…I wish I had a million dollars every month in my bank account starting now, for the rest of my life.”
Leven unfolded his arms and held out his hands with open palms, facing up,
“That’s it?” I asked.
“Yup. You can check your bank account if you’d like”, he said proudly.
I raised my left eyebrow in suspicion, but then I remembered the pizza and how he made it appear. I snatched my phone and checked my balance.
“Oh my God! This can’t be real! I’m a millionaire!” I said with my mouth wide open.
“It appears so, and for the rest of your life.”
I stared at the numbers, 1,000,000,120. 73.
“Ready for your next wish?” He asked with a huge grin on his face.
“Um, no. I think I need to sit down for a bit and process what just happened”, I said more so talking to myself.
“Alright well, you know how to reach me.” He began to evaporate and turn into a mist like smoke, back into the bottle.
“Wait!” I called after him.
He appeared back into his solid form in an instance.
“How long do I have until the next wish?” I realized that we never discussed that part.
“Overall, you have a year to make all three wishes. You have time.”
“Okay. I guess I’ll let you know when I want to make a wish”, I shrugged.
He nodded and disappeared into the bottle.
I should have been more excited that I was a millionaire now, but a part of me felt bad. I felt bad for Leven. All these wishes he grants… I wondered what he wished for and if he ever wished for his freedom. I stared down at my phone deciding on what to do next, then I looked at the bottle that Leven disappeared into. I smiled to myself. There was only one thing to do.
“Hi, Melissa? It’s Alyana, I’m not coming into work tomorrow. In fact, I’m not coming back, I quit.” I tapped the end button on my phone and laid back on the couch.
“I can’t believe I just did that”, I giggled out loud, “I’m rich!”
I spent the rest of the day shopping online for something to wear to Sabrina’s engagement party. Now that I had money, I could literally blow two hundred dollars on a pair of jeans. Not that I was going to, but the thought was nice. I finally settled on a simple black dress. It was a beautiful embellished dress with flowers and birds by Valentino. I paired it with Giuseppe Zanotti winged sandals and a floral Alexander McQueen handbag. I felt confident, but I hoped that my dress wouldn’t overshadow her’s. There was one problem… I didn’t have a date. I mean sure, I could go there and mingle, but then I would be faced with the questions of, when do I plan on getting married, settling down and having a family of my own. Questions that I don’t want to deal with. Then I thought the obvious. I could ask Leven to be my date. But would he go through with it? No, I shouldn’t ask him. I just met him and tried to kill him a couple of hours ago. I’ll just bite the bullet and go alone.
The day was approaching and a week later, I still had not come up with a solution other than asking Leven to be my date. The truth is, I don’t want to go alone. It had been a week since I made my wish and as promised, I had not seen or heard from Leven. His bottle sat on my mantel, above the fireplace in my living room. Just do it chicken! I thought to myself. He can only say no. Right, it’s just rejection, I thought sarcastically. Just as I was about to walk over to the mantel, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I didn’t look that bad, but I could have looked better. I went through my overflowing walk-in closet of new clothes and shoes, I had several new clothes folded on the floor. Eventually, I was going to have to move out and buy a house, but in time. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. It was bad enough that I’d been in the house for a week without leaving, It’s a good thing that I live in an apartment now and not in a house. I took off my sweatpants and my old Trix t-shirt and put on something more feminine.
“There”, I said looking at myself in the mirror, “that’s better.”
I chose a pair of comfortable girly looking sweatpants with rhinestones and flowers, and a matching corn blue tank top with another white lacy tank top underneath. Instead of putting my hair into my signature bun, I left it down with a clip on the side. A little bit of mascara and some lip gloss and I looked like a brand new me. I fussed with a chunk of hair that kept getting in my eye.
“Oh my God just stop, you look fine!” I huffed in a whisper.
I walked into my living room and took the bottle off the mantel and placed in on my coffee table.
I waited for about a second and the smoke like mist slowly rose out of the bottle into a large cloud.
“Hi, Alyana”, he said.
“What do you wish for?” He said getting to the point.
“Um, I need to ask you a question but I don’t want to make a wish. I actually haven’t even thought about it…” I rambled.
He dressed in an odd pair of acid washed drop-crotch pants that ombréed into black with a pair of black leather high top Nikes, a sleeveless black and leather hoodie and a black beanie. I giggled out loud.
“What?” He asked with a shrug.
“Seriously?” I asked pointing to his outfit. I won’t lie, he did look hot, but I knew why he chose this of all things to wear.
“You have on Genie pants”, I smiled.
He chuckled, “oh so you like? And these are not “Genie” pants. They are called Harem pants.”
I walked around him, checking him out. He even smelled nice too. A hint of vanilla, musk and citrus spice. Hmmm… he was very attractive. I cleared my throat as well as my thoughts.
“So I have a question–”
“Yes?” He asked cutting me off. He seemed almost too eager to answer the question.
“Are you busy tomorrow?” I asked not hiding the uncertainty in my voice.
He laughed a hearty laugh.
“What’s so funny?” I asked crossing my arms over my chest.
“Besides you being cute? You act like I have a life or something and that I’m too busy for you.” He took my hands and held it in his. “Essentially, until you make your third wish. I belong to you. You are my Master, I am simply just a servant to you.”
His words penetrated my heart with such sadness. Even though his kind eyes and bright genuine smile… he was a prisoner. A part of me wanted to leap into his arms and kiss his pain away but a kiss would do nothing to make his situation better. I suddenly felt bad for asking him for anything, even if it was his job. I decided not to ask him at all. Wait, did he say I was cute?
“Never mind”, I shook my head.
“What? Go ahead and ask”, he insisted.
“No, it’s stupid.” I shouldn’t have said anything. I bet the last thing he wants to do is listen to orders from his so-called, “Master“, I cringed.
“Are you sure? You can literally ask me anything. I do have free will you know.”
On second thought… “Alright, look you can say no, if you really, really don’t want to go, I’ll understand. I won’t be mad at all what so ever–”
“–Just ask woman!” He said throwing up his hands.
“Can you please go with me to my best friend’s Sabrina’s engagement party?” It came out more like a beg more than a question, but I really didn’t want to go on my own. “I mean if you can be seen and all, I don’t know what your rules are about that kind of stuff.”
“Ah, sorry I can’t go. I can only stay where I first appear when I was summoned”, he said with sympathy.
“Oh, okay, that’s fine”, I said trying my best to hide my disappointment.
He burst out laughing, “I’m sorry, I had to… your face…” He continued to laugh.
I frowned and looked at him through tiny slits.
“I’m free, I’m free. I’m sorry. I was just kidding”, he said slapping my arm gently. “I’m sorry. Thank you for asking me.”
“Whatever”, I said keeping my arms crossed.
“Don’t be upset. It was just a joke. I tell you what, If I give you a pizza will that make up for it?”
I perked up, but I wanted to test him.
“Strawberry cheesecake and we have a deal”, I challenged him.
With a soft whoosh, there it was sitting perfectly in a crystal dish along with plates and forks. I picked the dish up and headed towards the kitchen with it.
“Wait you’re not sharing?” He called after me.
“Nope, maybe later.”
“Ok-ay? So see you later then?” He asked as I was returning to the room. He began to turn translucent as if he was about to disappear into the bottle again and I didn’t want him to leave.
“You can stay. If you want”, I suggested.
“As in, hang out with you?” He asked in surprise transforming back into his solid self once more
“Sure, but only if you want to”, I said taking a seat on the couch.
“Okay”, he said taking a seat next to me.
He sat down awkwardly and straight as if he never sat down on a couch before. What the hell was wrong with him?
“What are you doing?” I asked, turning the T.V. on.
“Uh, sitting”, he said staring straight ahead.
“No, I mean like, what are you doing? Why are you acting weird as though you never sat down on a couch before, when you just sat down with me last week.”
“I– um, it’s just that I never had someone ask me to hang out with them before– well not a woman, like you.”
“What do you mean like me?” I asked confused.
“Like you”, he pointed at me motioning his hand up and down.
I sat in silence, not knowing what to say or how to feel about what he was saying. I flicked through the channels trying to find something that we both would like and I eventually settled on the Travel channel. It would have killed me if I came across, I Dream of Genie.
“So…”, I said breaking the ice. “How long have you been a Genie for?”
“Eleven years”, he said not taking his eyes off the T.V. I noticed that his shoulders had relaxed a little more.
“How old are you?”
I gasped, “–no you’re not!”
He smiled, “I stopped aging eleven years ago when I became a Genie.”
“So, you’re going to stay looking thirty for the rest of your life? That must be nice.”
“It has its perks, but hypothetically, if I were to ever become free, then I would begin to age again from thirty.”
I got sad again when I was reminded of his imprisonment.
“How did you become a Genie? If I’m asking you too many questions, just let me know.”
“It’s cool. It’s not every day that someone is interested in my life. Well, my father was human, and he made a bad bet with some men. He ended up owing them a lot of money and that almost cost him his life, they shot him and left him for dead in a motel. A Djinn, I’m assuming his Djinn, made a deal with him. If my father used his last wish to switch places with him, then he would have everlasting life and would never have to worry about his debts again, along with the perks of having “absolute” power. He made the deal out of desperation. He never considered another option, or that he would never see me or my mother again.”
“Is he still alive?” I asked giving Leven my full attention.
Leven shook his head, “I assume so, but no one knows for sure since a Jinn can’t die or be killed. Which leaves me questioning why am I here? Legend has it if a Djinn were to die or get killed in which such an event like the one that happened between my father and a Djinn, then the firstborn son would have to assume the position of Jinn in his father’s place. Leaving me, his only son to inherit his curse.”
“That’s awful!” I gasped. “So how…”
“I was a normal guy, I just graduated college with an Arts degree and I–I went to sleep one night, thought I was having a dream, and eleven years later here I am. Except, this isn’t a dream.”
“What about your mother?”
He shrugged, “I don’t know. I haven’t been in contact with the outside world or any of my family or friends–”
“Did you have a girlfriend before you, were, um…”
“Yeah, I had one. Nothing serious, but still, I left her without explanation. So I was kind of in a bad space for a couple of years.”
“How come you aren’t a bad Djinn?” I blurted.
“I was for the first year, but I didn’t care to be that way. It wasn’t their fault that I became a Genie. So I chose to help people instead. I do lie when I need to.”
“Really? What do you mean? Like, in what situation?”
“If I’m asking too many questions, just tell me. I just find you fascinating. I’ve never heard of a Genie being real.”
“No, no, it’s fine. I laughed because of what I am about to tell you. People are sometimes sick and twisted with their wishes. I’ve grand wishes that are beyond ridiculous and pointless and sometimes– well, a lot of times, I have found out that people desire sex, a lot.”
“They asked you for sex?” I asked with big eyes.
“No, not really but, the intent is there. They want me to have sex with them–”
“Women have asked you?” I asked in disbelief.
“Women and men, but that’s when I lie to them. I add it in part of the rules, so they don’t wish for me to have sex with them, for fear that they might lose a wish.”
I sat quietly for a moment.
“You never gave me that rule”, I said quietly.
“I didn’t think I needed to give it to you.”
We sat in silence for a moment watching something about castles and huntings.
“Do you like, being where you are? When you leave here?”
I heard him sigh. He was now relaxed and leaning back on the couch.
“No, I’m alone, most times”, he admitted honestly.
“Well… you don’t have to go back. At least not today.”
He was silent. I wondered if he was thinking or rejecting my offer. I wanted to make myself clearer.
“I don’t like being alone either.”
“Okay”, he responded softly.