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Green Genies and H.A.M.S.: Part One


by buddy33774

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Prologue (or something like it)

     First, Something happened.

     Then, Something else happened.

     That should pretty much explain everything. Now, onto the story!

Neopian Central Prison

Cell Block D was a pretty simple cell block - essentially, it was just one long, gray, stone hallway that held around twenty or so prison cells. All the cells were on one side of the hallway; on the opposite wall, the key to each cell hung on a hook in front of its respective cell.

      And it was down this plain, gray hallway that the prison warden, a stern, business-like fire Draik dressed in a stern, business-like suit, strode quickly and purposefully - he was a Draik on a mission. There was no sign of joy or amusement on his face; this Neopian was all business.

      About halfway down the block, he reached a cell different than all the others - the steel bar door was wide open, and instead of holding prisoners, the cell was full of a group of prison guards all dressed in blue uniforms. The guards, all pets of various species and colours, were busy combing through the cell, searching for any sign or bit of information that might reveal where the cell's inhabitants had disappeared to.

      Lying on the floor in front of the wide-open door was a single key and a large length of twisted wire - what appeared to have once been clothes-hangers that had been untwisted and then re-twisted together - with a large, hooked end.

      The Draik looked down at the line of wire and key with a scowl before glancing up at one of the guards standing just outside the cell, a green Poogle dressed in the same blue guard garb as the others.

      "Well? What's the meaning of this? How did this happen?" the Draik asked pointedly, his face icy and without any trace of play.

      The Poogle, shaken though trying to keep his composure, gave a quick shake of his head. "Well, sir, apparently they used a bunch of untwisted clothes-hangers to reach through the bars and grab the cell door key off of the rack."

      The Warden gave a sigh, a small puff of smoke coming from his nostrils as he did so. "…You know, in retrospect, maybe leaving the cell keys hanging across from the cells wasn't such a smart plan… And whose idea was it to give them clothes-hangers, anyways?!"

      The Poogle guard shifted nervously, giving a nervous cough.

      "…Yeah… ummm… I… Well, they were complaining that their clothes were wrinkly! And nobody likes wrinkly clothes!"

      "Gah!" The Draik threw his arms up in the air, exasperated, as he started to pace around in circles in the hallway in front of the cell door. "And now, they've escaped!" he ranted. "Lu and Rover, our two most dangerous, most mentally-unstable prisoners, have escaped!" Stopping suddenly, he turned and looked off down the hallway, staring at nothing in particular, trying to appear as noble and heroic as possible.

      "Well, I can not just stand by and let this happen," the warden announced to no one in particular. "I vow that I will do whatever it takes to find these two convicts! From here on out, I shall have no other goal in life but to bring these fugitives to justice! No matter what I must do, no matter how long it takes; no matter how many mountains I have to climb, or oceans I have to swim, I swear I will find Lu and Rover! Those crazy Yurbles will be brought back to justice! I'll find them! I'll--"

      "Well, umm, actually sir," the green Poogle guard interrupted, "once they leave the prison grounds, they're no longer our responsibility…."

      The warden looked back at him, surprised. "…Oh… Well, in that case, I'm going back to bed." With a shrug, he turned and started off back down the block. "Wake me up if something catches on fire or something..."

      And to think - some people would call that kind of attitude "lazy" or "undedicated". Traitors.

A certain apartment building in downtown Neopia Central…

      It was an average apartment building, inhabited by a hundred or so average Neopian residents. It had seven stories and a basement, where, at this moment, a certain pair of residents (a green Kyrii named Hawkins and a red Lenny named Lennert) were heading - an area only ever visited by a few pets, a small portion of whom never returned.

      The basement was cluttered with stacks and stacks of old cardboard boxes, piles of old, yellowed Neopian Times copies, and various other knick-knacks (cracked vases, random discoloured rags, and small pieces of splintered wood for example); everything was covered in a layer of dust which, in turn, was covered in at least two more layers of dust. The only light for the basement streamed in through a small window up near the top of the wall opposite the door.

      It was this sort of basement that the two previously-mentioned pets - Hawkins the Kyrii and Lennert the Lenny - found when they strode through the door and down the four or so steps from the doorway to the floor.

      And were they ever-so happy to be there!

      "But, I don't understand!" Lennert whined aloud. "Why do I have to be the one to clean the basement?"

      Hawkins stopped suddenly at the bottom of the steps, spinning around briskly on his heel to face his roommate. "Lennert, you just don't get it - Mister Rowland was going to kick us out!"

      "Yeah, but I don't understand why!" Lennert replied. "What did I do to him?"

      Hawkins shook his head sadly. "You don't remember? Last weekend at the annual Apartment Building Tenants Dinner? You walked up to his daughter and asked her why she was so fat?"

      Lennert shrugged. "Yeah, but come on - I said 'no offense'! That should've excused me!"

      "…And then," continued Hawkins, ignoring Lennert's last comment, "you tried to apologize - and ended up calling her a man!"

      "Yeah, but at least I apologized!"

      "And THEN," the green Kyrii went on, "when it was obvious that he was angry at you, you told him to 'chill out' or else he might 'lose what little hair he has left'!"

      Lennert blinked. "What's the connection here?"

      Hawkins sighed, reaching over to the wall next to him and grabbing a broom that was leaning up against it. "Look, the only way I could keep Mister Rowland from kicking us out altogether was to agree to clean up the basement for him. And since you were the one who got us into this mess, you can be the one to clean up this mess!" He shoved the broom into Lennert's wings.

      Lennert looked at the broom, pausing for a second or two. "Wait," he said, "when you say 'mess', are you using it in a metaphorical sense - as in, referring to this predicament we're in? Or are you talking about the mess in this basement? Because I'm a little confused here. Maybe you should try being more specific next time."

      Hawkins stared at his roommate for a few seconds, and then, with a shake of his green head, walked past Lennert and out of the basement.

      With a shrug of his red-feathered shoulders, Lennert began to walk about the cellar, taking a look at what was around.

      The basement wasn't so much damp, dark, and dreary, as one might expect a basement to be, as it was… old. Old and dusty and old and unkempt and dusty and old. It looked as though no one had been in it for years.

      The walls were made of a cold, dark stone; the ground was more of the same, except that it was more of a single poured concrete, whereas the walls were made of bricks. The ceiling was wooden and there were wooden supported poles built into the floor throughout the room. Wooden banisters stretched between the poles, forcing anyone who wanted to walk across the room to duck under them.

      Looking down at the broom still in his wing, Lennert smiled. "Well, I know how to use this!" He took the broom in one wing and hurled it across the room. It flew towards the other wall, spinning as it went and knocking over a dusty vase sitting on a box; the vase fell over and shattered into a hundred pieces.

      Lennert blinked. "Okay… So obviously, that really is a broom and not a boomerang…" He shrugged and began to look about once more.

      Turning and walking towards the middle of the room, Lennert noticed two rags lying on a stack of cardboard boxes. He looked down to notice they were slightly different - one was clean and unused, the other was dirty with grime and dirt-related materials.

      Lennert smiled. "Well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out which rag I should use!" He picked up the clean rag, looked at it, and then tossed it to the floor. "No point in dirtying up a perfectly clean rag!"

      He took the dirty rag and walked over to where a collection of vases (there were a lot of vases in the basement for some reason), crystalline ornaments, and lamps stood perched on top of (ANOTHER!) stacks of boxes against one wall. Humming softly to himself, Lennert went to work, wiping off vases and lamps, although not actually doing much as far as actually cleaning them.

      Lennert picked up one lamp in particular and examined it. The lamp was mostly a rusted-sort of bronze - a bronze base with a single, slightly-rusted copper neck that ran up to where a light blue, glass lampshade covered the socket where a bulb would've gone. The lampshade may have once been a vibrant blue, but it had long since grown dull with age, with the blue now becoming faded and light; the same with the rest of the lamp, which may have at one time been a bright, polished golden-bronze and was now dull and rusting in places.

      The Lenny wiped down the lamp with the dirty cloth, still humming to himself. As he went to put it back down on top of the stack of boxes where he'd found it, he noticed a green vapour rising out of the top. Arching his eyebrows (or at least whatever counts for eyebrows on a Lenny) curiously, Lennert took a few steps back.

      The green vapour continued to grow as more and more of it streamed out of the top of the lamp. And as the green gas poured out of the globe, a ghostly, green shape began to take form - into the shape of a Wocky.

      The green mist continued to flow out, forming the Wocky's head, torso, his waist, and his arms (which were crossed across his chest). The Wocky's eyes were closed and he looked to be asleep.

      Finally, when the shape was fully formed, gas stopped flowing out of the top of the lamp globe, though a single thin, steady line of the vapour still connected the Wocky to the lamp at the waist; his body had no lower half. He wore two articles of clothing - an open vest across his chest and a fez with a tassel on his head.

      Lennert stared open-mouthed at the green Wocky who had just appeared out of nowhere and was now floating in mid-air in front of him.

      "Uhh… huh?"

      For a few seconds, the green Wocky simply floated there, his eyes closed and his paws crossed across his chest. Then, the Wocky yawned, stretching out one arm while rubbing his sleep eyes with the other paw. With another wide yawn, he looked down through sleep-filled eyes at the red Lenny standing below him.

      "Who're you?" he asked, furling his eyebrows in mild curiosity.

      A goofy grin spread over Lennert's face. "Hiya! I'm Lennert!" the Lenny replied happily, giving a dork wave to the Wocky even though he was floating just a few feet away.

      The Wocky's eyes roved up and down the red Lenny, studying him and not sure what to think. "Are you the one who rubbed my lamp?" he asked uneasily, not sure if he even wanted to know the answer.

      Lennert shrugged. "Sure. I'll go with that!"

      The Wocky sighed, then gave another lazy stretch of his arms before continuing. "Okay then. Well, congratulations - I'm a magic genie. And since you were the one who rubbed my lamp, you may now make three wishes which I must grant for you." As the genie explained all this, he spoke in a tired droning voice, wearing a bored expression on his face as though he'd said this same spiel countless times in the past. "So, ya know… start wishing."

      For a moment, Lennert could only stand there in awe with a smile wide enough to fit the entire basement in. His breaths were quick and shallow as he spoke. "Oh, wow! So, like, do you grant wishes and stuff?"

      The genie stared back at him. "…Yes. I just explained that."

      Lennert let out a small, high-pitched squeal of glee. "Oooh! And you're a genie, right?"

     The Wocky floated there, blinking. "…Yes, I am…"

      "A magical genie?!"

      "Yes, a magical genie…"

      "Who grants wishes?"

      "I think we just established that…"

      "Because you're a genie?"

      "Yes!"

      Lennert nodded. "So, just to be clear… your status as a genie gives you magical wish-granting powers, right?"

      "Yes!" the Wocky genie shouted, his demeanor growing more and more agitated by the second. "Yes, I am a magical wish-granting genie! I think we've established that, mister…" He paused. "Ummm, what's your name again?"

      Lennert replied, "Lennert!"

      "Right! Well, yes, Lennert, I am a genie who grants wishes! Honestly, it's not that hard of a concept to grasp!" The genie took a deep breath, trying to calm himself down. After a moment, he continued. "Now, before you start making your wishes, you need to know the three rules. First," - he held up one finger - "I can't destroy or hurt anyone. Second," - he held up a second finger - "I can't make anyone fall in love." He looked over Lennert once more, a look of distaste coming over his face. "Not that there's enough magic in the universe to make any girl fall in love with you, anyways… And the third rule," - he held up a third finger - "you can't wish for more wishes. We had a real problem with this once with people finding loopholes to the whole three-wish thing, so we had to add that one in there to keep people from doing it." He took another deep breath. "So, Lennert, do we have an understanding?"

      Lennert, who had been staring back blankly the whole time, shrugged. "Sure, whatever. Can I start making my wishes now?"

      The genie smiled. "Wish away!"

      Lennert gave another giddy, girly giggle, bouncing with pent-up excitement. "Oh, I've always wanted to do this! I've always known what I would wish for if I had three wishes! Okay, I wish I had one thousand more wishes!"

      The genie's face fell. "Ummm, you can't do that."

      Lennert frowned. "What? Why not?!"

      The genie sighed in exasperation. This Lenny was beginning to tire him out big time.

      "I just explained it to you!" the Wocky shouted. "The rule says that you can't wish for more wishes! I just told you about it ten seconds ago!"

      "Awww!" Lennert replied, disappointed. "Alrighty, then - I wish I had five more wishes!"

      "…No, you can't do that! You're still wishing for more wishes!"

      "Okay - then, I wish for three wishes!"

      For a few seconds, all the genie could do was stare back in a shocked sort of daze. "…Are you completely stupid or something? That's the same thing!"

      Lennert blinked, a blank look upon his face. "…Can I have two wishes?"

      "No! You can't wish for any more wishes no matter what the number is!"

      Lennert shrugged. "Oh well - in that case, I just wish for one more wish!"

      "…It would cost you a wish just to get that one extra wish!"

      "Look," Lennert replied, getting a little annoyed by the fact that this genie wasn't making any sense at all. "Are you gonna grant my wish or not?"

      The Wocky genie sighed, rolling his eyes in annoyance. "Fine. You have one extra wish."

      Lennert's face brightened up instantly. "Sweet! How many wishes do I have now?"

      The genie replied in a bored voice, "You still have three."

      "Crap!"

      The genie sighed. "Look, if you can't think of anything right now, how about I just go back into the lamp. If you come up with something later, just give me a holler, okay?"

      Lennert shrugged. "Meh, alright, that sounds good."

      The genie was just about to turn back to the lamp when Lennert called out.

      "Hey, wait! Tell me, why are you doing this? Granting people wishes and stuff?"

      The green mist of a Wocky turned back and smiled. "Ahhh, that's an interesting question! Well, you see, I wasn't a genie by birth - a long, long time ago, I used to be a Wocky. An ordinary Wocky, who loved to run and jump and play and--"

      "Look, I wasn't looking for your whole life story," Lennert interrupted in a bored tone. "I'm not that curious, okay?"

      The genie frowned. "I was turned into a genie by an evil curse and I can only be released by granting someone three wishes. Happy?"

      Lennert shrugged again. "Yep! You can go now!"

      With another roll of his eyes and a mutter of, "Stupid Lenny… doesn't care about anyone…" the genie turned and flew back into his lamp, the green mist that formed his body disappearing almost instantly as it was sucked back into the orb.

      Now alone again in the basement, Lennert smiled to himself gleefully. "This can only bring good things!" he thought aloud.

      Oh, how wrong he would be… or, so one could naturally assume…

      …What? You want me to tell you what goes wrong? Pssh, forget it! Just keep reading and find out! Lazy bums…

The Apartment…

      Hawkins and Lennert lived in a small, modest apartment - it was comprised of a living room (filled with all the essentials that a living room should have, including sky blue carpet and a matching blue couch), a kitchenette area in the back of the living room (filled with all the essentials that a kitchenette area should have, including a black and white-tiled checker floor and various appliances for cooking and such), and two bedrooms and a bathroom on the other end of the apartment opposite the kitchenette (each bedroom filled with all the essentials that a bedroom should have, including… a bed).

      At this particular point in time, Hawkins the green Kyrii was lounging on the plush blue couch, his feet propped up on the coffee table in front of him, lazily reading a recent issue of the Neopian Times. Just as he flipped the page from the comic to the short story section, the apartment door opened behind him and his roommate, Lennert, strolled through, carrying a lamp under one wing.

      "Finish cleaning the basement?" Hawkins asked, not even bothering to look up from his paper.

      Lennert walked around the couch and set the lamp down on the coffee table before flopping down beside his roommate. Looking up from his paper, Hawkins noticed the lamp sitting on the table.

      "Lennert," he asked, "what the heck is that?"

      "Oh, that's a magic lamp!" Lennert replied simply, reaching over and picking up one of the 'Times sections Hawkins had finished with and put on the table.

      Hawkins stared at his roommate for a few seconds while said roommate continued reading the paper, unaware of his roommate's glares. After a few seconds, Hawkins reached out and ripped the paper out of Lennert's wings, throwing it on the floor in anger.

      "Lennert, are you crazy?!" Hawkins shouted. "What were you thinking taking that lamp?! It probably belongs to Mister Rowland! What part of 'going to kick us out' do you not understand?!"

      "What part of 'magic lamp' do you not understand?" Lennert shouted back in reply. "Is it the 'magic' part? Because that's a very important part of it, Hawkins!"

      Hawkins sighed, putting his face in his paws from frustration. "Lennert… C'mon. We're taking it back."

      "No!" Lennert jumped up from the couch, snatching up the lamp and backing away from his roommate. "We can't take it back!"

     "Lennert, you don't get it!" Hawkins shouted. "If Mister Rowland finds out you took something from the basement while you were cleaning it, he'll throw us out for sure!"

     "No, you don't get it!" Lennert replied, his voice desperate. "Hawkins, this lamp has a magic genie inside! He'll grant us any three wishes we ask for! We can have anything we want! Except for more wishes… apparently, he can't do that…"

     Hawkins opened his mouth to reply, but just as he did so, there came a knock at the apartment door. Lennert, still clutching the lamp under his wing, bolted around the couch for the door.

     "Lennert! Wait!" Hawkins cried. "If it's Mister Rowland--"

     But before the Kyrii could finish, Lennert had flung the door open. A few seconds later, Hawkins joined him from behind, looking out into the hallway to see…

     …Nothing. Absolutely nothing. The hallway was completely empty.

     "Wha…?" was all a stumped Hawkins could manage. He stuck his head out in the hall, looking first left, then right. No one. "But… huh?"

     "Cookie!" Lennert pointed down at the carpet. "Look, Hawkins - a cookie!"

     Indeed, there was a chocolate chip cookie sitting there innocently on the floor in front of the door.

     "Whoever knocked on our door must've left this cookie here by mistake when they ran away for no explicable reason!" Grinning absentmindedly, Lennert reached down for the cookie - and just as he did, it jumped back away from the outstretched wing!

     "Huh?" Lennert looked at the cookie for a moment, confused. Then, with a look of curiosity, he took a few steps out into the hall and reached for the cookie again - and again, it jumped backwards two or three steps!

     Hawkins watched the scene unfold, cocking his head curiously. "Something about this seems familiar…" he mused to himself aloud.

     Lennert, however, did not think so - with a look of determination on his face, he reached again for the cookie. And again, it jumped backwards, this time taking off and sliding down the hall, apparently on its own accord.

     "Get over here, you!" Lennert, who was still cradling the lamp under one wing, shouted, following the cookie as it slid off down the hallway. "You're not getting away this time, you sly baked good you!"

     Hawkins gasped as the realization of deja-vu hit him. "Lennert, wait! It's a trap!"

     But before he could say anything else, the cookie had rounded the corner at the end of the hall with Lennert following in hot pursuit.

     Hawkins sighed. "I think I know what happens next…" Shaking his head sadly, he walked calmly down the hallway towards where Lennert and the cookie had disappeared. Pausing at the corner, he shouted, "Just for the record, I want you both to know that I know you're hiding just around this corner, and when I come around it, you're going to knock me out. So, it's not like you tricked me or anything."

     Having said that, Hawkins rounded the corner and - *THWACK!* - was knocked unconscious by a pole.

     "...I totally knew that was coming..."

To be continued...

 
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