The news trended on Facebook within minutes of the stealthy cell phone pictures that were smuggled out by a Saudi attaché were posted on the site. It eclipsed exciting stories of Kanye West, political drama, and whatever Middle Eastern country had yet another bombing. All the rest of the world was fixated on the single, blurry, and quite disturbing photo of what was clearly the Great Fat One, er – Great Successor, Kim Jong Un, in the midst of rubbing what appeared to be an oil lamp not dissimilar of a similarly comic one that was featured in Disney’s Aladdin.
Curling out of the curved spout of the lamp was a wispy maroon cloud that clearly had the shape of a large man’s upper body.
The next few photos in the series showed the lamp levitating mid-air, Un’s soldiers and guards recoiling in fear, and then the unstable dictator laughing triumphantly as his now very recently deceased posse laid around him on the ground. Apparent Photoshop experts, experts as well deemed by the major news outlets, discredited the notion that the photo was manipulated. For all intents and purposes (and their brief analyses to satiate the audience), it was quickly determined that the photo was real.
“Er, it really wasn’t what I thought it was,” claimed the nervous, recently-appointed Saudi Arabian ambassador through his frenetic translator. The diplomat tugged at his keffiyeh, as if the answer to his stupidity was hiding somewhere under the cloth. “Really, I just asked my secretary to go ‘round to a shop before we left on our mission and find some trinket that represented Saudi.”
The news anchor stared blankly at the ambassador, unresponsive.
The ambassador scowled and his tone grew icy, evident without a translator nervously interpreting his rapid fire speech. “How was I supposed to know a fucking novelty toy that every tourist to Saudi Arabia buys would be holding a goddamn jeans!”
“Jinn!” the translator blurted out, immediately correcting himself. “Genie!” He clamped his hands over his mouth and tickers across various news broadcasts’ screens immediately began scrolling hype-ready phrases: SAUDI AMBASSADOR GIFTS WISH-GRANTING DIETY TO NORTH KOREAN DICTATOR — KIM JONG UN POSSESSES REAL LIFE GENIE-IN-A-LAMP: WHICH COUNTRY WILL HE WISH AWAY FIRST? — SAUDI ARABIA AMBASSADOR ARRESTED ON TERRORISM CHARGES FOR ARMING NORTH KOREA WITH WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION – OIL LAMPS SALES ON THE RISE – U.S. PLANS INVASION OF SAUDI ARABIA FOR PURPORTED GENIE OIL.
An impenetrable force field materialized around the entirety of the nation. News commentators and analysts theorized with themselves exhaustively for hours on just what exactly Kim Jong Un was wishing. They all agreed he probably had three wishes, but couldn’t decide if the force field was his second wish or his first wish. Some argued that the damning photo of his dead guards was the dictator’s first wish, but others argued they simply fainted in fear and were later likely killed in some horrific fashion for failing to act defensively. Either way, it was absolutely guaranteed that unless the hermit kingdom had some magical technology, some cartoonish genie in an oil lamp surely granted at least one maniacal wish.
Days went by that turned into weeks. Every nation outside of North Korea was on edge, awaiting a catastrophic event. Gun sales went up ten-fold and preppers took smug satisfaction that their buckets of dehydrated food and hand-dug backyard bomb shelters were vindicated. The President of the United States delivered stoic but encouraging messages and reassured everyone that the greatest army in the world was doing everything it could to collect intel and protect everyone from the North Korean/Genie Threat.
But nothing could prepare him or his military for what unfolded.
It happened in Australia first. No one anticipated it, of course, so the utter shock of seeing the Great Leader materialize outside of the Sydney Opera House, flanked by a good fifty soldiers, and a genie in their midst, certainly took everyone by surprise. Un was ensconced in a cloud of reddish mist as the massive genie hovered obediently above him. The group stayed but for a few minutes before all disappearing at once. Chaos erupted. The Australian air force had sent out fighter jets the moment the strange sighting was reported, but there were no groups of North Koreans to be found by the time the pilots arrived. Every standing army in the world came to attention by this point, scanning the skies for cloaked air ships and bringing out from hidden every bit of technology to monitor and assess the threatening situation.
And nothing. Another week went by and no appearance by Un and his crew. Two weeks, and careful breaths were taken. Was it over now? Did the crazed leader use up his third and final wish on a never-ending supply of cognac? All satellite images indicated nothing amiss. In fact, he was espied in Pyongyang, business as usual.
Then, Vietnam. A cluster of North Koreans, accompanied by an imposing genie, teleported outside the Saigon Notre-Dome Basilica. They were there nary a minute, and poof! And in their wake, hysteria.
Pundits went ballistic. Every television channel and news outlet was overtaken by analyzing the current threat and what it meant. How many wishes did the dictator have left? Did he find a loop hole to gain infinite wishes? Was he simply messing with the world to test its collective sanity then strike when all were vulnerable? There were only hours to discuss, because he suddenly appeared in Amsterdam, cloaked by his soldiers and genie and no trace was left after three minutes.
“Who is next and what is he doing?” The stern-faced woman with the sharply-cut blonde hair stared ominously at the TV camera. “Three unconventional sightings of the North Korean dictator, flanked by upwards to fifty of his soldiers, and ever present, his genie, have occurred in less than four weeks. Seemingly innocuous, we are yet unclear on his motives and what exactly they are accomplishing in the few minutes they remained in Sydney, Saigon, and Amsterdam, before disappearing without a trace. Intelligence reports indicate nothing is amiss back in North Korea, but many fear that whatever power the genie has equipped Kim Jong Un is incomparable and unbeatable.”
It happened on a Wednesday, in the morning. It was December and cold, but Kim Jong Un, his allies, and his genie, were nonchalant and ignorant to the blustery winter weather surrounding them as they appeared in the middle of the Rockefeller ice rink.
Skaters scurried away, screaming. Others ducked and cried, awaiting some sort of attack or explosion. New York police, ever on edge since the beginning of the whole ordeal, arrived on scene in an unheard of time. Rifles poised, riot shields readied, they simply watched and waited.
The chipmunk-cheeked dictator stood patiently and unmoving in the middle of the ice, hardly noticeable in the wisps of his genie and the throngs of his men. He then muttered something and a few of the soldiers parted to grant him passage outside of the protective circle. Unsteady on the slick surface, Kim Jong Un erupted into giggles as he tried to walk with just his loafers on his feet. The genie floated behind him, silent. A strangely bored expression was on the creature’s face.
Un slid cautiously away from the group and the whole area was eerily quiet. Thousands of eyes in the vicinity were trained upon him; millions upon millions more throughout the world via cell phone videos and news cameras. But the pudgy, boyish despot seemed to not even know they were all there. He steadied himself carefully as he scooted along the ice, genie following closely, and then he reached into his pocket.
The sound of rifles cocking filled the air. Hundreds of officers awaited the singular command and still – he minded no matter.
Un reached into the pocket of his coat. He pulled out a small device.. a cell phone. He looked up, curiously glancing around and hardly noticing the gathered crowds. He held his phone up in front of him and everyone within its gaze screamed and scurried away.
The genie sighed a heavy sigh and folded his arms. He murmured something in a foreign tongue and Un waved a hand at him, dismissably. Un spun around to face the other direction, held up his phone in the air and..
Flicked his finger on the screen. He stared at it intently for a moment, then yelled out in anger. He tapped it a couple more times, gave it one more gliding flick, then screamed joyously.
“Ahh!” he cried out in delight. Satisfied, he stuffed his phone in his pocket. He smiled at the genie. The last words he exclaimed, before the whole lot disappeared, echoed excitedly: “I finally got that Tauros!”