The devious Adam asks:
You lucked out – you found a lamp with an extremely generous genie. 100 wishes, and all for you! What are the last five wishes you make?
Okay, 100 wishes is just too many. You’re bound to screw up.
- Could you undo #23?
- Yeah, wait, I don’t want that car after all, though… wait, could you give it to my parents? They use cars.
- Scratch the spaceship, now that the galaxy’s been colonized and all…
- No, wait, wait, I want #23 back. Okay?
- Uh, wait, can I start over again?
Seriously though, given a hundred wishes, you’re bound to have at least one of those shoulda-coulda-woulda moments, and if you’re being fair on the genie, you might say something like this.
- Okay, then send him back to Hitler and the pineapples for a few decades.
- Okay, uh… what haven’t we done? Ah, flay the skin from his body five millimeters at a time, let it grown back a little, flay some more. A decade or two of that.
- Okay, is Saddam in hell? Any Ayatollahs? A nice gangbang would fit into this, I think.
- Ah! Give him a flashing hallucination that it’s all a dream, and then let him realize it isn’t. Heh. Good one, huh?
- Okay, then have all the denizens of the Inferno salute him, “All heil Bushie!” but they have to giggle and sneer, and when they salute they all flip him the bird, and then he gets sent back to the detoothing room to start the whole routine again, okay?
Okay, wait, maybe that would be a waste. Maybe it would go more like this:
Gord: Okay, how many does that leave by your count?
Genie: Five, young man. Five. Make ’em count, eh?
Gord: Yes Ma’am.
Genie: And no more of those interstellar trips, those are hard on me, okay?
Gord: No problem. Three was enough for me, anyway. How about… I know. Could you kind of… I don’t know, let me invent something cool and useful? Something that would be lucrative, not so I’m rich, mind you, but just so I don’t need to have a job, so I could kind of wander, ponder, think, write as I like?
Genie: Well, what do you have in mind?
Gord: I dunno. I’m not really qualified for anything. Maybe some kind of… I dunno. Some kind of electronic thingie…
Genie: Well, are you qualified for that sort of thing?
Gord: Not really.
Genie: So who would believe you invented it? Listen, why don’t I make you a famous novelist?
Gord: But… I don’t wanna cheat on that. I wanna… you know, do it on the strength of my own writing.
Genie: Okay, suit yourself. Uh… how about the tattoo-clock?
Gord: The what?
Genie: This guy wished for a tattoo clock a few years back, I told him I couldn’t give him one, not directly, but that one would be on the market within a few years. No idea how you can explain having had the idea, but… you know, a tattoo that has a… a functional clock in it.
Gord: You’re serious?
Gord: You have the plans?
Genie: I can whip something up.
Gord: Can I have one?
Genie: You invent it, kid. Of course you can have one.
Gord: They’re not carcinogenic, are they?
Genie: Would I do that to you?
Genie: Good point. No, no, they’re fine.
Gord: Cool, let’s go with that for wish number… 96?
Genie: You know, you’re taking a long time.
Gord: I know. Hey… [shuffling of papers] I know what I forgot! A nice new Selmer set of Selmer saxophones. Four of them, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone.
Gord: Nah, just the saxes, thanks.
Gord: Number 98: being really good at playing the saxes.
Genie: This you wanna cheat on? Writing, no, but music, yes?
Gord: Yeah. Yeah, I do. Give me mad skillz.
Genie: You got it… Bird.
Gord: God, no. If you wanna make me sound like someone, make it… Pharoah Sanders, with a little Dewey Redman mixed in. And a dash of Coltrane.
Genie: Everyone wants a dash of Coltrane.
Gord: Yeah, true. But I like him.
Genie: Yes, he was pretty good.
Gord: Okay, number 99: An African language.
Genie: Another language? Who will you speak it with?
Gord: Look, I can use all those Asian languages here, in Korea, but I want some perspective: I want something from among the Bantu languages.
Genie: Look, I know I shouldn’t…
Gord: No, no, just tell me, what is it?
Genie: The uh… the warming-up poicies you wished for? The war-preventatives, the modernisations and equalizations? I think… I mean, I can’t promise, but I think you might profit more from a working knowledge of Arabic.
Gord: God, you’re right. Okay, hit me, brother.
Genie: Ah salaam alaykum.
Gord: Ha, I already knew that line. I’ve seen Malcolm X, you know.
Genie: How many times?
Gord: Not as many as you, I bet.
Genie: Okay, kid. Now… it’s time for your last wish. Think carefully, and I want you to make it a good one.
Gord: Ah, this one I’ve got.
Gord: Yeah, I thought of it already, a long time ago.
Genie: Okay. So what is it?
Gord: Well, let me ask you a question. Do you like your job?
Genie: Hmm. Sometimes. Sometimes, I meet people with, you know, a good sense of humor, a nice approach. People who don’t just wish for stuff for themselves…
Gord: [Embarrassed look.]
Genie: Nah, kid you didn’t do so badly, till the end, there. And those corporate-structure reforms, those are really good.
Gord: Thanks, ma’am.
Genie: And nobody calls me ma’am, either. Thank you, kid. I get sick of being called, “Genie.” So anyway, like I was saying, most people just wish selfishly, till they get sick of it, and then they do stupid things like wish for world peace. You know the only way I can guarantee world peace?
Gord: Human extinction would be my guess.
Genie: [Laughs.] Possibly. Or massive genetic changes to everyone, now. Massive changes in everything. I don’t think I could balance all of it. So I give them a world “piece”… a piece of the world. They get some real estate, and smack in the head if they dare complain about it.
Gord: That reminds me of when I was dungeonmaster, during RPG games. Whenever my players got a wishing ringwhich was too damned oftenI’d always twist their words when they made the wishes, and give them something they didn’t intend to wish for.
Genie: You know, that’s how people think we are. Once I was granting for this lawyer, and he had his secretary type all this crap up… I mean, reams and reams of it. Clause after clause. I told him that we had to do it my way, or no deal… and he said, no deal!
Gord: No way!?
Genie: Yes way. Because we have such a reputation for twisting the wording of wishes to mess up people. It’s a bad rap. I only do that when the outcome is really, really bad for humanity, or just too difficult to grant. Or both.
Gord: Okay. So, you like your job, sometimes. Ever wanna quit?
Genie: Ah, of course, sometimes. But generally? Nah, I like the challenge of changing things in the universe. It’s an art, you know.
Gord: Right. Do you like to talk about your job?
Genie: Heh, yes. Yes, I love it. I think you’ve noticed that.
Gord: Yes, I have. Okay, last question: Do you mind being famous?
Genie: Me? No, not at all. You know, I had a shot once, till that stupid girl stole my story collection and had it inscribed under her name. Thousand stories. You know how damned long it took to collect all of those, and write them out?
Gord: Wait, wait… you wrote that?
Genie: Yeah, kid, it was me.
Gord: But… I mean you wrote that?
Genie: Whaddaya mean?
Gord: You’re a genie! you could have just, you know, waved your hand, and poof, there’s the book! Ready in one day, send copies to all the shahs and caliphs you like.
Genie: Oh sure, but, you know… some things are just better done the old fashioned way. Like you with your own writing.
Gord: Yeah. Speaking of which: I wanna write your biography. I know, you’re probably writing your own autobiography, and all, but I want to tell it from my point of view. Maybe even in a semi-fictional mode.
Genie: Like that Norwegian guy?
Gord: Knut Hamsun?
Genie: No, the other guy. Damn, I always forget his name. The one with the photos of Nabaokov as a boy catching butterflies in that one book, captions as himself as a boy.
Gord: Ah, yeah, that guy. I always forget his name, too. But I know who you mean. I don’t really mean it like that. But he’s good.
Genie: Yeah, he’s alright. Name starts with a W. Sure kid, sounds like fun. Long interviewI’ve been around a long timebut fun. So about that last wish?
Gord: You just granted it.
Gord: The interview? The book agreement? That was my wish.
Genie: That was dumb, kid. I woulda let you have that for free.
Gord: Well… there is one tiny little thing…
Gord: I wish Lime would let me take pictures of her, more often.
Genie: Wait, what kind of pictures do you mean? [Genie gestures suggestively] Like this?
Gord: No, no! Nothing like that! Just… you know, outdoors. In coffeeshops. I’d like to take a picture of her, or with her, once in a while.
Genie: Can’t you talk her into it?
Gord: I’ve tried, ma’am. Believe me, I’ve tried.
Genie: Well, you know, she’s a woman. It’s hard, in this age, with all this damn media, and so on.
Gord: I know, I know. I’m not asking for constant photographic access. Just, you know, once in a while.
Genie: Wait, you want me to change her mind? Magically?
Gord: Well, no. Could you talk with her?
Genie: Kid, she’s not my girlfriend. And you know, if I meet her, I have to grant her 100 wishes.
Gord: Well, would that be so bad? She’s cool, you know. She’d probably use half of them on books and coffee.
Genie: Geez, you two are a good match.
Genie:Okay, okay, fine, wish granted. I’ll talk to her about how the photos you take will be nice, if she only gives you a chance.
Gord: Thanks. Wait, does that mean you’re going to increase my photographic skill?
Genie: Skill? Who ever said it was about skill? Get a nice camera. Buy some proper lights. Skill? Phooey.
Gord: Okay. Cool, thanks ma’am.
Genie: No problem, kid.
I think that’s about how it would go.
If you wanna see other F5ers finishing up their wishing, check out the links in the right sidebar under friday five.