The magician knows that what they are doing is by way of sleight of hand. They don’t pretend otherwise. But they create an illusion of the magical, of the supernatural, of the special.
This Magician stood at the stage, with his ravishing assistant Rhiannon, and he marvelled at the faces of the stunned children and teens. It never ceased to amaze him that after all of these years; he still had the power to wow.
Rhiannon jumped inside the crate. The Magician put a saw through the middle of the box and split the box into two. He put Rhiannon inside one of those cages you get at the zoo, threw a sheet over the cage, then pulled the sheet back and Rhiannon vanished. The Magician then reversed the trick and Rhiannon was back. The Magician was an artist. The crowd yelled and cheered.
“Thank you… thank you…” The Magician said.
The Magician was also a local man named Lawrence. He ran a local butcher shop. He volunteered within the community. He didn’t have children himself and he lived in a big house on Bunker Avenue – the house had six bedrooms and its own wine cellar. Five to six times a year Lawrence painted his face white, wore a purple robe, hired a local girl from the newspaper (or online as the times move) and performed for all the kiddies in the area. Lawrence was likeable, generous with his time and kind… People in the community trusted Lawrence…. They trusted Lawrence and loved the Magician.
After the show people thanked Lawrence personally and complimented the Magician. It took Lawrence a whole to differentiate between the two after the show. He hugged all the kids and they all adored the Magician.
After that, he was back to being just Lawrence again.
Plain old boring Lawrence.
But Lawrence could still conjure up his own magic tricks.
Rhiannon sat on the sofa with a margarita and complimented Lawrence on his big big house. She had those innocent, hungry eyes that the girls sometimes get. Lawrence snuck up behind her with his ‘magic’ saw. He’d slipped back into that purple robe and put the black eyeliner over his eyelids. This performance didn’t have an audience...
Lawrence’s first magic trick was the sleeping spell, it was cast in the margarita. It wasn’t magic of course, it was sleight of hand (and twenty five crushed lithium pills). The next magic trick was sawing in half, except it wasn’t in half, it was in about twenty seven separate pieces. And then there was making the girl disappear. That would involve quicklime and concrete. But the real magic was convincing the agency that the girl simply never turned up and probably ran off somewhere else to find a new job…
The Magician was loved by the community for his sleight of hand and false conjuring. But it was Lawrence that really made people disappear, twenty seven of them so far… Twenty eight after Rhiannon…
MOTHER OF THE YEAR When Rachel Gregory was born, her mother felt herself drowning in hatred towards the baby. The father had just done a runner, upped and left like the coward Iris Gregory knew him to be. Iris would look at Rachel and see the dad, then the hatred would fill her up like a newly pulled pint and she’d suffocate right up to her throat. The dad was Brian. She didn’t know where he went or why he went. Well, the why was obvious. Iris called herself headstrong (what she meant was high-strung). Iris was bitter. Iris felt anger towards everything and everyone. And Brian couldn’t hack it anymore. Iris went around to Brian’s mum the week he left, held the baby in her arms, and looked her ex-mother-in-law straight in the face: ‘Look what your waster son has left me with,’ Iris said with spit coming out her lips. He joined the French Foreign Legion. Apparently. That’s what she told people anyway. She didn’t know what that meant when Brian’s mother said it, but it sounded be
The Empty Car Toni came out to the car and found it empty. Rupert was just in the passenger side mere minutes before, and then she went into the store and then round the back to the bathroom - she got a coke and went for a piss. He was just sitting there reading a book. He had his headphones in and he was barely acknowledging her or the scenery around them and it started to grate on her. Then she went into the store. And then she came back and faced an empty car. Completely empty. Toni leaned through the window into the back seat and saw that there was nothing but the cheap upholstery of the 90s Audi. it stunk of leather and carpet. She opened the boot. It seemed ludicrous that he’d even be in there and yet, she felt a crushing disappointment when the inevitability of an empty boot faced her. She walked around the entire car four times. There were no footprints or any evidence that he was anywhere. That he’d even been there. Even his book and headphones were gone. She looke