I nearly pooped myself. It is not everyday one sees a genie come out of an empty orangeade bottle. Or any bottle for that matter. I can't remember the last time I saw a genie. I know ... ... ... never!
After his usual salutations and bowing down in respect for me, the genie said, "I am your obedient servant Master. For freeing me from that bottle of mouldy drink remains I now grant you four wishes!"
"You mean three wishes!" I corrected.
"Have you not heard of inflation?" he asked, "you now have four wishes to command me and I to grant you oh wise and masterful Master!"
At that point I noticed Rupert walking towards us. He is an acquaintance of mine who, quite honestly, I don't like very much. Nothing personal. I just don't get on with him because I find him patronising with his "know-it-all" attitude.
Right now he was as welcome as a fart in a space suit. "I wish he was not here," I thought silently.
Suddenly, Rupert vanished. One moment he was walking towards us. The next he vanished in a puff of smoke.
"You now have three wishes, Master!" said the genie.
"What the ... What happened there?" I asked.
"I read your mind, Master," declared the genie, "you wished that person gone and now he is begone!"
"Where ... where is he gone?" I mumbled.
"Do not worry, Master," said the now-becoming-annoying genie, "it is of no concern of yours. That man will no longer bother you again. He is removed from your surrounding environment for ever!"
I felt terrible. Guilty and panicked at the same time and in no particular order. Rupert is gone. What will I tell his wife and family? Do I even bother to tell them and keep the secret to myself for ever? What a heavy weight on my conscience. I willed a man to disappear and now he is gone. I did not really mean it. I know he was a pain in the neck working his way down South. But I did not mean him to just vanish. Gone for ever. I wished I could reverse that wish!
Suddenly, Rupert appeared again in yet another puff of smoke.
"You now have two wishes, Master," said the annoying genie.
Oh how glad I was to see Rupert again. Annoying and patronising as he is. At least he is now alive again and well. I'm sure he is a good man really and I'd get on better with him if he was a little less condescending.
Perhaps it's me, I thought. Maybe I am a little intolerant and I should be kinder, gentler and a better person. I wish I was a little nicer to other people.
There was yet another puff of smoke and the genie said, "You now have one last remaining wish, Master!"
By this time the annoying wish-maker was becoming rather irritating and unthinking I thought in my mind, "I wish this genie would shut up and go away."
And with a final puff of smoke the genie was gone!
And the moral of the story is: DO NOT PICK UP LITTER FROM THE GROUND
This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12)