“It’s a new day. Today I will be productive”, I said to myself. I wrapped a towel around my damp body and looked for my laptop. At least I will have the entire day to myself to get some much-needed writing done, maybe go out for a quick bite to eat…
Then, I froze. Someone was here. I could hear ruffling or what sounded like the flipping of paper. I didn’t leave the TV on did I? Of course I didn’t. I wrapped the towel tighter around myself as I tiptoed to the bedroom. I stopped and listened again. I heard the faint sound of something fall then another flipping of paper. I searched around the room for my cell phone and remembered that I never put in on charge. It was in my coat pocket, hanging up in the coat closet in the living room. Damn. I quietly slid open the dresser drawer to retrieve my underwear and threw on a pair of stretch pants and a t-shirt. I debated on rather or not I should put on my tennis shoes but then I thought about the squeaking it would make on the hardwood floors. Did I leave the door unlocked or something?
I tiptoed my way from my bedroom into the kitchen a few feet away. I grabbed a knife but then put it back when I thought about the mess blood would make if I had to stab whoever it was that decided to break into my apartment. I reached for the meat tenderizer and held the cold mallet close to my chest. I pressed my body up against the wall and tried to make myself flat like I’ve seen so many times in movies. I slid to the corner, took a deep breath and braced myself. 1-2-3–
“Agh!” I screamed.
I held the meat tenderizer above my head prepared to strike a blow. There was no one there. What? I saw my magazines scattered about the table as if someone had been reading them. Someone was here. I heard them!
“Come out you bastard! I know you’re here!” I yelled fearlessly. I scanned the room and put distance between myself and front closet. Unfortunately, the coat closet was by the front door, and there was no way that I was going anywhere near it.
I heard someone clear their throat behind me.”Hi!”, he said with a smile.
I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw him.
“Aggghhh!” I screamed bloody murder and hauled ass back into the bedroom, locking the door behind me.
I struggled to push my dresser in front of the door, to barricade myself in.
“I’m sorry I scared you Alayna–”, he said.
“Who are you? How do you know my name? And how the hell did you get into my house?” I screamed at the door.
Holy shit, he knows my name. He knows who I am! Did someone follow me here from the bar last night? I’m going to die!
“I read your name on the magazines– ” He explained. I’m sorry, um let me introduce myself. My name is Leven, you summoned me, then threw me in the trash… no judgment by the way. I get that a lot. I’m a genie or a Jinn, whichever is fine. I’m not here to hurt you, just to grant your wishes. So the sooner you do that I will get out.”
“Well, I wish you where the fuck out of my house!” I yelled still clutching the meat tenderizer for dear life.
I heard him chuckle. “It doesn’t work like that. I have to explain the rules to you first, then you can make your wishes. How about this? I’ll go back into the bottle, then you let me know when you are ready to talk.”
“I’m calling the cops!” I warned.
I waited for about an hour, waiting and listening but I heard nothing. I moved the dresser from in front of the door and put it back in its place against the wall. I crouched down by the bed and waited for the door to burst open, but nothing happened. After about fifteen minutes or so I walked over to the door, and cracked it open just enough to see down the hall.
“Hello?” I called out. “Hello?“
I tiptoed out of my room walking back into the living room, ready to smack whoever he was in the face with this heavy meat mallet. I stopped short when I saw the bottle on the coffee table and not in the trash where I left it. Someone is playing games with me. I threw on a pair of shoes I had lying near the door and retrieved my coat from the closet with the mallet still in my hand. After I saw that the coast was clear, I snatched the bottle and ran out of my apartment. Genie in the bottle my ass. Whoever thought this was funny– I hoisted the bottle over the fence and into the dumpster. I pulled out my cell phone to dial 911 but just as I turned it on it died. Seriously? Fuck my life right now. I have a lunatic in my apartment telling me that he’s a damn genie and my phone is dead. I banged on the door of my next door neighbor Patrick. He was a scrawny man and much shorter than me. I would have a better chance defending myself, I decided. I stood in front of my door debating on what to do.
“Why? Why me?” I huffed. If he wanted to kill me he would have done so when I came out the room right? And why introduce himself? I assumed Patrick was at work since he didn’t answer. I took a deep breath and opened the door to my apartment.
“Hello?” I called again.
I looked around and almost died when I saw it. No way! There was no way! I walked over to the bottle and examined it. How did you get back in here? There was no way in hell that someone could have put the bottle back into my apartment, so how did it get here? I uncorked the bottle and looked inside. It was empty. I placed the bottle back down on the coffee table and stood in front of it trying to decide what to do. I paced back and forth for almost an hour waiting for him to come out of the bottle or for it to move.
“Okay, you can come out now”, I said to the bottle. This is silly, I thought. Then I chuckled a bit as I remembered the story of Aladdin.
“You’ve got to be kidding me”, I picked up the bottle and rubbed it.
Nothing. I rubbed it again and still, nothing happened.
I put the bottle back down on the coffee table.”This is stupid”, I said putting my hands over my eyes.
“You do know, that rubbing without the consent of the person is called molestation where you are from right?”
“Aggghhhh!” I screamed backing up against the wall. “W-where did you come from?” I stuttered.
He put his finger over his left ear as though he was trying to recover from my high pitch scream.
“Wow! I think might be it’s safe to say I’m no threat to you Alayna.”
“Where… where did you come from? I–” I didn’t know what to say.
All of a sudden, a small spark and a mist appeared and he was gone. I stood there in shock not believing my eyes. I took a seat on the couch and tried to process what I just saw. What was his name?
I stared at the bottle and made sure not to take my eyes off of it this time. I watched as a light mist slowly swirled out the bottle. It moved across my body snaking threw my arms and around my legs that I held close to my chest and then it settled next to me. With a spark, there he was, sitting on the couch.Neither one of us spoke. I assumed he was waiting for me to either speak or scream again.
“I must be dreaming and I must have had too much to drink last night because this can’t be real. You can’t be real.”
I released my grip on my legs, then changed my mind.
“Go ahead. I’m not here to hurt you, Alayna. You have my word”, he said reading my mind.
I hesitated at first, but I really wanted to know if he was real and if I was in fact dreaming or not. I reached my hand towards him and poked his arm. I gasped, he was solid and made of warm flesh and muscle.
“You’re real?” I said more so to a question than a statement.
“Yes. My name is Leven and I’m a genie.”
“Well, you don’t look like a genie.”
I looked him up and down. He was dressed in regular men’s clothing. He was well dressed in a black beanie cap, a black fitted t-shirt with short sleeves exposing his muscular arms and a sleeve of tattoos. His pants were black and leopard print with a kilted overlay and he wore black leather sandals.
“And how is a genie suppose to look?” He asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Aren’t you suppose to be shirtless with bangles on your wrist, and MC Hammer pants?”
He laughed a hearty laugh, “I can assure you that I am a genie, and my choice of clothing does not affect my ability to grant wishes.”
“So… let me get this straight. Anything that I wish for, you can make happen?”
“Yes, but there are rules–”
I heard a tiny rumble in my stomach. I was hungry.
“So if I wished for a whole pepperoni pizza with extra cheese, olives, onions and banana peppers–”
With a soft whoosh and another light mist, there in front of me was a large pepperoni pizza, with extra cheese, olives, onions and banana peppers sitting there on the table alongside a cup and a bottle of Pepsi.
He shrugged, “This one is free. I can hear your stomach and figured you might be a Pepsi girl. Was I right?”
I nodded my head slowly with my mouth open in shock. I turned my head towards the pizza as the wonderful smell of cheese and marinara sauce invaded my nostrils, making my mouth water and my stomach growl a little louder.
“Please feed that thing, you’re making me feel bad.”
I hesitated, it did look good. But what if he poisoned it?
“Go on, I didn’t poison it”, he said reading my mind.
“Are you a physic too?”
“No”, he said reaching for a slice. “Now, if you asked for an apple… I might be a little worried”, he chuckled taking a big bite of the pizza.
I watched Leven take another big bite of his slice of pizza and chase after a long string of cheese that hung from his bottom lip. Screw it. I took a small bite of the pizza and couldn’t resist taking another bite.
“Oh my God, this is so good! Where did you get this from?” I asked fighting with my own string of cheese.
“From Alamahmedusela Kenosima–”
“What?” I asked cutting him off.
He laughed as if he just remembered something, “Sorry. It’s a place where I’m from. They have literally the best pizza I’ve ever had and I’ve had quite a few good ones. Actually, I take that back. I’ve had every type of pizza there is in the world, come to think of it. You know if we’re being realistic.”
“None of this is realistic”, I shook my head chewing on the delicious pizza. “So what are these rules?”
“Great”, Leven clapped standing up taking center stage in my living room.
It had been a long time since I had a man in my house. I couldn’t help but notice how attractive Leven was. It was hard to tell what nationality he was because it looked as if he was mixed with a little bit of everything, from his jet-black beard and neatly trimmed mustache that was fine and soft looking, to his rich chestnut colored skin. His eyes were smokey gray with light gray flecks throughout the irises and his features were that of Caucasian and Indian descent. I cleared my head of my thoughts and sipped on my Pepsi.
“Rule number one, you can not wish anyone to fall in love with you. For example, if your boyfriend or some guy that you’re chasing doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life with you, then you should probably move on.”
“Excuse me”, I said raising a finger, “I am single and I am not chasing after any–”
“Rule number two”, he continued, cutting me off. “If the guy that you are chasing or want to chase, doesn’t respond to you in the way you want him to, you can not wish death upon him or anyone. You can not wish someone dead or ill. Nor can you wish to bring someone back from the dead. Especially if they are decaying and mere rotting flesh and bones. That’s what they are going to come back as, and I don’t think that anyone wants to experience that on either side. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen and it is not pretty”, he shuttered in disgust.
“Well there goes that”, I joked.
“Rule number three you can not wish for all the money in the world, absolute power, or world peace… the wishes have to be somewhat realistic. And last but not least, you can not wish for my freedom. If for any reason you choose to wish for these things, your wish will be voided and you will lose your wish. So please be careful what you wish for. Do you understand the rules that I have stated?”
“Yes”, I nodded.
“Alright let’s get started! What do you wish for?” He asked enthusiastically.
“Hmmm… I wish…”