My Marvin & Fatima Ebook Is Almost Here, and It’s Huge!

WISHES, GENIES, SEX, AND DEATH cover
I’m just one or two days away from uploading Wishes, Genies, Sex, and Death, my compilation of my three “Marvin and Fatima” stories.[*]

I’ve completed the bonus story for the compilation, “Kristin Tells (Mostly) All.” The new story clocks in at fourteen thousand words and nine chapters. The story: Kristin, a young woman formerly in billionaire Marvin’s harem, is interviewed on television; two weeks later, she is kidnapped and held for a five-million-dollar ransom. What does she think about what she sees and hears, when she has no clue that Marvin is a genie-master?

Anyway, back to the compilation. Even I was surprised at how big it’s going to be—

• 4 complete stories
• 8 interior illustrations
• 121 chapters total
• 264 thousand words total

The price for all this will be only one dollar more than Three More Wishes alone.

———-

* To remind you, the three already-published “Marvin and Fatima” stories are—

Three More Wishes: Be Kind to Your Genie
One More Genie
More Genie Problems: Can the Hero Billionaire Hold off Judgment Day?

MORE GENIE PROBLEMS: First Six Chapters

MORE GENIE PROBLEMS front cover

Prologue
Solomon Sets the Rules

(MARVIN HARPER’S NOTE: Things that happened to me are told in first person—“I did this,” “I said this.” Things that happened to people other than me are written in third person—“He did this,” “She said this”—told with the knowledge of a mind-reading angel. Reader, I hope you don’t find this confusing.)

Early morning
June 19, 632 B.C.
Inside Fatima’s lamp

Seventeen hours and 22 minute had passed since Fatima of the Green Tribe of Djinn had been commanded to enter a brass lamp. No matter how hard she tried, she could not leave the lamp.

When Fatima made herself be solid but tiny, she could see light coming in through the spout of the lamp. So this meant that she could fly out, if she made herself small enough, right?

No. Every time she tried to fly out of the spout, she slammed into an invisible wall at the end. Maybe Kharmesh of the Blue Tribe could punch throughhis wall by muscle force, but Fatima had to use magic.

The problem was, magic was not working. Not one bit.

Fatima was pissed. She was now as magic-helpless as a wormfood (human); and Fatima was trapped in this stupid lamp, even though she had done nothing—

“BOUND DJINN, COME FORTH,” Fatima heard the angel command.

That was when Fatima’s problem turned into its opposite. Fatima did not want to talk to the wormfood king who had imprisoned her, nor did Fatima want to talk to the angel who, for whatever reason, was doing the wormfood king’s bidding. But Fatima was unable to stop herself from green-smoking, and could not stop her green-smoke self from leaving her lamp and then de-smoking.

****

Seconds later
Royal bedchamber
In the palace of Solomon, King Of Israel

Five brass lamps, one unstoppered brass bottle, and Solomon’s ruby ring were set on the floor. At the angel’s command, Solomon watched smoke billow out of those seven Vessels—blue smoke, green smoke, pink, and brown.

The smoke reshaped itself into seven colored smoke-columns, which pulled in and reshaped themselves to become two djinn of the Blue Tribe, twodjinn of the Green Tribe, two djinn of the Pink Tribe, and one djinni of the Brown Tribe.

The Pink Tribe female (Jerngert) looked nervous; the Brown Tribe male looked calm; and the other two female djinn and the other three maledjinn were giving Solomon death-glares.

The five angry djinn were not quiet, either. Solomon heard many insults, and sometimes it was hard to keep a calm face. But the king smiled, amused, whenever he was called wormfood. Yes, he would die someday—so what?

The angel had been standing behind Solomon as he sat on his portable throne; the angel had said nothing as Solomon had been berated. Now the angel spoke: “SOLOMON, WISEST OF HUMANS, SHALL DECREE THE RULES OF YOUR SERVICE, AND HEAVEN WILL GIVE FORCE TO THOSE RULES. SHOW RESPECT TO THIS HUMAN, FOR HE IS GRANTED AUTHORITY TO MAKE YOUR SERVICE BE EASY OR HARSH.”

That quickly shut up the insulters!

The Green Tribe female, Fatima, said timidly, “Pardon me, human king, but I was the last djinni to be put into a brass lamp or brass bottle. So what is the Turd Tribe person doing here?” She flicked a finger to momentarily point toward the Brown Tribe male.

Before Solomon could answer, the Brown Tribe male did. He stood straight and said, “I am Roshradzam of the Brown Tribe, and we are as worthy as any other Tribe of djinn, though our powers be less.”

This assertion was greeted with snorts and rolled eyes from the other bound djinn.

Roshradzam continued, “Why am I here? Because Hakeezib, Chief of the Blue Tribe of Djinn, threatened to water-swap the favorite concubine of Chief Thointorgos unless Brown Tribe sent a djinni to kill the human king. I was sent; I was unsuccessful.”

“Because Brown Tribe beings are puny weaklings!” said Kharmesh of the Blue Tribe with a laugh. Kharmesh was the tallest and the most muscular djinni in the room.

Solomon smiled at the seven bound djinn. “I have a friend in high places”—Solomon gestured toward the angel—“who tipped me off that an assassin was coming. But since I didn’t have any more brass Vessels and time was short, I had to put Roshradzam into my hollowed-out ruby ring. Sorry, Roshradzam, no disrespect intended.”

Fatima looked shocked that Solomon had apologized to Roshradzam, when the human king had nothing to fear from the captured Brown Tribe djinni.

Solomon thought, What, djinn have never heard of kindness, grace, and mercy toward a defeated opponent?

****

The main reason that Roshradzam had not succeeded at his assassination was because Solomon had not been in bed at the time. Solomon had stayed awake till late the previous night, again and again rewriting the rules that the bound djinn would be compelled to obey.

Now there was no more reason to delay the bad news. Solomon reached inside his sash, pulled out the small scroll, and unrolled it.

Solomon read the rules to the seven bound djinn. The angel had nothing to say afterward; the bound djinn had much to say afterward. Yet Solomon did not waver.

Still, the bound djinn accepted the rules better than Solomon had expected. Jerngert, the Pink Tribe female, pointed out to the others that, while the master’s nonmagical commands must be obeyed, each genie was free to ignore the master’s orders and requests that the genie perform magic. Jerngert said, “This is a mercy that I wasn’t expecting from the human king.”

To which Fatima, Jerngert’s friend in Green Tribe, added, “In addition, if a human tries to harm my master, I’m allowed to punish that human as I choose. I intend to choose some creative ways.” Fatima’s smile was scary.

****

Then Solomon had a thought. He looked at Roshradzam and asked (in Arabic), “Can you speak any other language besides Arabic?”

Roshradzam shook his head.

“Can you learn new languages quickly, like they can?” Solomon gestured to mean the other six genies.

Roshradzam’s head-shake was emphatic.

Kharmesh and Sumera insulted Roshradzam; Solomon stopped listening.

Solomon looked at the angel. “Roshradzam has a problem with becoming a genie, and we need to fix it.”

****

Solomon looked at the bound djinn and asked, “So now that I’ve spoken the rules and Roshradzam’s language problem is fixed, does anyone have questions?”

“I do,” spit blue-skinned Sumera. “What do we do when all seven of us are owned by the same djinni? I want to puke, thinking about taking orders from Ashnadim or Sigvard.” (Chiefs of, respectively, the Green Tribe and the Pink Tribe.)

Solomon smiled at her. “It is impossible for a djinni to grasp your Vessel or to rub it, so a free djinni cannot be your master. Only a human can.”

Liar! You’re saying what I want to hear, but I’ll be the one fetching Ashnadim’s slippers.”

Fatima said, “You’re as stupid as a camel. A djinni’s forearms and hands turn to smoke if he touches your Vessel. Kharmesh, Jerngert, and I all saw it happen—go ahead, ask Kharmesh.”

Sumera looked at big blue Kharmesh. Kharmesh shrugged.

Fine,” Sumera replied. “So now I need only worry about a wormfood owning all seven of us bound djinn. My life is improved.”

The angel replied, “AFTER THIS HOUR, YOUR VESSELS WILL BE SCATTERED. EVERY HUMAN ALIVE TODAY WILL BE CRUMBLED BONES WHEN NEXT YOU ARE GATHERED TOGETHER.”

Sumera crossed her arms. “You think so, White Wings? Before this year is out, some human wizard or sorcerer will have tracked down our Vessels. You scattering the Vessels means only that the human must work harder, and cast more spells. Either sooner or not quite so soon, we seven will have one master.”

“NOT SO,” replied the angel. “YOUR VESSELS SHALL BE AS NOTHING TO HUMAN MAGIC, DJINN MAGIC, AND DEMON MAGIC. ONLY HEAVEN WILL KNOW WHERE A BOUND DJINNI’S VESSEL IS. FEAR NOT.”

Sumera had no more loud words of reply. But Solomon heard her mutter, “I wouldn’t count out demon magic so quickly, angel. Those demons know a thing or two.”

****

Of the seven bound djinn, Fatima became Solomon’s favorite (though he would never tell her this). Fatima was outspoken, like Kharmesh; but like Jerngert, Fatima would think. (Or rather, sometimes Fatima would think. She had a lot of anti-human prejudice that she refused to question.)

Fatima asked Solomon, “How do we become free djinn again? Or are we stuck like this till Judgment Day?”

Solomon turned around to look at the angel. The angel announced, “AS SOLOMON DOTH SPEAK IT, SO SHALL IT BE.”

Solomon’s father, King David, had warned him that there would be days like this.

Now Solomon thought hard. The others waited silently.

Then Solomon spoke: “You djinn will be freed before Judgment Day, I promise you. You all will be freed on the day that all your Tribes prove worthy of your freedom.”

The seven bound djinn looked puzzled by this prophecy.

 

Chapter 1
The Lost Election

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Characters Susie (Susan) Cooper and Tim Hanson have appeared in my novels Names Have Power and Three More Wishes.

****

October 6, 2016 (Thursday night)
Local chapter, Abzug Society

Michelle Landrieu-LeClerc sat on a brown folding chair and hated Marvin Harper for the 7,846th time in six years.

Jane Yancy-Miller was running unopposed for the Treasurer position, so she was chosen to moderate the election for chapter Chairperson.

There had been a time when Michelle had likewise been unopposed when she’d run for Chairperson of the local chapter—but that was before Marvin Harper had become famous as the “hero billionaire.”

Now in 2016, when it came to Michelle being re-elected Chairperson, that man Marvin Harper had messed things up for her, again

Michelle now had a challenger for the Chairperson seat: Gertrude Price-Weatherby. And Gertrude was running on a platform of “Marvin Harper is not our enemy.”

Now Jane walked to the lectern and banged the gavel. “Women, each candidate for Chairperson will speak for two minutes, then we will vote. Ms. Price-Weatherby won the coin-toss and chose to speak last. So Ms. Landrieu-LeClerc, please come forward now.”

After taking the lectern, Michelle looked into every face. “I am Mitchell Landrieu-LeClerc, and you know me. I have been active of this chapter of the Abzug Society for fifteen years, since my daughters entered middle school.”

As Michelle took a breath, she noticed: A lot more women here are wearing a lot more makeup than they did in 2010. Six years ago, no woman in this chapter would have dared wear anything more than muted-color lipstick, like Michelle herself wore.

What does this mean? she wondered.

A worried part of her brain replied, It means that they’re not your minions anymore. You can’t count on their votes.

Michelle shoved down that worry, and went back to speaking:

“I have been tireless in the struggle to give my daughters a world of equality for women. I will not allow any man, no matter how admirable he seems, to take our rights from us. I do not trust Marvin Harper, and you should flee any woman who says we can peacefully coexist with him. Many find him charming, and he is generous with his money, but the fact remains: Marvin Harper is a dedicated, resource-rich, and seductive agent of Patriarchy. Good grief, he has a harem! He is dangerous to our cause, for as long as he breathes.”

Thus Michelle ended her speech; she did not ask for the women of the chapter to vote for her. With head held high, she walked from the lectern to her chair and sat down.

Seconds later, it was Gertrude at the microphone: “Michelle here has many times listed Marvin Harper’s faults and sins. Let me point out one of his virtues. When one of his harem girls, Kristin Curry, was told that Marvin would pay for all her college expenses, she told him where she wanted to attend: Smith College. That’s right, the one in Northampton, Massachusetts. And once she got there, you can bet that not one student there, or professor, told Ms. Curry that she had to bake cookies for the rest of her life and stand by her man.”

Gertrude looked into every pair of eyes, though she only glanced into Michelle’s. “Ms. Curry now has a degree from Smith, without borrowing one dollar of student loans or flipping one burger. According to The Sophian, Harper did not try to talk Ms. Curry into a different school when she asked for very expensive, very feminist Smith College.”

Gertrude made eye contact again, then resumed her speech. “Michelle is abrasive. How many women of this chapter has Michelle expelled for failing to uphold feminist purity? Virgilia O’Keefe, Bellina Mott, Rivka Goldheim, and I’m sure I’m forgetting others. Remember when Michelle called Susan Cooper a bimbo and a disgrace, and Susan denounced Michelle as a ‘man-hater with anger issues’ just before she loudly quit? These women whom Michelle kicked out or drove away, where have they gone? Except for Susan Cooper, they all joined Marvin Harper’s harem. The LeClerc twins are shacking up with him right now! Though oddly, they haven’t been drummed out of our chapter.”

“Thirty seconds,” Ms. Yancy-Miller said.

Gertrude looked into everyone’s eyes for the last time. “Marvin Harper has not yet chosen to become our enemy. But as our enemy, he would be formidable, perhaps unbeatable. Elect me, and he will never become our enemy. But re-elect Michelle, and war with him is only a matter of time. Why is this bad? A public-relations war with the ‘hero billionaire’ is something the Abzug Society cannot win, and feminism cannot afford to lose more support.”

Seconds later, it was Jane, not Gertrude, at the lectern. Jane banged the gavel and announced, “It’s time to vote.”

****

Across the city, the next morning (Friday)
At Tim Hanson Ford, off Smith Freeway

Almost every Friday morning, I climbed into my car and drove from my mansion to Tim Hanson Ford.

By no coincidence, Friday mornings were when Tim Hanson Ford had the fewest customers.

At the car dealership, there was a separate small building where the dealer had his office. That building was tiny, since it held only Tim Hanson’s office, his receptionist’s desk outside his office, a postage-stamp-sized breakroom, and a conference room.

I parked my gold Mustang near the door to this tiny building; seconds later, I was walking in the door.

Even before my eyes adjusted, I heard a mega-cheerful female voice: “Good morning, Mr. Harper! I hope you’re having a wonderful,wonderful day!”

The speaker was Susie (née Susan) Cooper, Tim’s receptionist. Her blond hair was fake, her large tits were real, the blue ribbon in her hair was satin, and her big, friendly smile was ever-present.

There was a time, before I met her, when Susie did not smile at all. Furthermore, I am told Susie was very unpleasant to any human male.

The reason that Susie now looked and acted like the ultimate bimbo receptionist was the same reason why I, Marvin Harper the “hero billionaire,” spent my Friday mornings hanging out with a car dealer in his office.

Tim Hanson and I were friends because we shared a unique situation: We both had magical mind-control powers, and we tried to do right by the people we mind-controlled. I had been given my powers by a genie wish; Tim had been given mind-control powers as a reward by the Golden God.

In Tim’s case, whatever mind-rewriting he did was irreversible. Tim had accidentally reprogrammed Susan, his ultrafeminist receptionist, and bimbo Susie was the result.

Bimbo Susie now was looking at me and smiling. I replied, “I am indeed having a wonderful day, and you’re looking great. Will you please let Tim know I’m here?”

“Sure. He’s at the Service Garage now, though I don’t expect him to be gone long.” Susie picked up her desk phone, and spoke briefly with Tim via his smartphone.

After Susie hung up, she theatrically looked left and right, as though checking for eavesdroppers, and said, “The Abzug Society’s local chapter had an election last night. You were the main campaign issue. And Mitchell—”

“You mean Michelle—”

“—Michelle lost the election. She’s out, she’s only a peon now, too-bad-so-sad.”

I laughed. “Feeling a little vindictive, are we?”

Susie smiled, but the smile was cruel. “Six years ago, in front of the entire group, she called me a ‘bimbo man-pleaser’ and ‘a disgrace to the cause.’ She was seconds away from kicking me out when I quit. But now she’s no longer the big cheese here. Do you want to know what really delights me?”

“What?”

“Gertrude—she’s who won—reminded the members that Michelle’s twin daughters aren’t living with her, they’re living with you!

I made a rocking-hand gesture. “Not at the moment. I’ve sent the twins on an all-expenses-paid trip to France.”

 

Chapter 2
Elvira Finds a Lamp

Late afternoon Friday, local time
In the French countryside

Almira LeClerc was driving a rental car, with her sister Elvira in the passenger seat. The American twins were headed to a family reunion—with French “family” whom they had never met. Fortunately, both sisters were fluent in schoolbook French.

With only the twins in the rental car, they spoke American English—

Almira asked, “Why do you think she did it, Marvin’s old aunt Claire? Why she pushed Marvin to give us this trip to France?”

Elvira replied, “Maybe she likes France? After all, Claire is a French name. What’s really weird is how, once old Claire convinced Marvin to help us take this trip, Marvin needed only one short phone call for our parole officer to go along.”

Almira shrugged. “Why is it weird? Marvin Harper deserves to be served, and everyone realizes this.” Then she laughed. “Everyone except you, Elvie. Though you’ve gotten along much better with him and everybody else in the past two years.”

Elvira said, “Everybody except Mother.” The twins laughed.

Elvira added, “I’ve been trying hard to be a good person these last two years. But I never imagined that I would be rewarded with a trip to, ohmigod, France! And we get to use Marvin Harper’s credit card while we’re doing it.”

Almira grinned. “Yeah, we tour France, we meet arrière grand-père Armand’s relatives, and the ‘hero billionaire’ pays for everything. Life is good.” Then Almira eyed the dark clouds ahead. “Except that we’re headed into nasty rain. And these roads are not good.”

****

As Almira had predicted, soon rain fell on the French countryside. Minutes later, the rain was pouring down.

Just as the rain started to blast down, the car passed a construction site. (Which was an odd thing to see, as Mlle. Fontaine had explained in high-school French class.)

The blasting rain slowed the car’s speed to a crawl. Looking through the car’s windows, even with the wipers going their fastest, was for Elvira like looking through shower-door glass.

Still, she could make out a man at the construction site, who was wearing a white hard hat. Elvira saw him make a throat-slash gesture. Then all the men at the site (including Monsieur Hard-Hat) dashed for their cars.

From the driver’s seat, Almira said, “I can’t drive in this. We’re two kilometers from a village. I’ll head there and hope they have an inn for travelers.”

Elvira said, “That will make us late to the reunion.”

Almira shrugged. “Not if we get rolling tomorrow at dawn.”

The village was too small to have an inn. The good news was, the village had a villager who would rent the twins a room for the night. The bad news was, the rain was still blasting; Elvira was soaked to the skin before she’d moved ten feet from the rental car.

****

Once the twins had a room to themselves, Elvira yearned to frolic with her twin sister. But Almira was tired, or so she claimed. Elvira sighed.

****

Early the next morning (Saturday), local time

It was not yet dawn, but the eastern sky was bright when the twins climbed back in their car. To get back to the road on which Almira had been driving when the rain had hit, the rental car now drove past the construction site.

Elvira saw a bright-yellow reflection where she was not expecting it. She yelled, “Almie, stop the car! Stop, stop!

The car screeched to a halt. “What’s wrong? What’s wrong?” Almie asked, sounding frightened.

“The construction site, there’s a big pile of dirt there. I see a teapot sticking out of the dirt.”

“You’re making us late for a teapot?” Almira rolled her eyes. “Besides, teapots mean England, not France. Which is wherewe are.”

“It’s yellow metal, and it has a handle. It’s an antique teapot.”

“How do you know it’s antique?”

“Remember what Mlle. Fontaine told us in class? In France, they don’t tear down a building until they have to. See that burned lumber? See that pile of scorched bricks? Who knows how long that house stood before they had to tear it down. That teapot could be centuries old!”

“So what? Neither of us drinks tea.”

“Jeez, twin, use your brain. It’ll be a unique souvenir of our trip to France, not some mass-produced trinket.”

Almira’s voice got stern. “You want to quote Mlle. Fontaine? She also said that the French have crazy laws that we don’t have, about old stuff. And we’re parolees. Marvin wouldn’t like me if you and I got arrested for stealing a teapot.”

Elvira replied, “Twin, this burned-down house used to belong to someone. He or she could have grabbed the teapot at any time. They didn’t.”

“But that doesn’t mean that we—”

It’s not stealing! But if we sit here, gabbing about it, the construction crew will come back and I’ll lose my chance. Construction guys work sunrise to sunset, remember?”

“Which means that if you get out of the car, somebody could come along in the next few minutes, and then we both might get arrested.”

Elvira rolled her eyes. “I know you, Almie. You don’t give a shit about the laws of France, only about the laws of Marvin Harper.”

“The last time you wanted to do something on your own and I let you, the result was Anna Kay and us getting kidnapped by gangsters.”

“No gangsters are near here, just French construction guys. Who are headed this way even as we speak.”

Almira said, “Fine. Go. But if the car gets dirty and we get charged extra, you’re paying Marvin back.”

As Elvira was slip-sliding on the muddy ground in the pre-dawn light, she muttered, “Jeez, Almie, you were gutsy six years ago. Now you’re a total scaredy-cat.”

****

When Elvira pulled the handled brass thing out of the pile of dirt (which was now a pile of mud), she knew instantly that she was not holding a teapot.

She also knew instantly what the brass lamp might be.

But Elvira did not rub it with her hand. She was not even slightly tempted. Not because she wasn’t curious, but because the brass lamp was soyucchy with all that mud.

Instead of rubbing the mud off the brass lamp with her hand, Elvira walked over to some still-wet grass, and dragged the brass lamp around by its handle till the lamp was clean.

When Elvira returned to the rental car with her prize in hand, she saw Almira staring at her through the glass.

When Elvira opened the car door, Almira blurted, “Holy shit, you found a motherfucking genie lamp! Rub it, rub it!”

“No way. The construction crew will be here any minute, remember? I’ll rub the lamp later.”

“Arrggh!” Almira replied.

****

The twins reached the city of Clermont-Ferrand a little after ten o’clock, and found the family reunion soon after.

But the twins didn’t join the reunion, not yet. Elvira suggested that they find a local hotel first. “So while we’re talking to all our new aunts and uncles, we don’t have to worry about our suitcases being stolen out of the car.”

Almira smirked. “Ri-i-ight, you’re worried about suitcases getting stolen out of the car.”

“I don’t think it’s a genie lamp. It got rubbed clean, and no genie came out.”

Yet when the twins brought their suitcases (and the brass lamp) into their hotel room, Elvira made sure to lock the brass lamp inside the emptiest of her suitcases. Elvira told herself that her reason was that the brass lamp was a unique souvenir, and she didn’t want to lose it.

“You know,” Almira said casually, “you don’t need to deprive yourself; it’s okay to unlock that suitcase now and to satisfy your curiosity.”

Elvira said, “Our relatives know we’re here. They expect us to reappear soon at the reunion. I’ll rub the lamp later.”

“Arrggh!” Almira replied.

****

Much later, hours after dark Saturday, local time

When the twins returned to their hotel room after spending hours at the reunion, they were tipsy.

Almira said, “Here’s your chance. Grab the lamp, rub it, and let’s find out if there’s a genie in there.”

“No way,” Elvira said. “I’m tired and I’m drunk. That genie would eat me for breakfast. Speaking of breakfast, morning seems like a good time to see what I’ve got.”

“Dammit, twin, I’ve been wondering all day whether that brass lamp is the real deal. Now I’m gonna have to wonder all night, too?”

“Yep,” Elvira replied, grinning drunkenly. “Remember, I’m the person who dipped your Barbie in black paint. I can be a bitch sometimes.”

“Arrggh!”

****

The next morning (Sunday), local time

After both twins had taken showers, Almira asked, “Now are you going to rub the lamp?”

Elvira grinned. “Certainly not. I’m dressed only in a towel. If there is a genie in there, he deserves for me to be dressed more respectfully, don’t you think?”

“Arrggh!”

But an hour and a half later, Elvira was dressed, her hair and makeup were done, and the twins had eaten breakfast. Elvira had all her suitcases unlocked by then.

With her left hand, Elvira reached into the suitcase that had the lamp in it, and grabbed the brass lamp by its handle. Elvira stood and faced Almira.

Elvira said, “I don’t think anything will happen. But here goes.”

Elvira rubbed the brass lamp with her right hand.

The brass lamp shook in Elvira’s hand like a frantic rat were trapped inside of it. Then

A plug of mud shot out of the spout of the lamp, hitting Almira full in the face.

SPLAT!

Almira ran off to the bathroom then, to wash her face (as Elvira called out laughing apologies).

So Almira did not see lots and lots of blue smoke billow out of the lamp, and Almira was not there with Elvira when the blue smoke turned into a blue woman.

 

Chapter 3
Sumera Drops a Bomb

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Events referred to in these next two chapters took place in Chapter 28 of Three More Wishes: Be Kind to Your Genie.

****

Still Sunday

Elvira saw that the genie’s skin was light blue. Her hair, which was pulled up into a bun, was dark blue, as were her eyebrows. Her eyes were not merely blue, but glowing blue. She wore Middle Eastern clothing, including harem pants and silk slippers—all of which were blue.

The genie-woman looked at Elvira, sighed deeply, and said, “Bonjour, Maîtresse. Je suis Sumera, ligoté djinni de la lampe, ici d’accorder trois vœux à vous.

“Holy shit, you’re real!” Elvira said.

The genie frowned. Elvira figured out that Sumera might not know English.

Elvira might have shot her mouth off in French then, and spoken her wishes bam-bam-bam, if the genie had not sighed. That sigh said to Elvira, Granting this human’s wishes is an unpleasant task, so let’s get it over with. A genie with such an attitude would not help Elvira if Elvira worded her wishes poorly.

So instead of wishing, Elvira said, “Plus tard, mes vœux.” Later, my wishes. “Parlez-vous anglais?

“No, Mistress,” Sumera replied in French.

“Holy shit, a real genie!” Almira exclaimed in English.

Sumera turned around. Wet-faced Almira was standing by the bathroom door, staring back at Sumera.

When Sumera turned to face Elvira again, Elvira said in French, “She is Almira, my twin. Almira LeClerc. I am Elvira LeClerc. Can you tell us apart?”

It was a simple question; Elvira expected a simple answer.

****

To Elvira’s question, Sumera replied, “It’s easy to tell you two apart. You each have a spellmark, and your spellmarks are different.”

Elvira said, “What do you mean? What is a ‘spellmark’?”

“Someone has cast a spell on each of you—”

WHAT?” Almira and Elvira said together.

“—and all I know is that the spells have different sources. Your sister’s spell came from a djinni; while your spell, Mistress, came from a being who is not a djinni.”

“What are the spells on us?” Almira demanded.

Elvira said, “Who cast spells on us? Find out, find out!”

No,” said Sumera. “That is a magical request, and I may refuse to obey a magical request. Now if you were to wish for answers to your questions—”

Almira glared at the blue genie. “You’re just trying to get Elvie to use up a wish.”

Elvira said to Sumera, “You can refuse a magical request? What can’t you refuse?”

Sumera clenched her fists and gritted her teeth, and her body shook, rather than answer the question.

But soon Sumera said, “I cannot refuse nonmagical requests. And unless you ask a question that can be answered only by me using magic, I must answer any question you ask with the truth.”

“Except the questions we really want answered,” Elvira said. “Quite a loophole you’ve got, Sumera.”

“Yes, you’re a big help, blue genie,” Almira said, disgusted. “You tell me a genie cast a spell on me, and won’t tell me more. Trouble is, I’ve never met a genie before.”

That’s when Elvira thought of something. “Almie, I know who the genie is.”

“Who? Who? Tell me!”

“Actually, I don’t know. But I have a really strong gut feeling.”

Twin! Say his name. Now.”

“It’s—”

FOOM. Green light flashed, and now there was a fourth female in the hotel room.

Fatima?” Almira blurted.

Fatima,” Sumera sneered.

Fatima, who was casually dressed all in green, gave blue genie Sumera only a glance. Then Fatima’s eyes locked on Elvira’s brass lamp.

Fatima looked up from Elvira’s hand to Elvira’s face. “Oh, shit,” Fatima said.

 

Chapter 4
The Hotel Room Gets Crowded

Still Sunday

Sumera said something to Fatima in a foreign language. To Elvira, Sumera’s words sounded insulting.

Fatima said to Sumera, “I do not have the time for your stupidity”—speaking in sixteenth-century French.

“You really are a genie?” Almira asked Fatima in English.

Shit,” Fatima said.

Elvira asked in English, “What are you doing here?”

Fatima replied, “Entertainment—I came here to watch Sumera be forced to grant wishes. But now I have to work.”

Fatima reached into a pocket of her green-denim jeans and pulled out her smartphone.

Elvira saw that Sumera was frowning. Fatima noticed this too. Instead of Fatima making her phone call, she asked Elvira, “Does Sumera understand English?”

It was Almira who answered: “No, because Sumera is too lazy to learn, I’m sure. She’s already informed Elvie she doesn’t have to obey magical requests.”

Fatima rolled her eyes. In sixteenth-century French, she advised Elvira, “Order Sumera to memory-read you. She may not refuse to do that.”

Elvira commanded Sumera thus, not sure what she was ordering. Sumera glared at Fatima, then reached out a blue hand to touch Elvira’s forehead.

Then life for Elvira turned weird.

****

When Elvira finished reliving her entire life at high speed, she discovered that Marvin Harper was standing next to Fatima in the hotel room.

Marvin was yawning, his hair was mussed, and the buttonholes of his shirt were mismatched with the buttons.

The sunlight through the windows seemed to Elvira to be the same as before. “How long was I out?” she asked.

“Five minutes, maybe more,” Almira said. “I was scared shitless, till Marvin told me he’s gone through the same process lots of times.”

“So you are the famous Marvin Harper, master of Fatima,” Sumera said in sarcastic English. She dropped a curtsy. “I am so pleased to meet you at last.”

Elvira put her fists on her hips then. “Now that we’re all here and we’re all acquainted and we all speak English, would someone—Sumera, Fatima, Marvin, I don’t give a rat’s ass who—tell me, WHEN AND WHERE AND HOW AND WHY MY TWIN SISTER AND I GOT SPELLMARKS ON US, AND WHAT THE SPELLS DO.”

“Jeez,” said Marvin, rubbing his face with one hand, “and I have to answer this on four hours’ sleep.”

Then Marvin looked each twin in the eye. “Why is simple: Because you two were out of control. When and where is even simpler: the party.”

There was no need for Marvin to specify which party. May 15, 2010, the LeClerc twins had been arrested for drug possession, at the costume party to which Marvin had been invited and which the twins had party-crashed.

Now Marvin said, “But the how and the what of you two getting spells put on you, those take some explaining.”

 

Chapter 5
Fanzelle

Meanwhile, back in the USA (Sunday)

The local time was several hours past midnight, and Michelle Landrieu-LeClerc was deeply asleep. But though she was sleeping, no way was she resting as she dreamed—

Michelle is standing on a featureless plain—no buildings, no hills, no lakes, no grass or trees. In front of Michelle are thousands of men.

She sees a man with gray hair and trimmed gray moustache, a pressed black-pinstripe suit, and gold cufflinks. She sees a man in his twenties with three days’ growth of beard, a dirty wife-beater t-shirt, and a can of beer. Michelle sees young men, middle-aged men and old men; men rich and poor; men who are black and white and yellow and brown.

This is the Patriarchy, and every man in the Patriarchy is grinning triumphantly at Michelle.

At the front of the penis-horde are two men who are not content to grin at her; they are pointing at Michelle and laughing.

One of the two men is tall, muscular Marvin Harper. He says, “I’m not the enemy of the Abzug Society, but I am your enemy, Michelle. I’ve corrupted your daughters, and I’ve bamboozled your local chapter into voting you out. Sucks to be you, ‘Mitchell.’ ”

The other man mocking Michelle is her ex-husband Dennis. Dennis LeClerc looks the same as the day Michelle Landrieu met him, right down to his chocolate-brown mullet and mustache, and his tight blue Hawaiian shirt. Dennis now says, “Karma is a bitch, bitch. You shut me out of my daughters’ lives, and yesterday you lost the thing most important to you: head harpy of the local chapter of man-haters.”

Michelle answers, “You lost your rights as a father when you cheated on me and I caught you.”

“That isn’t your call to make, Michelle. I’m the twins’ father; they need me in their lives. Who knows what trouble they’ve gotten into, with me not there?”

Michelle says nothing. She has never told Dennis that his daughters were arrested, tried, convicted, and thrown into prison. Why tell him now? Michelle has done the right thing by not telling Dennis, but he would not understand.

Enough!” a woman’s voice says. Dennis, Marvin, and the rest of the Patriarchy become statue-still. The woman’s voice continues, “I’m tired of hearing these men prattle on—aren’t you, Michelle?”

All the men vanish except for frozen Dennis and frozen Marvin. Where the horde of men was standing, now stands a sexy young woman who is facing Michelle.

The woman has the figure of a porn star, the red skin of a sunburn victim, bright-red shaped eyebrows, and waist-length pink hair. Her clothes are a gray-leather, halter-top bra; a chain-mail loincloth; and black-leather, porn-actress high-heeled pumps with spikes. Her heavy makeup saysI’m easier than a two-piece jigsaw puzzle.

Michelle thinks, This woman looks completely slutty. Dennis would love her.

The woman walks up next to Michelle’s frozen ex-husband, looks at him, and says, “Michelle, you first realized that all men are beasts when you caught Dennis and that bimbo. You are absolutely right: No man deserves any kindness from you.”

The woman taps Dennis on his shoulder; he vanishes. Then the red woman walks up to unmoving Marvin Harper.

“Marvin Harper, you man you,” the woman sighs. “You have humiliated Michelle here, after all she’s done for women’s equality. You should be taken down a peg. Or three. Or thirty.”

Michelle replies, “Good luck, honey. Marvin Harper is the ‘hero billionaire,’ remember? When you trash-talk him in public, nobody believes you. When you sue him, his turncoat lawyer Victoria Allblue gets the lawsuit dropped.”

The woman turns to face Michelle, putting hands on shapely hips. “Do you want vengeance on Marvin Harper? I can get you vengeance. I am Fanzelle, and I promise what nobody else can.”

“Oh, yeah? How?” Michelle says skeptically.

Fanzelle shakes her head. “I can’t answer well enough in a dream. Wake up, summon me, and I’ll explain everything.”

“ ‘Summon me’? What does that mean?”

“I’m a succubus. I seduce men, then claim their souls during sex. But this job was forced on me by lower-downs, and to heaven with all those male demons I work for!”

“Hold on, they make you fuck men? Even when you don’t want to? That’s sex slavery!

“Exactly. So summon me, Michelle, and I’ll explain how you can get vengeance on Marvin Harper, and how I can get promoted out of being ordered to gratify men’s base desires.”

“Not so fast,” Michelle says reluctantly. “I’m going to lose my soul if I do this, won’t I? I’ll get eternal punishment in hellfire?”

Fanzelle looks left and right, checking for eavesdroppers, then she murmurs, “Not if we word the pact right.”

In a normal-volume voice, Fanzelle says, “I’ve said all I can say in this dream. Wake up and summon me if you want vengeance on Marvin Harper.”

“How do I summon you?” Michelle asks.

****

As soon as Michelle woke up, she rushed into Elvira’s old bedroom and headed straight for her closet. On a shelf, Michelle found a box of playground chalk.

There were only two pieces of chalk in the box. Two pieces were more than enough.

Next, Michelle threw on her clothes and drove to a (fortunately nearby) 24-hours Wal-Mart. Michelle bought a box of red birthday candles and a disposable lighter.

When Michelle returned from her shopping trip, she left her car parked in the driveway, instead of again parking her car in the garage.

****

Barely twenty minutes after Michelle had awakened from her dream, she stood in her garage next to a chalk pentagram. At the five corners of the pentagram, five little red candles burned. Happy birthday, Marvin Harper, Michelle thought. She smiled eagerly.

Michelle took a knife in her right hand and sliced into her left forearm. She let blood run down her arm to drip off her elbow, then—making sure she did not step on the chalk lines—she leaned forward so that the dripping blood splattered on the concrete floor inside the pentagram.

Michelle promptly stepped away from the pentagram, again making sure she did not step on the chalk lines.

Michelle spoke solemnly: “Harken, Demon Fanzelle, I summon thee. Appear thou afore me, here and now, bound in place and deed by the pentagram.”

Above the middle of the pentagram, the air got darker, becoming black smoke. The black smoke began to swirl, faster and faster. When the black smoke was an enclosed tornado, the black became red. The red tornado stopped  its spinning. The red smoke diffused to the boundaries of the pentagram, then the red smoke pulled itself in.

Within the pentagram stood Fanzelle. Just as in the dream, Fanzelle had huge breasts, red skin, bright-red eyebrows, and pink hair; Fanzelle was dressed exactly the same as in Michelle’s dream.

But within the pentagram, Fanzelle had more to her appearance. Namely, a red, barbed tail; pointed ears; glowing-red-iris eyes; horns coming out of her forehead; and huge bat-wings coming out of her shoulder blades.

Fanzelle looked at Michelle and said formally, “O mortal named Michelle Joan Landrieu-LeClerc, I the demon Fanzelle do come to you as summoned.”

Then Fanzelle grinned at Michelle and added, “You ready to mess with Marvin Harper?”

Buy More Genie Problems now! You know you want to.

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MORE GENIE PROBLEMS Sales Blurb (First Draft)

In More Genie Problems, the third novel about Marvin Harper and his genie Fatima, Marvin has more problems of every kind.

Shrill feminist Michelle LeClerc has been an occasional annoyance to Marvin in Three More Wishes and One More Genie; now Michelle steps up her game. She makes a demon-pact with pink-haired succubus Fanzelle, and Marvin Harper is targeted by the pact.

Succubus Fanzelle uses her authority under the pact to make the “hero billionaire” be no longer a billionaire, and she does her damnedest (pun intended) to make Marvin be no longer a hero. Fanzelle makes Marvin be five-foot-two and puny-muscled again, and there is nothing that Fatima can do to reverse this.

In the process of making Marvin be both un-billionaire and un-hero, Fanzelle kills and damns a character who has appeared in both of the first two books.

But the ambitions of Fanzelle the succubus run beyond ruining Marvin’s life and collecting Michelle’s soul. Fanzelle is using the demon-pact as a springboard to cause a second war between Heaven and Hell. If Hell wins, Earth will become a literal Hell for humans; if Heaven wins, Judgment day will immediately follow. Either way, humans have a problem, and only Marvin and his genies know about the problem.

Marvin can command two other genies besides Fatima, but those other genies are not much help. Roshradzam, the Genie of the Ring, wants to help Marvin—but he is from Brown Tribe, so he is a magical weakling. Sumera has a rotten attitude, even for someone from Blue Tribe, so she gives Marvin headaches.

Speaking of giving Marvin headaches, Elvira learns something unflattering to Marvin at the beginning of More Genie Problems; Elvira goes back to acting the bitch.

Doctor MC Answers His THREE MORE WISHES Critics

THREE MORE WISHES front cover

Cover art and all four interior illustrations by Commotion22

My bestselling story, Three More Wishes: Be Kind To Your Genie, has a rating of 3.9 stars out of 5.0 stars, based on thirteen reviews. Ten reviews out of thirteen gave my book either four stars or five stars, nobody gave my book three stars, and three reviewers trashed my book. C’est l’Amazon.

Out of the ten reviewers, the two reviewers who were clearly women (Moonlight Dolphin and Jill Soft) each gave Three More Wishes five stars.

But let’s hear from my three critics, before I answer them—

**ooo [2 stars out of five] Be Kind To Women Instead
By Kindle Customer “Gene” on December 25, 2014

a good teenage male fantasy which is good for the male ego but will turn women off as it treats them as sex objects and the hero uses the powers to make them have sex with him and control their minds as he makes them do things they wouldn’t want to do. He then sets himself up as judge and jury over women’s lives. God is mentioned here but it seems like God would’ve disapproved of this mistreatment of half the human race.

*oooo [1 star out of five] Horrible
By JoshuaJustin on March 11, 2015

This book is bad, really bad. It’s teenage fantasy garbage with no real plot. The whole book seems like it was written by a virgin that watches too much porn. The characters are empty and unbelievable. Horrible fantasy, horrible erotica. Oh and the author keeps breaking the fourth wall and it’s obnoxious. I have nothing good to say about this book.

*oooo [1 star out of five] Creepy
By Jason76 on May 12, 2015

Before I read this book, I read one of the reviews that basically wondered whether this author has ever had sex before. At the time, I thought that reviewer was being overly harsh, now I’m not so sure. I like a good male fantasy story as much as the next guy, however my fantasy is not to have sex with women after I’ve taken away their free will. This character was basically a walking, talking ruffie [roofie]. Creeped me out.

****

—So I’m a virgin now? My ex-wife would be very surprised.

It looks like I need to remind people what my “About The Author” blurb says, near the bottom of Three More Wish’s Amazon page:

Doctor MC currently is plotting his 1,632nd scheme to conquer the world. Obviously he has not succeeded yet, but Doctor MC remains optimistic. Doctor MC did manage to replace Bill Clinton’s wife with a robot.

When not trying to rule the world, Doctor MC writes novels featuring male dominance, mind control, and harems, in a magical or science-fiction setting. “Chick Lit” these stories aren’t.

Visit Doctor MC’s blog for information about upcoming novels and stories: https://doctormcmadscientist.wordpress.com

I think what has so upset my three critics is that I make no attempt to write for anyone other than myself. Mind control has always interested me, as far back as elementary school. So now, I write erotic stories that have mind control in them.

Neither do I write to hit a particular audience. If there is one thing that all the how-to-write-fiction books agree on, it is that trying to “write for the market” will only bring a writer heartache. The writers who have made it big—Tom Clancy, Stephen King, J. K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, etc.—still write the books that they themselves want to read, but it turns out that the rest of us want to read those books too.

The reason that I point out that I don’t write for the market is that the majority of bookbuyers are women. If I were being published by a big Manhattan publisher, my publisher would insist that I pander to a female audience. (For instance, a Manhattan-published version of Three More Wishes would be guaranteed to have a bare-chested Marvin Harper, instead of Fatima the genie, on the cover; and Manhattan’s version of Fatima would never ever, not once, call Marvin “Master.”) But what if I refused to pander to a female audience? Then my Manhattan publisher would rip up my contract and require me to repay my advance.

In the real world, at least a few women buy Three More Wishes and love it as I’ve written it, and this delights me. But I didn’t write this book for a female audience, nor will I revise my story to make it more pleasing to female readers.

My critics take me to task for writing women characters in my fantasy story that real women (or real feminists, at least) loudly object to. My critics’ attitude is considered acceptable, because it is politically correct. Funny, but it’s considered rude and whiny for me, a real man, to object to how men-characters are portrayed in female-written sex-fantasy fiction.

In a notorious fan-fiction story that was published in 1973, James T. Kirk fell in love with Ensign Mary Sue Smith, to the point where he was willing to give up command of the Enterprise in order to give her foot-rubs for the rest of his life. (Never mind that the average man’s career means too much to him for he to even think of giving his career up for love; and that this is doubly true for Captain Kirk.)

My point is that Mary Sue Smith lives on—there is lots of women’s erotica that is published in 2015 that writes about “men” who will give up everything that they are, and everything that they do, in order to give the main (female) character 24/7 foot-rubs and cunnilingus. All the “men” in these stories become, by the end of the story, mere beta-male pussy-whipped wusses, nothing more than the heroines’ gigolo and bodyguard. Ah, but what if a man in these stories is described as an “alpha male”? Then at the end, he’s been turned into a beta-male pussy-whipped wuss who still has great pecs and a six-pack, and to whom less-muscular beta-male wusses still defer. These “alpha males” are reduced to saying, “Me Tarzan, you Jane—is that okay, honey?”

But I didn’t write Marvin as that kind of so-called alpha male. I wrote him as a youth who is magically changed into a man whom other men respect, whom women desire, and who naturally takes charge when a problem arises. Marvin’s magic pheromones are just icing on the cake. As a true alpha male, Marvin does not apologize when he asks for a blowjob, nor does he feel obligated to “return the favor” if a haremée offers Marvin a blowjob; such an attitude makes politically correct people shudder and wring their hands.

Does all this mean that Marvin is a jerk? Not at all—his genie Fatima has given him responsibility for many women’s lives, Marvin takes his responsibilities seriously, and he tries to improve the lives of everyone around him. But he is no woman’s servant.

One thing that my three critics don’t mention, and I must confess that this annoys me, is that Three More Wishes: Be Kind To Your Genie is much more than a stroke-story. You’ll find character development, plot, and world-building in my book. Chapter 41 ends with a cliffhanger.

Kindle Customer “Gene” wrote that Marvin goes around deciding how every woman in the story will live her life. Not so; Marvin lives by the motto of “With great power must come great responsibility”; so when he finds himself with power in a woman’s life, he does everything he can to improve that woman’s life. Only a week after Marvin makes his wishes, he becomes famous nationwide as the “hero billionaire,” and he spends the rest of the story living up to that label. However, there are indeed two women in the story for whom Marvin decides “This is how it’s going to be, and this is what you’re going to do”: Paula Sarin and Elvira LeClerc. Paula Sarin is the villain of the story, and tries to evade her punishment at the end; and Elvira is one of two evil twins who tried to frame a woman for drug possession; Marvin gets Elvira and her sister arrested, then posts the twins’ bail.

JoshuaJustin was bothered that Marvin sometimes talks directly to the reader. By the story’s very nature of “I said … I did,” Marvin is telling this story to someone, right? Well, Marvin has the biggest secret on Earth, that he owns a no-shit genie lamp, so to whom would he tell his secret? No friend of Marvin’s can be trusted to know this secret, the temptation is too big, and there are some things about Marvin’s new life that his parents would not want to be told. So by elimination, Marvin tells his story to the reader of his posthumous autobiography, and sometimes Marvin addresses this reader directly. (SPOILER WARNING: Marvin does the same thing in One More Genie, the sequel.)

Finally, what’s the deal on making my villain be a thinly-disguised Sarah Palin? Well, in 2010, when I started writing this story, I asked myself, “About what famous person could it be most believable that they got where they are by a genie’s wish-grant, rather than by hard work and talent?”—Sarah Palin topped the list.

Finally-finally, I’m replying in this blog post to the three reviewers of Three More Wishes who gave me one or two stars out of five on Amazon; but please note: Seven reviewers each gave my book five stars.

Information about ALL OF my books and stories
THREE MORE WISHES—First Three Chapters FREE
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ONE MORE GENIE: Status Update And Excerpt

Recall that this novel is my sequel to Three More Wishes. I’m pleased to report that I’ll be finishing One More Genie soon. Last night I finished up Chapter 29 (“My Enemy Is Active”). Here’s how the chapter ended (yes, I love cliffhangers)—

=====

[Setup: Marvin, Anna Kay, Almira, and Elvira are staying at a motel in Unionville, West Virginia. Marvin is walking back to the motel from a local bar.]

By now the time was after 11 p.m., and I was feeling exhausted. But while I was still out of earshot of Anna Kay, Almira, and Elvira, I decided to phone my genie.

But when I called Fatima, I got a message, “The number you have called is not a working number.”

Huh? How can this be?

I called Fatima again. This time I was told, “This call cannot be completed as dialed.”

This is impossible! Fatima had a magical fake-phone that was directly tied into mine. Not only did this mean that our calls could never be tapped, but it meant that my calls to her, and her calls to me, always went through.

I was trying to figure out how this could be happening, and how to fix it, when I got a horrible thought.

I ran the remaining distance to the Unionville Inn, ran through the parking lot, and jammed my key into the door lock for Room 111.

Nobody was inside.

The television was on; I turned it off. On the dresser by the television were three smartphones, and a plastic ice bucket that had melted ice in it. Both beds were made; though on the twins’ bed, two pillows had been pulled out and laid lengthwise against the headboard.

I tried calling Fatima with my smartphone again. I still had no luck connecting with her.

The room phone rang.

ONE MORE GENIE: How Six Free Djinn Became Genies (excerpt)

Date, 2014

Virgilia, Fatima, and SJ-1 were passengers in Marvin’s jet, which Marvin was flying. Since the FAA has a puritanical attitude about airplane pilots engaging in sex play, this meant that for Virgilia, spending the next—

Virgilia pulled out her smartphone and checked the time-display.

—the next twenty-eight minutes sexually playing with Marvin was not an option.

Virgilia was bored.

She looked at SJ-1 and said, “Has Fatima ever told you how she became a bound djinni?

SJ-1 replied calmly, “I would not presume to ask Mistress such a question.”

Virgilia smiled. “Fine, then I’ll ask. Fatima, will you please tell me how you wound up in a lamp?”

Fatima said, “I’ve already told you that story. On May 21, 2010, to be exact.”

Virgilia said, “True. But let me remind you that you owe SJ-1 here. Sheila Johansson making a deal to become SJ-1 in return for her silence, this is the reason that Marvin is in the cockpit whistling, instead of being held in some super-secret FBI jail and being interrogated where Paula Sarin went to.”

Fatima glanced at SJ-1 and then Virgilia. Fatima said, “Fine, I’ll tell her the story.”

****

Fatima said, “Way back when, in 632 B.C., Aleser of my Green Tribe said that Sumera of the Blue Tribe learned her djinni magic from demons. And yes, that’s as much of an insult as it sounds like—”

Virgilia said, “Was that true? About Sumera?”

Fatima shrugged. “Knowing Sumera, it wouldn’t surprise me. Anyway, the Blue Tribe demanded that Aleser be turned over to them for ‘correction.’ We said no. The outcome of this was that the Blue Tribe declared war on us. I’m sure they thought they would win, if it was only Blue versus Green. But then the Pink Tribe allied with us. The Brown Tribe, wisely, stayed out of the whole shebang.”

“The Brown Tribe?” Virgilia said. “You didn’t mention them before.”

“Brown Tribe djinn have brown hair, brown skin, and brown eyes. They could pass for human, without shape-shifting. Which is good, I suppose. Because Brown Tribe djinn can’t shape-shift. Their only magic is to foom themselves, plus whatever they’re touching, from Point A to Point B. Most djinn in the Green Tribe don’t consider beings in the Brown Tribe to be true djinn.”

Virgilia said, “Okay, the Green Tribe and the Pink Tribe allied against the Blue Tribe in this war.”

“A place and time were set to start the war. So everyone in the Green Tribe started practicing their repulsion spells—”

Virgilia said, “A repulsion spell, that’s what you used against Marvin, right? That seems like a pretty wimpy spell to use against the Blue Tribe.”

“What I hit Marvin with was the mildest possible repulsion spell, and then I had to use it on him only because he was hurting Master—”

“By Master, Fatima means Paula Sarin,” Virgilia explained to SJ-1. “Marvin was squeezing Paula’s wrist hard enough to hurt, then Fatima pushed him over to the bed.”

Fatima nodded. “If I’d hit Marvin with the repulsion spell that I’d practiced to use against Blue Tribe, Marvin would have smashed into the bedroom’s far wall and he would have died on impact.”

Virgilia stared. “No shit?

“Well, if you disregard that it wasn’t his Date Of Fated Death.”

Virgilia persisted: “Okay, so you planned to hit Blue Tribe with a magical wrecking ball instead of a magical beach ball. Why bother? You know how to kill them, by freezing or immersion—why simply knock them down?”

Fatima said, “Funny you should ask. I asked Ashnadim that same question.”

****

June 17, 632 B.C.
Amid sand dunes, somewhere in Arabia

Fatima spoke the words, and made the gestures, that Ashnadim had just taught her.

FOOM. Fatima grinned as a five-cubit-tall, three-cubit-diameter, cylinder of sand and shimmering air was replaced by a like-sized cylinder of dark water. Which immediately collapsed into the cylindrical tub that now existed in the sand dune.

Ashnadim smiled at her. “I knew you would be quick to master this spell. Very good.”

Fatima’s grin turned wolf-like. “I can’t wait to give Kharmesh a bath.”

Ashnadim’s smile disappeared. “Do not use this spell. Even if we are losing a repulsion-spell battle, do not use it.”

“Why not? We could rid the Earth of that pack of loudmouths, so why even wait?”

“Listen to me, Fatima. Don’t even think it. If you water-swap one djinni in the Blue Tribe, they might not know who did it—”

“Which leaves me free—”

But they will respond by water-swapping two from the Green Tribe. At least two. Then we will respond by disappearing more than two of theirs. More Blue and Green djinn will disappear every second. In less than a minute, the Green Tribe will all be gone. Or worse—”

Worse?

“—the remnant of Green Tribe will have to surrender to Blue Tribe, and we Greens will be so few in number that the humans will no longer fear us.”

“But if I may never use this spell, why learn it?”

“So that if water-swapping starts happening, I want you to kill all the Blue Tribe djinn you can before you yourself are ‘given a bath.’ ”

“So you’re telling me, plan on repulsing them hard. Even though that won’t kill them.”

“Yes. The beings of the Blue Tribe aren’t really djinn, they are wailing human infants. Make them hurt often enough, and Hakeezib [chief of the Blue Tribe] will say Please stop, please stop, we give up.

****

Date, 2014

Virgilia said, “So you learned the spell to put someone underwater, but you never used it.”

Fatima said, “Not until [recently]. That’s because an hour and 27 minutes before the Djinn War was scheduled to begin, the human king Solomon showed up.”

****

June 18, 632 B.C.

Solomon, King of Israel, had just been awakened by a palace servant when they both heard a voice: “SOLOMON, OBEY THE MESSAGES OF GOD.”

Solomon’s sleepy eyes snapped open. Standing in a corner of his bedchamber was a being that could only be an angel: It had silver wings, and silver eyes in an inexpressive face.

Solomon replied, “I am here, O Angel. What does God command?”

[snip]

Aladdin Will Be On The ONE MORE GENIE Cover

The publisher has just commissioned Commotion22 (again) to do the cover art for One More Genie. Here’s the part of the email that describes the cover:

DESCRIPTION OF ART: The setting for this picture will be the “Arabian Dreams” set (Arab-palace set) that you bought recently. Decorating the set is at your discretion. Lighting is to be DAYLIGHT. Pictured, going from right to left (or from left to right, at your discretion):

1) Princess Badroulbadour. She is young and attractive, and dressed expensively but modestly. She is wearing slippers. She is touching, and is totally focused on–

2) Aladdin. The model for “Arab Outfit M4” is how I picture him. He is dressed expensively, and does not have much facial hair. He is wearing shoes or slippers. He does not look like Disney’s Aladdin (who among other things, is clean-shaven). Conspicuous on one of his fingers (left hand or right hand, your discretion) is a bejeweled ring. Aladdin is looking directly at the camera, and is grinning.

2a) Aladdin is holding the Lamp in his right hand. It’s the same prop as before, but this time the Lamp is yellow and shiny.

3) Kharmesh the genie. He has blue skin and dark-blue facial hair; a bejeweled turban covers up his scalp hair. He is very tall, and very muscular; like your Beezle-Bob figure, but blue. Kharmesh has more facial hair than Aladdin. Kharmesh wears curly-toed slippers (optional). Kharmesh is looking at Aladdin with a self-satisfied expression.

4) Fatima. She is slightly upstage of (behind) Kharmesh, so that it is clear that she is facing only Kharmesh and is ignoring the two humans. Her mouth has a sideways scowl, her eyes are looking at the ceiling, and she has her hands up in a “What am I to do about you?” expression.

For those of you who tuned in late, Fatima is the main genie character in Three More Wishes: Be Kind To Your Genie.

Edit 2015.01.09—

The cover is finished; here’s a piece of it.

ONE MORE GENIE cover, cropped

THREE MORE WISHES—First Three Chapters

THREE MORE WISHES front cover

The ebook comes with four full-color illustrations inside

The genie Fatima, right out of the lamp. Cropped image. Cover art and all interior art by Commotion22

Fatima and Marvin, seconds later. Cropped image. Cover art and all interior art by Commotion22

Fatima at the Pool Party. Cropped image. Cover art and all interior art by Commotion22

Virgilia watches final battle, Ch. 42

Virgilia (a stripper in Marvin’s harem) watches as Marvin is magically attacked. Cropped image. Cover art and all interior art by Commotion22

Chapter 1
A Boy Called “Shorty”

Hank Miller was slamming me into a locker, ten minutes before the start of First Period. Another typical day at Plato Smith High School.

“You stay away from my girlfriend, Shorty, got it?” Hank said. As if there was the slightest chance that I hadn’t already gotten the message clearly, months ago. Hank lifted me so that my face was even with his (and my feet were off the floor). “Anna Kay deserves better than to be seen with a runt like you,” he said.

Which was certainly true, at least from Hank’s point of view. Not only was Anna Kay Henderson a cheerleader, she was stacked. As for me, Marvin Harper, I’m the shortest guy in the senior class, at 5′2″. Shortest by several inches. While Hank was the starting quarterback. Yeah, there was a definite status-difference here.

“Um, Hank?” Anna Kay said, in a small voice.

“Later, cupcake,” Hank said. “I got to explain some facts of life to shrimp-guy here.”

Anna Kay said, “Hank, I asked Marvin to help me, tutor me in Trigonometry.”

“Yeah? That right?” Hank asked me. I nodded. Hank smiled evilly. “Well then, maybe I can persuade Tiny Tim here to do your trig homework, not just help you with it. That way, Anna Kay, you and I can spend more time together.”

“Vat are you doink to Marvin?” a female voice demanded.

“Go away, `Princess Anastasia,’” Hank said, without turning his face away from mine.

Hank didn’t turn his head to look at Natasha Ludmenkov, but I did. Mainly because Natasha was definitely worth looking at. Right now, she had her arms crossed, she was tapping a foot, and she was glaring at Hank.

Hank still was looking straight at me. “So, you tutoring Anna Kay because you expect to get into her panties?”

“What, do I look as stupid as you are?” I said.

“So, you doing it for money? How much are you paying him, Anna Kay?”

Anna Kay looked unhappy to be part of all this. “Hank, Marvin offered to help me without charging me a cent.”

I said, “In class it’s easy to tell she’s struggling with the trig. She needs help, and I can help her, so I offered to tutor her for free.”

“Oh? Isn’t that nice,” Hank said to me. “You’re a real nice guy, aren’t you?”

“He is. He is nice guy,” Natasha said. “So go let him.”

Hank still didn’t glance at Natasha. Raising his voice, he said, “Run off now, child. Let the adults talk.”

“I vill not leafe until you go let him,” Natasha declared.

Hank smirked at me. “You need for skirts to defend you now? Wow, you really are a girly-boy.”

Hank finally turned to look at pale goddess Natasha. “Bell’s about to ring. You’ll be late to class.”

The leggy Russian girl gave my tormenter a smile. “So long as you hold Marvin, I stand here. Soon or late, teacher is seeink four pipple in hallway. If you still bullyink Marvin then, thinks not good for you. Maybe you expel, hm? I stand here, checkmate.”

And sure enough, the Tardy Bell did ring then.

Hank let me go. “We’ll talk later, pee-wee,” he said, before walking away with Anna Kay. Anna Kay glanced back to show me an apologetic face.

As I was donning my backpack, Natasha nodded toward Hank. “I am him not likink. Totally not likink. Hank Miller is”—the Russian word did not sound flattering.

I started to walk to my first-period class, having decided that going to the office and requesting a tardy slip was asking for trouble. But as soon as I started to walk toward Physics class, Natasha turned to walk alongside me.

Natasha hadn’t asked my permission, of course. There were three reasons that Natasha had been nicknamed “Princess Anastasia” here at school. Yes, Natasha was Russian, and yes, she had the looks and the poise of a model, but mainly her nickname came from walking into any room as though she owned the place.

I had not spoken since she had taken up position as my wingman. Filling the silence, she said, “Not is so bad if you is girly-boy. Some womans do girly-boy more likink than furry man.”

I said, “I don’t like it at all, a woman rescuing me. I should be rescuing her. But fat chance of that.” I sighed. “I graduate in three weeks, and I by myself still can’t stop anyone from shitting on me.”

But then I remembered my manners. “Natasha, what you did was kind,” I said. “Thanks for your help.”

She shrugged. “I cannot let you to nurse clinic is goink, while I am the hands wrinkink.”

By now we were in front of Physics class. I put my hand on the doorknob to go in, but then Natasha put her hand on my shoulder. She said, “You are good man, Marvin Stephanovich Harper. I am you watchink. You should get gooder life than you is gettink.”

Soon a genie would come to agree with Natasha, and my life would get “gooder” than I could possibly imagine. But I need to set the stage first, O Reader.

Chapter 2
Aunt Claire, Uncle Warren

I managed to avoid Hank for the rest of the day. I ran into Anna Kay at lunch, who gave me an apologetic smile and said, “I’m okay with Trig. I don’t need any more tutoring for a while.”

I had just sat down at the lunch table, between Bob and Christopher, when Natasha sat down in the seat opposite me. Again she didn’t ask permission, she just acted.

“Marvin, I am havink flavor you to ask,” she said.

“You want to ask me a favor?” I said.

“Yes. I have gotted invite to party. With all wear kas— kas—”

“Costumes?”

Da, costumes party, Saturday after Saturday. I want you as invitink. We are makink funny couple, I zink.”

“Who would we go as?”

Before Natasha could answer, Christopher did. “As Boris and Natasha, guy! You’re a midget, she’s tall and thin, and she even has the accent. All you need is a black coat and black hat and a fake moustache, and you two will have the prize locked up!”

“I am not a midget,” I said.

Bob said to Natasha, “So is that the plan? You and Marvin, as Boris and Natasha from the cartoons?”

Natasha smiled big. To me she said, “Please is sayink you will go.”

Well, I didn’t like being reminded (again) that I was short, but on the other hand, Natasha hadn’t needed to invite me. “Sure, I’ll go,” I said. “Is this a date?”

Bob and Christopher turned their heads to hear Natasha’s answer. Natasha was well worth dating—she had pale, almost white skin; pale blue eyes; naturally pale blond hair; cheekbones; pouty lips; and legs, legs, legs. Only her tits were ordinary.

Natasha looked at me and smiled sadly. “I not am dayink you. Do you is sayink nyet now? But I am wantink you as friend, Marvin, party or not party.”

“Not a problem, Natasha,” I said. “I will go to your costume party a week from Saturday, dressed as Boris, even though it won’t be a quote-unquote date.”

Spasibo,” she said, smiling and squeezing my hand.


That night, I had a light homework load, which meant—a free evening! By 7:30 p.m., I was driving my clunker toward the hospital, to visit my Aunt Claire.

I walked into a hospital room that was stuffed solid with flowers and metal balloons. Aunt Claire was loved by everyone, which mainly explained the generosity of so many flowers and balloons. But the other reason for all the stuff in her room was that Aunt Claire had uterine cancer, and wasn’t expected to last another month.

“Ah, it’s my favorite great-nephew,” Aunt Claire said when she saw me.

“Until another great-nephew walks in,” I said. But I was smiling.

I was shocked by her appearance. I had heard the expression “skin and bones” all my life, but now I was seeing it. Aunt Claire looked like someone had shrink-wrapped skin over a skeleton. But what I said was, “You’re looking good, Aunt Claire.”

She smiled crookedly, as if to say I know you’re lying. But what she said back was, “Yes, I’m almost out of here. And the next time you come to my house, I’ll bake some of my super-secret-recipe chocolate-chip cookies.”

“I’ll enjoy them, Aunt Claire,” I said, smiling. But inside I wasn’t smiling, I was horrified. God, it’s like talking to a corpse, she looks so awful, I thought.

Then Aunt Claire said, “Did you know that your Uncle Warren is in this same hospital? Lung cancer, I hear.” Then Aunt Claire eyed me and added, “I don’t think he’s had a single visitor.”

“What, none of his jailbait girlfriends visit him?” I said, laughing. Somehow my obnoxious uncle always managed to have a gorgeous young girlfriend come with him to family dinners.

Now Aunt Claire replied, “No, two young hussies visit him regularly. His nurses are scandalized by how they carry on, so my nurses tell me. But my point is, Marvin, I don’t think he gets visits from family.”

I laughed. “Well, after he announced years ago that he was leaving all his fortune to the Eisenhower Library? What do you expect?”

Aunt Claire frowned at me. “So you’re saying the only reason you’re visiting me is that you hope to inherit something?”

“Auntie, do I need to remind you? Uncle Warren is an opinionated jerk asshole.”

“True. But now he is a lonely and dying opinionated jerk asshole.”

“Okay, okay,” I said. “I’ll go pay him a visit right now.”


As I was walking through the hospital to Uncle Warren’s hospital room, I reviewed what I knew about him.

Uncle Warren had enlisted in the Army in 1942, and eventually had been sent to Africa to fight Rommel. In late 1943 the Africa war was over, and so he was in the first wave of Americans invading Sicily.

And suddenly Pvt. Harper, who’d been all but invisible in the Tunisia fighting, was daily putting himself in danger. Rescuing injured comrades, charging machine-gun nests, personally wiping out three Panzer crews—Pvt. Warren Harper should have been dead a dozen times a month. But except for shrapnel in his left arm and a shot in the leg, he went through the war without a scratch. By the time the Army handed him his discharge in September 1945, Uncle Warren was a much-medaled First Sergeant.

Then, when he returned to civilian life. . .

Everything continued to go right for him. Everything.

Always he was surrounded by breathtaking women, and they were all always acting like they wanted sex with him.

And suddenly, Uncle Warren was making money hand over fist. To give just one example: He bought stock in IBM in November 1945, three months before ENIAC came online and began the computer revolution. To give another example: He bought scads of shares of Microsoft on the first day of its IPO; years later, while in Seattle for a stockholder meeting, he bought shares in Starbucks when it was starting up.

But his relatives couldn’t stand him, because of one nasty quirk of his. Uncle Warren thought that Dwight D. Eisenhower was our greatest president ever, and nobody around him could talk about anything without Uncle Warren trolling about Ike’s greatness.

Five years ago, Uncle Warren had announced that the Eisenhower Presidential Library deserved his millions more than did his “moron” relatives. After that, nobody but me acted even a little bit nice to him at family gatherings.

My walk through the hospital completed, I stepped into Uncle Warren’s hospital room. I saw no flowers and no balloons, but I did see something at least as nice: a blonde with young skin and a toned figure. She was standing up against my uncle’s hospital bed, alongside his hips, with her backside toward the door.

And it was a nice backside, let me tell you.

Uncle Warren looked surprised to see me. “Sherry, Sherry, stop that, we have a visitor! It’s one of my relatives!”

Sherry did something with the top bedsheet (that her body blocked me from seeing), then she turned around. Now I could see her from the front, and she had unnaturally large tits—that, or she’d won the Breast Lottery like Anna Kay had. When I finally tore my eyes away from her tits, I was shocked to see that Sherry’s face was flushed with sexual arousal.

Uncle Warren rasped, “Sherry, may I present my brother’s son’s son’s son, Marvin Harper. Marvin, this is my odd-days girlfriend, Sherry Benson. Sherry works as a pole dancer at. . .remind me.”

Sherry smiled proudly. “Right now I’m working at Club Physique, but next week I start work at the Nimfo Club on Woodrow Wilson. Come check me out—ask for `Bubbles’!”

I decided that Sherry was not a rocket scientist. “Um, I’m three years away from legal drinking,” I said.

Uncle Warren rasped, “Sherry, go find the on-call nurse and bring her in here right now. That’s a good girl.”

“But Warren, baby—”

“Do it now, Sweet Lips. Or I won’t let you you-know-what, later tonight.”

Sherry pouted, but walked out of the room, her high heels click-clacking. Now came the challenge: talking with Uncle Warren without strangling him.


“So how’d you get here?” Uncle Warren asked. “Take the Smith Freeway?”

“Right,” I said, knowing what was coming next.

“Good man. You know, President Eisenhower started the interstate system.”

“Uh-huh, you’ve told me,” I said. Many times, I chose not to add.

There was an awkward silence, which stretched out. Unusually, my uncle wasn’t trying to dominate the conversation—was he really waiting on what I had to say?

At last I said, “I got invited to a costume party next week. We’re going as Boris and Natasha—you know, the cartoon characters?”

I expected Uncle Warren to point out that Boris and Natasha were Commies, and President Eisenhower had fought the Commies in Korea. But instead, Uncle Warren said, “A costume party! Been a long time since I’ve been to one of those. Going with a girl?”

“Yep. Her name’s Natasha—her real name’s Natasha, I mean.”

“She pretty?”

“Very. And no, she isn’t a Communist.”

“Of course not. You’ve got more sense than that, Marvin.”

A combination click-clack and squeak-squeak announced that Sherry had brought the nurse. Oddly, the nurse was looking me over. She was an alert oriental woman in her thirties; her nametag said NGUYEN.

After looking me over, she turned to face my uncle. “You needed something, Mr. Harper?”

Uncle Warren said, “Yes, Nurse, when do I get my next pain medication?”

“At midnight, Mister Harper.”

“That’s what I thought. Sorry to bother you.”

“No problem, Mr. Harper,” she said.

I couldn’t shake the weird feeling that this boring conversation was being staged for my benefit. That feeling got stronger when Nurse Nguyen glanced at me and said, “By the way, Mr. Harper, who’s your visitor?”

“This is Marvin Harper, a great-grandson of my brother Herbert,” Uncle Warren replied.

“Marvin Harper, I’m glad to meet you,” she said. And oddly, I believed her—she was smiling the way I would if I were holding a winning scratch-off ticket.


Nurse Nguyen left, and Sherry took up a position standing by Uncle Warren’s head. Sherry reached into his pajama top and started rubbing his shoulder. She began biting her lip, and I thought, My god, is this blonde stripper actually getting herself hot, rubbing an old man’s shoulder?

Perhaps noticing where my eyes had gone, Uncle Warren said, “You remember how my leg and arm got injured in the war?”

Where was Uncle Warren going with this? Aloud I said, “Yeah?”

Uncle Warren’s eyes bored into mine, as if he was trying to tell me something important. “I got hurt because I didn’t think something through. I bet my ration, Jackson, about that.”

I shook my head. “I don’t understand.”

“Of course you don’t. Not now. But by next Sunday, I think you’ll understand. And then you’ll want to talk with me.”

“Uncle Warren? No offense, but you and I aren’t close. I can’t imagine me having a heart-to-heart with you.”

Uncle Warren wheezed a raspy laugh. “Not close? We aren’t, boy, not even slightly. Not today. But I have a feeling we both are going to have an eventful week.”

A minute later, I had said my goodbyes to Uncle Warren and nodded to Sherry (who gave me a distracted smile in reply). I was just turning to leave when Uncle Warren rasped, “Marvin.”

“Yes?”

“I told my lawyer to read my will right after my funeral. But I also told him not to file my will till a week after I die. I bet my ration, Jackson, that you’ll find this is useful information.”


I thought that Uncle Warren would outlive Aunt Claire by weeks. But nope, he died just four days after our strange conversation.

He died Friday morning. Friday afternoon, as soon as school ended, Uncle Warren’s probate lawyer called me.

Chapter 3
I Inherit—Sort Of

Uncle Warren’s probate attorney, a Mr. Dodd, had asked me to come straight to his law firm. He had something to give me, he said. No, he couldn’t tell me over the phone what it was.

The “something” turned out to be a 1940s-era Army footlocker with “Harper, W G” stencilled on it. It was padlocked shut. Mr. Dodd handed me a little brown envelope, saying, “That’s the key to the padlock.”

“Why all the secrecy for a footlocker?” I asked.

“I truly do not know,” he said. “Nor can I tell you what’s inside. In fact, Mr. Harper went to great pains to keep the existence of this box a secret.”

“Oh?”

Mr. Dodd handed me a piece of paper. Though the paper had been notarized with three witness signatures, the words themselves were handwritten—

To David Dodd:

If I am hospitalized before I die, I wish it reliably reported when/if any of my relatives visit.

If at least one relative visits me in the hospital, then upon my death, this box is to be given to the relative who visited me most.

If none of my relatives visit, then Mr. Dodd, upon my death take this box to a garbage landfill a) without opening the box yourself, b) without letting anyone else in your law firm see you remove the box from the building, and c) without letting my relatives know that you possessed this box but gave it to none of them.

That chunk of text was followed by some lawyer language, and then came Uncle Warren’s signature and a February 2010 date (meaning, three months ago).

Then Mr. Dodd handed me a notarized piece of paper, in which Sherry Benson and Marie Nguyen both swore that last Monday, Warren G. Harper had been visited by “one of his brother Herbert’s great-grandsons, Marvin Harper.”

I tapped the sworn-statements paper. “How did you get these two to `reliably report’ about me?”

Dodd replied, “I visited the hospital during every shift and promised the nurses there that if one of them found Mr. Harper with a relative, and that relative could be named in a sworn statement, then I’d pay the nurse a thousand dollars.”

“And how much for Uncle Warren’s stripper girlfriend? I’ll bet she was expensive.”

“No, Miss Benson did it for free. Mr. Harper told her to come to my office and sign the paper in my presence, and that’s what she did, though she told me afterward that she was missing work.”

“He told her to miss work to sign a paper and, bada-bing, she went?”

“Yes, it does seem odd, doesn’t it?”

I dug out my car keys from my pocket, threw them on top of the footlocker, and was just about to pick everything up, when a thought occurred to me. “So we relatives of Uncle Warren, none of us is getting any of his fortune? Not a dime?”

Mr. Dodd gave me a “What can I do?” shrug. “That’s correct. Everything of his that’s worth having, except for that box, is going to the Eisenhower Library.”


Twenty minutes later, I arrived home, without mentioning to my parents my detour to Mr. Dodd’s office. Then I let the footlocker sit in the trunk of my car for several hours, until my parents left to see a movie. (It was something about a shipful of Caribbean pirates battling a killer robot from the future. Sounded hokey.)

It was dark twilight when I brought the footlocker from my car to my bedroom. I keyed the padlock open, and opened the lid.

Inside were two old photo albums, and a brass oil lamp.

If you’ve read any “Aladdin” story, you know what the lamp’s shape was. But the oil lamp had nothing special about its metalwork, and its finish was mottled and lusterless.

In short, I was unimpressed with that oil lamp.

But hey, I figured I might be able to sell it for a few bucks on eBay, or use it as a prop for Halloween parties.

I set the lamp aside.

I started leafing through the photo albums, and figured out quickly that they were the reason that Uncle Warren had wanted the footlocker kept secret from his relatives.

The pictures in the first album started in 1942. There were yellowed black-and-white photos of Uncle Warren in uniform, and photos of young uniformed men who had to be his war buddies. There were photos of palm-tree’d Tunisia, the Pyramids, and the Sphinx, and of lions and hippopotamuses. All G-rated stuff, right? But there were also photos of naked young women, black- and brown-skinned, and photos of young Warren getting blowjobs from young women.

Actually, there were lots and lots of photos of Warren getting blowjobs from women.

About three quarters of the way through the older photo album, I turned the page and—I freaked out.


On the left-side page were two photos of a serious young woman who was looking at the camera. She was fully dressed (unlike many of the women in the album), wearing Middle Eastern clothing. Oddly, while her hips and everything above them were in focus, her legs were out of focus. Uncle Warren had captioned her photos with the puzzling words, “Fatima, who changed my life. June 3, 1943.”

Immediately below these photos, and their strange caption, were these words that had been written in 1943: “I will die on May 7, 2010, a Friday.”

What the hell is going on? I wondered.

The rest of that first photo album, and all of the second, were naked women posing for the camera, and Uncle Warren getting sex.

But now the women were gorgeous (by Forties and Fifties standards), and the sex was outrageous. Uncle Warren was getting plenty of blowjobs now, from breathtaking beauties, but now he also was involved in bunches of threesomes.

Uncle Warren had a photo of himself in 1944, appearing onstage at a Victory Bond rally in Hollywood with a blonde actress (whose name you might know), and appearing with a line of brunette chorus girls; Uncle Warren’s next photo showed this same blonde naked, cocksucking my uncle, while a brunette dancer ate the blonde out.

I looked at every photo in both albums. It didn’t help; I couldn’t figure out how what I was seeing in the photos, had happened. How had Uncle Warren suddenly become a sex god? Who was this Fatima, and what had happened between her and Uncle Warren? I couldn’t begin to guess.


So this was my “inheritance”: two pornographic yet puzzling photo albums, and a souvenir-stall “Aladdin’s lamp.” I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to buy pornographic 1940s photos, so…

My only hope of gaining any money from my “windfall” was through the lamp. Which in turn meant: I needed to polish this sorry excuse for a lamp before I could hope to sell it.

I drove to the store, bought some brass polish, came home, and reassigned my rattiest pair of briefs to brass-polish duty. I dipped the cloth in the brass polish, and rubbed everything against the right side of the lamp. The result?

The lamp shook in my hand as if a frantic rat were trapped inside of it. Then green smoke came out of the lamp’s spout—lots and lots of green smoke.

EDIT: Added 2013.05.03—
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EDIT: Added 2013.12.22—
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EDIT: Added 2014.06.27—
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EDIT: Added 2014.11.14—
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How and Why I Wrote It: THREE MORE WISHES

The genie Fatima, right out of the lamp. Cropped image. Cover art and all interior art by Commotion22

Fatima and Marvin, seconds later. Cropped image. Cover art and all interior art by Commotion22

Fatima at the Pool Party. Cropped image. Cover art and all interior art by Commotion22

Virgilia watches final battle, Ch. 42

Virgilia (a stripper in Marvin’s harem) watches as Marvin is magically attacked. Cropped image. Cover art and all interior art by Commotion22

There are certain tropes that are in every three-wishes genie story. Have you ever wondered why they’re in there?

The lamp is found in an out-of-the-way place. Example: sealed up in the wall of a centuries-old house.

The writing explanation for this is that you need for the hero to find the lamp accidentally, you don’t want the reader wondering why somebody else didn’t find the lamp first, and you don’t want other people in the story to expect that the hero has the lamp.

Oddly, the stories never address the question of locator spells. After all, if genies exist, then magic works, so locator spells should work. So why didn’t someone come along before the story started, using a locator spell, and grab the lamp before our hero could?

Another thing that the stories don’t mention is how the lamp came to be in that out-of-the-way place in the first place.

But note: In Three More Wishes, I tell the reader why nobody grabbed the lamp with a locator spell, and why Warren (the genie-master at the beginning of the story) found the lamp in an out-of-the-way place.

The owner of the lamp unwittingly summons the genie by rubbing the lamp.

The writing explanation is that rubbing allows someone who doesn’t know a genie is in there, to summon the genie.

After all, if a genie would come out only if you knocked on the lamp with your knuckles, that means he wouldn’t come out if you didn’t know he was there. Who goes around knocking on brass oil lamps with their knuckles? In any case, in this kind of story, the story doesn’t really get started until the genie comes out.

The stories never really explain why the lamp has such a strange way of summoning the genie.

But note: In Three More Wishes, I explain why the “rub the lamp to summon the genie” rule is in place.

The genie has magical power enough to grant wishes, but not power enough to escape the confinement of the lamp.

One explanation I keep reading in stories is that a super-powerful human sorcerer trapped the genie in the lamp.

But that doesn’t wash.

If the sorcerer was powerful enough to trap and to keep confined a genie, why does he need to bother with the genie at all, in order to get the things he wants? Can’t this sorcerer hocus-pocus whatever he wants into happening, without bothering with wishmaking? And if there are spells that the captive genie can cast that the sorcerer can’t, but somehow the sorcerer can capture and compel the genie, why stop at three wishes granted?

In three-wishes stories set in ancient times, you can claim that the hero is the first guy to rub the lamp, and so he’s the first guy to release the genie. In those ancient-times three-wishes stories, the genie grants the wishes out of gratitude, then goes on his merry way. But in stories set in modern times, it’s really stretching believability to claim that our hero is the first guy to release a genie who’s been trapped for over a thousand years. Which argues that whoever put the genie in the lamp didn’t just trick the genie into the lamp one time, but fixed it so that the genie went back into the lamp after every three-wishes session. But who could be that much more powerful than a genie that he could shackle a genie to a lamp for eternity?

Note that in Three More Wishes, I answer the question of who managed to lock Fatima into the lamp, and why he did that.

The genie grants three wishes, not one, to the guy who rubs the lamp.

The writing explanation for this involves the creation of what is called suspense, or what I call “hero-can’t-win-ness” (even though it’s awful grammar). For a story to be exciting, it must contain a part that says, “No matter how much you want the hero to win, or you think he should win, he can’t win.” Look at any James Bond movie—one man against an entire evil organization, so obviously the hero can’t win. A farm girl from Kansas taking on an evil witch? Obviously the hero can’t win.

How does that apply here? If the hero were given only one wish, we would have no expectations about him, either good or bad. But in a three-wishes story, it always plays out like this—

The wisher wastes the first wish, because he thinks the whole “genie routine” is a joke that someone is playing on him. He might say something like “I wish I be served a steak dinner, served on a white tablecloth.” Imagine the shock he feels when his wish is granted. Then the wisher hunkers down and thinks carefully about his second wish. But either he doesn’t think carefully enough, or the genie twists the wording. In either case, after the wisher is granted his second wish, he is in big trouble.

And that is when “the-hero-can’t-win-ness” kicks in. Now the hero has proven he’s a very poor wisher, but he has only one more wish to get what he really wants and to dig himself out of the hole he’s in.

I mentioned earlier, gratitude as an explanation for why the genie grants three wishes instead of one wish. Supposedly the wisher rubs the genie out of the lamp, and gets rewarded by the grateful genie.

*Buzzer* I’m sorry, but that explanation doesn’t track.

Imagine that you rescue Donald Trump from a burning automobile.

What’s the most likely outcome? That Trump would say “Thank you,” but in a tone of voice that would say, “I don’t mean what I’m saying.”

There’s a small chance that Donald Trump would say to you, “Thank you,” and actually sound grateful.

It would be possible, but highly unlikely, that Trump would show his gratitude by giving you a cash reward.

Donald Trump would have to be more grateful than I can imagine Donald Trump ever being, to hand you one blank check.

So what are the odds that Donald Trump would be so grateful over you rescuing him that he would hand you three blank checks? Zero, that’s what the odds are.

So I conclude that there is simply no way that a genie would choose to give three wishes to the human who rubbed the lamp and released the genie. Something else must be making the genie offer this.

Note that in Three More Wishes, I explain why the genie must grant three wishes instead of one wish.

The wisher shoots his mouth off, not considering the working of his wishes at all. The genie twists the wording of the wishes.

The second part makes perfect sense. The genie presumably hates being a wish-granter, and takes it out on the wish-maker as much as he can.

In any case, the wisher’s being wrongly granted wishes adds conflict, complications, and the-hero-can’t-win-ness.

Still, it’s stupid to write a story this way, by making the main character, the wisher, do something that no person would be stupid enough to do in real life.

So I don’t bother. In Three More Wishes, Marvin thinks a lot about his wishes, and the wording of them, before he says them. Still, at least once in the novel, Fatima gets tricky in how she interprets wishes, because she really doesn’t like the wisher!

My novel sounds intriguing. Want to know more?

For those of you who haven’t already read the novel but you’re curious, here’s the cover blurb for Three More Wishes: Be Kind To Your Genie

Eighteen-year-old Marvin Harper was a good kid: He didn’t make trouble for other people, and he tutored Anna Kay in Trig for free.

Admittedly, Marvin didn’t cause trouble for others because he couldn’t. At five-foot-two, Marvin was always the kid bullied, never the bullyboy. As for Anna Kay, she was a big-breasted cheerleader, and Marvin figured tutoring was the only way he could spend time near his goddess.

Then he inherited a genie lamp. Now goody-two-shoes Marvin Harper had Choices to make.

Marvin also was given a mystery. What was the rule that the genie couldn’t tell Marvin about, till after he’d made his three wishes?

Okay, so why the subtitle, Be Kind To Your Genie? The main reason is to distinguish my book from Amazon’s other Three More Wishes title. The other TMW is a gay-male version of Fantasy Island; and while I hope the author gets sales, I don’t want any of those sales coming from people wanting my book!

The other reason I used that subtitle is that it ties in with a plot point I like, and that has given appeal to stories for centuries. As I wrote in yesterday’s post—

A long time ago, I read a book that had summaries of children’s stories from all over the world—England, Ireland, France, Germany, Japan, Native Americans, and many more countries. The thing that struck me was that certain things appeared in children’s stories everywhere.

One common plot was this: A person does something mean to a supposedly helpless stranger, but the “helpless stranger” is actually a person of great magical power, and so the nasty person gets an awful punishment. The flip side of this is that a person does a kindness for a stranger who supposedly can’t return the kindness, and then the kind human is magically rewarded.

Marvin is kind to Fatima twice, because he’s a nice guy, and each time he’s rewarded for it. Another master is nasty to her genie, and winds up suffering a nasty penalty.

If nothing else will persuade you to buy my novel, how about this: It’s the best novel or short story I’ve ever written. Now, who on Earth makes such a claim about a soft-core porn novel?

P.S. Just to remind you, the novel comes with four full-color illustrations inside.

EDIT: Added 2013.05.03—
Buy Three More Wishes: Be Kind To Your Genie now! You know you want to.

Kindle
Kobo EPUB

EDIT: Added 2013.12.22—
Apple iTunes Bookstore

EDIT: Added 2014.06.27—
Page Foundry/Inktera EPUB