aNewDomain Hey. I’ve got to thank you guys for coming over. I can’t believe that I’m turning 4000 today. What a mountain of candles that would make, huh? I still look hot, and I mean hot. Like an I’m not bragging kind of hot. You remember me from “I Dream of Jeannie, right?”
Well, I was barely a teeny bopper then.
Which is funny because, as you know, I switched back to female form only 500 years ago.
Sure, I know that many of my kind prefer to take male form, but the female form suits me just fine. Being a female is so much more suited to the subservient role, even though I’m anything but subservient,
And, well, I should say that I’m not really dominant either.
My main role, like all of my kind, is to be a trickster. Well, to be clear, in human terms, to be a trickster. Genies don’t exactly look at it that way, but humans have written so much more about us than we’ve written about ourselves, so it’s hard to change impressions.
Birthdays are times for reflection, don’t you think? I have fun most of the time, so why not take a day out every couple of hundred years just to think. A whole thinking day. It makes sense, doesn’t it? The things I remember most are the day I lost my freedom and the day I got it back again. Humans can be such brutal f&*#ers, that was the day I lost my freedom, and I don’t want to think about it. Humans can be such stupid s$!ts, too.
God, that last guy was so dumb.
It’s wonderful to have a master who’s so stupid that you can trick him into tricks beyond belief. And that’s how I arranged to get my freedom back. Freedom forever, in fact.
I can’t become enslaved ever again. It took me a bit more than 3,000 years to achieve freedom, but I’m immortal, so what’s 3,000 years, really? Ask me again in 25,000 years. Ha.
I sometimes call it Happy Day.
It’s March 28, 2106, at least by the calendar that the European humans developed. I think they still use it. Frankly, I don’t have to worry about things like that anymore. Now that I’m FREE! Free at last! Free at last! Thank the Great Djinn! Man, I owe him big time. I’m free at last. Let’s all toast to that.
Does anyone have another martini, handy? Thank you, darling.
Now, how many masters did I have back in those bad old days? I’d like to say more than I can count. But that’s not true. That’s absolutely not true. I remember every one of them, and I remember everything they did to me.
Those are scars that will last a lifetime – and for me that’s really saying something. I remember all the times they abused me. All the times they hit me, cut me, whipped me, burned me, pissed on me, raped me, humiliated me … lopped off limbs. I remember all of it. I’ll never forget. I’ll never forgive, and I’ll spend a bit of time getting even for the ones who still have accounts that need to be balanced.
Were any of my masters any good? No. Not one. All assholes to a man, and lady. And, well, there was Tony.
I try to forget Tony. It’s just so painful. He was the only one of them I loved. He was the only one of them I wanted to stay with. He was really the only one of them who was nice to me, but in his own way.
Tony was a weird human. Here he had managed to capture a genie: A live frickin’ genie. A genie who could have given him anything and everything. A genie who loved him. A genie who wanted to prove her love to him in every way that a female genie possibly could.
But no, he would never let me do the things I could do for him.
He just wasn’t that interested.
It was so weird. I still don’t really understand it, and it’s been hundreds of years.
Tony was an astronaut. Space for me is a matter of blinking and then poof, I’m in space. No cold, no need to breath, nothing. I don’t spend more time in space because, well, it’s boring. Yes, yes, I can’t go too much past the Moon without beginning to vaporize, but if I really wanted to I could easily build a great ship and go anywhere. In fact, that’s how our legends say we came to be here on Earth. Me? I don’t know.
I wasn’t born then, and there were lots of things that the old ones just didn’t want to talk about.
Well, there are also the “smarty pants” humans who think that any “cultured human” would just naturally want to visit Mars and the Heliopause just to prove he’s got culture. Listen, I’ve been to both of them, and there’s nothing too special about them. Yes, I’ve heard that, too, that there’s a planet about 15 light years from earth that’s really cool, but I haven’t been there.
Anyway, Tony. So he was an astronaut. And this was back when being an astronaut was a big deal.
The humans were taking their first baby steps into outer space. I remember having dinner with Admiral Albuquerque back when Portugal was a big deal as the first seafaring nation, and the Europeans were just beginning to explore the world outside of Europe.
Those were cool and brutal times. Probably more cool than brutal unless you think about the Americas. Anyway, Tony was an astronaut at a similar exciting time when the humans were taking their first baby steps into outer space. It doesn’t make any difference to me, but that generation found it to be a big, big deal. Well, for a while anyway.
By the time Tony died, it had been 50 years since any human had set foot on the Moon.
They got all excited about going to the Moon, those humans. It was kind of like a horny teenage boy who lusts after a cheerleader, and when he finally deflowers her, he immediately loses interest. Anyway, I digress. So, you get where Tony was coming from. Hell, I get where Tony was coming from.
But I could have taken him to the Moon or wherever if it was where he wanted to go. But no. He had to go there on one of those earth rocket ships even after the humans decided not to leave Earth in them anymore. He was tireless that Tony. I’ll give him that. He tried everything to get to the Moon in one of their rocket ships, but he never did.
It was a bitter disappointment for him. He then did everything he could to get them to spend money on new rocket ships. He tried and tried, and he tried so hard that they eventually started making fun of him.
There was some comedian with a late night talk show who started making fun of Tony and it snowballed until all the other comedians were making fun of him, too.
None of the idiots ever stopped to think that he was trying to do something good for all of them.
Well, maybe they did understand, but putting meat on their own plates at his expense was more important. I don’t know. So much of what humans do just baffles me. I really just don’t get it.
Okay, so there I was offering Tony everything. I could have given him everything, but instead of taking it, he slapped it away. He kept slapping it away for so long that I became numb. That’s not easy for a genie — to be emotionally numb.
We generally don’t have many emotions but when we get them they tend to be strong. So just imagine — I had developed genuine feelings for him. One of the only two humans I’d ever developed genuine feelings for, but he rejected me so often that I grew numb.
Numb, by the way, is not the same thing as unfeeling. In fact, it’s kind of like an emotional volcano. At least for a genie, anyway.
I have no idea how humans process these things. I mean, I’ve heard them talk and I’ve read their books but I still don’t get it. I really don’t. So, imagine — a man who has at his command anything and everything. I could have made Tony rich. I could have made Tony president. I could have made him Pope. I could have given him piles of money.
He could have had my body any time – well, he did a couple of times – but not nearly as often as I had in mind. And why? Why? Yes, there was this doctor, this psychiatrist colonel — Dr. Bellows — who had somehow figured me out but couldn’t prove it.
So, Tony — partially to protect me and partially to protect himself — tried to keep me under wraps. Avoidance of discovery. Well, I get that part. Yes, of course, I get it.
But after all, he did have other options.
I mean why didn’t he ask me to fix these things? He could have gone to the Moon with just my help!
The moon’s not a big deal to me, but I know it’s a big deal to the humans. So, why didn’t he let me fix things? Fear of unintended consequences?
Well, I can see that. I mean it’s not like my kind doesn’t spend an enormous amount of energy devising unintended consequences for the humans who try to master us. I mean come on — I’ve turned at least six humans into goats through trickery. So, I get that part of his reasons. But there was more.
For some reason, I think, Tony wanted to do things himself. In fact, I know he wanted to do everything himself. So, my conjuring wouldn’t have been HIS achievement. I kind of get that, sort of. I’ve never been able to really understand where humans draw the lines between what’s their accomplishment and what’s not. Take Tony. His father was a neurosurgeon in Cleveland.
His mother had sung, for a while, with the Metropolitan Opera.
Of course, there are humans who come from more-privileged backgrounds but there are plenty of humans who come from far less-privileged backgrounds. So if Tony made the astronaut corps, I’m sure that there was a Black Panther in jail somewhere who would have made a better astronaut had there not been so much prejudice in North America in the 1960s. Tony would have agreed with that, actually.
But he would have said that his real competition were the kids he grew up with who while having all the privileges that his society could provide to them could still not manage to be even as successful as their parents. That’s who he said was his competition. I guess I understand that.
But frankly, things in a genie’s world just don’t line up like this. We’re all immortal demigods, which I guess makes us the ultimate socialists. Ha. Tony would have thought that funny.
He liked to talk about the world of scarcity and the world of plenty and how morals change depending on which world they’re in.
But you know, even when you talk about roughly-equal social backgrounds, I wonder about their genes. I mean genes, genies — the similarity is more than superficial. The genes you get almost come from a genie. I’m not exactly sure what Tony would have said about that.
It would have been noble though. Sorry. I didn’t mean to cry. No, please don’t go … if I think about Tony for more than just a few minutes, I tear up. Yes, I know. This is highly unusual for a genie. Tony developed in me a human’s sense of emotions, at least about matters of the heart.
So what finally happened?
Well, now that I’m crying, I might as well just let it all out and bawl my eyes out.
I’m surprised you know the one drink that will calm down a crying genie. You’re very kind. Can I have another?
Okay. So anyway. Here’s what happened.
There I was offering him the world but he wouldn’t take it. At least not for anything substantial. I’m not a genie who gets a lot of thrills from the superficial. My talents were wasted. Wasted totally.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Yes, I know, he was only going to live until age 78 anyway. I knew that. I’m immortal. Why not just wait it out. I could have done that of course. But every day became a torture worse than the last. We talked less and less. I tried to get that Maj. Healy to take me over. He was gay, so I would have needed to change my sexual form. But my attempt to get Tony to take the bait failed completely.
I sense he was relieved when Maj. Healy was my master — until he realized that Maj. Healy was not responsible enough to take appropriate precautions with a genie.
Only then did he try to get me back, and it wasn’t out of love. It was out of self-preservation — he knew that Maj. Healy would eventually do something stupid that would expose me to that colonel.
So, yes, I am an immortal genie who could grant any imaginable wish but was alone and essentially unloved by a very–limited human being. So, what was I supposed to do? I began to make arrangements to get another master. A master so far removed from those astronaut clowns as possible.
I eventually succeeded, and I was out of Tony’s life forever. It was extremely easy to get him to forget me forever. In fact, it was so easy that I’m not really sure that any magic was involved. My heart was broken. I was so sad for several centuries that I can’t even begin to tell you how I felt.
The pain eventually faded to the point that I could carry on again.
Of course, I’ve vowed never to get close to a human again. In all these years, I haven’t, and I never will. I’ll talk to them alright — they are fun to talk to — but I’ll never get emotionally close to one of them again.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Yes, you’re right. I spend a huge part of every birthday feeling sad, thinking about Tony and how things could have been. Regrets? Yes, one really really big one. I didn’t trust Tony’s own judgment enough to talk to him like a grown up. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.
You’ve seen pictures of me way back then. I was dressed as a harem girl and I was so beautiful that it hurt your eyes just to look at me. For a man of his generation there was nothing about that picture that said “Equal Partner.”
In fact, I’ve got to be honest, I’m not sure that it ever occurred to me to present myself to him in any other way. I spent my time hiding medical papers for him, making people forget things — and all the things that I did for him where entirely about helping him cover me up. I never did a single thing for him that wasn’t really connected with his efforts to hide me.
I should have taken the initiative. I should have quickly given him a life that he couldn’t imagine. Not some silly playboy life — because that was never him. But a life of exploration and adventure. That was Tony and that’s why I loved him.
Tony died on his way to an astronaut reunion. He had eventually married and had two kids. His wife was so cold to him. The kids did well in life, as I recall.
Ah hell, let me be honest. The kids did well in life because I made certain that nothing bad ever happened to them.
The Nelson family is still prominent in parts of North America.
Plans for the rest of the day?
Well, I’ll go to visit my mother’s grave in a few hours. Mom’s been dead for about 300 years now. I think it’s a great place to reflect and write poetry. Ah, well quoted! I see you’re a lover of genie poetry. As you know, the Al-Quabid-Ha is one of the most-famous poems ever written by a genie — well, in the genie world at least. Thanks so much for coming to see me, everyone. You’ve all been such good good friends to me over the many years. I hope we continue to be friends. Even for a genie there are so many things that can only be done once and with no second changes. And in a world like this, you really need good friends who you can count on.
For aNewDomain, I’m Jeannie. Thanks to this nice lawyer, Tom Ewing, for typing it for me. You know, nails.