I’m trying to develop a previous post into a short story. “Disappearing Act” was written a while ago and I’m revisiting the characters and hope to find a good story somewhere. I hadn’t really thought about that post until I stumbled across a Daily Prompt – “Do you believe in magic?”
He was always striving for perfection. To be the best. To live up to his name. The first time he saw it, above the front of the small theatre back home, he became afflicted with self doubt. What if he wasn’t “Great Scott”? What if “Tonight Only” really meant “only tonight because no one else is going to book your lame assed magic show after that performance? ” No, this wasn’t his neighbours kids birthday party anymore. The pressure was really on.
That first show went by like a whirlwind, almost too quick but the crowd seemed to enjoy it. He’d made a note in his journal to string things out further and not get to the big reveal too soon. He practised in his basement, perfected at those awful parties where the kids don’t sit still and the adults don’t care and had even got a return booking at the theatre, three nights this time, all sold out. Then came the call he dreamed about. A week long stint at the Empire in the city. All he had to do was get there.
He scoured the paper for a car or a van or anything that would get him and his gear along the hundred or so miles to his big gig. Finally after days of false leads and time wasting he found the perfect vehicle. A hearse. Fine, it was a bit morbid but there was loads of room in the back, it even had those little casters built into it so he could roll his larger boxes and trunks in and out. He knew it would run alright too, just because of its previous occupation. No one wants or needs an unreliable funeral wagon.
He’d arranged to stay with a friend of his Aunts in the city. It was a little town house and Mrs Flitcroft was kind enough to let him sleep in the attic, and more importantly, practice his act in the basement. He had a month until the show so he spent most of his time in that basement. He didn’t need to practice the tricks themselves it was more the showmanship of the piece but something was just ….. missing.
Mrs Flitcroft had a niece who came by every other day or so, just to help with some chores or running errands. The first time he saw her he fell in love. Well maybe not love but certainly desire. She would watch him practising in the basement when she went down there to put some washing on. She’d sit at the top of the wooden steps and just watch him. He watched her too, he could see a bond of mutual interest developing and one day, about a week before the opening night, he just blurted it out. It made perfect sense to him. She was beautiful, well spoken, beautiful, she had made him laugh on several occasions, she was definitely beautiful and she was interested in him, or at least his magic act.
“Do you want to be my assistant?”