“Oh wonder, what’s this?” exclaimed Evelina as she lifted the box lid and beheld the mild light emanating from inside.
She’d come to this godforsaken town in North Dakota three weeks ago, lured by a promising job offer that turned out to be a complete dud in reality. The restaurant she had been hired to manage – despite coming straight from college and having no experience – turned out to be a combination bar and brothel, and her sleazy boss’s idea of management was to clean rooms and toilets – for a much reduced salary because she was unwilling to render the services of the other female personnel.
When something looked too good to be true, it usually wasn’t true. Lesson learned.
She had taken the job anyhow – simply because she’d have to wait for the first paycheck to enable her to go somewhere else.
Now she’d also gotten sick the night before Christmas and sat in her dismal tiny room upstairs from the bar, her aching throat wrapped in the wonderfully soft scarf she’d gotten from Jason the Christmas before.
Who had put the box under the table? She had only discovered it when removing her suitcase to take out a change of clothes.
As she had half expected, a small human-like creature eventually popped out, making stretching movements and proclaiming, “My, it’s about time somebody let me out of these tight quarters! – Who are you?”
“Evelina. Evelina Murchison. I have a bachelor’s degree in business and –”
“Hello, Evelina. Pleased to me you. My name’s Naught Naughtypus. As you can guess, I am a –”
“Genie!” Evelina finished for him.
“Yes. How’d you know? – Well, no matter. You have released me, and that means I’ll grant you some wishes. Do you have any?”
“You bet I do!” she cried.
“You have just a few minutes, so please be quick, otherwise they’ll expire.”
“Jason – I’d like to have Jason back for ever.”
“Can’t be done – he’s happily married by now, and his wife’s expecting,” grumbled the genie. “Something else?”
“Then I wish – I wish that all my wishes will come true!”
Whenever she’d mused about having wishes from a genie in the past, she’d thought of this exceedingly clever solution.
“Within reason – only within reason,” the genie replied, climbed back into the box, and the box vanished into thin air.
With her wishes, she turned Matt’s Kuntry Kake Bar into the splendid Tabor Inn hotel and restaurant, of which erstwhile sleazy Matt became the dutiful, handsome and thoroughly correct manager and she the owner. Ming Liu, Tabitha, Mary Sue and Emily abandoned their previous profession and became happy young and pretty waitresses and maids.
Guests from near and far were staying at the hotel, and the restaurant was fully booked for the holiday season.
Another wish had been granted: her achiness and sore throat were gone. She felt simply great.
She’d tried a few other wishes, such as chest enlargement, a billion in the bank, ten thousand shares of Berkshire Hathaway in a portfolio, the perfect boyfriend who looked just like Jason, but they were all denied.
“Oh well,” she thought, “tomorrow is another day for more wishing, and I really need to look after things at the restaurant now. … Say hello to some people, ask them how they like their Boeuf Bourguignon and Château Nimportou, etc.”
There’d be plenty of time to come up with the right wishes for the rest of her life.
– Niebla ( © 2008 )
Written to accompany the above picture as a contribution to Café Writing’s 2008 Holiday Project.
Photo Credit: Konstantin Yuganov