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A Genie in a Jam

by Oonah V. Joslin

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DJ, an irresponsible young Djinn, wants to be a Genie. Despite the opposition of Obsidian, his old teacher, he persuades the Elders to allow him to take a position with a company selling jam.

DJ finds it’s no easy thing granting wishes, but humans and their vices fascinate him. Naively he blunders from job to job until at last he is called upon to answer some serious accusations. He faces a sentence of hard labour or worse. Just when things seem blackest, DJ realises how sweet life can be.

Genie, by Jerry Wright

Chapter 4: Very, Very Blue Berry

The first time DJ reported back to HQ at the end of the job, Geoffrey put on the kettle. ‘You must be parched. Fancy a nice cuppa?’

DJ sipped the tea and spat it out immediately. ‘Is this really what everyone drinks?’

‘Not everyone. It’s a matter of taste. You obviously don’t have a taste for tea. Would you prefer something else?’

Geoffrey allowed him to sample coffee, chocolate and several other beverages which fell within the category, according to Geoffrey, of hot drinks. DJ didn’t consider any of them either palatable or hot and was persuaded that humans must use the term very loosely indeed. Cold drinks were even worse, especially water.

‘Don’t you have anything really hot?’ he asked one evening after changing out of his genie suit.

Geoffrey wondered what DJ could mean. ‘I’ve got some brandy,’ said Geoffrey. ‘It gives me heartburn so you’re welcome to it.’ He poured a small quantity into a very large, balloon-shaped glass and put a flame to it. To DJ’s utter astonishment the liquid began to burn. When it had gone out, DJ sipped at it. It was wonderful. It felt like flame in his throat and fire in his belly and it warmed him right down into his white Nikes.

‘You took to that like a fish to water,’ said Geoffrey.

‘That’s a real drink,’ said DJ. ‘Are there many such combustible liquids?’

‘Lots. But I wouldn’t go drinking petrol or start on the Meths if I were you. I’ll introduce you to some of the safer ones if you like. Some people argue none of them is really safe but I dare say it might be different for a genie.’ He poured DJ another brandy... and another...

DJ was wakened by Geoffrey the next morning, having spent all night on the couch in the dressing room. His head felt thick and heavy, but the black coffee with just a smidge of brandy in it — DJ’s suggestion — though fairly disgusting, seemed to do the trick. So as it turned out, he miscalculated the dimensional shift again, and was early for his next assignment too.

* * *

He materialized behind a screen that divided off the corner of a large, high-ceilinged room. Light streamed in through the window and played in ripples along the walls. There were clanking sounds outside and he could hear men talking and laughing.

DJ would have thought he was on a boat but for the fact there was no movement. He was glad about that. He didn’t like water, whether it was falling from the clouds or in a glass, and the thought of floating on top of it gave him huge flickers.

He craned to see out the small window. There were cobbled streets and a canal with boats moored to capstans set at intervals along the pavement. That explained the sounds. Builders were working at a nearby house. Tall, narrow buildings were reflected in the water and cast slanting shadows across the ground in the morning sunshine. They seemed suggestive of the Netherlands.

DJ watched bleary-eyed as his client teetered on her high heels across the cobbles from next door, screwing at the lid of a jar she was carrying.

‘Run out of jam again?’ shouted one of the builders.

The woman completely ignored him and hurried back.

‘What does she do with it?’ asked another bricky.

‘Got me licked,’ said the first.

‘Sorry about that,’ she said as she came in.

At first DJ thought she was addressing him. Then he noticed that there was another gentleman present, and it didn’t look as though they were going to take tea together.

DJ had been about to step out and iterate his customary greeting, but the words died on his lips at the sight of the young woman bending over in front of him, not three feet away, in a see-through gold negligee with white fur trim. He couldn’t actually see the thong she was wearing, as she had her back to him, but he couldn’t miss the endless legs encased in black nylon, and the suspenders.

It was at that stage he decided it was best to remain very quiet; and besides, he seemed to be having a small combustion crisis. So, he edged further behind the dressing screen where a discarded heap of men’s clothes lay, and there he waited to see what would happen.

‘Blueberry. It’ll have to do. Hope you don’t mind the lumps. Of course you don’t. At least it’s a new pot.’ All this time she was screwing at the top without success.

‘Here, let me have a go,’ said the man.

She handed the pot to him and flounced towards the screens behind which DJ was desperately trying not to burst into flame.


‘Oh!’ she squealed, turning back and adjusting her fur-trimmed brassiere, ‘you are a strong one!’ She shimmied towards the client. ‘The usual, Hank?’

‘Please, Carlena.’

* * *

Carlena approached the gentleman who was sitting stark naked on the bed, pushed him down flat and attached his wrists to the headboard with a fine silk scarf. She poked a long-nailed finger into the jam and smeared the man’s face in several places like war paint. She then proceeded to lick it off while he attempted to meet her lips, but without success. Matter-of-factly, she rubbed some jam onto each of his nipples. DJ could tell he was enjoying that. Then she began to lick that off too.

DJ strangled the noise that had arisen involuntarily to his throat. He’d heard of such goings-on of course. Given the opportunity, he really should study this activity. It was even more fascinating than his research on liquids, though if the High Council was to hear of either, he’d probably never be allowed to consort with humans again.

Remembering the gem mines, DJ decided he ought not to watch any more, but his eyes just wouldn’t be drawn away. Now, Carlena was spreading a long streak of jam down to the man’s navel. By this time DJ knew the routine. But when Carlena took a whole handful of jam from the pot, prurience and combustibility got the better of him and he shut his eyes tight. Perhaps he’d come back and grant the wish later when she wasn’t so... so... tied up.

As soon as the client was out the door, DJ materialized in a flash of anticipation. ‘Grrreetings,’ he spluttered. ‘I am the Genie of the Jam.’

Carlena yawned. Another client already? ‘So, what can I do for you?’ she asked.

Up until that very moment it had been DJ’s intention to ask her the same question.

Proceed to Chapter 5...

Copyright © 2010 by Oonah V. Joslin

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