Loose the Genie

10 10 2012

This is the start of a longer piece that never got finished. There’s still some lovely language in here, and the hint of a worthy narrative, but I don’t think I’ll get it done!

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Things started badly. Me and the Martian cracked loose a piece of
blue-stained glass from the window of the sacristy. He chose it. Blue
was his favourite colour. He wore blue jeans, blue combat sweater,
blue socks, creased blue keds. We called him the Martian not because
he was always in blue, but because his face looked like something from
another planet. Now his favourite colour is dead.

The break-in was simple. We released the dish of blue glass from the
grasp of the soft lead that kept the window together, then reached in
and unhooked the hasp that held the pane shut. Then we crept in, the
bold Martian and me, speckled with light filtered through a
multicoloured virgin, into the close warmth of the sacristy proper.

Have you ever noticed how heightened your poor blunt human senses can
become when adrenaline floods your veins? Each footstep was the crash
of a maverick, my heart the acme of the drummer’s art. We weaved
through the open window and alighted on thin carpet by way of
smooth mahogany. We were enveloped by the tang of incense, the glowing
aroma of wax polish, and the whole lot spiked through with the thin
sharpness of old human sweat. I can see the complex smell of that
place now in one of the eyes of my mind, a psychedelic swirl of melted

It was the Martian’s plan to get in to steal wine from the
priests. We did this because we could, because we were young, and
foolish, and as densely packed with energy as a neutron star is with
mass, and we had nowhere to spend it all. That’s why we went in, but I
was the only one to come out. That was a long time ago now. The Martian
has gone, and I have changed, and Abzar, the third of the triumvirate,
is now stranger than any of us can understand. And all that is
because of what we found in there, and how we brought it out, being
nothing but dumb kids. We opened the bottle and let out the genie, and
the genie is nothing like what anyone expected.

The Martian had stopped with his back to me, keds planted wide, knees
bent, arms outstretched and fingers spread – a request for
stillness. He scoped the place, moving the radar of his face from side
to side until satisfied we were alone. Then he looked over at his
shoulder and grinned a crooked smile at me. “We’re in, boy. Let’s get




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