Just King, part one

Posted: August 17, 2014 in Short Story
Tags: , , , ,


It was another weekend checking out yard sales and antique shops.  Justin liked to find things that he could work on and restore.  It gave him something manual to do on the weekends once he escaped his grey, fluorescently-lit cubicle.  A few weeks ago, he found a rocking horse with faded and chipped paint.  After a little time, he had it sanded down, repainted, and looking good as new.  It made a great birthday present for his niece. Today, he came across something really intriguing.  It was a container of sorts. He couldn’t quite figure it out, but it made him curious.  He thought it could make a nice vase for his mother, so he handed the shop owner a few bucks and headed home with his prize.

The way that the outer layer seemed caked-on, he wasn’t sure if it was part of the cannister or not.  He wanted to be careful, though, since he didn’t want it to break.  He decided to let it soak in some warm soapy water, and then tried scrubbing it.  Strangely enough, he noticed that an inscription was revealed on the side.  The words were strange to him, so he tried to make sense of them by saying them out loud, “klaatu barada nikto.”  He figured it must’ve been some latin phrase, so he decided to look it up later.  Before he could think any more of it, the cannister became hot to the touch.  He immediately dropped it in the water, and anxiously watched the sink to see what would happen next. At first the water bubbled from the heat, but soon it smoothed out, like glass.  He could see his own reflection just as clear as looking into a mirror.  He thought about touching it, but he didn’t want to burn his hand again.  As he continued to look on in curiosity, he noticed that his reflection began to change until it looked like a completely different person.  Then, without warning, the reflection spoke, “Hello, Justin.”

“What is this?  What’s going on here?  Did I inhale some sort of toxic fumes that are making me hallucinate?” Justin puzzled.

“Not at all,” the reflection replied.  “I am the genie that was in the container you were cleaning.  When you spoke the inscription, you released me.”

Justin couldn’t believe what he was hearing.  “Wait, you expect me to believe that this isn’t a hallucination? If genies are real, why do we only hear about them in fictional stories.”

“Well,” the genie responded, “if everyone thought genies were real, then they would spend their entire lives looking for one to grant their wishes and waste their lives in pursuit. The truth is, genies cannot be found. If someone finds a genie, it is because they themselves have been found by the genie.”

“So you’re saying that you chose me?  Why?  And what have you chosen me for?”

“As for the reason, that is for me to know. I will grant you one wish. You are not allowed to wish for extra wishes or anything of the sort.  This is your one and only chance to get it right, so think carefully before you make the decision.  Feel free to ask me any question you like, and I will do my best to answer.  Once you have decided your wish, simply let it be known.”

After much debate and contemplation with the genie, Justin had decided upon his wish. “I wish to be King of the World!”

“GRANTED!” proclaimed the genie.

Justin looked around him, but nothing appeared to different. He closed his eyes, waited a few minutes, and then reopened them. Still no change.  “What’s the deal?”

“I understand that are are perplexed, Justin, but you must have patience.  I cannot simply alter reality for the billions alive on this planet.  This will be a natural progression.  Although your wish is granted now, it will take approximately 10 years to take full effect.  Hearts and minds must be gently nudged, and you yourself must evolve.

“I take my leave of you now.  Once I have departed, you will have no memory of this encounter; however, you will immediately find yourself on the path you need to be on.”

Before Justin could even complete the thought, “what a rip-off,” he blinked and forgot what he was doing.  It had been a long day, so he decided to go to sleep and try to enjoy the last day of the weekend fresh tomorrow.

The next day after waking up and grabbing his coffee, he decided to check his lotto numbers like usual.  Surprisingly, he actually won.  He wasn’t a millionaire or anything, but he did win enough to pay some bills and finally get that Lasik surgery he had been procrastinating.

Weeks later with clear vision and plenty of free time, he began thinking about his life and how he had been so blessed recently.  Although, he didn’t currently need a job, he did need to fill his time.  He craved purpose.  He decided that the best thing he could do was to get involved with some local charities.  He quickly realized just how much he enjoyed helping people, and his enthusiasm was infectious.  Those he helped felt uplifted in addition to any physical assistance he provided them.

The other volunteers were impressed with Justin as well, and many considered him a friend.  They tended to get into conversations about life and other general topics.  These conversations would generally go on for a couple of hours and sometimes could draw small crowds, depending upon the location.

Over time, Justin became more and more involved, even traveling internationally to help with projects.  Although he really enjoyed meeting new people and speaking with them, he made sure to balance his time between domestic and international endeavors.

As the years passed, the world at large became more and more dissatisfied with their respective governments. Corruption here, terrorism there, a general distrust of the system everywhere.  People stopped voting.  Choosing the lesser evil became no choice at all.  Dictators became faced with difficult decisions. Once everyone starts resisting, carrying out death threats would mean there would be no one left to oppress.  Collectively, the peoples of the world had become an immovable object.  The people soon began to realize, though, that a complete lack of government may not be the answer either.

To be continued…

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