Mixing it Up, Paying it Forward
News for March
Building Your Palette
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Genie's Day Offby Shannon Wolff
"I can't think with you breathing down my neck like that." Jake muttered and blew his bangs out of his face. How he ever found himself in this mess he doubted he'd ever know.
"Look, I don't make the rules." Grumbled an irritated genie, in full belly dancer garb, as she rolled her eyes. "You found the bottle, for whatever reason you rubbed the bottle, and now you have three wishes. It's really not that difficult a concept."
"Oh, come on, Isheia. You know every story with this scenario is a disaster." Jake added in a sigh as he picked at a hole in the knee of his jeans. "Usually, the first wish is blown on something stupid, the second wish ends up causing major trouble, and the third is used to put everything back the way it was. So how about we skip to the end and you just go back into the bottle or something?"
"Yeah, I'm in such a big hurry to go back to the bottle for another few centuries."
"Then go somewhere else and let me think of some good wishes."
"Would if I could. But since you rubbed the bottle I'm stuck with you until you make your three wishes and then the only place I can go is back to the bottle. And, compared to you, that bottle is looking better all the time."
Isheia growled to herself and leaned back against an odd looking table Jake had called a "desk" on which her bottle sat. Never in her three thousand years of being a genie had anyone ever tried to refuse their wishes. Even though this Jake person did have a point. The most common third wish Isheia ended up granting was "I wish I'd never meet you." And it was usually after the second wish, normally for power, fame, wealth, or some combination there of, went horribly wrong. As though it were her fault wishing to be "Sultan of the world with the best hair ever" was a terrible idea. That poor fool was nearly beheaded before he wished he'd never found her bottle.
"Look, we're not going to get anywhere like this." Jake sighed and ran his fingers though his hair, which even to Isheia looked in desperate need of a trim. "How about you just go stretch your legs or something while I think?"
"You mean go outside and walk around a little bit and enjoy the fresh air?" Isheia forced her voice into a mocking tone; the stench of stale pizza curst made a little walk outside sound positively scintillating.
"Sorry, no can do. You see, since you're the one who rubbed the bottle I'm stuck with you until you make a wish so-"
"I wish you'd get off my back and go take a walk!" Jake shouted, his face turning red.
And Isheia disappeared in a puff of smoke before Jake could realize exactly what had happened.
While Jake fumed over his wasted wish, Isheia reacquainted herself with life outside her bottle. Much to her relief, the current fashion trend leaned more towards a shapeless top of some sorts and equally shapeless paints. She seemed to recall Jake calling them T-shirts and jeans. Whatever the garments were called, they were far more comfortable then the hoop skirts and corsets she'd warn in early days to blend in with the local population.
Thus attired, Isheia ventured out into a place the locals referred to as a park. Sunlight never felt as good as it did after years of being cooped up in a bottle, and she intended to enjoy every moment of it. The sky, the sun, the wind rustling the leaves in the trees, she silently wished she could take them all back with her inside her bottle. Especially the handsome young man who'd taken to trailing behind her like a lost puppy. And if the look on his face was any indication, he'd happily follow her into her bottle and stay a century or two.
Alas, the late morning hours melted away like the cold sweet confection Isheia's handsome youth, Zack, had bought her and she found herself retuning to Jake while the afternoon was still young. Though, if she were to be honest, the most puzzling thing about her encounter with Zack were the numbers he'd insisted he write on her palm before she left. What did 555-0283 signify anyway?
"Well, I hope you're happy." Jake grunted as Isheia reappeared among the mounds of dirty clothes littering the floor of his...what did he call it? His dorm room?
"I was until I came back." Isheia sighed, the grand mood she'd left the park in fading rapidly.
"You're not even going to ask what I hope you're happy about?"
"No, I just assume you hope I'm happy because you wished I could take a walk. I had a wonderful time by the way."
"Well, la-de-da, good for you. But I'm still down by a wish."
"And that's my fault, how exactly?"
Jake's face took on the most interesting shade of red-violet Isheia had ever seen. Just when she started to wonder if he'd explode, a puzzled look came over Jake's face and his normal coloring returned.
"What's on your hand?" Jake snapped, pointing at the hand Zack had written the mysterious number upon.
"I can't rightly say." Isheia answered, raising her hand enough so both could see her palm clearly. "A charming young man in the park insisted on writing it before I left. What does the number five million five hundred fifty thousand two hundred eighty-three denote?"
"You got a date?" The color flooded back to Jake's face as he clenched his fist. "You were only out a few hours and you got a date?"
"No, I didn't even see any dates, or date trees for that matter. I just meet a very pleasant youth who bought me something called ice cream."
"You were on a date?"
"Jake, if you're envious I spent a lovely late morning with Zack I could ask him if he has a sister your age. Though if she's anything like him she's by far too good for you."
"We've been over this." Isheia rolled her eye, trying not to let her voice betray how pleased she was at this turn of advents. "Unless you wi-"
"I wish you'd go back to the park!" Jake's voice trembled with anger as his knuckles turned bleached white and he glanced around for something heavy to throw at Isheia if she didn't leave.
And once more she vanished in a puff of smoke, leaving Jake baffled and furious.
Hoping to return to the park before Zack departed, she had left rather abruptly, and right when he'd been telling her what beautiful eyes she has, Isheia hastened back to the park while Jake continued to fume and wonder how he'd managed to waste not one but two wishes. Her hopes were not wasted, as she caught Zack's eye he gave a smile that made her heart dance then leap into her throat as he took her hand. Thinking to herself how she hadn't felt this way in ages, she let him lead her to a food cart where they could find a dish known as a hot dog and told her all about something called a disco club.
The afternoon flew by far faster than the hours Isheia spent alone in her bottle and she once again had to make her excuses to Zack when she could no longer justify her absents from Jake's presence. Though if truth were told the only presence she was the least bit interested in being in was Zack's.
"Back to trick me out of my last wish?" Jake grumbled as Isheia returned once again to his untidy dwelling.
"I haven't tricked you out of any of your wishes." Isheia protested, folding her arms over her chest and stomping her foot in what she hoped was an indignant manner. "You didn't even want your wishes anyway."
"That was when I was sure they'd end up running my life. Now I know different!"
"All the same, if you've wasted your wishes you have only yourself to blame."
"Only myself to blame!?" Jake howled, narrowing his eyes as he spoke. "If you hadn't gotten me so mad-"
"How is it my fault that you cannot control your temper?"
"You were trying to tick me off so I'd wish you away!"
"And why would I do that?" Isheia snapped and fanned her fingers out at her throat as though the gesture would proclaim her innocents. "For all I know angering you would only have resulted in you wishing some terrible misfortune on me! Such a thing has happened to genies I've known!"
"I don't care!" Jake all but screamed as he flailed his fist in the air. "I wasted two wishes because of you! And I want them back!"
"I can't just give you back your spent wishes, three is enough for most people."
"Well most people don't wish their genies away to get a little time to think!"
"Still no fault of mine." Isheia tried not to purr as the words left her lips, despite the misfortune she'd spoken of, there was a chance to get exactly what she wanted if she placed her next statement correctly. "I suppose I should thank you all the same."
"Thank me? Helping you is the last thing I'd do!"
"You gave me the first day off I've had in over a thousand years. Though I would like to get back to work now. I don't know if I could tolerate another day like this."
"Don't know if you could handle it, do you?" Jake growled with a menacing look in his eye. "What if I wished you another day off?"
"I suppose I could bear it if I must."
"What about two days off?"
"I don't know-"
"What about every last day you spend as a genie?"
"You wouldn't!" Isheia cried and cringed in what she hoped was an intimidated manner.
"No please! Such a fate if too horrible for words!"
"I wish the rest of the days you spend as a genie were days you have off!" Jake roared triumphantly, oblivious to the smirk on Isheia's face.
Isheia forced a mock sob as she disappeared once more in a puff of smoke, taking her bottle with her.
Isheia stretched her legs as she sat on a park bench and watched the sun finish setting. True, she wasn't technically a free genie, Jake hadn't wished her free, but wasn't having the rest of her days to do with as she pleased almost the same thing? Still pondering the question, Isheia's eyes fell on the number Zack had written on her hand. The simple memory of the kiss he'd given her when they last parted was enough to send a pleasurable chill down her spine and entice her mouth to water for another. It had been over three thousand years since she'd last been a mortal woman, but that didn't mean she'd forgotten what it was like.
He'd said the disco club wasn't far from the park, she should be able to find it without too much trouble, and Zack also said he would be there tonight. Isheia mused to herself as she traced her finger over the numbers and watched her bottle shrink down to something she could easily fit into her pocket. She should try to find him; she knew where he planned to be, so it shouldn't be too difficult. He'd seemed like he would appreciate her company. And besides, who knows? Maybe she would have one of her wishes granted for a change.
Shannon Wolff was born in Alaska and grew up in a little town called North Pole. This fact has lead every one of her relatives not familiar with Alaska, and complete strangers, to ask if she knows Santa Claus. She now resides in Cartersville, Georgia and is having mixed results with informing her new neighbors about her previous residence.
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