Stacy and the Lamp
©2009 The Angst Guy (email@example.com)
Daria and associated characters are ©2009 MTV Networks
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Synopsis: Stacy Rowe rubs an ancient brass lamp, gets three wishes—and it’s the end of the world as Lawndale knows it.
Author's Notes: Mike Xeno submitted an Iron Chef challenge on PPMB in March 2006, for a Daria character to find a magic lamp with a genie inside who grants three wishes. This was my contribution.
Acknowledgements: Thanks, of course, to Mike Xeno for the challenge.
“EEP!” squealed Stacy Rowe as the brass lamp she was polishing began to emit a geyser of white fog. In moments, a blue-skinned giant in fantastic Arabian dress—turban, pantaloons, belt sash, curly-toed slippers, and a scimitar longer than Stacy was tall—had filled her parents’ living room.
“Ohmigod!” she shrieked, hyperventilating till she was on the verge of fainting. “I wish I’d never done that!”
“That is soooo tempting,” said the blue-skinned giant, tugging on his black goatee. He looked narrowly at the trembling teenage girl with the pigtails. “However, I haven’t even begun my spiel about your three wishes, and you’d never get the other two, which would violate the rules that Solomon laid down for us. Alas.”
“Y-y-y-y-you’re a genie? L-l-l-like on that Aladdin cartoon?”
“A djinni, but no need to be technical about it. And please don’t mention that cartoon again. I’ve heard every joke there is about that . . . abomination.”
“Okay! Sorry!” Despite her obvious fear, Stacy leaned forward and inspected the giant just as he had inspected her. “And I get three wishes? Like in the movie? Really?”
“Hmm, you do catch on quickly, little one. Suspiciously so.”
“Wow!” Stacy’s relief was palpable. “Ohmigod, I was like so incredibly afraid that I had like broken this lamp, which my mom got on e-Bay from like some guy in this foreign country or whatever, and she paid like a zillion dollars for it, though now that I think of it she paid more like thirty-nine ninety-five before shipping and handling were added on, and I saved the stamps and put them in my memory box in my room because they were from another country, not as civilized as we are maybe but who cares as long as it’s not Lawndale, right? I mean, not that there’s anything wrong with—”
“Just spare me and make your wishes, if you would.”
“Oh, right! Sorry! Um, don’t rush me or anything, please, if you could, ‘cause I want to think this out really extra carefully, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished for a lamp like this one, which is sort of why I was polishing it, but don’t tell my mom because she might be mad at me and give me that look she does whenever I do something stupid, when she looks up at the ceiling and her mouth drops open like ‘Duh, Stacy!’ and she shakes her head like—oh, now you’re doing it! Oh, no! I’m never going to get my three wishes!” And she burst into tears.
The djinni clamped a massive hand over his face and groaned.
Stacy wiped her eyes on the cleaning rag she had been using to polish the lamp. “Wait a minute, Mister Genie, I’m getting better now. All right, I’m almost done. Does my face look all blotchy and gross? I bet it does. Oh, and I bet my eyeliner is all—”
“Please,” hissed the blue Arabian giant, “just wish for something, anything. Have mercy.”
“Oh, sorry! Okay, um—” sniff “—um, what was it I always wanted to wish for? I can’t remember now—oh, wait! Okay, I remember. Um, wait a minute, um, I want to get this right, I don’t want to—oh! Okay. Okay, I’ve got it. Are you ready?”
The djinni sighed in exasperation. “I am ready to serve you, my mistress.”
“Mistress? Oh, right, I’m a girl, right. Mistress, not master. Um . . . okay! Okay, here goes. Um—” Stacy closed her eyes and took a deep breath “—I wish that the next time Sandi Griffin, who’s like in charge of the Fashion Club, of which I am a member and the secretary of the club, thereof, you know? Anyway, I wish that the next time Sandi like tries to do something like, you know, um, just like, um, like the next she does something kind of mean, you know, like go out with Brett Strand when I was hoping to, the same Brett who went out with me one time but then acted like he didn’t even know me, right? Not that I meant that Sandi’s really mean when she does stuff like that, but sometimes she’s like kind of difficult when she gets it in her head to like do stuff like that like it might be mean. I mean, if someone else were to see it, it might look that way—anyway, the next time she did something like that, like go out with Brett or tell me my socks don’t match my blouse or whatever, something like that, I wish that I would kind of like stand up to her, you know? Kind of, because, like, I really want to have a say in things, too, sometimes and say what I really want to say, instead of like not saying anything and listening to Sandi go on and on and on about what she thinks is real fashion, even though sometimes or most of the time I think Quinn Morgendorffer knows more about fashion than Sandi does, not in the what-to-wear sense, like—wait a minute, Sandi knows a lot about that, too, but so does Quinn, but Quinn is a lot nicer to me than Sandi is, and Quinn actually even listens to me most of the time, or some of the time, but Sandi never does, she always tells me something like—” Stacy’s voice took on a deep, Valley-girl drawl “—‘Oh, Stacy, how could you ever think to wear a neckerchief like that with your complexion, you look like a snowman with a beach towel wrapped around it,’ which just upset me so much because I thought at first she meant I was fat like a snowman, but she didn’t mean that, she meant I was pale, which I am but only because I haven’t had time to go to the tanning salon like I used to do because, well, because I don’t have as much time as I once did, because—oh, this is a terrible secret, but I like to watch NASCAR racing—I can’t believe I told you that! Ohmigod! You’re not going to tell Sandi, are you? Or Quinn? Tiffany wouldn’t know what that was, but Sandi and Quinn might, and I really don’t want them to know because NASCAR racing is really kind of cool when you get into it—wait, just a minute, what was I talking about again?”
“Your wish,” growled the djinni, rubbing his forehead as if fighting a migraine.
“Right! I’m sorry, I—okay, okay, I’m getting to it! Um, uh, oh! Um, I wish that the next time Sandi or someone else, like I guess anyone, even my mother—oh, I know I shouldn’t say this, but my mom says like I don’t have any backbone and I give in to everything that anyone says or wants, and sometimes I think she’s right but she shouldn’t just say that because it’s kind of mean and—”
“Come on!” said the djinni in irritation.
“Right, I’m hurrying! I was saying about my mom, or even Sandi, even if they’re right, they don’t have the right to like—”
“Your wish! Your wish, your wish, your WISH!”
Stacy’s face froze—then changed. Fury crept in, shattered the excited cheer, and she showed her white teeth. “I wish—” she snarled “—that I would stand up to anyone and everyone anywhere and forever who tried to make me feel stupid or bad or anything like that, just anyone who does anything that really pisses me off, and I would tell them to go to hell or drop dead or anything else I felt like telling them, and if they didn’t like it they could SUCK on it!”
The djinni’s eyes opened wide in shock. “So be it,” he intoned. “Your wish is my command.” He waved a massive blue hand at her.
Stacy jerked and shivered wildly for a second, then slowed down and rocked on her heels. “Whoa!” she said aloud, starting to grin. “What a rush!”
“That was perhaps not the wisest of all wishes,” said the djinni thoughtfully, “as it will undoubtedly cause friction between you and virtually every other—”
“Oh, screw yourself, you overgrown Smurf!” Stacy yelled. “When I want your opinion, I’ll give you my opinion and then I’ll beat it back out of you!”
The blue titan looked down at the diminutive teenager in shock.
“My next wish,” Stacy said aloud as she threw back her head, “is to have my very own cherry-perfect nineteen-seventy-one Plymouth ‘Cuda with the most powerful Hemi engine ever built, totally indestructible and running at top performance without needing any gas or anything else until the end of time, the baddest and meanest mother of all Hemi ‘Cudas ever, a ‘Cuda that would make Brett Strand so jealous it might even drive him crazy because that’s all he talks about is how much he wants a goddamn Hemi Cuda, and I want that ‘Cuda in fire-engine red, you big blue son of a Blue’s Clues bitch!”
The djinni stared in astonishment, his jaw almost touching his chest.
Stacy took a step toward him, her face filled with menace. “I said right now!” she screamed. “Now, now, NOW!”
“Right,” said the djinni. “Your wish, my command.” He waved his hand, and Stacy saw the object of her dreams appear in her parents’ front yard, right on top of her mother’s prize flower bed.
“YEEESSSS!!!” she cried, pumping her fist. “GOT IT! And now, for my third wish, I wish I would right now gain every skill possessed by every one of the best NASCAR racetrack drivers who ever existed or ever will exist, every ability and talent at driving race cars and everything else, every last instinct! Don’t mess this one up, butthead!”
The blue djinni blinked. “So be it,” he said softly, and waved his hand at her.
As before, Stacy jerked in place for a moment, then straightened and laughed aloud. “YEEEEE-HAAAAAAWWWW!!!!” she screamed. “I’m gonna kick ass on that bitch and get Brett Strand back!” She threw the brass lamp straight through the living room window, then ran out the front door, jumped in the car, and with the eardrum-popping, bone-rattling thunder of that monster Hemi engine, smoked the tires through her mother’s flower beds and was on the road in no time.
The djinni walked over to the shattered picture window and peered out as the red ‘Cuda shot up the street like a rogue Sidewinder missile.
“I did not ‘mess up’ your last wish, my incautious and hasty little one,” said the mighty djinni. He smiled. “You’ll have everything as you asked for . . . with their every last instinct.”
* * *
“Of course,” Sandi went on from the passenger seat of Brett Strand’s dad’s black custom Mustang, “if we do happen to meet anyone we know at Chez Pierre, let me do the talking. And I’ll do the ordering for the two of us as well, since I happen to speak French with an authentic French accent.”
“Uh-huh,” muttered Brett, pulling up to a stop light. He nodded at random as Sandi prattled on, though he wasn’t paying any attention to her and was instead wondering why all the police sirens were wailing behind them in town. He glanced up in the rear-view mirror, then back at the road ahead—then did a classic double-take and looked back at the mirror again.
“Did I tell you about the time Stacy Rowe took Seth Johnson to Chez Pierre and tried to order in French, and she accidentally ordered macaroni with cheese? She was trying to order a—what are you looking at?”
Brett was staring at the rear-view mirror with the most goggle-eyed look Sandi had ever seen on a boy, except for that time when Brittany Taylor’s bikini top came off in the pool at the swim club, which didn’t count. She turned around in her seat to see what was behind them that had so captured Brett’s attention, but the flame-red object just then pulled up alongside Brett’s Mustang on the left with the thundering rumble of a diesel-electric locomotive.
Brett looked out his side window and was paralyzed by a vision. Sandi knew immediately that he must be looking at a Hemi ‘Cuda, which was all he ever talked about other than himself, but it was not the Hemi ‘Cuda that caught Sandi’s attention. It was the driver of the Hemi ‘Cuda, who raised her stylish Ray-Bans and winked at Brett and Sandi with a devilish grin. It was Stacy Rowe, though for a moment Sandi wasn’t sure about that because Stacy had never ever winked at anyone like that, winked as if she thought she were James Bond or something, like she thought she was cooler than a polar bear on an iceberg in a snowstorm at the North Pole, or whatever.
And that was when the really amazing thing happened, which was that Stacy leaned over and opened the passenger door on her fire-engine red car, then crooked her finger and motioned for Brett Strand to come over and join her. Of all the nerve! Sandi had not yet found her voice to tell Stacy that she was being placed on a long-term leave of absence from the Fashion Club until she once again understood her place in the grand scheme of things, when an even more amazing thing happened, which was that Brett unbuckled his seat belt and got out of his Mustang, with the engine still running, and walked over to Stacy’s car and got in.
Sandi had definitely not regained her voice to tell Stacy Rowe that she was fired from the Fashion Club and blackballed from every Fashion Club activity from now until a million years passed or until the end of time, whichever was longer, when a still more amazing thing happened, which was that Stacy got a curious look on her face for a moment as she looked at Brett sitting in her car—and then she raised a fist and knocked him completely out of her shiny new fire-engine red car Hemi ‘Cuda, just laid him right out flat on the street between both muscle cars like a ninety-eight-pound computer geek sucker-punched by a professional wrestler on steroids.
And then Stacy looked up at Sandi, and Sandi’s blood ran cold at the look in Stacy’s eyes.
I wish I would right now gain every skill possessed by every one of the best NASCAR racetrack drivers who ever existed or ever will exist, every ability and talent at driving race cars and everything else, every last instinct . . . every last instinct of the best NASCAR drivers ever, the vast majority of whom were male.
Stacy raised her finger once more and motioned for Sandi to come on over.
Her mouth dry, Sandi unbuckled her seat belt, got out of the car, walked over to Stacy’s ‘Cuda, and got in and shut the door. She was too frightened to do anything else.
light changed and the ‘Cuda took off with its front tires jumping into the air,
leaving more burnt-rubber smoke behind it than a 747 with its landing gear
locked up. Except for a stop at the west-side Kwik-E Mart for Sandi to pick up
two cartons of cigarettes and ten cases of beer for Stacy, they were never seen
Original: 03/18/06, modified 06/01/06, 09/23/06, 11/1/09