[an error occurred while processing this directive] ZEPHYR Magazine
                              T H E
                           Z E P H Y R
                  __     M A G A Z I N E
                 Issue #32                12-1-86
            A weekly electronic magazine for users of 
                        THE ZEPHYR II BBS 
                    (Mesa, AZ - 602-894-6526)
                owned and operated by T. H. Smith
                    Editor - Gene B. Williams 
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                            (c) 1986

   Isn't vacation wonderful? 
   Two issues in a row from other users!!! I'm gonna get spoiled 
- or at very least I'll get some work of my own done so I can pay 
for Chr.shtmlas. (Lessee, Santy. I want a Porsh, and a camcorder, 
and an AT or two, and . . . that cute blond next in line . . . 
and . . . .)
   Well, enough of that. What counts is that John Arbon is back 
with yet another story. This time you're going to get it just as 
he sent it to me. No editing except for format. 
     He calls it . . .

                            THE WISH

                          by John Arbon

    As he stepped out of the bar he tripped over nothing and 
fell.  He didn't feel any pain as the gravel bit into his knees, 
the alcohol had deadened his nerves and his mind.  He collected 
himself, got his legs working and stumbled down the road.  He 
didn't care where he was going, he just went remembering.
    "Honey, I'm home," he'd said one day about four months ago.  
There was no answer, no note, and nobody but himself.  Supper 
wasn't on the table.  He thought it must have been some type of 
unimportant emergency that had taken his wife away from her 
responsibilities, so he waited.  He threw his coat over a chair, 
loosened his tie and sat down to watch the evening news, eating a 
TV dinner.  The news passed, and he suffered through the sit-coms 
until eleven thirty.  He stood and turned off the TV and went 
upstairs to his room, only to discover that everything his wife 
had owned was gone.  He ran downstairs to his son's room.  His 
son's clothing and toys were gone too.  The only thing he found 
that indicated they had even been there was a child's storybook 
about a genie and a fisherman.
    Two days later he received a subpoena.  It demanded that he 
appear in court a week from that day, his wife was divorcing him.  
It stated that the reasons why she wanted the divorce.  The top 
one read, "Infidelity".
    "Infidelity," he mumbled as he walked, "there was no infidel
ity, no unfaithfulness." He paused, thought for a moment, and 
went on, "Sometimes I had to stay at the office until early 
morning.  But, I had a good reason.  We were working on a new 
product and had to meet a deadline.  That's not infidelity is 
it?" His mouth ran down and he remembered again.

    He'd had a dream, a nightmare.

    He awakened, showered and dressed, eaten a normal breakfast, 
and gotten into the car.  As he drove to the court building, he 
took note that the terrain was black and white.
    He found himself in the courtroom.  It was full of spectators 
interested in his case.  The courtroom stretched as far as the 
eye could see and they were filling it.  It seemed the whole city 
was there.
    His wife was sitting at a table opposite his, but his son was 
nowhere to be seen, He turned and saw the judge's pulpit, it was 
massive; it looked as if it was purposefully constructed to be 
    The crier bellowed, "All rise!" Everyone rose and towered 
above him, even though he was standing also.  The judge walked in 
and sat at the pulpit.  His face was fat and the wig on his head 
was greasy and tangled.  His eyes looked as if they were going to 
pop out of his head as he slowly looked around the room.  They 
came to rest on the defendant.  Fat lips opened and the voice 
filled the room, "You want a divorce?"
    He was barely able to choke out, "No," he was shaking so 
badly.  The flesh turned toward his wife and repeated the 
question.  She towered above her soon-to-be ex-husband, and 
pointed to him, "Yes, your honor, I want to divorce this!"
    "This," the soon-to-be thought, "is human and loves you!"
    The judge spoke again, "You have your divorce.  Now for the 
child." A cage was dragged in, his son was in it.
    "What the Hell's going on here!" the-now-ex-husband yelled.
    The judge's head swiveled, his eyes bulging to the bursting 
point, and his face a distinct shade of purple.  "You will be 
quiet, or I will hold you in contempt of court!" Spittle dribbled 
from his lower lip as he spat out the last word.  He wiped it off 
with the back of his hand.  No one seemed to mind but the-now-ex, 
and he had shriveled up and pushed himself as far back into the 
chair as possible at the force of those words.
    "Now," the judge continued, "what are you?" The question was 
directed toward the-now-ex.  The seconds it took him to answer 
seemed like and eternity, "What do you mean?"
    The judge leaned as far forward as his huge gut would allow, 
his obese lips opened and the-now-ex felt as though he was about 
to be sucked in.  But, instead of that, the putrid breath of the 
judge assailed him along with the explanation, "I mean are you 
male or female?"
    "Male," the-no-ex managed to cough out.
    "Very well, the boy goes to you," the judge said turning to 
the wife.  She started to laugh, and as she so, she took hold of 
the rope and started to drag away the cage.
    "NO!" the-now-ex screamed.  In desperation he started running 
toward the cage, but was blocked by the spectators, they towered 
above him.
    "No!  No!"
    They just started to laugh.
    To the judge he screamed, "Stop her, damn you!  Stop her!"
    Then the judge laughed, cruel and harsh.  It filled the room, 
it filled the empty spaces left by the spectators' laughter, and 
it ran like tar against his legs as he tried to catch his rapidly 
disappearing son.  He cried as he realized that he had lost.  
But, he could not stop.
    It was here that he woke up sweaty and shaking.
    The actual court proceedings were too painful for him to 
remember, but he recalled a statement made by his now-ex-wife, 
"Yes, I am now engaged to marry a man who can take care of me and 
my son."
    He cringed as the memory mocked him, "...am now engaged..." 
She didn't waste any time, he though.  "...a man who can take 
care of me..." I did a good job!  But, not good enough, not when 
perfection was demanded!  "...and my son." I loved him and he 
loved me!  But, NO!  The court awarded custody to her!  In 
frustration he yelled, "Why!?  What did I do to deserve this?" 
Only the echo answered back, slapping his face with his own 
question, causing memories to flow again.
    Depression set in and he started drinking.  Not heavily at 
first, but gradually wending his way to alcoholism.  He became a 
drunk, ever tanked.  He could no longer think straight, and that 
affected his job.
    A secretary came up to him and said, "The boss would like to 
see you."
    "Ok, I'll be there," he answered.
    She left, he waited a moment then walked over to the office 
and knocked on the door.
    "Come in."
    He opened the door and stepped through.
    The boss wasn't one for small talk, so he said, "I'm going to 
have to lay you off." 
    "Why?  You know I've just been divorced and..."
    He was interrupted, "Wait, I'm not finished.  You have three 
months to straighten out.  Now that's a long time, and you won't 
have to live off of unemployment.  We will pay you half of your 
monthly income for these three months.  At he end of them, you 
can come back, if you've straightened out, otherwise we will have 
to replace you.
    "Please understand me, I only did this for your own good and 
the company's. But, we can't have a man as important as you be 
drunk all the time!  We can't even have you drunk some of the 
time!  The company has customers to serve and people to please, 
having our employees tanked really puts out a bad image.  If the 
others had their way you wouldn't have a second chance.  As of 
now you would be fired.
    "Now you can finish this day out if you'd like, but as of 
tomorrow we won't expect you back for three months.  I will take 
on your responsibilities while you're gone.  I can only expect 
the best results from you.  You've still got a chance, don't 
waste it!"
    That was all; the now-laid-off got up and walked out.
    After that his life was a waste.  He got up in the afternoon, 
had some dry cereal, and went back to sleep.  Then when evening 
came around, he'd turn on the big screen TV and watch all the 
late night movies, drinking.  He lost track of time, and two and 
a half months passed in this manner.
    He was walking on the beach now.  It was deserted this time 
of year, besides it wasn't a very popular place anyway.  The moon 
was full and it illuminated the waves that washed away his 
footprints.  He was walking backwards watching them disappear 
when his foot hit something hard and he fell over backwards, 
landing on his backside in the soft sand.
    He pulled the bottle that had tripped him out of the sand.  
It was narrow at the neck and slowly curved outward to a wide 
base.  There was a cork in the top.  Out of curiosity he pulled 
it out.  A faint mist floated up, then there was nothing, even 
when he tipped it upside down.  He wondered at the mist, but 
dismissed it as water vapor of a fine powder from the cork.
    He threw the bottle out into the surf, and looked for a place 
to sit.  He found a rock to lean against, got comfortable, and 
closed his eyes.  He was tired.  The sand was so soft and the 
surf so soothing that he quickly drifted off.
    "Pardon me, but I owe you something."
    The voice was deep.  Our man woke with a start and turned to 
see another man standing beside him, only he had no face.  Or at 
least he could not make out any details, the facial features 
where blurred and undefined.  It became worse as he tried to 
focus on a particular feature, tried to peer behind the blur, yet 
there was something hauntingly familiar.
    "You freed me from the bottle," the other man explained.
    "Me?" the liberator asked.
    "Yes.  Do you remember the bottle you opened?  Well, I've 
been in there for nearly...Oh, heck!  Well, let's put it this 
way.  I was around when one of your relatives, distant relatives, 
was crossing a desert on camel back nearly two thousand years 
ago!  "I apologize for not showing myself earlier, but have you 
ever tried to form after two thousand years?  It's not as easy as 
pulling a rabbit out of a hat!  Now that's something I can do." 
As he finished a black hat appeared in his hand.  With his other 
hand he pulled out a squirming rabbit, which ran off down the 
beach when it hit the ground with a soft thud.
    The rescuer's wide eyes followed the rabbit for a few 
moments, "How did you do that?"
    "It's quite easy, really.  It's just one of those tricks that 
are taught to beginners, to wet their appetite, so to speak."
    "You're saying you're a magician.  Right?"
    "You could call me that if you'd like.  But, I prefer genie."
    The liberator thought, Either I am terribly drunk and this 
person is a hallucination or I'm having another bad dream.  I 
don't need this! 
    "Alright," he said surrendering to this ridiculous situation, 
"you said that you owed me something.  What is it?"
    "I'll grant you a wish," the genie said seriously.
    "Just like the story of the genie and the fisherman.  You're 
crazy!  Go away."
    "You are the fisherman."
    "You are fishing for an answer."
    "Ok, so I'm fishing for an answer!  What about it?" he asked 
    "Drinking won't solve your problems."
    "OH, this is RICH!  I can't believe it!  Don't tell me, but 
you are going to solve all my problems.  Right?  You are going to 
call down all the solutions and hand them to me on a golden 
platter and say, 'There you go.  The answers to your problems are 
there before you.' You are too incredible."
    The genie started walking toward the sea, "Have you noticed 
what a nice night it is?  It's been so long since I've seen the 
moon, the sea and the stars..." his voice faded into the roar of 
the surf as he walked.
    "Wait!" The rescuer stood and ran after him.
    The genie stopped walking.  "What?"
    "If you're a genie, and I have a wish, then it's within your 
power to grant that wish, right?"
    "All right then.  We'll see if you're really a genie or 
wizard or what ever!" He scrunched up his eyes and said, "I wish 
I had my son and wife back, and that she loved me for who I am." 
He opened his eyes expectantly, "Well?"
    The genie regarded him with sad eyes and said, "I'm sorry, I 
can't grant that wish."
    "AAAaaaahahahahaha!  You're a FAKE!  A FRAUD!  A PHONEY!" He 
was literally dancing on the sand in elation, "You claim to be a 
    Undaunted the liberator continued, "...and offer to grant me 
a wish!  I make that wish, and you tell me you CAN'T GRANT IT!  
Now tell me who you REALLY are." He looked at the genie smugly, a 
slight grin was tugging at the corners of his mouth.
    The genie laid down on the sand and looked up into the night 
sky.  "Do you see those stars?"
    Caught off guard the liberator looked up, "Which ones?"
    "Those," the genie explained pointing in a general direction, 
"the ones in the sky."
    Looking up again the liberator said, "Yeah.  What about 
    "There are laws that govern them.  How they move, how they 
burn and how they effect the other stars."
    "So, there are laws that govern us.  The reason I can't grant 
you your wish is because I can't change the past, no one can.  
You see, the past is already set, the present is setting the 
future for the past, and the future is unset. I can only work 
with the present and the future.  "Sheesh!  Now I'm sounding like 
my tutor.  And I swore I'd never quote him.  If you want to meet 
an old guy, you ought to meet him!  He's at least twice my age."
    "I still think you're a fake, or at least a figment of my 
    The genie laughed softly, "You can think what you like, but 
it won't change what I really am."
    "What are you?"
    "I am what you want me to be."
    "It seems the more I talk to you the less I know about you." 
Then changing the subject, "Do I still have my wish, or is it 
    "You'd be surprised at how much you really know about me.  
And yes, you still have your wish."
    "I wish that I would meet a beautiful woman, fall in love and 
get married and live a happy life." He opened his eyes and said, 
"There!  That dealt with the future, and you said that you can 
deal with the future.  So how about it?"
    "You're asking for a fairy tale romance."
    "Yeah, I guess I am."
    "Do you want a fairy tale romance?"
    "HOLY...I can't believe you!  I JUST WISHED FOR ONE!"
    "But, is that what you really want?  Is that the answer you 
are looking for?"
    "Uh...uh..." he couldn't answer that question.  He didn't 
know what he wanted.  And this is what I get for becoming a 
boozer, he thought.  Oh, I HATE this!

    "Alright then, here is my wish." He did not close his eyes as 
he had before.  Instead he looked intently into the blurry eyes 
of the genie and said, "I wish you'd stop playing games with me 
and give me the answer!"
    The genie said simply, "You are the only one who can answer 
the questions you have posed.  But, I can tell you this, 'The 
answers to your problems are there before you.' You only have to 
accept them.
    No!  No no no no no no no...the liberator thought as he sank 
to the sand, the roar of the surf rolling over him.
    He was still lying in the beach when the warm sun woke him.  
He had a terrible headache, and as he stood he nearly fainted.  
He sat down quickly, head between his hands as he tried to stop 
the spinning world.  He tried it again, gradually.  This time it 
    "Drinking isn't worth this," he mumbled to himself.  He 
paused for a moment trying to locate himself.  The beach, that's 
where he was.
    "How'd I get here?" he asked no one.  It didn't matter, he 
just had to get home.  As he started walking in that general 
direction, his foot hit something. He bent down to brush the sand 
away and was startled to see the bottle he had thrown into the 
     There was a cork in the bottle.

Until Next Time

   Chr.shtmlas is coming up FAST! And along with it comes the 
horrible sense of indecision and lack of ideas on what to get 
for that special someone.
   That will be next time*'s topic. And your own ideas and input 
will be most appreciated. To keep it a surprise, send me your 
ideas and etc. in private E-mail. Be sure to let me know if you 
want credit for the idea, or if you'd prefer to keep your name 
out of it.
   There's not much time left. I'm figuring on putting up the 
next issue in no more than 10 days from now (Dec. 1st) and 
possibly sooner. So send your ideas, schemes, etc. ASAP!

   See ya then!!!
   Meanwhile, spread the word. Zephyr is here and alive. The number 
is 894-6526.

Zephyr Magazine is © Gene Williams. All rights reserved.