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Rated: E · Fiction · Paranormal · #2314404
One friend finds a genie in a bottle. The other friend thinks he wasted his wish. Did he?
Nothing at all.

"So did you get anything at all?" This was Michael. He was pouring some wine into one of the glasses we got from a tasting in Chile.

I shook my head.

He semi-groaned, picked up the glass and sniffed the wine. He took a small sip and declared, "Mmm." Then he added definitively, "That's kind of fucked up."

I sighed and slid past him to grab the bottle and a glass. I gave myself a healthy pour. "It's crazy dark," I said and swirled the glass. "Wow, this is quite good."

He nodded, adding, "And the perfect bite at the end." He looked at me with disappointment. "You really got nothing at all?"

I responded quickly, "I wouldn't say that."

"Except it's true."

I breathed out slowly as I tilted my glass at him. "What do I need? Really?"

Michael rubbed his eyes. "You're not going to make me feel bad for thinking this. But good for good's sake is a sucker's play." He took another sip of his wine, grabbed the bottle and started out of the kitchen towards the den. "You should have been rewarded at least. That would have been fair."

I rolled my eyes, which he didn't see. I swirled the glass again and watched the wine spin until it settled, which was less than a full revolution, and followed him out towards the den.


It was your classic genie in a bottle. Not the Aladdin's lamp style, more like a long tall perfume bottle. Dark amber colored. I actually thought it was a bottle of 1942 Don Julio tequila when I pulled it from under the clothes that were in the bottom drawer of the bureau in the basement.

I was in my friend's Mom's house. We had just brought her over to Memory Care at the Juniper and, well, that's where she will now live out the rest of her life.

This is important, too. It was not my wish. It was not my bottle.

I pulled the bottle from the 1960's clothes wondering what a bottle of nice tequila was doing in this drawer. Actually, I was wondering more about how nice the tequila was, since I knew that Joelle's mom was a bit of a tippler, I think they're nicely called, when the smoke formed and bottle's cork popped out and I was staring at a genie.

He clearly didn't know that he was a trope, since he was extremely earnest about thanking me for releasing him and, as if he were the first genie ever to think of it, granting me a single wish of "anything you can imagine." He ended with, "I want to leave quickly, as you might expect, so please do make your wish quickly."

He wasn't blue or even Arabian. He looked a bit like a very old David Niven, but with longer and whiter hair. A pasty, thin, old Englishman that hadn't seen a barber in years.

I wished that all the people in Juniper's Memory Care unit would regain their mental faculties for the rest of their lives.

I don't even know if there were more living in that unit besides Joelle's Mom. But that's what I wished for. Remember that it wasn't really my wish. It was a bottle in Joelle's Mom's bureau in her basement. It was her wish and this is what I thought she, and Joelle, would want.

Michael, as you know, thought I had wasted my one big chance in life. To be more clear, he wasn't upset at my wish as much as he was upset that the Niven genie didn't respect my selflessness enough to give me at least a 'good for you' consolation wish or prize.

"It's not like genies don't know what the best wish prizes are," he said.

I wasn't so sure this genie knew anything but genuine relief for having been freed. It's not like they have genie conventions or genie study groups. Or at least that's what it seemed to me with my one and only genie encounter.


There was no way I was going to tell Joelle about the wish, for a number of reasons including that it was absurd that there was a genie at all in real life.

But the next day, she came back to the house, which I was still helping clean up, and she was in tears and stunned. Her Mom was not only fully lucid, but knew that she had suddenly regained her short term memory and situational awareness. Like watching fog lift that you never saw arrive.

"And not just her," Joelle said. "Three other residents in the senior home completely regained their memories. The Director called it a miracle."


Michael evenly poured the last of the wine into our two glasses. The lees circled in the glasses.

As we stared at our drinks, he mused, "Yes, I get it. And, yes, you're the nicest guy on the planet. But in the movies, the genie would break the fourth wall with a wink and you'd find some sort of incredible prize under your pillow. Or a case of this stuff in place of that footstool." He eyed the worn-down antique footstool between us with malice. "Instead, you got nothing at all."

The End.

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