| Word Count 2492
"Hey, Frank aren't you cold?"
Frank picked up a can from the garbage. Then, he turned around to see who spoke to him, he pulled his tattered coat up to his dark eyes and face to block the cold. He looked up at a woman sitting on the top of the dumpster with striking blue eyes, brushing her long, dark hair. She wore a flimsy red silk vest, and balloon style pants with curled up toes on her silver shoes. She tapped her fingers on her ruby lips. Then, she hopped off the lid and walked over to where Frank leaned against the container.
"Didn't you hear me when I asked if you were cold, Frank?"
“How do you know my name?”
"I know everything about you.”
“Who are you? Why are you dressed like that when it’s freezing out here?" he replied shivering and rubbing his hands together.
“Well, first let’s get you some warm clothes." The strange woman twirled around once and pointed to a large green gemstone sitting on her finger.
Frank looked down in surprise at his old tattered coat. It was replaced with a new suede jacket with sheepskin lining and a hood that covered his silver streaked hair. His worn out boots with holes disappeared and now---were a brand new pair with fleece lining.
“I must be dreaming," he murmured rubbing his eyes. "No, I am hallucinating. Okay, who are you?"
“My name is Estella. I am a Genie, and you're my new master. You were rummaging through the garbage, and you knocked the top off the can I was put into many years ago. My old master was a wicked man. He knew his son would be looking for a lamp, so he hid me in a can. My old master died, and the maid found the can in his drawer and tossed it in the garbage the other day."
"You’re a Genie? What kind of a wacko are you?"
Estella walked towards Frank pointing her finger in his face as she talked to him. "Whatever you say is what you get. I don't remember all the rules, it's been many years since I have used my powers. I do know that you have to be careful about what you say because it will come---true. Because I am your Genie the spell works, when you say something regardless of what I do."
Frank pulled a half-eaten sandwich from the garbage mumbling."Yeah, right and I am supposed to believe that nonsense."
Dark clouds covered the sky and it started to rain. A few drops fell on Frank’s forehead and nose. He ignored what Estella told him, and yelled at her to get out of the rain.
“I don’t know about you, but it’s raining cats and dogs. You better get back in your can if you don’t want to get wet.”
“Oh! Frank I wish you hadn’t said that. I warned you not to talk like that. Look out! Here, they come!”
Frank fell to the ground in shock, when a white puppy in a large raindrop fell out of the sky and dropped on his chest. He started to lick Frank’s face, and then two gray striped cats landed on his leg. Wherever they fell, the raindrop would burst and the animals would tumble out, but without harm. They were very affectionate toward him. They stirred up memories of the love he had in the past for his pet collie. He looked up, watching the cats and dogs falling out of the sky. They were everywhere! They fell on cars, on trees, on buildings and even on the dumpster.
"I told you, whatever you say is what you get," Estella stated, spitting a hairball out of her mouth. She pulled a fluffy black cat off her shoulder and moved quickly towards Frank, waving her hand back and forth toward the sky, shouting.
“Be gone, be gone. I said be gone."
Suddenly, the cats and dogs stopped falling out of the sky and the rain returned to normal.
“Now, do you believe me Frank? Let’s get out of the rain.”
Estella placed her hands on the top of her head moving them down the sides of her body to her feet. All of her clothes changed before Frank’s eyes. A blue raincoat and matching pants appeared replacing the skimpy vest and the thin silk clothing she was wearing. Shiny leather boots took the place of the shoes with turned up toes.
She grabbed Frank’s hand, and they disappeared into a cloud in the rain. They traveled a long time before the weather changed. When the air cleared, Frank and Estella were sitting under a yellow umbrella in the sun. They were at a beach café, dressed in colored tropical clothes and wearing sandals. A tall man, with blond hair and green eyes wearing a white apron approached their table. He pulled out his note pad and asked them if they had looked at the menu.
“What would you like, miss?”
Estella pointed to the board against the wall and ordered their food.
“We’ll have two specials of the day. Also, may we please have two large ice teas with lemon? Can you think of anything else you’d like Frank?”
“No, I think that’s enough."
The waiter took the order and left the table. Frank looked at the people sitting at the table eating their meal. Then, his eyes moved up toward Estella’s face. She was beautiful. The sun's radiance captured her long black, wavy hair framing her porcelain complexion, and sparkling blue eyes. He saw her features before, but this was different. He was seeing her in a completely new light. The last time Frank felt those feelings, he was young and able to fall in love easily. He caught himself and started to fight off the emotions overcoming his heart by questioning Estella.
“Okay! This has gone way too far. How did you change my clothes?"
"I told you I'm a Genie."
Frank stood up and shouted at Estella. “Do you expect me to believe that crap? I am leaving this place right now!”
“And going where Frank? Back to your pathetic life, scrounging for food in the dumpster. You’re a bum. B-U-M spells bum and that’s what you are. That’s the thanks I get for trying to help you leave that dreary existence.”
“At least it was real. This is a bad dream. No, it’s a nightmare! It must be that bad wine I drank a few hours ago," he shouted punching his fist in his hand.
“Frank, sit down and stop yelling. People are looking at you.”
“Will you please tell me where the heck we are?”
Estella’s eyes were flashing like lightning. She had had enough of Frank’s temper tantrums and she started wagging her finger in front of his face, threatening him.
“Sit down Frank and be quiet or I’ll make you sit down.”
Frank reluctantly grabbed the chair and pulled it back to sit down.
"Now will you tell me where we are? If you’re a Genie, why did we travel through rain? Why didn’t you snap your fingers, so we'd be here instantly?”
“We’re in Paradise Cove," Estella answered, pointing to the sign. "Look at the waves on the blue ocean. I can feel the soft breeze against my face. Take your shoes off and sink your feet into the mounds of soft white sand.”
“Estella, you’re changing the subject. Why did we go through the rain?”
“All right, all right I‘ll tell you. My last master tricked me into using my power for evil. The Great Jinn found out and I lost part of my power. Now I have limited abilities. Now you know what happened. Will you relax, Frank? We should be getting our food any minute now.”she answered flipping a wisp of hair behind her ear.
“Where is our food? I am as hungry as a horse.”
“Oh! No! not again. I warned you not to speak that way."
Estella watched as Frank’s two feet became---four. His behind straightened into a thoroughbred. A shiny coat of hair covered his back. His ears became pointed and stood straight up on his head. A long muzzle replaced his nose. The table and chairs fell backwards on the ground as his body mass grew into a horse. He opened his mouth and screamed, as a tail materialized on his rear.
"Help me! Please do something! Now!"
"I thought you didn't believe in that nonsense. Remember, Frank, those were your exact words."
"Never mind what I said. Get me out of this horse's body right now!"
Estella jumped up and started to blow air around the café, and everyone froze. She walked over to Frank, patted him on his head, and whispered in his ear.
“Are you hungry?” Then she reached into her shirt, pulled out a pile of hay, and threw it on the table.
Frank still had his voice though he was a horse. He stomped his hoof and narrowed his big dark eyes pleading with her.
“Funny, very funny." He whined. "Will you please change me back?"
“Change you back to what Frank. A bum?”
“Come on, Estella quit kidding around. Change me back to myself.”
"Frankly, I like you better this way. Hold your horses and I will turn you back. Do you get it? Horses," Estella burst out laughing. Then, she started to walk around him singing a song and rubbing a sphinx design on her bracelet.
“Horsey, horsey, go away, so Frank can return and stay... It’s not working, I can’t break the spell. I am going to lead you outside for a minute, while I try to remember the right words."
"Okay, let go of my reins. I want to run down the side of the shore." Frank took off galloping away from the café. He could feel the wind against his face and the mane on his back stand up in royalty. The power surged through his muscles and legs as he raced along the sand. At last, he felt the freedom he longed for. When he returned to where Estella was standing, he nuzzled her with his nose and told her what he had experienced.
“You know Estella, I have been doing some thinking of my own. Being turned into a horse reminds me of how good I felt in my past. I feel like my old self. Everything happens for a reason. I know this is my new transformation.”
“Frank, I am so glad to hear you talk like that. I also feel through the horse’s image you have renewed yourself and the reason for living.”
“Life is so strange. If I had not been going through the garbage today I wouldn’t have met you, and I would still be my same miserable self."
“Frank, I remember the reason why I couldn’t break the spell. I know what was wrong." She began singing, and rubbed the chariot symbol.
“Here we go. Horsey horsey, go away, so Frank can return and stay.”
The third time Estella circled him. He slowly changed back to himself.
Estella puffed up her cheeks, to blow air into the café. The people continued to eat as if nothing had happened.
When Frank returned to his seat, the waiter brought the food and set it on the table. He ate it like a wild animal. It had been so long since he had eaten a decent meal. When they both finished dinner, Estella touched a napkin on the table and it turned into a fifty-dollar bill. She handed it to the waiter and they left the café.
They walked along the beach and sat down on the sand, watching the ocean's wave crash against the shore. It had been a long day and the sun was setting at Paradise Cove in a colorful array of yellow and orange streaks painting the sky. Frank drew near to Estella's face. He cupped her face in his hand, as he leaned forward, brushed his lips on hers, and then kissed her passionately. His heart was pounding against his chest, as he drew her closer to him. She could feel the warmth pulsating off his body and he made her tremble. As if sensing her fear, he kissed her on the back of the neck gently. He knew he was falling in love with her, and could not fight the feelings any longer. He didn't care who she was. Besides being beautiful, she was high spirited and alluring.
Estella pulled away and gently stroked Frank's silver hair. Then, she studied his chiseled features and forlorn eyes, as she spoke softly to him.
"I know that ten years ago, you were a successful lawyer, and were involved in a case that should've made you millions. Then, you received a call telling you that you’re wife and children were killed in a car accident. That’s when you couldn't cope and your life started to spiral downward until you became a vagabond."
"I can’t give you back your wife and children. Even Genies are limited to what they can do. But, what would you ask for if you could have it?”
“I would ask for a country home in France. It would have lush fruit orchards, and stables for my thoroughbred horses. The rooms would have plush furniture, with mahogany wood tables in the dining room. Antique, Tiffany lamps would light the living space and soft pink pastel curtains would hang over the windows. Beautiful gardens would surround the grounds."
“Look at the emerald on my ring. Can you see the country estate you have described, with everything you want, and---with nothing missing?"
"Yes, I see it. There is one thing missing. It’s---you Estella. I can't live without you, now that I have fallen in love with you.”
“Oh! Frank I never thought you would say that. Let’s go to our new home."
“What about the fact that you’re a Genie? Also, we've only known each other for a day."
Estella grabbed Frank’s hand and winked at him. As soon as I saw you, in your new transformation, I knew that I loved you. Let’s go." She snapped her fingers and said; "I think I have my powers back."
"There is just one problem I am worried about. How will I pay for the upkeep on the estate when I am as poor as a church mouse?"
"Oh! No! Frank, Frank where are you? I keep telling you to watch what you say! Here we go again."
"I'm down by your foot. Don't step on my tail! I might be a mouse, but I have the heart of a lion. Oh! No! I just did it again. Estellaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Roarrrrrrr!
"Don't worry Frank, I'm right here!"
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