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The Joy of Argument by Albert Navarra

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How to Summon a Djinn

by Joshua Kimmel

If you clap your hands once very loudly, you may summon a djinn. Most people do not know this. If you surveyed your acquaintances, they would claim there was no such thing, or that it had something to do with a lamp. They are all misinformed.

It cannot be an ordinary clap, such as you might use at a child's soccer game or in advance of your favorite musician taking the stage. If that were true, djinn would be popping up all over the place and the secret would be out. The clap must be singular both in intensity and volume, a clap such as you have never given before and may never hope to give again.

The djinn's name is Steve. You may think this an odd name for a djinn, but I ask you: How many djinn have you met? You can ask Steve about it, if you feel so inclined, and he may tell you his story.

He took over the job from Reginald, who only had the job for three years in the 1960s. Reginald had taken the position from Walter, who had been a man of standing during Britain's rule of India. Walter learned of the clap from a man near the fountains by the golden temple of Amritsar. The man was not at all religious, and yet he impressed Walter with his fervor for the clap. Walter tried it at his home after his servants went to sleep. He brought his hands together and the clap seemed to set a gong through the world and the djinn appeared. Walter could not remember the djinn's name, or else never passed the information on to Reginald who, of course, couldn't have told Steve.

There are no magic words, but you must focus your mind on the motion of the clap. You harnds must come evenly and resoundingly together. You do not need to clear the room or light candles or any of that hokum. Just clap well, and Steve will appear, generally on the most comfortable piece of furniture in the room. He will probably ask for food, or else drugs.

There is one absolute rule: You must only summon Steve once. If you clap twice, then you must trade places and become the new djinn. Steve forgot this rule half-way through a wish-provided five day binge on drugs and women, and now Steve is the djinn who wlll answer your call until someone else makes the same mistake.

You probably want to know how I know about the clap. That is a private matter between Steve and I. Suffice it to say, I would be here writing to you were it not for the clap and a particularly desparate moment on a jetty in Nassau. Don't ask.

Just remember: Clap your hands once. You might get to meet Steve.

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