Brennan & Brennan

Writing Prompt: A lawyer uses his third wish to free the genie from its bottle. As a gesture of thanks, the genie now helps this lawyer win every single case by finding loopholes to exploit.

***

“Is that thing real?”

Sunlight reflected off the lustre of the brass all of a sudden, and Brennan had to look away. “Depends on what you mean by real,” he said. “It’s certainly a collectable. Those engravings are handcrafted, apparently. Byzantine or Persian, can’t remember which. Client gave it to me last week.”

“You know what I mean.”

“A genie’s bottle? Sure, why not. But I daresay the only value I’ll get will come from the auction next week. Thing might be worth a fortune.”

Mr. Ericson was a superstitious and freely believing sort and couldn’t help his dismay. The consultation over, he grabbed his hat, sighed, and left without a word. Brennan lent back in his leather chair and crossed his feet on the desk. The sun was lowering between the buildings and filled half the room orange, and a sparkle from the decanter caught his eye. He’d earned a drink.

It did look genuine, he had to admit. Strange design for a teapot, that’s for sure. Almost an exact replica of the one from that old show, what was it called? I Dream of Genie. Only, look at those engravings. Fine as a pinpoint, intricately patterned, curls of cloud flowing to ancient buildings below, surrounding characters in fantastic attitudes, and the bottle itself, so small as to barely be visible, there at the centre, smoke rising from its spout to the form of a smiling, benevolent face.

A few whiskeys in, stuff it, he thought. Why not?

He carefully picked up the bottle by the base and was surprised again by its weight. An absolute fortune, he smiled. From his breast pocket he grabbed his blue handkerchief. Was there a knack to this? Ah, but of course. The little fella just wants his home polished. That’s what the deal is: three wishes for keeping the exterior prim and proper. Allow me to oblige then, my good sir.

He rubbed gently, evenly, didn’t miss a spot. Soon enough the sheen pronounced itself brilliant, and expensive, his reflection almost mirror-clear. What a gift this was. He placed it back on the shelf, stepped back, poured another drink. Well then? Haven’t got all day, genie. He hadn’t eaten lunch and was getting drunk. For the best, he would later reflect. The first billow of smoke would have been difficult to reconcile sober.

Purple smoke, that was. Brennan downed the double and put the crystal glass down and slapped his cheeks. A product of Ivy league grooming and sophistication and upper-class legacy, his mind struggled to articulate.

What, in the actual fuck?

Spread now to the ceiling, the smoke, which smelt like incense, swirled and coalesced into various forms, shapes, strange vistas, ballooning bodies without faces. The montage of some ancient fever-dream. Fading away, the centre came aglow, surface gone smooth, and distant came the yawn of a resonant voice. He hastily poured a triple.

Then came the face, which, as the engraving suggested, was indeed a friendly one. Fully disembodied, from what he could tell, baring the broad and reassuring smile of a being wishing to prevent any elicitation of fright. It clearly knew the affect of a first meeting with a mortal. All the same, it was straight to business for Brennan, now ten drinks in, gone from drunk, to utterly shitfaced.

“I bequeath upon thee, Harris Brennan, the divine gift of three wishes,” spoke loud and sonorous the genie. “What say you?”

Brennan placed a hand on the desk to steady his wobble. “Just three? Can I… get more wushes, if I… wish for more woshes?” he said, face forced businesslike, doing his best to project a lawyerly disposition. The genie sighed. Without fail, lawyers always asked about the loophole.

“Three wishes, and three wishes alone.”

“Okay, give me a minute.”

He poured another drink, and took twenty. Barely standing upright: “Firs wush. A car, one of those Bond car, Aushen Marvin, can go underwar, all the mishiles, and its fast, with the boosters, way fasher than Dave’s car.”

“Your wish, is my command. The vehicle is now in the parking bay adjacent your Porsche, in the garage.”

“Yer a good bloke, you are. Okay, secon wish. Bess lawyer in the wurl. Make me… the besh lawyers of all the lawyer.”

“Your wish, is my command,” said the genie. “You are now, unequivocally, the most skilled of all legal practitioners in the world.”

In spite of his state, Brennan was suddenly struck by the memory of Aladdin, the movie which had defined his childhood till his conception of film was obliterated the day his uncle showed him The Sixth Sense. A drunken sadness came over him. This poor genie, he thought. Stuck there in his smoke home with all those trees and people-twirls and weird lands. Had he also seen a sheep in there? It was up to him, Brennan, the best lawyer in the world, to save his new client from the abhorrent imprisonment that had been bestowed upon him.

“Third wesh. Free now genie. I wish you free yourseff, and happy!”

Once again, the genie sighed. The dreaded day had come. And, bound to the desires of his caretakers, he was rendered incapable of objection. His life in the other-realm, so far protected by man’s defining greed, had now come to an end, at the naive and well-meaning hand of a momentarily selfess drunkard.

“Your wish, is my command.”

And the face of the genie retracted as the billow moved to the floor, and flashes of a quiet lightning crackled, the cloud rapidly sucked inwards, shape of a man solidifying quick. Skin from purple to a deep solarium tan, threads spread to a very familiar Armani suit, shining black shoes, blue handkerchief poked proper from out the left breast. The exact physiognomy, the perfect clone of Harris Brennan himself.

Now able to converse more freely: “I appreciate the gesture, very noble of you, Mr. Brennan. However, we genies aren’t exactly what your stories have told, and, as I’m without a place in this world, the form of my previous caretaker is what I must take.”

Lurched over the couch-arm from the floor, Brennan raised his glass. “Divine, Brennan. Trully divine!”

The firm of Brennan & Brennan was thus established the following week, and, over the course of the year, became the most reputable practice in the city. The papers were unanimous: Harris and Harold Brennan, identical twins separated at birth, have together redefined the fundamental pillars of the legal system, their efficacy not only assuring their firm a perfect success rate, but also the amending of arcane litigation practices on a state, federal, and global scale…

Yet, despite their success, Brennan sometimes wondered about his new business partner, who was in many ways as skilled as he was. He was a strange fellow. Never bragged, never complained. Never talked about where he came from. Congenial enough, though never entirely friendly. Something of a sadness in his eyes. High time this old genie found a place in the world, he decided. It must have seemed a paradise here, after all. A truly fortunate thing he was saved from that awful, awful fate. Brennan smiled, and poured himself another drink. What a selfless person he was.

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