A scholar was working in Egypt,
in a temple only recently found.
And on the third day of his studies
found a lantern lying there on the ground.
Dusty, ornate and unusual,
the scholar picked it up with a swipe.
"It's a cliche, I know, but I'll give it a go"
And he gave the old lantern a wipe.
A blue mist poured out of the lantern,
but disappeared after a while.
In the place of the mist stood a tall(ish) blue man
quite naked apart from a smile.
"Thank you, kind sir, for my freedom.
A favour before I adjourn,
I am in possession of great magic powers,
and will grant you one wish in return."
The man looked aghast for a moment,
and said "Shouldn't I really get three?"
The genie looked sad and nodded his head
"'Fraid not. All these cutbacks, you see."
"Oh crap", said the man, "Thats a tough one
There's fame and women and wealth.
But they're all things that you can't take with you,
when my major concern is my health."
The man stopped and thought for a moment,
whilst pacing around on the floor.
"My wish is to just live forever."
"Of course", said the Genie, "If you're sure."
Something in the Genies words stopped him.
There was almost the essence of doubt,
and genies are known for their cruel playful tricks
and he needed to let something out.
"It's a trick", said the man, "I don't trust you.
I've heard all of these cons before.
I've seen it in movies and read it in books
and I can't trust a Genie at all.
I'll find myself caught in a landslide
or a coffin that'll never be found.
I'll go on forever just like that,
trapped somewhere that's deep underground.
"Or you'll magic me into a statue
where all I can do is just stare
And I'll spend all eternity like that".
"No tricks", said the Genie, "I swear."
"Or an accident'll render me crippled,
and I'll live for all time in a bed
unable to talk, not able to walk."
But the Genie just shook his blue head.
"You won't turn me into a painting?
Or a mirror that's stuck on the wall?
Not trying to trick me in any way, shape or form?"
"Not at all", said the Genie, "not at all."
The man stopped to think for a moment
and seemed almost reluctant at first
but then took a deep sigh and loudly pronounced
"Right you are, you cruel Djinn, do your worst."
"Consider it done", said the Genie.
"Never has one wish been so onerous a task."
With a flash he was gone and the man was alone,
But immortal now, just as he'd asked.
And the man did indeed live for ever,
and his friends and his family died.
And that sun edged that little bit closer
and the Earth and its people all fried.
And entropy claimed nearly everything,
the Universe gone, every last bit.
But the scholar floats alone in a big empty void
and thinks to himself, "This is shit."