Could it be magic?
By Ian Brownlie
“Hey! I recognise you off the telly!” said Jay to the man.
“I don’t know what you mean,” replied the man, who was famous for being a magician, but even MORE famous for being grumpy and rude.
“Nah. You’re him! Donny Steel!”
“Look kid, I’m sorry but you’re mistaken, I…”
“King of the Reveal, they called you. I used to have your poster on my bedroom wall,” said Jay.
“Maybe I just look a bit like him.”
“You had that TV show,” said Jay. “Steel or no Steel”
“And then that other TV show,” said Jay. “Donny Steel: Magic’s Real. That wasn’t on for quite as long.”
“Hey, hold on there…”
“Ooh,” said Jay. “There was another one I think. Errr, Donny’s Deal? That was on past my bedtime though.”
“OK OK OK…”
“And that thing you did last month on Channel 5 of course,” said Jay. “The one where they put ten celebrities into a school to find out who’d make the best teacher.”
“Enough already!” barked Donny Steel. “There were only eight of us for a start, and I was very very unlucky not to win. Those dinner ladies had it in for me!”
“Oh, I see,” said Jay. “To be honest, it didn’t look like you were having much fun.”
“Fun? FUN?!?” said Donny. He put his newspaper down next to him on the park bench then threw his head back and looked towards the canopy of trees above, as if hoping to find answers there.
Jay stared back at Donny’s reddening face a little nervously.
“No, kid, being forced to eat school dinners cooked by the worst students in class was not FUN. Do you know how often you lot don’t bother washing your hands? And how often you go rooting around in your noses for green treasure? Not fun, not fun at all. What’s your name?”
“Jay,” muttered Jay.
“Well Jay,” said Donny, “you’ve really made my day. Here’s me sat peacefully reading the paper in the park and then you come along and tell me that you used to have my poster on your wall. Meaning you don’t anymore, Jay, am I right?”
“Fine, kid, you outgrew me. Well done you. Watched my earlier shows, missed out on the later ones. People like you are the reason I can’t get on TV anymore, Jay. People like you are the reason I got chewing gum all over my best glittery suit when I was trying to teach that class of juvenile delinquents about ‘The Magic of Chemistry’. What exactly did you think was going to happen when you came up and spoke to me, eh?”
“I only wanted you to show me a trick,” moped Jay.
Donny smiled to himself. “I’m sure you’ve seen all my tricks before,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be much more interesting if you showed me a trick?”
“I’m not sure,” said Jay.
“Oh, come on lad,” said Donny Steel, his smile spreading slowly like a snake stretching out its body. “If you had my poster on your wall you must have at least practised a few tricks of your own. Maybe you even had the Steel or no Steel magic set?”
“Yeah, I did,” mumbled Jay.
“Well then!” said Donny, clapping his hands together to signify it was a done deal. He sat up straight on the park bench, looking forward to having a good old laugh at whatever rubbish conjuring trick the boy had managed to teach himself in his bedroom. Maybe he’d wiggle a pencil about so it looked a bit like it was made of rubber. Ha! Or make a coin disappear and then reappear from behind someone’s ear? Oh, that one had some hilarious potential for going wrong if you were a young lad who hadn’t practised it in a while!
Donny started to root around in his jacket pocket for spare coins.
“I can make you vanish completely,” said Jay.
“Errr…what?” asked a startled Donny. It was such an extraordinary claim that the older magician took a few moments to process it. Then he took a few more moments to panic that this boy might actually be able to pull such a trick off. No no no no no no no. No. No no no. An utterly ridiculous notion!
“I can make you vanish,” repeated Jay. “Completely.”
“OK then,” chuckled Donny, whose arrogance had reasserted itself to such a degree that he was starting to feel sorry for the boy standing in front of him. This was going to be fun. And also, it would likely teach Jay a valuable lesson about getting too big for his boots. But mostly it was going to be fun. “Off you go then, son! Dazzle me with your superior magical skills!”
Jay nodded to show that he accepted the challenge. He shook his head from side to side and flexed his fingers, then stood perfectly still for a full 30 seconds, staring deeply into the eyes of Donny Steel.
Then, just as Donny began to wonder if the boy was one of those people who could fall asleep with his eyes open, Jay turned on his heels and walked away. His lips conjured up a modest smile as the magician’s cries of confusion and annoyance echoed through the park.- Total nr. of readings: 841 Copyright © The author  All Rights Reserved. This story may not be reproduced without the express written permission of the author except for personal use.
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