I’m not sure what exactly reminded me of it, but today I remembered an incident involving an inept magician and his uncontrollable balls. It made me chuckle quietly to myself (not so quietly that others didn’t wonder if I’d gone a bit mental) and I thought I’d share the story with you.
Several years ago, I went to an elaborate work christmas party. The venue was all very posh and they’d laid on a couple of magicians, who were mingling amongst us and amazing us with their mystique and magical prowess.
Or, at least one of them was.
One of the magicians was tall, handsome and impeccably dressed. The other was short, overweight and boss-eyed. However, like his attractive counterpart, he too was impeccably dressed. This is where the similarity ended.
Whilst the taller magician was performing some intriguing and attention-grabbing tricks, which were made all the more amazing by his faultless sleight of hand, Shorty was obviously new to the trade or simply didn’t perform well in front of an audience (not the best weakness for a performer to have). Shorty fumbled, stumbled and tripped over his own words. I’d also witnessed him make a mess of a card trick; unless of course, the purpose of the trick was to throw some of his cards all over the floor. I’m no magician, but I’m fairly certain Shorty’s intention was not to throw the duplicate cards all over the place.
We’d all sat down for dinner and the two magicians were walking around the tables, performing simple tricks whilst we ate. The professional magician had already been to my table to amaze our group so I guess it was only a matter of time before the little one arrived.
Lo and behold, Shorty appeared at my table to try and perform his obligatory trick, which involved disappearing, reappearing balls.
During the trick, Shorty fumbled his balls and they all fell to the floor, rolling off in different directions. He dived on to the floor and frantically scrabbled around, trying to retrieve each and every errant ball. I don’t know how much magic balls cost, but this guy obviously couldn’t afford to buy a new set, judging by the way he was rooting around under the table.
I happened to glance down and see one of Shorty’s balls sitting by my foot, so I discreetly reached down to pick it up. The balls are made from a very light foam, making them easy to squish up into the smallest possible size. I squeezed the ball tight and kept it in my fist, watching and waiting for the opportune moment.
My patience paid off, as Shorty seemed to finally give up on his missing ball and emerged from under the table. He actually looked quite pissed off and I suspect he just wanted to go home at this point.
He turned to walk away, past my seat. This was the moment I’d been waiting for!
Just as he was behind me, I turned around and loudly said “look- there’s your ball!”. As expected, Shorty stopped and turned around. As he did, I deftly reached up to his ear and pulled the missing, magic ball from behind it.
Everyone at my table laughed and applauded- I’d managed to save Shorty’s magic trick! I just knew he was going to be so happy, appreciative and grateful that in essence, his magic trick hadn’t been a complete failure.
I received no thanks whatsoever. In fact, as Shorty snatched his ball from my hand he actually called me a wanker under his breath. This was fine by me, because at least I knew I was a magical wanker.