by Candi Chu

Just another Arabian night, a spice of emeralds and rubies too bright for the three-piece suit that grays him. He spots Aladdin’s lamp, disguised as a gravy boat on the buffet table at the office party, but when he bends to speak to the genie, he is nudged along by a hungry co-worker and his wish becomes lost like the moon in the morning.

With fingertips calloused from years of tapping calculators, he touches a centerpiece rose to see if it’s real or fake. He bends to the vase and inhales; a caravan of camels beats across the sand, the sun warms his thinning hair, the gritty wind whispers under his tie and over his heart.

The new girl from Accounting arrives late. When he sees her, the familiar beauty of numbers is balanced by the stranger, Scheherezade. She drifts through the cigarette clouds, a comet crossing the desert, shredding ribbons of gossip. He offers her his chair and the magic carpet miracle begins.

Candi is a writer and musician and her work has been published in Crimson, genrEzone, Twilight Showcase, Dragonlaugh, Feminista!, AlienQ, Fantasy Folklore & Fairytales, Alternate Realities and Foxfire (June 2001).