Jocko found the genie lamp in a pile of serving ware in Tony’s salvage yard outside of New Brunswick, New Jersey. He immediately knew what it was when he found the thing. It was like finding the winning lottery ticket somebody mistakenly cast away.
He took it home to his apartment where he could think through the wishes he’d make. A few hours contemplation and he rubbed the lamp. Sure enough, a stream of smoke poured out of the spout and formed into a man dressed just like the genies in the movies and TV shows.
“Today brings you luck, my friend,” said the genie.
“Yeah, yeah. I know,” said Jocko. “Three wishes, right?”
The genie looked disappointed that he couldn’t finish his flourish. What a baby. “That is correct.”
“Gimme a Ferrari,” Jocko said.
“You have to wish for it,” said the genie.
“I wish I had a Ferrari.”
Outside Jocko’s window, a black 1978 308 GTS Ferrari appeared. He jumped and punched the air. “Yes!”
He raced out to the car and found the keys in the ignition. He started the car, and it growled like a tiger. “Ha-ha!” He put it in gear and started down the road to find a place to bring it to top speed, but a police officer pulled him over.
“Whazza problem, officer?” he asked, as he handed the officer his license and registration. “I didn’t speed, and I stopped at the signs.”
“Haven’t you heard, Mr… uh….” The officer glanced at the license. “…Pelligrini? Today is the day all vehicular travel is replaced by the automated systems. If you need to get somewhere, all you have to do is hit a call button, either on your phone or on the pylons throughout the city. Only specialized vehicles are allowed on the road now, and even those are automated.”
This was all nice and futury, but it negated most of the fun of having the Ferrari. “As you can see, officer, this car is very special.”
The policeman chuckled. “So it is. But it’s not an ambulance or police car—it can’t stay on the road.”
Crestfallen, Jocko drove the car back to his apartment, easily finding a parking spot since almost all other vehicles had disappeared. “What the hell?”
He went back into his apartment and rubbed the lamp again. Out came the genie.
“What would you like to wish for?” he asked.
Jocko stared at the genie. “I wish I had the most beautiful girlfriend in the world.”
A Charlize Theron look-alike materialized next to him. “Jocko, baby, get me a beer, will you, honey?” Her voice was like Fran Drescher’s through a staticky bullhorn.
“Holy, shit. Yeah. Just keep quiet, will ya?” Jocko grabbed a Dos Equis from the fridge and handed it to her.
“All right, look,” Jocko said to the genie. “The best way to get everything I want is for me to be in charge, so here goes. I wish I was the president of the United States.”
In Monterrey, California, Margaret, a very precocious and proud little eight-year-old, had snared herself a Leprechaun named Padraig, and she’d wheedled him into granting her three wishes. The first one came from the depths of her soul, because her cat, Mousy, had been hit by a car only a few weeks past. “I wish no one in the world could drive anymore.”
“Good gracious!” said Padraig. “That’s an enormous wish.”
“I wish it. I wish it. I wish it,” said Margaret.
“Very well,” said Padraig. “It’s done.”
Her brother had angered her earlier that day because he wouldn’t listen to her about the shows they should watch. “I wish all girls had voices that cannot be ignored.”
“Hm.” Padraig stroked his beard. “It’s a big change, but not that big. It’s done.”
“One more,” said Padraig. “You can’t keep holding me like a genie in a bottle. Make your wish.”
Under pressure, Margaret fixated on the things giving her the most grief, and she was sick and tired of her brother treating her like she was dumb, just because she was a girl.
“I’ve got it,” she said. “I wish the president of the United States was a girl.”