After too much ice cream and probably too much Lifetime, I gave up and went to bed. I felt fat and weepy. Not a successful dispelling of whatever this was. Lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, my mind went back to my torturous game of what if. Tonight, for some unknown reason, I wandered into the dreaded I could have moments.
I fell asleep thinking about a couple of those, and about what would have happened had I taken the chance. I did my best to dispel my whiny thoughts from earlier, because I noticed when I went to bed in a bad mood, I had crappy dreams.
When I woke up, the sun was shining through the top of my window. I peered at the clock and saw that it was 6:37. Why hadn’t my alarm gone off? It was usually set for 6:30. I must not have set it last night. Oh well. I could afford to sleep in this morning. I began to snuggle back into sleep when something caught my eye. I looked again. There was a man, sitting on the edge of my bed, legs crossed, examining his fingernails. He looked…glittery, a mix of what looked like gold and silver.
“Who the fuck are you?” I screamed, clutching the blanket to my throat with one hand while reaching out for my phone on the night table with the other. It wasn’t there. Where the hell had I left it? I tried to look around the room without looking like I was looking around the room. Fuck.
“You can call me your fairy godmother, Toots,” he said cheerfully. Great. A serial killer who was chipper, cheerful, and possessed of a sense of humor. I had to find a way to get to my phone. I cursed myself for not keeping one by the bed.
“Because I heard you last night, and I’m here to help you.”
“What? What are you talking about?”
“I heard your dreams. Everyone in the state could. I didn’t realize just how loud dreams could sound until I ran across you. So I am here to put to rest your eternal pondering.”
“How are you going to do that?” This was creepy, and interesting, and creepy all at once. I figured I could get to the phone in a minute. He was obviously crazy. I was kind of afraid to move.
“I am a djinn.” He looked at me as though that explained it all.
I clutched my blanket higher around my neck and cast my eyes around for my phone.
He saw me do it, and sighed heavily. “You may know me as a genie.”
“Like Aladdin?” I couldn’t help asking, lowering the blanket a little.
He rolled his eyes like the bitchiest girl in high school. “Djinn. In the understood tradition of djinn, I am going to give you three wishes. You must know,” he held up an index finger, and I was caught watching it sparkle in the sun. “My wish granting is a little different though. There is no wishing for more wishes. Your wishes are going to have to be specific, and they are going to be what you would call a ‘do-over’.”
“I’m not trying to be dense here, but what do you mean?” My curiosity was getting the better of my fear. Everything in the room seemed more in focus, sharper. I knew I ought to be more afraid, but it didn’t seem to be happening that way.
He sighed, and rolled his eyes dramatically. Again. Whatever the hell he was, he did not lack in the dramatic flair department. “Humans. I liked you better when you were more savage in your wants as you were in your dreams. Far more willing to believe without question; able to just wish and get it over with. Okay. I’ll break it down for you, Tootsie Pop. You have been dreaming of turning points in your life. Those maddening little what ifs. What if you had made choice A instead of choice B? That sort of thing. I am going to grant you three do-overs. You get to choose three times in your life where you wish you had made a different decision, and go back and make the decision you didn’t make the first time around. I’ll let you see what happens. You and I will talk after you have done all three, and see what’s next. What do you say? Are you interested?”
“I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but how do I know that you are not just crazy for glitter paint and breaking into houses?” I had decided that if he was crazy, it was better to humor him until I could find my damn phone.
He rolled his eyes again, muttering what sounded like “humans” under his breath. He rose from the bed. When I say rose, he actually lifted off the bed. He didn’t seem to have feet. It looked a little misty from the knee area down. He raised a hand, and I saw it shimmer in the sun. He made a gesture that looked like he was throwing something, and suddenly there was a giraffe at the foot of my bed.
Something fell on my head, and I reached up to brush it off automatically. What the hell now?
I looked at my hand, and it had glitter all over it. Looking up, I saw…I don’t know what the fuck I saw. A cloud of glitter. It looked like a crazy craft fairy had exploded above me.
What the hell was all this doing in my apartment? If I called maintenance, maybe they’d still be around. Even though I owned the building, I kept a maintenance crew. I wasn’t up for dealing with all the things that went wrong in older buildings in New York. Was there a leak or something? This was the day for dealing with the bullshit, apparently. I reached for the phone when the glittering cloud landed in front of me.
“Are you quite over moping around and feeling sorry for yourself?”
I rubbed my eyes. Since when did glitter talk? I glanced at the glass of tea I’d been drinking. I hadn’t added anything to it.
“This is not a hallucination, and no, you are not drugged.”
All right. What. The. Fuck?
The glitter cloud shifted around, and I found that a guy sat on the couch with me. And what a guy! He had no shirt on, which…oh hell. Did someone get ideas from our clubbing the other night?
“Hey, pal, whatever it is, I’m not into it. Just leave now, and I won’t call the cops.”
The guy sighed. “You don’t need to call anyone. I’m here to help you.”
“Right, pal. That’s what all the nut jobs say.” I edged away, wondering where the fuck I kept something that could be used as a weapon. I hadn’t had a stalker since…since that weird chick – what was her name? Tommie? She thought she had a career in music, and I was just the guy to help her get there. I’d had to take out a restraining order on her. But she hadn’t been a problem in a couple of years. It’s why I lived in a building with security. No need for weapons.
I wished I had one now.
The guy leaned back, and I hoped like hell his paint job wouldn’t rub off on my couch.
“I am here to help you, although you’re rather an ingrate,” He said.
“How the hell am I supposed to be grateful for the glitter fairy breaking into my place and messing it up?” I shot back.
“I am not a fairy. I’m a djinn, and I’m here to give you something you want if you could get out of your own way, boy,” he said.
Right. A djinn. What the hell is that? “You’re a what? What’s your name, glitter boy?”
He rose from my couch, and when I say rose, I mean floating. Full on ghost liftoff. I didn’t often find myself speechless, but I couldn’t say a thing. My mouth tried, but the words wouldn’t come out.
For the first time, I felt fear. What the hell was going on? This went way beyond normal stalking crap.
“Close your mouth, and open your ears and more importantly, your mind, Xavier,” the man said. “My name is Dhameer, and I am here, as I’ve said, to offer you help in attaining something you want. Not give, you’ll note. But help.” He crossed his arms and glared at me.
I gauged the difference from where I sat to where he…floated…above my couch. Took a deep breath, and pushed off. Maybe I could…
I fell onto the couch with such force that I bounced off and landed at the other end. I looked up and saw Dhameer had risen higher up, and still glared at me.
“I know you’re not stupid,” he said. “But you’re intent on trying to show me otherwise.”
I rubbed my head. That fucking hurt.
“You’re not going to be able to hurt me, Xavier. But we can play this game until you wear yourself out and are ready to listen to reason. Or I could just leave.”
I opened my mouth to tell him to get the fuck out when something Tibby said yesterday came back to me.
We’d been standing together waiting for the limo.
“If anything weird happens, while I’m gone…just go with it, okay?”
“What the hell does that mean?” I asked.
The Tibby I knew came back instantly. “It means that if something out of the ordinary happens, just go with it. Stop being an ass and take some well-meant advice for once in your life!”
I’m not a big believer in a lot of hocus pocus shit. It has no place in the real world, for me. But there was glitter boy hovering around my place, basically laughing at me while offering…something. I didn’t know what. And after Tib suggested going with anything weird that happened.
How could she have known?