Nice Guys Finish

by Gary K. Shepherd

I was just trying to be nice. When I rubbed the lamp I found down by the river, a genie appeared and said he’d grant three wishes. Right away I dismissed anything about money or power. I wanted a wish that would help all of humanity. But I knew I had to be careful. Every story I had ever read about genie’s wishes warned that they had a way of turning on you.

So I sat down on the bank and thought about it. Finally I said, “How about world peace?”

“Done,” said the Genie. Everything became very quiet.

“What did you do?”

“I made a peaceful world for you. All I had to do was eliminate all the other people.”

“Cancel that wish!” I cried.

“Done,” said the Genie. “One wish left.”

I had wasted two wishes! I had better make my third one count. I sat and thought and thought about it all afternoon, and I got sweaty and sunburnt. Frustrated, I complained, “I wish the sun wasn’t so hot.”

“Done,” said the Genie.

Fearfully, I looked at the sun, but it hadn’t changed.

“You have to wait eight and half minutes,” explained the Genie. Then he disappeared.



Gary K. Shepherd’s work has previously appeared in such publications as Neo-Opsis Science Fiction,, Ciirsova Heroic Fantasy, Another Realm, Schrodinger’s Mouse, and Mystery Time. In addition, my short story, “Night of the Vampire” won first place in the SF division of the Writer’s Digest annual genre fiction contest. (Despite its title, it was a hard science fiction story).

Feel free to leave a comment

Previous Story

Sci Phi Journal 2021/3 – Autumn Issue for Download as PDF

Next Story

Orchids Of Annihilation

Latest from Fiction

Meno’s Dream

A tale about the questionable authorship of nocturnal ideation, unquestionably authored by Ben Roth.

A Rejection

Controversial scholarship may remain difficult to publish even in the far future, by Lloyd Earickson.

The Familiar Stranger

A scientific correspondence spanning time, space and at least one other dimension, by Carlton Herzog.


On the tricky business of capturing fugitives in a world that conforms to the theories of


Perhaps the most controversial among Gheorghe Săsărman's cycle of imaginary cities, translated by Monica Cure.