Continuing the story about Genies: a flashback.
Jerry was one of those annoying people who could only exist in today’s modern world. Two or three hundred years ago, unless he was a member of the landed class, he simply could not afford to take so much time being an introspective narcissist. In today’s world, however, with the amazing levels of wealth allowing so much free time, even the poorest of the working class can afford to spend the time “working on himself” and “trying to find himself.”
From a distance such people amused me and were evidence of just how far we have come as a civilization. Up close, however…
“Trust me, Jerry,” I complained, “if you want to find yourself, buy a mirror. Or go see a shrink. Or go run off to an ashram in the hills of Santa Cruz. But ask the genie for platinum or gold or silver; don’t ask him to help you with your psychological issues. You won’t like the results.”
Jerry was having none of it. “But money is the root of all evil, and for me to ask for money would violate my spiritual journey!”
I shook my head.
Never did I think that a group of failed writers and hacks who gathered at the cafes in Paris in the 1840’s, self-stylized “philosophers” whose real goal was to sell books so they could pay for their apartments overlooking the Champs-Elysées, would create so much havoc a hundred and fifty years later.
Genies don’t have a monopoly on chaos.
“Look,” I replied. “Money is just a tool, like a hammer or a screw driver. With the right tools you can build your life the way you want it.”
“You’re just some capitalist tool, and I don’t know why I ever came in to see you!” Jerry stood up and prepared to storm out of the room.
“Wait, wait, wait, sit down. Let’s try this again.” I pleaded. Jerry stopped and turned back.
“Genies are not what you think they are. They are evil, obnoxious, and are looking for any way to turn your wish against you. They will nit-pick language, use obscure definitions, and use any gaps in the way you phrase your wish in the worst way possible.
Jerry smiled. “I’ll prove you wrong.”
From underneath his coat he pulled out a small brass oil lamp. “Oh, shit!” I exclaimed and shoved my chair back from the desk as hard as I could to get as much distance as I could find.
Jerry rubbed the lamp. The old familiar shadow emerged, and a booming voice similar to the one I remembered nearly a millennia ago rattled the walls of my office.
“For setting me free I will grant you three wishes!”
Jerry looked up into the great evil darkness. “I wish to find myself, to bring those things that are inside me to the surface so I can reveal my true self!” he confidently replied.
A great bellowing laughter, which sent chills down my spine. I pushed myself off the chair and ducked under the desk, afraid of what would happen next.
“Your wish shall be granted, fool!”
Jerry smiled at me, then a sudden pained look as he grabbed his stomach. It started to enlarge in a sickening way. I could see his mouth start to form an O shape as his stomach erupted, and a sudden explosion as Jerry’s body was ripped apart, turning inside out. Blood splattered everywhere, coating my desk, the walls, the carpet.
Chunks of red meat splattered sickeningly to the floor.
The shadow spoke in a deep voice. “I see you, Frank. Know that we’re watching you. And someday we will get our revenge for the things you have done to us these past 120 years.”