Problem? What Problem?
I was walking down the street. Shops lined each side of the road. I had nothing to do so I took my time. I looked at each shop and casually watched the people pass me by who were tied to some kind of schedule. It was nice to just relax and take the time to notice the little details that I wouldn't have time for if I had a purpose but my purpose for the day was to just enjoy myself. Having company would have been nice but everybody is busy and in a hurry and I really had the feeling that life was passing me by.
I was walking along and I passed this dark alley. As I passed I thought I heard somebody calling to me. I looked around and didn't see anyone. As I was just about to continue my journey to nowhere, I heard the voice again. As I turned to look, a guy in a trenchcoat appeared out of the alley. "Hey, you" The guy said in my direction. I looked around to see if he might be talking to somebody else, but there wasn't anyone else around.
"Are you talking to me?" I asked. I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, not by a long shot.
"You think I'm talking to the fire hydrant, of course I'm talking to you" He said sarcastically as if I was some type of moron. "Come here. I've got some business I want to discuss with you."
Following a guy with a trenchcoat into a dark alley didn't seem like a prudent thing to do, but curiosity got the better of me and I followed him anyway.
"I've got this magic bean I want to sell you." The guy says.
"Seriously, a magic bean?" I ask.
"I got to rid of it so I'm going to make you a deal you can't refuse." He said. He talked like that guy in the Godfather movie and it was kind of creepy.
"What does it do?" I inquired. If I'm going to get stuck with a magic bean, it better do something pretty incredible.
"Well, you just plant it in the ground, water it and it grows." He answered.
"You mean like every other non magic bean." I was starting to get snarky with him and it was clear he didn't appreciate it.
"Look kid, let's cut to the chase, how much money you got?" He asked. I got a lump in my throat. I pulled out my wallet to see what kind of shape my financies were currently in. I had a dollar.
"I've just got a buck" I said. He grabbed my wallet from me. I guess he wasn't the kind of guy who takes your word for it.
"I just wanted to be sure you weren't holding out on me." He said finally as an explanation for his behavior. He takes my dollar and throws my wallet back at me. "Because I like you kid, I'm going to sell you this magic bean for a dollar. Just plant it in the ground and water it and something magical will happen." He hands me the bean.
"Where am I suppose to plant this bean?" I asked.
"Hey, that's your problem." He said as he disappeared into the darkness.
I slip the bean into my pocket. I was saving that dollar to get a large drink at McDonald's but I guess I'm going to just have to deal with being thirsty.
I return to the street and continue my journey. After a little while I come upon this guy who seems really out of sorts. He's sitting on a bench in front of this resale shop.
"Yo dude" I said, "What are you all boo-booey for?" This guy looked kind of old but then pretty much everybody over thirty looks old to me. He looked like a bum who was down on his luck. It looked like he hadn't shaved or washed his hair for quite a while. I felt sorry for him.
"I'm in an awful predicament." He lamented "I found this perfect vase in this resale shop for my dying mother and I don't have any money to make the purchase. I caused quite a ruckus that the owner threw me out. He had no pity for me at all." The guy was being super dramatic. Maybe at one time he was an actor or something.
"Dude, why didn't you just use a credit card?" I asked.
"I tried that but the shop doesn't accept credit cards." He explained.
"Who doesn't accept credit cards?" I wondered out loud.
"I know." the old guy agreed. "You must go and buy it for me." He said more cheerfully.
"Dude, I just gave my last dollar to some guy in the alley." I explained.
"Then you must steal it for me." He said, not giving up.
"Dude, You want me to lift it for you?" I asked horrifically.
"Yes. It was my dying mother's last request, to buy her this specific vase in this specific resale shop."
"Sounds like your mom is super picky" I offered.
"Nevermind that, get in there and steal me that vase." After saying this the old guy practically pushed me into the resale shop.
As I entered the resale shop, I looked for the specific vase the old guy wanted. It took me a while to find it because the place was a mess. I guess the owner thought that cleaning was just a suggestion you could do only if you felt like it and the owner didn't feel like it. Once I found the vase, I went up to the register. The guy behind the register wanted Ten dollars for the vase. I told him all I had was a magic bean and I asked him if he would trade me the lamp for the bean. The guy thought about it for a long time.
I said "Dude, what's there to think about, do you want to trade me or not?" I was getting kind of impatient with the guy but he just stood there. Finally he agreed to do it and I walked out of there with this old dirty vase.
Once I stepped outside, the old guy grabbed the vase like it was pure gold or heroin, I couldn't tell which because he had this wild look in his eyes and started running down the street saying something about it finally being mine. I was starting to think that his whole story about his mother dying might not actually be true. Now I was not only out a whole dollar I was also out a magic bean and a lamp. The day was starting to really suck.
I watched the old guy run down the street because it was actually pretty hilarious. The guy probably hadn't tried to run for years and he started running out of gas pretty quickly. He stood there weezing with his hands on his knees. I causally walked over to him and asked him if he needed any help. He selfishly guarded his junky looking vase. I told him to relax. After another minute the guy fell to the ground and I thought he had a heart attack. I took the vase which was rightly mine anyway and I called 911. I stayed
with the old guy until the ambulance arrived and took him to the hospital. With the old guy out of my life, the shifty looking trenchcoat alley guy lost in the darkness somewhere
and me being a dollar short, I took my dirty old vase and headed back home.
Once I got home, my mom asked me if anything interesting happen to me. I gave her the standard response which indicated my life was boring and headed to my room. Once in my room I examined the vase carefully. There had to be something about this vase that the old guy was willing to risk me going to jail for. Of course the old guy could just have been crazy, which I think would be a more reasonable explanation, but still I wondered why he wanted this vase so badly. I placed the vase on my already crowded desk. I just put stuff on my desk because I'm too lazy to put it where it should go and now my desk has too much stuff on it. My mom used to get mad at me and tell me to clean up in my room. Now she just makes sure my door is closed so she doesn't have to look at it.
After awhile I forgot about the vase and in the course of doing 'stuff' I accidentally knock the vase off my desk. It falls to the floor and breaks into three pieces. Some smoke appears when the vase breaks and a genie appears in my room. The genie looks at the vase and then looks at me.
"What did you do that for?" he asks, "You just broke my house!" He seemed a bit cranky.
"I didn't know it was your house besides your a genie, just use your magic and fix it." I shot back.
"I can't do that!" he said. "You can never live in a vase after it's been broken. Everybody knows that. I would never be able to resell it and after all the upgrades" He seemed pretty frantic at this point.
"Dude get a grip on yourself" I said unsympathetically, "You sound just like a girl and besides I thought genie's were suppose to live in old lamps anyway." I added.
"People don't try to light vases" he shot back.
"Point taken." I respond.
"Now look, I can fix one problem and one problem only." He stated. For a genie with magical powers he sure did seem jittery for some reason. He was really killing the mood.
"What about granting wishes?" I asked.
"People just waste wishes, There always selfish and they want wealth and love and house on the beach or their own private island. It's disgusts me so I don't do it anymore." He explained.
"You sure are cranky." I observed.
"Well how would you feel if you're always the one giving wishes, where are my wishes, when do I get to have my wishes granted." I started to regret my snarky comment because he started monologuing. If I wanted a lecture I would just ask my parents to explain something. He continued ...
"Nobody every says thank you or please. They never think about my feelings. It's always about them and what they want."
"Are you done yet?" I asked impatiently.
"I'm just getting started." He shot back "You live for thousands of years granting wishes to ungrateful slobs and see if you don't get an attitude." I thought about it for a moment and he did have a valid point.
"Okay, solve the problem of world hunger" I commanded.
"Sorry, can't do that." He replied.
"How about averting natural disasters"
"Nope" He said.
"Okay, what about making that hot girl in my geometry class fall in love with me?" I said finally.
"That's not a problem, that's a fantasy and it's never going to happen by the way."
"Well it was worth a shot" I said pathetically.
"Okay, how about fixing old Mrs. Miller's leaking faucet?"
"You could solve any problem in the world and you want me to do that?" The genie said disgutingly.
This guy was beginning to be a major joykill. He shot down every idea I had.
"Look" I said, "It seems to me that maybe I don't know what the word 'problem' means. Could you explain what you mean by that?" I was starting to get a bit frustrated.
"well duhh," the genie responded, "a problem is something wrong that need to be made right."
"That's not helpful" I said, "Maybe I could sleep on it and get back to you in the morning."
"And what am I suppose to do until then?" The genie asked, "You broke my house."
"I don't know" I shot back, "Your a genie, go to the Bahama's for a few hours or something, live a little, have some fun."
"fun?" the genie repeated
"Yeah, you've lived for thousands of years and you have never had any fun?" I asked again.
"No, I've never had any fun." The genie replied. His voice was kind of sad as if it never had occured to him that he could have fun until this very moment.
"Well, I think that's a problem" I said, "and I am going to fix it"
"You are?" the genie said.
"Yep, ever been to the Bahama's?" I asked.