My grandmother once swore that she had seen an ifrit, or perhaps a marid, late one evening, on the edge of the desert. We all told her that it was just a sandstorm, a little wind, but she had seen its face. And its eyes, like yours, were burning flames.
The Jinn once visited the City of Ubar (The Lost City of Towers). Each night, three or four thousand travelers would stop at the city, drinking wine and celebrating, but the city perished a few thousand years ago.
Shadow and Wednesday stop at a diner where Wednesday is meeting someone. He gives Shadow a list and sends him shopping. When Shadow returns to the diner, he passes by the man (the Jinn) Wednesday was meeting with as the man's eyes light up with fire.
Salim is a young Muslim man selling trinkets and souvenirs for his brother-in-law. He sits all day long at a company called Panglobal, waiting to meet with Mr. Blanding who never shows. He asks if he can make an appointment for tomorrow and the assistant tells him he has to phone for appointments. He walks out into the night rain and hails a cab, giving directions to his hotel. The taxi driver speaks Arabic and they discuss Oman, where Salim is from, chatting about the Lost City of Towers, which vanished thousands of years prior. The taxi driver apologizes as he has been driving for 30 hours straight and Salim tells him about how he just arrived in America a week ago and is selling worthless trinkets to people who won't see him.
They get stuck in traffic and the taxi driver falls asleep. Salim reaches over the seat and gently rests his hand on his shoulder to wake him. The taxi driver awakens and Salim catches a glimpse of fiery eyes in the rear-view mirror. Salim recognizes him as an ifrit, a person of the fire that his grandmother once told him about. The Jinn tells him that he does not grant wishes and his life has been reduced to this terrible job as a taxi driver. Salim reaches over to once again touch his shoulder in comfort. The Jinn caresses his hand in return.
They arrive at Salim's hotel and Salim invites the Jinn up to his room. Salim undresses as the Jinn comes out of the shower, his eyes aflame. Salim tells him that he does grant wishes and they make love. When Salim awakens the next morning, the Jinn is gone and all that remains behind are the Jinn's belongings. Salim dresses in the Jinn's clothes and heads to the taxi, getting into the driver's seat. He looks in the rear-view mirror and says, "I do not grant wishes."
The Jinn is an ifrit, a supernatural creature in Middle Eastern mythology. According to Arab mythology, there are angels, there are humans (whom Allah made from mud), and then there are jinn (whom Allah made from smokeless fire), the people of fire.