Image: Lucas Grogan for Basil Bangs
The genie looked at me and I at him and I saw a very unhappy, sick and inebriated genie. What I cheap drunk I thought.
“Pissed! Sorry!” he slurred. “Not a great way to greet one of nature’s marvels is it?” And he giggled at his own state knowing he couldn’t possibly be taken seriously slurring words and battling gravity to stand up straight.
“I was on a cruise ship with my master and I got a little carried away at dinner, ate too much and drank way too much, got far too friendly with his wife. So he cursed me, shoved me into this bottle, which I have to add, contained the dregs of a very poor sauvignon blanc which of course I needed to sustain me as I floated forever it seemed till you found me.”
“How long have you been in the bottle?”
“No idea, I’m a genie time doesn’t matter. Now you’ve released me I can give you a wish.”
“Yeah, just the one, we genies go through recessions too you know.”
“Oh but the stories always offer three.”
“All media hype, you get one so better choose wisely there’s no money back guarantee with me.”
The Genie saw this as a chance to relax and gather himself, look around and try to figure out where he might be.
“I want a magic carpet ride around the world stopping at every famous landmark.”
“Magic carpet ride? You sure? They can get very draughty.”
“Yep. When can I start?”
“Just a minute I have to check availability of carpets.”
The genie pulled a set of ruffled papers out of his pocket and started going through them shaking his head and tsking at what he saw. At last he looked at me and said: “There’s only one available and it’s a new model. Not really tested as yet so it could be a bit rough.”
“Sounds exciting to me.”
With that he folded his arms blinked and there on the ground was the strangest magic carpet I had ever thought of. He saw my dismay immediately: ‘Hey don’t look at me I don’t make them.”
“Will it fly?”
“Says here it does.”
“You’ll accompany me won’t you?”
“Me? No way Jose, I hate flying. And in my current state I’m not sure I could stomach too much of that design.”
He glanced down and turned a very worrying green colour.
With that he moved away and threw up onto the sand. The carpet did look very odd, all that intricate design and in his delicate state I could well imagine the sight he saw was enough to upset his stomach as it was obviously doing.
Anyway after some negotiating, he had to sit up front, the genie and I took off.
He suffered through so many countries, flatly refused visiting Brunei, something to do with a dispute between him and the Sultan over a Sultana? As for Iceland he suggested his badly fitting waistcoat might not be suitable for the climate so I conceded and on we flew, stayed a bit too long in Tahiti the attractions all but overwhelming but we carried on and landed on the beach where we started. He fell on the sand burying his face and prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for having made it in one piece.
Then he was gone leaving me there with the rug as a souvenir and a reminder of the day I found a half empty bottle of wine lying on the beach containing a very drunk genie.
I picked up the rug and turned it over. There underneath were the instructions on folding it up and the poor suffering artist’s signature. I couldn’t help but admire the effort he must have made to create the patterns and I thought I wonder if he ever imagined his rug being converted into a magic carpet at the hands of a slightly drunk genie.