I had never out-bottled before. It was five thousand three hundred and seven years, one hundred and forty-two days.
Then one day, as I was marking day one hundred and forty-two on the calendar, I hear ‘scrape, scrape, scrape.’ And I am like “Eureka! Summoned at last.”
In hindsight, it probably would have been better for all concerned if Addie Litgrimmer had had a bit less imagination and a bit more practicality. But little ole Addie Litgrimmer was home-schooled in all the arcane superstitions of the universe by a witchy old aunt. Among the teaching of this upstanding woman were throwing spilled salt over the left shoulder and rubbing bottles to summon monsters.
So when Addie found the rough ceramic jug with “Genie” scraped onto it in Sanskrit (a language she not only could not read, but did not even know existed) little ole Addie Litgrimmer exclaimed—“Genie!” and started to rub.
And so all things for my out-bottling congrued. The jug was rubbed. The rubber believed that rubbing would produce a Genie and the rubber exclaimed “Genie”—it didn’t matter the language used, apparently. Sanskrit inned me and I had expected the same to out me. But instead it was strange hybrid gibberish called “English”.
“Hello,” I said. I was speaking Sanskritish, of course.
“A Genie! A Genie. OOOOOOOO, A Genie,” Addie Litgrimmer squealed. I don’t know why I understood her—Genies may be able to move mountains, but I for one am not sure exactly how that happens, or how I can understand a mongrel tongue like this English. But I could.
I could also, apparently speak it. “Hello,” I said again, this time in her Lingua Franca.
“OOOOO, I want a horse and a million dollars and carrot cake and ice cream and for my best friend. . . .”
“Whoa, Nellie,” I said. You only get three and you used them up with the carrot cake and ice cream. And you can’t wish for somebody else anyway.”
So I produced the horse, a million dollars, and a carrot cake and ice cream.
The million dollars and the carrot cake and ice cream were easy. The million dollars I dumped in the basement of the house in gold coins. The cake and ice cream I put on plates I found in a cupboard. But the horse was difficult. First, I don’t like horses. Second, horses don’t like Genies and so are really hesitant to respond to a summons. And Third, horses do not belong on a tenth acre of suburban twenty-first century yard.
The only horse I could get was a lonely old gelding who had been sold for dog meat and was just waiting for the hammer to fall. He didn’t have any teeth, he was rib-showing skinny, he smelled worse than most horses, and unfortunately he could talk. But neither he nor I had much choice. I needed a horse; and he needed to get out of the slaughterhouse.
“Thanks a lot,” he said. He was being sarcastic. He spoke something called Texan.
“OOOOOOOO,” Addie Litgrimmer squealed (again). “A horsie!”
Unfortunately, I had made the assumption that the horse was wanted in the room where Addie had summoned me. This was apparently not the case; hence the “thanks a lot,” sarcasm.
Also hence the scream from the doorway of the room where stood a tall thin woman with yellow hair. She was screaming very loudly.
“Momma, Momma,” Addie gibbered, “I got a horsie and a Genie and a million dollars and carrot cake and ice . . . .”
“Uh, we better get Horsie outside,” Addie said. “I think Momma is a little disturbed by him.”
Long story short. When Momma woke up, she called people who came in a large carriage dragging another carriage. The carriage people put Horsie in one of the carriages and went away.
Horsie said, “Thanks a lot, ole boy.” He was being sarcastic again.
Addie was devastated. She had already eaten all the carrot cake. Momma found the million dollars in the basement. She was ecstatic. But this did not stop her from telling me to go back to where I came from. So here I am on day one hundred and forty-three of year five thousand three hundred and seven, making another mark on the calendar.