Where Genies Live

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
You just never know what you might find in a scrapheap. Maybe a happy ending?

Submitted: October 21, 2019

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Submitted: October 21, 2019

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It was just another day at the scrapheap, that ever growing pile of human discards that will someday be covered with dirt. And, as usual, Elijah Snoop made his way along the mounds of debris looking for anything worth selling. 

It was slow going for Elijah, being a war veteran and left with only one arm. But the little extra money he is able to garner from trash foraging helps with everyday necessities.

Oh, Elijah get disability pension payments but they hardly make the rent, or bring enough food to eat. So Elijah does whatever he can to put a few coins in his pocket.

 

Well it just so happens, this time of year it is trash searching weather, so Elijah is hard after it.

"I've never seen so many people at the dump," Elijah said to Rick Paramino, another disabled vet. "Where did they all come from?"

Rick shifted his body weight onto his good leg and replied, "The price for scrap copper and aluminum is way up; some kind of shortage, I guess.

Oh, and small recycled bottles are seven cents now, up from five. Not that we are going to find any unbroken ones this far along the trash train."

 

As Elijah trudged along, he began to notice an occasional trash hauler dumping its load at the far end of the landfill area.

So he asked Rick why they were dumping way over there.

Rick never looked up from his treasure hunt, he just mumbled, "Oh that's a Non-essentials metal dump. You know, brass, bronze, iron and most steels. The prices for them are way down right now so the owner of the dump keeps them separated from other metals until the prices go back up; you know, above the cost of processing. When that happens, and it always does, he'll scoop them up and take them to the processing plant. He's just storing them here."

Elijah climbed down from his heap and stated, "Well maybe someone missed something in that scrap, I think I'll go have a look."

"Suite yourself," Rick replied, "but don't be surprised if you come up empty handed."

 

Elijah searched various mounds of twisted metal, and after digging into one pile he saw an old lamp-lighters lamp.

As soon as he saw the lamp he snatched it up and spit on it. Then he took the rag that was hanging from his back pocket, and rubbed the lamp to see what it was made of.

"Oh Hells-bells, it brass," Elijah grumbled.

"What did you think it was made of, gold?" a voice asked.

Elijah thought that it was Rick speaking so he sarcastically replied, "No Rick, but I was hoping for a copper one."

Then the voice made a jovial chuckle sound, and stated, "Back in the day of the Lamplighter, a well crafted lamp was always made of brass. In fact, in the village of Saint Nicolas it was a tradition."

With that said, Elijah turned to see a smiling man dressed in hunter-green coveralls, a red and white lumberjack's shirt, and the finest pair of matching boots that anyone could ever hope to see.

Elijah stepped back away from the man and asked, "Where did you come from?"

"From the lamp, of course," said the man in a jovial manner. Then he tossed out a question of his own, "Isn't that where Genies usually come from?" 

Elijah sat down on a somewhat crocked cast-iron garden chair and started to mumble to himself.

"Are you feeling ill? Genie asked, while looking very concerned.

Elijah looked up at him and replied, "Oh no, I'm just sorting out my list of wishes, having only three makes choosing difficult.

You see, I don't want to make the mistakes that the storybook wishers all made, they always fouled thing up.

So might I ask, how long do I have before I have to make a decision?"

The Genie's expression shifted more to the somber side, and then he said, "I'm afraid you have made assumptions that are not available options.

While it is true that I am a Genie, your assumption that I am a wish giving Genie is not true."

Elijah looked extremely disappointed, as you can well imagine. And after a moment's thought, he asked, "Well what do you do?"

The Genie then stated, “I am a changer of situations.

"Isn't that like granting a wish?" Elijah questioned.

Genie chuckled and replied, "Now that you put it that way, well I guess I do grant wishes, in a way.

But please understand, I do not make people rich, or famous, or any of that sort of stuff. I just change situations for the better.

Oh, and the change cannot be for you."

Elijah formed a frown on his weathered face and asked, "If the change is not for me, then what have I got to do with it?"

"You do the deciding," Genie stated, "you know, you pick the one who gets the change and you decide what needs changing.

If the change works for the individual and they are better off with it, then it becomes permanent. To them, it will seem that lady-luck smiled and their lot in life turned for the better. They will never know that you, or I, had anything to do with it."

"What if I mess-up," Elijah asked. "What if what I pick doesn't work, what then?"

"It is like a drunk that falls off the wagon, like the cancer survivor who goes back to smoking. You have given them the opportunity to see what another life looks like, and if they don't see it as a positive thing, well, then they slip right back into the hole we pulled them out of."

Elijah was even more adamant in his next question. He asked, "Well what if the one I pick had nothing to do with their affliction, what if it is someone like me who is disabled by no fault of their own, then what?"

Genie smiled tenderly, then stated, "There are some things we cannot change, but we can ease their burden by changing their situation.

If they cannot find meaningful employment, because of their disability, then we will not only open a door that will lead to it, we will put it in the mind of the employer to hire them. Whatever the case might be, we will help them.

But mind you, know who you are picking because there are those who would rather make excuses than to make progress.

Now, the sun is about to set and I must go back to the lamp. You have until this time tomorrow to make your decision, choose wisely."

 

Elijah could not sleep, for this new found responsibility weighed heavily on his shoulders.

There was no need to go to the rooming-house where he usually bunked for the night. He just wandered the streets, reflecting on this person and that. He did this all night long, just him and his lamp, and the responsibility he now owned.

 

When the time came to offer up his choice, he sat down on a park-bench and rubbed the lamp.

"Have you made a choice?" Genie asked, as he sat next to him on the bench.

Elijah replied, "I have, but I doubt that it will be acceptable."

The Genie sat back on the bench, as if he thought that he was going to be there longer than he wanted to, then he said, "Well we won't know until we hear it, state your case."

Elijah began by saying, "I have been awake all night, and I have thought of many people, even my own sister, but the nagging reality that my wish for them might fail, that is more than I can take; it would be such a waist.

I am aware that there will always be wars, sickness, people starving; it is the way of a selfish world.

And I know that you cannot eliminate those things, for they are part of who man is.

But I wonder, can I ask that the spirit of kindness grow fat in thin hearts, and may selfishness be put on a diet?"

The Genie roared with laughter and slapped Elijah on the back before saying, "You have hit the nail on the head, Elijah!

I will grant your request if you grant one for me!"

"What do I have that you might want?" Elijah asked while looking very puzzled.

The Genie replied, "Go with me and become a Lamplighter Genie, we have need of another kind soul."

"Is it hard being a Genie," Elijah asked. "I mean, I don't know much about it?"

The Genie laughed and said, "Not to worry, there is a quiet little voice that helps you along."

Elijah smiled and replied, "Then I guess I'm in!"

And as the two faded into the sunset, Elijah's body remained on the bench; bodies are not needed where Genies live.

 

 

D. Thurmond / JEF

10-20-2019


© Copyright 2020 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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