‘The Squashbuckler Diaries’ are the daily tales of Joy Shelley’s Life in the Dream. The ‘Lost in Dreams’ books will tell the story of what happens to her at ages 6, 9, 12, 15, and so on. The diaries tell us what happens before, after, and between the books.

#122: The Genie in the Lamp, Part 5

“Make a wish, I’ll make it come true! I promise! I promise! Just make a wish!” 

The genie that Dragon Little and Dragon Father had accidentally rescued during their adventure has had a rough one hour since Dragon Father vanished into his waking world, whatever that may be. 

The genie had failed to summon anything that Dragon Little wanted. He had withstood her withering anger and had even come close to dying. 

Dragon Little was now back on the deck, her back to the genie, hands on both cheeks, mouth slightly open. This was what she looked like when she was thinking, before she outsmarted a villain.

“Shush! Shush!” Dragon Little waved him away. Then, suddenly, she turned to face him. “Yes! I’l make a wish!”

“Three wishes?” The genie begged hopefully. 

“Three wishes. Then what happens?”

“Then I’ll be free. I’ll be released. I’ll be back to my real life before I was cursed with being a genie in a lamp.”

Dragon Little nodded. 

“Ready?”

He tensed his body. 

“I wish you would raise your arm.”

The genie’s eyebrows arched. “Seriously? You can ask for riches, power, abilities, money.”

“Yes. I wish you would raise your arm.”

The genie raised his arm slowly. 

Once it was high enough, the genie and Dragon Little breathed a sigh of relief almost simultaneously. 

“Now I wish you would move your head from side to side like this,” she demonstrated. 

The genie’s body untensed. He moved his head from side to side. 

“That’s two wishes,” he whispered. “One last one please, young miss…” 

“I wish you would turn around.”

The genie smiled, turned around, and then turned back. 

His color changed from blue to brown. His size became that of a human, and an adult set of legs sprouted at the bottom and stood on the deck. The genie no longer floated. He was now human. He smiled. 

“Thank you, miss. Thank you! You saved my life!” 

His hair turned white. He looked at his arms. The hair on his arms was turning white as well. 

“I guess I’m getting old,” he said. He touched the hair on his head. It was falling off. “I was thirty five when I became a genie. How much time has passed since?” 

His face was growing wrinkled. His fingers began to move awkwardly. 

“Let me count,” his voice was becoming cracked… “Two masters… three.. Four… Fifty years… A hundred… No… five hundred years!”

Dragon Little watched his body wrinkle in front of her. “Oh, no…” She whispered. “Did I do that?”

The genie - now man - turned to dust and blew in the wind, leaving only a small pile of dust in front of Dragon Little. 

She bent down and cried. “I’m sorry, genie. I thought I was saving you.” She held her face in both hands and bawled. “I’m sorry, genie!”

And the wind blew the dust away…

—Told by The Red Dragon

#123: Gonna Wash That Wand Right out of Your Hair

#121: The Genie in the Lamp, Part 4