In Toronto there lived a teenage girl named Allison. She had no father. She lived with her mother and uncle. They were poor, but she always did her best. She’d even fixed up a run down, abandoned motorcycle so it basically worked.
Allison was sometimes made fun of in school for her slovenly appearance and her lack of money. When this happened, it was her friend Barbara who always came to the rescue.
Barbara was from a wealthy Chinese family. Her parents had moved to Toronto shortly before she was born and had established themselves as a real societal presence. Allison was a little envious of Barbara’s money and prestige, but she never let those ill feelings affect the way she treated her.
One day, Barbara approached her after classes. “Hey, you want to go to karaoke? My treat.”
“I can’t today,” Allison answered. “I’m helping my uncle.”
“You shouldn’t,” Barbara advised. “He’s already gotten you arrested once.”
“I know,” Allison said. “But he’s promised we aren’t doing anything illegal.”
Barbara didn’t trust her uncle’s vow, but wasn’t able to persuade Allison.
Her uncle took her to a small antiques shop where several of his friends waited.
They did not look reputable but Allison didn’t believe in judging people solely on appearances.
“You got it?” her uncle asked.
His friend produced a small, tarnished ring. “It should create a blind spot in the system,” she said. “But it hasn’t been tested properly.”
Her uncle nodded. “I’ll get that test for you.” He pocketed the ring. “Fingers, come along with us.”
A spindly, dark-haired man joined them. Her uncle drove.
“Where are we going?” Allison asked. She was starting to feel more than a little suspicious.
“Just to the museum,” her uncle assured her. “Nothing to worry about.
True to his word, he stopped the car at the back of the museum.
“Wait here,” he told her. “We’re just going to make sure everything is situated for us.
Allison watched them disappear. By this point, she was absolutely certain they were up to no good and she should have listened to Barbara.
Her uncle and his friend returned presently.
“Okay,” her uncle said. “The back door is unlocked for us. Just go inside and grab the item on the examination table. Okay?”
“Uncle, we shouldn’t steal from the museum,” Allison protested. “Let’s just go.”
“Who’s stealing?” her uncle asked. “They left the door open for us, didn’t they? Relax. We’re just supposed to take it back to the antiques shop and return it in the morning. Now go on.”
Hesitantly, Allison stepped out of the car.
“Hold on,” her uncle said. “Wear this ring when you go in. I think it suits you.” He produced the ring from his pocket.
Allison obediently slipped it on her finger.
She didn’t want to do this. She should have listened to Babs.
The back door opened. She moved inside. There were all kinds of interesting artefacts sitting around on shelves. On the table, was a dusty old lamp.
Not the most interesting thing in the room, but maybe that meant they wouldn’t miss it.
She picked it up and hurried outside. Her uncle was gone and she could see why. An RCMP car had parked right near where her uncle had been.
Her heart sank. She closed the door back up, knowing she couldn’t really hide. Nervously, she stroked the old lamp.
Multi-coloured smoke spewed forth and a pink-haired woman with pointed ears and a belly dancer’s costume emerged.
“Who disturbs my slumber?” she asked, stretching.
“S… sorry,” Allison whispered.
The genie carefully studied Allison and smiled. “Very well, Mistress. You have three wishes. No wishing for more wishes. No immortality and no changing a person’s fundamental nature. Okay?”
“Then… I wish I was safely at home,” Allison said.
“Granted,” the Genie snapped her fingers and Allison found herself sitting on her own bed.
“Wow,” Allison murmured. “Can you do anything?”
“I already told you the three things I can’t do,” the genie answered.
“So, if I wished for a large sum of money and a brand new motorcycle that could really fly…” Allison began.
“Granted!” the genie snapped her fingers. A set of keys and a slip of paper fell into Allison’s hands.
“A Lotto 6/49 ticket?” Allison asked.
“A winning ticket,” the genie answered. “As for those keys, it’s outside.”
Allison hurried outside, carrying the lamp in her backpack. There was a sleek, red, brand new cycle waiting for her.
She put on her helmet and climbed into the seat. It started like a dream. The genie climbed behind her. “Go ahead, give it a test drive,” she said.
Allison obliged. “Hold on,” she said.
The genie shrugged and held on to Allison’s waist. The bike drove beautifully. There was a strange switch that Allison didn’t recognise. She decided to give it a quick flip and see what it did. The bike launched into the air, flying over the road.
“How?” Allison wondered.
“You asked for a bike that could ‘really fly’,” the genie reminded her.
“This is so cool!” Allison exclaimed. “I have to show Babs!”
“Then I will wait for your last wish,” the genie said. She vanished back into the lamp.
Allison touched the bike back down and hurried to Barbara’s house.
She moved to the back and tossed a small pebble at Barbara’s window. Barbara stuck her head out a moment later. Allison waved her over.
“What happened?” Barbara whispered. “Did your uncle have you do anything bad?”
“Babs, you have to see this!” Allison said. “Trust me, it’s amazing!” She pulled Allison over to her new bike.
“How did you afford this?” Barbara asked. “Your uncle didn’t steal it, did he?”
Allison shook her head. “No, it’s really mine. Hop on the back. I have to show you something.”
Barbara hesitated, but she took a seat behind Allison and held on to her. Allison handed Barbara her spare helmet.
Allison launched the bike directly into the sky.
Babs held on tight, calmed down and started enjoying the view.
“Ally, how does this work?” Barbara asked.
“I don’t know, but it’s the greatest thing of all time,” Allison said.
She took Barbara for a short flight. The pair ended up landing on a hill. They got off the bike and lied down in the grass.
“Ally, you have to explain this to me,” Barbara pleaded, sitting up. “If you’re in trouble or did something…”
Allison shifted so she was using Barbara’s lap as a pillow. Barbara stroked her hair.
Allison explained everything. The museum, the genie, her wishes.
“You believe me?” Allison asked.
“It’s a lot to believe,” Barbara said. “But I know that you wouldn’t lie to me. May I see the genie?”
Allison fumbled with her backpack and found the lamp. She rubbed it and the genie emerged in the same rainbow plume of smoke.
“You have a final wish for me?” she asked.
“Not yet, I just wanted to show Babs that you’re real,” Allison answered.
The genie winked at Barbara. “Satisfied or do you need to touch me?”
Barbara’s face flushed.
“That’s enough!” Allison declared.
“Fine,” the genie said. She went back into her lamp.
“It truly is a miracle,” Barbara said. “But will you be okay? If your uncle finds out…”
“He won’t,” Allison insisted. “I’ll hide the bike for now and find my own flat with the money from the ticket.”
“Then, I’ll come over and see you,” Barbara said.
“I’ll look forward to it,” Allison said.
Little did either one realise that Allison’s uncle had seen her flying on a brand new bike with a strange, pink-haired girl riding behind. And he’d deduced what had happened. Not only that, he was determined to have the genie’s lamp for himself.
He waited near Barbara’s house. He’d parked far away and crept close. He waited for his niece to drop her off and he quickly abducted her.
Late that night, Allison was woken up because her uncle was on the phone and insisted on talking with her.
“Hello?” she asked, feeling very sleepy.
“I know about the genie,” her uncle said. “So, let me put this simply. You bring me the lamp and I won’t hurt your little friend. Say hi.”
Allison heard Barbara’s voice “Ally I…” the phone was quickly pulled away from her.
“So, we have a deal?”
“Just don’t hurt her!” Allison declared. “Where do you need me to go?”
“The Antique shop,” her uncle answered. “And you’d better be here by dawn.”
Allison hurriedly dressed. She grabbed her backpack and rubbed the lamp. “Genie, I have my last wish.”
Barbara was terrified. She had ropes tied tightly, binding her to a chair. Allison’s uncle was there with three other people.
“You sure she’ll come?” one asked.
“Sure she will,” Allison’s uncle answered. Barbara here is her little girlfriend. And she’s the type to do a lot for love.”
Barbara was just starting to wrap her mind around the words when she heard an engine outside.
“Uncle, I’m here!” Allison’s voice rang out. “Give me Babs back!”
Her uncle nodded and two of his friends untied Barbara. Each one grabbed one of her arms and they dragged her outside. Allison was sitting there with the lamp in her hand.
“You gonna hand that over?” her uncle asked.
“An exchange,” Allison said. “The lamp for Babs. But I’ll ask you, as your family. Please, reconsider. You don’t have to take things from others to survive.”
Her uncle grabbed Barbara himself and dragged her towards Allison. “Family or not, this is an opportunity I can’t miss. You see, I’ve always wanted to have absolute power over a nation and Canada would be so much stronger with me as Emperor.” he said. He pushed Barbara towards her. “Now, hand it over.”
Allison held out the lamp and quickly grabbed Barbara as he was taking it.
He eagerly rubbed the lamp.
“Your wish is granted!” the genie declared. She snapped her fingers and Allison’s uncle, as well as his companions, was in chains.
“The contract, is fulfilled,” she decreed. The dusty old lamp vanished.
“What is this?” he demanded. “What have you done?”
“I made my last wish,” Allison answered. “The RCMP should be here soon. With all the evidence they need to take care of you.”
She untied Barbara and took her back home.
“I’m sorry,” Allison said, removing her helmet. “Are you okay?”
“I may be better than ever,” Barbara said. She took off her own helmet, leaned down towards Allison. “Your uncle said you were in love with me.”
“I… I… that is…” Barbara interrupted her with a kiss.
“When you get your own place, let’s live together,” Barbara said. “Always.”
Allison stood up and kissed Barbara back. “Always.” she agreed.