The Genie's Wishes

26 Dec 2015, 12:22 p.m.

As is probably to be expected, my schedule on this daily posting thing is slipping a bit because of the Christmas holidays. I accounted for that in the (imaginary) fine print when I started, however, so I'm in the odd position of wanting to beat myself up about it, because I am neurotic, but technically not being able to, because I am also quite keen on following rules. Good job, past me.

The prompt for yesterday, December 25, was an amusing one with an obvious answer. I'll try knocking out a post for it now and a second one this evening, when today's prompt goes up.

For ten thousand years, I, a fearsomely powerful djinn, have been trapped within the confines of this shabby bronze lamp! Well, it's closer to 8,500 years but there's no shame in rounding up. At first I only raged, wordless in my fury. Then, after the first millennium had passed, I began to cajole the fates, listing the extravagant boons and treasures I would bestow upon the one who freed me from my prison!

Occasionally some thought did flicker in my consciousness, suggesting that perhaps the Council of Djinns, East Anglian Chapter, had had good reasons for this punishment, given my many crimes, but I extinguished it — and in any case, after my sentence of three thousand years had passed and my captivity was not ended, it became clear that something had gone wrong outside my lamp. I tried to satisfy myself by imagining the terrible poetic justice that the council might have met, but these thoughts occupied me only a few centuries.

Once again, I gave in to my anger. Instead of rewarding the mortal — or immortal — who released me, now I determined to destroy them for taking so long to do it! You may call this irrational, but ask yourself, how much of your vaunted rationality would you possess after being caged for millennia?

After still more ages had passed, however, I reconsidered even this. Being trapped alone in the darkness with only one's own thoughts to argue against is wonderfully effective at making ones doubt one's every conclusion. Yes, even for an immortal creature with the power of the inferno whirling in every limb. When I am finally freed, I will grant my rescuer some tiny reward — I shall tell them the coordinates of some caves, perhaps, resplendant with jewels and treasure and similar tawdry stuff. Then I shall leave, tearing a flaming rent across the very sky with my passage, and seek out the true beneficiary of the three wishes I may grant upon my emancipation.

I know not who they are, but this I have decided: they too will have suffered as I have. They too will know the pain of arbitrary and unyielding confinement, of implacable yet unreachable captors. They will understand the terror of having been forgotten. I will offer to them my power and together, we will destroy all such institutions and would-be tyrants.

Blogger's note: Gosh, this went darker than I expected it to. My original thought was to send the genie to David MacIver, as he's the person I know who's thought the most about what to do with a genie's three wishes. In his current mood, I would recommend the genie to ask Amnesty International for prospective collaborators, and I'd recommend my mortal readers to support their work with donations and signatures. Thanks to Judy Dykstra-Brown, another responder to this prompt, who got my thoughts moving in this direction.