Okay, so a few months back, I worked with a group of talented writers on a collaboration titled A Dead Man Walking: A WordPress Anthology. From that began a new story about a man named Steve and his encounter with a flatulent Genie.
Author Denny McBride of The Ceaseless Reader Writes picked up the second part of Steve’s story on his blog post We Created a Beautiful Monster. I wrote the third part in Skewed. Denny wrote Steve’s Story: Part 4.
And now… without further ado…
When last we left Steve, he had survived a hit on his employer, Darla at the local police station. After dealing with the aftermath, he returns home for dinner, along with Darla, and a Jinn he’d inadvertently found on the subway.
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STEVE, DARLA, AND GARY stared as the Jinn unhinged his jaw and gulped down the entire plate of fettuccine, like that boa constrictor Steve saw eat a mouse at the zoo a few years back. Steve covered his mouth and studied the tablecloth.
“Well, now, that’s something you don’t see every day.” Darla went back to eating her meal.
Steve chugged his wine. That poor mouse. He drank more wine.
Gary squeezed Steve’s hand under the table and forced a smile. “So. You’re a genie?” he asked, his tone a little too chipper. “Wow. That’s so… I mean… Wow.”
Gary was so cute when he’s nervous. Steve smiled despite himself and squeezed his hand back.
“Yeah, not a job,” the Jinn grunted. “Kind of born this way, you know? And it’s Jinn. Not genie. Jinn.” He burped, pounded his chest, and burped again. “Ew. Tastes better going down than coming back up, if you know what I mean?”
Steve’s stomach churned. He focused on a spot on the tablecloth, his mind on the mantra his mother taught him years ago. I will not get sick. I will not vomit. I will not get sick. I will not vomit.
Gary tried again. “Oh, well, what I meant is that it’s got to be an interesting job, being a genie – ”
“Jinn,” the Jinn interrupted, eyes flashing. “It’s Jinn. J-I-N-N. And, like I said, it’s not a job. Not. A. Job.” The Jinn leaned to his left and ripped aloud and noxious fart. “Sorry, guys. I’m still decompressing, you know? You get stuffed into a lamp for a couple hundred years and see if your digestion doesn’t take a hit.” He swallowed a burp and helped himself to the rest of the fettuccine. “Hope you don’t mind, but this is some good stuff. Reminds me of this job I did for the Medicis a few years back.”
“Medicis?” Steve looked up. “Did you say Medicis?”
The Jinn nodded. “They still around? I’ll tell you, I got the biggest kick out of those folks, what with their stabbing and poisoning and whatnot.” He faked stabbed the table and made an e-e-e sound. “Crazy as fuck, those kids were. Crazy as fuck.”
Steve cleared his throat. “Do you mean the Medicis? The Italian Medicis? That was, like, five hundred years ago.”
The Jinn shrugged. “Was it? Huh. Time. Wow. I’m telling you. Time.” He dumped the rest of the alfredo sauce on top. “Anybody see that Parmesan?”
Gary pushed the cheese over. “Thanks.” The Jinn dumped it on his plate and downed the bowl.
Steve stifled a groan and covered his mouth. I will not get sick. I will not get sick.
Darla side eyed Steve. “Jesus, Steve, grow a pair, will ya?” She helped herself to a piece of bread, ripped it in half, and pointed it at the Jinn. “So, now, what’s your story?”
The Jinn’s face lit up. “My story? You want to know my story? It’s one that’s long and full of woe. Picture this… It’s two thousand years ago. Sand as far as the eye can see. You call the desert Sahara, but I knew it as – ”
Darla snorted. “Who gives a shit? I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about now. What’s your story now?”
“Excuse me,” Gary piped in, “but I’d like to know. It sounds like the Mummy. Not the girl one, but the one with that cute boy from Indiana… Brendan Fraser.” His eyes grew bright. “Were there man-eating scarabs?”
The Jinn cocked his head. “Why would there be man eating scarabs?”
“There were in the movie.”
The Jinn looked confused. “What’s a movie?”
A knife slammed into the wall beside the Jinn’s head. “Oh. My. God. Stop dicking around, Jinn.” Darla pointed a second knife at him. “One more time. Why are you here?”
The Jinn blew on the knife. It shimmered, then disappeared. “You have anger issues, you know that? I’m here because I’m supposed to help you.”
Darla and the Jinn stared at each other for a full minute, until Darla broke eye contact. “Alright. You’re supposed to help me. That’s nice.” She sat back down. “What are you supposed to help me with?”
The Jinn sat very still. “Duck.”
“What – ”
“Duck!” the Jinn shrieked.
Gary shoved Steve out of his chair and fell on top of him as bullets began to fly above them. Steve squeezed his eyes shut and burrowed under his husband. “This is it. I’m quitting. I officially quit.”
A second later, all was quiet. Steve and Gary slowly sat up to find the Jinn holding a small man with a long beard by the scruff of the neck. “MAGA!” the creature grunted as it struggled to free itself. “MAGA! MAGA!”
Gary stared, mouth open. “What the hell is that thing?”
“It’s a dwarf.” Darla popped the ammunition out of the AK-47, a look of disgust on her face. “A Dwarf holding a grudge.”
“MAGA,” the dwarf growled. “MAGA.”
The Jinn smiled. “I love dwarves.” He lifted it in the air and dangled it above his mouth. “Crunchy.”
“No, don’t – ” Darla cried as the Jinn swallowed the dwarf whole. A faint cry of MAGA could be heard coming from the Jinn’s stomach.
“Oh, hell to the no.” Steve put his hands on his hips and cocked his head, his inner drag queen pushing to the surface. “This is so no. Just… No. And I quit.”
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