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A Wish

"A wish? I thought there were supposed to be three?"
The genie breathed on his fingernails--apparently inlaid with diamonds--and polished them on his tuxedo-clad chest. Then he turned to me, shrugged, and grimaced in a way that was meant to suggest sympathy at my situation but instead hinted at the sort of glee a real estate agent knows when he's suckered a first-time buyer into putting an offer in on a house that is beyond his means.
"What can I say?" The genie made a moue with his rose-pink lips. "It's our new terms and conditions. If it was up to me, I'd be happy to give you the traditional three wishes, but there you have it, one is all we're allowed to grant these days."
I began to grin. I had an idea. But before I could speak, the genie said, "And if you start thinking of using your wish to ask for more wishes, that's specifically forbidden under Article IV, sub-clause 36 of the new code."
"Oh." My face fell.
"Sorry." The genie did not look at all sorry. It glanced at its watch. "I know you want to give this some thought, but I have an appointment to keep. I really will need your wish within the next, oh, two minutes."
"Two minutes?" I squeaked. I'd spent a lifetime tracking down a genie and now that I'd found one I had to give him my single wish within two minutes.
"One minute forty now, I'm afraid," the genie said.
My mind closed up on itself. I couldn't think of anything. I couldn't even remember my original three wishes, which I'd spent years crafting for maximum advantage, personally, socially, and globally. The genie began tapping a diamond fingernail on its Rolex.
"That's really not helping," I said.
"Oh, sorry," said the genie. It smiled brightly. "Thirty seconds."
I stared at the roof, the ceiling, the floor of the cave, struggling for my single wish. It had taken me so long....
"Time's u--" began the genie.
"Got it!" It was my turn to smile. "I wish for a genie detection device!"
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, December 28th, 2022
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