Robin de Voh
writer, developer, nerd

Nanoprep 2018 Day 2: Wishing On A Coconut

By Robin de Voh on 2018-10-02

It had been a rough day and Jared knew he had to swing by the supermarket, since he'd run out of toilet paper the day before. Tired, he walked through the supermarket aisles, his basket containing only a bottle of wine. He walked past the fresh produce aisle and saw pre-packaged young coconuts, the kind you can still cut with a knife. He'd considered getting one before, but it always seemed like a hassle.

"Cut away the top and pierce the inner coconut shell with a chef's knife," the packaging demandingly said.

"Well," he always thought, "don't have a chef's knife, so I guess this isn't for me."

But today, he felt adventurous. He not only put the coconut in his basket, he also completely blocked out any realization that the wangjangling he'd have to do with one of his shittier, decidedly non-chef knives had a serious chance of him losing a finger.

After arriving home, he threw whatever products needed refrigeration in the fridge, got himself a clean glass and poured it full of wine. It wasn't good wine, but he liked it. He walked back to the kitchen and grabbed the biggest knife he had.

It wasn't that big. It wasn't sharp. It was flexible. But it was the best he had.

He started shaving away the top of the coconut as the packaging instructed. Three times, the knife slipped and skidded across the skin on top of his hand.

"Whoa, glad it's not sharp!" he thought, after which he immediately added "But maybe I should cut away from myself instead."

Yet it still happened three times.

Eventually he got to the inside shell, the tough bit. He knew he was supposed to stick the knife in and wangjangle a piece loose, but every attempt to do so just made the knife buckle and slide down the side of the coconut. There were multiple pits in the table from where, with altogether too much force, the knife had landed.

Then, he had an epiphany. "Fuck the instructions," he thought, "Where's the hammer and that screwdriver?"

First he realized he'd ruined the table even further. Turns out a coconut won't just lay still as you hammer at it with a screwdriver as a nail. It would jump away and the screwdriver would, well, drive into the table instead.

When he finally managed to get a good hold, a few hammers later he pierced the coconut.

Psssssssssh, the coconut went as it released the pressure contained within. A thin trail of white smoke escaped the coconut at the same time.

"What the..." he thought to himself, as the smoke curled up and into a ball. He sat back, confused but enthralled, as the smoke reshaped itself, forming a more human shape. He poked at it, and it scattered.

"Stop that!" a booming voice said.

He screamed a scream he wasn't proud of. One he'd never admit to screaming.

"What the hell?!" he shouted afterwards as he clambered over the back of his couch, behind which he hid.

The smoke reformed, and the human shape now had a face. It looked like it was an old man, with a thin beard ending in a weird little curled goatee.

"What the fuck are you?" he said to the ghostly apparition.
"I'm a coconut genie," the smoke being answered matter-of-factly.

He shook his head and closed his eyes while processing this.

"Bullshit," he responded, raising his head further above the couch.
"Not at all. I'm a genie, and as you can see, I came from the coconut."
"No, but seriously, that's bullshit. Genies don't exist."
"You're talking to someone who just exited a coconut. What does and doesn't exist, young man? Do you pretend to know?"

He thought about that, and decided the genie had a point. He got up and sat back down on the couch.

"Okay, fine. For the sake of argument, you're a genie. Do you fulfil wishes, like in Aladdin?"
"I do, as a matter of fact, but I must warn you in advance, coconut genies are not as strong as lamp genies."
"What? Why?"
"Coconuts are living things, they grow, they mature, and if they're not consumed, they then die. Lamps are more permanent, and the power of the genie contained matches that longevity."
"Hm. That almost makes sense," he said to himself more than to the genie. "So, one or three wishes?"
"Just one. Again, coconut genie. Not that powerful."
"That's lame, but okay. Let me think."
"I am literally stuck here until you make a wish, so don't worry about me going anywhere."

Jared shifted and considered what he'd wish for. A million dollars? A hundred billion! Eternal fame? Immortality! Pure and honest love?

He laughed out loud at that last one.

"Alright, so, give me a hundred billion dollars."
"What?"
"Make me rich, with a hundred billion dollars, deposited into a Swiss bank account that magically exists and is accessible by me -- and only by me -- without any negative consequences whatsoever."

The genie was quiet for a moment and then shook its head.

"Didn't you listen to a word I said? I am a coconut genie!. I can't do something huge like that!"
"Seriously? Okay, so, a million dollars then?"
"Still too big! My powers are really quite limited."
"Okay, so give me some examples of what kind of wishes you can grant."

The genie furrowed its brow before speaking.

"Okay, so, last month I granted a really good wish. A girl had lost her dog, and she wished him back. Luckily, he was hiding in their neighbor's shed, so that was an easy wish to grant. She was so happy to see her dog again, you should've seen it."

Jared put his hand on his face as he groaned.

"Anything bigger than that?"
"Sure, sure! So, a bit before that, someone wished for a stack of free pizzas. I just ordered some and then made the delivery driver just late enough that they ended up being free of charge. That was pretty good, right?"

Jared groaned even louder.

"So your magic powers are basically so limited you might as well just be a regular dude I know?"
"Well, I wouldn't put it like that, but as a genie I am forced to admit that I am not very magical at all. There's a reason there's more stories about magical lamps containing a genie than coconuts."
"Yeah, I'm starting to see why. You kinda suck, dude."
"I've heard this before. So, master, do you have a wish for me to fulfil?"

Jared sighed and accepted that this was just how it was. Even if something magical happened, it was going to suck. He looked at his empty wine glass and figured why not.

"Just fill up my wine glass for me, will you?"
"Your wish is my command!" the genie said enthusiastically.

It floated over to the bottle of wine and with some magic-sounding chants, the bottle floated upwards and over to the table, the genie following in its wake. The bottle tipped over and the wine flowed into the glass.

Then the genie coughed and the bottle shook, sending some wine over the table instead.

Jared sighed the least passionate sigh and just shrugged. Why not.

"That'll do, genie."
"Understood!" the genie said while slowly lowering the bottle on the table.
"Could you put the bottle back, too?" Jared asked.

The genie shook its head.

"One wish only."
"Ugh," Jared uttered as he picked up the glass of wine.

The genie bowed to him.

"Fare well, master. Until next we meet," it said, before dissolving into the air.

Jared leaned over, towards the coconut. As he did, a pungent smell came up to meet his face. It was blackened and rotten inside. He would be having no coconut tonight, even after all the effort he put in. His table ruined, for nothing.

He let himself fall back on the couch.

"Can't even have that," he mumbled to himself, before downing his glass of wine.

I do have a chef's knife, and the coconut was delicious.