The God and the Genie
a play by Susan Sto Helit
Enter Susan Sto Helit with a lyre in hand, who stands in the left corner of the stage. Lord77 enters and lies down, center stage. Susan begins to stroke the strings, raising her voice in narration.
Once upon a moonless night,
Over the seas and far away,
A little speck of dust and light
Hovered above a god who lay
In a drunken, hazy reverie,
Speaking of things that never were
Stories, places yet to be,
Dreams and whims, and nothing more.
Delirious, lost in strange delight
Painting scenes in groggy dyes,
Wishing all that could and might,
Would become real before his eyes,
The god decides to use his powers
To summon one who can make true
The wonderful sights of these loose hours,
A genie of sorts, to hear and do.
Enter Azzageddi in a puff of smoke, dressed in a genie costume and coughing slightly with all the smoke.
“Master,” says the genie, “I’m here,
To serve your every command
And all you crave will appear
At a word, a wave of my hand.
Gold and palaces a-plenty
I’ll create for the master I serve
And your glass will never run empty
Of the fine nectars you deserve.
“Three wishes I offer, three you own
Ask what you want, name your need
At your feet I’ll lay a kingdom and throne
With a lovely princess to love and heed
To every one of your cravings and whims.
Or maybe you want knowledge untold,
Clothing of starlight made with no seams.
Whatever it is, what you wish, you’ll hold.”
This says the spirit with a smile
Dressed in garish colors and gems,
Hopping and dancing, all the while
Little bells ringing in his hands.
The god, pleased, can but wonder
If the words of this genie are true
“Very well, little demon from down under
Here’s the first thing I ask of you.
“My drinking days have been lonely
Without anyone to drink with me
So, for now, my heart wants only
A buddy to quaff my booze with glee.”
Such is the god’s first desire
As all of his focus is on hops
Fermented and cooled to inspire
A buzzing delirium of frothy tops.
“Master, I bring you the vow
To make true your wildest dreams,
And in turn all you ask of me now
Is someone with whom to share drinks?!”
Says the genie in disbelief
Of the god’s shallow heart.
“Be silent! I have stated my grief.”
Replies the god. “Do your part!”
Shrugging in helpless dismay
The genie does what he’s told
And with a wave of a hand and a say
Brings forth a jolly drinker bold.
Now appears Godofbeer, mug in hand, who sits by Lord77’s side.
Big and friendly is this being,
Made to drink until he falls,
A love for beer and knack for singing
Drunken songs in pubs and halls.
“Ah, this is it!” the god now states.
“A buddy to share my drinking hours!
Far better than clouds and pearly gates
And picket fences lined with flowers!”
The genie sighs, yet holds his hush.
Shrugging, he watches the friendly pair
Quaffing and singing and dropping and such
Drinking beer as one breathes air.
But soon it dawns on our lonely god
That his buddy cares not for more
Than one more mug of ale to hog,
Another drink. “Well, I asked not for
Someone to empty all of my kegs
I wanted a friend, a buddy true!
Not a bottomless pit with legs!
Send him away, genie! Listen and do!”
Godofbeer disappears from stage.
A whispered word and the buddy is gone.
“Very well, Master, three wishes I gave you
Two wishes are left still to be done
What else do you crave besides buddies in brew?”
Taking care in his pick, the god now muses
“This genie can give me more than I ask...
Let us put the next wish to different uses,
See how he carries out his second task.
“This night is so silent,” our god utters
“Bring me some music to fill the gloom.”
“Come on, little spirit, comply,” he mutters.
“How will you turn music into something of doom?”
The genie nods and snaps his fingers,
Calling an orchestra to sit and play
And a lovely singer arrives and lingers
To sing the rest of the night away.
Enter an orchestra and The Almighty Anne, who starts singing an aria.
Her wonderful voice begins to rise,
A choir of angels bound to her lips
And the god reclines, enjoying his prize
Now drinking his beer in smaller sips.
His eyes wide shut, he dreams in color
As the gifted voice fills the shadows
Studying each note, the drunken scholar
Writes his music across the meadows.
But as the lady sings ever higher
The pitch in her song enough to break glass
His mug shatters, the beer catches fire,
Glass lying at his feet in a sticky mess.
“Surely, this is not the first the time,
That glass is shattered with a song!
I’ll just summon a mug made of pine.
That, I’ll do. There’s nothing wrong!”
This the god does decide
Beer in pine, a mug shows by
His empty hand. He smiles in pride,
But the voice is strung too high!
And so the god's one love, his ale,
Falls to the floor from a splintered mug.
With a bloody hand and cheeks made pale
The god, enraged, throws away the jug.
"Blasted genie, I'll get you still!
If this is how you serve my whims
I'll summon a tougher mug, I will!
One made of metal! We'll see who wins!"
But, as soon as the god goes for a drink
The resonant singing plays its part
The metallic vessel begins to clink
And twist and shake, be ripped apart.
And so, the singer he dismisses
The god now shaking with bitter rage
“I see you hiding there!” he hisses.
“Come over here, before I cage
Your foul little genie soul
For this is what you do deserve!
How dare you warp my wishes so?!
Is this what passes for ‘Here to serve’?!
The Almighty Anne leaves stage, dragging her feet and holding her head down, closely followed by the orchestra.
“Now get me a dancer, lean and skilled
And don’t you dare bring me a whale
Or I will get you nice and killed!
Behave, genie!” the god does wail.
“My apologies to you,” says the spirit.
“Two wishes gone, this one is last.
And if a dancer you want, I’ll bring it.
But, of all wishes, is this the best?”
Concerned and saddened, the genie asks
But all our god can see in front
Of his drunken eyes is what he tasks,
The silly thing he claims to want.
“Get me a dancer that’s entertaining
To distract me from this empty land.
Snap to it! I am waiting!”
Such is the god’s sharp demand.
Enter Nyrini dressed in a belly-dancing outfit and carrying a saber.
And so the genie hears and bides,
And a dancer skilled he hails.
Wielding a saber she dances, hides
Her lovely face in silken veils.
She dances and twirls, sword in hand,
Body swaying, round and round,
Arousing, seductive, dangerous and
Almost as if she doesn’t touch the ground.
Closer and closer, she twirls and shows,
Her saber dancing, cutting air.
Wild in nature, in vision glows,
It grazes the god’s long facial hair
And swinging down it chops it brief,
Swinging up, it chops it all,
And the god there stands in angry grief,
Watching a beard detach and fall.
“Spirit of evil, awful thing!
To Hell with you and what you offer
I don’t want wishes nor anything!
Let me be as I was before!
And take this damned dancer yours
To the pit of snakes from which she came!
Keep her locked and safe indoors,
Away from blade, away from flame!
A bucket of snakes falls on Nyrini’s head and she runs away from the stage, flailing wildly.
“Three simple wishes you granted me
And none came out the way I sought!
Leave my presence, let me be!”
The god cries shaved and distraught.
“I make everything you wish come true
To the point of the letter, my master great.
I bring forth the dreams and thoughts that you
Put behind the words you state.
“And if what I brought you is offending
Then maybe you should keep in mind
That these hollow wants you keep on sending
Are drunken wishes and not the kind
That fills your heart with truthful longing,
Boozing thoughts, frail whims at best,
Born from mind but not belonging
To what you carry within your chest.”
Thus the genie speaks with spite
Angry at his master’s words.
“I warned you, Master, said you might
Want to rethink those wants of yours!
But I am prepared to offer
A fourth wish to compensate
Thine fine soul from any bother
That my three wishes may create.”
These words spoken, fierce and narrow,
Hit the god with piercing force
That a mighty sword or sacred arrow,
Divine in essence, nature, source
Could never find in wood and steel.
And yet it dwells in voice made art.
Flame and ice in words that will
Dig their way into one’s heart.
Sighing and holding his head in woe,
The god goes silent for a breath.
“Very well,” he says. “Then so
Is the nature of my wrath,
Of my pain, my drunken hours.
And, if a fourth wish I may steal,
What I want of your genie powers
Is a secluded hall, a fine meal,
Candle-light, a fire burning
In some old stone fireplace
And one who’s left to me returning,
Her beauty here to take your place.”
This the god whispers low,
A tear streaming down his cheek,
And stony walls begin to grow,
Leaving outside the night so bleak.
With these words, Susan disappears from the left corner and reappears center-stage, close to Lord77. Azzageddi moves away from center-stage to the right corner of the stage and picks up narration where Susan left it.
And in a sleight of hand and ancient spell, the lady bright who used to sing
This little story weaved to tell a tale of mourning at everything
That once was lost to ale and drink, a love made small by mugs of glass
Filled with what so many think can ever erase the greatest mess,
Found herself in room and presence of this one god who got his wish
Who stood with her in solemn deference saying “Love, my wish is this:
“The friend I craved, that friend is you. No buddy in beer could take your place.
No song can make me sad and blue like losing sight of your lovely face.
And all the dancers ever born couldn’t take my mind away from you
Or from my heart, left here torn in lonely longing, pain so true.
All I want is to have you near. Of all my dreams, this one is best.
I’ll even slow down the drinking, dear! Come back to me. Be mine at last.”
And out of words, her heart at rest, she nods her accord and that is all.
A soft kiss ends this story best. That’s all for now.
The curtains fall.