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The form began taking on definition, the red fading to pink and finally to flesh color. The eyes appeared first ... brown, with evidence of many crows walking around in their corners. Arthur closed his eyes and for the first time in years, actually giggled. I'm not really seeing this. When he opened his eyes, an old woman stood before him.
"What the hell?" Arthur whispered. She had dyed red hair, brittle and dry as straw, teased and shellacked into a bubble cut. Her sagging jowls were heavily rouged with a sort of cinnamon color and her lips wore the same matching shade. She had attempted the subterfuge of drawing in her lips bigger than they actually were with the lipstick. She wore a satiny quilted housecoat, trimmed in feathers, and feathered high-heeled mules. When Arthur smelled a cigarette burning, he looked down at one poking out from between her withered claws.
"Hey, sweetie," she croaked. "How you doin'?"
Arthur must have been electrocuted, that was the only explanation. He hoped only that he was still alive.
The old broad cocked her head. "Asked you a question, honey. It's your turn. Ball's in your court."
"What?" Arthur shook his head and blinked several times, trying to clear his vision of what had to be a hallucination. "What's going on?" Even as the question passed his lips, he thought of slapping himself for the ridiculousness of even attempting discourse with this ... this ... thing. She sounded like she was from Brooklyn, for cryin' out loud. Since when did a hallucination hail from Brooklyn?
"Sweetheart, I'm your genie. You know ... like Aladdin."
"Uh huh," he mumbled.
"You get a wish, honey. Make one. Today's your luckyday."
Arthur nodded. "Just one?"
"Hey, sugar, I'm a thrift store genie. You want deluxe, get one from Neiman Marcus." She took a puff off her cigarette, which looked about a foot long and the width of a Q-tip.
"Yeah, right. I knew that." Arthur wanted to shrink into the wall.
"So what'll it be? Big muscles? Big schlong? A pile of toot? A million bucks? And don't try any of that "one more wish" crap with me ... it don't work that way. If I had a nickel for every wise ass tried that with me, I'd be..." She scratched the red straw atop her head. "Rollin' in nickels."
Since a constant in Arthur's life was his dissatisfaction with being a 30-year-old virgin, Arthur's first impulse was to wish for getting laid. But before the request escaped him, he thought he should think big. How often was he granted a wish? And, anyway, this wasn't real, so he might as put things on a larger scale. He considered for a moment, thinking of just the right way to phrase his request. He didn't want any "Monkey's Paw" type repercussions.
"I'd like to be sexually irresistible."