Rick leaned back and closed his eyes as he collected his thoughts. Rick supposed that most people would be still working through the situation and many would have likely screwed up by now, wasting wishes in trying to prove that this was real. But Rick had always been a very deliberate man.
Sitting across from Rick in his small apartment dining niche was a man. At least, what appeared to be a man. He was tall, dark, and had a Middle-Eastern look to him. He had a neatly trimmed beard, dark hair and was wearing something straight out of 1001 Arabian Nights. He was sipping a cup of tea and looking at Rick.
Rick still was thinking about what exactly he had in front of him.
Rick was 26, working a regular job as an auditor for an accounting firm in LA. He had graduated with honors from UCLA, and had been working at this job for about 4 years. He was deliberate, careful, and never rushed. It had made him a valuable asset for his company and he had built up a steady reputation as a solid, clear thinking auditor who also was not out to climb the ladder. Rick liked doing his job and if he got perks for it (bonuses, the occasional raise, a promotion, and so on), that was fine. But he wasn’t out to get them no matter what. It was very obvious, and after he had carefully helped out some others when he had found a mistake and instead of screwing them over, his reputation as a safe and smart partner had made him highly sought after for many projects. He got plenty of money, lots of vacation, lots of good face time with the bosses and no one worried that he was aiming for them. All in all, a very good place to be.
He had been between girlfriends when he had found the lamp. He was a bit of a collector. He didn’t really have any particular focus, but he liked old things. Things that were well made and had stood the test of time. He had a very varied collection of stuff; a Victorian Grandfather Clock, French made pocket watch from the early 1820’s, a silver music box from Feudal Japan, and so on. He could afford them, and he liked going into out of the way places just to see what he could find.
Which of course is how he found himself in the current situation. He had been wandering around in San Francisco last weekend while taking a short vacation and on a large street sale had found this old Arabian Lamp. Nearly black with tarnish, it was actually in a bin labeled “scrap” by a metal smith and jeweler.
Rick took one look and knew the lamp was not normal. It just seemed different and so Rick had picked it up for a dollar. He took it home and started to polish it. And just like in the stories out had popped a genie named Ali. Rick had thought the name a bit cliché but since the guy had literally appeared in puff of smoke and had hovered in the air, Rick was willing to take his word and let the name slide.
Rick had talked to him carefully once he had appeared and stated that as the master of the lamp, he was to be granted three wishes. Instead of starting off with the first thing that popped into his head, Rick had instead started thinking. And then had offered the Genie (or Djnn as he preferred to be called) some tea.
The offer of tea had apparently pleased Ali, and so they sat at Rick’s table while Rick thought about his situation.
“Ali, I am going to ask you some questions. They are not wishes, they are queries for information. If you cannot answer them without using a wish I order you to tell me so. I will not wish until I am ready. Can you do this? Silence by you will signify that even answering a question counts as a wish.”
Ali bowed his head and replied. “Master, I can answer certain questions. Questions that are general, questions that have no bearing on you such as is there life on Mars or historic answers I can answer. But ones that can benefit you such as a winning lottery number or the location of lost treasure will count as a wish. Or information on how to do something that will change things. Do you understand?”
Rick nodded. After another moment he asked Ali his first question. “What exactly are you? Are you a type of human or something totally different? How do you derive your power and how is it that you are tied to the lamp?”
Ali smiled. “You master are the first human to ever even bother to ask me those questions. You have a very inquisitive mind and some wisdom for someone so young. I am a djnn, a being from another existence or dimension if you prefer. Our “laws of reality”, what you would call laws of nature, are much different than here. Our powers come from the fact that if a portal is opened between our worlds someone who understands the laws and use the reactions of our two dimensions to create or change things. Any djnn here in your world can do this naturally while only certain humans can do it. The lamp is actually the portal through which the energy flows, a gate if you will. Every gate requires a gatekeeper, in the case of this lamp that is me. Once there were many of us on your world, but over time our gates have been destroyed and we have been released back into our realm. Of the djnn, I am the last one. My lamp was nearly destroyed twice, once by a large fire which scorched it, and if you had not happened along, the smith would have most certainly melted it down.”
“Would that have hurt you? Losing you lamp?” Rick asked.
“No, it would merely release me back into my home realm.” Ali replied.
“Do you miss it? Do you desire to go back?” Rick said sipping his tea.
“I would not mind it certainly, but I have also enjoyed my time here. Watching humans work with their wishes is quite entertaining. For every wise one who can properly manage the wish there are ten fools who end up providing me much entertainment. I am not cruel, but I can laugh at the follies of lesser beings.” Ali said with a hint of a smile.
“You said certain humans could control the interaction of powers. Who are these humans?” Rick asked.
“There are two types. One type are the ones that you kind has called sorcerers, wizards, or witches. Humans with a natural talent. But they are very limited in their understanding and usually cannot control it well. Humans with djnn level control are what you call genies. They have full control of this power, just like us djnn.” Ali said.
“But are then tied to a lamp and are not free.” Rick replied.
Ali smiled broadly. “You are wiser than Mr. Hoshin of Baghdad. He did not ask that and in his quest for power tied himself to a lamp for 1000 years until it was destroyed in a fire.”
“What happened when his lamp was destroyed?” Rick asked.
“He died. Djnn have life spans of millions of years, but humans have only at most a hundred or so. Once the connection to both worlds ends time catches up.” Ali replied. “Master, you have asked more wise questions over a single cup of tea than I have had in my entire span on this world.”
Rick smiled back. “It always pays to be deliberate. Another question, you can obviously turn humans into genies, but can anyone else do it?”
Ali thought for a minute. “It could be done by someone with the knowledge, ability, and materials to do it. But no one on this world is alive would could do it now.”
“If I were to ask for these, would there be any side effects? Any issues or harm to me?” Rick asked.
“No, but the initial gaining of knowledge will be painful. It will be agony for a few moments of your time, but then you will be your normal self.” Ali said.
Rick smiled broadly. “Ali I have my wishes. I wish for the ability to create genies. I wish for the knowledge, the complete knowledge to create genies, and I wish for the materials to create genies.”
Ali blinked. “Master, you have wished and I shall grant them. I believe I am going to be very interested in what you do with this knowledge.”
Ali stood and crossed his arms. He closed his eyes and recited words that sounded bizarre and then Rick stiffened. For a split second he felt as if his body was torn apart and rebuilt and that his head had been crammed with TNT and blown apart and then reassembled. And just as fast as it started it was over.
Rick stood and looked in the kitchen mirror. He saw no changes and as he turned to Ali, he saw he was no longer there, just the lamp. But on the kitchen floor were container of all sorts of things. Rick looked them over and knew each one. Lastly was a small smelter and a jeweler’s tools.
Rick smiled. All the materials for making a lamp. Only one, but Rick was not worried as the majority of the requirements were easy to get in the age of Amazon, and the few items that were not online, he had a plan for.
“Time to make a genie.” Rick said and set to work.