This is continued from the post on May 18
Charlie and the genie continued their conversation over the next days, or was it weeks? The genie never seemed to tire, but as Charlie’s attention faded, the genie would invariably lead him around a corner or down a hall and there a comfortable bed would be waiting. He slept more soundly than he ever remembered and woke up refreshed. He’d get up, shower, shave and such and always find the genie waiting for him.
This morning the genie greeted him with, “I’m hungry!” With a snap of the fingers Charlie found them sitting at a table outside a small café in Paris.
“You sure do great illusions!” he marveled. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say we were in Paris!”
“We are,” replied the genie, sipping his wine. Charlie stared at him.
“I guess I always assumed you could just make me believe we were somewhere. I never suspected we actually were.”
“It’s actually easier to move from place to place as opposed to recreating it in a realistic fashion. That’s hard work.” He paused and looked thoughtful. Belief is a funny thing,” replied the genie. “We’ll have to focus on it in one of our discussions very soon.” Charlie suddenly had an alarmed look on his face.
“Hey!” Charlie said. “We don’t just pop in and enjoy ourselves then leave the poor waiter to explain why we didn’t pay the bill, do we?”
“Of course not,” replied the genie.
“Well I’ve never paid for any of our meals because I never thought we had gone anywhere, and I’ve never seen you pay either.”
“I don’t,” replied the genie. At Charlie’s expression of shock he set down his wine glass and took a deep breath. “Okay, here’s how it works. If I pay for the meal the money has to come from somewhere which means I have to get it from someone else. Creating money out of thin air is bad, and especially bad in today’s economic environment. Let’s just say that it gets very complicated. Instead, if we eat a basket of bagels and drink a bottle of wine, after we leave, I merely replace the food and wine, plus a little extra as a handling fee. And, no, I don’t stiff the waiter or waitress. They find a little extra in their pantry or closet back home as well. However, I do have to make it so they don’t remember us being here. It takes a little juggling but it all works out.” Charlie sat quietly with a particularly thoughtful expression.
“From where do you get your powers?” he asked. “And are there others like you?” The genie replied with an odd smile.
“I was wondering when you’d get to that,” he replied. “I get my power from the source from which all power originates.”
“That’s enigmatic,” replied Charlie.
“Of course. I can’t allow our conversations to turn dull after as inspiring as they’ve been. What do you think I mean?”
“There are all kinds of philosophical arguments about the source of not only power but also the source of everything.”
“But, Charlie, what do you think?”
“We’ve already discussed that. You know I believe in God, so obviously He is the source of all power. However, I’ve never heard of God having anything to do with genies.”
“Most of the beliefs about genies tend to run in a different direction. However, a genie by any other name might be..?”
“I’d say an angel, but, well, you don’t fit the mold.”
“First off the information that people have about angels is pretty sketchy; a tiny Biblical mention here, a legend there, but part of the problem is that angels are as different from one another as people are. First, of course, is what kind of angel you’re talking about; we have something like a caste system, although it’s not limiting to us. Some, like archangels are our military; you’ve no doubt heard the short version of the attempted coup by Lucifer and how he was cast out of heaven by Michael and his legions. That’s archangel territory, although I don’t mind telling you that whoever provokes a fight with God is a fool and going to lose, regardless.
“Some angels are messengers, like Gabriel, although to humans their appearance has often been confused with God himself. I don’t personally see the resemblance, but some people apparently do. First off, the hair is all wrong, and – oh, never mind.
“We’ve got our musicians and liturgical types, mainly cherubim and seraphim. They do a wonderful job for which I’m thankful, since I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Then we’ve got those specifically assigned to people – the guardian angels who keep kids from hurting themselves too badly and others who act as teachers. That’s where genies fit in.”
“Don’t take this personal,” Charlie said after a minute, “but you don’t seem like the teacher type to me. You’re interesting and I’ve enjoyed all our conversations and everything, but you’re nothing like any teacher I’ve ever had.” The genie positively beamed.
“Why thank you. That’s the finest compliment I’ve ever had. You see the best teachers never seem like they’re teaching. It’s like a great ice skater always makes it look so natural and easy that you forget the years of practice that it took them to glide along the ice and perform those amazing moves!
“But think about all the stories about genies. Greedy people learned they couldn’t succeed. Generous people learned the benefit of helping others. Seeking worldly treasure always has a huge cost. Both those who encountered the genie and those who heard or read the stories became wiser for the experience. That’s what teaching is all about.”
“So what am I supposed to learn from you?” asked Charlie.
“You, oh you’re on the right track on your own. I didn’t spend the last two weeks with you because you needed any serious tutoring.”
“Then why did you let me find the lamp and call you from it?”
“Hey genies get vacations too.” He leaned in toward Charlie and lowered his voice, “I’ve done the heavenly cruises and frankly, most angels are terrible conversationalists. This vacation I wanted to spend my time off with someone interesting. Now I feel better and am ready to get back to work.” He noticed Charlie’s smile fade.
“Yes, it’s time for me to go,” the genie said. Charlie’s expression did not improve, so he added. “Technically, you have three wishes”
“Just stay in touch,” replied Charlie. “I find it’s better to be happy with what I’ve got rather than wishing for more.”
With a smile and a wink, the genie disappeared and Charlie found himself back in the cave. The lamp he had uncovered was also gone. He saw a spot where the sand had been swept flat and written in the sand were four words – “Talk with you soon.” Charlie picked up his tools, and whistling a tune he walked out of the cave happily looking forward to his trip home.
Copyright 2011 SF Nowak – All Rights Reserved