by Z.H. Gill
An aging, embittered film critic—he considered himself a theorist—came across a dull-sided oil lamp deep within a tomblike thrift store in Lower Manhattan. He wore thick gloves as he purchased “this paperweight” from the gap-tooted cashier and so did not summon the djinn within until he made it home and his clammy gloves became an avulsion on the floor beside the jingling radiator and, finally, just before his pizza arrived, he rubbed the lamp with his bare palms (which were cracked like book spines from the cold). The phantom trapped inside appeared before the critic on his couch and offered him the customary three wishes. The critic said he needed at least the night to think them through and shared his pizza with his guest. The next morning the critic told the djinn that he knew for certain what his first would be. He apologized in advance for the wish being so wordy and then went into it: “I want to send every film school student, and graduate, and faculty-member, as well as every person ever destined to attend or work at one who hasn’t yet, to another planet! It needs to be a nice planet. It needs to be at least as hospitable as this one, if not more so. It needs to have a reasonable day and a limited night. More than enough food for all. As much political stability as you can guarantee without my wasting another wish. And no cameras in sight. They have to start over.” The apparition said, “Sure, man,” and made it so. “You have two more wishes.”
Z.H. Gill is watching Not Another Teen Movie as he writes this bio.