The Man Who Believed in Magic
When the magician sawed her in half, he looked in the mirror. A mouse was
nibbling stale bread. An ant with a leg missing stole the bread. The applause rained on the
stage. When the miracle was finished he touched his fingers to his toes, dreaming of all
the little animals he would like to take home to his fat gray cat.
When the magician pulled a rabbit out of his hat, the mirror clouded over and
changed color. It turned the bronze shade of river mud at sunset. He thought of carp
sleeping in the mud. He had heard they could do that, hibernate like bears, asleep in the
mud until the water came back. He wanted to reach down into the dark ooze and yank
them out, flapping on the mud.
When the magician pulled silk from his sleeve, it made his eyes water. He
remembered a woman in a black robe with bright threads woven into it like a tapestry.
There was a bridge with swans beneath it and an oriental woman with an even smaller
scene woven into her parasol. He swam through the black water and waited on the far
side of the bridge. A small stream of applause trickled across his forehead. He touched it,
and frogs began falling from the sky.
When she locked the magician in a tall chest, he felt knives piercing his sides and
chains rattled in his forehead where before he had lived in peace with his eyelids. It
seemed to go on forever, small knots of color flashing from his fingers, tingling as if he
were reaching for something wonderful. When he heard them gasp, he bowed, and behind
him something bright and wounded fell through the stage and shuffled home unnoticed.
Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press. Lost? Refer to the Burrow Guide.