Ness takes the genie lamp from my hands. “Maybe it’s a souvenir?” She examines it from all sides. It’s brass with a few decorative swirl engravings. She gives me a half-smile. “Should we rub it?”

“It may be metal, but it’s still just a decoration.” I hold my hand out for it, ready to get back to inventory. We’ve barely made a dent.

“Come on. What if it’s real? What would you wish for?”

“For the inventory to be done.” I try to snatch the lamp away, but Ness is too fast.

“That’s a stupid wish. You should wish for a butler instead. You could make him do inventory for you and then cook and clean every day.” She tries to look into the spout of the lamp. “I wonder what Grandma and Grandpa wished for.”

The lump that’s been sitting in my stomach for the past few days tightens. “Money?” I suggest.

“Yeah, but what about the other two wishes?” Her joking smile falters. “Why’d they keep it in the basement anyway? There’s so much junk down here.”

I look around at the piles of boxes. It’s going to take forever to get through. I wish the other cousins had elected to help. Yeah, it’s hard and it sucks, but don’t they want to see the house before it’s empty and sold off?

Feeling the tears pricking my eyes, I tilt my head back to try to stop gravity from pulling them down. “I’d wish for a personal library with unlimited books and shelf space.”

“Of course you would.” Ness rolls her eyes. “I’d wish for a butler, unlimited money, and a fiance.”

“You’re only twenty-one.”

“That’s why I said fiance and not wife. I want her loyalty forever, but I’m not ready for forever yet.”

“Right…” I start to empty the rest of the box and add the items to my list when I hear Ness’s ring clinking against the brass lamp. She’s actually rubbing it. I laugh to myself.

Then everything happens at once: a whoosh, blue smoke billowing out of the end of the lamp, and the basement lights short circuiting.

A deep female voice whispers, “Who rubbed my lamp?”

No light filters into the basement. I blink hard, trying to discern any shapes in the darkness.

“Well?” She asks.

“I wish the lights were back on?” No sooner as the words out of my mouth then the lights flicker back on.

The genie lamp sits on the ground in front of Ness where she must’ve dropped it, and standing before both of us is a tall, slender woman with dark purple skin and a black ponytail that stretches down to the floor. It looks painful, and her outfit, an emerald pantsuit that nearly melts into her skin seems just as restrictive. “You, whatever your name is. You have two more wishes.”

“Thank you.” I hear myself saying. What else are you supposed to say to that?

Ness sticks her hand out. “I’m Ness and this is my cousin Jessica. You knew our grandparents?”

The genie doesn’t shake Ness’s hand. “Yes. They bought me from a flea market for a lot of money.”

“What did they wish for?”

“The holy trinity: money, sex, and drugs.”

“What?” I blurt. Sure, maybe my grandparents had done drugs back in the day, but the thought of old people smoking weed was a little ridiculous. Not more ridiculous than the genie standing in front of me though.

The genie glared at me with her icy blue eyes. “Not human drugs. Authentic fairy dust. It lasts twenty-four hours, makes you feel good, and lets you hallucinate whatever you want. No bad trips and no side effects.”

Great, so fairies exist too. It’s too absurd. I’m numb.

I don’t know if Ness wasn’t listening or if she’s just as numb, but she asks, “Do we both get three wishes?”

The genie crosses her arms. She hasn’t smiled once. “Those are the rules.”

“Any restrictions?”

“No.”

“Then I want unlimited money.”

“Done.”

“I want to meet and start dating my soulmate tomorrow.”

“Done.”

“And I want my grandparents to come back to life.”

***

Like this story? Read part three on October 5, or read more like it here:  http://www.wedbushwrite.com/undeceased-uncle-part-one/.

Fiction

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