Luca woke up after a terrible night. Although Martha had given him her number and address, this information was now in his mobile phone and the mobile was with his body. He even tried to ask the hotel staff for Martha's address, but they refused to tell him, due to information privacy regulations. He decided to wait for the next morning, when (so he hoped) Martha would return to the hotel.
When morning came, Luca went down to the reception. Unfortunately, his sister wasn't around. Instead, his secretary awaited him in his body. "Hello, Frida! Do you have all files with you?" His body asked.
"Of course!" Luca presented a suitcase. He knew that negotiations must be a success. Otherwise, he would have a problem, even if he could somehow undo the switch. For now, he had to play along. When their car was ready, Luca and Frida left for the meeting.
A few hours later, Luca was back to the hotel. The negotiation had failed. Even though Frida was in his body now, she definitely lacked the experience and the business knowledge to lead the negotiations to a success. And so, their Swiss partner had refused to do the joint venture with Brazil Motors. Luca knew that he and Frida would most likely lose their jobs now. But, his most pressing problem was to get back into his own body. When he and Frida entered the hotel, Luca had the first uplifting experience of the day: Martha was at the hotel. He waited until Frida in his body had left the lobby. Then he approached his sister.
"How may I help you?" Martha greeted the secretary of his brother.
Luca went all in. "Martha, it's me! Luca!"
"Pardon? You're Luca de Santos' secretary, right?"
"No, I'm your brother. I somehow swapped my body with my secretary's. I can't explain how, but you have to believe me." When Martha hesitated for a moment, Luca added: "If you don't trust me: remember how I called you when we were younger: Marcitta!"
"Oh my god! It's you." Martha embraced her brother. "I think I know what has happened."
Martha knew she had to explain everything now. "Luca, you know what a djinn is?" Luca nodded. Martha took his hand. "These creatures exist. There are currently four genies in this hotel: Sami, a very old and experienced genie. Gregorios, he's an evil genie. Babette, my coworker. She became a genie, just yesterday. And then there's me. I'm a genie too."
Luca remained silent for a moment. "Normally, I would think you crazy, Martha. But after what happened to me, I'm not surprised. So, you say a djinn swapped our bodies?"
"I think so." Martha replied. "I swapped two humans once. But I'm not responsible for your swap."
"Alright. Can you swap me back now?"
"That depends on...." Martha explained. "If your swap was done by Babette or Gregorios, it will be no problem. I'm more experienced than them. But if it was Sami, you will have to wish for yourself. He's over 4000 years old. I'm no match for his powers. Wait a moment; I'll summon one of them." Martha left her brother in the lobby and fetched her own lamp. She rubbed it and Babette appeared.
"Hello, Martha! What's going on?" Babette asked.
"Did you swap my brother's and his secretary's body?" Martha bluntly asked.
"Oh! That's what this is all about." Babette said. "Yes, I did it. His secretary wished to take over his life. So I decided to swap their bodies."
"I see! I guess you had no other way?" Luca accused Babette.
Babette had tears in her eyes. "Please forgive me. I had no other chance but to grant that wish."
"That's true!" Martha intervened. "A bound genie is forced to grant the wish. You can't blame her for what she did."
"I understand." Luca said. "Then it's Frida's fault. She'll pay for that. And together, we'll decide how. Can you please swap us back now, Martha?"
"Sure!" Martha blinked.
A few minutes later, Luca, back in his own body, returned to the lobby. Martha and Babette already awaited him. Frida was there too, but she standing strangely still, as if she was a statue or doll. "What happened to her?" he asked.
"I paralysed her." Martha explains. "Now we can punish her. If you wish, I can transform her into an animal or an object."
Frida's face was filled with fear. But also Luca gave Martha a disturbed look. "Transform her into an animal or an object? What kind of punishment would that be?"
"Well, once transformed, she wouldn't be able to plot against you again." Martha explained. "After some time, her mind will adapt and we'll be rid of her for good."
Luca was outraged. "That's not a punishment. Of course Frida shouldn't be a danger for us anymore, but she should also learn from her punishment. We won't turn her into an animal for good."
"What if we turn her into a child?" Babette suggested. "Frida would lose all she learned until today. That would be punishment enough. But she had also a chance for a fresh start. Maybe she will learn from her mistakes?"
"That's a very good idea!" Luca said.
Martha nodded too. "There's boarding school for girls in town. We could send her there."
"Sounds good!" Luca said. "Since you had the idea, will you transform her, Babette?"
Babette passed Luca her lamp. "You have to wish for it first!"
Luca took the lamp. "Listen Babette: I wish that you rejuvenate Frida into a 6 year old, orphaned girl. She shall be a pupil at that boarding school. All tuition fees shall be paid until she graduates." Babette folded her hands and granted the wish.
Frida had a frightened expression on her face. At least she wouldn't become an animal or an object. Still, the prospect of becoming a child again didn't please her very much. But then, her face became softer. Her body grew smaller and more child-like, while her clothes changed into a school uniform. Suddenly she could move and speak again. "Great, I'm a child again. But I'm still me inside."
"See it as a second chance. We'll take you to your new school and your new life tomorrow." Martha said. "Oh, and I wouldn't try rubbing that lamp. Sami doesn't forgive as easy as we do."
"Er, Martha, I could use your help tomorrow. I have to fix the mess Frida made today at the business meeting. And I need a new secretary. Would you accompany me?" Luca said.
"Sure I will." Martha replied. "I can even disguise myself as Frida."
"Then I will take you to the school." Babette patted the head of a pouting Frida. Slowly Frida understood, that she was stuck in her new life.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Part 1: [link]
Part 2: [link]
Part 3: [link]
Part 4: [link]
Part 6: [link]