The glint of sun on metal stabbed Sheila’s eyes. Another mirage, she thought, as the sand in her eyes blinked sand out of its eyes. A cavalcade of mirages had cycled from life-saving to surreal to downright ridiculous. After wasting precious energy to scuttle on all fours after the cast of Welcome Back Kotter, she promised she’d stop believing her eyes.

 

But the heliographic notification wouldn’t go away. Sheila crawled closer. The bulbous belly of a lamp poked from the sand. Her blistered fingers brushed brass. The sound of a thousand whoopie cushions filled the desert. Smoke coalesced into a turban-topped giant. “Who disturbs the mighty Djinn?”

 

“Hot damn, for my first wish I want a milkshake that brings all the boys to the yard.”

 

The smoky giant deflated into a garden gnome. “Sorry. Budget cuts. We’ve had to cut back on some of the frills. The new deal is you get to pick three toppings on a large pizza.”

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