Three Wishes

After freeing her sister of the genie in the lamp, Kerry was determined to outwit him – she deserved it, after all!

Kerry rang her sister’s doorbell.

“So what’s the emergency?” she asked when Lisa answered.

Lisa grabbed her. “Quick. Come in.”

“Hey! Close that door!” called a man’s voice from inside the house. “It’s freezing in here.”

Kerry’s eyebrows shot up. “Who’s that? Don’t tell me you have a new fella?”

“If only,” muttered Lisa. “Come and see for yourself.”

Kerry followed her in and peered into the sitting room to see a man on the sofa, shoes off, the remote in one hand and a beer in the other. He was utterly gorgeous, with thick dark hair and dreamy eyes.

“Hi! I’m Kerry,” she said cheerfully. “Lisa’s sister.”

“Great. Would one of you be a good girl and get me another beer,” he said without looking up.

Jaw dropping, Kerry glanced at Lisa who dragged her into the kitchen.

“He’s awful,” Lisa whispered. “You have to get rid of him!”

“Me?” While Kerry agreed with the sentiment, she didn’t see why she should be the one to tell him to go. “He’s your boyfriend. You do it.”

“If only it was that simple.” Lisa took a deep breath. “You see, he’s not my boyfriend. He’s a genie.”

“No way. A genius would know not to talk to someone like that.”

“Not a genius. A genie. He was in the lamp I bought at the flea market the other day. The one for my theatre group prop box. I gave it a polish and there he was.”

Kerry laughed. “Yeah, right. Look, whatever is going on, I’m happy to tell him to go if that’s what you want.”

“He won’t listen,” said Lisa.

Rolling her eyes Kerry stuck her head round the sitting room door.

“Excuse me? Time to go –”

The man on the sofa snapped his fingers and Kerry only just managed to pull back before the door closed in her face. He hadn’t touched it. There was no draught. It just closed.

She turned to Lisa, wide-eyed.

Lisa sighed. “Yeah… he does that.”

Kerry yanked the door open again and marched into the sitting room.

“You have two minutes to clear out or I’m calling the police –” she began.

He snapped his fingers and instantly she was back in the kitchen with Lisa and the door was closed.

“ – and I won’t take no…Wait? What just happened?”

“I told you. He’s a genie. He can do magic,” Lisa said.

Kerry rubbed her forehead.

“OK, I’ll play along. If he’s a genie, you get three wishes, right? So just wish him away.”

“I can’t.”

“Why not?”


Lisa went into the sitting room. Kerry followed.

“I wish,” began Lisa. “I wish…”

Her lips clamped shut. Kerry watched her clench her fists and screw up her face in an attempt to finish the sentence. No words came out.

“Still waiting for that beer,” he said.

Back in the kitchen, Lisa slumped in a chair.

“This is so unfair. I should be living large on my three wishes, but instead I’m waiting on Grant hand and foot.”


“As in grant me three wishes. He thinks it’s funny. He said I couldn’t pronounce his real name anyway. And he says he’s two thousand years old.”
Kerry stared at her sister.

“You do know you sound insane, don’t you?”

“And yet you couldn’t make him leave either,” Lisa pointed out. “I have such great wishes lined up, too. A big house, a million pounds and Josh from work to ditch his fiancée and marry me instead.”

Kerry went back to the sitting room. Grant raised one hand, fingers posed to snap.

“No, wait! Can you just give me a few minutes?” she said quickly.

“It’ll need to be very quick. Strictly is coming on the TV.”

Wow, he was rude!

“Lisa tells me that you’re a genie.”


“And you live in that lamp?” She indicated the lamp on the coffee table.

“I do.”

“So the way I understand it, if she rubs the lamp and lets you out, you have to grant her three wishes.”

“True. But she has to make the wishes first, you see.”

“Which she can’t do if you won’t let her talk. So what if I make her wishes?”

“No can do. I only respond to the command of the one who released me.”

“OK, what if she writes them down?”

“I can’t read.”

“You’re two thousand years old!”

“I left my reading glasses in the lamp.”

He grinned. Quite a nice grin, to be honest, but Kerry wasn’t in the mood to be charmed.

She stormed back to Lisa in the kitchen.

“This is ridiculous.”

“You believe me now?”

Kerry hesitated. The whole thing was preposterous – but then there was the whole finger snapping thing.

“Thanks for trying anyway,” said Lisa. “Looks like I’m stuck with him.”

Kerry’s mind raced.

“Maybe not. Assuming any of this is true, what’s more important to you? Getting rid of him or getting your three wishes?”

“Getting rid,” said Lisa promptly. “It’s been three days. I can’t take any more.”

“Are you sure?”

“One hundred percent.”

“OK. Put your coat on. Go round to Mum and Dad’s. Or go to the pictures. But just go.”

“I can’t leave you with him,” protested Lisa. “He’s awful.”

“I’ll be fine.”

When she was gone Kerry helped herself to a bottle of wine from the fridge and collected two glasses on her way to the sitting room.

Grant watched her. “I’m not leaving, you know. This is a great gaff.”

“Roomier than your lamp, eh?”

“What do you think?”

She sat beside him on the sofa and opened the bottle.

“So what is it you want, Grant?”

“Right now? To watch Strictly in peace.”

Who didn’t like Strictly? It was Kerry’s favourite.

“No. What do you want out of this whole situation?”

“Truthfully? I want a break. Have you any idea how boring it is, living in a lamp, just waiting for someone to come along and release you?”

“I can see it might be difficult,” agreed Kerry. “A man your size…”

He gave her a level look, taking the wine glass from her.

“Actually, it’s not so bad most of the time. The lamp’s a bit like the Tardis inside.”

“You watch Dr Who?” she asked, surprised. That was another of her favourite shows. “I mean you have a TV? Inside a lamp?”

“Only the basic channels.”

She narrowed her yes. Was he laughing at her? Actually his eyes were a bit twinkly. And for all he professed to be watching the TV, all his attention was on her.

Was he telling the truth? Was he simply acting up because he was bored?

Pondering that thought she picked up her wine and made herself comfy.

“What are you doing?”

“I thought we were watching Strictly?”

The weirdness faded as Kerry became absorbed in the show. Grant was obviously a fan too and soon they were exchanging views and shouting at the TV.

Had Grant not been responsible for upsetting her sister, Kerry might even have considered it a good night.

“So,” she said, getting back to business when the programme ended. “You do know you can’t stay here.”

He was silent for a long moment.

“Look, your sister seems nice enough. But trust me, three wishes are not what they’re cracked up to be.

“No – hear me out,” he said quickly when Kerry protested. “I’ve been doing this a long time. People always – and I mean always – wish for the same things.”

He held up one finger. “First, they want a million pounds.

“They give no thought as to how they will explain that to the tax man or the bank.”

He held up another finger. “Next, a big house or even a castle – and again no thought to things like huge heating bills or council tax, so the house inevitably ends up falling down around their ears.”

He held up a third finger. “Last but not least, they want a partner. They always have someone in mind, even though that person might not feel the same way, or might already be involved with someone else. It almost always ends in tears.

“I try to get people to be cautious, to think things through, but no one ever listens. I’ve had enough.”

Kerry stared. Grant sounded surprisingly sincere. And he’d just listed Lisa’s three exact wishes without ever having heard them.

Were people really that predictable? He looked so glum she actually felt a little bit sorry for him. Until she remembered Lisa.

She nodded to the lamp.

“It’s really like the Tardis inside?”


“Could I see?”

“Could you see what?”

“See inside. I mean, meeting you is about the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to me.” Slowly, she walked two fingers up his arm.

Grant looked at her, perplexed.

“Show you my lamp? I have no idea. I’ve never tried it before.”

“Pretty please? I’d love to see it.”

Was she laying it on a bit thick? Maybe, but she batted her eyelids for good measure. Kerry was determined to win this game. If Grant didn’t go into the lamp, the gig was up.

If he did, well that was another matter entirely – and she didn’t want to think about it.

Grant held her gaze. Then he nodded slowly.

“I’ve had a good time tonight, so OK, why not. Take my hand.”

“No!” she said quickly. “You weren’t expecting company. I’m not crawling into your man cave just like that. Go on in and tidy up a bit and then invite me in.”

“Good idea.” Grant jumped to his feet. Then he paused. “Promise?” he asked, looking oddly vulnerable.

She crossed her fingers.

“I promise I’ll be the first thing you see when you come out.”

Kerry wouldn’t have believed it if she hadn’t seen it with her own eyes. First his feet turned to smoke, then his middle then the rest of him. Forming into an arrow, the smoke darted into the spout of the lamp.

Quick as a flash, she grabbed the cork from the wine bottle and rammed it into the spout. Then, breathing hard, she sat back.

What just happened, couldn’t have happened. None of this could be real. And yet it was.

She took out her phone and, speaking clearly, recorded her own three wishes.

“I wish for the power to summon Grant from the lamp any time I want – but he has to return to the lamp after three hours unless I expressly invite him to stay longer.

“I wish for a happy ever after for Lisa. And I wish to reserve my final wish for a time of my choosing.”

There. That was her insurance. If he tried to silence her like he’d done with Lisa, she would simply press play.

She heard Lisa’s key in the door and jumped up, stuffing her phone and the lamp into her bag.

Lisa peeked around the door. “He’s gone?” she asked, warily.

“I put him back in the lamp.” Kerry double checked. “You really didn’t want him as boyfriend material?”

“No way. Too bossy.”

Kerry picked up her bag, slung it over her shoulder and kissed her sister.

“OK, then. See you later.”

Maybe Grant was bossy. Or maybe he was just lonely. A bit like her.

Well – neither of them need be lonely any more.

Not now that she believed in magic.

Look out for more fabulous short stories in My Weekly magazine every week. Subscribe to have your copy delivered!

Rylan cover, out May 9 2023