A Genie or Something Like it- One Shot- Short story

Recently I wrote a story, based on a short prompt, for a friend.
When I was a kid my grandmother used to make me share my stories with family,
so now I'm sharing with you. Hope you like it a little ^^
Why can't time travel be invented already! I muttered to myself, and thinking about Doctor Who as I continued my long walk home. I had made myself angry over the fact my car was broke down, yet again. The day had been frustrating, seemingly like every before it and I debated on taking an alternative path just to experience something new… However, if time travel did exist, I kept the mental monologue going as I turned down a path without paying much attention to my surroundings, I'd go and find the winning lottery numbers and solve all my issues.
Three jobs and still barely making ends meet; I humbugged to myself as I mentally tallied how I was going to pay rent with the new work needing to be done on the worst car ever. I’d go back in time and tell myself not to get that stupid car. When I finally looked up from my feet, I found myself in a void. There was nothing but the path behind me that to lead me to...
“Where am I?” I muttered aloud.
“Exactly where you are supposed to be.” A deep disembodied voice bellowed out of the growing dark.
“Oh fuck no.” I said running smack dab into what felt like a human wall, that erupted in a low laughter before speaking to me.
“Oh man that had to hurt!” The human wall chuckled “I'm here to help you with your problem."
“Uhm I'm good. Thanks.” I said while attempting to walk off from what sounded like a bad deal.
“What about the "time machine" … lotto numbers?”
“Who th- what the hell.”
“Yeah, I know you were just thinking to yourself, my life sucks poor me blah, blah, blah …. Right?”
“Yeah….” I mumbled, slightly offended at the truth.
“Here’s the deal and instead of that old cliché of 3 wishes, I shall give you 3 doors.”
It didn't sound like a question
“Can't I just opt out?” I asked thinking this was some kind of euphemism.
“IT’S NOT DRUGS.”  He blurted out forcefully before explaining. “You have all this possibility.”
He waved his hands, “A chance to change your future. Like you wanted, and you want to opt out?” He let the words hang in the air momentarily.
“This is how it works,” he interjected. “I'll let you explore each door and-”
“Let me choose?”
“Don't cut me off. It's rude.” He snapped
“Sorry.” I conceded
“I let you choose.”
I stood there waiting for further instructions.

“So, are you like a genie
or something?”  
“Or something…” He replied sounding slightly offended.
With a wave of an enormous hand, 3 doors glowed on the wall in gold, green and blue. I stood staring at the 3 doors. They looked as so though they had been there for ages, faded but brilliant. I knew they had only just appeared from-
“Well, which do you want?”
“What does each-”
“Oh yes!” He beamed a smile and clasped his hands together like a proud parent at graduation. “Gold is your soul mate, green is your winning lotto tickets, and blue…”
“RUDE!” He bellowed at me.
“Sorry. I'm not sure if I'm interested in the whole soul mate-thing…” My voice disappeared the more ungrateful I felt.
“You may not be inclined now, but beloved friends can help you achieve desired goals.”
“Maybe. I'll think about it.” I said blowing off the suggestion
“I really am helping you much more than what I’m required here; So, Which door would you like to enter first?”
Sassy aren’t you. I thought as I hesitated, debating on if this was a good idea, and if there was a volume on this hallucination, after all time travel had been my train of-
"TIME TRAVEL IT IS-" I heard as I was shoved through the unopened glowing blue door, by what felt like giant hands.
Very rude. I hit the ground hard. My hand landing in… oh man is that horse shit!?
I heard what sounded like thunder erupting from below me. I looked around to see
the source of the sound, and the shit gaining traction. I searched frantically for somewhere
to escape or run to. I found myself on an open plain and nowhere to disappear into.
I realized I was in feudal Japan from armor the men on the horses were wearing-
Why are there- and swords, and oh crap they’re getting closer, and I have nowhere to go.
“Oh my god what the hell! This is not what I meant when I said I wanted to go back in time.”
I began running from the horses that were getting closer and closer and-
“Hey Genie- or whatever you are! How the fuck do I get out of-” I fell into pond of water
only to hear uproarious laughter upon my emergence.
彼女は泳ぎに行った  SFX:笑い
I didn’t understand anything they were saying, but they were sure entertained as I climbed up out of the water.
“This isn’t what I meant!” I screamed into the sky falling back into the marsh. More laughter directed at the
circumstance I DIDN'T ASK FOR! “I want out!”
The laughter faded, the water seemed to envelop me and I was consumed by the darkness that I had only just
left for my short adventure but I had my fill. I found myself trying to find my footing as I fell against the wall.
“What the hell was that?!” I huffed, catching my breath.
“How did you enjoy your trip?” The familiar booming voice asked. I could hear the smile and repressed laughter..
“What the hell was that?” I swallowed my words angrily.
“Sounds exciting!”
“I’m opting out! Done. So done.”
“Oh, but you’ve only begun. Maybe next time you will-
“No. Hell no. I wanted to time travel ... and-”
“And you did. You just experienced Japan during the late Heian period that -”
“That was not when, or where, I wanted to go.” I spat in anger.
“Oh, but we never get to choose when or where we are born, we simply exist in the now.
We also choose not to interrupt." He paused looking at me like a stern teacher. "Which door would you like to experience next?”
“Does it matter if we don’t get to choose?”
“OKAY!” He boomed “The lottery it is!”
The Genie, or something, grinned like a Cheshire cat as I fell backwards. This time I landed on my bed back at home.
For a moment I cuddled into my comfortable pillows hoping that I was waking up from an overly vivid craptacular dream.
I was drifting off as the radio played an old song from the 70’s while announcing the call sign and switching to some local news:
The weather, an actor got married, another divorced, a teacher won an award, winning lotto numbers and my name.
My name?! Clarice Lox. I jumped when I heard my name in conjunction with has been the recipient of the largest lotto win in state history.
My phone began ringing immediately after the commercial ended and the music commenced.
“Hey Clari-” I heard on the other line. “I just heard about you on the news.” It was a relative I hadn’t seen since I was a child,
but sometimes deigned to send me random birthday cards. Once in a while they even correlated with my actual age.
“Uncle… Uncle Ricky?”
“Yeah sweetie.” I heard a sigh on the other side. “I’m so glad to hear from you. Things have been really hard here and
I just wanted to catch up with you and see if… if you were… were also doing, you know? Okay?”
“I…uhm yeah I guess so. Can I call you back? Someone is knocking on the door.”
“Well, can you hold on, just uhm… just a sec. I uh… need to ask you if you can lend me some-”
“I’m really sorry, but I’m also getting a call on the other line. I’ll call you back, or write you a letter. Send me your address!”
I hung up the phone immediately. The whole reason I hadn’t seen him since I was a child was because he stole my mother’s,
newly paid off, car and sold it. I had been warned. Someone was indeed knocking on my door. I looked out the little window to view
three little old ladies that I’d seen walking to the nearest church, several times a week.
Before I could open the door all the way one of the ladies grabbed it and swung it wide.
“Hello young lady, I saw your name on your mailbox. You’re the one on the news, right?" Her voice reminded me of the Church Lady,
from Saturday Night Live.
“I’m the what on the now?” I shook my head confused by my own words.
“I saw the picture of you on the news.” The lady next to her pipped up. She was clutching her purse, she looked like a baby bird waiting to be fed by the mother.
Her eyes were large, and it made me wanna give her a piece of bread.
"How uh…no." Why would they publicize this? I asked myself shaking my head.
“Well it’s a wonderful thing.” The first lady said, taking my hand and patting it.“Truly a blessing from God and as such you should give him his share.”
“He-uh wha-?” More words I didn’t know from my mouth due to great confusion.
“Tithing dear, you need to give us your tithing.” The lady whom was forcing my door open said, through teeth, slightly too big for her mouth.
“I uhm-” I stuttered, stunned and trying to remember my own language. My phone began to ring in the background; “Highway to Hell”
brought me back to the present. “I don’t attend your church.” I replied pulling my hand out of little old lady’s tight grasp and reached for the door.
“Well, no time like the present to join!” The unexpectedly strong woman said, sticking her foot in the door to keep me from shutting it.
“No, thank you.” I said as politely as possible.
“Do you want to go to hell!?” The lady who had remained quiet during most of the interaction spoke in a sharp outburst, her eyes wide with an emotion I didn’t recognize.
“I’m on a highwaaaay to hell”- My phone went off again. I requested the ladies to leave, through my teeth. I reached for my phone and gently pulled the door loose.
“Hello?” I questioned the person from an unfamiliar number.
“This is your local university alma mater we wanted to get in touch with you to see how you are progressing after graduation?”
“Uhm...well Jobs are-
“So hard to get. I know, right.” She cut me off while sounding far too cheery. “We see you’ve had some luck and a great windfall recently,
and we were hoping you’d like to contribute to the school that helped to make you successful.” I sat there in silence trying to decode the message for a moment.
“How are those two things related?”
“Well … you see… uhm…When an uh alum-”
“You’re the reason why people don’t answer their phones. Please take me off your call list.”
I turned my phone off, shut off all the lights, drew the curtains, and hid in my room ignoring the rest of the planet. I fell into a deep sleep where
I swam in money like scrooge McDuck, but it was paper bills and I came out covered in cuts. I woke up hoping everything preceding that was a dream.
I wanted to win the lotto to cover my basis, not have people banging on my door and calling me constantly harassing me for money. I looked at my phone and chose to leave
it off while I got ready for work. My car was still down, in this reality too, so I made the uneventful trip to my morning job by bus.
I arrived to my desk 15 minutes early and got comfortable.
“Clari! Oh. My. God. You actually showed up?” My co-worker, Laura, said sounding surprised.
“Why not?” I asked confused.
“Well who would ever come to this place after winning the lotto- especially 483 mil. Oh em Gee girl… you are so lucky.” She sighed before side eyeing me.
“Some people have all the luck.”

I didn't feel lucky, but I wasn't going to negate it.
“Laura get back to work. Clarice, I need to talk to you” My supervisor called to me from across the office.
Once he had settled into his desk he handed me a couple packets of paper without saying anything.
“Are these my new assignments?”
“No no no.” He smiled, “Sit down for a second. I wanna to tell ya ‘bout this business I’m startin.’ A new opportunity. Everyone’ll want this- it’s a great opportunity for you to take control of your future!”
“Are you opening a new shop?”
“No no!" He chuckled. "Here you can be your own boss. Make your own hours.” He grinned and winked. “Wouldn’t ya like that?”
I’m pretty sure I looked confused because the bossman began explaining his plan.
“I’m the lead in this area, and I’m looking for some energetic young go getters, like you, to work, well not for me, but for yourself. With this product you can do anything. You know what I mean?”
“I …really don’t.”
“Well, lemme tell you how you get started. With an investment of $1,500.00 you can be in charge of your life. You’ll never have to work a day again.”
“But, you just said it’s a job to make my own hours.”
“Well now you’re just splittin’ hairs here. This is a great opportunity to do somethin’ with yourself! I know you’re smarter than most people here I’ve uh… just been waitin’ for the right time to say it!
And well, I think you oughta get in on this before Mikey over there beats ya to it.” He pointed to the sweaty new intern who looked confused to hear his name.
He can have it, I thought to myself. I wasn’t interested in this nonsense.
“When you sign up, I’ll get a reward and I can share it with you!” He looked like a little child staring at a cereal box for the toy.
“I’ll let you know.” I said getting up. I quickly returned to my desk to find envelopes that pleaded for me to please donate to someone’s bachelor party fund, a baby shower, and a child outreach program.
That last one I kept. The moment my day was over I ran out the door to get to job number two, before the boss could talk to me about this, “great opportunity” again.

At the end of the day a fleeting thought of begging the Genie… or something to send me back, but I wondered if I could truly do any good with the money I had been awarded.
Maybe that was just a weird dream, and I really lucked out.
The next morning I was woken by my phone ringing, funny I don’t remember turning it back on.
         “Hello Mrs. Lox this is your bank.” An unfamiliar voice droned into the phone “We wanted to alert you to the possibility that your account has been suspended, because someone has
attempted to gain access to your information. There is now a freeze on your account until further notice.”
         “Well, when is that?”
         “We will get back to you in a week.”
         “Wait!! I need to buy food. All my money is in there, and my electric bill is due in like three days. I need my last pay check!”
         “Well, due to suspicious activity-“
         “WHAT suspicious activity?!”
         “Well for starters a large sum of money was deposited recently-“
         “I won the lottery!”
         “Be that as it may you need to register with-
         “I NEED to pay my bills. No one said anything about this before. And you just said someone tried to access my account. So, which is it?”
         “Well we think someone put a large sum of money into your accou-“
         “I put a large sum of money in there! I won the lottery!”
         “Be that as it may-“
         “Oh my god. Seriously!”
         “Ma’am I’m trying to help you here.” The condescending tone emitted from the phone.
         “Are you?” I snapped back.
         “Did you register with the bank when you input the check.”
         “Yes. It was a requirement to put it into my account.”
         “Oh- I… Let me see what I can do. You should have your money in a week at the most.”
         “But I need it-“
I slumped back in my bed and tried not to scream. This wasn’t solving any problems. I felt like it was only creating more.
         “Well, good morning sunshine!” Came an unwanted, yet familiar, voice.
         “Oh, dear god no!” I said smashing my face into my pillow.
         “I’m happy to see you too.” He sounded smug. “I see you have a good heart, so maybe I can reward you somehow.
         “I was really hoping all this was just a dream. Is this torment entertainment for you? I mean do you create thi-”
         “Careful, don’t make me change my mind.”
         “Can I just like… wish you free or something?”
I heard a hearty laugh and a golden door opened for me to fall through.

I hadn’t seen my childhood friend in about 3 years, outside of social media. I was surprised to find her landing on my front door
after she landed a new job in town, and her housing fell through.
         “Well, you Jeannie, I am happy to see.” I said embracing my old friend.
         “Are you sure it’s okay to stay with you. I really don’t wanna-“
         “If you’re willing to help out around here, and maybe pitch in with the rent-  

“Well, I’m good on that front. This job is amazing.” Jeannie smiled with excitement.
We stayed up until sunrise playing catch up. It was nice to be with someone that felt familiar, like family, again.
I sincerely hoped this wasn’t another lesson too. The car situation worked itself out, and a few weeks later I found an amazing job myself,
allowing me to simply work at one location. While in the storeroom, one afternoon, I heard a familiar, semi-welcomed, voice.
         “And here I thought you weren’t interested in the soulmate thing.”
         After a minute I came up with the reply, “Well, I’m not really looking for-
         “Not all relationships have to be courtships of one kind or another. Sometimes your soulmate is just that person you connect with the best.”
         “Yes, there can be more than one “soulmate,” but only to varied degrees.”
“Am I missing something important out there?” I pointed to my desk.
         “Stand still and listen.” He benevolently warned with a grin. “You will have many people that come and go in your life. Some will remain with you forever,
and it was like you were never apart. Some will come. Some will go, but only a few will leave a mark on your heart and soul.”
         “You know I don’t go to church for-“
“Shut up, and learn to listen.” He said before disappearing into the either. I walked back to my desk, sat down, and for the first time, I stopped and listened
to everything around me. Once my mind stopped talking at me, a whole orchestra consisting of the world filled my being.


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