Business magic (Chapter 1)

To spite humans, you as a young genie have been finding loopholes in granting wishes for decades. Wish to be taller? You stretch their neck. Wish to be rich? Watch gold bars fall out of the sky and laugh as the pathetic human tries to dodge them. One day, however, you encounter a lawyer…

“There we go. We’re signed,” The man said, a twinkle in his eyes. His monocle sheathed the light from one of them, but didn’t hide the one from the opal in the other.

“Right,” I said. This was going to be easy. So ridiculously easy. Amazingly easy.

“So we’re agreed to the terms?” The man repeated. One more time. “That you will not use this wish to harm me in anyway?”

“Of course, obviously,” I said. I’d read them over myself. There wasn’t a single thing he could do to me, and a hell of a lot of things I could do to him. There were so many things in this world that weren’t classified as harm. Fucking idiot had picked the wrong genie to pull this shit on.

“Then I wish that the contents of this contract are satisfied,” The man said, tapping the sheet appropriately.

I snapped my fingers, my eyes closed. It was already time to get back to relaxing- I was thinking a plane ticket to northern New Mexico, spend some time among the irradiated sandy wastes of the last war. Or or maybe I could find another genie, and we could get into a wishing competition. I still had the frequent flier miles from my last wish burning a hole in my back pocket after all.

The wish granted and-

I paused, eyes opening, when I did not slide smoothly back into my vessel of choice, and rather remained sitting there.

“Thank you for your services,” the man said, bowing his head slightly. “But I think you should be aware of how I tricked you.”

I stared. “Tricked me? Come on, you can’t be serious. I enforced the whims of the contract. The contract we both went over, in excruciating detail. I’ve been here over a week, reading every single line of this stupid thing. You can’t possibly be stupid enough to think-“

“Acrostics,” he said.

“What the fuck is an acrostic?” I asked.

The man gestured at the edge of the contract, and then at the first letter of each word on the left hand side. “It’s part of the contents.”

I stared, cocking my head to the side. Ephemeral as ever, I leaned in to read the fine print.

“The contractual agreement between Maya and Milford LLC will go through?” I asked, clueless. “What does that even mean?”

“Maya, if you recall, is the name of your union,” the man said, lazily. “The union of djinn, to be precise.”

“I haven’t paid my dues in years,” I said. “And what agreement?”

“Regarding your employment.”

“What,” I said. “I’m a freelancer! You can’t do shit to me! I haven’t been in that place for ages!”

“A shame, as you’re now the representative for my corporation for the union,” the man gestured dismissively. One finely kept finger pressed the monocle firmly back into the socket. “I do hope you weren’t planning anything important, you’re due for orientation in…”

He looked down at his watch, a finely built thing, probably from whatever ruined houses were left out of the alps. There weren’t too many of those left, if I was being honest, especially since Djinn warfare hadn’t been outlawed yet. “In about five minutes.”

“Five minutes?” I asked, clueless.

“Five minutes,” he agreed. “I’d get over to HR immediately.”

“HR?!” I squeaked. “I didn’t-“

“You did,” The man said. “It’ll be a pleasure working together. The boss has been wanting a bit of diversity among the workforce for quite some time, and the Office of Magical Accountability has quite the bounty on your head.”

It was at this point that I went desperate, and moved to the window. There was only one test left. If he had power over me, I wouldn’t be able to-

“Recall to your flask, Djinn,” The man said. “I will take you in myself.”

I threw myself out the window. It shattered, like one of those action movies I’d been meaning to catch up on between clients in the freelance business, and I was falling through it, and I was free, free free-

and the trailing edge of my amorphous form caught in my flask (I’d picked it out myself from the wreckage of my time in the pacific fleets) and sucked me back inside.

The man peered down into the bottle, his opal eye still locked onto my form. He shrugged, and screwed the cap back on.