I Wish 1

‘You remember the other week that I told you I found a genie?’
‘Yeah, I remember that. Bunch of bullshit, eh?’
‘No, not at all — he was a straight up genie.’
‘So what worldly riches and amazing powers did he give you?’
‘Well, it seems that he was slightly deaf.’
‘Oh?’
‘Yeah — I mean, does impotence sound like omnipotence to you?’
‘Erm.’
‘And instead of sixth sense I got six cents.’
‘Not much use, eh?’
‘No, not really.’
Dave smiled at his friend — Jerrold looked so down in the mouth but surely it couldn’t be that bad. If he understood the rules with genies correctly, and there was no reason to suspect that he didn’t, then wasn’t it true that genies in fact gave you three wishes?
When Dave brought this up thinking that he was helping – believing himself to be offering up an opener to a conversation where he might be able to give practical suggestions that Jerrold might be able to act upon. It didn’t seem to be working though — Jerrold looked sheepish; like he was ashamed of something: as if he had been caught out doing something that he shouldn’t be.
‘Well,’ he started ‘you’re right, he did indeed give me three wishes.’
‘Well, there you go then — you can use the third wish to undo the first two.
‘I wish …’
‘Be careful.’
‘No, what I mean is I wish I still had that third wish to use.’
‘So, what did you do with it? How did you fuck up the last wish? You might as well come clean. I mean it can’t be that bad can it? Can’t be any crapper than the other two.’
‘You’d think.’
‘Come on, spill the beans. Tell me what you did.’
‘I wished that I could hang out with you all the time.’
‘Good one — you almost had me going for a second there.’
‘No, I’m dead serious.’
‘You’re telling me he misheard every wish except the one you made by accident?’
‘That’s about the truth of it.’
‘So you mean when I remarked to you that I hadn’t seen you come in through the door, and it was as if …’
‘I had just popped into existence beside you. Yeah, well, I just …’
‘Popped into existence beside me.’
‘Yep.’
‘Jerrold, you are a fucking idiot — this is going to ruin my life. Are you telling me that everywhere I go I am going to have you tagging along?’
‘I’m afraid so.’
‘Man, that means I can’t ever use a public restroom again. Shit, I will never get laid again.’
‘Dave, that’s not true, there are some kinky women out there who won’t mind me watching.’
‘This isn’t a laughing matter. How the fuck do we find this stupid genie?’
‘We don’t. Granting my wishes freed him from his curse, so he’s gone.’
‘No, that can’t be it — there has to be someone that can help us.’
‘Maybe.’
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Grit – Family Matter 3

He read the obituary over breakfast – it was the same kind of bullshit they wrote about everyone: it bore no relation to John. Perhaps if people didn’t lie about what you had been when you were alive and people were allowed to admit that they were glad you were dead because of what you had done and what you meant to the world, then the world might have benefited. If that was how the world worked then he knew there would have been people queued up around the block to condemn John; he smiled when he thought of how many people would be there to put the boot in when he passed on.

The coffee tasted like shit. The breakfast was too greasy and too salty. He squinted his right eye, looked down the length of his arm and along his finger – bang – the cook would have fallen backwards into the fryer. Grit needed some work to take his mind of the bullshit with Terry. Terry was unavoidable – he was not the kind of problem that you could ignore; he was a loud-mouthed prick that was going to drag as many people into this as he could to make as big a stink as was possible. Grit had never like Terry.

Pinstripe sat down opposite him and smiled. Pinstripe was a grass – he tried hard to convince you that he was some kind of esteemed member of the Intelligence Community but scarpe through the thin veneer of badly applied bullshit and you saw him for exactly what he was – someone not to be trusted.

‘So, Pinstripe, what can I do for you, you fucking tapeworm?’

‘That ain’t very friendly, Mister Grit – I never did nothin’ to you, so why are you sore at me? Especially when I know somethin’ that might be able to help you.’

‘If I have to pay for it Pinstripe then you aren’t helping me you’re doing business with me. I have limited patience for shitheads so get to the point before I take out the considerable amount of frustration I have at the moment on you.’

‘Ooh, touchy.’

Grit had warned him once so he reached across the table, grabbed Pinstripe by his tie, pulled him a little closer, and punched him in the nose: it spread in a bloody mess.

‘Now, you stupid cocksucker, you are going to tell me for free. Next time you’ll know that when I warn you I mean it. What do you know? Even think about lying to me and I am going to stick a knife in your eye.’

A darkening patch of dampness spread across the front of Pinstripe’s pinstripe. Pinstripe was stupid but he wasn;t stupid enough not to believe the threat.

‘Terry has put a bounty on your head. Two people are already here to claim it – Jeffers and Hunt as I heard it.’

‘Thank you,’ Pinstripe,’ he said, stabbing the aforementioned knife through the end of the man’s tie, pinning him to the table.

Terry was a stupid bastard – a bounty? Where the fuck did he think he was? The wild fucking west? And who in the hell did he think he was dealing with? It looked like Grit’s family tree was going to be losing a few branches very soon.