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What You Wish For

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Written by   274
4 months ago
Topics: Freewrite, Column, Death, Fiction, Crime, ...

[WP] For years you searched for a genie. When you found it, your life was made. The genie says, "Hello. I am a genie, however humans have us wrong. The wishes we grant deal in lifespan." You reply, "Genie, I would like to give a day of my life to heal my bruised foot." The genie then looks saddened.

*****

A genie's life.

As a metaphor, it could be summed up as a therapist faced with patients who refuse any sort of help. A wealth of medicine, science and powers to heal the sick and turn the wicked to the light, if only they willed it.

So why did the genie grant the wishes then, if it knew how bad they went? Its nature couldn't be denied, the same way a snake was born with poison and the scorpion rose its sting when feeling threatened.

An eon old being, shackled by its baser nature like a newborn foal. There was a lesson in there, coated in irony and fatalism.

Maybe this young one would learn it too, in time. Then again, everyone was young in the genie's single eye.

"I'm limping and I have a run tomorrow, I'd like to give a day of my life to heal my bruised foot," you say, proud to have such a little wish for your first.

"You know, it would be better if you just sent me away and forgot about me," replies the genie.

"I wish for a healed foot."

The genie snaps his fingers, and the pain in the ankle is gone, the foot pristine and ready to go through kilometers of concrete for tomorrow's run.

"Thanks."

The run went well, you barely think about it. You're much more amazed at the sudden disappearance of discomfort, instead of the usual, gradual vanishing. One snap, and everything is alright. Somewhere, sometime, far beyond, a single day of life was shed away.

"I have a date tonight."

"Go with your most ravaging smile and hope for the best," muses the genie.

"Could you... just apply a bit of polish? You know, wax on and wax off, take that odd bit of skin away, firm up my belly, that sort of thing. Just as an edge."

Just as an edge.

"Two days."

"Deal."

The genie claps his hands, and the odd pimple falls into oblivion, the skin tightens up ever so slightly, and the eyes sparkle with the energy of youth.

The date fizzled out. No chemistry. But you don't mind.

How easy it is to wash off the impurities of your bodies with a few words, and two days. What are two days in a life?

Somewhere, sometime, two days died.

It isn't much. It never is. One day, two, three, a small price to pay when a massage costs a lot, as does a membership to a sports-club, for slower and imperfect results.

"Make me smarter," you ask.

Ah, thinks the genie, here we are. The moment when it hinges on wordplay, where just a push in the right direction could change everything.

"If I may, ask to become wiser, it will serve you better."

"Smarter will do."

"Pleas..."

"I wish to be smarter," you pronounce the words like a death sentence.

The genie sighs. it knows, knows the tremor in your voice as the symptom of an addict, and what an addiction it is. At first, you went at it parsimoniously, just a day here and there, and not much asked in return. The first shot of drug is always innocent.

You don't ask the price anymore.

The genie and its wishes, you take them for granted. They are a part of your life, one you can't live without. An injury or sickness? healed. An objective, a dream? The means to reach it in the palm of your hand. A whim, a desire? Easily paid for.

The genie claps his hands and sighs.

You'd never seen it before, the ramifications, the possibilities. The web of life humans spin, the implications of a word you heard so many times yet never noticed. The letters burn in your mind and in their ashes you find treasures.

"I wish for my body to be stronger, more resilient," you say, trembling.

The rush is like none other, a burst of vitality coursing through your veins, you could scale a mountain and break a wall, a pristine example of a sane and beautiful body with a genius mind inside.

You leave the room, laughing and stumbling, your senses overwhelmed by the new, better new. And with it, a new world.

Time goes by, you are married to a wonderful person, and life is perfect. It has to be, problems with your spouse are solved with words, but not with your spouse, only with the genie. A life free from worry and decay, filled with success and fights won, be they of a bodily or intellectual nature.

"What's happening?" you gasp.

"You are dying," replies the genie.

"No, no, not now." You're so young, barely reached mid-life. There's so much left to live for, so many things to do, it cannot possibly end so early.

"Where are they?" you ask in panic.

"Your spouse is out for the day, the rest of the family out and about. I'm sorry, you will die alone."

Not here, you think, not like that, in a clean, well-equipped kitchen, to be found holding your burning body tight, on the ground in a pitiful fetal position as you fight for breath. Not for someone like you, someone who lived for greatness. Such a death is unbecoming.

"I wish..." you cough blood.

"Keep your strength, you have no more days to bargain with. I'm sorry."

The world spins, your vision goes red, your heart is on fire and your lungs turn to clay. It wasn't so bad, was it? A good life, if short, and many feats to your name. How many mountains you climbed, love stories you lived, praise you garnered? How many? How many without the genie watching you in the background? What have you achieved on your own, without a crutch, without outside help, with your two hands alone?

Nothing, it all feels so empty.

Through the pain, you whisper a lone question.

"Why?" Too weak to speak more, your head hits the floor and you start shaking. A single word with a lot of weight, the genie knows.

The last instants always boil down to the same questions, the same realizations.

This is not what I wanted. This is not what wanted for life, for myself. Why did you give me this?

"I gave you what you wished for. If it wasn't what you wanted, you should have worded it better. As for the why, well, I can fight my nature no more than you can choose to go against your lungs and stop breathing forever just like that."

The vision goes dark, the pain a foreign concept. You hear only the ragged breath, the struggle for air.

Not like this.

And nothingness. The end.

The genie, unbound to the earthly ties, vanishes into oblivion.

A long time passes. And after a long rest, the genie feels the pull, the order to leave the is-not and become a presence manifest.

"I am the genie."

"My hand hurts, can you heal it?"

The genie, ethereal being with no earthly needs, appears to take a deep breath.

"You know, it would be better if you just sent me away and forget about all this."

*****

THE END

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Written by   274
4 months ago
Topics: Freewrite, Column, Death, Fiction, Crime, ...
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