I was startled awake this morning. I had just slapped the snooze button on my alarm clock (because, seriously, who wakes up on the first try?) and was just about back to sleep when a deep voice rattled the room and nearly made me piss my pants.
A dark-skinned man stood by my bed, arms crossed and a look of dire disappointment on his face. I couldn’t see his feet, but judging from this man’s posture and expression I would guess that he was impatiently tapping his toes. He was attired like Prince Ali Baba (Aladdin, people. Keep up with me.), except his clothes we sparkling as if they’d been bedazzled. Or glitter-bombed. It’s refreshing to know Michael Jackson’s tailor found work after he passed.
“Who the fuck are you and what are you doing in my room?” I asked him crazily. I didn’t mean for it to sound crazy, but I had just been startled awake, there was a strange man in my room (dressed like an Arab prince, no less), and I hadn’t had a single drop of coffee. I wasn’t sure which of these things was the most dire. In fact, I wasn’t entirely sure I wasn’t still asleep and stuck in some bizarre dream.
“I am a genie, but not your typical genie,” the Arabian prince(ss?) responded.
No words were necessary to convey just how skeptical I was of this man’s claim. I felt the pressure on my eyes as my eyebrows sunk as low as they possibly could. My slack jaw was agape. My facial expression was the instant message equivalent of saying “………”.
The self-proclaimed genie continued. “I am a genie, but my wish-granting capability has been severely limited. In fact, I only have one power so I can’t really grant wishes. I’m not even sure why I still refer to myself as a genie.”
“That’s great. Really, it is,” I interrupted. “Let’s get to the part that explains why you’re in my room, waking me up, and dressed like a glitter-bombed Arabian prince.”
“Ha ha,” the “genie” chuckled humorlessly. “Let’s don’t be an asshole, mkay? I’m here to do you a favor.”
“Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. And that favor is?”
“I can build you a magical tunnel that will quickly and secretly connect your home with the location of your choice — anywhere on Earth. Where would you like me to build that tunnel?”
Well, this HAS to be a dream, I thought. This is one of the most asinine things I’ve ever dreamt, too.
“That’s an awfully odd thing to be able to grant. Especially in this day in age where anywhere on Earth can be reached in a matter of hours.”
“Not like this,” the genie rejoined, a prideful look on his face. “The magical tunnel I create for you will allow you to travel it instantaneously! If your tunnel connects to Myrtle Beach you’re there just like that!” the genie cried while snapping his fingers for emphasis. “It’s like, ‘Beam me up, Scotty!’ So where would you like to go? Vegas? Miami? New York? London? Hawaii?”
I knew this was a dream, but I saw no harm in playing along. The worst thing that could happen is that I woke up. I considered this proposition carefully. Where would I like to go instantaneously? Oklahoma, where one of my best friends resides? England, where another does? Australia, where my BFFFL lives? Myrtle Beach? Disneyland? California? The possibilities were endless! After I thought about it, though, the answer was quite simple.
“Detroit.” I answered.
“Ah, Detroit, Pearl of the Orient!,” the genie said in a pitiful imitation of Gex. “Really… DETROIT? Out of all the places in the entire world you could go, you want to go to Detroit on a regular basis? For the love of Robin Williams, WHY?”
“Easy,” I retorted. “The majority of my family lives there and I rarely get to see them. In fact, I haven’t been back in years because I just haven’t had the money to go. Gas is expensive, as are hotels. With your magical tunnel, I can travel there in an instant and come back when I’m finished. No gas or hotel needed. I can save money to go to those other places.”
The genie considered this momentarily. “I see. I think I understand. This decision cannot be undone, though. Are you sure this is where you want your tunnel to lead?”
“Okie dokie. One magical tunnel to Detroit coming right up!”
The genie pulled a wand from his pants. I almost asked what else he kept in there. Or where, precisely, that wand was hiding this entire time. He began waving the wand around erratically while chanting in some language I did not recognize. One of the books on my Star Wars shelf began glowing. As the genie’s chant grew in intensity, so did the glow of my book. Closer inspection revealed that the glowing book was A New Hope, which seemed fitting somehow. The genie’s chants eventually ended, and the glow faded.
“What did you just do to my book?” I asked quizzically.
“That book is the catalyst for your tunnel.” The genie opened the door to my living room closet. “This door normally takes you to the Star Wars universe, yes?”
He closed the door, then pulled the book out about halfway. He then opened the door again. There was a magical, multicolored glow emanating from somewhere inside the closet. He looked at me with a smirk and said, “Follow me.” He then entered the door.
Intrigued, I followed him.