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Excerpt for The Genie by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


The Genie

Copyright 2019 J.T. Evergreen


Published by J.T. Evergreen

at Smashwords


This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, then please return to Smashwords.com or your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Khris Lawrentz for his tireless proofreading.


The Genie


Vivian Scott paused in front of The Olde Book Shoppe display window. She was an avid antique collector so, when she saw the antique bottles in the display window, she had to stop and inspect the offering. The longer she looked, the more inclined she was to go in and have an even closer look. Her wrist watch told her she had more than enough time to browse before her train departed for her home in Arlington Heights.


The little bell over the front door jingled merrily as she entered and closed the door. It was then she heard someone shuffling across the floorboards in an adjacent room. The divider curtain parted and an elderly man entered. “Good afternoon, my dear. How may I be of assistance?”


“Good afternoon …?”


“My name is Morris and this is my shop.”


“Good afternoon, Morris. I noticed the antique bottles in your display window. May I have a closer look?”


“Indeed you may. The display window is unlocked … please help yourself. There are more of these beauties on the far wall which may also be of interest to you. They recently arrived in a shipment from the Far East … a small province in China close to the Great Wall. You are the first person to show an interest. Please take your time and let me know if you require assistance.”


“Thank you, Morris, I will.” She was charmed by the elderly man, peering happily over gold-rimmed eyeglasses perched on the end of his nose. His dated wearing attire reminded her of another time, another place.


After examining the bottles in the display window, she turned to the shelf Morris had pointed out. As she approached the display, she was immediately drawn to one of the bottles – a well-shaped bottle of Aquamarine color, laced beautifully with cyan and deep marine blues. She surveyed the entire collection but always returned to this particular bottle. At last, she could not resist picking it up and smoothing her hands over the comely contours. As she did so, the bottle shook slightly which surprised her.


She continued to admire the beauty of this bottle until she felt a presence behind her. She placed the bottle back on the shelf and turned with a smile. “Morris, this is such…” She stopped abruptly when she found herself facing a tall, handsome, middle-aged man who was also smiling. Her breath caught for an instant when she thought she recognized him. “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought it was Morris.”


“My name is Daniel. Thank you for releasing me from the bottle.”


“Releasing you from what?” Vivian was not sure what she had just heard.


“From the bottle. I’ve been in there for ages, and I appreciate being released to assist you with three wishes.”


“You’re kidding?” Vivian smiled as her streetwise wisdom kicked in.


“No, I am not kidding. You rubbed the Aquamarine bottle, did you not?”


“Yes, but … are you trying to tell me you’re a genie?” Vivian was on the verge of laughter.


“I’m not trying to tell you anything. I’m here to grant you three wishes. That is my mission.”


“Well, thank you very much, whatever your name is, but I’m fresh out of wishes. You’re very charming but this won’t work. I’m not interested, and I have no spare change for you. Now, if you’ll excuse me.” Vivian stepped around the stranger and walked toward the shop entrance.


“Please, Miss. If you don’t allow me to grant your three wishes, I will be destined to stay in the bottle longer, and I’m tired of being there.”


“I’m very sorry about your plight, but again, I’m not interested.” Vivian continued walking toward the front door but lingered at the sadness of his voice.


Daniel came up behind her. “They can be any wishes you like. I have the power to fulfill them.” He was on the verge of pleading with her.


Vivian turned. “Well, if you have so much power, why don’t you wish yourself out of the bottle … for good?”


“That I am not able to do. It is part of my punishment.”


“Punishment? What are you being punished for?”


Daniel did not answer. He looked away from Vivian.


“Come on … what did you say your name was?”


“My name is Daniel, Vivian.” he looked into her stern, uncompromising face.


“How did you know my name?” She held her shoulder bag closer, thinking he may have been able to look inside.


“I knew who you were the moment you touched the bottle.” He looked expectantly at her. “This won’t take long. Just three wishes and I’ll be gone.”


“So, you don’t want anything from me except three wishes. Is that right?”


“Yes.” Daniel smiled.


“Okay, I’ll bite. My first wish is … a fierce thunderstorm with a gully washer downpour of rain for … two minutes.” She smiled, raised her eyebrows and gazed at Daniel.


Before she closed her mouth there was a blinding flash of lightning followed by several booms of thunder that were so loud the building shook. As the rain began to pelt the display windows, Vivian’s breath caught when she realized Daniel might not be kidding after all.


“You have two more wishes, Vivian.” Daniel smiled at the astonished Vivian as they waited for the storm to pass. As the sun broke through the clouds, it brightened the interior of the bookshop.


“Oh, my God, you weren’t kidding.”


“No, I wasn’t. You have two more wishes, please.”


Vivian thought for a moment, “My next wish is that you be released from the Aquamarine bottle forever.”


“I’m sorry, Vivian. That will not be possible. Only wishes applying to you will be granted.


“May I ask you a question?”


“Yes, of course. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.”


“You said you are in the bottle as punishment.”


“Yes, that is correct.”


“What in the world did you do to deserve such a punishment?”


Daniel hesitated. He looked down, “I was unfaithful.”


“Oh, dear God in Heaven. I don’t believe this.” She searched Daniel’s handsome face. “How long ago did this happen?”


“A few thousand years ago.” Daniel’s face could not hide his sadness as his voice softened. “You still have two more wishes, Vivian.”


“How long before you are released from this curse?” Her curiosity was piqued.


“Each time I am able to grant three wishes, the time allotment is reduced considerably.”


“Is there no way to null and void the punishment immediately?”


“There is, but I’m not allowed to speak of it.”


Vivian stared at Daniel, then she turned and shouted, “MORRIS! Are you there?”


“No,” Daniel urged, “you cannot bring someone else into this.”


“Wanna bet?” Vivian heard Morris moving across the wooden floor.


The partition curtain parted, “Yes, my dear?”


Vivian looked around – Daniel was gone. She walked over to the shelf holding the antique bottles and pointed to the Aquamarine bottle. “This bottle.”


“Yes, it’s quite beautiful. Were you interested in purchasing it?”


“No, I am not interested in purchasing it. Would you mind telling me what’s going on?”


“I’m not sure what you mean, my dear.”


“Please don’t give me any more of your ‘my dear’ stuff. You know exactly what I’m talking about … don’t you?”


Morris strolled into the room and stopped in front of a very annoyed Vivian, “Yes, my dear. I do know.”


“Well, would you mind enlightening me?”


“I can, but you may not appreciate the answer.” Morris smiled sympathetically.


“Go ahead … give it a try.” The condescending tone of her voice surprised her.


Morris sat down at the nearby table, sighed, and invited Vivian to join him. “I’ve known Daniel for a very long time. It is terribly sad. His punishment for being unfaithful is justified. He will agree with that.”


“You said you’ve known him for a very long time.”


“True.”


“Wait a minute. You told me these bottles recently arrived from the Far East.”


“Did I? I don’t remember saying that.”


Vivian laughed, “You’re such a liar. And you’re up to something. What I would like to know is, has Daniel learned his lesson?”


“Oh, yes, he has learned his lesson.”


“Then why does his punishment, this curse, continue?”


“It will end when he is reunited with the person to whom he was unfaithful.”


“Well, that sounds fair. How does she feel about it?”


“That remains to be seen, my dear.”


“Well, for heaven’s sake, why am I involved in this?”


Morris smiled and was silent.


“Wait a minute. Are you trying to tell me that I’m…” she stared at Morris. “I don’t even know this guy.”


“You can find out by utilizing one of your wishes.”


“And how would I do that?”


“By requesting that you be permitted to join him in the bottle. If you are not the one, your wish will not be granted.”


“And if I am?”


“The curse will be lifted.”


“This is beyond ridiculous.” She got up and ran from the bookshop. When she arrived at the Canal Street Bridge she looked back and was shocked to see that the bookshop was not there. “Dear God in heaven. What is going on?” she muttered as she stared at the blank wall of the parking structure.


As her shoulders sagged in frustration, she turned and walked to the train depot entrance.


The annoying part was, she could not get the image of this sad man out of her brain. He seemed so familiar and yet that was impossible. The more she resisted the thought of Daniel, the more entrenched he became. She tried every diversion imaginable … nothing worked.


Out of desperation, she related the incident to her best friend, Gloria. They had been bosom buddies since grade school. They knew each other’s secrets.


“Vivian, what the hell are you complaining about? You say he’s good looking and repentant. With your history of frog kissing, I should think you would have been all over this guy by now. You’re not getting any younger you know.”


Vivian glared at her friend, “That’s what I like about you. You don’t beat around the bush.”


“How good looking is he?” Gloria raised her eyebrows and smiled with anticipation.


“Oh, God, he’s so beautiful. He’s tall with broad shoulders and the saddest expression on his delicious face you’d ever want to see. Even you would feel motherly toward him.”


“I’ll take that as a compliment. How old is he?”


“About my age.”


“That old.” Gloria waited for a retort, which didn’t come.


“Oh, Gloria, what am I going to do? I’d let him put his shoes under my bed anytime he wanted – in my bed if he wanted to.”


“So, he’s that good looking?”


“Yes, but it’s more than that. He oozes goodness. Something I don’t have much of.”


“That’s not true, Viv. You’re a good person and it sounds like a good match. So what’s keeping you from using one of your wishes to be with him … in the bottle?”


“I’m afraid, Gloria.”


“Of what?”


“What if he turns out to be a frog?”


“Well, it couldn’t be any worse than that trailer-park-trash you dragged around all of last year.”


“He wasn’t trailer-park-trash. He was just finding himself.”


“Viv, he only had one oar in the water, and you were footing the bill. Come on … this looks like Kismet to me, and you probably will never get another chance like it. Maybe I should rub his bottle.”


“You keep your hands to yourself. And I mean it!”


“Ok, ok. But you better make up your mind before someone else drops by that bookshop and gives Aquamarine a stroke or two.”


“You’re hustling me, Gloria. You know how I hate that. Why do you persist?”


“Because I love you and I’m tired of hearing how lonely you are.”


“You never were bossy like this before. What happened?


Gloria smiled, “I am not bossy. I just know what you should be doing … as always.”


Vivian glared at her friend, then broke into laughter. She threw her arms around Gloria and hugged her, “Okay, I’ll go back and make that stupid wish. I just hope Daniel doesn’t laugh at me. Are you satisfied?


“I am indeed. You’ll thank me.”


“I certainly hope so. I just hope the bookshop is there when I return.”


The next day, Vivian came out of the train station and paused on the Canal Street Bridge and smiled – the Olde Book Shoppe was there.


She hurried to the front door, stopped, took a deep breath, and then casually entered. The little bell above the door greeted her as before.


She walked over to the shelf of antique bottles … her bottle was not there. She shouted, “MORRIS!” at the top of her lungs.


“Coming. I’ll be right there.” Vivian heard the familiar shuffling in the back room as Morris neared the divider curtain. “Hello, hello. How nice to see you again.”


“Where is it, Morris?” she glared at him.


“It’s right here, my dear. I put it away for safekeeping. Didn’t want someone else rubbing it before you returned.” He grinned as he handed her the bottle.


“Very funny, Morris. You are a devil.”


“Perhaps.” He smiled and returned to the back room.


Vivian held the bottle up and gently rubbed its side … nothing happened. She rubbed it again. Still, nothing happened. She rubbed it a third time … nothing. “MORRIS!”


“I’ll be right there, my dear.”


She heard him shuffle across the floor and watched as the divider curtain was pulled aside.


“DANIEL!” Vivian shouted in surprise.


Morris smiled, “I rubbed the bottle earlier. I wanted to have a chat with Daniel before you arrived. And here he is.”


“Morris, you devil.”


“Yes, so you’ve said.”


“Hello, Vivian.” Daniel stepped into the room.


“Daniel, I know what my next wish is.” She smiled with anticipation.


Daniel smiled. “And your wish is?”


Tears welled in her eyes, “I want to be with you … in the bottle.”


Daniel’s jaw dropped slightly. “I don’t know. I don’t think that’s possible.” He looked to Morris for help.


The Aquamarine bottle slipped from Vivian’s hands and crashed to the floor, breaking into hundreds of pieces. “Oh, my God, NO!” Vivian cried out. “What have I done?” She was beside herself. “I’ve ruined everything, Daniel. I’m so sorry.”


Morris interrupted, “No, you have not ruined anything, my dear.” He looked at Daniel, “The spell has been lifted, Daniel. You are free.”


“But I thought …”


“And you thought correctly. But remember, when the one you wronged returns and forgives you, you will be free.” Morris smiled.


“You mean …?” Daniel looked slack-jawed at Vivian.


“It certainly looks that way.” Morris turned to Vivian, “You have forgiven him haven’t you?”


“There is nothing to forgive, Morris. But has he forgiven himself?”


“Daniel?” Morris leaned forward.


“Yes, I have forgiven myself. Oh, look!” Daniel put his fingers to his eyes, “Tears, at long last.”


Morris giggled with joy.


Daniel turned, “I don’t know what to say, Vivian.”


“You don’t have to say a word, Daniel. Come on, let’s go. We’ll figure it out as we go along.” As she opened the bookshop door, she turned to Morris. “Thank you … a thousand times, thank you.”


“You are most welcome, my dear. Now, off with you.” He closed the shop door as Vivian joined Daniel in the sunshine and rubbed his hands together in devilish delight as he and the bookshop began to fade away.


“Welcome to the 21st Century, Daniel. You’re gonna love it. It will drive you absolutely crazy.” She laughed as she took Daniel’s hand. “Hungry?”


“Yes, I am hungry. It’s been a long time.” He laughed.


“Come on, I know the perfect place. The Lola Palooza Soup and Sandwich Bar. Claudette, the barista, is a friend of mine. She’ll take good care of us. Do you like ice cream?”


“I don’t know. I can’t remember ever having had any.”


“Oh, Daniel, you and I are going to have so much fun.”


When they reached the corner, Vivian glanced back, “Daniel, look!”


The Olde Book Shoppe was gone. They laughed, then crossed the street.


THE END

About the Author J.T. Evergreen

OCCUPATION - Retired from the grind. Reflecting on successes, failures, and regrets. Exploring new aspects of self, writing that book which will get me an Oscar, staying out of trouble - well, small amounts of trouble are ok. Bringing joy into people's lives with random acts of kindness - the ones who aren't expecting it are the best.

ABOUT ME - Alone in blessed singleness. Wicked sense of humor, enjoy my own company, glad I'm not young any longer. I do miss the intimacy of being in love. Enjoy the possibilities of every moment, an imagination that won't quite, a master weaver - give away everything I make, excellent portrait painter, a national treasure - though no one agrees with me, a good listener, intuitive, a good conversationalist, avoid boredom and boring people at all costs - that's a career all by itself.

INTERESTS - Intelligent conversation: hard to come by these days, metaphysics, mysticism, my pups - Charlie, Max, and Bailey, seeing the funny side of life, going to Macy's at Christmas time - kicking Santa and punching an Elf. If I had a singing voice, which I don't, I would sing all of the time, wherever I was - even in WalMart. Wouldn't that be enchanting? When I receive the Oscar for the book I'm writing, I will have some baritone sing On A Clear Day, and I will lip sync his voice. It will wow the audience.

LOVES - Color and lots of it, strawberry jam, hiking up Yosemite Falls, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, sourdough bread, only made in San Francisco. Hearst Castle, Big Sur, sea air, Adams peanut butter, chocolate milk, rainy days, canaries singing, chocolate chip cookies my mother made, Greek yogurt with honey - oh, yum. Laughter. I make it a point of doing this many times a day.

HATES - Stupidity, insensitivity, bad table manners - come on, how difficult is it to hold a fork properly - it's not a shovel for God's sake. Snow, ice, slush, freeway traffic, lima beans - what was God thinking, sleepless nights, people who are late, texting - it's a cop-out, alcohol, red meat,

FAVORITE BOOKS - The Spiritual Journey of Joel S. Goldsmith.

FAVORITE MUSIC – Joplin’s Peachrine, Ahmad Jamal - Country Tour - the absolute best jazz - never tire of it. Someone Waits for You – Carly Simons, Helen Kane singing Button Up Your Overcoat and I Want to Be Bad – I relate to the lyrics. And the Tenor who sang Springtime for Hitler in the Zero Mostel version of The Producers. No one seems to know who he is. What a voice.

FAVORITE FILMS – The Celluloid Closet, Witness for the Prosecution, It Could Happen to You, Maltese Falcon, Inherit the Wind, 12 Angry Men, Harold and Maude, Murder on the Orient Express, Hope and Glory, Sorry Wrong Number, Speed, Practical Magic, Apollo 13, Where the Red Fern Grows, The original Producers - touch me, hold me - Estelle was terrific, and Zero - what can I say.

FAVORITE QUOTES – The poetry in writing is the illusion it creates: by me. Lord Chesterfield: “Sex: the pleasure is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable.” The saddest words of tongue or pen are these - It might have been - indeed they are. If you want to make a success out of old age, you better start now: my mother when I was 15. On a clear day, you really can see forever - you just have to look. I may be rancid butter, but I'm on your side of the bread. Inherit the Wind.

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

Omar Khayyam


Other books by J.T. Evergreen

Short Stories to Celebrate the New Year

Alone at the Beach 25 short stories to keep you company

Home Alone 8 Great Stories to keep you company

Born in the Twilight

Injun Summer



This’nThat

Short Stories for a Summer’s Day

Holiday Short Stories

With All My Love

Father Frederick Monahan



Shangri la, Stepping Stones to God

I’m Gay Mother – Get Over it

The Olde Book Shoppe

Naked Before God

The Italian Call Boy



The Silence of Healing

Death of a Pope Birth of Hope

The Best Short Stories Ever

My Love Affair with Father Tomas McTavish

Father Gibbon with Sister Mary Magda in development



I get choked up when I re-read some of my stories.

I’m told that’s a sign of being a good writer.


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Here’s a collection of tunes to send you on your way. Cheers, JT

 http://chirb.it/kps29B ,  http://chirb.it/NJwxIp ,  http://chirb.it/7q7G2y

 http://chirb.it/vd2Cyp , http://chirb.it/2BqBKf ,  http://chirb.it/PzmBa1
 http://chirb.it/gPmcnH ,  http://chirb.it/mqJgeP ,  http://chirb.it/h4em9h

 http://chirb.it/dr8rkr

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