This week, I’m being a rebel because the story that came to me could not be trimmed to fit.
Oh well. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it anyway.
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With my folks out of town and Jessica getting out of work early, the last thing I wanted was to be stuck cleaning out my dead grandfather’s office. But here I was anyway. Looking around the room, I knew that this job was going to take forever. When I die, I hope I’m not as big a packrat as he was.
“I wish I had more time with my girlfriend,” I said to nobody, knocking some knickknacks from a shelf in a dramatically futile gesture.
“You could,” said a voice.
I spun around to see a short Arabic man standing amid the clutter of my recent outburst.
“Wishes are my area of expertise,” he said.
“What? Where did you come from?” I spluttered.
The man stooped to pick up a broken jar. “My former master must be dead, for he only used two of his wishes, yet here I am in front of you.”
“Your former master?”
The short man pointed to a large portrait of my grandfather.
“He was a hard man, but smart. Shrewd. He never trusted me. And his wishes made me work hard every day I was in his service. In gratitude for my release, I will grant your wish.”
“What wish?” I asked.
“More time with your girlfriend. Here,” he said, reaching into the folds of his robe and handing me a pocket watch. “Simply press the button on the side and time will stop for you and your girlfriend.”
“How do I know it will work?”
“You just saw me materialize in this office. Besides, I couldn’t lie to you even if I wanted to, could I?”
“Wear that watch tonight. Take your girlfriend out on a date. Press the button and see what happens.”
I looked down at the watch, inspecting it as though I was some kind of expert at paranormal timepieces. “One question,” I said. But the room was empty again.
When I picked up Jessica that night, she commented on my new watch. “Just wait until you see what it does,” I said.
I waited until we were on a busy sidewalk for maximum effect, pulled the pocket watch out with a practiced swing, and pressed the button. Nothing happened for a second… then we heard a shout.
“Watch out!” someone cried as a car jumped the curb to our left.