He didn’t understand what the fuss was about. Patrons buzzed all around as he sat there under a canopy in front of a cafe. Apparently, a genie was granting wishes on the sidewalk. A crowd was starting to swell up to watch the spectacle, their heads, placed so close together, resembled a small hill of hay on a deep midsummer’s night. The cause of this apparition, for the lack of a better term, was a tragic incident of a woman, the genie’s last master, who got hit by a speeding sedan. Sure, there was an attempt to undo this horrible misdoing but the woman was just unable to utter the words, her wish, when death, like a thief appearing from a blind spot, snatched away her last breath. A classic case of hit and run was the only comment the investigators gave for the papers. What a cruel twist of fate, all that power in the world, but in the end, old-fashioned fate won the race.
When the genie found out that his human (the woman) was gone, he was taken aback and so devastated that he began giving away wishes to passersby. The only thing he’d ask in return is for them to save one wish for him, to allow him to turn his tears into fireworks — some call it a tribute, but truthfully, it was just a desperate attempt to reverse his sadness.
People are interesting species, was his personal observation, still skeptical of the genie. He stayed in his seat in the cafe, still under the shade, while weighing whether or not he should try a wish himself. The patrons nearest to him, tourists, most of them young, yakked incessantly about the ballgame the evening prior as though it had shifted the course of the history of that world. He then wondered about God, how he must feel watching over his creation on his perch, and if he worries. He then returned to his essays but the scene unfolding before him amused him still; he continued to watch the crowd of people line up pouring over their hearts’ desire. He couldn’t help but feel like a kid with an ant farm.
The Talk Show
These are some theories why we don’t find as many genies nowadays, a scholar with a brown bowtie said on TV:
(a.) It’s cultural. How such a being, in appearance, is always going to be different for each race, origin, region, and even religious belief, (camera no.2 zooms in for a more dramatic effect.)
(b.) Nobody believes they exist anymore. Like fairies, they only exist if there is less doubt.
(c.) The devil took over management, (the scholar hesitated to elaborate.)
Host: I’m not sure I understand what you’re suggesting.
Scholar: People as species, are not responsible beings. One cannot simply get their wishes granted without repercussions or some level of responsibility. All I’m trying to say is that it’s like tracing puzzle dots, you won’t make out the picture if you won’t make the connection.
The Superintendent’s Note
It was a noise complaint, the piece of note said. He’d been playing the TV so loud following that phenomenon for days about the genie. He tried to phone Jerry, his friend, but there wasn’t a dial tone. The noise complaint turned out to be quite a concern among the neighbors that they had asked the superintendent to handle the matter. It was just a short note but the paper seemed to weigh so much — he checked if there were pebbles inside the envelope but there weren’t any. A curious thought circled playfully as he held the parchment paper with the letterhead. They have skinny walls but he has never heard his next-door neighbors’ voices ever, hasn’t met them, never came across any of them in the hallway. Not even a sign that would suggest that somebody was living next to him in the first place. He never heard them consummate, nor let out a horrible yell, not even a sneeze. He followed the trail of thought and rested on a sentiment that it would have been nice to hear anything at all just to indicate a pulse. But how can that be? It just wasn’t possible, unable to hear anything from those rooms next to his. Everybody must be in it, the whole world in an agreement to not talk about it — a TV forever on mute. Perhaps somebody asked the genie to turn everything into a mime show.
After hours of handing out job applications, he found himself catching his breath in front of a high-rise condominium where a mounted image of a lion can be seen at the entryway. It wasn’t the rainy season yet but he already has a cold. At the nearby pharmacy, over-the-counter remedies were on display but he still approached the man at the counter. He later learned that all pharmacies, even hospitals, are to be shut down since nobody needs medicines anymore, now that the genie has gone corporate, and made ties with political leaders. He handed over a made-up prescription written on the back of the note he received from the superintendent. The pharmacist let out a quiet chuckle.