I’ve got no strings so I have fun and I’m not tied to anyone How I love my liberty There are no strings on me
‘So, ‘ the Genie mused as he sat on James’ sofa, he had a can of beer in his hand and a lazy grin on his face, he was handsome that was for sure. “You know the drill, you get three wishes.”
“I get three wishes?”
“Three,” he said with a smile, “and none of that fooling me like Robin Williams crap, I wasn’t born yesterday.”
“When were you born?”
“Three thousand years ago.”
“So the wishes?”
“I want to be able to recall all of my memories,” James said. “But none of this remembering it all at once crap.”
“That’s wish one.”
“How far back do you want the memories to go?”
“Interesting,” James hadn’t thought about that, “As far back as I can get.”
“Can I modify wish one?”
“Do you know the film Limitless?”
“The protagonist finds a drug that gives him unlimited cognitive abilities?”
“Would I be able to mix that in?”
The genie paused, “I know what you mean, you essentially want to be like Eddie Morra but without all of the negative side effects?”
“But I sense there’s more?”
“Yes,” James nodded. “The assassin’s creed games, would it be possible to have all of the memories that Desmond Miles has and gain the same set of skills?”
“All this in one wish?”
“Yes sir.” James felt it necessary to be polite to the genie.
“Okay that’s easy, and because I like you, I’ll cut out the memory problems as well.”
“Thanks I like you too.”
“Okay wish two, if you are done?”
“Do you know the film Now You See Me?”
“I wanted the same mentalism abilities as Woody Harrelson character.”
“Oh, good call,” the Genie nodded. “I get it, done.”
“Do you know Quantum Leap?”
“Oh boy.” He blinked and nodded, “how far back do you want to go?”
“A few years if I can?”
“To say the cruise?”
“Oh good call.”
The Genie nodded, “Good wishes, see you on the flip side.”
With a flick of the fingers James’ world vanished and he found himself in bed. He felt younger, but also fatter, he sighed, he ran his hand through his hair, he needed to exercise. James had a few months yet before the cruise.
Okay first things first.
He sat down and started rooting through his memories; he then spent the next several days organizing them all. It was like the preparation of an orderly reference book. One by one, he recalled all his experiences in the 12 years he had spent at the hotel and all he had heard and all the papers and memos he had read.
There was no difficulty in discarding the irrelevant and unimportant and storing them in a “hold till further notice” compartment where they did not interfere with his analysis. Other items were put in order so that they established a natural progression.
Against that skeletal organization, he resurrected the scuttlebutt he had heard; the gossip, malicious or otherwise; casual phrases and interjections at conferences which he had not been conscious of hearing at the time. Those items which did not fit anywhere against the background he had built up in his head were worthless, empty of factual content. Those which did fit clicked firmly into place and could be seen as true by that mere fact.
The further the structure grew, and the more coherent, the more significant new items became and the easier it was to fit them in.
He realized that he could multiply and divide as fast as a computer because at some time in his life he had come across almost every simple bit of arithmetic and he could recall the answers.
James had even read a table of square roots at one point.
This was amazing.
When he was done doing that, James was able to access the ancestral memories much easier, everything seemed to click into place with relative ease.
Using the ancestors memories he spent the next three months getting fit, it was an unprecedented surge of motivation the likes of which he had never felt.
James lost weight and even gained some muscle and then he was ready for the cruise, James had everything packed and ready to go and was picked up by his mother, she was startled at his change, his physical appearance.
At work this was noticed, he could speak fluently six different languages now, Arabic, Italian, French, Romanian, Polish, even Russian, Mandarin and Native American.
The last one he never used but Mandarin did come in handy.
James didn’t tell anyone that he could speak these, instead he kept this information to himself, which was very handy when they came to reception, they would stand there and natter away in their language, not knowing that James understood every word they said.
His uncle and father came and picked him up and took him to the cruise ship, security was a pain in the ass but understandable, the four of them were let through, eventually and after a couple of hours they made their way onto the ship.
Initiation was boring, listening to them drone on about security in the freezing cold. Finally they were able to leave and James weaved his way through the crowds, this ability was taken from one of the ancestors and came in very handy.
“Jesus you got here quick.”
He looked up and nodded, “I know how to navigate the crowds.”
“Yeah,” his Uncle scowled. “I wish I knew that.”
‘Oh the irony.’
Two hundred years of information helped.
But he kept that part to himself.
“So when are we leaving?”
“Not until this evening.”
The rest of the evening was spent exploring the ship, he didn’t get seasickness anymore as more than a few ancestors had been on boats before, one having served in the British Navy and this translated across to him, he saw the crew working and admired them for it.
Still he was there on holiday, so he enjoyed himself, he found himself following his family around this time, going to quizzes and getting good because he remembered everything now, not to mention having 22 lifetimes worth of history in his mind.
“How do you know all of this?”
“I read,” James said.
His father shrugged it off.
The next day they were in international waters and James saw the casino, he ignored it for the moment but the bright lights were a lure.
“We’ll visit it after dinner,” his father said with a matching grin.
Dinner was blasé, he wasn’t particularly impressed, given his new expanded palate.
James could even eat fish now.
“Thought you didn’t like fish?”
His father sighed and they ate, talked and ate.
James got his waiter talking, the two chatted about the ship, his life, hobbies and everything that the waiter did and in between, again new skills translated across that helped him get information out of the waiter without him giving so much as an inkling across. When the waiter was gone his father stared.
“I’ve never seen you this chatty before?”
“Did you hear me give away any information about myself?”
His father frowned and thought about it, he shook his head, “no.”
“I’m good at getting people to talk.”
“I’ll have to remember that.”
After dinner they went out and headed towards the casino, “dad have you got a twenty?”
He handed it over and James bounced into the bright lights and glitz, his father rolled his eyes, James walked over to the machines but saw a better opportunity. Sitting at the entrance to the casino, designed for the sole purpose of attracting the casual passerby, was a $2 Blackjack table.
“You know how to play?”
James frowned, did he, of course, several of his ‘ancestors’ were card sharks.
“Apparently I do,” James grinned evilly.
This would be just the thing to force him to focus his mind, and at $2 a hand he could sit there for a long while even if the deck ran against him.
James nodded at the dealer who was a woman with nice breasts, he noticed they strained at her top, which was probably by design. He sat down at the table and placed the 20 on it, she nodded.
“Change for a 20.”
She picked up a stack of white chips and placed them in front of James.
Checking the stack down to piles of 5, the dealer showed 4 even stacks, placed 2 on the spot in front of James and pushed the rest back to him.
James looked at the other players.
These were not hardcore players, even he wasn’t yet, he was still an amateur until he refined his skills, he didn’t know what abilities the Genie had given him yet.
Sitting at first base or the dealers immediate left, was the “Second Wife”, the expensive watch, the designer clothes, $1000 handbag with the half full Bloody Mary in front of her, while her husband was the nearby spending time with his “first wife” (married to his job came to mind), phone glued to his ear while he talked business.
She saw him looking and he eyed her, full of confidence, something he had never felt before, it was exhilarating. He was the alpha here, the ‘man’, she smiled, full lips curving upwards, her eyes dancing with excitement, he winked and continued his tour de force.
The young man in the next position was mid 20’s, the classic preppy dress, right down to the sockless shoes and the latest in logo shirt. Just out of college, probably with a degree in math or finance, completely confident he knew play the odds and what to do with every play. He was going to break the bank and own the ship. The force of his attention on the cards and every move the dealer made was palpable. The only time his attention ever left the cards was to look at the couple sitting beside him in disgust.
If anyone was going to get beaten up it was preppy, James mused, still he doubted that would happen on the ship, they’d likely just ban him.
That couple was the Newlyweds, giggling and semi intimately touching each other, paying little or no attention to the game or even mindful of the people sitting beside them. Simply spending some time out of the cabin and doing things about ship so they could tell their friends they did not spend all their time on their honeymoon having sex.
Still she was pretty, a brunette with perky tits that James could imagine destroying, over and over and making her beg for more.
She giggled and he rolled his eyes, the second wife chuckled at this.
The dealer new that James was ready now and smiled, she flipped out the players cards, and dropped an Eight in front of James and paired it with the second card.
When it was his turn to bet, he spread his index and pinkie finger and said split, knowing with the dealer turning up a 5, he would have to take 2 cards at least.
The dealer turned up an ace on the first one and some paint of the second. When the dealer rolled over a 7 as his hole card, and then dropped a 5 for 17, James was off to a good start, winning on both hands. The next hand he got a black jack and it was off to the races for the rest of this shoe.
For the rest of the shoe, James won 9 out of the 10 hands, with one push or tie which cost him nothing. Twice he received blackjacks. At the end of 11 hands, he was up $25 bucks. Most of the other players had profited too as the dealer went bust most of those hands.
As the dealer finished up the last deal in the shoe, a replacement dealer gently tapped her on the shoulder, signifying that he was there to relieve her.
“That’s me out,” the second wife said with a smile, she winked at James and got up, he followed her ass with his eyes as she met her husband and the two walked off, James turned back to the game, it was down to him, Preppy and the couple.
His only objection was the old dealer, a younger Eastern European blonde was much better looking than this middle aged, overweight dealer stepping up to shuffle the cards. James’ eagle eyesight saw the name tag and it had Karl, written on it, and that was under a face with a tired expression of someone who had dealt a million hands and seen it all.
The dealer drew James’ attention back to the deck, James raised his bet to $3.
It was then that James realized that a $3 bet should win $4.50 but there were no chips to represent this, the chips were in solid numbers, 1, 2 and 3 for example. The house was keeping what should have been the player’s money for itself.
After the cards were played James upped the bet again to $4, James knew the house was out to make money, but being that blatant about it on a table designed to attract players who did not know the game rankled him.