Djinn & Tonic

Al Haddeen coughed, sneezed and wheezed his way through the crowded streets of Ankh-Morpork. He was a proud son of the desert, or should have been, if his father hadn't decided that moving to this city of a thousand stinks was the best thing to do. His father had been an unsuccessful thief in Tsort, and he had a conviction, that lead him to decide to leave his homeland and set up a new business in a far off land.

When the family had arrived in Ankh-Morpork, his father had set up a smoking lounge, called Captain Hookah's, and delighted in introducing the citizens of the city a new way to enjoy tobacco. He paid his guild fees for protection and the business thrived.

Al's younger siblings had been born in the city and called it home, but he still remembered the heat of Klatch, the sight of the mountains shimmering in the haze, and the dry winds that blew.

He remembered the tales his grandmother had told him as a child, of viziers, emirs and caliphs, of cunning heroes and magical objects, wild desert tribes and amazing sea voyages.

As he limped through the market-place, snuffling and cursing the mists and miasmas that plagued this city, he noticed that there was a stall selling old oil lamps, one of which was to his eye, identical to the lamp his grandmother had carried, when she sat by the bed telling him stories to send him to sleep. She had done this on hundreds of nights, perhaps a thousand or so.

Momentarily transported back to the idyllic childhood memories, he bought the lamp on a whim, and made his way home.

He showed the lamp to his father, who agreed that it was most like the lamp that his grandmother had. Except… His mother had been a very proud woman, and her lamp would have been gleaming.

Al agreed, and borrowing some cleaning materials from the lounge used to brighten the Hookahs after a day of smoking, took the lamp into the back room to apply some polish.

As he rubbed the rag soaked with metal polish around the base of the lamp, he felt it vibrate. He started rubbing the body of the lamp and it shook so much he dropped it.

Thick blue smoke poured out of the lamp, filling the room, before condensing in to the form of a man with four arms, wearing a turban, a complicated waistcoat on an otherwise bare torso, and silken trousers that fluttered in the draught.

"You have released me, master, from my prison of many years" intoned the Djinn in a deep rolling voice. "Its a bit nippy here, innit though? Where are we?"

Al struggled to contain his excitement. "Ankh-Morpork, Son of Iblis"

The Djinn shrugged and said "Might have known it, and by the way, call me Gordon, mind if I change?"

He clicked four sets of fingers and suddenly was wearing a complicated silk shirt, with a posteen jacket secured with a belt and thick woollen leggings, sturdy boots and a fur cap.

"That's better, Klachistan clothing is pukka for these chilly climes."

Al nodded and asked "where were you before then?"

Gordon looked a little sheepish and said "Ephebe… I was going to a pin dance with some angels I know (1), and I got a little drunk and next thing I know I'm inside a lamp and not allowed out until somebody erases the seal of Koomi."

"So now you're free, what are you going to do?" asked Al.

"Well, I'm not technically free, but I'm allowed out of the lamp. To get my freedom, the person who destroyed the seal has to agree to release me." Gordon explained.

" So the stories my grandmother told me are true, then? I can ask for three wishes, and you have to obey, or I won't release you?"

"Pretty much" agreed Gordon, "But there are certain limits to my abilities. I can't raise the dead, I can't force someone to love you, And I can't change reality too much. So king of the disc is out. But if it is within my power, I'll give you exactly what you ask for."

"Not a problem" replied Al " I thought about this since I was a child and I know exactly what I want.

First, Health. I wish to be fit and healthy.

Next, Wealth. I wish enough money to enjoy the rest of my life without having to work

And lastly Wisdom. I wish that I can clearly see the consequences of decisions."

Gordon thought for a moment, then asked "Are you sure?"

Al nodded and said "I've thought about it a lot over the years, and then I heard the saying 'Early to Bed, Early to Rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.' and realised it's all you need in life. If you grant those three wishes, you can have your freedom, with my blessing

Gordon proclaimed "SO BE IT" then added, "if you go to bed now, all your wishes will have come true when you wake up early tomorrow."

The slow lazy sunlight trickled through the window and woke Al.

He climbed out of bed, laughing at his crazy dream, when he noticed the lamp.

He stopped and took stock. His nose wasn't blocked, he wasn't coughing, the sniffle he had since he arrived at the docks so many years ago had disappeared and he felt like he could run around the city. He flung open the window and looked at the rooftops, before recoiling as the scent of Ankh-Morpork assailed his nostrils, now working at peak efficiency. He almost vomited as he realised he could smell the river, the smoke of a thousand and one chimneys, the bakery down the street, the tobacco in the Hookah lounge and something else he couldn't identify except as tinny and growing stronger.

He walked down to the kitchen and froze. His father, mother, his little sister and two younger brothers were lying there, butchered. His father had been decapitated, and the head placed in a serving dish on the table. Next to it was the cash-box, stuffed full with the weeks takings, as well as a pile of wallets.

As he stared at the grisly scene, he heard running feet behind him. He turned and saw a watchman about to tackle him. After being subdued, they lead him through the tobacco lounge and past the many bodies scattered there.

"You didn't kill all of them" growled the watch-woman who pushed him into the hurry-up wagon. "That Ephebian chap, Gordon Allecto, managed to escape somehow and raise the alarm"

The Patrician held the trial the next day, as it was an open and shut case. He was fit for trial.

Al had been caught red-handed, with an eye-witness. Even Mr Slant couldn't have got him off.

He was sentenced to be hanged at dawn.

As he lay in the condemned cell, Al Haddeen cried, realising that all of his wishes had indeed come true.

(1)Angels, Demons and Djinns are all spiritual beings who are bound by very similar rules. The difference is basically their ethical stance. Angels tend to be employed by gods, and Demons for the other side. Djinns are generally independent and make their living by a little bit of this, a little bit of that.