The Evil Genie grants three wishes a week. Leave a wish in the comments!
Peachy Carnahan wishes: Oh, Evil Genie, Grant me the power to make good baklava. Delicious baklava. Oh yes.
The Evil Genie replies: When you bring your scrumptious, homemade baklava into the office, people are excited.
“What is that?” They ask, cornering you in the kitchen as you set the tray down, “Baklava? Did you make that?” You nod proudly, removing the plastic wrap. “Yeah, I don’t want to brag but, I make good baklava. Delicious baklava. Oh yes.”
“Baklava?” Others ask, coming into the pantry and approaching the plate, “Ooo that’s… what is baklava again?”
“Filo dough with chopped nuts and honey,” you tell them, “Yeah, I make it at home, it’s kind of my specialty. It’s always really good, every single time. Try it!”
Your co-workers lift the baklava to their mouths to taste it. Their eyes light up and they look at you, amazed. “This is great. You made at this? You? At home? You should make this all the time.” You laugh and smile.
“No, seriously,” they say, “Can you make this tomorrow? We have that big meeting and the client is coming in and now that we’ve tasted this, we just don’t know if will go well without your baklava. Seriously, please. Please make it. Please.”
You’re surprised by their intensity, but you agree. After all, you have the magic ability to make good baklava. It’s delicious every single time, so you figure, why not? It’s easy enough for you, and you’ll be a hero.
The next day, the client is taken with your company’s presentation but enraptured with your baklava. “Where did you buy this baklava?” they demand, “I need to buy some of this baklava for my uncle’s wake tomorrow. This baklava is so wonderful that I am certain that it would heal the heavy hearts of my family. Tell me where you got this baklava.”
“Peachy made it,” your coworkers volunteer, “He always makes perfect baklava. Every time. It’s soooo good.”
“Please,” the client says, “For tomorrow, I want to order 100 trays of baklava.”
Stunned, you agree. “How much do you charge?” the client asks and you try to estimate the appropriate cost, but due to your great sympathy for their loss and lack of bakery sales expertise, lowball them outrageously. You leave early to start your baking.
That evening by ten pm, you’re tired and your hands are sticky. You’re annoyed by the thinness of filo dough and the heat of the oven. Your kitchen is crowded with the extra trays you were forced to buy and you’re out of counterspace. You’re grumpy and sweaty and your doorbell buzzes.
On your doorstop, you find your coworkers along with their friends and families. “Hi,” you say, confused. “It’s a little late, and I’m trying to make all this baklava for tomorrow. I’ll see you all tomorrow, or… at the company picnic or something. Good night.” You start to shut your door, but your coworkers block you.
“We’ll be taking that baklava,” they tell you, their voices serious, their faces dark.
“Guys, you volunteered me to make this,” you say, frustrated, “I’m out a lot of money and time and effort, and I just want to finish this. You’re freaking me out. Please leave.”
Some of your coworkers glare and break away to walk around the back of your building, openly looking to smash in through a window or climb up a trellis. Prowling, aggressive, they case your house with hungry eyes. Teenage sons kick at your basement windows, wives peer into bedrooms and jiggle latches.
“Shut up, Peachy,” the other coworkers say, poking you in the chest, their families close behind. They shove you backwards, forcing their way in through the front door, “We’d never even tried baklava before you talked us into tasting it. ‘Tryyyyyyyyyy it, I maaaaade it,’” (here they whine in what you can only assume is an impression of you) “You got us hooked on the ’lava and now you try to take it away? Let us in or we’ll let you out.”
They find the kitchen and demolish it, flinging honey and dough as they indulge their ravenous appetites. People eat like animals, grabbing food by the fistful, thrashing mouths wildly, letting saliva fly and drool drip, until they tire and lie like drugged, fattened pigs in their own mess, reveling in a bacchanal of pastry-gorging. They take turns restraining you and keeping you from calling the police. When the baklava is gone, they order you to make more. You do, but they never seem to be sated. When you try to protest that you’re out of ingredients, they begin to organize.
The families amongst the group set up camps in your living room and bathtub so that the children can rest, the so-far-ignored nut allergy reactions can be treated and the sleep shifts can be organized, while the single people count the group’s pooled money and figure out how much dough and honey it will buy. With almost military precision, a new society is formed amongst your coworkers, and they live by a single-minded doctrine.
Your client comes to the door, angry about their unfulfilled order and hungry, grief-stricken family, and your coworkers murder them and dispose of the bodies in the backyard.
Outsiders can no longer be trusted; your coworkers band together in their common goal and common guilt. Angry at their own inhumanity, they work you harder. They make sure you bake day and night, whipping you if the need arises, yelling, threatening. They tell your corporate headquarters that you died. Each day they decide which group will be dispatched to the office, leaving in shifts, carrying briefcases full of pastry, and who will call in sick and make sure you stay producing, keeping their eyes on you even as you remain chained to the stove. At night, your co-captors gather around their platters of baklava and feast, while you weep and stare into the middle distance and drizzle honey.