when you wish upon a star

by James

For a while the Genie lurked and observed. Timmy was on the bench, folded at the middle, hands clutched at his ankles. This was the boy who’d actually called himself a “ledge”.

The Genie smirked. Window ledge, maybe.

He sauntered on over, took a seat next to the lad. Still Timmy was prone and whimpering.

The Genie leant in, and in his most soothing whisper told the kid to relax. He said, ‘The accordion player has corralled the mighty python. All is good with the world. All is chaste.’

Timmy squinted through one eye. He saw that they were alone and sat up warily.

The Genie said, ‘How’s about it? Ready to change your wish?’

‘You bastard,’ Timmy said. ‘You utter, utter bastard.’

‘Who, me?’ said the Genie, in faux-indignation. ‘You said: anyone you fancy – their clothes come undone.’

‘I meant women!’ Timmy took a breath, and then in a slightly lower voice, added, ‘Not swarthy accordion players in low cut shirts.’

‘The wish does what you command…’

‘Change the wish then,’ said Timmy. ‘Tweak it. Only women I fancy; their clothes come undone.’

‘All for this Ellen girl? Would it not be easier, a simple love wish? She falls head over heels for you?’

‘Weren’t you listening? Revenge!’

Timmy’s voice took on a bitter tone. ‘I was eleven years old, and she and her mates tied me to the railings behind the sports hall. They pulled down my…and my…’

The words caught in his throat. The pain of it, the humiliation.

He began to smile again, picturing it. Little Miss Prima Donna on stage, and at the climax of her song, all her clothes coming undone.

‘Okay, so revenge,’ said the Genie. ‘But how about I do you a nice and simple single person revenge wish.’

Timmy smirked. ‘Hey. I’m a fourteen-year-old kid. What’s the harm in a little extra titillation?’

The Genie sighed deeply.

Become a genie, they said. Maybe peoples dream come true, they said.

Come the evening and Timmy was front and centre, camera running. He hoped to catch some of her clothes, and thence fashion an effigy to be burnt on Guy Fawkes night. He had to watch the play with his eyes screwed shut lest a wardrobe malfunction to the entire chorus line scupper the Big Moment.

Here it came, the climax to her song, the moment when she put her arms to the heavens and stretched out her body.


The skintight leotard failed to dissolve in a shower of sequins. Instead was the roar of the audience, the adulation, and the flowers. Ellen left the stage, fully clothed.


Timmy remained in his seat until it was only him and the Genie sitting there.

‘What the hell?’ Timmy said. ‘What happened to her clothes?’

‘Semantics, old bean. You changed the parameters. Any woman you found attractive. I don’t believe schoolgirls fall under that category.’

Timmy gaped. The Genie took out a piece of paper.

‘More bad news, I’m afraid. Notice of Three Wishes termination. It’s these modern times we live in; almost half the genies these days are women. It didn’t go over well, your forced nudey thing.’ The Genie sighed in sympathy. ‘Bet you wish you’d gone for that massive whanger idea I floated right at the start.’