The Magician’s Healing Secret

Submitted into Contest #207 in response to: Write a story about a magician who never reveals their secrets — until now.... view prompt

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Christian Fantasy Fiction

The Magician’s Healing Secret

By AJ Lemos

“Hello and welcome to you all,” the man said, as he welcomed a group of 10 of us VIPs to the entrance to what we believed was the backstage area.

“My name is Gabriel Houdani, and my team and I are delighted to have you join us on a VIP, all access tour of our backstage area, a special viewing of some of the equipment we use, a VIP-only card trick how-to session, as well as a 30-minute Q & A time with me,” the magician enthusiastically said to his small but attentive crowd of fans.

“I certainly hope you all find that my team and I were worth your time and money…. after all …. we certainly wouldn’t want to waste your money in…a….casino….now would we?” the magician said with a wink and a smile to our small crowd. We responded with amused laughter. “All right then, please follow me!”

With that, we followed the magician to his lair of mystery, creativity, invention, and most importantly, magic.

Who know, however, that in about one hour from now, this magician would reveal the secret behind his magic…. a secret that not I, nor anyone with us, could have ever seen coming.

As a young fan of magic, and especially this magician, I was excited because this was my first all access tour ever, and I imagined Gabriel the magician’s backstage area to be dark, sullen, and dungeon-y…. if that’s even a word? And maybe cold. But for sure dark.

Nope. Every area, hallway, corner, and office were well lit and airy. Then I remembered we were in the backstage area of a theatre in a casino on the east coast, not some mid-century gothic castle in eastern Europe or something. My bad.

I overheard a young member of our group ask a staff member why everything was so bright. I had the same question.

“Mostly, for security reasons, “the staff member responded. “If everything was dark like it is during the shows, then it would be easy for people to steal stuff from us. Or they could fall and get hurt, and it would probably be our fault.”

“Oh, ok, “the young fan responded.

The magician’s security detail and staff guided us through different areas of the backstage area, from costume areas to make up, electrical to staging and production materials.

After about 20 minutes of walking around, we were led to a large room that was referred to as the VIP lounge. It included couches, comfortable chairs, various sized tables, and we could see that 10 chairs had been set up for us in a separate area of this room for us, the magician’s guests. We were seated so that we could see a table that was set up with some of the magician’s materials that we recognized from some of his tricks.

The average-sized magician with longer sideburns and short hairdo entered this area without much fanfare and began explaining that he would use the next 20 minutes to walk us through some of his most iconic card tricks.

 “As you will learn, as a magician, I don’t rely as much on the pageantry to sell you on anything. My focus is more on my message, which, if you come to one of my shows, you will learn about as the show progresses.”

I could not have been the only one in the small audience this early afternoon who was wondering what he meant by “his message.” What an interesting thing to say.

Moving on, once the magician was done explaining how to do his latest card trick, he put the cards back into their box, put his signature on it, and gave the box to one of his lucky young fans sitting in one of the front row of seats. It was now time for what we would soon learn would be the most revealing part of our afternoon with this middle-aged magician.

“So, this all-access tour concludes with a 30-minute question and answer session with yours truly,” the magician said. “All I ask is that you keep the questions respectful, and I will tell you now, that I don’t answer any personal questions. For example, my height and weight are off limits (winks and giggles).”

His crowd of fans responded with amused laughter again.

The Q & A session started with some lighthearted questions that steered clear of height and weight…. good job, VIP comrades, I thought. A bald-headed gentleman in the front row who appeared to be in his 60’s started things off with a reference to an old east coast neighborhood that the magician was familiar with. I would guess New Jersey, but really no idea. Turns out the gentleman taught at a school that the magician went to. They shared a few “Whatever happened to what’s their names?”, and then laughed and moved on. Good times.

A few questions followed about the theatre, the magician’s favorite tricks and a few devoted and dedicated fans asked specific questions about why he does a handful of things the way he does during his shows. His answers didn’t seem rehearsed, but one could tell he was using some old answers to respond to questions that were probably predictable, if not old, by now. But, always the entertainer, the magician responded is if this Q & A session was an audition for some coveted role that he had always wanted.

And then, almost out of nowhere, the mood in the room quickly turned serious as a question was asked that seemed to blindside the magician, like a boxer who has been hit by a 1-2 punch combo.

“Um, I have a question,” asked a sweet homemaker-type lady who was probably in her later 50’s and was seated not far from my family and me.

“Yes, please, go ahead, “the magician said with a warm smile.

“Well, just so you know, my youngest daughter was supposed to be here with me today. It’s her birthday, today,” the lady said, “but she could not make it because she wasn’t feeling well this morning. She’s currently battling cancer.”

“I am so sorry to hear that,” the magician responded.

The lady continued. “When I asked her what she wanted for her birthday this year, the only thing she wanted was to meet you and ask you a question. “

“Well, I’m sorry she couldn’t be here with us. What is your daughter’s name, dear?” asked the magician with a curious look.

“Olivia,” the lady responded.

“And what is Olivia’s question?”


“By the way… given her circumstances, just for her, I will allow a personal question. Again, please not about my height and weight…I’m insecure about that. (giggles and rolls his eyes). But I can relax a bit in this one instance.” The crowd laughs along with him.

“Well,” the lady said. “She wanted to ask you what the secret behind your magic is?”

What followed was quite possibly the longest, quietest, and most awkward pause in that theatre’s long, storied history. And I would imagine, quite possibly, in the magician’s history, for that matter.

The magician seemed willing to own up to his promise to the lady and her absent daughter. He nodded his head in approval and acceptance and then entered what appeared to be an almost psychosis state. In those moments, if the magician had any nervous ticks or anxious habits, I’m guessing we learned what at least half of them were, right then and there.

The silence. Was. Deafening.

After the magician had a few moments to collect his thoughts….he finally responded….

“I’m guessing not many of you know this about me,” began the magician, “but I try to use my magic to help people, to make things better for people…. not necessarily just to entertain.”

It was noticeable that the way he began answering this question had caught his small legion of fans off guard. I think everyone in the room was caught off guard, in their own way, for their own reasons. Everyone present during this moment was now clearly curious as to what was next.

“Let me explain what I mean by that,” continued the magician, shifting his posture for what seemed like the hundredth time in one single minute. “I got into magic to pay for medical school. I used the money I got from my shows to pay my own way through med school. Can you believe that? My original plan was to be a doctor…. a doctor for kids, that is.”

I’m guessing this Q &A session may have turned out to be one of his greatest shows ever. Not because of the magic, or the pageantry, or the sell. But because of the message it was telling. This magician was going somewhere with this story, and I wanted to know where it ended.

“I will answer the questions that are probably stirring in your minds out there, but that you wouldn’t dare to ask, even if you could,” assured the magician, as he walked us through this Q & A session that was getting more interesting by the moment. “I wanted to become a doctor and magician because of my father. He was not a doctor or a magician himself, but he lived his life to help those around him.”

Aww, I thought. Another long but not awkward pause followed. We in the audience understood the gravity of the moment.

“When I was a young boy, my younger brother and I had to witness our mother suffer from a disease that affected her muscles and joints in her back and shoulders. She was in pain a lot. So, my father would give her massages whenever he was home from work.”

The magician continued.

“When my mother told my father that she was ready for her daily massage, he would always say something like, ‘All right boys, it’s time for me to practice my magic on your mom.’ My brother and I came to realize over the years that he was just being silly more than anything when he said that. But we liked it when he said that because we knew he was trying to give us hope that everything was going to be ok. And that meant everything to us.”

His voice shook slightly, and we could tell this stroll down memory lane was becoming as healing for him as it would be revealing to us.

“When my father was done with his massage, he would look up at us, raise his arms and hands up toward the sky and yell out, ‘She is healed!’”

The small VIP crowd of 10 dedicated fans applauded and cheered in response to the magician’s animated storytelling.

“Those times in my life led me to want to become a doctor,” the magician went on. “And then magic entered my life….”

Another long pause.  

“I mentioned earlier that I had a younger brother, “the magician’s tone softened as he continued. “He had cancer when we were younger, growing up. The best of friends, he and I were. I use the name Gabriel as my stage name in his honor. That was his name. My last name as a magician is a combination of my real last name combined with Harry Houdini, who was my hero.”

You could hear a pin drop at this point. Even the theatre staff and the magician’s personal assistants had stopped what they were doing to listen along.  

“My brother passed away years ago. He never made it to high school. But I learned how to do magic to entertain him at home when he was recovering in his bed from his medications and treatments and stuff. I wanted to bring him hope and joy in the midst of his pain and suffering, like my dad did with my mom. Even after my brother passed, I kept performing magic shows to bring hope and joy to others, too. That’s what Gabriel would have wanted. That’s why I got into this.”

This was no longer “just” magic to me, and Magician Gabriel was no longer a magician to me. This magician had become human, a real human. And this style of magic he was presenting…this magic with substance…I had never seen this kind before, and I’m guessing I’m not the only one who felt this way.

Another pause.

“Then it became a thing, you know? The shows got bigger,” the magician went on. “And I remember my brother used to laugh so hard when I would make mistakes during the card tricks. So, I started making mistakes on purpose, just to make him laugh. But I only made the mistakes for him.”

How could we, his small crowd of fans, not appreciate this vulnerability? Of course, there were tears and laughter.

“Anyway, my planned worked. My shows were bringing in thousands of dollars, “the magician explained. “So, I was able to go to med school. I landed my first job at a children’s hospital out here on the east coast. Awesome gig. The problem was that the hospital had some issues with some of my medical practices. You see, there’s something I didn’t mention earlier about my family.”

He had to be kidding. How could he withhold information from us this whole time? OMG this is so much more than a VIP, all access Q & A session now, right? Hold on tight.  

“My family did as much praying to the good Lord above as we did massages, medication, treatments…. all that medical stuff,” the magician continued explaining. “I saw with my own eyes how affective prayer was for my family. So, I decided early on to take a ‘wholistic’ approach to practicing medicine, which for me meant the occasional prayer right then and there with some of our patients.”


“My father was Jewish, and my mother was Baptist, so you can imagine, “the magician said with a chuckle as we in the crowd chuckled along. “You can imagine the discussions we had, right? No, there was no drama. My father was a non-practicing Jew and basically went along with whatever my mom wanted us to know about God, prayer, the Bible…you name it, we learned about it.”

Wow. Did not see this coming.

“So, when I become a doctor, I already knew that medicine and all that only went so far, “the magician explained. “I wanted to include prayer in my approach and practice. However, my supervisors, hospital management, etc.…. they weren’t as open to the idea. I remember this one time I prayed with this one little boy who was battling leukemia. I told him about prayer as an option, and he was willing to pray with me. But little did I know his parents were not into God, religion, church stuff…. any of that. When they found out I was praying with him without their consent, you know, without them knowing about it, they ended up going straight to the Board with it. What followed was an unpaid leave of absence, and then ultimately, I was let go. For the next two to three years thereafter, it was pretty much the same story from one children’s hospital to the next, around the country.”

That sounds complicated and messy.

“After three or four years of all that, and after a lot of prayer and going through a nasty divorce, and then more prayer after that, I felt my calling in life was to go back to being a magician. And here I am.”

Then the same lady who had asked him the question on behalf of her daughter could only respond with, “Wow. Thank you for sharing all that.”

“Well, then, there you have it I suppose, “the magician conceded. “The secret to my magic has been revealed. Prayer. The secret is prayer…and not just any prayer…. prayer that my magic will bring healing to my audiences. And my hope and my prayer are that my shows bring my audiences healing every night.”

Ok, now I was lost. I couldn’t help myself. I might be a little on the shy side, a pre-teen and sometimes rude, but this magician’s story had me a little confused now. Prayer? Healing? And magic? What the what?!

“Mr. Magician, “I called out as I raised my hand.

“Yes, in the back, “the magician responded.

“I don’t understand, “I continued. “How can your magic shows bring us healing?”

“Good question, “the magician smiled, thus affirming my confusion. “That’s up to God. But just so you know, my team and I intentionally design some of my tricks, illusions, and other things to honor God, reflect Biblical teachings and help bring hope and joy to people’s lives, in our own ways. We know it’s not always obvious. Most of the time, people don’t get it. They just come to see some magic and to be entertained. And that’s Ok. But you must know that not all healing is physical healing, my young friend. Many times, a smile and some laughter can be healing, too.”

“That’s cool…. I guess, “I responded honestly, if not bluntly.

The crowd laughed. I guess my honest reaction and bluntness is funny.

Whether it was planned or instinctive, more than one member of the magician’s staff put an end to the Q & A session, and thus the VIP all access tour, by thanking the audience multiple times for attending the tour, prompting all of us to applaud, and directing us in the small crowd in the direction of the nearest exit.

As I walked out, I don’t know if prayer is the only secret to this magician’s magic. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. I’ll probably never know for sure. Regardless, what I do know is that thanks to this magician’s prayers, I do believe I will find hope and joy (and possibly healing) at his magic show. 

July 18, 2023 06:03

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1 comment

Zeeshan Mahmud
21:01 Jul 22, 2023

Loved it. Perfect twist. Perhaps it could be tightened at times a bit. I personally struggle with paring myself as there is always the danger of sacrificing one's voice. Minor error such as: "My planned". Also would love it if the magic routine was elaborated more! But all in all good story. Don't be afraid to be bold with faith as well!


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