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Aladdin's Genie

Aladdin's Genie

Paul Hawkins

He came to my yard sale and paid for an old toaster with $5 worth of nickels. I was asking $7 for it, but once I saw he was going to pay all in nickels, I settled for $5.

He said he was Aladdin's genie and

what he was really looking for was his lamp. He had been freed from it many many years ago but life on the outside wasn't so great, and anyway through his internet searches and general sense of intuition, he had decided that it must be in the greater Hoboken area.

I felt sorry for the guy - he looked

rough - not sick or anything, just kind of beaten down. He said sure, the lamp had confined him to a life of servitude when he was living inside it, but he was confined to a life of servitude anyway now that he was outside it. but now he couldn't do magic or anything and his last seven marriages hadn't worked out and he was tired of flipping burgers. Before that he had been in real estate.

I told him I hoped he'd find it. He

offered to wait if I wanted to go inside and get a gun and shoot him so he could prove he was invulnerable and immortal. I declined on the off chance that he might not be a genie at all but just some guy who was crazy.

After he had been counting out the

nickels meticulously for a while, I got tired of keeping up with it and let him have the toaster for $3. He seemed pleased. It was kind of an old-timey chrome toaster. Maybe he liked stuff like that. Maybe he could find a way to live in that.

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