Jake scratched his chin. “I thought genies granted three wishes?”
The dark, impish creature grinned and said, “We do… just not like you think.”
“How does it work, then?” Jake asked.
“You get one wish, then I get one wish,” the genie said. “And, if you survive my wish, you will get one more.”
“If I survive?”
“Yes, yes,” the genie said. “As I already said – you will have one year to enjoy your first wish. Then, I’ll return and make my wish in your presence. Just don’t expect to make it through my wish.”
“I didn’t mean to wake you,” Jake said.
“Well, you did,” the genie said. “You have three minutes left to make your wish, or it is forfeit.”
“Alright,” Jake sighed and closed his eyes. “I wish…”
One year later…
“I told you I’d return,” the genie said, rows of yellow teeth exposed in a jester’s grin. “Did you enjoy your wish?”
“Indeed,” Jake said.
“Good, good,” the genie said. “This is my favorite part. Let’s see – how can I most enjoy my next year with you?”
Jake glared at the disgusting little creature and said, “Just get it over with.”
The genie scowled. “I’ll take my own good time if I want, thank you very much. I don’t like to rush such things… I might forget something important.”
“You mean, like you rushed me? I had three minutes!”
“So do I, so do I…” the genie said. “Don’t get your knickers in a bundle.”
The genie eyed Jake and said, “Are you sure you enjoyed your wish? Something doesn’t seem quite right with you…”
Sweat drenching his back, Jake said, “You probably don’t have much time left.”
Could the genie know about the deal Jake made with that other genie? No, this little monster had no clue. Right? Jake twisted his hands and awaited the genies next words.
“You’re not telling me something,” the genie said. “But – no matter! We’ll have plenty of time to discuss things over the next year.”
“If you say so…” Jake avoided eye contact with the genie – he was close to breaking. Perspiration rolled from his forehead down his cheeks.
“Aha! I’ve always wanted to try life under the oceans… all that darkness, pressure, cold. It will give me time to think – and to savor you slowly drowning to death over the course of the year.”
“Let’s make it official then,” the genie said. “I wish for you to accompany me to the bottom of the ocean for the next term of our contract.”
Nothing happened. The genie frowned.
Smiling, Jake said, “I used some of the money you gave me to locate another genie. That genie explained to me that only one wish can be negated with a wish of mine. So, I used her to negate whatever you wished for.”
“A genie would not tell you…”
“Oh, but she did,” Jake said. “After I threatened to use my first wish to kill her.”
Narrowing his eyes, the genie said, “She was stupid then – you were bluffing.”
“I was desperate,” Jake said. “This was just a week ago, and I knew you were coming. I don’t know what I would have done if she called my bluff. Hell, I don’t even know if I was bluffing. Anyway – it bought me the time I need.”
“You cannot buy time!” the genie said.
Jake shrugged. “I’ve pretty much bought everything else. Hell – I was nobody before I met you. I have you to thank for my new life. No hard feelings – I just beat you at your own game.”
The genie’s eyes widened. “You… you little ape! You’re not smarter than me! You’ll still have to answer to that other genie’s wish in a year!”
Jake nodded and scratched his chin. “True. In the meantime, however, let’s talk about my third wish…”
About the Author
Matthew C. Plourde
Matthew C. Plourde is a father, husband, network engineer, and writer. He has completed a novel and started another. While revising the manuscripts, he enjoys writing and reading flash fiction. His 2009 flash fiction has appeared on flashscribe.net, microhorror.com, loreleisignal.com and everydaywierdness.com.