I’m in the club. In the home of smoke, dope, short, short skirts and low-cut, nipple revealing tops, iron-hard six packs, bulging biceps, desperate dealings, shitty, shady pick-up lines and nine-millimeter lethal put-downs.
My stomping grounds. I embrace my ex. Look over her shoulder for my next ex to be.
I’m bouncing to the beat with a hottie that got potential and a none slip differential – and then I’m not.
I’m alone in a corner booth, the noise, smoke, and heat all gone. It’s downright chilly. Shit! That must have been some bad ass coke. I knew better. I just didn’t do better.
“Her name’s Melody Banks, and she’s yours if you wish.”
What the hell. I’m not alone. What the fuck! The sister sitting across from me, black African looks, black as tar on the right side and white as snow on the left side with dreads down pass her ass on the right and as bald as an egg on the left.
I blink. I close my eyes and open them slowly. She’s still there. I pinch myself. I try to get someone’s attention, but there’s no one there but she and I. I try to stand, but she waves me back to my seat.
“Sit. Relax. Look at Melody.
Her voice’s as smooth as good whiskey with a hint of danger and a scent of raw sex.
And, I see long-limbed, dark-skinned, tight dress wearing Melody dancing her ass off. She’s a delicious, delightful and delectable vision.
I turn back to Black and White. “Who are you? Shit! What are you?”
She smiles a perfect smile with her ebony and ivory grinders. “I’m a Genie your Genie. I’m here to give you your one wish. You may wish for anything your heart desires.”
“Sure, you are. You, you need to get back on your meds, sister. And you need to save that crazy ass makeup for Halloween.”
She points a long onyx finger at me. “There’s no need to get nasty and personal. I mean, two can play the mean game. You can call me, Ola.”
“Ok, and you can call me goodbye and so long.” I stand up.
“You could have full custody of your daughter. You know Anita would love to live with you. It would be both of your dreams come true.”
I slowly sit back down.
I lean in and look closely at Ola. “That’s not makeup, is it?”
Ola grins and shakes her head no.
“Ok, alright, how do you know about Anita? How do you know what we want? Are you for real?”
She points an icy bleached finger at me. “You’re three months behind in child support. You owe Uncle Sam $6,247.52 in back taxes. Your father’s dying of cancer and your mother’s suffering from Alzheimer’s.”
“How do you know so— ”
“You still have nightmares about your service in Afghanistan. And, on your 18th birthday, you had sex with your mother’s sister for the first time. You want to be with your aunt more than you want to be with Melody or any of your ex’s.”
I blush, swallow hard, ball up my fist. I’m angry, ashamed, hurt and, all at once, so very tired. “Get the fuck away from me. Leave me the hell alone.”
Ola sits quietly for a moment. She finally speaks, “I would love to leave as quickly as possible. Let me help you to make a wish, and we’ll never see each other again.” She reaches out a warm, soft black hand and places it over mine.
I snatch my hand away from hers. “Please, go away. Please.”
She whispers, “Duncan, money, say, ten, twenty million or more. You could clear up your debts, hire an attorney to get custody of Anita, and hire caregivers for your parents.”
“You need to keep out of my damn business—”
“Oh, I will. I’ve no interest in your dreary life, but I need to know you in order to help you make the right choice. Duncan, I do want to help you.”
“Bullshit! This is your job. You get paid, right? Right?”
Ola looks perplexed for a second. “I do. In a fashion, I do.”
“And, you get paid cash, not no fucking sucker bait, wishes, right?”
Ola grits her teeth. “We’re getting off topic. One hundred million dollars all yours. Say yes and I’m gone. History. A passing mystery and you and your kids, grandkids, and great grandkids are set for life. Just say yes.”
“No! Hell no! How would I ever explain my wealth to the IRS? I’m in enough shit with them already. Where did the money come from? It could be stolen, and I will be up shit creek. No way.”
Ola grimaces. “Oh, you’re such a worry wart. With that kind of money, you could buy your way out of any difficulties.”
“See! See, that’s what I’m talking about. You just setting my ass up.”
Ola pokes me in the chest with an ice-cold white finger. “Duncan, you’re a loser because you’re afraid to take chances. You don’t deserve a wish.”
“Yeah, you right. Take your Kmart, blue light special wishes and hit the road, Ola. Don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you.”
Ola looks like she wants to take a swing at me. “Ok, asshole. You could save your parents. No money problems. Do that.”
I shake my head no. “No, because I don’t know how you will cure them and what the real cost is. Shit, you might kill them or Anita. That might be the cure and the cost.”
Ola sighs in frustration. “Alright pervert, You and your aunt together for life, an odd but happy pairing. How about that?”
“Fuck you, Ola. That would destroy what’s left of my family. You need to get on up out of here.”
“A cure for cancer?”
“Peace in the Middle East?”
“Ola, don’t try to play a player. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.”
Ola, shrugs, “On that note, why not wish me away? Just say the word.”
“I just did, three times. Goodbye.”
Ola stands quickly, leans over me.” “You win, and you lose. You could have wished for an endless supply of wishes. You’re not so smart. Go back to your loser life and dead-end days.”
As Ola turns away I can’t help but ask, “Ola, what do they pay you to fuck over people like this?”
Ola freezes in her tracks. Stands with her back to me silent and still. “Duncan Ross Williams, are you interested in obtaining a Genie franchise and dispensing wishes yourself? I can assure you that it’s an extremely lucrative opportunity. It’s all very legal and above board. You would be dealing with a Delaware licensed corporation.”
I watch her back, study her African ass, think and think again. “What’s the buy-in? How much upfront money— ”
Ola laughs like thunder, chuckles like a raging forest fire and spins to face me with a radiant smile. “Duncan, Duncan, Duncan, you sly fox you. I think we can come to some mutually appealing terms. What do you think?”
I avoid looking at her smile as I wave her back to her seat.
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