Flash Friday 31/07/2015: Not So Genieous
Abbud blinked his eyes. Nobody could feel fresh and spritely after a sleep that lasted months, but he had to put on his best face. The lamp he resided in was being rubbed, and that could only mean one thing; showtime.
Pushing his ethereal body through the spout of the lamp, he licked his lips to wet them. “Good evening,” he said, with a slightly croaky voice, which he cleared. “What would you like to discuss?”
“At last!” the holder of the lamp yelled, his voice echoing around the palace’s spacious lamp room. The bearer was a wicked-looking man with dark robes and a nasty sneer. “I have the genie under my control! All my years of planning and subterfuge has finally paid off. Now, I demand of you, genie of the lamp; my first wish will be unlimited power beyond anything that man has ever felt before!”
Abbud squinted his still-tired eyes. “Sorry, what?”
“My first wish,” the holder barked. “Under my command as Faraj, Snake of the Sands, I demand my first wish, genie. Give me the power to rule over the entirety of the world.”
Abbud nodded slowly. “I see. So, would you like some advice?”
“Yeah, you know. You wish help from me, right? So I can give you some tips as to how to go about ruling the world. I mean, to be honest, world domination isn’t exactly a realistic goal–”
“You fool!” Faraj barked. “I do not want advice, I want you to give me the three wishes you owe me as your new owner. So grant me them, immediately!”
“Three wishes?” Abbud said. “What, do you think I’m sort of divine being that can grant people anything they want through wishes?”
Faraj’s face fell. He leaned in closer to the genie, his voice dropping in volume. “Are you meaning to tell me that genies can’t grant three wishes?”
“But all the legends say that rubbing the lamp of a genie does that.”
“Well, that’s why they’re legends, Faraj. Because they’re not actually true. Trust me, if genies could actually grant you three wishes of seemingly unlimited power, why hasn’t anyone become world emperor yet?”
Faraj looked down, hurt. “I was hoping I’d be the first.”
“I’m really sorry, but there’s nothing I can do. I suppose you’ll have to go through the old-fashioned route of tyranny.”
“No, but you don’t understand. I have the annoying hero tied up in the corner over there. Do you see him?”
Abbud looked over to a young man with his arms behind his back. Abbud waved. The hero gave an affirming nod.
“What you’re telling me,” Faraj whispered on, “is that I have to go over to him and tell him that all the tension we’ve built up to this point has all been for naught, that he should not have even got out of bed this morning?”
Abbud shrugged. “Guilt-trip me all you like, it won’t give me the ability to grant you wishes.”
“But if you don’t grant wishes, then what’s the point of having a lamp room? A heavily guarded one, at that? What did people say when they came over to you and summoned you? Did they become disappointed too?”
“No. They said things like…you know, ‘Hello Abbud, nice to meet you, good to see your cosmic self, in no way or form will I ever wake you up so I can yell at your sleepy face about granting me special wishes that you can’t perform.'”
Faraj frowned. “I was just in the heat of the villainy, that’s all. Is there absolutely anything you can do?”
“Listen, I can probably put in a good word for you, or something.” Abbud drew a notepad and pencil and scribbled in it. “I can pencil in a meeting with a goddess of death in-between my month-long sleeps, or something. You know, build up some networking with people who are more into the magic side of business than myself. But for now, I kind of wish you untied the nice man over there and settled this–”
A bright light began to shine from behind the hero. With a faint tinkling sound like a distant wind-chime, the ropes slowly undid themselves from his wrist. The hero looked at them in amazement.
“Oh, hey,” Abbud said. “Whaddya know. I can do wishes after all.”
Faraj nodded in approval. “Very good work for someone who accidentally cast a spell.”
“Yeah, thanks. I guess you learn something new about yourself every day, huh?”
“Now then!” Faraj said, his wicked smile returning. “As your new master — and the fact that I helped you discover your new you — I demand my three wishes! First of all, I want power beyond all imagination, to rule over all mankind. For my second wish, I want my hair to stop frizzing up when I–”
A loud thump from behind Faraj. Faraj’s eyes crossed. He fell to the floor, the lamp clattering to the floor. Abbud tried to push himself back up, but he didn’t need to.
“Sorry about that,” the hero said, placing Abbud’s lamp back onto its podium. The hero placed the now-dented small statue back where it belonged. “I’ll be sure to bring this fellow to the proper authorities.”
“Thank goodness.” Abbud dusted off the scuffs on his lamp. “‘Power beyond all imagination’. How am I supposed to grant someone that if I can’t imagine it myself, honestly?”
“Well,” the hero said, hoisting the comatose Faraj over a shoulder. “It was good to meet you. And, uh…if you ever want to return the favour, I’ve been kind of wishing for a little female company these days, if you catch my drift.” He sealed the deal with a wink.
“Really? Because right now, I kind of wish you went home and left me to sleep for another–”
The hero — along with Faraj — vanished in a puff of smoke.
Abbud winced. “Right. Really gotta start watching what I say.”