After Ancient Metals, I found Charlie at my desk with a satisfied smirk on her face. Well…MY face.
“What’s with you giving my class the whole week off? Do you realize I have a curriculum to complete?”
She waved her hand. “Come on, Dr. Day, I thought you’d compliment me on my quick thinking. Do you REALLY want me to teach your class all week long? You think I wouldn’t mess up something? Seriously, I’m surprised you didn’t come up with this idea for yourself.”
I countered, “But that’s a whole week of assignments and learning they won’t get. You could have at least asked me about it, Charlene. I don’t like you going ahead and making huge decisions like that without checking with me first. This is MY life you’re screwing around with.”
“I know! Don’t you think I didn’t figure that out? Dr. Day, I think I KNOW what the genie wants us to do!”
I arched an eyebrow at that. “Okay. I’m listening.”
“So like my life was in a serious downward spiral. Everything was shitty. I had an awful professor who hated me, no offense, no money, a crappy car that didn’t work half the time, I live in the worst of apartments, and if I don’t make my grades, I was going to lose my scholarship. You, on the other hand, have an awful life, too. You just don’t know it yet. You’re not happy. You lost your girlfriend…no…the love of your life. And you’ve got the worst case of stick up your ass I’ve ever seen! The genie wants us to make each others lives happy. So, that’s what I’m going to do from now on. Help you out, Dr. Day. I’ve already started with your wardrobe. You’re rocking this outfit, if I do say so myself!”
I narrowed my eyes. “I highly doubt that stupid genie cares about making us happy, Charlene, or about my wardrobe. He cursed us. And you giving my class a whole week off only makes me even more stressed out.”
“Okay, fine, Dr. Day, don’t believe me. But I’m still going to try to make your life better whether you like it or not.”
“Charlene, let me make myself perfectly clear–leave MY life alone. Got it? I don’t need your help. But what I am going to do with this time is study about that curse in our library. Hopefully, there will be some texts on it. I suggest you do the same.”
Charlene only laughed at me and leaned back in MY office chair like it was hers. Shaking my head, I stormed out of my office. There was no convincing her. I just had to do the research on my own and figure out what to do to break this terrible curse.
Hours passed as I read book after book about talisman, curses, voodoo, and genies.
But there were no legends about what had happened, nothing about switching souls. We were stuck. My eyes grew heavy as Charlene’s body was wiped out from the morning’s work out. I fell asleep.
After I’d woken up, the more I thought about Charlene’s words, the more what she said made sense. My mind scrolled over what the genie had said. It was up to us if we were going to receive the blessing. If I made Charlene’s life more bearable, maybe that was just the thing to bring us back to our own bodies. It was worth a shot.
So I drove in her awful, smelly, ugly car to the shopping mall. That was one thing I could do for her. Buy her a new one, but first, her clothes were the worst hand me downs I’d ever seen. I hated all of them.
I thought about my father and how he’d dress up as Jenny when I was younger. If only I could ask him where to shop and what a woman would like to wear. Knowing him, he’d go to the fanciest place in town. Surely I could find better clothing for Charlene there.
God, I hated shopping. But I had to get it over with if I was going to break this damned curse.
I found a rack of nice clothes and went straight to work, trying on as many outfits as possible.
A nice salewoman helped me and after a few hours, I had enough new clothes to last weeks.
Next, I walked to a hair salon. Charlene wanted me to straighten her hair every morning, but I didn’t want to take the time. She had so much it was annoying. I missed my short hair, so I asked the hairdresser to give me something kids these days would like. Something stylish. I certainly knew nothing about women’s hairstyles.
The woman seemed to know what she was doing.
When she was done, I was thrilled. Charlene looked great with short hair. It really made her eyes pop. “Can you do my make up, too?” I asked the stylist.
After about an hour and $300 in cosmetics later, I couldn’t believe the transformation. “Take that, genie!”
I bet the curse would be broken in no time.
I thought today was going pretty well. I mean, at least I didn’t have to worry about teaching Dr. Day’s class anymore. And so, if I didn’t have class, I couldn’t mess up anything. I was about to high tail it out of there when Dr. Day’s friend, Dr. Todd Montiera, stopped me before I could leave.
“Hey, Liam, we got a new artifact in, and I really need your help in assessing what it is. Could you meet me downstairs?”
I was about to make an excuse but his light grey eyes shot me right in the heart and I couldn’t help it. I said, “Sure…uh…I’ll be right down.”
“Dr. Winthrop thought you would know since your specialty is Selvadoradan pottery,” Dr. Montiera explained once we got to the lab room.
OMG, could the guy get any dreamier? I wanted to slip my hands through those luscious locks of his. Long hair was soooo sexy on a guy. But EEK! I had no clue what he wanted me to say, so I just did what I always did, I made something up. “Well, obviously it’s from the Coo-coo-ca-kaka period, dating to before the time of the Llama.”
His face was hard to read. Omg…I think I over did it.
“Coo-coo-ca-kaka? I’ve never heard of that period.”
“Um…like, yeah, i-it’s…um…not very well known. That’s why Dr. Winthrop had a hard time identifying it in the first place, right?”
His eyes narrowed. “Riiiight.”
“Eheheheh…” I half giggled, worried that the guy was onto me as a total fake.
“Liam, are you okay? Did…you hit your head when you were in the jungle?”
Oh, God! He WAS onto me!
I panicked and went on with my story. Making my voice all dorky and serious like Dr. Day’s, I said, “I’m just FINE, Todd, old boy old pal. What could possibly be wrong with me? Never felt better in my life. I’m still that stick in the mud, serious guy you’ve always known. Nothing has changed about me. Nope.”
“Really? Because Zack told me you haven’t been yourself since you came back from Selvadorada. He’s a little worried about you. Maybe you need some time off. You’ve obviously been working too hard.”
Oh God! I was screwing everything up. “Oh no…NO…I’m all good. You got nothing to worry about, dude! I just, you know, have been hanging with the students so maybe they’ve rubbed off on me a little bit. That’s all. No need to worry yourself and tell, like, my boss or anything. But hey, you know, I’ve got like this thing I have to go to so if you don’t mind, I’ll be running along. Good talking with you, though.”
“Yeah. Good talking with you.”