A Modern Genie Tale
The acrid smoke slowly cleared.
“Good afternoon Sir.”
“Who the hell are you? Was it you who booby trapped that lamp with a smoke bomb?”
“Apologies about the smoke, Sir, I’ve been meaning to get that fixed for the last millennia. I’m the Genie, Sir. “
“Yeah, right! So, Genies are coming in pin striped suits now are they?”
The Genie flicked an imaginary speck of dust of his crisp, well pressed jacket. “Yes, Sir. Modern times and all that.”
“Next you’ll be telling me that I get three wishes.”
“Naturally, Sir. It’s what we Genies do.”
“OK. For argument’s sake, say I believe you. I’m guessing that there are limitations. You know the drill.” Jon waved his hand distractedly, “No wishing for extra wishes, wanting people back from the dead, and stuff.”
“No? And can you please stop calling me ‘Sir’.”
“As you wish, Sir.”
“Hey! Don’t try that one. I didn’t wish it. It was a request.”
“I know, Sir.” He shrugged. “Figure of speech.”
“So, no limitations then?”
“No, Sir. We decided that, in these tough economic times, that there should be a price for each wish. It made the Wishee more accountable for their usage.”
“I see. So, what’s the going rate for a wish? A ton?”
“I think that Sir may have misunderstood. It’s not a monetary value. It’s the life of a family member.”
“You what?” He pointed at the discarded lamp. “You can sod off back into your lamp mate if you think I’m going to go killing off my family.”
Genie slowly picked up the lamp, flipped the lid back on its hinges. He peered inside, and screwed his eyes shut.
“Hold on a sec.”
Genie looked at Jon and raised an eye brow. “Sir?”
“Do I get to choose who?”
“If it make is easier for you, then yes, Sir.”
“In that case, I’d like it to be my Uncle Ned. I’ve never liked him.” Jon shuddered involuntarily. “In fact, I’m sure he’s a perv, or something worse.”
Genie smiled. “Your Uncle Ned will do nicely.”
Jon hesitated. There was no humour in Genie’s smile. In fact, it was so cold, it was virtually frozen in place.
“If you would care to make your wish now, Sir.”
“My wish. Yeah.” He frowned, and ran a hand through his foppish hair. “But it’s still a life being taken.”
“As you said, Sir, he’s probably a pervert. Or worse.”
“And if he isn’t, it’d serve him right for being so creepy. OK, I’ll do it.”
“Glad to hear it sir.” He fixed Jon in his cold gaze, and leaned forward slightly, stroking his neatly trimmed goatee.
“Right then. “ His brow creased, and he paced back and forth. “I wish... I wish...”
The world wobbled before his eyes as a ripple spread out from Genie.
“Woah! What was that?”
“Your wish, Sir. One of the easiest ones I’ve done in a while.” Jon gave him a blank look. “You wished you could wish, Sir. Simple.”
“You utter bastard.” He snatched the lamp from Genie’s grasp, hurled it to the floor and drove the heel of his boot into the pliable metal. “Try getting into your house now!”
Genie took half step a backwards, holding up his hands. “Please calm down, Sir. If I could just direct your attention to ---“
“No you bloody well can’t.” He took a step towards Genie, clenching his fists. “And I hope you can do wishes on yourself, ‘cos you’re gonna wish you never messed with me.”
Genie dropped to the floor, holding his hands over his head. “If you’d just look at that van over there, you’ll see the hidden camera crew! You’re on ‘You’ve been framed’.”