“You’re not just playing around with me, are you?” I asked for what seemed like the hundredth time that day.
“No”, the man-who-wasn’t-really-a-man sighed, “God, you really are slow on the uptake, aren’t you”, he added, looking at me with a pitying gaze.
I glared at him from across the room, sniping back, “Well, pardon me, but I didn’t realize being prepared to encounter a magical creature in one’s life is part of elementary school education.”
‘Michael’ didn’t allow me anything, though, throwing back with a smirk, “You’re pardoned.”
Before I could respond, he continued, rudely waving a hand in an obvious gesture telling me to shut up, “Now, can we get on with this or not?”
“Are all of you this bossy? Aren’t I the one who can give out commands?” I asked the genie.
Michael gave me that pitying look again, which made me bristle, but I held my ground.
“No, honey. There you go with the fantasy again. Let me spell it out for you. You got an antique lamp as a present. You rubbed it, I appeared in a gust of wind, and you thought I was a genie and tripped and fell over because you were so scared. I explained calmly to you that I’m not a genie, but I do have magic, and that you do have one wish. Since I’m not a genie, I will not be calling you Mistress or cater to your every need. Once you make the wish, boom, bam, I’m gone. Am I clear enough, or do you need shapes and colours to understand?” he finished condescendingly.
I gritted my teeth, my every effort to even pretend to like this man failing, but I muttered a ‘fine’ nonetheless. I took a deep breath, saying what I had had in mind.
“I-I want to have a planet.”
Michael raised an eyebrow. “Mind losing the vagueness?”
“I just-I want to have a planet created out there. For me. I don’t want it to change the state of things or anything. I just want to know it exists, and I want to design it.”
Michael seemed amused. “Really? You get one wish and that’s what you wish for? I could have given you fame, fortune, money, a car, a house, better clothes, and a planet is what you go for?”
I sighed, “But I don’t want any of that. I just want a part of this universe to belong to me. So, can you do it or not?”
The man snorted, “Of course I can do it. But are you sure? This will make absolutely no difference in your life.”
“It will to me”, I asserted firmly. “Now, yes or no?”
Michael smiled lopsidedly, and actually a bit attractively, surprising me, “I knew I liked you for a reason. Now let’s talk design.”
I was sure my jaw was on the floor as I asked incredulously, “What do you-hey, I thought you hated me.”
“Hate is a strong word”, Michael said nonchalantly, “and you’re annoying, but likeable. Now, design. Tell me what you want it to look like, do you want there to be people, do you want survivable conditions or something like Venus or Neptune?”
I was still reeling from what he told me, but I managed to clear my throat, and ask, “Is there any way I could see how it looks like?”
Making me laugh, and fulfilling some cliché for the first time, Michael took out a crystal ball from somewhere, glaring at me, daring me to make a comment, and deadpanned, “Think it and it shall be yours.”
Hours of cringe-worthy colours and horrible odours later, I was staring at the crystal ball in awe, as it presented something not even my wildest dreams could conjure up. The planet was beautiful. It took my breath away, and knowing that it was mine made me feel important somehow. That was all I had wanted. Michael was curiously silent, but I didn’t look his way, instead inspecting the model before me.
The first thing that had come to me was that I wanted the planet to be blue. I’d thought of it, and immediately, the ball had turned into a light sky blue. But that wasn’t what I wanted. Then I’d thought of my favourite colour, a beautiful midnight blue, and the whole ball had assumed the colour within a millisecond. Then I’d frowned and asked Michael if this was water or land, and he’d explained to me that it was neither, because I hadn’t specified it yet.
Then I’d closed my eyes and thought of a long, long stretch of blue land, and when I’d reached out to touch the ball, it had been solid.
We had continued in this fashion for a long time, and now the ball was mostly land, with a reasonable amount of light blue pure water. It had a misty look to it, but the temperature was the perfect balance of hot and cold. I had wanted this planet to have light of its own, so as to not be influenced by any other source, and immediately it had taken a pleasant, sunny yellow light.
There was plenty of fresh vegetation, including a beautiful Amazon-esque rainforest. There could be rain at times, I’d told Michael, but I didn’t want to control that. There was breathable air, but no inhabitants. I didn’t want to risk an alien invasion (my beliefs had been shaken by Michael’s appearance in my altogether normal, unremarkable life).
Overall, I was pretty happy with what I had.
I finally moved my gaze away from the ball, to see Michael watching me with a smile. It turned into a grin as I met his eyes, and he asked, softly, “Ready?”
I grinned back for the first time, and confirmed, “Ready.”