Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Some Restrictions Apply

The following is a rough draft of a silly bedtime story I wrote for my kids as part of a project I'm working on right now. Enjoy!

            You have probably heard of genies, have you not? Powerful, mystical creatures who have the ability to grant wonderful wishes! They usually live in bottles and lamps, and when you rub the lamp, a genie appears to grant you three amazing wishes. Yes, that is the story of most genies.
            But not all genies are quite like that. This is the story of a different type of genie.
            Samarzin was a young man who lived in a little village. He was walking along the road between his village and the next one day. He was going there as a trader to trade cloth and pots and various trinkets, and suddenly as he looked down, he saw a lamp.
            Interesting, he thought. Maybe I can trade it for something.
            So he picked up the lamp and rubbed it on his shirt to clean it off so he could examine it better.
            No sooner had he rubbed it on his shirt than a mysterious smoke came billowing out of the lamp. The smoke formed itself into a figure, and the figure was a man.
            “Who dares to rub my lamp?” the man’s voice boomed, loud and deep.
            Samarzin squeaked, “Me, Samarzin.” He shivered in fear and asked, “And who are you?”
            “I am the great genie Erequat,” he boomed again. “Since you are the possessor of my lamp, you are now entitled to three wishes.” Then, in a tiny voice that Samarzin could barely hear, he muttered, “Some restrictions apply.”
            “What was that?” Samarzin asked.
            “Oh, nothing,” Erequat said. “Now what is your wish?”
            Samarzin thought for a few moments. “I would like to be wonderfully healthy all my life.”
            Erequat scratched his head. “Hmmm . . . That’s a problem.” His voice got a little whispery again. “You can’t wish for anything that directly affects your person. Sorry, no blue hair, no immortality, and no perfect health. So,” he added, again booming, “wish for something else!”
            Samarzin thought again. “How about a beautiful woman to marry and love all my life!”
            Erequat shook his head sadly. “Oh, no no, we can’t have that. The rules strictly forbid influencing someone else’s ability to make their own decisions. Can’t make someone fall in love with you.”
            Samarzin considered and realized that was only fair. He probably wouldn’t want a woman who had only fallen for him by magic anyway. So he thought some more. “I know! A big pile of money!”
            Erequat looked distinctly uncomfortable this time. “Well, you see, I’d like to. It does sound like an excellent wish, but I can’t create something out of nothing. Laws of science and all that.”
            Samarzin wrinkled his brow. What was he going to wish for? “Well, can’t you just take some money from somewhere else? Or how about some jewels or gold or something?”
            This time Erequat looked appalled. “Steal something? You want me to steal?”
            Samarzin hastily retracted his statement. “No, never mind, of course not.”
            He continued to suggest various wishes—nice weather for his vacation, a good deal in his trading today, maybe just a little good luck?—and for each wish, Erequat shook his head.
            Finally, fed up, Samarzin threw his hands up into the air. “Never mind, I do not want any wish at all!”
            Erequat’s booming voice was back. “Who dares to rub my lamp but not receive his wishes?”
            Samarzin sighed and rolled his eyes. It wasn’t good to anger genies, though, no matter how ridiculous their rules, so he thought he’d try again. He cast his eyes around him. He was standing on a dirt path, and on the ground near his feet were three round stones. He pointed. “How about those stones? Can I have those stones?”
            Erequat thought for a moment, muttering to himself something about rules and restrictions and requirements. After a moment, he boomed out, “Yes!” Then he bent to pick them up and hand them to Samarzin. “And for your next wish?”
            Samarzin shook his head vigorously. “Oh no, I’m sure there must be a rule about how many items I can receive per wish. I’m sure each stone takes up one wish, so I’m all done.” He was backing away now, hoping to get back on the road to the next village.
            Erequat nodded thoughtfully. “Yes, you’re probably right. Yes . . . ” He drew himself up big and proud again. “Be thankful for this day, the day you met the great and powerful wish-granter, Erequat.”
            Samarzin plastered a smile on his face. “Yes, of course. Thank you ever so much.” Erequat’s smoke sucked back into his lamp, waiting for the next lucky traveler to make a wish.
            Samarzin tossed the rocks back on the road and hurried on his way.

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