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Out of Nowhere by Patrick LeClerc.
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Two Questions Never Asked

by Michael Bishop



 

The second question is “What happens after you’ve given me my wishes?

It certainly does not cross the mind of the current “master” al LaDin to ask it. Instead, he almost drools as he tells me what his greatest desires are. I already have placed a bet with myself what they will be. Three Ps. “A princess, a palace and a pile of local currency units.”

Sometimes the “master” puts two and three in the opposite order so that if I do exactly as requested their hovel or burrow would be filled with the chinkly stuff before I move it into their new abode. Stupid you say and I agree. In such circumstance I switch two and three round. Less messy.

As for number one, why do they think having a beautiful mate of high status will do anything for their miserable existence? For all they know she might turn out to be a real shrew or sleep around with any male who is not the piece of rough that I have landed her with.

And the women “masters” are just as naive.

I win my bet as al LaDin says his third wish then puts down what he thinks is a lamp. It is not, that I can assure you. No, it is an interrealm translation instrument. Perhaps he is planning to store it in some room in his palace as a trophy or maybe pass it on to a “friend”. To use a local idiom I do not give a small primate’s either way because neither is going to happen.

First, I speak my spells and the three Ps appear. Then I turn into smoke that then flows into the spout of the lamp. Unnecessary as I could just dismaterialise. Good theatrics though, what? Then said lamp winks out of existence. Well, leastways in his world.

As for the first question, it is “What is in it for the genie?”

Sooner or later on finding the interrealm translation instrument the “master” to be gives it a polish or stroke. In reply I appear out of a cloud of smoke. (More unneccesary theatrics I know, but it still plays well).

Most of the time they jump out of their skin or hide or scales so I give them time to compose themselves. Then I give some guff in the local mthology before offering them three wishes.

Naturally I inform them in advance no changing the past, no immortality and you can’t ask for an unlimited number of more wishes. They barely take that in though as their eye(s) glaze over and they take their brain(s) out of gear on being offering something for nothing.

Sometimes there is a debate on the matter and very occasionally they ask for something else or faff around. Ninety nine times out of a hundred though it is the three Ps so I win an awful lot of bets.

The thing is, it does not take much power to produce what they want but the more they ask for the more I can take in return. So, if they were to ask for peanuts then I could end up using more magic to create their desires than I get back. Ask for even less and the interrealm translation instrument would be stuck in whatever world it had arrived in.

Whatever, al LaDin does not let me down. He gets his three Ps and I am gone out of his life forever.

I “look” around at this new world. We are on a beach, which is good. Arriving on the top of a mountain or down a cave is a real bummer because one can wait a hundred years before the mark, sorry “master” finds me.

Immediately, I turn the lamp into a coral encrusted bottle with a plug in the spout. Fit with the local surroundings is my motto. Makes it easier for the “master” to understand what they have to do.

After a while a feathered creature appears. Seeing the bottle she picks it up and pulls the plug. As I appear I wonder how Chicken Licken is going to feel when I take a chunk out of her soul too.

 

 

 




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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
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