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My Deposition About God's Lawyers

01. He had smoke instead of legs, and a little hat like the Shriners wear.

02. Also a shiny vest, like you might see on a folk dancer. Make sure you write that down, about the vest. It stuck in my head on account of how shiny it was.

03. This was the second magic lamp I found. The first was in my grandma's basement, after she died.

04. At that time the genie granted me three wishes and I used them for a calculator watch, a hundred bucks for walking around money, and free HBO for a year.

05. Well I'm not too good on the spot like that, and he was pressuring me to get all the wishes out right then and there. You couldn't do saves for later or anything. You think that's bad, just wait.

06. Okay the second time I found a magic lamp was on the sale rack at Bergman's. I handed it kind of gingerly over to the cashier so he wouldn't accidentally rub it when he ran it through the price scanner.

07. $11.99, marked down from $39.99. Suckers.

08. I got it home and right off the bat wished for peace in the Middle East and a new calculator watch.

09. Yeah no doy. I found out later how I screwed up with the peace in the middle east. Because I didn't specify a time length, what happened was people were smiling and waving at each other for about 10 minutes, then it was back to everyone killing everyone. Total rip-off. He was a wisenheimer, this genie.

10. I needed a new calculator watch because the first one broke, but that was totally my fault. I tripped over a sock. Tripping over the sock is probably what started all this, incidentally. Because why did I trip over it? Could I have avoided it? Why did someone leave their sock right there on the floor for me to trip over?

11. So that happened, and then he said You got one more, guy. I said Yeah I'm thinking. He said seriously, come on. I said Hold on I'm tryna think of a different one, you're not going to like it. He was like What are you saying. I was like I'm not saying anything. So let's go, he said. Fine, I said. Give it up tough guy, he said.

12. I wished to know if there was such a thing as Fate, or did God give us free will.

13. You should have seen the look on his face. I felt bad. It was a dumb question. I don't even care that much. I'm not really churchy, but he was hassling me and I couldn't think of anything else. He rubbed his head and was like Man... I was like Dude, forget it, I'm good with my new watch. But he said No, no, we gotta do this now.

14. And that's when I started getting all these cease and desist letters from the lawyers.

15. I don't know who they represent. My dad says they're God's lawyers.

16. My dad? Yeah he's been pissy ever since this whole business started.

17. Well I think he's just sad on account of his mom dying. It was her basement, where I found the first lamp. But also, yeah, he has this whole elaborate theory about how it's my fault God exists. I get an earful, every freakin day after school.

18. Like he says there was never any God, which is why the genie was so worried and hassled about granting my wish. Because then he had to actually create this whole framework for understanding the universe, based on what I'd wished for. So what should have happened, in retrospect, I would have first asked if there was such a thing as God or not, and gotten that cleared up right from the get-go.

19. A priori, or whatever. Exactly.

20. Well whether or not he already existed or came into being because I made this wish, he doesn't want to give up the goods and reveal the answer. Which, again, who even cares. But so I'm getting all these letters and I don't know how to make them stop. The post office still doesn't recognize Heaven as a valid address, so my replies get returned to me. And all the mail piling up just pisses my dad off even more.

21. It's never easy, that's one thing I'm learning.

22. I figure find the genie, is your best bet.

23. I don't know where he is, but you can't miss him in that vest.

Copyright © 2003 Kevin Fanning.

Kevin Fanning lives in Illinois. He has been published in Diagram, Whalelane, The Morning News, and 1000 Ridiculous Tragedies. Much of his writing can be found at