When I choose the Trick of the Week, I like to pick them pretty much at random. Whichever volume catches my eye, whichever page is inviting to the fingers, that’s where I’ll find a trick to post. Once again, this is from Hyatt.

In Volume 5, on page 4239, Hyatt and his “unidentified” informant start talking about tricks that depend on certain numbers: turning around three times, for instance; a four-way crossroad; laying a trick in five points in a room, and so on.

If you can get your hands on some “four-finger root,” you break off one of  the fingers — the informant says “second from the last little finger,” but Hyatt gets turned around and thinks he means he “second from the index finger,” the one we Americans make a common rude gesture with. But I digress:

You bite off the finger, either the second or third, and you hold it in your mouth like some people suck on a matchstick. You do this just before you go to ask for a job, and you can’t be turned down. (I think this might have been more effective back in the day when the hiring process, at least for laborers, didn’t depend on a series of interviews and paper resumes.) — Volume 5, #11694

Four-finger root is a name that I had never heard before, and may be a regional or local name. To me, this sounds like the herbs that occult shops sell as Lucky Hand Root — but, come to think of it, i don’t know whether or  not it is safe to put Lucky Hand Root in your mouth. Galangal, also called Little John to Chew, is for eloquence — that’s why it’s used for court cases, in a similar way to this trick. But the largest pieces I have seen do not look like hands at all. Google turns up nothing except references to mandrakes, molded gourds, and robot hands.

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