Here is a short story I wrote awhile back and recently updated. I’ll run it in three parts. Let me know what you think.
Pepe (part 2)
Just outside of our Texas town is the Monahans Sandhills State Park, featuring nearly 4,000 acres of sand dunes. When I am feeling particularly depressed, I go there with my one and only best friend, Harry, to “surf” the dunes. Some students use a real surf board, but being poor, Harry and I share a cut up cardboard box we swiped from behind the grocery store.
The dunes average 70 feet high so it takes awhile to wade through the deep sand to the top, but coming down only takes a few minutes and is a lot of fun, unless you go on a windy day because the fine sand really stings when it blows against your face and body.
Anyway, we had made several runs, and were getting tired, when I slipped off my cardboard sled, and plowed into the sand, banging my knee into something hard. I figured finding the only rock in all this sand was exactly the kind of luck I should expect from living my life at the bottom of the food chain. As I sat there lamenting my injury, something metal reflected the sun and caught my eye. I reached down and dug out of the sand an ancient-looking brass teapot, similar to the kind they sell to tourists at the roadside stands near the Tex-Mex border.
Harry joined me to see why I was still sitting in the middle of the dune. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. Look what I found.” I held up the teapot.
“What a piece of junk. The lid is rusted shut and the whole thing is tarnished. Throw it away and let’s do another run.”
“We might be able to get a few bucks for it. Let’s see if I can shine it up a little.”
I pulled out a corner of my shirt and began polishing the sides. The teapot started shaking as if it was alive, while smoke poured out of the spout, billowing upward like a miniature tornado. Next came a flash of lightening, accompanied by the rotten egg smell of sulfur, and then poof, out of nowhere, right in front of Harry and me, appeared a swarthy-looking man of Mexican descent, sporting a chipped tooth, three-day growth, baggy pants, and a traditional red serape.
“Gracias, Tom,” he says, “for setting me free.”
Harry and I stare at the apparition in front of us as he pulled off his boots and poured out the sand.
“I hate sand. Two hundred years crammed into that teapot; it gets in your hair, your ears, up your las nalgas, and worst of all between your toes…very difficult to scratch.”
I managed to stammer. “Who the hell are you and where did you come from?”
“From the teapot, mi amigo…and you can call me Pepe.”
I turn to Harry to confirm what I was seeing and hearing, but he had passed out on his back in the sand and a dung beetle was crawling across his face.
Pepe says, “Let’s get down to business. What are your three wishes?”
“Didn’t your mother ever read the classics to you? Here’s how it works…you rub the magic lamp, the genie appears, and you get three wishes.”
“This is a teapot and you don’t look like a genie.”
“You want the wishes or not? I can always give them to Harry when he wakes up, although technically he wasn’t the one who rubbed the lamp.”
My imagination kicked into overdrive. Three wishes! I pictured all the usual dreams…big house, fancy car, millions of dollars, rock god, but then I thought about my miserable school life.
“For my first wish, I want to be big.”
“You mean famous like a movie star, captain of industry, or president?”
“No, physically big. I’m tired of being the smallest kid in high school.”
Pepe lit up like a migrant worker on a Saturday night and produced a multi-paged contract and a pen from thin air. “Just sign your name at the bottom of page five.”
“Standard genie contract that defines rights, warrants, representations, indemnifications, fornications, and so forth. Don’t worry about it, just sign.”
I didn’t hesitate. Harry, who had regained consciousness, watched me write my name with a flourish. As soon as I did, Pepe, the contract, and the teapot disappeared in another puff of lightning and smoke.
We looked at where Pepe had stood, and then back to each other.
Harry said, “What about your other two wishes?”
I shook my head. “I don’t think he’s coming back.”
Harry looked around. “If he was ever here at all.”
As we walked back into town, we decided not to discuss what just happened, since we had no proof, and knew our story would only result in more teasing. We wrote off our experience to the hot sun and bad cafeteria food.
Copyright Richard Allan Jones 2018