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The Secret History of TriaDCon: Ben Finds a Bottle


by Ben Trovaro
(this narrative continues in 3 more sequential posts on this blog)

Many people have asked me how TriaDCon came about, and I have always been rather vague about it, but – well– OK– ya got me– I’ve had a few drinks in me and I’m feeling rather good so I’ll tell you.

Well it was a few days after a particularly disappointing Historicon and I was feeling somewhat down– well no– I was feeling like crap and I didn’t know what to do so I went down to the shore and it was a beautiful day, and I figured I would just walk on the beach.

So I’m walking along on the beach and it was even more depressing! There was freakin’ trash everywhere, old McBarferburger wrappers, tin cans, bits of kiddie toys long dumped at sea- old television sets, bottles– everything!

Where the hell is Al Gore when you need him!

There was so much damn crap it was not only ugly, it was a trip hazard. There were also a lot of translucent glistening rubbery things with a strange viscous fluid in them which the unaware might have thought were the remains of jellyfish that had washed ashore, but I knew better. They may have smelled like fish, but the jelly that festooned their membranes was not something you’d care to see in some exotic oriental restaurant!

Anyway I was really pissed now and I was kicking the bottles this way and that and I gave one that looked like an old Citronella candle a vicious drop kick and damn near broke my toe! It bounced only half-a-dozen feet and a strange disembodied gasp appeared to eminase from nowhere and a rather alluring feminine voice said--

“Hey watch where you’re going ya big Jerk.” I looked around and saw no one , and checked under my feet to see if some frolicsome teenagers (or the Joisey Mob) had buried someone in the sand – but no. I went over the odd bottle that was in a bag of netting that looked like a rat-eaten macrame purse put together by some stoned Deadhead, and tried to rub off the grit and sand. Suddenly there was a loud “POOF!” and a billowing lavender cloud came out of the top of the candle slowly forming a pillar of smoke and smelling strongly of Jean Nate.

Well whaddyou think! Standing before me was this really Hot babe looking all the world like an X rated version of Barbara Eden from the old “I-Dream of Jeanie” series, only she had on a lot less coverings and she had a lot more to cover.

Jeannie had a boob job and now sported a rack that would have made a Guernsey cow jealous.

She said in a somewhat tired tone, the cheap mascara and fuscia lipstick she wore echoing her ‘ennui, “Greetings Master, I am the Genie of the Lamp, In gratitude for your freeing me from the bondage of the lamp you may have three wishes....” The her voice got real low and dropped several octaves to a dead monotone and she spoke very rapidly– “This offer to expire within one year of initial offering, wisher may not wish for more wishes, wishes must be limited to objects and properties obtainable and within the laws of physics and causality within the known universe wished in and are not subject to strict interpretation of the wishes of the wisher. Void where prohibited by law - Wishette takes no responsibility for actual operation, size or net realizable value of wishes or transference or redemption of same, nor is provider subject to liability for product failure, maintenance, upkeep, normal wear and tear and future replacement. thereof...

I myself was mesmerized by the somewhat exotic but not unappealing figure in front of me and it was several minutes before I interrupted her seemingly endless monologue of disclaimer..

“Say– you’re..!”
“Yes” the spirit answered, resuming her legal litany.
“Gee whatever happened to you – and what are you doing in a lamp?”
“What!– have you lived in a cave for the past 40 years? The show was cancelled.”
“Yeah but, you’re– you’re a REAL Genie!”
“Well La-De-Dah for you! I didn’t get a dime of the residuals and the shyster lawyers rooked me out of most of what they promised and when it was cancelled, I had to go back and live in that damn lamp, with only the basic cable package.. They couldn’t revive the series and there was nothing they could do with me so eventually they used me in the prop department where the lamp appeared in various sword and sandal movies, Bible epics, and ‘Raiders of the something or other.” It figured prominently in the Yiddish Version of the Indiana Jones Movies- “Brooklyn Steinbaum and the Temple of Gloom” but then I was used in one of the Bond Movies and one of the constant explosions scorched the patina of the lamp and so it hung around in the warehouse for years and eventually was old to an odd-lot chain. There it was bought by a carny side-show where I had to do a three times a day hoochie-coochie and get this boob job so the red-neck hicks who go to family re-unions to pick up dates would watch. Then the Religious right put the carny out of business and it was back to the Dollar store for me. I knocked around in various homes till they threw me out.
“Wow!!!” But you’re a real Genie! And you LOOK so much like Barbara Eden.
“ I am Barbara Eden, or rather Barbara Eden is me. That was my stage name. did you really think that anyone could be 50 and look that good who wasn’t a Genie?!.”

Now I was getting a little angry– Hey! I was the lamp master now and I was taking this load of crap from an employee!

“Awright, awright, enough of the “This is your life.” She said- “What’s yer wishes.”

I thought a moment and realized that this was the opportunity of a lifetime, no a millennium– I tried to focus my thoughts on what to ask for and all the while I was checking out the Jeannie, who was looking pretty hot and I visualized her in a nice formal dress, a little black spaghetti strap number, and then my first wish came to me..

"Ummmm– I think I ‘ll save ONE of them wishes for later, much later, when we’re alone and private!” She rolled her eyes “Oh God another one! Like I didn’t see that coming. Still it’s easier than moving mountains or finding you the perfect Reuben sandwich. Besides ‘ she said looking me over once or twice–“ I reckon you for two– maybe three minutes tops! Ok mister what’s your second wish?”

I thought again.

Hmmmm, I said I think I’d like...” I was going to ask to be rich but I suddenly realized that if I WAS going to wish to get the genie of the bottle in the sack (and in the kitchen, living room, foyer, garage, and attic crawl space for that matter) I ought to make the most of it, and with a babe as hot as the one in front of me, at my present age and condition if I could– er– ah– rise to the occasion at all, in order to ummm– keep flying high, and stay the course and like Prince Henry cry “Once more into the breech dear friends!” I would need some help so I resolved to wish to be 18 again. So I said “I’ll keep that for later too...”

“Kool– “ She said “ One last wish Mister Mysterious–“

Well I thought and thought and thought and realized that being rich would be nice, but then I’d have a million friends trying to sponge off me, and the IRS would be on my back constantly, and I could be famous, but what good was theat, and I thought on and on.

“I’m waiting” she said, tapping her pointed toe slipper on the sane.

I thought on. I could do something noble like cure world hunger of get world peace, or halt global warming or something like that or but it was getting hard...

“Sometime today, I’ve gotta take a trip to the John soon.”

I mused on in silence.

“These short naps are wonderful!” She quipped.

Finally it hit me! Something I always wanted! Something I had been searching for years. Something I had when I was a kid but lost! Finally I said “I want to have a good old time war game convention like Atlanticon and Origins used to be. One which wouldn’t be divided among minis, wargames, boardgames and ave all sorts of gaming in it. One that would showcase and support friendship, and fun and camaraderie, where they wouldn’t take me for every cent I had and treat me like a dog when I got there! One that was fun, with lots to eat and all my friends could come to."

The Genie rolled her eyes and said “Well at least he didn’t wish for me to tell him “You’re the best” after he uses his two saved wishes! “ She turned to me and said, “Cripes it would have been easier if you had asked to be the richest man in the world or for world peace?"

Really!? Is it that difficult? She snorted out a laugh “Ever MEET war gamers!?” I suddenly realized she was right!

“Can yo do it?” I asked.

“Yeah, but I’ll need help. It’s not like you asked me to make you master of the universe or be astonishingly good looking, but its gonna be tough so I got to call in some special talent.

“Yeah! Special talent. OK slick– you go home and get a some sleep. Tonight you will be visited by three spirits, helpers of mine who will take you on a journey towards your goal.. Pay attention to what they say and don’t let your mind wander because these dudes won’t repeat it. Keep yer eye on the ball, your nose to the grindstone, the pedal to the metal, your shoulder to the wheel and your hands to yourself!

“Speaking of my hands, about my last two wishes.”

“Later Don Juan, I only work on one wish at a time!’”
“Really?” I asked, “Is that for quality purposes? “
“No Union rules.”
And with that there was a loud poof, a final whiff of “ Jade East” and the genie turned into a cloud and went back into the bottle.

I was speechless at the whole miraculous episode and stood for a long time looking out into empty space. Then I turned to go.

A strange eerie voice that seemed to come from all around me said, softly, seductively..

“Don’t forget the bottle shitwit!”

NEXT- The Spirit of Conventions Past.