When the genie offers me my wishes, I’ll wish to wake up miserable but go to sleep happy. Every day like a life compressed will be an adventure of discovery and fulfillment. The other wishes you can keep, to fix the world if you know how, I’m not afraid. My wish will insulate me from your good intentions. I’ll sleep well, by contract. The genie, of course, sleeps best. And gets the last laugh. Between the rubbings of the lamp, she has a thousand years to solve the riddle of each desire. However crafty my wish may seem, she’ll grant it only technically, as everyone knows, grant but not grant it. In good time, I’ll suffer for sloppy thinking. She’ll make me a junky, for instance, happy for one minute a day. Suppose I wish for love: my wife changes so much in a year I’m already falling in love with a stranger, sleeping with a different woman every night. Suppose I wish for things: I own more now than most humans have ever owned. It wouldn’t even challenge the genie, with all her resources, to make me the richest man among the destitute of a filthy, desperate age. The second man owned half the world, for one example, but he couldn’t start a fire, and his bed was cold. No, when I’m offered my chance, I’ll let the world be, fix my eyes, and wish for a certain perspective. There are times, I think, when he’s been too long from home, a man will fantasize making love to his own wife, in his own bed. That’s fantasy. From now on, I’m that man, on a mission to Mars, gazing at the earth as it is. How exotic my wife seems from this distance, how like a genie’s dream.

Copyright ©1999-2006 David Hodges

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