It’s knowing when to get out…
The dark rum no longer hit the spot. Maybe it’s been too long in the flask, Archie thought. It had been a long time since the alcohol had been stronger than The Great Suprendo’s apathy.
‘There’s no more magic.’ He faced his own hazy, broken reflection.
‘Smoke and mirrors is all.’ His balding, freckled head turned toward a disembodied voice. ‘You’re talking to yourself?’ The pause was theatrical; affected. The man was confused. Lost.
‘Get a grip Archie Greeley. Honestly! You’re acting like a first-timer at the Glasgow Playhouse.’ The laughter was sour. ‘Half your life spent cutting ladies in half, and now all you want is to split hairs.’ He struggled to rise, then headed for the poster. The London Palladium – a long time gone – top billing. Leaning his hands on either side of the frame, his liver-spotted forehead touched the glass.
‘You should have retired when the houses were still full, Archibald.’ Returning to the mirror was merciless. A jaundiced hand applied the make-up these past years.
‘Like bloody Palliaccho.’ He scrubbed at the greasepaint. ‘A sad, old clown.’
‘Five minutes, Mr Greeley.’ Archie left off the scrubbing.
Later, the stage caller looked upon a room stripped bare. Colourless, lacking the old magician’s presence and parts. He walked toward the one item that remained. The Palladium poster – an unsteady hand – a scrawled message:
“Don’t forget to feed the Rabbit”