By Mark L. Glosser

The Ketchup Bottle Genie

“Hey,” Eric yelped as he watched his younger brother Ian shake a huge glob of ketchup onto his sandwich. “You emptied the bottle. What am I supposed to put on my hot dog?”

“Mom got another bottle,” Ian mumbled as he stuffed half the sandwich in his mouth, Go look in the refrigerator.”

Eric stomped to the refrigerator and pulled out a weird shaped-bottle. “Genie Ketchup Company? I never heard of this brand,” said Eric as he unscrewed the lid.

A moment after the lid came off; all the ketchup in the bottle squirted to the ceiling, and started to spin like a tornado.Eric and Ian dove under the table.

A flash of light momentarily blinded them.  When their vision cleared they saw a man with long, black hair floating in mid-air. His red pants barely fit over his bulging belly, and his white shirt was splattered with ketchup.

Peeking out from under the table Eric asked in a trembling voice, “Who are you?”

The strange visitor floated down from the ceiling and looked under the table. “I’m the Ketchup Bottle Genie. Haven’t you heard of me?”

“No,” said Eric.

“Why are you living in a ketchup bottle?” asked Ian. “I thought genies lived in magic lamps.”

Wiping a tear from his eye the genie said, “One day at genie school I accidently said the wrong spell and turned the principal into a frog the size of an elephant. To get even, when I graduated from school, he gave me a ketchup bottle to live in instead of a magic lamp.  People laugh when they see me come out of a ketchup bottle.”

Pausing, the genie blew his nose in a large, blue handkerchief. “I wish I was famous like the genie in Aladdin’s lamp.  Then people wouldn’t laugh at me. That hurts my feelings and makes me angry.”

Without thinking, Eric laughed, “Maybe you can get a job selling ketchup at a supermarket.”

The genie jumped to his feet and pointed his finger at Eric, “I told you I don’t like being laughed at.  You’ll be sorry.”

The genie disappeared into the ketchup bottle.  An instant later a puff of smoke surrounded Eric’s head.  When the smoke cleared, Eric’s eyes almost popped out of his head when he saw his face in the mirror. His nose had turned into a big, green pickle.

In a trembling voice, Eric spoke into the ketchup bottle, “I apologize for laughing.  Please turn my pickle back into a nose.”

The genie stuck his head out of the bottle, “If you want me to give you back your nose help me become famous so people won’t laugh at me.”

Eric said, “What if we take you to school.  You can tell everyone there about your adventures.”

“Okay,” said the genie.  The next morning, a moment after Ian, Eric and the genie walked  in the school door, a voice said, “Hold it right there!

They spun around. Miss Lambert, the meanest teacher in the school, scowled over the top of her glasses and stared at the genie. “You don’t belong here. You’re not a student, and you’re not Ian’s and Eric’s father.” Go away!”

The genie glared at Miss Lambert and walked out the door muttering some strange sounding words.

Moments later Miss Lambert crinkled her nose and said, “What’s that awful smell?  Something smells like rotting garbage.”  For the rest of the day, Miss Lambert tried to figure out where the smell was coming from. No one dared say it came from her.

“Your idea didn’t work,” the genie grumbled to Eric when they got home.

“I hope you like pickles because I’m not giving you back your nose.  Maybe the next time you meet a genie you won’t laugh at him. I’m leaving.”

Eric absentmindedly scratched his pickle and thought fast.  Then he had a brainstorm.  But, he would need the genie to grant him one wish to make it happen.

When the genie heard Eric’s plan he knew he would be famous.  No one would laugh at him anymore. The genie was so excited he immediately gave Eric his nose back, and granted Eric the one wish he needed for his plan to work.

A few minutes later, Eric and Ian walked to the window and waited.  Eric smiled when, just as he had wished, a truck from the television station parked in front of the house and a famous reporter climbed out.

His plan was working.

A few weeks later Eric and Ian turned on the television to watch the new hit show everyone was talking about.

The show was called, The Adventures of the Ketchup Bottle Genie.  Now everyone in the world knew about the Ketchup Bottle Genie. He was famous.  No one laughed at him anymore.

The End

The Ketchup Bottle Genie” Copyright © 2010 by Mark L. Glosser, All Rights Reserved

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