Wizard Lamp

Sure, lots of wizards live in castles, and forbidden fortresses, and stuff, but not all of them. Sometimes, a wizard just wants to get away from everyone and really concentrate themselves for a while, you know? The great thing about being magical is that you have a lot of options as far as accommodations go. You can create your own pocket dimension and stay in there as long as you like, or you can became one of those fangly-dangly fish and live at the bottom of the ocean, or you can literally just disappear for a while and live in someone else’s house, which not only saves a lot of money, but sometimes they think you’re a ghost, and you can really mess with their heads.

One other thing you can do, or at least a thing this one guy I heard about did, is shrink yourself down really small and live inside, like, a shoebox or something. This is great because you can make chairs out of buttons, and bathtubs out of teacups, and shit like that. It’s pretty fun and is especially good for “crafty” type wizards. That’s the kind of wizard the guy I mentioned was. His name was Polverel, and he decided to shrink himself down really tiny and live inside this old oil lamp he had.

Because Polverel really wanted to get away from people and not be bothered, he also put the lamp deep in this one cave he knew about. That way, he could go about his crafting in peace. He was about three days in and was just figuring out how to turn a pencil into a couch, when suddenly his lamp started vibrating like crazy and shook all the postage stamps he had hung up like posters off the walls. “Da fuck?” he thought to himself.

Figuring maybe some cave rats had gotten a hold of the lamp and were dragging it back to their gross lair, he popped out at full size ready to blast them to holy heck. You can imagine his surprise when instead he saw a lady dressed in hiking clothes standing in front of him grinning like an idiot.

“Oh great genie of the lamp!” said the lady. “Are you read to grant my first wish?”

“Da fuck?” said Polverel out loud this time.

“Sorry, how exactly does this work? I mean, I know sometimes you guys like to do a monkey paw thing where you kind of make things go bad in an ironic way, and I’d like to avoid that if possible, but I don’t want to waste a wish on it. I mean, I guess I will if I have to though.”

“Listen lady, you don’t have to do anything other than put my lamp down and get out of the cave, okay?”

“Erm, okay. I mean, would you, like, rather do this outside or something? Is that what you’re saying?”

“No, I’m saying that I spent a lot of time turning an acorn cap into a little sink and you just ruined it, and I would like it very much if you were to go home or really just anywhere else.”

“Wow, well you don’t have to be rude. You know, I was thinking about using my third wish to grant your freedom, but you might as well forget about that now.”

“You think I need you to tell me I’m free?! Last week, I made love to a unicorn! And afterwards, I created a portal to hell and told the devil to kiss my butt, just because I could! I’m the freest motherfucker you’ve ever met! Next to me, birds are like indentured servants! So maybe you should take your attitude, and your weak-ass hiking pole, and stick them both up your ass.”

“Look, I understand that you’re probably grumpy from spending centuries in that lamp, so I’m going to overlook all that and not wish for your lamp to be buried in the center of the earth or something. So can we please just get down to business? Obviously, we’d both like this to be over as soon as possible.”

Now Polverel was starting to get nervous. Was this lady maybe some sort of super powerful sorceress, and that’s why she was being so pushy? Regardless, it seemed like she wasn’t going anywhere until he helped her with whatever problem it was she was having, so he decided to play along.

“Okay,” he said, “I’ll grant you one wish, if you promise to leave me alone and get out of here, although keep in mind I’m only level five, so I can’t even banish creatures from another plane if they have more than four hit dice.”

“Only one huh?” said the woman, looking disappointed. “Well, I mean, I guess I didn’t expect any wishes when I got up this morning, so it’s still a pretty good deal. Give me a minute to think about it.”

“Fine, whatever, take your time,” said Polverel, sitting down in a corner. “It’s not like I have a life of my own or anything.”

If the woman noticed his sarcasm, she didn’t mention it. She leaned up against the wall of the cave and started muttering to herself in a way that Polverel found extremely irritating and that seemed to go on forever.

Finally, just as Polverel was considering blasting her to holy heck after all (which by the way is a real place), she stood up and declared, “I’ve got it!”

“Oh great,” said Polverel. “I await your command with bated breath.”

This time the woman totally caught his sarcasm but chose to ignore it.

“I was thinking about what’s most important in life, and I’ve decided that it’s love.” She looked very proud of herself for coming to that conclusion, but Polverel looked unimpressed, so she pressed on. “My wish is to find a deep and total love that lasts the rest of my life!”

“Oh a love spell? Is that all?” said Polverel, looking around the cave for something suitable. “I wish I had known that was all you wanted. This could have been over an hour ago.”

Eventually, his eyes lit on a tall stalagmite coming up from the middle of the cave floor. “Fine,” he said, waving his arms around. “You love that stalagmite. See you later.” And with that, he cast the spell and popped himself back into his lamp.

Polverel spent the next several decades re-decorating his lamp and having a great time making crystal balls out of marbles and shit. The truth is, even though he complained about the woman wasting his time, wizards live a really long life and spend most of it goofing off, so it wasn’t actually that big a deal.

Fifty years later, when he finally came back out of the lamp, he had forgotten all about her, and for a minute, he wondered why there was a leathery skeleton clinging to a rock next to his lamp. Eventually, he remembered what happened and kind of felt bad, but the truth is she did look happy (although really, all skeletons kind of look like they’re smiling).

Art by Miranda Britton

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