Once upon a time, there was a man walking along a beach. The man was thinking only about himself and his power without care for others, as was his custom whenever he walked in contemplation. The man had become quite powerful by doing this. He never knew how to care about other people while feeling safe in the world, other than to think deeply about how he could use their fears to manipulate them. He knew that most other people knew how to care. He didn’t care that he seemed to be born without this capacity. He was never lonely. He very much enjoyed interacting with men who thought the way he did. He knew that there were very few men who thought the way he did. He thought of his not being able to care about other people as being a rare gift that he had been born with. He had come to think of it as a talent to be honed and owned. He knew that many men hated him. But he didn’t mind. He thought that they only hated him because that was how they coped with their fear of him. That most men who knew him were very afraid of him was a good thing. He was amused by the men who liked him because they were afraid of him. It was pretty much the same with women. He was particularly amused by the women who didn’t fear him as much as they should, because they thought that their sex appeal or their mothering of the man protected them from what he could do to them, when he felt like it.
Most of all he loved being elite. He loved being better than just about everyone else on the planet. He loved that most of all, because it was what he needed to protect him from his fear.
He was afraid of other men like him, but that was good. It kept him alert for danger and motivated him to obtain more power. He respected these other men for the power that they had and what they could do to him if they wanted to.
As the man walked along the beach, he spotted something glistening in the sand and among the dead fish.
It was a bottle of some kind. No, it was an old oil lamp. Quite old, he imagined. He rubbed some fish guts away to get a better look at the patina, when suddenly—swoosh—out flew a obese gentleman wearing fine pajamas.
“Thank you my friend” said the gentleman. “It was getting cramped in there.”
The Mmn looked around with a sneer. “Whoever is trying to pitch me some virtual reality game to invest in, fuck off and get off my island.”
“No, no,” said the guy in the pajamas. “I assure you I am quite real and quite grateful. I don’t know how you hacked the code for the security system on that lamp, but you rubbed something the right way.”
The man thought for a minute or two. “So, I guess you owe me then,” said the man.
“I most certainly do,” replied the gentleman. “First, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Gene and I have a long history of getting stuck in that lamp. I have gotten quite good at rewarding people who help me to get out. I used to grant my rescuers multiple wishes, but so many people got way too greedy. Now I stick with one wish and if people wish too big they get nothing.”
“It is an honor to meet you Gene,” said the man. I have heard of your powers. It is the stuff of legend. I am not really with you on thinking of greed as a problem, but I respect you for having such a strong opinion.”
“Thank you,” said Gene. “Now what can I do for you.”
“Well Gene, I’ve been having problems with people trespassing on my island here. I would really appreciate being granted access to quality legal representation to better deal with trespassers.”
“That’s it?” inquired Gene. That’s your wish?”
“That would do it,” replied the man.
“Consider it done,” Said Gene.
“Now, for my second wish. . . “ Began the man.
“I said only one wish,” reminded Gene. “That is the deal.”
The man pretended to be angry. “That was not our contract and if I don’t get another wish, I am going to sue you. You think that bottle is confining; my legal team will have you looking at court house walls until you can’t see straight.”
“Sir, I see your point, one more wish it will be, but just one more,” sighed Gene.
“Okay I need access to influencing all the media coverage. There have been overblown reports by journalists that some of my factories are the cause of these dead fish you see lying about. I need to distract the environmentalist types from giving me a hard time,” implored the man.
“All right, you got it,” replied Gene. “Now, I’ll be going.
“Not if you want to see massive stories about floating lamps being responsible for dead fish, you won’t,” warned Gene.
“You have got to be kidding me. Who would believe any story like that?” said the astonished Gene.
“Millions of people and billions more will be so distracted by media reports that don’t involve me and issues that I will manipulate from the media the control you gave me. That means you, my friend, could be in some very hot water indeed.”
“What is your last wish?”
“I want to be able to provide adequate support to politicians who need funds to get elected to represent their constituents. I also want to help them develop regulations that would help protect the fish around my island.”
“All right, all ready, Done, Goodbye.”
“Gene before you go, I need to know if you have a permit for that lamp. Is your certificate of occupancy up to date? Are you familiar with the dimensions of the lamp-free zone surrounding this island?
Okay, I get your drift. What else do you want?”
“I need some help being able to talk to world leaders. All water on the planet is connected. This dead fish problem no doubt, has influences beyond this shore.”
“I do know some people in high places, throughout the world. Many care about fish. I see no harm in granting you this last wish.”
“Gene, why are you here exactly. Am I supposed to believe that the current just deposited you here. I think I need to get some more answers from you. Gene have you ever been to a secret prison? Do you know what water boarding is? Do you think your lamp is impervious to the monitoring of your conversations and movements?”
“You greedy bastard. What next?”
“I thought that you would never ask. But since you did. I need organized crime connections. What good is everything else that you’ve given me without some ultimate enforcement capabilities?”
“Now just stop. You are out of control. I don’t know anybody in those circles like you are talking about. I have been more than good to you. Now, please leave me alone.”
“Okay Gene, I’ll leave you alone, but before you go, I just wanted to inquire about the health of any loved ones that you have. Is there a Mrs. Gene? Any little Genes running around?”
“Okay, ” said Gene. I haven’t been giving you enough of anything you’ve wished for. Not enough lawyers, media control, politicians, or world leaders.”
“So, you have been holding out on me. You would be wise not to do that.”
“You know it. I can deliver you all the criminals you will ever need. I can give you a full measure of all of your other wishes as well.”
“Done? I should be feeling great. Instead I am feeling strangely sad.”
“That is because I just gave you the one thing you had none of and that took care of your need for all of the rest.”
With that, the man began to cry and cry. His tears carried a dead fish back into the sea. And then it swam away.
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