Wishing to Connect

“I wish for the world to reach Utopian status within the next century and maintain it until the sun burns out naturally,” Peter said. After he made his wish, he laid down on the couch to wait for three minutes.

“Wait, that’s your wish?” The genie asked. She walked to the couch and looked down on Peter through narrow eyes. “That doesn’t count yet, unless you’re sure,” she added.

“I’m sure,” Peter replied. The genie shook her head, her gold dangling earrings jingled with the motion.

“No, no. Hold on. You haven’t even given it any thought,’ she said. “I didn’t even tell you when you had to use it. Why don’t you hold on to it for a while, maybe you can think of a way out.” Peter remained on his back, but he gave her a curious look.

“You said I can’t wish for anything that will save me,” he said. “There’s no way out.”

“You didn’t even try,” she said. She had an edge of annoyance in her voice. Peter shrugged.

“I’m going to die one day anyway, right? At least this way, my death means something for everyone else.”

“They’ll never know it was you,” she said. Peter laughed.

“I’m going to be dead, it doesn’t really matter,” he said.

“No, c’mon. You’re supposed to try and outwit me. I’m a genie, there’s gotta be a loophole, right?” She grabbed his hand to try and pull I’m off the couch; she only managed to get him sitting upright again. “I said you can’t wish for anything that’ll save you, but maybe you can come up with a wish that ends up saving you as a side effect? You can take your time, there’s no rush. I’ll just hang around until you use it up.” Peter tilted his head at the genie.

“What’s life like inside the lamp?” he asked. She hadn’t accepted his wish, so he felt comfortable starting a conversation.

“It’s not bad,” she said. “It’s actually a pocket universe, so I’m not cramped or anything. It’s a lot like being the last person on Earth, I have an entire planet to myself.”

“Do you have to grant wishes?” he asked. The genie nodded and shrugged simultaneously.

“What’s the point of a genie that doesn’t grant wishes?” she said.

“Why just one wish? And why does it kill me?” Peter asked. The genie shrugged again. She sensed it was going to turn into a conversation and sat down on the couch next to him.

“Genies get to make up their own rules. The three wish limit is commonly accepted, so most genies will use that as a standard. I’ve tried several different rulesets; and, I’ve found that making a client think long and hard about one wish earns me a lot of free time on the outside world. Most people…,” the genie reached out and gave Peter a playful shove. “…think about their wish for more than a few minutes.” Peter smiled as he gave her situation some more thought.

“I think you’re right, maybe I rushed it,” he smirked at her. “Give me a few years and I’m pretty sure I can outsmart you,” he said.

“Really?” she asked, her eyes brightened. Peter nodded.

“But, until then, do genies eat? It’s getting close to dinner time and since I’m going to be alive, I need to eat. You should join me,” he said. The genie grinned.

“That’s a wish I’ll grant for free.”

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