A young boy who went by the name of Bill rather than his parents’ preferred ‘William’, was sitting on the trunk of a fallen tree in the middle of a wooded area watching without been seen. It is Friday afternoon on a warm summer’s day. The circus is in town. And the boy is there to watch the goings on in the field beside the woods. The tent closest to him is that of the magician. ‘What luck!’ He thinks. He has long been a fan of magic tricks. His uncle Doug could do wonders with cards, identifying which one you drew from the deck and put back, and he could pull quarters out of your ears. This guy was a professional. He could probably do some even more amazing things.
The magicians started with a few card tricks. He was much slicker than Bill’s uncle, as the boy had learned to spot what his uncle was actually doing. As his uncle Doug often said to him, “They call it a trick, because it is not real magic, but a way of fooling people.”
But the boy could not see the trick in what this magician was doing. The same was true of his next stunt, pulling a quarter out of his assistant’s ear. The coin actually seemed to be coming out of thin air. He hadn’t reached into his pocket or anything like that, and he had prior to that shown that his hands were empty..
He was close enough to the magician and his assistant to hear what they were saying. The magician told the assistant to ‘think of a number between one and ten’. Three times in a row, he got it right. Bill watched the assistant carefully, to see if he was signally the magician in any way, with his fingers possibly, but that wasn’t happening. Not at all. And the assistant even managed to look surprised when the magician got it right. Well, it must be a kind of acting that the two of them would have to do to convince the audience that it was magic that was taking place.
Bill saw the magician take out a big fur-lined hat and demonstrated to his assistant that it was empty. He knew what was going to come next. He was going to draw a rabbit out of that hat. So Bill watched the hat carefully, looking for some point upon which the hat went out of the sight of his audience, the one standing in front of him and the one hidden in the trees. The magician waved the hat in front of him, never taking it out of sight of his audience. Then, much to Bill’s surprise he stopped moving the hat, waved his magic wand and pulled a rabbit out of the hat. The rabbit pretty much took up almost all of the hat, and it squirmed a lot so it couldn’t have been hiding in a secret pocket in the top of the hat. Bill marvelled at what he had just seen. It just seemed impossible to him that the magician could do that.
It was just as impressive when he did the second part of that trick – making the rabbit disappear. He again waved his wand above the hat, and within a second or two he turned the hat upside down and nothing fell out. That was truly amazing. What would he do next? How could he top that trick?
The Rock Trick
Before performing his next trick, the magician said quite loudly to his imagined audience. “For you kids out there, I do not want you to try this at home. This is magic I am doing, not something I want you to imitate. Now there are rocks out there in the field. What I want you to do is find a rock, and give it to my assistant as he passes by. He will choose the very toughest looking rock and give it to me. The next part will be a little bit scary. I hope that it won’t give you any nightmares”
His assistant wandered around looking at the ground, finally picking up a rock that was close to being a handful and brought it back to the magician. The magician then made a big show of dusting off the rock on the sleeve on his shirt, holding it up high in the air and then putting it deep within in his widely-open mouth, but not before he told his assistant to slowly count to three once the rock was inside his mouth.
When his assistant got up to three, the magician made a grotesque swallowing sound, then slowly, dramatically opened his mouth up wide to demonstrate to his imaginary audience that the rock had completely disappeared. He then clapped his hands together, followed by opening them up wide to show that he definitely held no rock inside them. Then he said, “Now kids, remember what I said. Do not try to do this at home. You are not magicians, and rocks will give you a very bad tummy ache.” The assistant laughed, although he had probably heard that joke many times before.
The magician would perform one more trick. With his speaking to an audience voice, he announced that his next trick would be that of levitation. He would be rising above the grounds. He encouraged his audience to look for strings above him. Bill knew that the audience would be sure to do so, as he himself was about to do.
At first the magician rose a little over a two feet into the air. Then he had his assistant take a long rod and pass it over his head and around his body, to show that there were no strings around him.
Bill could not believe what he was seeing, as the magician rose further into the air, about the height of his tent. This was impossible, he thought. But he would be in for a bigger surprise soon
The Biggest Surprise
The magician landed softly on the ground and then bowed in several directions to his imaginary audience. Then he turned and stood facing in Bill’s direction. Within a few seconds time Bill felt his body lifting up a few feet in the air, and then moving out of the forest and into the field, where he was lowered slowly until his feet touched the ground..
“Well, young lad, how did you like the show? If you want to, you can become one of my assistants. I can tell that you like magic.”
Bill just nodded his head in reply, and picked up a rock.
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Nice twist. I enjoyed the story, although I did have to go back to see where you told us there was no actual audience. It was fun. Thank you.
I'm glad that you liked the story. Thank you. Maybe I should have used the word "imaginary" one more time.
A nice story John. The boy must have been over the moon to have been chosen by the magician.
Thanks for your comments. I was always fascinated by magic as a boy.
My brother was too. He used to perform card tricks and dress up as Dracula which scared my sister somewhat 🤩
Brothers can be like that. I'm sure my younger sisters have stories like that about me.