Friday, October 14, 2011

Without Troubling to Read the Inscription

A friend of mine wrote this story a year or two ago, submitted it to a couple of writing contests, and lost. Dejected, but still hopeful, he turned to me and asked if I would post it on my blog so that all who wished could read it. Naturally I could hardly refuse. So here it is in it's entirety, by my friend Timothy, whom you can follow on his blog: "Magus Mirificus".
Without Troubling to Read the

     I’m a magician, but I’m not the magician. I’ve seen the magician though; in fact, I’ve seen that particular role passed on from one to another. Here’s how it happened.
One evening, a few years ago, me and a bunch of the other guys went downtown to this diner. Lots of magicians go there to hang out, exchange new tricks, and stuff like that.
The reason we would come there was because Tony Slydini, probably one of the best magicians ever, used to hang out there. He was retired. He would come there almost every night, just sitting at a table in the corner, and he would leave really late, a lot later than any of us. About once a month one of us would walk over to him and show him some new trick we had, trying to fool him, but of course we never did.
Well, that one night, we were all sitting at our usual spot, a few tables away from  Tony’s corner, and I hear the bell above the door ring, and I look over. And this kid walks in, probably about twelve or thirteen, and the screwy thing was, he was wearing a top hat, and a suit, and he looked for all the world like a magician, but one from years ago, when magicians actually dressed like that.
Now, this kid looks around for a minute, and then walks over to Tony’s corner. I’m watching, and through all the waiters and leaving and arriving customers, I can see him talking to Tony, and then he sits down.
“Guys, look at this”, I said, and everybody turned around to look. We could see the kid taking off his hat, and setting it bottom up on the table. Then he starts picking up some napkins…
“He’s doing magic!” I said.
“And you know what else?” one of the others said. “He’s doing ‘The Paper Balls in the Hat!’”
“He’s right!” I said.
“But that’s Tony’s trick!” somebody else said.
So, the kid does the paper balls trick, and then Tony starts clapping, and then the kid takes something out of his pocket. By now we’re all watching as closely as we can, and someone says “It’s a deck of cards,” and then, a little later, I say “He’s doing ‘The Helicopter Card!’” which is another Slydini trick. And he does two more tricks: “Slydini’s  One Coin Routine,” and “The Slydini Silks,” and we’re all laughing our heads off, but Tony and the kid didn’t notice.
Well, after the silks the kid did one last trick. Now, right about now all the other customers started to leave, so we really didn’t get to see this one too well, but we all agreed on one thing: it had to be an original. Each of us were professional, working magicians, and we’d never seen anything like it; it was some kinda combination card and coin trick, and they kept jumping around.
I said what we were all thinking: “That’s a new one, isn’t it?”
Well, after that, the kid stood up and bowed, and Tony clapped, and said something and handed him some money, I think, because the kid walked over to the counter and bought an ice cream soda. And then Tony got up, walked over to us, smiling, said “Good evening, gentlemen,” in that beautiful Italian accent, and then walked out the door.
Well, we all rushed over to the counter, of course. And we all threw questions at him at once, and eventually he said “What’s going on?” And I said “Do you know who that was?”
“The guy you did magic for; it was Tony Slydini!”
The kid just sat there for a moment, looking like he‘s just seen Houdini vanish an elephant. Then he said “But all those tricks I did, they were all Slydini tricks, the paper balls, the helicopter card,…” Then he got that look again. “That was Slydini?”
“Hey, was that last one an original?” I asked.
“Yeah, yeah it’s mine.”
After a pause, somebody said “Well, did he like your trick?” And the kid said “Yeah he said he liked it…”
“And then after he handed me the dollar, he said…” Then the kid got this big smile on his face.
“What did he say?!” we all shouted.
“He said, ‘By the way, how did you do that last one?’”

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