Um, so I’m experimenting with writing fiction. Sort of. Enjoy.
He came out of a jam jar which I’d found at the back of the fridge and wanted to rinse the fur out of. It was a nice jar, and I was sick of Lily and Jen leaving things to rot. I wasn’t working that day, and I needed something free to fill the hours. Before I took in what the hell had just happened, I was pleased at how abruptly the unsavoury-looking greenish fluff had vanished.
“Greetings, master,” he probably said, dipping a little bow , his shiny head flashing as it caught the pale fluorescent light. He probably reeled off the whole spiel that he later seemed narky about repeating, but I didn’t notice as I was too busy shrieking and throwing that jam jar at the bald, middle-aged white man in a suit that had just materialised in my kitchen in a puff of smoke, the same mouldy shade as the contents of the jar.
He stood solidly, arms folded, with a patronising smirk on his face until my bluff was well and truly called, and I didn’t call the police because my the battery on my phone was dead.
“That went poorly,” he sighed. “I’m meant to appear to you in the form that your culture sees as someone who makes things happen.”
I looked him up and down. He looked like a banker, a lawyer, a manager, a head of department.
“You do. Just not someone who makes good things happen.”
“Well. Let’s get on with this then, shall we? Like I said, three wishes, then pop me back in a suitable container and they’ll come true tomorrow.”
The lure of anything being possible was intoxicating, and it quite dampened my initial scepticism of this stranger who had manifested in my living room. My mind whirled with possibilities. I could fix everything, be anyone, become rich beyond my wildest dreams and all because I had decided to wash up some of the filth left in the fridge by one of my housemates. That moral high ground alone would be more than enough to keep me flying for months; Lily and Jen would never hear the end of it.
That dissipated quite quickly as I began to think through the implications of any possible wishes, and I began to think of what it was I really wanted.
He stood there, tapping his foot, arms still folded.
“Usually, people know what they want pretty instantly. Your generation is the exception. Wanting everything, wanting nothing. I don’t even know.”
“I’m thinking,” I snapped. “I don’t want to phrase it ambiguously, in case you kill everyone I know, or something.”
Laughter danced in his eyes. “It has to be short. Tweet-length.” He pronounced the words with an edge of amused disgust.
“Fine.” I took a deep breath, and summoned the words I wanted. He might find the idea of Twitter somehow distasteful, but for me it had revolutionised my ability to articulate thoughts succinctly. “I wish for a regular income, enough to live on and buy some luxuries, doing something I love.”
A raised eyebrow. “Really? Nothing more ambitious? You don’t just want billions deposited in your bank account?”
I shook my head. “That’d probably end up with horrible consequences. You’d crash the economy, or I’d get arrested, or something like that.”
For the first time I saw a flicker of something like respect, followed by a wicked grin. “You’re right. That’s what usually happens. Anyway, what next?”
“I wish to live on my own, in London. Securely.”
“And finally? Usually people ask for love finally.”
I didn’t need love; I had that. And if this thing worked out I’d have my own pad in which to entertain Ella. In fact, I had been close to asking for a black Nando’s card, free chicken for the rest of my life, but doubt crept in at the very last moment. I wasn’t entirely sure if such a thing existed. Besides, something better had just occurred to me.
“One of those Oyster cards TFL employees get. You know, free transport. Oh, except I don’t have to work for TFL to get it.”
“That’s not tweet-length.”
“Yes it is. At my count, it’s 121 characters. I could add ‘you dick’ to the end and it would still be valid according to your specifications.”
“Fine,” he sighed. “Fucking millennials.”
At his instruction, I found a receptacle in which to pour his essence: it was an empty screwtop wine bottle. “Enjoy your wishes,” he said with a smirk as he and the bottle disappeared.
I went to bed that night expecting nothing to happen, the healthy scepticism finally hitting in. I was so, so wrong.
Wishes do come true.
I have a regular income, enough to live on and some luxuries, from doing something I love. I work long hours, and doing things I like in exchange for money sucks the joy out of doing them. I spend more of my time in an office far away, writing content and copy until my brain turns to mush. When I’m asked if I’m happy, I burble enthusiastically, as though I am selling a product, because it’s ungrateful to do anything else.
I live on my own, in London, securely. Sort of. It’s in zone 4. It takes an hour and a half to get to work, and an hour and a half back. I seldom see my friends any more, because none of them really fancy dragging themselves all the way out to Penge. Even Ella rarely stays, so we fuck in her room, a pillow over my mouth and holding still as a statue to avoid the creaking contributions of her mattress.
The oyster card is pretty good, I have to admit. I have few complaints about it, except I wish I had to use it less often. I think about wishes a lot now; and how I’d wish things differently.
I keep my eye out for a bottle, every day. An empty Gallo Brothers bottle, lined with a faint and repulsive-looking green fuzz. And I wonder, if I found it again, would I open it back up, or leave it in the back of my fridge for eternity?
So, that work of fiction is semi-autobiographical.
Fine, that’s a lie, but I am having a bit of money trouble at the moment. It’s nothing serious, but I do need a little bit of money to see me through to the end of the month. If you enjoyed my efforts, please, pretty please can you drop me a couple of quid? In return, I promise I’ll either continue or stop writing fiction, depending on what you prefer. Thank you so much xxxx
Update 14/6/15- thank you, lovelies. You’ve given me more than enough xx