A/N: Hi, everyone. This is my first story in the FOP section, so I just wanted to introduce myself. I'm Lady Esca, and I'm glad I could write this for you all. I am a devoted Norm the Genie fan, so this one-shot is about him and why he is such a jerk and all. Actually, I think Norm being sarcastic is cute, but that's just me. It also answers why Birkenbake sold him. If either you believe that Mr. B just didn't know about him, or there was something more, that's up to you to decide. But my story leans more to the latter, and the idea is all thanks to Soulful-Sin. She is one of the best writers in the FOP section, and she helped me obtain this plot. I just wanna thank her. So, please enjoy.

Disclaimer: I don't own FOP. (huggles her Norm plushie)

Going Our Different Ways

Written by Lady Esca

During his planning period, Mr. Birkenbake slowly opened up a closet in his office and stood up on his toes to reach two boxes stacked up on the shelf. Stumbling backwards, Birkenbake dropped the boxes onto his desk and caught himself before he fell. Straightening back up, Birkenbake separated the two boxes and opened up the larger one marked "smoof".

Inside the box were some tacks, a vacuum cleaner, and other miscellaneous household and teacher supplies, all with smoof written on them. Birkenbake sifted through the lot and pulled out a light-up smiley face. It smiled cheerily at him, yet his heart was heavy and he didn't smile back. Shoving the smoof box away, the teacher wrote, "garage sale" on its side and pulled open the flaps on the second box. There were only two things inside this box: A picture album and a glowing lava lamp.

Lifting the album out of the box, Birkenbake was suddenly thrown into his groovy past as he flipped through the pages adorned with far-out photos from the 70's. Birkenbake was wiping away tears of hilarity at his mother's afro, when suddenly he stumbled upon a picture of an old friend of his. He was a young looking man with curly black hair, a small goatee, and abnormal amethyst eyes. The photo depicted the man and an equally young Birkenbake with their arms thrown about each other's shoulders and yukking it up together.

The teacher set the album down and sniffed. He hadn't seen his friend in a few years. They had kept in touch, but lately, Birkenbake's efforts to get a pay higher than Crocker had prevented the undying hippie from seeing him. Yet, upon remembering this man who was almost like a brother, Birkenbake suddenly realized how long he had put him off and how... He couldn't keep disappointing him...

"Maybe... It's time for a final reunion..." he muttered, and reaching into the box, he retrieved the lava lamp that was inside.

Taking a deep breath, Birkenbake tried to shove off the old memories and quickly pressed his hand against the lamp, rubbing it roughly.

Instantly, blue smoke spewed from the top like lava from a volcano and clouded up the teacher's small office. Birkenbake, quite used to this, calmly held the lamp and watched. As the blue smoke began to dissipate, the silhouette of a mighty figure appeared before the teacher, flexing its awesome muscles and emitting a deep groan from its cavernous chest. The teacher only frowned and tapped his sandaled foot impatiently.

"C'mon, Norm. Wake up."

The creature was suddenly revealed to be a stretching and yawning genie waking up from a nap. The genie scratched his chest and looked down at the human, a tired frown upon his tanned countenance.

"Listen, human... This had better be... Birkenbake? Is that you!" the genie cried.

"Yeah, it's me," the teacher replied, containing a quiet smile.

Crying out in joy, Norm dove towards Birkenbake and tackled him, hugging him tightly.

"It's old Shake-n-Bake! Ha, ha! I haven't seen you in years! How have you been?" Norm asked excitedly.

Birkenbake was helped up by his old genie friend and he dusted off his clothes.

"Well, things could be better," he growled, gesturing around at his dingy little office.

"Oh... You're a car salesman now? Neat! Looks like you haven't had any sales lately..."

"No! I'm a teacher, Norm!" Birkenbake retorted hotly.

Norm was suddenly taken aback and he crossed his arms in silent protest.

"Hey, what's with the harshness?" he asked frostily. "I haven't seen you in two years and you go and bite my head off!"

"Look, Norm. I'm sorry... I didn't mean it..." the teacher groaned and dropped down into his chair.

The genie floated above his old friend and gently rested his hand on Birkenbake's shoulder. Frowning with concern, Norm faced Birkenbake, pulling down his shades to look him in the eye.

"I shouldn't have teased you. It seems as though you've fallen on hard times."

Birkenbake tore his eyes away from Norm's dark ones and sighed. The genie tried to attain his gaze once more, but the teacher refused.

"I have... Very hard times..." he murmured softly.

"Well, then why didn't you rub my lamp? You know that I've given you unlimited wishes! You could wish for a million dollars, or a job as a lawyer, or some sweet babes even! Just say the wish, and anything you want is yours, my old pal!" Norm exclaimed, and adjusting his wrist cuffs, prepared himself for a wish.

"No," came the teacher's reply.

Norm positioned his fingers to snap, but flinched in surprise and opened his eyes.

"Wha- what?"

"I said no. I can't keep using you, Norm. I know you helped me out in high school with my work and the girls, but I'm a grown man now, and I can't keep relying on you to make things better," he stated firmly.

"But... But that's what friends do..." Norm whispered, watching his friend in fearful apprehension.

"Yeah... Well, it's time that we both moved on. You can find a new friend, and I can try and fix what's left of my life on my own, okay?" Birkenbake snapped testily.

"Wait... Shake-n-Bake..." Norm pleaded weakly.

"Don't call me that!" the teacher yelled, knocking the genie's hand away from his shoulder and staring up at the broken creature, fighting back the tears threatening to burst from his eyes. "Just... Just get in your lamp! I'm selling you in my garage sale tomorrow!"

With tears brimming in his amethyst eyes, Norm blinked them back and swallowed the choking lump in his throat.

"No. I can't go back in until you've made your three wishes."

Contorting his face into a painful grimace, Birkenbake finally let his tears falls and looked up at his old friend.

"Then you're forcing me to break our promise, Norm. I'm really sorry."

Norm's eyes grew wide and two tears coursed down his dark face as he gasped in horror.

"No! Don't do it, Birk! Please!" the genie cried out in alarm.

Closing his eyes, Birkenbake gritted his teeth and through them, he growled, "Norm, I wish you weren't my genie anymore!"

Slamming the lava lamp down on the desk, Birkenbake's face suddenly drained of blood as a jet of blue smoke shot out from the lamp and wrapped itself around Norm. Screaming in panic, the genie sped away from the smoke's smothering embrace, but it gripped him like a vice and began to drag him forcibly back into the lamp.

"Call it off!" Norm shrieked to Birkenbake, who was witnessing this restlessly. "Call it off, buddy! Please!"

One more tear... Just a single one fell from the teacher's eye and he turned away from the genie, unable to watch his old friend being sucked back into his prison for the last time. The smoke pulled Norm's torso into the lamp, yet he still hung on by the tips of his fingers and struggled against the mighty, magical force of the lamp.

"I... I wont forget you," Norm strained weakly, and with an explosion of blue smoke, the genie disappeared into the lamp.

Birkenbake slowly turned back to the lamp as the smoke cleared and gently picked up the lava lamp. He saw Norm's tiny figure inside, staring miserably up at him with weak, tear-filled eyes.

"Maybe... This is for the best..." the teacher sighed softly.

As Norm pounded on the glass and cried out for Birkenbake in a muted voice, the teacher carefully rested the lava lamp down in the bottom of the box and closed the flaps, leaving the genie to suffer in darkness.

Birkenbake looked down at the open album and stared at the picture of he and Norm forlornly. He slid the picture from the plastic sheet and held it close before he placed it in his pocket and left the office for his next class.

"I'm sorry... Yet, I wont forget you either, Norm. A friend that was as good to me as you were..."

Birkenbake entered the classroom and ignored the kids throwing paper wads and chewing gum, just preparing to spit it at someone else. He sat down at his desk and retrieved the picture to smile sadly at it.

"A friend like you... Is worth remembering."