Farmer Giles farms sheep. I mean farmed. He farmed sheep. And not very well, I might add, but he’d managed to keep a few of them alive until the night of the storm. That’s when he employed my assistance, of course, and everything changed. Everything always changes when they employ my assistance – that’s what I’m here for. A little appreciation wouldn’t go amiss though, would it? Instead, it’s all “thanks and all George, nice knowing you” and back into the lamp I go. Don’t know why I bloomin’ bother sometimes, I really don’t. Mama Genie always did say this was a thankless job. I should have listened to her and gone into retail instead but no, I was wooed by the all the smoke and glamour and shiny lamps that come with being a genie. Stupid George.
Anyway, you’re not here to listen to me moan, are you? No, of course not, no-one ever is. You want to hear about the most ridiculous wish I’ve been asked to grant. Other than this one, naturally. I mean, what sort of idiot wastes one of their three precious wishes on hearing about previous stupid wishes? But yeah, anyway, it’s your choice. Whatever.
So Farmer Giles had nowhere for his sheep to go when it rained and boy, did it rain on the night of the storm. Giles was fretting like the big baby he is.
“Oh no,” he whined in that stupid baby voice of his. “What am I going to do? All the sheeps are going to die.”
Of course, being a clever genie, I took this as my chance! All that lamp-rubbing business is a myth, by the way. I, and only I (and maybe Mrs Genie), decide when I come out. So when I hear a whiny so-and-so who can’t solve their own problems, I seize the day. I carpe that diem right where it hurts. So anyway, Farmer Giles is whining his whiny whine and I glide, all sensuous and seductive-like, out of the spout of my lamp, adorned with my best smile and eyebrow wiggle, whilst the air fills with the smoke of my magic and allure.
“Worry no more!” I declare. “For I, George the Genie, am here to save the day!”
My seductive smile slips for a moment whilst I gather my wits. ‘Wur’ is not something I’m used to. I build my face back up and try again. “Worry no more!” I declare. “For I, George the Genie, am here to save the day!”
“You’ve got a creepy smile,” he says. I sneer.
“It’s not creepy! It’s seductive – just like they showed us in Genie school!”
“Yeah. Genie school. Where else do you think I learned the art of Genieing? Anyway, do you want your wishes or not? I can just leave you to your dead sheep if you want.”
“Oh no, Genie George! Please help me save my sheeps!”
“No, I need help saving all the sheeps.”
“Whatever. Look, to get your wishes, all you need to do is sign here,” I say as I produce a 65 page contract from thin-air, “here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and…here.” I flick through the thing pretty quickly but I’m sure Giles got the point.
Ugh. “Here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here.” He draws a squiggle on each respective page and I squirrel it away before the fool can change his mind. This is where things get boring – for me at least. Once the contract’s signed, there’s no need for the flourish and drama so I go deadpan – gets the job done and gets me home quicker, that way. No-one likes monotone. “What’s your first wish?”
“Well my sheeps are going to die in this horrible stor…” CRACK! “Aaaargh!” Thunder. “See? Poor Myrtle Sheep over there just jumped two foot in the air!”
“And what? What should I do?”
I roll my eyes. “Section 36, sub-section b, of your contract. Genie does not tell you what to do, you must tell Genie what to do.”
“But what should I wish fo….aaargh!” Lightning hits the tree. The flames are pretty impressive. More impressive than Farmer Giles, that’s for sure.
“Look, buddy. I can’t tell you that now can I? I’d lose my licence, and I ain’t losing my licence for a chump like you. Just get on with your wish.”
Farmer Giles scratches his head in confusion as the rain water drips down his face and splatters slightly when he blinks. Idiot. I swear I can hear his brain tick-tocking. Any normal person would wish the storm away, or a shelter for the sheep but no, Mr Daftasabrush here can’t think of anything can he?
“I’m on a schedule you know, and you’re not paying me enough to wait in the rain whilst you search for your intelligence.”
“Oh! I’ve got it! I wish for you to turn my sheeps into turtles!! That way, they can swim through the rain and save themselves!”
I blink, too astonished to react. “Turtles?”
“Yes! It’s an excellent plan!”
“Okay, whatever you say: your wish is my command. It is done.” We turn to see his newly minted turtles waddling through the puddles. Still, of course, in mid-storm.
So now, Farmer Giles farms turtles. I mean farmed. Farmer Giles farmed turtles, because, you know, the storm stopped and he was left with a bunch of withering turtles. Now Farmer Giles is simply Mr Giles and he farms nothing.
And that, my dear new friend, is the stupidest wish I’ve ever granted. Aside from this one of course.
To read more by Riley J. Froud, visit her website where she posts short stories, reviews, and general bookish nonsense. Or if you really want a laugh, you could always buy her book.