By: Wylie Strout
Frankie and his mom peer through the den window as they hear a van starting up the driveway with “Excalibur Magic” printed on its side in large letters which glitter wildly in the sun’s rays.
Long, stiff, tuxedoed legs slowly climb out of the driver’s side of the van and walk up to the home. The magician is wearing a large top hat that makes him taller than the doorframe forcing him to lean a bit forward as he enters. Grandly, he takes the small stage set aside for him in the living room of the Sheering’s home away from home. With him is a four feet by two feet shiny black trunk.
It is Frankie’s seventh birthday party. Frankie has freckles and shaggy brown hair and is currently surrounded by his pack. All week he had been talking about and waiting for this day.
The family is visiting South Hampton for the summer. Mrs. Sheering, Frankie’s mom, called on this magician for her son’s birthday party. She found him through an advertisement in the local paper promising the “magician of magicians.” Frankie’s mom is escaping the city summer heat and a bad divorce. The big “D,” as Frankie refers to the situation, has been an extra-long marathon. Mrs. Sheering isn’t sure if she left her husband or if her husband left her, she just knows that it is concluding. She no longer believes in love. Frankie doesn’t know what to believe.
Frankie is so excited for his birthday party. To be surrounded by friends, to be another year older, for everything, but especially upon hearing a magician was coming. Magic, he thought, could change everything. In haste, his mom, with nerves on end trying to juggle her days, snapped earlier, this very morning, when questioned once again about the magic. She assured her son that magic was all and only make believe.
Let it be known that Mrs. Sheering erred in her thinking, her conclusions, her first impressions, of this magician. She thought to herself, “Look, he has a basic black magician’s hat and trunk with assumingly the appropriate lining and compartments. It is exactly what I expect out of a magician, knowing, as an adult, assured, as an adult, that magic is just an illusion.”
Our magician has set up. The children are in front of him sitting wide eyed, waiting for the beginning of his act.
“What are the magic words?” the magician asks the restless children.
“Hocus Pocus,” chime the children.
On cue, the magician gracefully takes a handkerchief out of his breast pocket and unfolds it. He then takes off his hat, bows slightly and moves one hand holding the handkerchief boldly back and forth over the bottom opening of his magnificent top hat. His expression is one of anticipated joy. Yet nothing comes out of the hat. He only can pull air out of the hat.
“Where is that rabbit?” the troubled magician mumbles to himself. He smiles nervously and turns slightly away from the onlookers. He goes over to his trunk and before peering in, looks at the children and says,
“I think my rabbit is playing a trick on me.”
Frankie’s mother, standing off to the side, moves a few steps closer to the magician and whispers, “Pull something out of the hat. A flower would do. Something is all that the kids need. You can do it. No one needs the rabbit. No need to be so particular. All of them are watching you.”
“My lady,” begins the magician as he sternly yet respectively whispers back to her, “There is an order to the magical world. That order requires me to pull my rabbit from the hat as an introduction.”
“Rabbit dead,” said a tot.
“What?” asks the magician.
“Rabbit dead,” repeated the tot.
“No, the rabbit, I promise you, is not dead. He is playing a trick on me. I wouldn’t be surprised if he sends…,” replies the magician. Sparks fly out of the hat and the magician pulls out some carrots. “Yes.
Look. The rabbit sent up some carrots.”
Now Frankie is excited. He stands up and moves towards the magician standing on the make shift stage.
Gazing straight up at the magician, he asks, “Do you grow carrots in your hat?”
“No, my friend, it’s my rabbit playing a trick on me,” answers the magician.
“Doubtful. I bet you keep carrots in your hat to trick the rabbit into staying in your hat. That way you always have a pet rabbit,” insists Frankie.
“If that is true, then where is my rabbit?” asks the magician handing the top hat to Frankie.
Frankie inspects the top hat, which is empty and then rather violently squashes it on the ground.
“Ahhh. My hat. That is a magic hat. You can’t treat things like that. I’m expecting my rabbit anytime soon. You see, he is playing a trick on me,” says the magician.
“There is no magic,” insists Frankie.
“There is magic all over,” says the baffled magician.
“Where is your rabbit then?” crows Frankie.
“In the land below. I am a magician. I practice magic. That is a magic hat. This is my magic trunk,” says the magician.
The magician leans over the trunk and opens it a crack. “Rabbit. Stop kidding around and come to me.”
Frankie moves in on the magician. A swift elbow to the magician’s knee sends the honorable man backwards. Frankie opens the trunk quickly and leaps in. A few sparks fly out and the top flaps down.
Frankie’s mom rushes to the trunk and opens it. It is completely empty. She taps the sides and floor.
“Pull my son out of this contraption!” she exclaims boiling over.
“He is not in the trunk any longer,” assures the magician. “He is with my rabbit.”
“With your rabbit? I want my son back, now,” says Frankie’s mother.
“And if my rabbit brings him back, will you believe?” queries the magician.
And the magician takes his hat, waves his hands once more over the trunk, and out comes the rabbit and then one leg, then the other, an arm, then the other and finally Frankie’s beaming head.
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