I think I did everything right.
My first wish was that the Genie would come back in a week. I know it sounds frivolous, but I felt certain that rushing a set of wishes would just get me monkey-pawed. I needed time to plan. A week seemed like enough.
When the Genie returned, it was with a thunderclap and a booming “I HAVE COME.”
“Could you please keep it down?” I asked, then hastily added, “that was a request, not a wish. It’s just that the rest of the family is asleep already, and we have a big day tomorrow.”
The Genie narrowed its eyes, but said only, “WHAT ARE YOUR WISHES, MORTAL?”
I picked a book up off my desk. It was large-format but soft-bound, a cheap combination reserved for how-to books and technical papers. In this case, it was the latter, published three decades ago by NASA. Its title was: “Creating a Space Colony, a Process-Oriented Survey towards Humanity’s First Permanent Settlement in Orbit.”
“I wish,” I said, “that the wheels of public opinion, the winds of political will, and the engines of Earth’s economies would focus on this book and the concepts within, specifically the imminent and urgent construction of this space station.”
The Genie frowned, but said, “IT IS DONE. BUT I MUST TELL YOU THAT YOU MAY NOT LIVE TO SEE IT.”
“Sure, that’s fine. I’m ready for my third wish,” I said.
“ALREADY?” the Genie said.
“I wish that my direct descendants would come to find happiness on that space station.”
“THIS, TOO, SHALL BE DONE,” it said.
With another thunderclap, it disappeared forever.
The world felt much the same as it had before, but I smiled anyway. I glanced at my watch and realized that I should get to bed. My only child had another chemo-therapy session early in the morning. This time, for the first time in a long time, I finally had a reason to hope.
James Mapes lives, works, and writes in Portland, Oregon. In addition to writing, he is a theatrical designer and instructor, board game maker, and proud dad.