The genie stood in the middle of his latest master’s living room beaming with pride at how he had twisted her first two wishes.
“I wish my shoes fit better.” An idle wish made before the genie had revealed himself. With a snap of his fingers, her shoes had fit perfectly so perfectly that they would never come off. She still hadn’t discovered that. They were also indestructible. Her second wish had been even easier to bend against her intent.
“I wish for one million dollars.” Again with just a simple snap, her wish had been granted. Stacks of dollars had appeared on the coffee table on the sofa, on the tv, even against the walls. One million sand dollars.
“Oh, is this not what you wanted,” the genie had taunted her, “You should be careful with how you word your wishes. Only one left.” She sat quietly staring around the room. For a second, the genie thought she might cry. After several minutes, she turned to stare into his eyes. Her face was blank, her eyes dull and lifeless.
“I wish I never existed,” she said. The genie paused to consider the wish. His smile slowly fell as the magic welled up inside his gut.
“Hey now, wait a minute. That a bit hasty don’t you think?” He tried desperately to think of a different way to interpret her wish. Existence is a binary state. You either exist or you don’t.
“I wasted my first wish on shoes, I’m failing out of college, I couldn’t even wish for a million dollars without screwing it up, and I got fired this morning. I’m a fuck-up that doesn’t deserve to exist.” The genie felt the magic surge up through his spine.
“It’s not that bad. Look you can take it back and I’ll help you with your last wish,” he pleaded.
“I wish I never existed,” she said once more. The magic raced down the genie’s arm and into his fingers. He tried to hold them but his fingers slipped off his thumb and a sharp snap sounded.
Time stops. The wish reverberates through the magic. Never Existed. Time stretches out in front of the genie. He traces his master’s life, from birth to now, erasing her from it. He does this sloppily simply removing her and nothing else. He leaves behind an empty crib, unworn shoes, empty desks, uneven teams on playgrounds, empty theater seats, uneaten plates of food, all the debris a person uses throughout her life. Time hates a vacuum and it claps closed disappearing the stray traces.
The genie reaches the day she found his totem but she didn’t. Never Existed. He reaches the when she made her first wish but she didn’t. Never Existed. And he reaches when she made her last wish but she didn’t. Never Existed. The magic is finished and he returns to the moment when his master didn’t make her last wish. Time cracks around him. His master never existed. She never found his totem. She never wished to never exist. Space warps around him as the world folds in on itself.
The genie awoke as he often did in the endless void between summonings. It had been so long since he had last been summoned. Had he been forgotten or lost? He struggled against the constant screaming void to maintain his sense of self. Was he being punished? He had only done what his masters had asked for. It wasn’t his fault they weren’t precise enough.
After more years than he could count, someone found his totem. The genie waited invisible near her, angry at having been lost and forgotten. He waited for her first errant wish and then he would begin to show these humans why angering a nigh-omnipotent being was a bad idea. As soon as his new master made her first wish he would begin to exact his revenge.
His master spoke her first wish, “I wish my shoes fit better.”