Written by Darrel Duckworth / Artwork by Marge Simon
A Complex Relationship
Her new Host in the human world was an idiot!

Men were idiots! But her new Host was the King of Idiots!

She had given him his every wish…and more.

She had “improved” his writing talent. Now he spent most
of his spare time banging stories out on his computer and
he was well on his way to finishing his first novel.

The only time his fingers weren’t on the keyboard was
when they were on his guitar. He had always wanted to be
able to play in the Spanish style. Now—thanks to her—he
could.

Endlessly!

In some ways, she admired him. He rejected the usual
money, fame and power wishes, saying he wanted to earn
things himself. Unfortunately, he hadn’t been born with
the sort of talents humans rewarded.

Even his honesty about his talents had been endearing.
Most humans blustered and convinced themselves they
were greater, more talented and more deserving than
they were. His self-honesty was refreshing.

She had been happy to help him work his own way to
happiness.

Just like she had been happy to take him to places all over
the world. They had enjoyed dinner in the Caribbean,
lunch in Spain, coffee on top of Mount Fuji…and more.

He said he wanted to get in better shape but again, insisted on doing the work himself. He just wished his efforts
would be more productive. She had made it so, altering his physiology so it would be easier for him to work off the
“love handles.” Then, without even being asked, she had installed exercise equipment for his use.

She liked watching him exercise.

She had also secretly…subtly altered his face to be more handsome, shrunk his nose a bit, and increased his body
hair some. Hairy men were sexier.

She’d done it all for him, happily. This had been one of the most pleasant visits to the human world she’d had as a
genie.

But this? This was too much!

~ * ~

He was surprised by her anger. She hadn’t responded like this to any of his other wishes.

“What? No one ever asked you for this before?”

“Of course they have!” she barked. “Many times. That’s not the point!”

“So what’s the big deal? I’m not asking you to brainwash some girl into being my love slave. All I asked you to do
was help me find my true love.”

She was looking at him like he was an idiot.

“Find your true love?” she asked, incensed. “Is that it?”

“Yes.”

“Fine! Let me help you find your true love.”

She waved her hand and he was seated in front of his computer.

“I’m sure the two of you will continue to have a wonderful relationship together.”

“Very funny.”

“Shall I fetch your guitar?” she asked sarcastically. “The three of you can have a
ménage à troi.”

“That’s hilarious,” he said standing up. “Okay, maybe this is that ‘vagueness’ problem you talked about. ‘True love’
is too vague. Let me be more specific. I’m not so much worried about how she looks or what color her hair or eyes
are. I want a girl that…meets all my needs.”

“Meets all your needs?” Genie asked, incredulous. “Oh wait. I think I know just the girl.”

She waved her hand and his arms were wrapped around an inflatable, sex doll. Her rubber lips were kissing his nose.

“Cute,” he said, pushing the doll away from his face and setting it on the computer chair. “But I wasn’t just talking
about sex and you know it. I’m looking for someone special. Smart. Good conversation. Likes to cuddle. Someone
who will take care of me. But low maintenance.”

“Someone who’ll take care of you but not ask for much in return,” she prompted.

“Something like that.”

“I know just the woman.”

A picture of his mother appeared in his hands.

He nodded. “Oh yeah. We’re funny today.”

He set the picture on the computer desk. Then he turned it to face away from the naked, rubber doll.

“Okay. Obviously, something about this request has you upset. Maybe we could take some time and you could help
me understand what it is I’m missing.”

She smiled that sweet smile again. “An excellent suggestion.”

She waved her hand.

“Wait a—”

“—minute.”

He was in a white room. White floor. White walls. White ceiling.

On the walls hung photographs of various sizes…all of them pictures of Genie. On the floor was a huge hourglass.
The funnel neck between the almost-full, upper glass and the empty, lower glass was very tiny. Only a few grains of
sand could trickle through. It would take a very long time for the sand to empty into the lower glass.

On top of the hourglass there was another picture of Genie, smiling sardonically.

Suddenly, he realized.

Oh boy.

Yes, he’d thought she was beautiful. In fact, he’d been trying to not stare at her. He had just never thought that
she…

Oh boy.

He’d never been very good at relationships. And now…he was in trouble.

“Uh. Genie. Okay. I get it now. I just…didn’t…clue in before. Genie? Can we talk? Genie?”

There was no reply.

He looked at the huge hourglass again... and the grains trickling down so slowly.

He’d asked for “some time” and for her to “help him figure it out.” Apparently, whatever rules required her to give
him what he asked for, allowed for interpretation.

This was going to be a complex relationship.

He sat down and started thinking about exactly what he was going to say when she brought him back. He had a
hunch he was going to have to learn to watch his words very carefully.
THE LORELEI SIGNAL
After a career in high tech Darrel Duckworth returned to his first love,
writing. He now spends more time on other worlds, occasionally
returning to Earth to refill his coffee mug. His stories can be found in
magazines such as LORE, Bards and Sages, and Plasma Frequency
and in anthologies such as “Coven” and “Wild Things.”