This Morning I Found a Lamp

By Zechariah James Towner

This morning I found a lamp – an old dusty lamp – and it had a genie inside.

“Who dares disturb my eternal slumber?” boomed forth the voice of the genie, ten stories tall.

“I do,” I said.

The genie scowled down at me, crossing his arms and puffing out his muscular chest. “And what do you want?” he said.

I paused, biting my lip. “I wonder if you could answer my questions?”

“What would you like to know?” demanded the genie.

Looking him deep in his orb eyes, I collected my thoughts, and began:

“How come… How come Christie always gets to sit in the front of the car? Just because she’s older than me doesn’t mean she should always get to… and how come I’m supposed to be nice to people who are extra older than me? What's some impressive about being older? Getting older isn’t that hard. I do it all the time… and how come grownups always tell you that you’ll understand it when you’re older when they don’t really have the answers? I asked my mom why she doesn’t talk to her mom any more and she told me I was too young to understand. What’s age got to do with any of that?

“And how come there’s this thing called the stock market that everyone wants a part of… except sometimes not everyone wants a part of it and they’re all trying to sell and the stocks go down? Well if everyone’s selling then someone must be buying, otherwise no one could be selling, and if that’s true then how can the stocks crash? And when they do crash where does all the money go? If my dad had 99 dollars one day how can he only have 1 dollar the next?

“And why’s everyone so obsessed with noises that trees make in the woods? If no one was there to hear the tree fall then no one was there to see it either and if no one was there to see it how does anyone even know it fell?

“And is the universe really everything there is like my teacher says, or is there more? But if there isn’t and the universe is it then how can the universe be expanding, because everything can’t get any larger than everything, can it?

“And did we really evolve from apes who evolved from fish who evolved from amoebas who evolved from chemicals… or did God make us like my mom says? And if we came from chemicals where’d the chemicals come from… but if we came from God where’d he come from? And what kind of god is he? Does he watch over us all the time, making sure things run in perfect order, or did he just set everything up and walk away? And if he is really gone and there is no God does that mean there’s nothing but chaos left governing over us all? But then… if chaos is the supreme force of the universe in charge of everything doesn’t that make chaos… God?

I stopped at last breathing deep breaths.

The Genie stared back at me with his huge blue eyes. “You may ask one question.”

I thought for a moment and frowned. “Am I dreaming?”

“Yes,” he said.

And then I woke up.