitch of its own, at her wealthy, predominantly white, private high school. With significant parallels to our current times, Christina Hammonds Reed’s The Black Kids, out now, is about coming-of-age in a fire, both literal and figurative – little sparks of tragedy in a teenager’s life, as the world quite literally, burns around her.

Vanessa Chan: Where were you when you found out The Black Kids was going to be published? How did you celebrate?

Christina Hammonds Reed: I was at my day job at the time, which incidentally was the day job I most enjoyed out of the many random jobs I’ve had over the years. My agent called me so I rushed out of the office to take a “coffee break”. When he shared the news with me, I could barely contain my excitement. I was jumping up and down in heels outside a very corporate building in Downtown Los Angeles. Then I calmly and rather anti-climactically went back to work. I didn’t really share it with people outside of my super close circle of friends. I was terrified it would all be taken away. Eventually, I had various celebratory dinners and drinks with my family and closest friends. But the day itself was especially meaningful to me because I received the news finalizing the deal on the one-year anniversary of my grandmother’s death, so there was so much joy to be had in a day that otherwise would’ve been painful.

VC: Which did you write first, the novel or your short story (published in One Teen Story, Issue #41)? And how long did the novel take you to write?

CHR: I wrote the short story first! I had the idea kicking around in my head as a graduate thesis film back in 2010, but ultimately decided against it. However, the story wouldn’t let me go, and just felt increasingly imperative with the rise of smartphones documenting police brutality and the effects of unequal policing on Black and Brown communities over the last decade. When the short story was published, I was un-agented. My (eventual) agent reached out to me and we had a really great meeting where he asked if I had considered expanding it into a novel. My first impulse was actually to say I’d said what I had to say, and was ready to move on to the next story. But the more I thought about it, it really did feel like there was so much left to explore, specifically as it relates to class, race, mental health and what it’s like to come of age as a Black girl with some degree of relative privilege. The novel took about two and half years to write from outline to submission. I had a job that entire time and was grieving the death of both of my maternal grandparents, so it took me a little longer than I’d hoped. But it also helped me stay focused on something other than grief. The task of completing it felt like a way of honoring them.

VC: In the novel, there is a point where a well-meaning friend tells Ashley that she’s not, “Blackity Black.” A lot of the story references the different ways where Ashley is either “too Black” or “not Black enough.” Why is this part of her identity important to interrogate?

CHR: I think for those of us who grew up in non-Black areas and going to non-Black schools, this is very much part of the microaggressions we were regularly subjected to because the media portrayals of Blackness, up until very recently, have been so limited. Film, music, books, visual art, all of these, seep into our consciousness as a society and when those images are focused solely on Black struggle and degradation, non-Black people will look at a Black person who doesn’t fit that stereotype and say, “Well you’re not that. Therefore, you’re not Black.” Which is absolutely incorrect. The Black community isn’t and never has been a monolith and while we have this powerful shared and unique experience of being Black in America, Blackness doesn’t only look like one thing and never has.

VC: It seems as though this novel is both an homage to and an indictment of the city of Los Angeles. What do you love and mourn for in LA?

CHR: I love the socioeconomic, cultural and religious diversity of this place. I love the geographic diversity of this city. I love that LA in its current iteration was actually founded by Black and Brown folks, as well as originally being the land of the Tongva people. And what I mourn is that these same people who helped make this city as beautiful and culturally rich as it is are being pushed out because of the economic realities of being unable to compete with wealthy transplants, rising housing costs, and a more stratified economy. Even homes in what was traditionally considered the hood up until fairly recently are now going for over a million dollars. Gentrification and revitalization projects are good for some but often they come at the expense of Black and Brown people who get pushed out of places they’ve called home for generations. And really that gentrification has been enabled by years of neglect, of political and economic disenfranchisement in the years leading up to and following the riots, from which many of these Black and Brown communities never fully recovered.

VC: You were eight years old when the LA riots broke out; your character Ashley is a senior in high school. What did it take to imagine her world at the time? What were your resources—your own memory, or conversations with family/friends, or historical research, or anything else? Did you draw from parallels in the present?

CHR: I was young at the time, but old enough to remember the fires, the anger and hurt of people who looked like me on the screen. I remember wondering why they were in pain and how it related to my personal experience of blackness. Similarly, Ashley is questioning herself and her community albeit in a much more mature way. That said, I still had to do a lot of research to make sure I was getting things right, even down to flipping through old issues of Seventeen and Vogue, etc. to see what Ashley and her friends would be wearing. Of particular help was Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 and a compendium of articles by the LA Times called Understanding the Riots, among others. I also spent hours on YouTube watching news reports, listening to music, and watching music videos of the era and the stories told therein. I wanted to fully immerse myself in 1992 and what it looked and sounded like. Also, one of the benefits of writing about somewhere where I currently live, is that everyone I spoke to about writing the book would offer memories of what their experiences of the riots had been. It was like we had shared this moment as a community and there was absolutely a desire to reminisce and reflect on it.

Honestly, I didn’t have to try too hard to draw parallels to the present. They’re inherent in this moment, unfortunately. Things have changed a bit, but also as we’ve seen with the recent George Floyd protests and the national and international outcry over the deaths of Black and Brown people at the hands of police, almost thirty years later we’re still grappling with how structural and systemic racism lead to a police force that doesn’t actually protect and serve all of us.

VC: You have a career and background in film and TV production. Did that aid you in writing this book?

CHR: Traditionally, screenwriting is very structured. There are very specific moments at which the inciting incident, rising action, climax, and denouements should theoretically take place in a conventional three-act structure. I relied on that in the outlining of the novel and making sure that I was moving plot along even within the more meandering context of Ashley’s interior shift. That said, I frequently blew up what I thought the plot was going to be along the way, most especially in the third “act” of the book. Mostly, I think it helped me not feel overwhelmed by what at the time felt like a very Herculean task. Especially given that it was my very first attempt at writing a book.

VC: What is the one thing you want your readers to take away when they read The Black Kids? What kind of advice would you give young Black writers?

CHR: I purposefully wrote Ashley as an incredibly flawed character because I thought it was important to illustrate that it’s not about where you start, it’s about where you end up. She makes huge mistakes over the course of the book. She hurts people and herself. She isn’t as informed as she should be. But she grows to be kinder, more empathetic; she takes ownership of her mistakes, and speaks up and out. She starts to love herself and really see herself as part of a larger community. I hope to convey to younger readers that it’s OK if you don’t have all the answers. Messing up is part of life and what’s important is personal growth. And I hope that it builds empathy, awareness and an even stronger desire to advocate for Black lives in non-Black readers who may not have inhabited a world like Ashley’s before.

To young Black writers, I would say, Your stories are important and worthy of being shared and you don’t need to seek validation from the “right” schools or the “right” programs before you can consider yourself a “real writer.” Also, be kind to yourself right now. This is a moment that can be especially stressful for one’s mental health given that not only are we in a pandemic, we’re also in a moment of huge racial reckoning in which the oppression of Black, Brown, and trans bodies is at the forefront of the national conversation. It’s OK to feel drained or depressed and less focused on writing as you normally would. Take care of yourself and eventually, when you feel stronger, use your writing to subvert, to inform, to speak truth to power, and to showcase our joy and our love.

Vanessa Chan is a Malaysian writer who writes about race, colonization, and women who don’t toe the line. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published or are forthcoming in Conjunctions, The Rumpus, Porter House Review, and more. Vanessa is a Fiction editor at TriQuarterly Magazine, an Assistant fiction editor at Pithead Chapel, a reader for One Story, and an MFA candidate at The New School. Her writing has received support from Tin House, Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference, Aspen Words, and Disquiet International. She is at work on a novel.

One Story Issue #267: Michael Kardos’s “The Wish”

“I’ve never been hit in the face, and neither have you.” So begins our new issue, “The Wish.” It’s a great first sentence, a great hook, because not only do we not know who’s speaking; we don’t know who they’re speaking to. (Are you talking to me?) And the authority in those eleven words! Soon enough, it’s revealed that the speaker is Sean, a poetry editor at a small publishing house who places a high value on authenticity and wants to do right by his authors. He also wants to do right by someone he’s recently lost. When a manuscript comes across his desk, sent by the poet’s mother, Sean sees an opportunity to do some good in a world that, for him, has been particularly bad lately.

In general, I’m usually not drawn to short stories, novels, and films about writers or editors or the publishing business. Not because I don’t think those are worthy subjects, but because I usually don’t find them very compelling. There’s a reason why films about writers often don’t devote a lot of footage to the main characters actually writing: it’s boring to watch someone write. (It’s also boring to watch someone edit.) By that same token, get any six authors together at a dinner table and chances are the subject of writing won’t even come up. Who wants to talk about how they spent their morning moving words around? So I was guarded when I began reading “The Wish” and realized it was about an editor. But that first sentence had me, and soon the voice had me, and soon I’d read right to the end and wanted to start the story all over again.

Michael Kardos is a tremendous talent. In his hands, “The Wish” isn’t about an editor or about the publishing industry or about any aspect of the writing process. It’s a story about a damaged person who’s trying, simultaneously, both to heal and to do the right thing. We’re thrilled to be ushering it into the world, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did. After you read the story, be sure to check out my Q&A with Michael, wherein he reveals which character showed up on the page unexpectedly and explains why he thinks of “The Wish” as a “yo-yo story.” (Note: There are no yo-yos in “The Wish.”)