Hand-made Collage 5" x 3"
"I ask you my friend, who today does not need a small wish granted
now and then." So began the street vendor's spiel as I passed him
in one of the serpentine lanes that branch off the main bazaar. I waved
him off indicating that I had no interest in hearing what he had to
sell."Sir, I can see that you doubt me," he continued. "You
know in the old days it was only wealthy sultans who could afford magic
lamps, but today..."
"I told you," I replied, "I'm not interested."
"Sir," he pleaded, "I ask for nothing more than a moment
of your attention. Look," he said pointing to an old butane lighter
laying on a table draped in a batik fabric.
"I don't smoke," I said.
He raised a finger to halt my comment. Then with the flick of his wrist,
the lighter top flipped open and an orange flame ignited. However, this
was no ordinary flame. It bore an uncanny resemblance to the late actor,
Robert Mitchum. In a gravelly voice much like Mitchum's the face spoke
to me. "Whatyll it be, Pal?"
I smirked. "That is pretty cool."
The merchant smiled at me. "Go ahead Sir. Ask it to grant you a
wish, but remember it must be a small one."
"What the hell," I said. "I wish I could find a decent
slice of strawberry rhubarb pie in this country."
"You got it," replied the face in the flame.
Just then a slice of pie appeared on the table. I eyed it, bent down
and sniffed it and then pinched off a portion that I popped into my
mouth. I couldn't believe it. It was not just real. It was delicious.
I reached into my pocket for my wallet. "How much?" I asked.
Well, let's just say I probably overpaid, but since that day I have
never regretted my purchase. I carry my Instajinn (for that is the brand
name of the item) with me at all times. Though its powers are very limited,
it has proved itself invaluable on a number of occasions from granting
me exact change for a toll booth to removing an ink stain from the pocket
of my favorite shirt.
I admit that there is a niggling fear in the back of my mind that one
day the jinn will trick me, but if it does so, I know it will be of
a small enough scale that I will not be ruined. Until then I will enjoy
not having to go to the post office for a new book of stamps.