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"Three wishes, to be exact. And ixnay on the wishing for more wishes. That's all. Three. Uno, dos, tres. No substitutions, exchanges or refunds." – Genie, Aladdin


CHAPTER ONE –

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A whacked-up type writer? No. A picture of a depressed looking boy? That's not right, either. How about a purple sock monkey? Yeah, right!

Sighing, I returned the sock monkey in its proper place, next to a bundle of old animal patterned ties.

Maybe Nana can use those as headbands? No, Danny got her that last year.

"Any luck, Hun?" Miss Marin, the owner of the antique shop, asked.

I shook my head, "No."

"Well listen, I'm getting new shipments tomorrow afternoon. If you still haven't found anything, feel free to stop by. Okay?"

I nodded, giving the woman a flashy grin, "Sure, thanks!"

"Oh, and one more thing," Miss Marin said, holding up a long, thin, wrinkly finger that brought back memories when I thought that she was a witch, before disappearing at the top of the wooden stairs located behind the counter.

I looked around the store, trying to find something eye catching.

So far, no such luck.

Why do I have to get a present for Nana, anyways? I thought bitterly, it's not like she'll ever use it. What if she doesn't even like it? Especially with Death lurking at the other side of the door.

Trust me, I love my Nana, but she's as old as this store, or Miss Marin, a widowed old woman who has more wrinkles than I could count.

The sound of objects rubbing against each other snapped me out of my thoughts. I turned, but instead of seeing Miss Marin, I saw George Henderson, one of Miss Marin's grandsons.

He was holding a cardboard box labeled 'Genie' in big, black sharpie on every side.

I grinned.

I was a regular at this store. Always have been since the summer of fifth grade. I've been going to this store almost every single day and bought things that fascinated me. I even got discounts for them after going her nearly everyday after school for two whole years.

I've also been here long enough to know that Miss Marin has seven children and over twenty grandchildren, three of which work here.

"Hey Gigi," George smiled, using my nickname.

"Hello," I sang, returning the smile. "What's in there?"

"Some stuff that Granny saved for you. There's probably a cursed lamp in here or two. Aunt Jenna also brought some stuff from her archeology job, so there might be a bunch of money from the B.C's. And hey, if you ever find Cleopatra's jewelry in there, be sure to hit me up."

I snorted. "You're such a gold digger."

George shrugged. "I'm just trying to make some real money, that's all."

"He's also trying to sell the family store." Gina, George's cousin, said from behind. She was holding two open boxes and placed them next to a floor-to-ceiling book shelf. "Hey, Gigi, how's it going?"

"Oh, the usual. I just need to find a present for my grandma," I answered.

"Ah," Gina said knowingly, nodding her head.

"So, found anything you like in here?" George piped up, pointing at the box with my name on it.

My eyes returned to the box, it looked like there were some interesting artifacts in there.

"Yeah, but I don't think that I can take anything right now. I'm going to have to go grocery shopping, and I still have to go gift hunting."

"Is your car still broken?" asked Gina.

"Not as much as before," I replied, "it still needs a few more touches, but Billy told me that it should be done by the end of the week. Do you think you can save any of those stuff for me for that long?"

"Sure thing, Hun," said Miss Marin, emerging from the top of the stairs. "Sorry, it took me so long. I was trying to find my comb."

"Granny, you have a million combs," George pointed out, "I'm sure that one will pop out in every corner, box, shelf … Pretty much everywhere."

"No, Georgey, I was looking for my special comb."

Gina and I snickered. Georgey. It sounded like a name for a cute five year old kid, not a seventeen year old teenage boy.

"You should know that, Georgey," Gina teased.

"Oh, shut up," George grumbled. He's always hated the nickname Mrs. Marin came up for him when he was six. He always said that it was unmanly and not very flattering at all.

I checked the time on my wrist watch.

5:50 P.M.

I didn't realize it was starting to get late. I didn't even notice that I was in here for over an hour!

"I've got to go now," I announced, still looking at my silver watch and its burgundy leather strap.

"Okay then, bye!" Gina said, giving me a quick buddy hug.

"See you later then," said George with a grin.

"Remember to come back, soon!" Miss Marin added.

Gina rolled her eyes, "She'll probably come back tomorrow, Granny."

I chuckled. "Actually, I'm not sure if I can. But I'll try to stop by when I can. Bye!"

The door opened and a chiming sound filled my ears when the door hit the silver chimes hanging from the ceiling.

"Bye!" they sang, sounding like a chorus that was out of tune.

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The air was hot and humid, even at seven o' clock P.M.

My arms were wrapped around two big grocery bags filled with canned food, vegetables, bottles of juices and water, and two cartoons of milk.

I wanted to drop everything, walk to the Baskin Robinson's across the street and buy loads of ice cream. A sundae sounded good right now.

My mouth was beginning to water and I could almost taste the vanilla, strawberry, and –

Ring! Ring!

"Hey, lady! Watch out!" a voice cried out.

Huh?

I turned around and saw three people biking, they looked like that they were racing each other. And their mouths were moving, but I didn't hear anything. I was too busy watching the fat kid huffing and sweating immensely. A toy dog sat on the basket of his bike, yelping.

"Hey! Get out of the way!"

What are they talking about? Are they talking to me? Or – oh. I see what's going on. It looks like that they can't stop their bikes and they're heading straight at me.

Wait ... what?

It seems that my body worked a lot faster than my brain, because pretty soon I found myself jumping at the side of the sidewalk. A burning bush plant, two ficus bushes, three spider plants, four skinny trees, a patch of small flowers, and a mossy rock were right next to me – and I landed on top of them.

I was still holding onto the grocery bags and only a few contents spilled out. Thank God. If all the food were to spill out, or even worse, have the bags rip, I would have chased those kids and beat them silly.

Grumbling and muttering a few obscenities under my breath, I got up on my knees and began to search for the canned foods that fell out of the bag. This was harder than I originally thought it would be, with all of these plants and dirt around me, I'd most likely take me an hour before I find everything! Thankfully, I immediately found two canned foods, but I know that more of them fell out.

Where is it at?

I lifted up the long leaves of the spider plant and saw one more canned food.

I must have looked like an idiot searching for food in that puny wild garden. Or even a desperate, soon-to-be homeless person, since my clothes were semi-clean.

Stupid kids, I thought bitterly.

Hmm, is it me or did my thoughts sound like a cranky old man who screams at young children, telling them to get off his lawn before he calls the authorities?

A car passed by, honking.

"Nice butt crack!" a guy's voice yelled.

I immediately sat up and felt my cheeks heating up. I turned around to say something back, but the car had already turned a corner and disappeared. I pulled up my pants and cursed the shirt I was wearing. I couldn't tuck it in to hide my behind; the one day I decide to wear a short shirt and this happens!

Something shiny flashed at the corner of my eye.

Canned food?

My head turned at the direction of the shiny light, it was hidden deep in the burning bush. I wonder how I can get it. Looking around, I saw a long, thick stick that reminded me of a walking stick and picked it up. This will do.

I moved away some of the leaves and inserted the stick in there. I moved it around until I saw it hit the shiny canned food and I made the stick roll the can until it was close enough for me to bend down and grab it with my hand.

It didn't feel like a can. It was wider and I think I felt a handle.

What the flip?

I took out the object and arched up my eyebrows. It was a white teapot with a black swirled pattern covering it. It looked new and clean. I wonder who would throw this away.

Shrugging my shoulders, I put the pot next to the grocery bags and continued looking for the canned goods.

Wait a minute!

My spine straightened as my back shot up, an idea coming to my mind. I felt a smile forming on my lips.

I now know what to get for my Nana, well, actually, I already have it.

I began to nod, my eyes were closed and I was sure that my smile was starting to look creepy.

Yes, yes. The teapot would be appreciated by Nana. And best of all, I didn't even have to buy it!

I was probably in that position for who-knows-how-long, contemplating my plan and mentally congratulating myself.

I saw an image of people who were gathered up in a big room that were shaking my hand, sending me toothy smiles that reached their ears, and at the background Nana was opening her present from moi. She placed a wrinkly, fragile, old hand over her chest, and stumbled backwards, getting a heart attack from my oh-so-amazing birthday gift!

I continued to nod my head and I felt my smile widen, I was so into my reverie that I failed to see a wisp of smoke coming out of the pot, or hear an eerie voice whispering, "Master?"