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Thread: Magic Man

  1. #1
    Registered User Steven Hunley's Avatar
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    Magic Man

    Dubrovnik 1972—Magic Man

    Negotiating the narrow spaces between the tables, a young man in a top hat and swallow-tailed coat saw Fast Eddie and Pamela sitting in the corner, looking like out-of-towners. He stopped and proceeded to run a yellow silk handkerchief from one hand to another, when suddenly it changed to red. When he noted the effect it had, he pulled up his sleeve and a ball appeared between his fingers, then two, then two more. They multiplied and disappeared like an illusion. Eddie smiled wryly, because as a child he’d been initiated in magic.

    From out of the boy’s pocket a creature appeared. It was bright yellow, fuzzy, about the size of a crayon or a tube of lipstick. It crawled up out of the pocket and over his arm and wiggled about like a living thing. Then it went to his shoulder, twirled around a pencil he held in his hands, and disappeared up his sleeve.

    “How do you do it? Tell me how,” Pamela said, and slipped him a copper coin.

    “Don’t tell her,” said Eddie, thrusting silver in his pocket. “I good magician never tells his secrets.”

    He turned to Pamela. “You don’t want to know, not really. It would let you down. It’s the ‘effect’ that matters. Knowing how things are done only brings disappointment.”

    Eddie was getting deep. Getting deep was Pamela’s territory, but she acknowledged his presence. Eddie had angles she had yet to figure. She often wondered why he was so hard to reach at times, why he’d clamp down like an oyster long before she discovered the well-hidden pearls of his inner-self. Eddie struck her as a private person, and that was one reason why she felt special when she was accepted into his fold. But after two years she felt she was just scratching the surface of his noggin, and still leagues away from his soul.

    For a half an hour they sat silently, watching the crowd. Eddie laid his hand over her wrist and squeezed tenderly. The grip was more necessary than thirty minutes of unspoken words. Flesh was one thing only. It was better than words. It couldn’t be misinterpreted. And Pamela felt sanctuary in his touch, something real without artifice, a holy communion without the thin cracker.

    Years later when Pamela was at her craft, and her hair was salt and peppered, so that it hung in magnificent contrasting strands of coal black and Potosi silver, her face showing her true age, still young, still vital, she drew contentment knowing Eddie would always be her magic man.

    That fact was as true and binding as her stitching. She remembered herself as a young virginal hippie girl with wild crazy curls, and when she saw her reflection in the silver thimble now on the end of her finger, an Earth-mother stared back, one might say, ‘reflectively’.

    And she remembered Eddie, how skinny and sincere he was, how wrapped up and into himself, when he wasn’t all into her. One hot August night she’d called him arrogant, she remembered distinctly. And there was something about him mentioned as well, something about him being a self-centered b*stard, and how she’d walk out that door in a Jumping Jack Flash and never see him again if he was going to act all mean and stingy with his emotions.

    She could hear him right now, snoring in front of the TV in the living room watching a PBS funding drive. “He must have shifted his weight and turned over,” she reasoned. “And now he’s flat on his back.”

    She took off the thimble and turned off the light, folded the comforter carefully and placed it on the teakwood table and went to bed. Tomorrow she’d finish it, and the day after that was Thanksgiving.

    ©Steven Hunley 2013 Magic Man Jumping Jack Flash
    Last edited by Steven Hunley; 07-12-2013 at 10:18 PM.

  2. #2
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    Hi Steven. You might want to take a look at the opening of this tale. The problem is the first sentence. it's too vague. "a young man... saw them sitting in a corner..." So, who is the story going to be about? As we read on, it's obviously not the magician.

    Something else you might think about; why did the magician single out this particular couple, what about them caught his eye? The way the paragraph opens it reads as if the young magician is just meandering through the room. Surely he'd be performing at various tables. If he'd seen Eddie and Pamela watching him it would be a reasonable motive for him to approach them.

    The first name we are given is Eddie. Then, in the next paragraph, we are presented with, "the boy." It is unclear whether this character is Eddie, the magician, or actually a new boy - part of the group which comprises, "them."

    Because the story is about Eddie and Pamela it might be as well to just bite the bullet and introduce them from the beginning, in fact put paragraph 7 at the beginning, it would be much better to start the story with this. It establishes context. It also gives the magician a reason to approach them, not overtly but the context is attractive enough to catch someone's eye. You just need to fix the death grip on Pamela's wrist. (see below).

    "Eddie had angles she’d had yet to figure." (What's wrong with this sentence? )

    "he’d clamp down like an oyster" Clamping down might be appropriate for limpets at low tide, but "close up" is more appropriate for oysters.

    "Eddie laid his hand over her wrist and squeezed like his life depended on it."

    Rather than being comforting, this sounds positively painful. It's inappropriate language for the scene you are portraying.

    For the most part though, this is an engaging tale of reflection.

    Live long and prosper - H

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