by Randy Cobleigh


Most people, seeing a beautiful woman will smile, either to themselves or maybe spend that smile effort on the woman. I would venture to guess that there are some individuals in this world that do not and will not go beyond their own comfort zone to investigate a possibility or even a plausibility. No one sees what is inside of another. That beautiful woman could be a professional in many fields of endeavor or could also be far out and away from the norm. You and I would never know by walking beside them in the city or sitting beside them in the movie house. Who is that person? We don’t know. Doctor, Lawyer, drug addict, potential mate. Seriously, think about it. Billions of people inhabit this earth, are they of such good character and morals that you don’t feel any trepidations or lurking evil in your vicinity? Unless we are the type of individual that is frightened all the time, we most likely won’t give any thought to that at all. Here I am, your personal champion and guide into the world of differences unknown and unseen by the average sidewalk traveler. Painting and describing believable pictures of the unbelievable.

Antiques and Buffalo Meat

My wife and I were on our way to see a dealer and importer of mysterious artifacts at JM Antiques, purveyor of relics and antiquities of dubious lineage. Otherwise known as an antique shop. The store was owned by a country boy named J.M. Davidson. We had known one another from way back. While he only claimed to be a country boy, his family’s ancestry held the real country folk from southern Missouri’s Ozark hills. We had gone to high school together, in the suburbs of Kansas City. Our homes were neither country or city but just beyond the city limits in an area that was known as, unincorporated. We had been good friends throughout our lives. In grade school the kids had nick named him, Jay.
The thrill of a new adventure, greases and turns the wheels, when nothing else does. So, we were on our way to Jay’s antique shop, near the Martin City shopping center. The area had been an open-air mall when I was a kid and had not changed much. A Farmer’s Market had taken over some of the parking lot, on the weekends. During the warmer months a beautiful and exotic young woman delighted the market’s patrons with strange colorful flowers, that seemed to defy our ability to define or categorize them. Beth and I would stop here on an occasional Saturday. I wish, I could say that we were there solely for the extravagance of the flowers or even to enjoy watching this magical beauty as she dazzled audiences with her paintings and drawings of mystery and mysticism. No, we were mostly there to visit my friend at his antique shop, and nearby, two old guys selling frozen buffalo steaks and burger meat. They were from somewhere near Cleveland, Missouri, where they owned a bison and alpaca farm. Jay also lives outside of town, in the same area. We go to his small acreage quite often to enjoy a bonfire or a cookout over the hot coals left from the big fire. Most of the time when we visit his shop, I like to haggle with the two meat vending characters. They look amazingly like Mario and Luigi. Extreme boredom, for Beth, but I enjoy the “intense excitement” of the chase, to shave off a few cents per pound. Already faced with that boredom, she walked back to the artist and flower lady, giving me space to inquire after “any wiggle room,” or is that a “solid final price?” We “haggled” and “finagled” for a short time. I walked away with two great sixteen-ounce buffalo steaks at thirty-five cents a pound off the original price. A big score, I thought, I was thrilled.
Beth was talking to the lady with the artistic creations. She was a stunner, anyone with an interest in the beauty of women, would be mesmerized by her long, raven black hair and eyes bluer than an Atlantic Ocean Iceberg. I could feel a power radiating from her. I pitied any man that got mixed up in her life. That thought came to me as I stood there transfixed and somewhat awed by the scene before me. Little did I know, that in a few short minutes, that man would be me. Innocently and somewhat obliviously, I watched my lovely wife stand near the flower lady, as she showed Beth a very unusual yellow flower, it looked much like an orchid. I so enjoyed the sensation I captured that moment on my cell phone. It felt like the marvelous essence of that beautiful scene was transferred to my camera. I heard the shutter click. I was pleased. A fabulous warm day, and a picture of two lovely ladies, beside the brilliantly colored paintings and flowers. As far as I could tell neither of the women knew I had taken their picture, all the better for me. I love a little secret occasionally. Beth bought the flower and I carried the steaks. I could just see us sitting on the deck that night, grilling the steaks and reminiscing about a warm and fuzzy afternoon. I planned on showing the picture to Beth and marveling at her good looks, while our steaks were resting from the grill. Hopefully, I could convince her to create the perfect gravy of shitake mushrooms and fried onions. A favorite of mine for steak sauce. While awaiting the sauce’s debut, I might sip from a lovely piece of my mother’s antique stemware, in which I planned to pour two fingers of Jack Daniels. Normally I would use a simple rocks glass, but tonight was special. It was our anniversary, so I would bring out the one hundred forty-dollar bottle of Sinatra Select Tennessee sipping Whiskey. What a splendid evening we would have dining in the glow of twilight. I was lost in the reverie of my dinner plans, when my thoughts were upended by shouting and someone screaming, “he’s got a gun!”
Sirens were wailing in the distance, screaming like Banshees. I could usually tell by the sound what type of emergency vehicle it was. This was obviously a police car, one of several emergency vehicles that would eventually arrive. Over the last few years our neighborhood had become a hot bed of 911 calls. One of them had the distinct staccato and piercing sound of an ambulance. I turned back towards the meat guys, for a quick look in the direction of the shouting and screaming. Trouble had arrived. Just in time to ruin my afternoon and most likely my steak and frites anniversary dinner. Directly in front of the two Buffalo Meat guys was a small man with a gun and he seemed very agitated nervous, and eager to bolt. He must have heard the siren because he yelled at the two meat guys to “hurry it up.” He had to have known that these two vendors carried an abundance of cash, otherwise why pick on a pair of raggedy old men? The little gun toting fool was about to find out, he didn’t know them well enough. Before we could move away from the crazy affair, the older brother pulled a long barreled western style pistol from behind his back and shot the robber in the stomach. That chrome colored hand gun was so big, I couldn’t see how the old man kept his pants in place. The robber fell backwards, as he returned fire, and delivered a fatal shot to the chest of the old butcher. The robber, it appeared, had been severely wounded and was bleeding out very fast, but the younger brother was in no mood for taking chances and advanced with a meat cleaver. The robber was able to raise his arm, just enough to shoot the old man in the face.
The police arrived, quickly storming the edge of the parking lot and heading towards the shooting scene. Beth, always the brave soul ran directly to the flower lady. I followed close behind and arrived next to the two women, just in time to hear her tell Beth. “I have to get out of here, please help me. Do you have a car? Please take me out of here, please. Beth looked at me with pleading eyes. I looked at the cops. We walked around the building. There were other witnesses and we didn’t feel obliged. When we got to our car, we put Jeanie in the back seat to calm herself. A small cooler in our car had some cold bottles of water and I offered her one, which she refused. Beth took the bottle from me and then drank some of it. Jeanie was looking around the neighborhood like a scared little kid. So, I asked, “do we want to go back and get your flowers and paintings?” Well,” She looked through the windows again. “I don’t know.” I could tell she was still scared. Nervous adrenaline is hard to get past. I know, I have been there before. “Okay then. Let’s start here. Relax, catch your breath. Nobody is going to bother you here. I will see to that. So, how about you tell us your name?” “Well, it’s Jeanie.”
“Is that the short or long version?” I said with a chuckle. She replied with some amount of terseness, “I don’t see anything funny about that comment. I told you my name was Jeanie and it is.” I put my arm on the top of my seat and turned sideways to match Beth’s posture. Beth chimed in a comment. “No, see, he didn’t mean your name was funny. It’s just that he had expected you to say your last name too. You know, like say, Jeanie Smith, etcetera.”
“Etcetera? You think my name is Etcetera? Ohhhh, I don’t know what to do.” She began to cry. Beth got out of the car and climbed in the back seat, with Jeanie. She put an arm around her shoulder to comfort her. She was jolted with an electric shock and jumped back. “Oh No! Jeanie said. “Ohh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to do that, that just happens when I get scared.”
“Wow, Beth said. “That was some mule kick you gave me there. What happened? How did you do that?” Jeanie kept crying and then laid her head in Beth’s lap. “You won’t understand. You can’t possibly know or understand what I am. Sometimes I’m not even sure myself.” Jeanie continued crying and I was sure this situation wasn’t going to resolve itself anytime soon. So not wanting to watch the spectacle of two women crying and hugging, I told the ladies, “Well, why don’t you two ladies talk for a while and I will go back and check on things on the other side of the building.”
“Oh yes, please. Would you?” Jeanie asked. “Find out if Woody and Harold are ok, please?”
“Who are they?” Beth asked. “The two brothers selling meat. They are my masters.”
“Holy mother of mercy.” Beth said, so loudly it was almost a shout. “Masters?” Beth frowned, laughed a nervous laugh and twitched in her seat. Jeanie raised her head up from Beth’s lap. I handed her a paper napkin from some nearby fast food joint. It was all I had. I never carry a handkerchief and Beth rarely stocks my car with tissues. “What in the name of heaven are you talking about?” Said Beth with an incredulous look on her face. “Alright, Jeanie.” I asked. “Please explain it to us and maybe we can help. I don’t need to go around the building to know this though, you no longer need to worry about the meat selling brothers. They were shot dead twenty minutes ago.”
“Oh no, oh no,” was all Jeanie could say for the next ten minutes. “What am I going to do? Thirty minutes ago, I had Masters. Now I have nothing and nobody. I will be lost and sent back to the djinn Master. I have been gone too long. I am too old. They won’t accept me, and I’ll be sent to the Witch.” She crossed her arms over her stomach and hugged herself tightly. “Oh dear, oh no, I am lost.” She cried, as she rocked back and forth. “Oh, come on now, nobody is going to send you to a witch. We will stay with you awhile, until you calm down and you will be fine.”
“No, nothing is going to be fine. I will have to pay for loving life too much and not taking good care of my Masters. You don’t understand.”
“Okay.” I said, in as gentle a tone as I could manage. Beth made me skip lunch, and now this little fiasco was making me testy. “You keep saying we don’t understand, and yet you aren’t explaining things to us.”
“I know.” She replied. At that moment she looked like a little girl whose family had driven off and left her standing at the train station. She was completely at a loss and totally lost. “So, Jeanie, tell me how it is that the butchers were your masters, and what does that mean?” “I can’t, I mean I’m not supposed to. I will get rescinded. Ohhh! I don’t know.” She continued her crying, at length. “I’ll tell you if you promise to help me. I don’t know what I’ll do if you two won’t help me.” She was dabbing at her eyes with the paper towel, trying to keep her face dry of tears.
“I told you my name was Jeanie.”
“Yes, you did,” Beth said, “but you didn’t tell us your last name.”
“No, I didn’t. That’s because I don’t have one.” Beth had been doing most of the talking. I interjected my two cents worth. “Everybody has a last name, kiddo, even babies.”
“Yes, normally that’s true,” Beth added.
“But honey, you know I like to read fantasy books, right?”
“Uh huh. So, what has that do with this? I can see the twinkle of an idea in your eyes, Beth. What is it you are cooking up in your Fantasy Novel addled brain?”
“Well, I don’t know if I’m right, but if I am, then Jeanie is not just Jeanie with a “J”…But, with a “G.” Jeanie is a Genie.”
I was lucky I hadn’t been drinking any water because I would have snorted it right out of my nose. Then, I choked and laughed at the same time. That reaction was quite painful. My smirk became a full-fledged guffaw and horse laugh. I hadn’t heard anything quite that preposterous ever before in my life. “Yeah,” I chortled. “I suppose our little dog with the name of Trump who was named for a type of playing card, is actually… THE PRESIDENT? …I’m not buying it.” I looked at the woman in the back seat. She looked pathetic, like a small puppy that had been left out in the rain. Her face was pale and her once beautiful hair, looked like she hadn’t combed in a week, to top that off she was perspiring so much I thought she was leaking. I looked at Beth. “Obviously she isn’t well. I’ll tell you what I think should happen.” I looked at Beth and she had tears in her eyes and had obviously been snagged and reeled in like a carp. The only person that was flopping around over this whole deal was me. I don’t read a lot of fantasy novels and I darn sure didn’t believe in Genies. Truth be told, I didn’t mind helping this lady. I have always been the type to invest time and energy into people that are needy. “Beth, get behind the wheel of the car. I will meander around the building to check things out. Make sure you lock the car doors with the childproof setting.” I looked at Jeanie and she had fallen asleep on Beth’s lap. If she were truly a Genie a locked door couldn’t keep her in the car. “We will see what we see.” I said, as I opened the car door. “Wait”, Jeanie said as she sat up. I need my lamp.”
“Really?” That’s the way we are going to play it? I thought, “Okay…where is it?”
“They kept it from me, so I couldn’t hide from them. I was only allowed to enter my home when they put my lamp, in their vault under the floor.” Beth said. “That is kind of like torture. Are you sure we can’t help her out honey? You know you don’t like to see others get bullied. Doesn’t it sound like those meat guys were not treating her right?”
“Unfortunately, yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like. So, yeah, I guess I’m in.” Beth was elated and blew me a kiss, and I have to say, I enjoyed her attention. “Okay Jeanie, where is this lamp or home of yours now?” I rolled my eyes as I said it and exhaled a large sigh. Beth gave me a glance with one eye brow raised and what I deciphered as a “warning of bad things to come if I didn’t start playing nice…”.
“It’s in the freezer, under the steaks.” I walked around the North side of the complex. I wasn’t sure if the police were still there or if the coroner had released the bodies yet. I didn’t want to be an intruder into a crime scene, but I was on a mission that my wife decided I would do. My feet were nervous. They wanted to run to that freezer as fast as my fat man legs could manage a fast waddle. I waited. I found a chair and small table for serving free tea or coffee to patrons of the antique store that my friend Jay owned. I could survey the area without looking out of place. Just a curious person watching the cleanup. First thing I noticed was the freezer still sitting there, unattended. Maybe I could get there, unseen. But I wasn’t sure. I turned and looked towards the antique store owned by my friend, R.M. He was standing with his face against the door the way he had as a kid at my front door and I knew him as Jay. “Are you in there, huh? Can you come out and play?” Drove my parents crazy, especially on week-end mornings at seven-am. I wasn’t sure of what to say to him. Maybe he could help, but maybe, I didn’t want to get him involved in this situation. Probably not, and not because I was worried that he might get into trouble. No, he and I had been in many troublesome episodes as kids. This would be nothing new to him and he’d be alright with it. But there was the rub. He WOULD be alright with it. He and I had read and studied about the metaphysical and mystical side of life, to a great extent. He would certainly know about Genies and quite possibly, be too interested. I didn’t need his style of help quite yet. Maybe later, when Genie was more herself. I called Beth, on my cell. “I need a diversion and I need a rescue after I get the package.”
“Like what?” Beth sounds unsure. “Here is what I was thinking,” …so I told her my plan. All we could do was hope it worked. I waited for ten more minutes and observed the surroundings and action of the police. Besides, Beth would need some time to convince Jeanie of our plan. My cell phone rang, it was Beth. “We are ready.” She said. “Alright. Good luck. Let’s get it done,” Was my reply. So now, the game was on. I stood up and started walking towards the freezer. Only got about half way there, when Beth shows up at the curb, in my car. She was making a horrible racket with the radio’s volume turned up all the way and she was also honking the horn like a lunatic. One Detective and one street patrolman as a guard, were all that was left on the scene. The detective was interviewing witnesses, so he wouldn’t be a problem. Another question I had and unfortunately, I forgot to ask Jeanie, was if the Meat guys locked that freezer. If they did, this was not going to end well. “Okay, time to move,” I said to myself. I looked back at my friend Jay, he still had his nose pressed against the glass door. I should have talked to him first, I could have used a secondary diversion. I walked towards the freezer, just as the patrolman looked up at me. His head sort of cocked to the side, like a dog when trying to understand a situation. I kept walking, slowly. After all, old fat guys don’t move very fast. I figured the cop would tell me to “get back,” but Beth yelled at him. “Where’s a cop when you need one, some old man just ran into my car!” As the cop started towards Beth, she began driving away. The cop raised his hand and yelled after her as she drove off, just as we had planned. I began my walk to the freezer. The plan had worked. I retrieved a carpet bag from under the steaks, it was the only thing I could find that didn’t look like frozen meat. “Phew,” I blew a big sigh of relief. Too soon, I guess, because the cop yelled after me. “Hey, what have you got there and where are you going? Did you just take that out of the freezer?”
“Aw, you caught me officer. But I only took two of them. The meat Brothers won’t need them anymore. Besides I left you a trunk load of them. You and your buddies could eat good tonight.” He smiled and waved me on. “Okay, get out of here.” I turned to leave and took a few steps. “Hey,” the cop said. Oh no, I thought, do I run or just drop the bag? “What?” I asked him. The cop lifts the freezer lid and looks at me. He whistled softly in appreciation. “There are plenty more steaks in here, for sure. You should have taken a few more.” He waved me on and started chuckling to himself, shaking his head, side to side. I didn’t hang around. I spotted the car around the corner, on a side street. Hurried along the sidewalk, until I got up next to Jeanie’s window. The bag was in my hand and I help it up, so she could see it. The transformation was immediate. Jeanie became Genie in less than sixty seconds. It was like watching an ugly gray moth turn into the gorgeous monarch butterfly. Whatever doubts I had about her telling the truth, were suddenly removed from my mind and my heart. This is not just some woman running a scam on me. No, it is supremely obvious, that she is one of Nature’s incredible creatures. A real Genie? I still had trouble with that, whatever she was, I could tell, life was about to get very interesting. My mind was racing, after I got back in the car. Beth slid over to the other side. Now what to do. I turned around and looked at our friend in the back seat. “Wow. That was all I could say.” Beth slugged me on the left bicep. I winced and gave her a dirty look. “What the heck are you doing?” Beth wanted to know. “Well hell, I’m groaning over a sore arm. What the hell did you punch me for?”
“Because you were checking her out. That’s why!” Beth said with fury. “You are crazy. I wasn’t checking her out. I was watching her change, into whatever it is, that she is. Now don’t do that again.”
“You check her out again like that I’ll smack you, somewhere else.”
“AAAH..will you stop it. Grow up. We need to help this lady and quick. We’ve got to get her to a safe place and figure out what to do, for her and us.”
“What do you mean us? We didn’t do anything.” Beth said with wide eyed concern.
“OH yeah? What do you call that?” I said and tilted my head towards Genie. “Is she nothing? Let me think here.” Genie was looking a hundred percent better. Her hands were wrapped tightly around the Lamp she claimed was her home. So, I asked, “What are your thoughts, Genie? You are the person with the problem, really. The way I see it you are a key witness and they will want you for questioning. Oh, no, I guess I will be too. Yeah, and that cop can Identify me. I’m not liking this at all.”
“Me neither,” whispered Genie. She slid down in the seat, I presumed to keep from being seen. “I don’t like being around strange places or people I don’t know.”
“Ohhh, poor child. You picked an odd profession then, if you don’t like people.”
“Yes, but I didn’t pick it. I was born into it. All of my family was born into the Jinn.”
“Okay, stop right there.” I was confused. “That’s the second time you have used that word. What does it mean.?”
“That’s my family.” She sighed a little. “Family? You said earlier that the Jinn would send you to see the, Witch. What kind of family would send you to a witch, much less even know a witch?”
“Ha Ha Ha,” she laughed and giggled and slapped her thigh with the palm of her hand. “That’s true you wouldn’t know about witches, would you?”
“Genie,” I said, as I smiled what I hoped, was a sincere reflection of my most inner thoughts and feeling. Truly, I felt sorrow for this being. She was trapped in a life of servitude and always belonging to someone else. Where is the joy in that? The owning of another person? There can only be sadness, not only in the one being owned, but also the one doing the owning. Slavery cannot be pleasant on either side. Her lovely smile snapped me out of my reverie as she sighed with what I perceived to be a moment of relaxation from the terror of her day. I repeated her name. “Genie…Um uh” Beth and I both smiled as she giggled with such sweet abandon, as to make me wonder if she remembered anything of what happened to her earlier in the day. “What are we going to do with you, Genie?”
“You have already done it. There is nothing else to do.” The huge grin and shining eyes were almost more than I could take. She seemed so innocent and blissfully unaware of the looming problems. “You saved me, Master.”
“Oh no, now wait a minute there, little girl.” Said Beth. “We are not going to be your masters. I won’t have it. We don’t own people.” Genie smiled with radiance, “Oh, no, you misunderstood me. You won’t be my master.”
“Well, I am glad to hear that.” Beth sighed big with relief. “He is.” Genie pointed her index finger at me. “WHAT?” I was starting to be very nervous. Never in the history of my family, had we ever owned slaves. It just wasn’t a philosophy, we as a family in this country, could abide. I had personally been involved in finding the record of my ancestors. All the way back to the seventeenth century. No slaves, ever. I didn’t want to be the first to bear that distinction. “No, Genie, I can’t be your Master. I can be your friend. I would be most happy with that title.”
“Well, I’m sorry, Master, but you saved me from being shot, AND from being discovered by many, as to what I really am. I am not human, you know. I am a Genie. I am proud to be YOUR GENIE.”
“I don’t know. Can you be our Genie without us being your Masters?” Beth uttered with a sense distaste and disgust in her voice. “You both can’t be my Master. I’ve told you that already. Only him.” Genie pointed at me again. I was beginning to feel like a pin cushion. “Why? What is wrong with my friendship? I helped you too.!” I could tell Beth was feeling like an outsider in this whole affair. “HE saved me.” Besides, women can’t be Genie Masters over a female Genie. It is not allowed by the Jinn. It needs to be him.”
“Okay, I accept.”
“WHAT? What do you mean you accept?”
“Well what else can we do with her? Put an ad in the paper? Genie Master needed, send your resume’?”
“No, no,” Beth chuckled, “don’t be stupid dear.”
“Right, well gee, I am so sorry. Twenty lashes with a ribbon from Genie’s hair.” Genie laughed a boisterous laugh. “You guys are so funny. I don’t see what your problem is. I don’t take up much room and I always cleanup after myself. Besides, I can take you on trips. Different countries. Even different years if you want. It took a few seconds for that to sink in. “Whoa, wait a minute, now. Let’s run that by me again, please? What did you say? You can travel through time to different eras? You mean like you could take us to Paris to watch the Eiffel tower being built?”
“Yes, we can do that.” Genie smiled and giggled a little. Beth loves Fantasy novels. I on the other hand find them to be a little hokey. That might be a problem for me, if we show up in seventeenth century Paris. I might be wrong. This could be the greatest adventure of our entire lives. I have been here on this planet for nearly seventy years. Never have I experienced anything like this. “How is that possible? When can we go?”
“Well,” Genie draws it out extra-long, for effect. “Anytime, as long as you agree to be my master. I can’t do anything for you until then. That’s the rules.”
“Okaaay,” said Beth. I could tell that Beth was suffering from a large feeling of doubt, and truth be known, I was feeling the same. There was an excitement factor involved with this for me. I wasn’t sure how deep Beth’s feelings went against this situation. “Genie”, I began. She cut me off. “Please.” She said with a beaming smile. “Let me talk first. Let me explain to you about a Genie’s life. We are born into servitude. There is no changing it. I am only a Genie. Nothing else matters. Beth I will respect and love you both, but I will not fall in love with your husband. I can tell you are worried about that. I realize I have many enticements for the human man. That is part of the allure of the Genie. My role is not that of a wife or lover. If I were to overstep my boundaries, I could lose my self and no longer be part of Nature’s magic. I would be sent to the Jinn, stripped of my powers, and like I said before, sent to The Witch. I know you don’t understand my life, but we can talk about it more as time goes along. Right now, and I mean right this minute, you need to decide my fate. Time is running out. If you don’t want me, I need to find a different Master to put my trust in, before the Jinn arrives and takes me with him.” When she mentioned getting a different master, for some reason my mind brought up a picture of my friend Jay. Oooh, no, that won’t work at all, I thought. I don’t want her to go with him. I snapped back to the conversation as she finished with… “I have been a Genie for two thousand years now.”
“Oh My God,” Beth said, enthusiastically. “Ooops, sorry. Continue, Genie.”
“Yes, well, I like you two. You saved me from that horrible situation, and, very importantly you saved, The Lamp. Help me now. Give me your blessing and become my Master, please?” Beth and I looked at Genie and then each other. It shouldn’t be a hard decision, was what I was thinking. Yet it was an extremely difficult decision to make. I thought it might possibly be best to step outside of the car and talk, but then I feared she might vanish on us. So, we stayed. Our eyes locked, mine and Beth’s, for only an instant. The decision had been made. We were going to keep her. That doesn’t sound right, I know. She wasn’t a dog or some other pet. In the back of my mind I began to wonder, if we would regret this decision. This thought came to me almost immediately. But still, we took a chance. “Genie, we would be delighted to be your, uh…master. Well, I would be, I guess, but Beth will certainly be in the mix. “Of course, I understand. I am so happy I could hug you both. So… Beth and I leaned over into the back seat as Genie hugged us both. “So, next question. What’s next?” I was somewhat at a loss. I guess we take her home with us. But did we really want another person invading our space? I guess maybe I hadn’t thought it through completely. “Okay, so now we own a Genie, so to speak. What happens now? I hate to keep bring that subject up, but I’ve never been anyone’s master before. I’m at a loss for ideas.”
“How about picking up my paintings and then go to your house?”
“Sure, we can do that.” I responded. We turned around in the driveway of an old man working on his house, then drove back down the street to the Parking lot where the robbery took place. Everything was gone. Paintings, frozen meat, and worst of all the little shaved Italian Ice vendor had left too. I had a hankering for some blueberry flavored ice. The three of us had driven around the block before we decided to stop and get out of the car. The Police were gone and so were Genie’s paintings and drawing supplies were also missing. So, now what? “Hey.” We all start looking around. Nothing. I don’t see anything or anyone. “Hey!” A man’s voice. Sounded like it was far away, but close too. Someone wrote an article years ago that I happened to read, and it made good sense. The writer claimed that most animals, man included, didn’t bother to look up. Most of the time, our line of site is no higher that our head, unless the item in question is off in the distance. Then we will see things that are higher than our focal reference. “Hey, c’mon guys. I’m up here.” My friend, Jay was hanging out, of a window on the second floor, directly above us. We all look up at the same time. He doesn’t bother to look at me, his good friend that he has known forever. No sir, he blurts right out. “Hey Jeanie, you looking for your paintings and stuff? They are all up here in my storage room. I didn’t know when you were coming back, considering all the excitement today. I opened my mouth ready to chastise him for butting in to my affairs and Genie lets out a squeal, like when girls meet other girls they haven’t seen in years. “EEEEEEEEEE” Genie throws her arms in the air to give Jay an air hug and shuffles her little feet in a happy dance. “Ha!” Jay blurts out.
“Oh, thank you honey, you really saved the day!”
My smile immediately turns to a big dog frown and a small growl seeps through my lips. “What’s with that familiarity stuff? I, know him as Jay, everyone else knows him as Mike!”
“Oho, hoo! She didn’t tell you that we are “special” friends?”
“Well no, as a matter of fact, she didn’t” I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. So, I look at Genie questioningly. I tilted my head forward with one eye brow raised and gave her my best intimidating stare. “What’s this, Genie? What is he saying?” without hesitation, Genie becomes a little girl again. Shy and timid. “Ooooh, uh, well.” Was about as far as she got, before Jay was at his front office door, holding it wide open. “Come on in, family” He said “Oh, now hold on Jay.” I sighed heavily, giving him a third degree burn from my extremely red, irritated and flushed, questioning eyeballs. “Oh? Do I detect jealousy, my friend?” Leading Genie in through the door by her elbow, with his free hand he flips me off, behind his back. “Hey now.” I growled.
Old, that’s what the inside of Jay’s antique store looked like to me. Old and musty is closer to an honest description. The only windows were in a line on the back wall. None of them looked like they had been opened in decades. I would guess from looking at the windows on the inside, that the outside trim had been painted shut, for they were for sure, on the inside. Dark, old, musty and dank, that was an apt description, but I loved his shop. Not only did he have great old furniture, but he also has a vast collection of uniforms, medals and weapons from several wars and countries on the east end of the store and the west side has heirloom jewelry, pottery and glass of many colors and styles, including depression and red carnival glass and a Baccarat Chrystal vase that he had valued at twenty thousand. I have always found those prices fascinating, and ridiculously out of my price range. He had done well in the antique business. I was beginning to wonder, now that I knew they were “special” friends, if Genie had helped him procure some of those expensive items. I was most assuredly getting more jealous by the minute.
We followed him and Genie as they walked across the hard wood floors. I wasn’t sure if the old floors had been light in color or maybe just aged and now looked like a walnut color stain. I would guess though that these floors were near eighty years old and showed every scar from all the wooden legged benches he ever had in here. A beauty in the middle of the room. Smack dab in the middle was an ebony baby grand piano, with old ivory keys that had yellowed from age. Big time orchestra leader Cab Callaway had played this same piano when he was a young performer. When he moved on to just singing and being a orchestra leader he sold it to another young piano player by the name of Fats Domino. Fats Domino played this piano in many night clubs in New Orleans before he became famous. Well, all of this makes a great story, but I don’t know if any of it is true. That is the story told by Jay the Wealthy Antique Purveyor. I’ve never known him to lie, but I just not sure about Mr. JM Davidson, of JM Antiques.
Jay and I have been friends since the second grade. We have made trouble and been in trouble, together. He and I know most of each other’s secrets, but if asked about them, I know we would both say something like, “hmm, I’m sorry but I don’t remember that,” knowing full well that we do, both remember that incident. His tastes are very eclectic and yet he has always shown a simple country style to those he meets. So, we were following along behind Genie, who was carrying her Lamp in the carpet bag, snuggled tight in her arms they way school girls used to carry books, before back packs came along. I was thinking that a Genie holding her own Lamp, probably was not a good idea. I’m was also thinking, that might be why, the Meat Brothers kept her home from her. She could possibly be prone to running away with whatever man she is infatuated with at that moment. “Hey Genie!” I said. She didn’t respond to me, just kept up the animated conversation with my good friend, JM Davidson. So, then I was thinking maybe I need to take this idea of mine a little more serious and step it up a notch. I didn’t to become an ogre either. So, I asked Beth to have her give me the bag, all the while thinking, we shall see what we see. I like that saying. It seems to give others some free will to explore their options, while I have my hands on the reins, so to speak. Beth touches Genies other elbow and gets that electric shock again. “Damn it”, Beth yells and falls back into my arms. I saw the electrical spark pass between them. It was no small thing, but rather it looked like when I accidentally hit a live household wire with a screw driver. Quite a large spark and jolt, if I remember correctly.
“Alright! Hold it right there you two.” I shouted. They stopped and looked at me with quizzical looks. “I don’t know what is going on between you two, but it is quite enough. Genie” I said, “do not EVER do that to Beth again. I am generally a nice guy and a mellow person, but I will not tolerate any type of defiance or abusive behavior, I just won’t.” All the while she and our good friend the antique master continued to look at one another with smirks on their faces. Not so much as a hesitation for Beth’s pain or my reprimand. I could see my face in a mirror nearby, on the wall. It didn’t look happy, at all. So, my thoughts were that maybe I was just being a jerk, calm it down a little. Fortunately, my buddy shows a few signs of remorse and hold out his hand, as if to shake mine. “I’m sorry, Randy, it’s all my fault and it was my idea to shock Beth, please don’t blame Genie.” I crossed my arms over my chest and glared at them both. “Never let it be said that I refused to shake your hand Jay or that I’m not a forgiving type of guy.” I made that speech as I stuck out my hand to connect with his own extended palm. That course of action was as big a mistake as trying to teach Beth to drive a standard transmission. I would have sworn to anyone, that my feet left the floor and my hair stood on end. Mr.JM Davidson had succeeded in bringing out the Ogre in my personality, “Son of a Biscuit,” I screamed. My right hand seemingly had no problems working properly, as it reached up and grabbed him by the throat. My left hand had him by his belt buckle. I had always been prone to a hot temper when confronted by bullies and this felt kind of like that. I pushed him backwards till his back was against the wall. Suddenly realizing what had happened, I released my hold on him. “What the hell, Jay? Why and how did you shock me?” Jay starts giggling, “It was just a joke, come on now, ease up. I used one of those hidden palm electric buzzer thingies. Got it at a carnival years ago.” He rubbed his sore throat, coughing a little. “Wow, what has come over you bud? I’ve never seen you in this amount of agitation. What gives?” I heaved a big sigh, as my eyes closed slowly. My right hand rubbed both sides of my scruffy bearded face and then came to rest over my mouth. I stared at him for a time, that felt to me like ten minutes. Probably was only a matter of seconds. No problem, it was all posturing for effect. There was one thing I had learned years ago, when dealing with wild, out of control situations, never be in a hurry or make quick decisions. That is what bullies would expect. That is a sign of fear. I am an old school kind of guy. You don’t give quarter or expect it at times like these. Always remain stoic. My new friend, Genie, was upset. “Why? Why are you being mean?” I was glad to see she hadn’t used the Master terminology there. She stomped her foot like a little kid with a tantrum. Beth was reaching to grab her arm again, but I stopped her with a grunting noise that let her know I was not happy. She backed off and I was glad off that. What we didn’t need right now was more electricity shooting out of Genie’s body.
“Jay let’s walk over here some. I need to talk to you and figure out some stuff.” We walked across the room. I looked back at the two ladies that I had earlier captured with the cell phone camera. They didn’t look anything like the two beautiful women whose pictures I had taken only a few hours earlier. Nope. Genie was stomping around like a wildcat and Beth had been shocked twice and was glaring at Genie, very much like she wanted to stuff her into that carpet bag. “So, what’s up bud?” asked my friend Jay. “I can’t believe you just asked me that! I hope, I look dangerous to you. Because, frankly that’s how I feel. I’d like to smack you upside the head. We have been closer than brothers for over sixty years. I just can’t understand how you could cook up this little melodrama of yours? Can you explain that to me?” My temper was getting the better of me and I had felt as if I might lose control. I glanced at the girls for instant and saw they were talking and playing nice again. We had walked over by the glassware exhibit when I spotted an interesting piece. I called across the room for the girls and they came on over. “Ladies doesn’t this piece of beautiful glassware look familiar? Is this expensive, Jay? I like the look of it can I have it? Here Beth take this and hold onto it. We will pay them for it later. Maybe you two ladies can think of a place we can use this later, if need be?”
“I don’t know but it looks just like one we had earlier. If it broke or something, we might replace the old one, I guess.” Beth mused. I could see from her twinkling eyes that she had gotten my point. Hopefully she would handle the situation, as needed.
“So, try and explain it to me again Jay, please? Why have you gotten involved, in having fun at our expense?”
“No, I really can’t,” he offered, “I’ve gotten involved in some things that are hard to explain and I just thought to have some fun and ease the tension, that’s all.” We had been friends for so long that to me his statement made little sense. We had been through a lot together and he knew he could trust me. I hated that he and I were arguing over this Genie. To me we both seemed to be greedily seeking to own another person. I wished we could just hug it out as they say but, instead I voiced an opinion I knew he wouldn’t like. “I’d appreciate it if you tried. Mainly because you have treated Beth very shabbily, I don’t see that as something you would normally do. So, unless you want to enlighten me, I’m afraid all three of us are going to leave here and without getting Genies paintings etc. I don’t care if she throws a tantrum and cries like a baby. Our friend Genie will just have to suffer because she is with us and will remain with us.” I could see Jay was getting hinky and then he growled out at me and said, “No, wait a minute now, bud. She isn’t beholding to you and I was hoping she would stay with me. I’ve known her much longer than you have. Matter of fact, there are many things that she and I have in common that you are not privy to.”
“Look,” I said. “You may have known her for a longer time than I. But I will guarantee you sir, she is indeed, quite beholding to me, and I don’t see where you come into this picture at all. Fact is, you have no idea what is going on here. Now possibly your intuition may very well feel something heavy IS going down here, but as you said to me a minute ago…you aren’t privy to it. So, butt the hell out, Jay or RM Jackson or whatever the hell you choose to call yourself this week.” Jay always finds it hard to control his rage. When his temper boils he will start shaking and the ears start to twitch. Whatever his name was this week, he was flustered. He hung his head down, practically to his chest and began breathing heavily. His hands balled up into big, white knuckled fists. He was, without a doubt, worrying me. He was bigger, faster and in much better shape than I had been in a very long time. I had become an old man, while he remained virile. The question was, would he break and become violent, because of losing Genie and the argument?
I took a quick glance across the room and the women were gone. “What the hell?” I uttered sharply. I scanned where I had last seen them, but they were gone. When I looked back over to the other half of this argument, seems he had taken advantage of my lack of focus and he was also gone. “Whoa now…just what IS going on here?” I was beginning to feel I had some momentum in this situation, but the plug had been pulled and all the players but myself had gone missing. Who was in control now? How high had the stakes gotten? This was obviously no longer about a supposed Genie or the possibility that my anniversary dinner had been ruined. This suddenly became a life and death moment. Where was my wife? Was she safe? I don’t care at this point about a Genie or a childhood friend. “BETH!” I yelled. Nothing but dim lighting and a small echo. I turned around in a circle at least three times, looking for exits other than the old painted in windows and the front door. Nothing. “Okay, now what?” I mumbled. “It’s fairly dark in here. I could miss a door if I didn’t look very carefully. Hmmm.” I did, however seem to recall a basement door just a few feet away behind some old musty velvet drapery. They were red wine colored and looked to be at least a hundred years old. I turned on the flashlight of my cell phone. “Certainly not a big amount of light but should help me look for that stupid basement door.” I was getting flustered and paranoid. “Why would they just take Beth and run off? What did they have to gain with that move?” I had to think. But I had to find Beth first, that was paramount. Without Beth, there was nothing. Life meant nothing. “Damn it!” I yelled out. I began to realize that any yelling or foot stomping was gaining me nothing. I had to try and understand what Jay had been trying to say. “Hmm, what was that he said? He had gotten involved in some things that were hard to understand? Well, Hell!” I blurted out. “Everything that man does is hard to understand. I had no doubts of him being into some sort of dubious behavior. Sky diving, base jumping and whatever that sport is where they jump from tops of mountains in crazy colored suits and sewn in wings. I didn’t know, or even care. Sometimes my good old buddy just had a death wish. This could be one of those times. I really didn’t think he would hurt my wife, but then he had overseen the time she was shocked by Genie, and then laughed about it. That behavior with the laugh at other’s expense had always felt like the behavior of a bully. Heaven knows how I hate bullies. I have had that quirk my entire life. Put an episode of bullying in front of my face and I will strike it down, straight away. No tolerance for that behavior what so ever.
I hadn’t seen my childhood friend in many months as Beth and I had been traveling the countryside in our SUV and pulling a vintage Airstream trailer behind. Several months of crisscrossing our great nation and fishing in bass filled lakes or small rivers and streams that have a good population of brown trout. Most people want to catch rainbows, but I find them to be a genetically altered, man-made fish and the brownie is a wild game fish. They have a much better taste. Unfortunately, Beth hates fish so I don’t keep them. I SNAPPED OUT OF MY REVERIE quickly, when I heard a noise from behind the musty drapes. My instincts took over and I pulled out my concealed carry pistol, a .357 caliber revolver. I had carried that gun for years, shortly after Missouri began to issue concealed carry licenses, my dad and I went to school so we could obtain them. My little cell phone flashlight lit up the drapes quite well and the small amount of light from the distant windows helped some. The drapes begun to rustle and sway. I stepped back a few feet and pointed my weapon at the movement. “You had better come out from behind there with your hands up.” I said. “I have a gun pointed at your mid-section. Don’t dare make any quick movements.” The drapes slid open slowly. “Dear God, what the hell are you doing over here?” I pointed my pistol down at the floor and quickly walked over to Beth, who had just exited from behind the curtains. “Would you really have shot me, honey?” I slipped the pistol back into its holster. “Don’t be ridiculous, Beth, you looked too cute and not the least bit dangerous. What is going on? I saw you over there.” I pointed across the room. Standing and talking with Genie. Speaking of which, where the hell is she and what happened to Jay?”
“Well,” she said, “that’s a great question. I don’t know where about either of them. I had to go to the bathroom and I remembered he had one in the basement. I went down the stairs and used that old pull chain toilet, ugh, that thing is disgusting. It was dark down there. I didn’t like it, too spooky for me. I thought I saw a light up these stairs and I came on up and you were going to shoot me.”
“Oh, stop it now. You know I have a cooler head than that. I wouldn’t have shot you.”
“Yeah, uh huh. If I had jumped out and said Boo, you might have.” I just shook my head and chuckled. There is no way to logically talk to anyone when they are being obtuse. The only thing I could try and do was cajole her out of her funky mood. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in much of a cajoling mood. So, I asked, “did you see anyone else in the basement? Any movement in the dark? Smells out of the ordinary? The only thing she saw was the back of the bathroom door. So, I guess my next question was utterly ridiculous. I asked her, “why close the bathroom door when you are alone and in the dark? I mean seriously! Why waste the effort, nobody is there and what’s more when you really need to go…well…who gives a damn? Well, it didn’t seem that those questions went over too well and were unworthy of discussing. No, not with her husband of forty- two years why waste the effort? According to her I already knew all the answers anyway. So, all I could think of as a response to that snide remark was to say something an old friend of mine once said to me about my own ridiculously stupid argument. “Oh brother, really? Indeed, I might know it all, but I’m not going to share it with you, anytime soon.”
“Oh yeah, you are so smart you are standing here, in the dark, arguing with your wife over a bathroom break. Can we go look for the others now?” I could only say one word. “Huh!” I felt about ten inches tall. The worst part, of course, was that she knew it and what’s more, was delighted! She pushed me on the back in the direction of where we last saw Genie. “Alright, Ok, do you mind? Sheesh!” We went about forty feet across the room and I began to smell the aroma of fresh coffee brewing. I turned to the right and into a narrow hallway. A beam of light bounced off the back wall in a corner. We went “towards the light” as we used to tell the spirits of the Ouija board, when we were sitting around the kitchen table in our twenties. Jay had always joined us when we did the Ouija board. The thing just ended up scaring us too much and we finally threw it away. The end of the hallway turned and led to a staircase with a large lighted Chrystal chandelier at the top of the stairs. I pointed at the light and raised my eyebrows and sort of rolled my eyes a little. Beth let go a shrill whistle of appreciation. I sighed in amazement, “phew,” and we both nodded our heads in agreement. It was easy to see that Jay had been doing well and owned several large collections of expensive items.
Thirteen steps. I counted them. I couldn’t say why, it was just something I had always done. I was always finding reasons to suspect others of OCD. Maybe I had a touch of the disorder myself. Didn’t matter. Especially not as we stepped out of the staircase and into the room. It was a nice room. I would have agreed with Beth on that score, but unfortunately, we didn’t have much opportunity to enjoy our surroundings. The first thing we saw was Jay in an overstuffed leather rocking chair, having a snack of cashews, cheese and what looked like Marshmallow Peeps. “Whoa Jay,” I joked. “Where’s our snack? You going to share bud?” He raised his palms off the table in a gesture of surrender. He was kind of looking like a Mafia Don the way he gave that wave. A grave situation had come up requiring our attention. He directed our attention to a mirror in the corner in which was the reflection of Tracy, Jay’s wife. Tracy had Genie’s Lamp in her left hand and a small hammer in the other. Jay then says, “if you both sit on the bed in the corner you can see them without the mirror. “Well…what is this now?” Beth asks. I knew her temper had already been elevated. I also knew that she was more than capable at finessing a situation. So, we both sat on the bed and I could see the wheels turning, behind her eyes.
“You know Tracy, we didn’t have any idea you were here. You have truly surprised us. Not only are you not in Texas taking care of your father, but it appears you are trying to steal our Genie.” Tracy had always been cute. We had known her as Jay’s wife for many decades. “Tracy, we have always known you to be a good Christian, what could possibly bring you to the point of murdering Randy and me and stealing our Genie?” I thought Beth had put that to her quite nicely. I was afraid though, that if things didn’t improve, I would have to seek my own remedies and possibly take drastic action.
“Well, in the first place, let’s get this straight. She is not your Genie. She is mine. You have gotten in the way of my big wish which would have been used to heal my father of cancer. But, nope, you had to come along and ruin all my plans. You think I will have a problem murdering you two? My Friday night Dominoes playing friends? Randy, if only you had learned to play, I might have spared you. Ha ha. No, Randy I have always liked you but Beth, huh, yeah Beth, you are a snide little creep and you always thought you were better at games than me. You aren’t sister.” Beth stood up and was about to head for Tracy when the hammer came up and Tracy had a wicked look in her eyes. She yelled loudly. “One more step, little girl and I will bash this Genie into Hell. Like I said she was my Genie. I had those two Italian meat cutters murdered in cold blood, so I could become the Master. Jay was supposed to go out and steal her Lamp out of the freezer during the chaos. Guess who stepped in instead? You guys did, and you ruined it all. Now if we don’t resolve this problem soon, not only will my father die, but Jay and I will too. Randy, can’t you see this is the way it has to be? Can’t you guys just get out of the way and leave us be? Beth had set back down and now it was my turn to stand up and try for a solution. “So, Tracy, please tell me how it is you and Jay are going to die? You know I feel bad about your dad, I do. But he is old. Come on. Old people die. That’s not really a secret. So, as far as your dad goes, I have sympathy. I just don’t feel any sorrow there. Jay’s and Beth’s dads died and mine will too before long. I am sorry you will feel that pain, but it can’t be stopped. Genie is a just a Genie, I think. You would have had more results just by saying your prayers. Prayers are powerful. You know this Tracy. Besides, lady, I have it on good authority that human women cannot be a Genie master over a female Genie. Only a human male can and guess who already has that distinction? Me, that’s who. Genie is mine and I am her Master. There is absolutely nothing that can be changed about that fact. She has sworn allegiance to me, and I to her.” Her husband was beginning to move a bit and I was afraid he was going to maneuver for a position to take me out. So, I warned him. “Jay, please don’t move from that chair, my friend.” I lifted my shirt and showed him my gun and holster in my waistband. I would hate to shoot you, my friend. But, shoot you I will, in order to save Beth, Genie and myself.” Jay stood up from his comfy rocking chair and stretched a bit as he looked me in the eyes. “I don’t believe any of that matters Randy. Tracy and I are keeping Genie. We will even give you all my belongings and antique shop. Once we have her, we won’t need anything else. The way I see it there is absolutely nothing that will keep us from it. I think I can hurdle that bed before you can get your pistol out of those pants. Then I will be forced to knock the stuffing out of you. I think I can get Tracy to tie you up while I take Beth down to the basement, oh and don’t worry my friend I won’t have my way with her. I am impotent. That was one thing Genie was going to fix FOR ME. So, I think I will just put her and you into my incinerator, while you are unconscious and after that no evidence will be found and we will have the Genie.”
“You know,” I began, “Jay and Tracy. We all studied the spiritual things in life for many years. We well the three of us, I’m sorry to say Tracy you weren’t part of this triad of spiritual studies. That sounds kind of bold of me to say, doesn’t it? I am sorry about that too, because even though I like you Tracy, you have proven to me here today that you aren’t worthy of my abilities to save you. I think YOU will be the one that has to perish, possibly today. But I am not the one with the say so either. See, you don’t have a firm grasp on the reality of your situation. You are afraid of who, exactly? The mafia? See, here again I know things about you guys that you didn’t realize was in my realm of expertise. But darlings you were mistaken. I am a very good friend of the shylock that bought your debt. He and I go fishing together, often. His father was a big, uh, well, lets’ just call him a loan officer, shall we? When I saw you guys floundering a few years back I talked to my friend George about you. We had a person that owes a huge debt of gratitude to our friends and their family, meet you accidently one day and you guys became good buddies. You remember Melvin, who you met at that little diner in Belton? He sat close to you many times. I’m sure he just looked like a typical farm boy, because that’s what he does. I seem to recall he took you to HIS “loan officer” and he, or rather they loaned you a big chunk of money. So, your little establishment here, really doesn’t belong to you. So, guys why don’t you just give us back our Genie and we will be on our way. We won’t even turn you in for murder. Huh?”
“Wow,” said Tracy, “that was a good speech, Randy. I knew you could talk and were articulate, But I had no idea. But, like you stated, none of that makes any difference, and why, you ask? Because in this little bottle or whatever it is called, I hold the power. I have your little Genie right here in my hand and if you don’t like it…well, I guess I can just break this Vase she is in and since she is “indisposed,” shall we say? You and I and all of us will lose. So, either way Randy and Beth, you lose. You are out. Way out. You just haven’t realized it yet. So, move on down the stairs, call the police, do what you want. By the time it all works out for you, we will be long gone. So, I am going to save your life, contrary to Jay’s desires.”
Beth picked up her purse and stood up. “Okay this has gone on long enough. I’m tired. Let’s go home honey. Give them what they want. Move out, my dear. She said as she pushed me toward the steps. “No! I will not go! Period! I said, as I took out my pistol and shot it through the floor, for affect. “Jay, please don’t! Move it, let’s go.” I pointed my weapon directly at his chest. “Looks to me like you won’t make it over here very fast after all. Now sit back down. Tracy, I swear to you, I will shoot him in the chest, if I don’t get the Genie back in ten seconds. Jay, tell your wife to do what I say or old friend I will be forced to end you.” Beth put her hand on my gun hand and pushed it down. “No, you won’t. Listen to me honey. Please listen. They don’t know what they have. Let them keep the vessel. Believe me, we will be okay.” I looked into her eyes and I saw something there that made me trust her instincts. She continued to nod her head and say, “it will be okay honey.” Then she asked, “do you still have your phone and the picture? You do? Oh, that’s good. Okay, let’s go honey, I’ll explain it all later. We will have what we need, please trust me, now, walk on down the stairs.” So, I went. In the background noise I heard Jay say to Tracy, “What picture?”
On the way home with Beth, and Genie and the lamp in Beth’s purse, I decided to stop by our bank and drop off something in our safe deposit box. Beth was in the front passenger seat when her purse that was on the floor in front of her began to vibrate and what looked like hopping, and yet, it wasn’t. “I would bet that is Genie’s way of telling you she wants out.” I had to chuckle at that because it made her sound like the family pet. I was trying very hard not to get that thought in my head. But in fact, she was very much like that, indeed.
First off, I wanted to put that picture of Beth and Genie in there. I didn’t know at the time that it would have such a big part to play in our future. So, we socked it away in the box, thinking it would be akin to saving grandma’s favorite recipe, forgotten. Secondly, Genie….oh Genie. I forgot about her. We let her out of the bottle, lamp, whatever it is, and I was immediately chastised by her for being too slow about letting her out. I’ll tell you, it is just like have a dog, but with magic powers. We haven’t discussed those powers or anything about wishes either, but we will, eventually. Speaking of dogs, she and my dog Trump have gotten along famously. Used to be he was joined at the hip with Beth but after Genie came into our family, they are almost inseparable

Some months later,

I wish that I could remember what happened next, but it was very confusing. A whirlwind of activities and plans were made and the next thing I was aware of was the sounds of water lapping and splashing on a beach. Bright sunlight was baking my now browned skin and we were relaxed on patio lounge chairs that seemed to be uneven. I was guessing it was because of the sand. I didn’t see a patio anywhere. Genie does not speak in a normal fashion, like adults do. Her voice is soft and sweet. When she is on, there is no other person you wish to be with and none other than her, whose opinion you cherish more. If you are uncertain in your thinking, she will know you and how to manipulate your thoughts. “Master, aren’t you tired of this place yet? Wouldn’t you like to go to Paris or maybe Rome?” I turned and looked at Genie. Slim and tanned to perfection. Wearing only her bikini, sandals and a sun visor and sipping on a drink with a pink umbrella. Oh, yes, she was wearing one more thing, a beautiful smile. “I know what I want.” I said to her, with my finest toothy smile. She smiled like the cat who just swallowed the mouse, satisfied, pleased, and full. I of course, was the mouse she was manipulating. I just didn’t realize it, yet.
Reluctantly, I realized I had looked at Genie too long. I was beginning to enjoy it too much and part of my visualization had turned to fantasy. I yawned and smiled with a sigh, as I turned to Beth. “So, what do you want to do dear?” I asked in my best nonchalant voice. “Oh, I am totally happy here in Fiji. We might want to check in on our ranch in Texas, when hurricane season comes around. You know, make sure that Tracy and Jay are doing their chores, we gave them to do. I’m sure glad you came around to believing in me, when we had the trouble with Jay and Tracy. I couldn’t just give away all the information to you, in front of them. Jay reads a lot of fantasy novels too and probably knows or could figure out I had switched that bottle of Genie’s for that one you saw in his shop. I was so thankful that he didn’t. Things could have ended much different and Genie might have been lost to us.” Genie was sitting in the sand. Looking beautiful and exotic, for someone that is two thousand years old. She turned and looked at me with those icy blue eyes, “You probably don’t know or realize but Genies can make selections in their lives too. If you remember, I chose you two to be my mates in time, and it could be for the rest of your natural lives.”
My wife chimed in to the conversation I was having with our beautiful new friend. “I think, we should maybe start a rock or shell collection to remember our beach vacation. What do you say guys, you in?” A small chuckle escaped my lips. I nervously blurted out, “no I believe I would like to go back to our room. Get myself a beer, a shower to get all this sand off and then maybe a nap. As I was walking away it felt like she was boring a hole in the back my neck with her intense scrutinizing stare. I wasn’t sure if I was lying or if she just thought I was. Her idea of the truth was entirely different from mine, I allowed for abstract thinking. She only dealt in absolutes. I took my shower while the memory of Genie and her bikini did things to my libido that Beth had been unable to accomplish for quite some time. I made sure that my shower water was icy cold before I climbed out into the hot humid air of Fiji.

It can’t be helped. You might think it can, or should be an easy thing to accomplish, it’s not. If you appreciate women, like I do, keeping your eyes off our Genie is so difficult, in fact, hundreds of men everyday try to hit on her. I would have thought that Such beauty would appear cold and austere or maybe unapproachable. Nope, not the case. She is an amazing creature. Warmth of personality and especially that great smile, just enables anyone to talk with her. I believe that she adapts to each individual so quickly that it is not noticeable, unless you have been near her for a long time. I have known her now for several months and even though I love my wife dearly, the proximity of Genie is sometimes extremely difficult to manage. She exudes a strong sense of femininity and knows how to schmooze any man and bend him to her will. With women, not as much, but that magnetism is undeniable even for them. It is there, she has it and knows how and when to use it on another. When first you meet her, she is a puppy or maybe a cat that will rub on you until you have its scent all over your clothes. When that happens, there is no denying her, for she owns you. After that, her aroma will get into the pores of your skin and permeate your aural faculties. Next her feminine energy will overtake your brain and nervous system. She will then know most of you and hunger to know the rest, and she will. It matters not if you are male or female, if she chooses to know you, then she will. Such is the way of the female Genie, she is more that I had expected, and at times all that I want. But I know I cannot and will not succumb. She is a man in a woman’s body and knows what men want and need. She is a true Siren

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