‘Tabitha Thomas?’

‘Never heard of her,’ this I directed at my editor who slouched in his swivel chair.

‘Neither has anyone else, she just got an Oscar – supporting role in ‘The Numerator’.’

‘Never heard of it.’

‘That’s the point…’

…neither has anyone else.’ I finished.


Back at my desk I Googled.  Nothing except what the boss had just told me.  It looked like I had to do some digging.  So I dug.  In my business it is not ‘what you know but who you know’  but it’s ‘what you know about who you know’ that gets results.


It seemed she came out of nowhere a couple of years ago, acquired controlling interest in Quadcom – a billion dollar ISP anonymously through a shelf company.  She had decided she wanted to be a movie star apparently.  I found some promo shots from her film.  She’d played a green skinned alien and was very decorative – aliens apparently didn’t wear much.  I found out who she was. Some coincidence.


She lived on board an ocean going yacht and never talked to the media.


I got a job fishing rubbish out of the water at the marina where she had her boat ‘The Wish’ moored.  I putted putted within coo-ee of her mooring, rammed a buoy, capsized and fell in.  Easy.  I was about to swim over and request succour when a hand gripped me under the chin, another supported my body and I was propelled efficiently yacht wards.  I was hauled unceremoniously onto the deck by way of a diving raft.

There she was – dripping.

‘Tabatha’ she said.

‘Irma Jones?’ I said


A swarthy Semite began to towel her dry.

‘Lucky’, I thought, till I saw the hopeless, thwarted look on his face.

‘Thank you Ali, – you may go.’

He went.

‘Well aren’t you going to kiss me?’

I looked down in confusion.

‘We can’t get any wetter.  Well?’

So I did.


Later in bed, ‘You recognized me!?’

I dug. I’m a journalist.  Skinny kid, pimples, a year below me at school. You’re … different.’

‘Couldn’t make friends so I got a habit instead. To feed it I burgled some guys apartment, an archaeologist, pinched this’, She reached across me and lifted a brass oil lamp from the bedside table.  ‘I soon found out what it did.’  She breathed on it, gave it a cursory rub – Ali was there, no special effects, just there!


‘Tell the man.’

‘Yes Mistress, I am the Genie of the Lamp.’

She snuggled, Ali winced, ‘The lamp only had one wish left.  What was my wish Ali?’

‘That I Should Unequivocally Love You’.

‘So I could always be sure you would arrange the world so I would always get what ever I desired …..for ever.  You see, I have been madly in love with you since Grade 5.  Now I have you. You may go Ali.’

He went.  His face: a picture of miserable despair.

I suddenly felt very cold.

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