Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Crab Poo

"You aren't going to be able to clean that up before Mirva comes back," said the genie, floating on a small cloud and staring at his lamp, that was now in pieces on the floor.

Laura was on the floor, trying to clean up the pieces. "Don't genies live in little metal lamps, not huge glass ones?" she asked.

"Not the ones with good taste. And those little metal ones get too cold, too hot, and barely have room in the living area for a couch. They're decent for starter lamps, but after a few decades in one a genie's gotta consider moving up. Man, I feel woozy. I hit my head pretty hard when I fell."

"Sorry about that," Laura said, rubbing the shards into the carpet by accident. "You make genies sound like hermit crabs."

"Nasty creatures, crabs. There's a legend among genies that Ixsha once got enormously drunk on thunderwine and kicked a crab out of its shell and woke up because he smelled something awful. Turned out he'd fallen asleep with his face in the crab's toilet. Why are there two of you all of a sudden?" the genie asked.

Laura looked up from the broken lamp. "There aren't. You're wobbling on that cloud pretty badly."

"I know, I'm, unh, I think I'm blacking out," the genie said. His cloud landed on the carpet with a tiny thud and the genie rolled off of it while the cloud blew away. Sparks flew where the genie's blue skin touched the fibers of the carpet, which soon ignited and began to pour thick, acrid smoke into the air.

"Fuck," Laura said.

The door swung open and a steely-eyed woman entered. She glanced from the genie, surrounded by sparks and flame, to the broken lamp, to Laura.

"Mirva, hi, I'm sorry, I don't know what happe-"

Mirva cut her off. "You've got a spot on your shirt. It looks like barbecue sauce. I should expect an insurance agent attempting to sell me home insurance would be better prepared. There are moist wipes in the bathroom. The butler will handle this mess," Mirva said, turning around and going back into her office.

The butler appeared and shooed Laura towards the bathroom, where she washed her hands. Her feet felt cold - she looked down and realized that the pipes beneath the sink were leaking and spraying dirty water all over the inside of the cabinet. She turned off the water and reached for a towel. After she pulled it from the wall, the towel rack snapped off of the floor and fell to the floor, cracking a tile upon impact.

After Laura panicked for a while, she opened the bathroom door and the butler stood there.

"This is why genies are not supposed to sleep. They cannot turn their powers off as they sleep."

"So my bad luck is because of the genie?"

"Quite. He once took a nap and caused me to break out with a bad case of death. Luckily it was temporary, and I was fine after he woke up later that year and they exhumed me."

Laura blanched. One of her teeth fell out and clattered on the floor.

"How can I wake him up?"

"It's impossible."

"Are we on the beach?"

"Yes, but-"

"Come with me."

The butler led them across the lawn, having to wait for Laura as she tripped in piles of dog poo, twisted her ankle in gopher holes and had a pigeon fly into her face. Finally they stood on the shore and set to looking for hermit crabs in the tide pools, even while a seagull ate a chunk of Laura's hair.

They took it to the prone form of the genie and made a concoction of crab excrement and held their foul smelling salts beneath the genie's nose. He started awake.

"Oh, my head hurts," he said. "Was I passed out?"

He saw Laura: burned, missing a tooth, some hair, covered in dog poo and grass stains. He had his answer.

"Sorry," he said, providing a remedy with a snap of his fingers.

After Laura got the contract for home insurance, she sent the genie an espresso machine.

The Moral: Screw the environment and double-flush when in a strangers house because it sucks when you're in an unfamiliar bathroom and the toilet overflows.

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