Who Let The Djinn Out?

Let’s do it… let’s shove that genie back into the bottle

But can we? These days, nothing can be completely undone. No action goes unrecorded. No data is irrecoverably deleted. Every movement leaves a trace. Smoke and mirrors cast shadows.

This particular genie had paid out generously, when first released from his ornate little prison. Booming populations were fed, nomadic societies settled in their own area, industries flourished, and class structures were formed. AGRICULTURE was a boon with a barb in his tail, however. As the population expanded, he just couldn’t keep up.

As I sat there, staring at all the pretty bottles, several captured djinn coalesced into existence. I squinted and read the labels on their bottles:


I quickly twisted the cap off; however, the djinn that emerged was pale and sickly. He’ll never be able to tackle GAS GUZZLER, that widely-adored monster I uncorked over a century ago. How was I to know the Americans would use up FOSSIL FUELS so quickly?


Again, I released this one quickly and without any further deliberation. Then I cast my gaze at NATURAL WONDERS, slowly suffocating under the weight of his younger sibling, NATURAL RESOURCES. In their current forms, they resembled the Great Barrier Reef with a thick coating of coal dust. RENEWABLE ENERGY immediately started blowing dust off the reef. Good luck with that! Valiant effort. But I fear you need a larger set of lungs.


I stayed my hand at this label. Best wait and see what the humans do with the planet before I unleash them on another.

A sudden rush of wind surprised me and I turned to face AGRICULTURE. There might be life in the old boy yet! But sadly, no, it was just a pocket of gas escaping his bloated, decomposing body.

Are there bottles I regret opening? Of course! BREXIT. DONALD TRUMP. Those monsters quickly outgrew their initial settings. Some djinn feed off ignorance and intolerance. Those guys were supposed to be short-lived warnings. Now, however, they float over their bottles, grinning inanely, occasionally flipping me the middle finger. There’s no way they’re ever going back in their bottles.

AGRICULTURE had seemed so innocuous, at first. He fed the hungry, and provided employment and stability for the masses. Then I released BIG BUSINESS (completely by accident… he’d disguised himself as a bottle of wine) and AGRICULTURE was subsumed. The poor guy developed DIABETES (that little imp had stowed away in the same bottle as GLUCOSE) and suffered all sorts of unnatural acts and modifications at the hands of BIG BUSINESS.

Within a short couple of centuries, AGRICULTURE had overdosed on a diet of high fructose corn syrup. Suicide? Murder? Only PSYCHOANALYSIS knows, and he’s too busy trying to wrangle NARCISSISM, somewhere around Brisbane.

NARCISSISM. Now there’s a bottle I regret opening. He spread faster than Mary Magdelene’s legs. I thought the label read NARCOTICS. I should have opened OPTOMETRY first.

Will AGRICULTURE’s gaseous corpse fit back through his spout? I doubt it. I may have to take the lid off the bottle, for this job. I need some help. Where did I put that unopened HOVERBOARD?

Microfiction for Scifantor, July 2016
Theme: Let’s Do It…


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