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The Possum Who Cheated
One morning a possum encountered a jinn while strolling through the woods. The jinn wore large, billowy pants and no shirt. Gold rings hung from the jinn's nipples. Being in an agreeable mood, the jinn offered the possum three wishes.
"It's your lucky day," said the jinn. "For today I offer you three wishes. Anything your heart desires, all you must do is ask."
The possum looked at the jinn. The possum saw stars.
The possum thought for a moment, then made a decision. "A new hut would be nice," said the possum.
"Done," said the jinn. "When you get home, a new hut will be standing in place of the old one. If it is not to your liking, just snap your fingers and I will appear."
"Thank you," said the possum.
"Now, two more, my friend. Use them wisely."
The jinn beamed, happy to help.
The possum thought a moment. He placed his paws behind his back and paced back and forth. He stopped.
"Yes?" said the jinn.
"A new fishing pole would be nice," said the possum.
A bamboo pole appeared in the possum's hand.
"There you are," said the jinn, beaming. "Now, just one more wish. Choose wisely, my friend."
The possum answered immediately. "I wish for three more wishes," he said.
"I'm sorry," said the jinn. "You may wish for anything but that."
"But you said anything—"
"Here, try again. I won't count that one."
The possum looked back at the trail he had followed. It was dark, but he knew the way.
Slowly turning around, the possum began the trek back home.
"Wait," said the jinn. "Where are you going?"
The possum did not answer.
When the possum got home it was just as the jinn said. A new hut stood in place of the old one. The possum looked it over. It was much nicer than the old one. The roof didn't sag on one side.
But the possum was still angry at being cheated and snapped his fingers.
The jinn appeared. "I knew you could not resist," he said. The jinn somersaulted around the hut. "You've made me so happy!"
"Take it," the possum said. "Take the hut, take the pole. Take it all back. I don't want it."
"But my friend, I'm giving them to you. They're yours. Don't you like them?"
"I don't like cheaters," the possum said.
"But my friend—"
In place of the new hut, the old one appeared. On one side the roof was caved in. The door hung crookedly.
"You're sure?" the jinn said, tears welling in his eyes.
"Good day," said the possum, and slammed the crooked door.
The jinn cried for days.
Mark McKee is from the American south. It's even creepier than Faulkner said. You can find his work here.