Interactive: Three Words Difference (Part 1)

I can’t take credit for the basic idea of this one, it’s a story frame that floats around fairly regularly, but for the life of me I can’t remember who wrote it originally. If you recall the proper credit for the concept, send me a note, and I’ll update it.


Adam climbed up the stairs after a long day of classes, and was mostly thankful it was Monday evening, which meant that his roommate, Eli, would be at practice for the rest of the evening, and Adam could have the room to himself. It wasn’t that Eli was a bad person, or anything–it was just that the two of them had nothing in common, beyond the fact they were freshmen. Adam was a nerd in the engineering program, while Eli was here to, well, play football, and study a few things along the way. It wasn’t like the guy was dumb either–and he was really driven when it came to football–but Adam just didn’t understand it. Things were a bit awkward too, because Adam was gay, and Eli was straight as an arrow. He was being cool about it, but Adam could tell that he was a bit, well, suspicious of Adam living with him. It pissed Adam off a bit, mostly because Eli wasn’t even his type! He had a soft sport for chubby guys, really, and Eli was, well, ripped, and had the ego to match.

He pushed open the door to his dorm room, dropped his bag on the bed, and then set the package that had been waiting for him at the mailroom on his desk. He’d been expecting a care package from his mom for a few days, but this didn’t seem to be it–or at least, it didn’t seem big enough to hold everything she’d promised would be in there. He unwrapped it, and sure enough, it wasn’t–the only thing that was inside, was a small glass bottle. He held it up to the light, trying to see what was inside of it, but the glass had been smoked, making it hard to tell what might be in there, if anything. It was stoppered with a simple cork, and he searched for a letter or anything that might tell him more, but there wasn’t much to go on. It didn’t feel heavy, like there was liquid in there, but why would someone send him an empty bottle? He worked at the old cork for a couple of minutes, and eventually managed to pop it off, and as soon as he did, the room was flooded with a strange blue, green, and purple hued mist.

He rushed to open a window, but the mist didn’t move with the air–instead, it seemed to coalesce near the bottle, until a form appeared–the upper body of a strong fellow, his dark skin picking up the same blue, green and purple tones of the mist. His smile was broad, teeth white, eyes full of mirth and mystery, as he addressed the rather terrified Adam.

“Fear not my young master! I am the genie of the bottle–I have been given to you, because you are a unique soul in need of my services. For the next 24 hours, I am yours–you may have as many wishes as you desire from me while I am in your service.”

Adam was certain he must be hallucinating, but the genie assured him he was not, and in order to satisfy his demands, granted a few minor wishes for him, enough to gain the young man’s trust. This was often necessary, the genie had found–the mortals had heard tales of his kind which cast them as great tricksters. 

The genie was a trickster, of course, just not in the way that Adam was expecting.

The genie would grant his wishes, and the spirit of them–however, the genie had the power to alter three words in his master’s wishes. The master would generally believe that they had wanted to ask for the new wish, and wouldn’t realize what had happened. The genie knew it was so he could keep things from getting too out of hand, but over the centuries, the genie had found that the loophole was more than enough to allow him to toy with his Masters–and the genie was a rather perverse fellow himself. 

Satisfied with his tests, Adam found himself wondering what to wish–what he would do differently. He found himself thinking about Eli all of a sudden, and wondered…what his own life would be like, he was a jock like him. “I can always change myself back, right? If I do something dumb?”

“Of course Master–for the next 24 hours, you can live all of your fantasies.”

“And it doesn’t matter if it’s a bit vague?”

The genie shook his head, “I can sense what you desire Master–if I get something wrong, it is easily fixed.”

“Alright. Then for my first wish…I wish I was a jock.”

The genie smiled, and Adam felt something strange happen as he spoke, or as he tried to speak. It was like the words were caught between his mind and his mouth, and as they came out, they were…twisting into something different, something he hadn’t intended to say, had he? The genie just smiled away, tinkering with his Master’s wish, which was now…


Use the poll below to select what wish the genie twists Adam’s words into! You can make up to two selections. The bonus patron poll is over here as well.

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