paradise

Jan 31 2013

John had always wanted to explore the dusty back streets of cairo, but his friend James had not. James should have stayed at the hotel, but he hadnt wanted to miss out on anything, even if he refused to enjoy it. John did not understand why James had insisted on coming with him to egypt at all since he seemed not to want to see it. they were childhood friends, not lovers, and John preferred doing things alone anyway, but James would not be dissuaded.

“its hot” he whined “and it smells. why are we doing this?” John pretended not to hear him over the sound of how awesome sightseeing is. he sipped from his canteen and snapped pictures and sometimes stopped to do a sketch.

it was at one such stop that they were approached by a small wizened man with a clanking cart, some sort of peddler or junk salesman. “you young man” said the peddler to John “i have something, just the thing, just for you”.

“fuck off” said James.

“hang on” said John “let the gentleman show his goods”. James looked sulky.

“here, a magic lamp” said the old man, “just for you, just for you”. he produced a misshapen hunk of tin that didnt look like it could hold even a single drop of oil.

“you fucking old con artist” shrieked James “get lost!”

John paid no attention. “how much is it?” he asked politely.

“for you free” said the peddler “free for you young man”. he handed John the trinket and without further ceremony continued walking. John fished in his pocket for a few notes and shoved them in a cup that was hanging from the cart.

“i cant believe this, you amateur” said James.

“lets have a look at this” said John, and he started rubbing the lamp. it seemed to sparkle, brighter and brighter, and then it seemed to glow. and it glowed red hot, and John dropped it. “ow!” he said.

from out of the lamp, came a cloud of blue smoke, shimmering like gold dust. and from the blue smoke came the lean blue torso of a strong youth, with strong slender blue arms, and a finely molded hairless blue head. the face of the genie was delicate, with large blue eyes which shimmered upon John like gold dust, and serenely smiling blue lips which pronounced “you have three wishes, master”.

James had been speechless for a few moments but at this his voice sprang immediately into action. “don’t listen to it John” he said “it is a trickster, a devil! you know how stories about genies go”. but John had been ready for just such a moment as this and he would not be dissuaded.

“thank you Genie. for my first wish, i ask for a great deal of money, enough to be comfortable for all of my life ten times over, while i follow my dreams of performing a highly ethical but completely thankless and poorly paid service to society”.

“your wish is granted” said the genie. and from around a corner appeared a camel, with a chest on its back. “in the chest are many priceless coins” said the genie, handing John a card with a name and address on it. “you must take these coins to this agent, a trustworthy man, who will evaluate them and organise their sale for you. what is your next wish?”

James reached out to touch the chest, but the camel hissed and snapped its jaws at him. “ow!” he said “that thing has rabies!”

“thank you Genie” said John. “for my second wish i ask for a kind and intelligent woman to call my wife, to truly love and be truly loved by for all of our long lives on this earth”.

“your wish is granted” said the genie. and walking down the street came a lovely woman, the splendid features of her honest face plainly revealing her gentle disposition and good, true nature. “i find myself in a foreign land” said the woman approaching John “perhaps you can tell me where i am?”

“im John” he said and “im Jane” she said. and they both knew in that moment that they were destined to be together forever.

James spat. “this is going to fuck up all of your shit John” he said “youre going to regret you ever laid eyes on that filthy peddler”.

“what will be your final wish, master?” asked the genie.

“thank you Genie” said John. “for my third wish, i ask that you please take James away, to a paradise where he will be cared for properly and never be sad or angry, and keep him there for the rest of his days, so that i will never ever have to see his face or hear his voice ever again”.

“your wish is granted” said the genie. and just like that, James was gone, forever. and the genie winked and vanished. and they all lived happily ever after.

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