As the golden orb rose it yawned, stretching amber arms over emerald silk of the ocean and David sighed.
“Maybe the sun will wake my muse. I haven’t written anything new for weeks.”
The morning breeze stirred from slumber wrinkling the verdure horizon. Creamy froth perched on crests rolled in to caress the honey shores bringing with it tangled clumps of seaweed and disorientated shells. The paper in David’s writing pad slapped and clapped, applauding the tumbling performance. The beauty of the moment was completely lost on David as he wrestled his paper into submission.
“Great! How am I s’posed to write in this wind?” he mumbled, gathering up his shoes and socks. “I might as well go home.”
David stood and patted his pockets. A reassuring clink confirmed he had his keys and as he turned to leave a glint of light on the shoreline caught his eye. Squinting in the morning’s brilliance he tried to determine the source of the flash as it continued to beckon him. His curiosity got the better of him and he made his way down to the shoreline, to the tangled clump of seaweed. Tucked between the green and brown folds was a small bulbous bottle shimmering with hues of purple and blue that seemed to dance over its glassy surface once in his palm. The rounded base tapered up to a long necked top sealed shut with a cork.
Unable to see through to the bottles contents David summoned the use of his keys to pry out the stopper. Slowly but surely the bottle resigned its grip on the cork until it flew out with a pop.
A swirl of purplish smoke plumed from the bottle swallowing David in its midst. Startled, David dropped the bottle and stumbled backward landing on his backside rather unceremoniously. He gawped as the purple haze took shape, condensing and morphing into the figure of a small woman no bigger than his hand. David sat speechless and saucer-eyed, wondering if he’d inadvertently fallen asleep.
“I am Esmeralda Constantine the third. Registered genie and wish granter. You can just call me Esme,” spoke the woman.
“Huh, wha…wha… you’re a, ah, um, genie?” David stammered.
Esme rolled her eyes. “Yes, yes I’m a genie, yada, yada, yah. Now, let’s get down to business.”
Esme began to whirl around growing in stature until she was not much shorter than David. Whipping out a pair of glasses and a hefty wad of papers Esme scoured the page in front of her. “According to my records, you have been gifted nine wishes by Amazoo in honour of their ninth birthday.”
“I thought it was usually three wishes?”
Esme peered at David over the top of her glasses. “It’s a special birthday deal, Sir.”
“Oh. Well, umm, I wish for…”
“Wait just a minute! There are certain procedures and protocols before you start randomly wishing, you know.”
“Sorry. I didn’t realize.”
“Firstly, I need to check the suitability criteria. Have you ever had a heart condition, high blood pressure, mental illness, drug or alcohol dependency or back injury?”
“Um, no, no, no, no and no.”
“Have you ever been convicted or are you waiting to appear on any charges related to fraud, theft, assaults or crimes against another person?”
“No. Look I don’t see what any of this has to do with me getting my wishes.”
“It’s just procedure, Sir. Now, sign here, and here, and initial here, here, here, and here,” said Esme handing David a stack of documents and a pen. “Oh, both copies please. Great.”
“Okay! Let me think!” said David, rubbing his hands together as he anticipated the riches and women he was going to wish for.
“Not so fast! We still have the legal waiver to sign. Now, this just states that if any of your wishes are not to your satisfaction, or if you are injured, maimed, or in any way disabled whilst indulging said wishes, that you waive your right to sue. Furthermore and herewith you relinquish an claim of warranty or guarantee of manufacturing fault, defect of material or design.”
“Well…I don’t know if I should sign th…”
“Do you want your wishes or not?”
“Yes, but shouldn’t I consult my lawyer first?”
“And tell him what? That a genie has offered you nine wishes…?”
“Oh yeah, he probably won’t believe me. Okay, where do I sign?”
Smiling, Esme handed David the legal waiver and pointed to the dotted line.
“See, that wasn’t so hard, was it? What are your wishes?”
David grinned from ear to ear. “I wish for ten million dollars.”
“Sorry, no can do. Section five of Article B, sub-clause three clearly states, and I quote, ‘No recipient of said wishes may wish for a pecuniary advantage if said wish causing hardship to the State.’. Seeing as we are in a recession right now, money is out of the question.”
“Well that sucks.” David paused for a moment. “Alright then; I wish for a beautiful wife who will…”
“Um, you can’t add conditions onto a wish. You need to ask for any additional benefits in a separate wish.”
“Fine,” sighed David, rolling his eyes. “I wish for a beautiful wife.”
“Sorry, can’t do that either. Section eleven of Article A states that wishes involving another human being are against the Geneva convention’s laws regarding the free will of all people and also breaches the United Nations anti-slave trade policy.”
“You know you are really getting on my nerves.”
“Just doing my job, Sir.”
“Yeah, whatever. Can I have a Lamborghini?”
“Section two states that all wishes must be formatted in the appropriate language.”
“Ugh, whatever, I wish for a Lamborghini.”
“Let me see now.” Esme flicked through her thick wishing reference manual. “Nope. Section one of Article C states that all vehicle wishes must meet the United Nations Emissions standard pursuant of Public Article nine of the Global Warming Act.”
“Really! Really!!” David fixed his fists to his hips and paced a small circle, punching holes in the soft sand with each exasperated step. “Well can you tell me what I can have because at the rate we’re going I’ll still be here in twelve hours’ time whilst you tell me all the things I can’t have?”
“I’m sorry, Sir but according to Section five of Article twelve subsection nine no genie can suggest, hint, recommend or tell the wish receiver what to wish for,” Esme peered over her glasses, “You know, because they actually wishes, your wishes.”
“Oh that is just great! Is this some kind of con or something? Are you just trying to piss me off? David began flapping his arms wildly before throwing them in the air. “Arghh, I wish I’d never found that stupid bottle!”
“Wish granted.” said Esme with a smile as she dissolved into a thin stream of purple smoke that funnelled back into the bottle.
“No! Wait! I didn’t mean it; I was just mad!” David fell to his knees and screamed into the bottle as the last wisps of purple smoke disappeared.
“Section one of Article nine clearly states that all wishes are non-returnable, Sir. Have a great day and thank you for using Amazoo the home of great products and exceptional customer service.” said Esme from inside the bottle before she and the bottle disappeared.
©Copyright Maggie Lawson 2018