“Extraordinary morning, everyone! I’m Rita Frank with News Four You! Along with me are my co-hosts Randy, Wren, and Ruby. On today’s episode, we have an extra-magical guest, who needs no introduction, but we’ll give him one anyway! Here’s Gideon Pent, the world-famous magician! After his show in Paris seven years ago, he shocked everyone by suddenly retiring and shying away from the spotlight. Trust me, folks, you won’t want to miss this show!” Rita calls, which is my cue to go onstage. 

The blinding lights ruin the illusion of the set being as warm and comfortable as any of the viewer’s living rooms at home. Well, for me at least. When I watch this news show at home, it does an excellent job of being inviting. I guess that’s why I agreed to interview with the show. My empty bank account was also a factor-the main factor really-but the show’s friendly hosts and cozy setting were a big plus. 

I walk out on the stage with my signature move; I clasp my hands and bow repeatedly on my way to my seat. Many critics say my entrance is overused and disrespectful to Japanese culture, but my fans eat it up. My fans, or rather the Pent-ers as they refer to themselves, say that my walk-on performance is humble. Humility has no part of my entrance, and I find that explanation as stupid as “Pent-ers” being my fanbase name. However, my opinions will never reach my fans, as well as how I did many of my famous tricks. I can’t say I won’t reveal all my tricks, though. I’m meeting with these talk-show gurus to do just that. 

“Hi guys, or should I say good morning? I usually do my shows at night; it’s strange to be up this early,” I joke with the hosts. Before we were live on the air, the four co-hosts gave me some pointers: be funny, be relatable, don’t talk about anything polarizing, and answer all their questions. I memorized all these instructions last night in my hotel room. One would think a celebrity wouldn’t get stage fright, but this celebrity does. I usually only have enough time to be worried about my performance and not what to say. I even suck at small talk and job interviews. Some people are born to talk, but I am not one of those people. I was born to entertain. The two are not always in mutual interest. 

“Hello or good morning is fine-today is all about you and we’re just here!” Wren chimes. She’s my favorite of all the hosts. Partially because of her name, but mostly because she’s gorgeous inside and out. Although all the anchors are kind, Wren is the most warm-hearted. She’s checked in on me constantly as I’ve been preparing for the show and Wren even brought me breakfast at the ungodly hour of four in the morning. 

I don’t get a chance to respond before Randy speaks, “Exactly, it’s all about you, Mr. Pent, and those fabulous magic tricks of yours! Now, we’ve been promising our viewers an exclusive tell-all interview, is that what we’re going to get today?” He then puts one fist under his chin and cocks his head at me. Being the only male on the team, Randy’s character is supposed to be the hard-baller. He asks tough questions and demands honest responses. Really though, he’s as soft as the others, so I’m not worried about his projected persona.

“Oh please, call me Gideon. And if I check my notecards here…” I pull out a stack of notecards from my pocket with fake notes on them and pretend to look one over. “Yes, my notes do tell me that I am supposed to do an exposé.” The Four laugh at that. 

Ruby is the first to stop laughing, so she shoots off a question, “So, is it true that you’ve never told the public how you pull off your larger-than-life tricks? You performed at an international level for almost a decade. It’s hard to believe you’ve never said anything about your shows.” 

Under the hard stare of her eyes, I easily shake my head, “I know it may not seem possible, but some people can keep secrets. I wouldn’t be much of a magician if I couldn’t.” I force a laugh and try to make it reach my eyes. 

“If you’re someone who can keep secrets, then why are you telling us all your secrets this morning? What made you decide to uncover your most classified illusions?” Randy questions. If he puts any more weight on his fist, I think his radius and ulna might break.

I attempt to look a little embarrassed, “Well, Randy, I think my loyal Pent-ers deserve to know the truth behind some of their favorite performances. Plus, in my next tour, I’ll have brand new tricks for the world to figure out! So maybe revealing a few of my ruses won’t ruin the magic.”

With this confession, Rita perks back up, “Yes! Don’t forget, tickets for Gideon’s out-of-retirement tour will go on sale at noon Eastern time! Gideon, don’t you also have a special gift for those watching at home?”

“I do, for the first thirty minutes that tickets are on sale, use code PENT10 to get ten percent off of your purchase,” I say with a hopefully convincing smile.

Ruby raises her hand excitedly, “Thirty minutes or while supplies last! I know I’m already prepared to wait in line for tickets!” 

“Alright, so maybe we’ve all put our credit card info in for our ticket sites.” Wren chuckles. “But let’s get into the main event! Gideon is going to reveal four of his greatest tricks, so which one’s first Rita?”

The aforementioned woman claps her hands and bounces in her seat. Out of the Four, I would peg her as my biggest fan. She’s also the youngest, so that makes sense. My agent says I rate better with millennials and Gen Z than with older generations. The younger generations were the ones to watch me in my prime and they got to marvel as children at my shows. More senior people mostly tried to figure out how I accomplished my feats. 

“I hate to give clues to my age, but I used to stay up late to watch your performances as a kid. My favorite was always when you transformed that tiger into a house cat! It might not have been your flashiest trick, but it’s always stuck with me. So how’d you do it?” Rita manages to get out while still jumping in her chair. 

“Well, I’m happy to meet such a long-time fan! This one’s pretty easy to explain. The tiger's cage had a video camera and a green screen at the front to block the audience’s real view. The video streamed to the screen, but when it was time for the tiger to disappear, the feed switched to another of a cat in a similar cage. After the switch, the tiger was lowered down under the stage and the cat in the video replaced him. It might sound like a cheap trick to pull off now, but it wasn’t during my beginning as a magician,” I finished. I checked the floor to pick up the piece of myself that was now missing, but I couldn’t find it. I knew this “exposé” was going to be difficult, but I didn’t think it would make me feel like a fraud. 

Rita was still in her seat now, “Wow, I would have never thought the solution to that trick would be so… simple. I guess that’s one reason why magicians never reveal their secrets. Who’s next? Randy?”

“Yep, I’m next! So Gideon, to level with you, I never believed in all that mumbo-jumbo. I did some research, though, and the trick I can’t figure out is how you could read people’s minds. Like with the woman who you read her husband’s mind and discovered he was cheating on her. Then she came out after the show and found evidence that he was! I mean, how do you pull that off?!” Randy exclaimed, now shifting off his poor forearm into a leaned-back position. 

Time to keep flushing my career down the drain. I give him a sheepish grin, “Mind reading is even simpler than the tiger trick. I would have my crew befriend some of the audience before the show and then report to me things they found out about them so I could “read their mind”. I embellish this phrase with air quotes. “With the particular woman you mentioned, Karlie, her husband kept coming onto my staff member. When I saw their body language with one another, I knew he had been having an affair. It’s not too hard to read people if you have a firm starting point and a close eye!” 

I didn’t know how I would make it through two more explanations. My magic was my life, fake or not, and I felt like my most vulnerable self had replaced me on the set. I shifted around in my seat, trying to get comfortable to endure two more questions. 

Ruby pounded her fist on the desk in front of her, “I knew magicians were phonies! I want to know the big one; how do you do your most famous trick? You know, the one where you had an audience member draw something on your leg. Then you brought out a wardrobe straight out of Narnia, walked through it, and disappeared! Everyone thought the show would end after that because no one could find you, but then a video was played of you in a diner down the street. And you had the drawing on your leg! I know you’ve done this trick a few times, to the point where it is arguably your fans’ favorite, but I have to know how you did it!”

“I’m awfully sorry, Ruby, but I can’t tell you how I perform that one! It’s my favorite, and I may be using it on my tour. You’ll have to think of another, but now it’s Wren’s turn. What trick do you want to be revealed, Wren?” I say with a real smile. My agent must have not debriefed the Four on what tricks were off-limits. I did have to keep some of my secrets.

For a beat too long, Wren is silent. A strange expression has come over her face, and I watch as she makes eye contact with someone in the studio above the cameramen. I don’t know what she’s planning, but it's not unusual for the News Four You crew to prank a celebrity. I sit up a little taller and glance around. Nothing’s out of the ordinary. The only thing I notice is a few people coming through the main backstage doors, but people have been in and out constantly. I look back towards Wren. 

She clears her throat, and with a shaky voice says, “Where’s the body of Keith Beckett, Mr. Pent?”

My body goes stiff. I feel the blood rush from my face. Keith Beckett was a name I hoped was long forgotten. 

I play it cool, “Keith Beckett? Who is that?”

Without pause, Wren answers, “Mr. Beckett was an American who attended your show in Paris. Or rather, the last show you ever performed. He volunteered for a trick and you made him disappear. So where is his body?”

“What are you even talking about?! I did make a man disappear in Paris, but he returned safely to his family after the show. I didn’t even get his name. If he’s now deceased, I send my condolences to his loved ones, but I had nothing to do with it,” I reply, my voice rising as I get more defensive. How could she have figured out the truth?

“Actually, Mr. Pent, the studio had a former staff member of yours from the Paris show come and give me a tell-all session before we invited you onto the show. Now for those watching at home, this is not a joke. Everything I am about to tell you is from a signed confession from the crew member that was given to the police. After the show, Mr. Pent will also be arrested by the police we have standing by and taken in for questioning.”

“What the anonymous employee had to confess was when Mr. Beckett was made to disappear, the trap door misfired. This accident, sadly, led to Mr. Beckett’s death. However, Mr. Pent would not let this news surface as he wanted his tricks to remain a secret. Fortunately for Mr. Pent, Mr. Beckett was alone at the show, so it aroused no suspicion. The two crew members that saw the accident occur were sworn to secrecy and forced to dispose of the body. Fortunately for Mr. Beckett’s family, the brave person who talked with us revealed Mr. Pent’s best kept secret-where he buried Mr. Beckett’s body. After discovering his remains, the police had enough evidence to arrest Mr. Pent,” Wren finishes with a wave of her hand. I watch as police start to swarm the stage and the other hosts run in the opposite direction. 

My second-greatest trick had been revealed. I curse and throw a smoke bomb at the ground. Now, it was time for my greatest disappearing act to begin.

July 19, 2023 00:37

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M. W.
22:30 Jul 26, 2023

Great story! I love the double twist ending! Leading up to the reveal, I thought it would focus on how empty and fraudulent he felt revealing his trade secrets--especially since it's both a betrayal of himself and his community--and that in itself was a really fascinating topic. The REVEAL though! Having his favorite host set him up, and him thinking it's a prank at first was amazing tension-building. This was an amazing switch from internal conflict-drama to external police drama--a plot twist done right. And the last paragraph killed me-...


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Mike Rush
11:51 Jul 23, 2023

Ellie, Welcome to Reedsy and congrats on your first submission! I hope you find a writing home here at Reedsy. Gosh, what a great ending. Never saw that coming! And it was so cool, I thought, that the ending is led by Wren, the one with whom Gideon feels the strongest attraction. A great plot line; a magician with a really big secret, with no idea that IT will be revealed on this show about his tricks. And in spite of his callous disregard for the fella that died, I really like Gideon! Maybe that's cause I'm and old guy, but I like his se...


Ellie Davis
18:17 Jul 23, 2023

Thank you so much for your comment!!! It’s so thoughtful and encouraging! I’m glad you liked it! :)


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