“I Don’t Dream of Genie” by Chad Pelley follows a woman named Sherry. Sherry works in a shopping mall as Santa Claus.
She does not like her job and finds it uncomfortable when the children are shouting in her ears and sometimes by accident hurts her.
The job is supposed to help her pay for a trip to Tennessee, where she attended a seminar on lucid dreaming.
This reveals what Sherry’s inner conflict is really about. Her incapability to move on from Gene.
In another flashback, Sherry remembers Gene telling her there is another woman in his life. A quarrel between them takes place, ending with the two of them tumbling down the stairs:
“I started to make my way up the stairs, two at a time, but he’d grabbed me, and I tried shaking him off, but we tipped backwards, and went whirlpooling down the spiraling staircase together, like fish caught in a drain. (ll. 121-123)”
Tension rises throughout this scene. It partially fades when Gene turns out not to be hurt, except for a broken wrist (l.124).
The climax of the story is when Sherry remembers Gene’s last words to her. “I will not miss you” (L. 124-125) This seems to have had remarkable effect on Sherry and is probably the reason why she can’t move on.