Hello, Internet! Join me in welcoming back M.A. Church for today’s edition of Flash Fiction Friday! Today’s tale is something truly magical when a workaholic takes a vacation to the Happiest Place On Earth in “Beware of Lamps.”
Beware of Lamps
by M.A. Church
Obviously Murphy’s Law was in effect, because everything that could go wrong had. They almost missed their flight because his younger brother, Quince, was a spaz. He waited until the night before to pack for their trip, whereas Logan had packed several days in advance.
That lead to them arriving late into the airport. Then their flight ended up being delayed. On top of that, Logan’s luggage was lost, but the airline promised to deliver it as soon as it was found.
So there he was with nothing but his carry-on that had his laptop in it and a change of clothes. Thank God his laptop was in it, so he could at least work…. Which, of course, sparked the argument he and his brother was currently in the middle of.
“How long are you going to sit here and keep being afraid of everything in life? We’re at Disney World, for fucksakes!” Quince demanded.
“It’s not a question of being afraid of everything in life, but more of handling responsibility. Something you definitely need to pay more attention to. Life is not a fantasy.”
“Oh, for God’s sakes, we’re at a place that deals in nothing but fantasy.” Quince threw his hands in the air. “Why can’t you lighten up and enjoy yourself? All you do is work, work, work.”
“At least I’m not living from paycheck to paycheck, unlike some people I could name.”
“At least I have a life!” Quince stomped to the door of the hotel room. “I don’t know why I even asked you to come when I won this trip. I should’ve known you’d do nothing but sit around and work. You’re hopeless. I’m going to go explore, ride the rides, and have fun. I’ll be back tonight. See you.”
Shaking his head, Logan ignored Quince’s dramatic exit and finished up the email he’d been trying to write for the last five minutes. He loved his brother, he really did, but Quince simply didn’t understand.
The responsibility of raising his brother and sister fell to him fell to him when their parents had been ripped away from them. One wrong turn, and their entire world crashed alongside the car his parents had been driving. He found out quickly insurance only went so far.
Those first couple years had literally been hand-to-mouth until Logan patented a neat little device and made a fortune off of it. He’d worked like a dog, graduated, then worked more to fund his siblings’ college too. Okay, so maybe along the way he’d turned into a workaholic. It was all he knew.
Staring sightlessly out of the window, he admitted maybe he no longer knew how to let go. How to just kick back and relax. He was in his forties now, and had an amazing and highly-profitable career, but in the process he’d sacrificed a chance for any type of relationship or memories that would last a lifetime.
Quince’s words rattled around his head. Quince lived his life to the fullest. Could Logan say the same? He had money. He had power. But what else did he have? When was the last time he unplugged and just breathed?
He couldn’t remember.
Mind made up, he hunted through Quince’s suitcase for appropriate clothing to wear. Good thing they were the same size. Once he was decked out in khaki shorts and a T-shirt, he borrowed a pair sandals Quince had also brought and headed out.
His brother wanted him to live a little? Fine. He’d show him.
* * * *
More hours than he cared to count later, Logan was exhausted but feeling lighter than he had in a decade. He’d done the whole sightseeing thing, rode rides, and even had his picture taken with some of the characters around the park.
As he was getting ready to return to the hotel room—he really needed a break from the endless crowds of parents and children—something caught his eye: the Aladdin-themed stuff. He remembered the movie. His sister’s kids had had it playing when he was over at their house one night for dinner.
Intrigued, he walked over to a machine where visitors paid to rub a look-alike magic genie lamp, like in the movie, then the machine spit a little prize of some sort connected to the movie, like a stuff doll that looked like Jafar.
Oh well, it was something he could bring back to one of his nieces or nephews, along with the other things he picked up. Why the hell not do it? What was the harm? For once there wasn’t a crowd, which was odd in itself, and walked straight to the machine.
After he paid, he rubbed the odd shaped lamp. Only, what could he possibly wish for? He had everything he needed, didn’t he? Although, those things were materialistic. He had the big house, the fat checking account, and droves of people to do his bidding.
But at the end of the day, it was just him in his big lonely bed. He was tired of it. Maybe he should wish for a partner. A brilliant flash of light came from the machine and fake smoke pour out. Then it made an odd banging sound.
“This is just stupid,” Logan said, as he waited for something wild and exciting to happen. “I have everything I need. I shouldn’t wish for anything more.”
He opened the slot at the bottom to see what he’d won, only there was nothing. Apparently the stupid machine had gotten hung up and hadn’t dropped his prize.
“Of course. Why did I expect anything more?” Damn Murphy’s Law seriously needed to take a break.
This was why he didn’t waste time on silly things like wishes. Aggravated, he returned to the hotel. Quince had left a note saying he’d hooked up with some people and would be back much later that night. Logan sincerely hoped Quince would be careful.
After he showered, he dressed in a borrowed pair of night pants of Quince’s, and ordered room service. The meal was quite lovely, and, after returning the tray outside, Logan relaxed on the bed and turned on the TV. Halfway through a show, the electricity went out.
“What the hell?” He shook the remote, tapped it on his hand—like that ever did any good—but the TV didn’t come back on. He even fiddled with the lamp on the table between his bed and Logan’s, but nothing happened.
“Jesus Christ, what now? I swear, I should’ve just stayed at—”
A brilliant flash of light lit up the room and smoke rolled across the floor. Logan jerked his head away to shield his eyes. When he turned back, still blinking, he found a drop dead sexy man sitting crossed-legged, hovering in the air at the foot of his bed, a smile teasing his kissable lips. His skin glowed in the darkness, and the air around him vibrated with power.
Logan gulped as he admired the mesmerizing form in front of him. The light blue flowing pants were sheer—sheer!—along with a matching short vest. There was nothing underneath the thing, and it hugged his muscular, hairless torso. Around his waist was a gold colored sash.
A weird wrap of blue cloth sat on his head with a huge, blood-red stone resting in the middle. A white feather jutted out from the headpiece. On his wrists and ankles were bands of gold. But it was the totally black eyes which freaked Logan out the most.
Stunned, he sat on the bed. “Who… who… w-what are you?”
“Exactly what you wished for, Master. A mate. I am the genie of the lamp, and I have come for you.”
Dear God, what had he done?