“Genie in the Drum” short story by Matt Janacone

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    “Genie in the Drum”
    Matt Janacone

    Once there was a couple Tom and Jean who wanted to have a baby, but no matter how hard they tried, even with the help of the best doctors, modern procedures and medicine, they had no success. So, they decided to go on a vacation to the Caribbean to forget about their problem for a while, but it turned out to be a vacation they would never forget.

    The couple was on the island of St. Matthew. Tom was alone. He heard a light, bouncy, soothing sound. He looked in its direction. He saw a jolly mon playing a steel drum.

    He went up to the jolly mon.

    “Soothing sound, isn’t it?” the jolly mon said to Tom.

    “Yes, very soothing,” Tom said.

    “Would you like to buy one?” the jolly mon asked.

    “How much are they?” Tom asked.

    “This one is $1, 500,” the jolly mon replied.

    “That’s too much for me,” Tom said.

    “I’m very sorry, sir,” the jolly mon said.

    Tom walked away sadly, but before he had gotten too far away, the jolly mon spoke, “I tell you what. I’ll give you the drum I’m sitting on.”

    The drum showed what looked like years of dents, dust and rust.

    “I can’t promise you the drum will sound very well, but you can have it for nothing.”

    “Thank you!” Tom said.

    When Jean met up with Tom, she saw the drum and asked, “What on earth is that?”

    “A steel drum,” Tom said proudly. “It’s a musical instrument.”

    “Huh!” Jean said. “I bet if dropped a bucket it would sound better than that.”

    The couple took the drum home. When Tom was alone, he tried to play the drum. He tapped on it lightly with the erasers on two pencils.

    At first it looked as if all he had done was lift the dust and rust from the drum, but it wasn’t dust or rust. It was smoke, and when it cleared, a genie appeared.

    Tom was astonished until the genie spoke.

    “Greetings! I am the genie of the drum. I will grant you…uh, now what was it?”

    “—Three wishes,” Tom reminded him.

    “Yes. That’s it. Thank you,” the genie said. “You’ll have to excuse me. I am a genie but an absent-minded one, but if you make three wishes, I will do the best I can to see that they are granted.”

    Skeptical at this point, Tom said, “Wait. Let me get my wife.”

    Tom returned with Jean. The genie introduced himself to Jean.

    “He’s an absent-minded one,” Tom told her.

    “Should we ever try?” Jean asked Tom.

    “Anything,” the genie interrupted.

    “Alright,” Jean challenged as she glanced over to Tom. “We’ll wish for a baby.”

    “Very well,” the genie said. “I’ll try to remember.”

    That night before Tom and Jean turned in, Jean asked Tom, “Do you think I should remind the genie about our wish?”

    Tom shrugged. “It wouldn’t hurt.”

    Jean reminded the genie about their wish, and the genie thanked her from the bottom of his heart.

    The next morning the couple awoke like children on Christmas Morning, but there was no sign of a baby anywhere.

    Then suddenly the doorbell rang. They rushed to the front door to answer it, only to find the neighbor next door. The neighbor stood proudly then announced that his wife was pregnant!

    Jean sighed.

    Although it wasn’t easy, Jean and Tom congratulated their neigh and his wife. They politely as they could, they said good-bye to their neighbor, then went to see the genie.

    The genie pleaded her, “Please you have another wish! Let me try again!”

    Jean said to the genie, “Alight alright. Since it’s all we want, just make it our second wish.”

    That night, once more, before Tom and Jean turned in, Jean reminded the genie about their second wish, and the genie thanked her ounce more from the bottom of his heart.

    The next morning when Tom and Jean awoke, Jean asked Tom, “Should we even look?

    He took her hand and said, “Come on.”

    They looked throughout the house but found no infant, then suddenly the doorbell rang.

    “Should we even answer it?” Jean asked.

    He took her by the hand. “Come on.”

    They answered the door only to find the other neighbor next door. He, too, stood tall then proudly announced that his wife was pregnant—with twins!

    Jean turned to Tom. It was really difficult, but they congratulated their neigh, politely said good-bye to him, then returned to the genie, Jean with tears in her eyes.

    The genie, who had once floated above the drum, suddenly fell to his knees. “Please!” he pleaded to Jean. “You still have one more wish! Let me try one more time! You have one more wish!”

    “No,” Jean said in as collectively and nicely a manner as she could, “I’m sorry but that’s it. I’ve had enough.”

    “Please, Tom,” Jean continued, looking away from the genie, “tell him to go then get rid of that drum, will you?”

    The genie collapsed in complete failure.

    That night Tom flung the drum toward the curb with the garbage. When the drum landed, the impact from the ground banged it up even more.

    Early the next morning a sound awoke the Tom and Jean. It wasn’t the sound of the loud garbage truck—they would have quickly turned over and gone back to sleep. Instead the couple turned to each other in complete puzzlement. It was the sound of a crying baby. The baby seemed to be just outside their front door!

    They exploded with excitement from the bed and ran to the front door. They hesitated for a moment. Then with their eyes closed they opened the door. When they opened their eyes and looked down they beamed!

    There on the stoop doormat laid the steel drum. Bundled in a beach blanket inside the steel drum lay the most beautiful baby they had ever seen.

    ~ The End ~

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